The Way Out To Freedom
The Way Out To Freedom
So often we think we are the only ones experiencing the harsh behavior of others. We question and doubt ourselves. Maybe no one sees what we see. Is it abuse? Am I overreacting, too sensitive, judgmental? We are too afraid to ask questions or talk to other people about it. Or even worse, we ask, and we are shamed or labeled divisive for doing so.
Being informed can be challenging, it makes us face the reality of our lives. But that does NOT make us failures.
Learn some terminology and facts and be informed about abuse and the tactics of abusers. Become equipped to see your life and relationships and maybe even your church or where you work with a new set of eyes.
Be empowered to make choices and decisions that are not based on fear, insecurity or self-doubt but on truth and facts backed up by the word of God, trusted counselors and professionals who are devoted to helping people find good emotional and mental health.
God did not intend for us to live in fear, oppression and shame. Longsuffering is NOT a life sentence.
Gaslighting is a powerful and very subtle tool of a controller or abuser. It is the psychological manipulation of a person usually over an extended period of time that causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty of one's emotional or mental stability, and a dependency on the perpetrator.
Gaslighting can be a very effective tool for the abuser to control an individual. It's done slowly so the victim writes off the event as a one off or oddity and doesn't realize they are being controlled and manipulated.
Gaslighting can take place in both personal and professional relationships, and it can also happen by public figures.
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation and abuse, and it doesn't have a place in a supportive and loving relationship. When we can identify when it's happening, however, we're better able to handle it, honor our own needs, and protect our boundaries.
When we have experienced gaslighting, we lose a sense of our own emotional barometer. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings.
The bottom line is, gaslighting is a huge red flag that a relationship is not in a healthy place. Even when the gaslighting is unintentional, it's still harmful to the receiver, and the behavior always comes from a controlling place on the part of the gaslighter.
If you've been gaslighted, it's important to show yourself compassion and remind yourself that you are not at fault. Set boundaries with the gaslighter and surround yourself with people you trust who can validate your experience.
Interactions in which one person behaves in a cruel, violent, demeaning, or invasive manner toward another person. The term most commonly implies physical mistreatment but also encompasses sexual and psychological
Spiritual Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation and Abandonment are all forms of abuse.
Spiritual abuse, or religious abuse, is one of the most damaging forms of psychological coercion which can take years before a person fully heals from the trauma it causes them. Spiritual abuse happens in all religious or spiritual beliefs and systems. It is used within intimate relationships, parent-child relationships, and institutional or organizational structures (churches, mosques, temples, etc.) to compel action, silence, inaction or to manipulate or punish its victim.
Abuse is NOT always physical or obvious.
Abusers don't abuse everyone.
One person's experience with an individual may be very different from another. Some examples of covert or subtle abuse are below.
· Intimidating through anger or emotion.
· Invading personal space without touching.
· Blocking someone from exiting a room.
· Threats or intimidation.
Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health condition in which people have an unreasonably high sense of their own importance. They need and seek too much attention and want people to admire them. These people may lack the ability to understand or care about the feelings of others.
Post Betrayal Syndrome Quiz
Trauma bonding is a psychological response to abuse. It occurs when the abused person forms a connection or relationship with the person who abuses them. The person experiencing abuse may develop sympathy for the abusive person. It typically occurs when the abused person begins to develop sympathy or affection for the abuser.
This bond can develop over days, weeks, or months.
Some key signs of trauma bonding include:
Group Think occurs when individuals in the group arrive at a consensus without critical thinking or evaluating alternative perspectives. This phenomenon is based on a desire to not upset the status quo or tradition for tradition's sake.
An environment in which a person encounters only beliefs or opinions that coincide with their own, so that their existing views are reinforced, and alternative ideas are not considered.
Grooming is a gradual process. The abuser picks their target, builds up trust so they can manipulate or abuse them later. It often starts with friendship. The groomer will look for ways to gain their target's trust, often with gifts or promises or social approval.
Shaming involves degrading, humiliating, insulting, embarrassing, and even dehumanizing others. This a tactic that can be used to control others.
Broad research has shown that self-compassion is the antidote to shame.
Canceling and silencing are powerful tools of manipulation and control. Cancel culture has to do with the cutting off of relationships and or the removing of support for others in response to their objectionable behavior or opinions. When canceling is part of a church or social group, the feeling of being silenced is common. When there is a fear of losing relationships, friends and even family within a social group or church setting - this can empower those in positions of authority to continue in their abusing behaviors. Silencing and canceling not only manifests itself in small group conversations but in one-to-one conversations, meetings and more broadly in social media.
Fearmongering, or scaremongering, is a form of manipulation that causes fear by using exaggerated rumors of impending danger. Ways of achieving a particular result by frightening people so much that they do what you want them to do.
"If you leave your church, you will be cursed. God will not be with you. Bad things will happen to you."
Cognitive Dissonance is a psychological term that refers to the mental discomfort or psychological stress experienced by a person who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, values, or ideas.
Breaking free from a toxic relationship can be a challenging process, especially when you have invested so much time, energy, and emotions into the relationship.
In many cases, people stay in toxic relationships because they feel stuck or trapped due to cognitive dissonance.
In the context of a toxic relationship, cognitive dissonance can occur when a person knows that their partner, church, or workplace is toxic and yet continues to stay in the relationship or environment.
Recognizing you are experiencing cognitive dissonance is not always a simple process. The narcissist gradually wears down your self-awareness and self-trust, leaving you vulnerable to their manipulations.
The most common signs of cognitive dissonance include:
Recognizing the emotional and mental confusion that you experience is an important step in breaking out of self-doubt. Working with a therapist using talk therapy is instrumental in making changes to how you see yourself and learning to trust your own experiences, thoughts, and beliefs. Other ways to help reduce the cognitive dissonance caused by a narcissist include:
1. Learning mindfulness to stay grounded and present in the moment.
2. Journaling to record and validate your feelings, experiences, and memories.
3. Sharing your story with trusted individuals
4. Developing healthy boundaries
5. Practicing self-care and self-love
Learning to trust yourself and your experiences is not always easy.
Counselors, Life Coaches, and Therapists can provide the safe space for this emotional healing that is vital to your recovery.