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What You Can Do for Victims of Spiritual Abuse

Be patient. Give them space and time to feel comfortable with you. If they rebuff you or show ingratitude, remember that their response may be related to sometimes horrendous abuse of which you may have no knowledge.

Be gentle. Many spiritual-abuse victims continue to be very hard on themselves, as they were taught to be in their groups. Being gentle with them may help them be gentle with themselves. Earn their trust through patience, kindness, and understanding.

Listen to them. Please encourage them to talk to you rather than to listen to you. Avoid a lecturing tone. Even if they may criticize individuals, groups, or organizations that you respect, hear them out. Often, it is more critical that someone abused spiritually speak honestly, not correctly. The pressing challenge for them is to overcome the fear of speaking their mind, not to figure out which opinion is correct.

Encourage, encourage, encourage! The self-esteem of a spiritually abused person may be at rock bottom. You have the opportunity to foster a more positive self-concept via encouragement. If you must criticize, be tactful.

Encourage them to get information and assistance from resources specializing in this area (e.g., International Cultic Studies Association).

Encourage them to ask questions. Help them find their own answers. Respect their views, even when you disagree.

Laugh with them. Encouraging and joining former members in humor can be an excellent antidote for their experiences because, in many groups, humor may have been forbidden.

Be confidential. Former members of some abusive groups are accustomed to having others seek to acquire and then misuse personal information. For this reason, they are understandably sensitive to perceived violations of confidentiality. Explain the exact limits of confidentiality under which you work. You should not share information with others unless the spiritually abused person knows that you will do so.



This is one of the simplest ways to help out our cause. We believe the best way to be successful is for the community to actively get involved. This is an easy and efficient way of contributing to the work we do at Stop Pastoral Abuse. 

Be an advocate for a victim.

Bring attention to the abuser.

Most importantly, make sure local state laws are followed for reporting.


Want to join our efforts but not sure where to start?

Take advantage of this opportunity to lend your support to our cause towards paving the path for a better tomorrow.

Support a victim in need. Show some love.

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