When it comes to spiritual abuse many types of people both old and young do not know that it’s happening while in the midst of it. They often find their purpose in spiritual acts, services or good works to make sense of a world full of hardship.

But oftentimes, a problem arises when a spiritual leader or group influences others for personal gain.

Even worse, they might be experiencing restrictions or cohersion surrounding clothing, behavior, sexuality, decision-making, child-rearing, or finances.

I’m Clare Fragomeni and today I want to share with you 5 signs of spiritual abuse.


1. Be Aware of Manipulation or Exploitation.


First, be aware of manipulation or exploitation. Acknowledgement is the first step.

This could look like a religious leader gaslighting his parishioners to earn excess money from donors in the church, or make you feel pressured or obligated to do things against your will.


2. Be Aware of Accountability Enforced By Threats


A second sign to be aware of is if accountability is enforced by threats. Ask yourself, does your spiritual leader or community foster shame if you do not do things their way, or through demands paired with intimidation of physical violence.


3. Be Aware of Censored Decision-Making


A third sign is to see whether decision making is censored. This could look like someone in leadership or in the community refuses to allow you to practice your religion the way you want to, or forces you to report your movements, thoughts or feelings.


4. Be Aware of the Inability to Ask Questions or Voice Disagreements


A fourth sign of spiritual abuse is when the inability to ask questions or voice disagreement becomes normal. Ask yourself, am I able to express myself freely without fear or shame stopping me? Will there be consequences if I speak my mind?


5. Be Aware of the Use of Religious Text or Beliefs to Justify Abuse


A fifth sign of spiritual abuse is the use of religious texts or beliefs to justify other kinds of abuse (physical, sexual, financial, etc.). This shows itself in the family as well as the community and might look like forcing you to believe or raise a family within a specific religious context.


If you find yourself in one of these positions and need extra support, or if you would like to stop second guessing whether this has happened to you, investing in therapy can lead to healthy spiritual living based in freedom and healing. Reach out and schedule an appointment today.

Clare Fragomeni

Clare Fragomeni

Adolescents, Couples, & Families

I specialize in helping families, couples and adolescents work through their chaos. Each individual carries their own unique story and my mission is to aerate those closed chambers of both griefs and joys and to hospitably nurture lasting relational well being.

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