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Spiritual Abuse


This painting is still wet just like my heart is still raw from my therapist triggering me in my last session.


The title of this painting is "Spiritual Abuse". This is the third piece for my "Abuse Survivors " gallery...I had this on my mind for a while but just didn't have the picture for it...



#1 "No Voice"


#2 "Singing Songs to a Broken Heart" Or "Salty Words to an Already Broken Heart"


Let me explain for those of you who have not experienced spiritual abuse...spiritual abuse happens when people in authority over you use the Bible to control, manipulate, gaslight, or abuse you. People, especially children, are vulnerable with those in authority over them till they learn that they will get hurt.


I was spiritually and emotionally abused by former employer. Coming from the abusive dysfunctional religious home I did it is not uncommon for abuse survivors to get sucked into other abusive situations without realizing it until it is too late. I saw red flags but didn't know what they were till afterward. It was 3 years ago. I worked for them for almost 4 years. They supplied what my parents didn't, a listening ear...spiritual guidance...it was a very confusing relationship. I wanted to learn how to have a healthy relationship and it seemed like they used my weaknesses to condemn and criticize me as happens in emotional and mental abuse. It ended with me being called into the office one morning (when I was technically no longer their employee because they had sold the business and we're in the last week of training the new employer). He scolded me for not talking to his wife, for isolating myself, for not being a good Christian example (they were moving out of state and my church was 3 hrs away and the only way I could cope was to cry my heart out on my breaks and avoid them so I don't make a scene in public). He told me I need to go home and "pray through" to make sure I'm saved. I asked if a person can be filled with the Spirit (speak in tongues) and not be saved. He said no. He asked if I had questions so I asked the ones I was struggling with to which he replied that he had no answers. Then he wanted to pray for me but I just broke to pieces. I didn't care who heard me weep. Then I started to "speak in tongues"(proof I was saved) and he stopped praying. The atmosphere changed almost as though he was now proved wrong and didn't know what to do about it. Finally he stopped me and said that we are keeping people from their work. No apology. No kind words of comfort. The equivalent of now we are done with you and we are kicking you out. I was in that office for 3 hours. All this time his wife sat beside me and said nothing. After that I tried to shut them out of my mind and move on but anyone who has been traumatized and abused knows that this doesn't work. It keeps being triggered by everyday occurrences. So this is what I'm dealing with because of my job change. Facing pain and confusion of extreme amounts caused by this incident. (Plus the things of my childhood) And my therapist unknowingly triggered me by asking what does the Bible say? Which caused me to shutdown and spend the rest of the session crying in pain.


This is why you may see me on my phone during church services. This is why I may avoid spiritual topics or get quiet if a Bible verse is mentioned. This is why I don't do certain spiritual church activities with the ladies. This is why I sometimes walk away from conversations or delete/react to people's comments.


The other individual may not be aware and that's ok. But if you are aware and continue then you are in the wrong. Sure I am responsible for my triggers but behind the triggers are huge amounts of confusion and pain and hurt that I'm trying to process and work through. Your compassion and consideration goes a long way.


I don't like missing Wednesday night services. I don't like to miss ladies Bible study. I don't like to have to avoid topics and conversations and places that are triggering. In fact I hate it. I want fellowship. I want to connect with people. I want to hang out. But I also understand I have a lot of wounds to take care of right now....


Now back to the picture: if you don't understand what it's supposed to mean here you go:


The first scene is of someone being vulnerable with another and sharing bits and pieces in order to connect and heal and process.



The second scene is of being triggered whether knowingly or unknowingly by the other individual. The survivor is risking so much to connect and get help only to be wounded again.



The third scene is of the afteraffects of trigger or abuse, a higher stronger wall(with a facade of I'm good on the outside) but behind that wall is a heart that has been crushed yet again in an attempt to be vulnerable with another adding more confusion and pain to the mess, wondering how in the world they will find the courage to try again to open up with another.



Hopefully this may help someone out there know they aren't alone in their struggles as an abuse survivor....you are not alone...


And so now that I've gotten this out of the way, my stomach is telling me I need to go eat some breakfast....

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