Archive for ‘Sexual abuse’

February 27, 2017

Spirituality and spiritual abuse…..

by Rod Smith

Ten signs of the presence of spiritual abuse, manipulation, domination, or intimidation.

Spiritual Abuse (always on a continuum) is occurring when a pastor, leader, or even a friend:

  • “Hears” God for you. God apparently “goes through” him/her to speak to you. This requires a sense of superiority – from him or her and is often framed as being “more mature,” and a sense of being “less” from you.
  • Alienates (shuns, ignores) you if you do not adhere to his/her guidance, leadership, or authority. This is usually VERY subtle – so it is easy to deny.
  • Suggests that rejection of his/her “higher understanding” is done so at your spiritual or even physical peril. You will hear things like, “Be careful. You will move yourself from the covering and protection of God if you don’t listen to me.”
  • Rewards your obedience with inclusion, and punishes your questioning or resistance with withdrawal. Compliance gets stroked; resistance gets struck.
  • Demands “cathartic” honesty. Unless you spew out every detail of your life you must be hiding or withholding something and that “something” will, of course, impede your spiritual development.
  • Lavishes you with praise, acceptance, and understanding when you are “good” and “pushes” you away when you are “bad.”
  • Is apparently fixated on the use of titles like reverend, pastor, elder and cannot appear to relax in the company of “ordinary” mortals. The issue is not in the use of legitimate titles (or robes or religious garb) – it is that identity seems impossible without the titles or the trappings.
  • Leaves a trail of cut-off relationships. Usually in the trail are those who refuse to bow, to submit, to stand in awe of, to be thoroughly entranced by, the will of the pastor, the leader or the friend. Always regard with suspicion or caution leaders who are cut off or alienated from members of their family, especially their parents.
  • Lives from a “for me/or against me,” “black/white,” “all/or nothing” platform of “relationships.”
  • Genuinely sees God’s Call so zealously, so fervently that any signs of resistance are seen as the expressions of The Enemy or an enemy – thus, relationships are expedient (disposable) in the light of getting on with God’s work.

The perpetrators of abuse apparently fail to see that reconciliation, and forgiveness, “space,” and room to move, and room to respectfully disagree (boundaries, morality) are all part of the glorious work of the Gospel.

Freedom begins with recognition. Recognition must result in action.

Stand up to those who misuse their positions of leadership. Spiritual abuse serves the welfare or neither the perpetrator nor the victim – quite apart from the disservice it does to the church.

All authentic holiness, spirituality, Godliness, is LOCAL. If it’s not present and respectful in the most immediate one-to-one relationships (spouse, child, secretary, mail-carrier, in the traffic, at the airline check-in, with the dog) it will not be authentic in the one-to-many relationships, no matter how many thousands or tens of thousands make up the many.

July 13, 2012

Love AND Control

by Rod Smith

Love and control cannot co-exist in the same relationship anymore than light and dark can exist together in the same space at the same time.

July 12, 2012

Draw the line…..

by Rod Smith

There is no good reason ever why any person ought tolerate poor treatment from another.

You teach people how to treat you.

I know you may feel trapped and without an escape route or a friend in the world, but you must get help if this post is reaching deeply into you.

June 27, 2011

I hope your “partner” reads this and sees it as her impetus to bail……

by Rod Smith

“Women put everything on the MAN! Talking about they need to be in the right mood. They need romance. Don’t get me wrong, I try to look at her point of view about sex but they never put US in the mood. We’ve been together for a year and engaged since February and I already feel like I’m 50 or 60 years old! These types of problems are supposed to happen around that age! I’m only 24 and she’s 29! I can’t win!” (Edited of hard language)

Clean up your language. It might (emphasis on the “might”) make you more attractive all round. If you swear (cuss) while you are writing about your most intimate relationship, one can only imagine what you must be like face-to-face.

How a person treats outsiders (those whom you do not know and who will read your writing) is a powerful indicator of how a person treats insiders (those close to you).

If you shifted your focus from what you want to what you can contribute you might see some change.

Diminish your desire to control. (“I can’t win” — healthy relationships were never about winning and losing).

Become less demanding, needy, and a lot more loving, and you may grow up a lot and be ready for the kind of sex a partner wants.

You are totally off in your understanding of men in their 50’s and 60’s. You, it is clear to me, don’t have enough behind your eyes (life experience) to have good sex – and if you keep on with your current manner of operating, which I call being “penis propelled”, you might never have it.

I hope your partner reads your post and identifies you (which you sent anonymously –another indication of your immaturity) and regards it as an impetus to bail. If she stays, and you continue to be as demanding as you clearly are, she is in for one sad, sad ride.

