Friday, March 20, 2015


EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is negative. It is about negative experiences that many people have with a spouse, a pastor, a church leader, a school teacher, an employer. You will not come away from reading this article with any sense of joy or happiness in your heart--UNLESS you have been a victim of an abusive relationship and have found words here to describe your situation for the first time. There is no way to paint this reality with any kind of bright colors. It is a sad situation that occurs in our society with frightening regularity. It is not confined to any particular class in society.

Emotional abuse occurs every day within every class and strata of society.

Generally, there are no physical evidences of this abuse visible to those on the outside. A person suffering under this load may become depressed, but it is difficult, if not impossible to trace the depression to the perpetrator of abuse.

I have personally suffered from this type of abuse from a spouse, a teacher, and more than one pastor.
I can not--as of this writing--say that I have learned my lessons and will not be deceived into such a relationship again; for I have not yet had the opportunity to be sucked in to such a relationship.

I say "sucked in" because that is one of the points you will discover as you study this phenomenon--the abuser has methods that will lure their victim into the web of abuse.

The catalyst for writing this came from my most recent experience (summer 2014), which will be used to highlight and illustrate many of the points presented in this article.

I have included the three resources I stumbled upon while researching a series on discernment and deception. I did not go looking for information on abusive relationships, but the Lord by His Spirit shined His light on these as I was looking across the internet for something else.

I will use these resources as the basis for the article.
Rick Ross of The Guardian; 10 Signs of a Cult

These are the signs as listed within each of these resources:

The Emotionally Abusive Relationship:
  • You walk on eggshells to avoid upsetting your partner
  • Your feelings and opinions are rarely validated
  • Your partner is mistrustful of you for no reason
  • You feel like you are unable to discuss problems in the relationship
  • You feel "stuck" or confused most of the time
The Narcissistic Relationship: 
  • Nothing is their fault
  • Their way or the highway
  • Whatever you want, they want opposite
  • They are always the victim
  • You work overtime on the relationship (they don't work at all)
  • They will make up stories about you
  • They are never there for you, ever
  • They are blind to your love, emotions, accomplishments, needs and your pain
  • They lie, cheat, steal and/or have addictions
  • They are impulsive and bored easily
  • They play pretend, and if you don't follow their script,they will throw a temper tantrum, or give you the silent treatment
  • They manipulate, control and abuse you
  • You will begin to look like death and feel 100 years old
The Signs of a Cult:
  • Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability
  • No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry
  • No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget or expenses, such as an independently audited financial statement
  • Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions
  • There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil
  • Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances
  • There are records, books, news articles, or broadcast reports that document the abuses of the group/leader
  • Followers feel they can never be "good enough"
  • The group/leader is always right
  • The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible
I have not attempted to modify these concepts in any way, but have drawn them straight from the source as I will be using them.

In the next article, I will take from this list any salient points that fall within the purview of my experience and/or observation, and give the details as I have witnessed them.

For further clarity on the nature of abuse, read the book

The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church

If you order through this link, I may receive compensation from Amazon.

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  1. This was a validation for me. I've been working through the fall-out of this type of relationship for years now. I do hope it doesn't take years more, but am not convinced. Being "sucked in" is definitely an apt description. Thanks, Dale.

    1. Michelle, it will take as long as it takes. It took me more than 15 years to get over the emotional abuse of my marriage, yet I was still susceptible to abuse by a pastor only recently. But, clarity has come, and the Lord has given me grace and a mandate to point it out to those who will listen. I'm glad this helped--if only a little.

  2. Dale, thanks for working on this topic. There are many walking wounded who do not know the source of their injuries or pain.

    1. Precisely, Mike. That's one of the reasons I'm doing this--trying to expose the subtlety used by those who inflict the pain. Maybe this little series will help.


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