Spiritual abuse … its when God’s Word is used to control someone rather than set a soul free, which is what its supposed to do – set souls free from the bondage of sin. God’s Word is designed to save souls not enslave them.
Years ago, when I tried so hard to figure out why my NPD mother did the things she did to me – this was one of the things that I wondered about – excessively. I wondered if her mother abused her this way (spiritually and narcissistically.) My mother always exclaimed when I was young, “I will never again darken the door way of another church.” She hated anything having to do with the Biblical God and His Word. She had her own rules she lived by, which by the way happened to be God’s Ten Commandments – when I was little anyway – along with her dabbling in horoscopes, seeing tarot card readers, tea leaf readers, psychics. I remember asking her about God when I was little and she gave me something with the Ten Commandments on it and then she told me that if just tried to live by those that that would be good enough. Well. As I got older, I discovered it wasn’t good enough. The commandments actually made me more aware of my sin and my inability to keep those commands – which made me feel even more wretched than my mother already had. And if my mother loathed me – how much more must God loathe me?? (I had no idea that He actually valued and loved me more than my mother ever could.)
My mother grew up with a religious mother. I remember as a child all these different practices my grandmother would honour/practice. I got the impression that my grandmother switched religious beliefs quite often. I remember visiting my grandparents once and my aunts and cousins (also in the same religion) were also there. I think it was a Saturday – she called it ‘God’s day of rest’ (which it was, but her idea of it was warped) … so we had to be quiet. It was awful – we could only whisper all day. We weren’t allowed to play even quietly. No music. No TV. Nothing. So boring – this is what made ‘Christianity’ look so awful to me when I was little. Then the next time we visited my grandmother she was onto the next thing – also pulling my two aunts and cousins along with her.
The last cult my grandmother was in had some pretty wonky beliefs along with a lot of rules that weren’t even Biblical. From what I could gather is that my grandmother was always looking for the ‘perfect church’ – the church with the perfect concoction of dos and don’ts so as to earn her way to heaven – and this thinking even permeated the family I grew up in. This is what I had witnessed. Sad thing is is that my grandmother also appeared to be an avid Bible reader, but now I wonder how much she believed or accepted – according to what I witnessed I think she just picked out what she liked and adhered to them. However, teaching is clear – no matter how much good we do, it will never be enough to earn our way into heaven. A price had to be paid – and Jesus’ blood was the payment. Thus the teaching is clear that Jesus is the way, He made the way – there is no other way to heaven except through Him. Jesus also said you must repent and be born again (to believe in, cling to and rely on Him) – and her religions scoffed at being born again in the Spirit. Its so sad that the whole time, her whole life, she was searching for the ‘perfect church’ (which does not exist) instead of He who is the perfect Saviour.
My mother’s abuse seemed to get even worse when I became a Christian and I often wonder if this wasn’t partly why the abuse got worse. She was cruel to me before I was – but when I became born again – it was like she really lost me and she made me pay for it through humiliation, degradation, debasing, manipulating and gaslighting to a higher degree – you get the gist. This is where I got to be used as her own personal sin rag.
I understand my mother’s hate for organized religion – I am no fan of it myself. Religion enslaves a soul, whereas Jesus frees it. My mother could never see that and likely still doesn’t. Her mother never saw it either (from what I know.) I know this isn’t the full reason for her abuse of me because the abuse was there even before I became a Christian at the age of 26. Even if this was the sole reason for her abuse, it still does not excuse her behaviour in any way whatsoever.
I changed a lot – becoming a Christian – and I know my mother didn’t like the change even if the change was good, for the better. I was never so terrible a person to warrant the abuse she dished out – my siblings did worse things than I ever did and yet I was the one who paid for them.
Just because we might figure out what may have caused the abuse or what has partly caused the abuse – its all really quite irrelevant. There is nothing I have done to warrant such abuse, such emotional and psychological/mental torture! She utterly destroyed me to the point to where I no longer had a sense of identity and I felt like a black void of nothingness. I feel bad that my mother grew up with what she did and its very clear to me that she never got over it or dealt with it, and I know that it certainly isn’t up to me to pay for it by putting up with her abuse.
Spiritual abuse – emotional abuse – psychological, mental, verbal abuse – narcissistic abuse … its all very nasty and they are used in such a way as to insidiously control the victim. But the thing is, is that no one was ever meant to be caged the way victims are by their narcissistic abusers. Oh the abuse that can get passed down through the generations! So toxic!!
I am so thankful that the Lord opened my eyes to the truth – that He helped me to see the abuse for what it was … which was not my fault. I was a loving, subservient and accommodating daughter for a long time until I realized that no amount of my being good would ever earn her favour. (Maybe my mother had this same frustration with her mother – but I will never know because I could never get my mother to talk about it.) I even went so far as to ask my mother’s forgiveness for things that were my fault – but I never got her pardon. Instead she chose to hold my wrongs over my head and likely still does.
The day I realized that there was nothing I could ever do or say that could ever make her love me (or accept me) is the day I realized that her abuse of me is not my fault. The door to the cage I had been living in had been unlocked … opened. I realized right then that I had wings and I took flight awkwardly (because I never used those wings before) … and the journey began.
I will never again live caged in abuse and lies to accommodate toxic relationships … to soar is freedom and freedom is very sweet to the soul.
~ Saoirse Quill