Guidelines for Sharing Your Story

1) What attracted you to the group or interpersonal relationship in which you experienced spiritual abuse?

Your search, needs, ideals, beliefs, family, religion, weaknesses & strengths, etc.

2) Initial involvement: How did you become involved in the abusive group or relationship?

Youthful enthusiasm, love-bombing, life crisis/transition stage of life, misleading and deceptive marketing of group’s beliefs, life-style, leader’s biography, etc.

3) Did the spiritual abuse cause you to alter your identity in some way?

At what point did you become a “member”, a “true believer” as opposed to an “admirer” or peripheral supporter? Did you even notice this, consciously?

4) What was it like as a “true believer,” a totally invested member, disciple, or follower of a person or group?

Good side & bad side: the “best years”: spiritual/psychological/philosophical progress, security: answers to all life’s major questions; OR the boy in the bubble, avoidance of real world problems, etc.

5) How did you become disillusioned or otherwise recognize the abuse for what it was?

When did you realize something was wrong with group, with leader?

Why did you/didn’t you react earlier/differently? How did you react?

6) When/how did you leave the group or relationship?

7) What was the nature of your readjustment to the ‘outside world’?

How long did it take?

Did you experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), triggers, loss of faith, loss of self-confidence, family breakup, divorce, loneliness, desperation?

*This list is a revised version of guidelines originally developed by Rev. Gunilla Bradshaw.