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Identifying Emotional Abuse -1


Emotional abuse is still abuse full stop. No matter what type of relationship controlling, manipulating, devaluing and/or punishing are forms of emotional abuse. The most common type of emotional abuse is verbal. We tend to not think about abuse as often outside of family/marriage/relational settings, but emotional abuse takes place in any type of relationship. Last week I wrote an article about emotional abuse in the church and to close out that piece I wanted to empower you with a few more pearls on identifying emotional abuse. Emotional abuse, even within the church offers similarities to abuse in other relationships. The main difference are the tools deployed to inflict harm. Often, abuse can begin in subtle ways and build over time. Emotional abuse seeks to damage our inner selves with lasting consequences to our outer lives. Its intension is to debilitate judgement, highjack one’s self-confidence, while dominating their sense of freedom not only to live but to make mistakes, learn, and spiritually mature to hear from God on their own. Emotional abuse can sabotage one’s future. One of the Lord’s greatest desires for His children is to equip them with the fortitude, discernment, boldness and expectancy to move through life with Him encouraged and assured.



1. Codependency - Codependency as defined by Psychology Today is a dysfunctional relationship dynamic where one person assumes the role of “the giver,” sacrificing their own needs and well-being for the sake of the other, “the taker.” This can take place between parents and children, friends, family members, and yes even spiritual leaders. One way this can show up in institutions is in cultivating a sense of duty to give, serve, and sacrifice of yourself in ways that become detrimental or harmful to yourself or your own family’s wellbeing.


2. Contradiction of Values - No one is perfect, and each of us must stand before the Lord accountable in every way. However, when values consistently being preached counter values being seen there is cause to pay close attention. These kinds of contradictions offer warning signs. One may require something different from you than they are living themselves. We are not responsible for another’s choices, only our own. It is a part of human and spiritual development to know clearly your personal values and to stand in your truth vs someone else dictating what your truth should be.



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