July 29, 2010

Are you in danger?

by Rod Smith

Passivity can be abusive, too.

Partner abuse is not restricted to physical violence. Emotional and psychological abuse, while not requiring hospital visits, can be as devastating as overt violence. Emotional abuse is also domestic violence. If your relationship drains your self-esteem, isolates you, “grinds” you down, feels like a prison more than love, it is likely you are in an abusive relationship. Get outside help if any one of the following is true.

Your partner:
1. “Railroads” conversations. You can’t discuss your concerns for fear of things getting out of hand.
2. Gives you no time to think believing he or she already knows everything you think and feel.
3. Criticizes, humiliates, undermines, and ridicules you, your family, and your friends – usually in private, sometimes not. You are afraid of the very person whom you are supposed to love.
4. Keeps you “in line” by withholding money, the car, your phone, or access to the Internet.
5. Has stolen from you and run up debt in your name.
6. Has thrown away or destroyed your things, opens, reads, even destroys or deletes your mail and scours your phone bill. Mistrust is his or her default position.
7. Blames you for his or her moods, failures, and missed opportunities.
8. Can be hurtful and obnoxious one minute, repentant and charming the next.

Received by email 7/30/2010

“I am in an abusive relationship. He chose the engagement ring, because he feels that “if he is paying for it, he must like it”. He sold my car in order for me to use his car and controls where I go and if it suits him. He does not support me financially. I am expecting his baby in December, he refuses to help pay my bills whilst I am on maternity leave, yet insists that I take 3 months, which I cannot afford to do. He is selfish and will only agree to any decision if it benefits him. He changes the DSTV channel while I’m watching a movie, because he pays the MNET bill. He came into our room one night, I was fast asleep, he put the TV on and turned up the volume, this woke me, when I confronted him about his inconsideration he said “this is my bed and TV and I will watch TV when I like.” He bought me sunglasses for Christmas and told me he needed to use my sunglasses, when I said no, he called me a bitch and said ” I paid for them…”

He refuses to accept that he is selfish and controlling. He says that I’m the problem. I cannot discuss any problem with him, because he gets defensive and we fight.

My coping skills: I’m saving to buy my own car and move out, I’m only taking 2 months maternity leave, I will never ask him for anything again.


July 13, 2010

Can abuse stop?

by Rod Smith

“Can abusive behavior like controlling behavior, badgering, jealousy about other relationships, monitoring things like a partner’s phone, and physical pushing, shoving behavior and even more violent outbursts stop?”

[Yes – but often not within the same entanglement. With close counsel and strong third party monitoring (at least for a period of time) the perpetrator can gain insight, grow, and self-monitor his or her use of unhelpful and destructive interpersonal behaviors.

While it is NEVER the victim’s responsibility (no one is sufficiently powerful to make another abusive) a lot can hinge on the degree of “fed-up-ness” within the victim.

Abuse (all categories) continues and intensifies when the victim covers for the perpetrator, “rewrites” the behavior, excuses it, or when the victim feels he or she deserves to be poorly treated.

Most perpetrators will back off (at least temporarily) when met with a sound and early refusal to allow an abusive repertoire within the relationship’s behavior cycle.

It is never the victim who causes the abusive behavior, but the victim must immediately remove him or herself from the abuse (which is seldom easy because people are attracted to persons who are similarly relationally mature or immature) or the behavior will intensify.

June 7, 2010

He is constantly tormenting me about who hit on me…..

by Rod Smith

“I have been with my boyfriend for two years. All our arguments are about me ‘cheating.’ He wants me to delete my Facebook account and change my phone number. He is constantly tormenting me about who phoned me, ‘hit on me,’ and texts me. He’s talking marriage. Would he be the right man to live with for the rest of my life?” (Grammar modified)

Get involved in planning the future YOU want....The controlling / jealousy virus to which he plays host will not disappear because you get married – it will get worse. If this is how the man treats you when you are dating (when he is being most romantic) you can only imagine what he will be like when you are married.

If you want your wings permanently clipped, your hands in handcuffs, every move, friendship, and thought monitored (and you consider these manifestations of jealousy to be expressions of love) then, of course, he is the man for you.

The man needs help and you are not the one who can provide it.

Travel aside: My childhood in Red Hill exposed me to the best curry dishes on the planet. I’ve spent the last 20 years in the USA craving Natal curries! Singapore has it. I found it. Dinner in the Geylang District of this great Island Nation caused me to sweat with joy.

November 9, 2009

How soon can a person have sex after the death of a spouse?

by Rod Smith

Your brief question leaves many unaddressed variables. That you desire sex might be considered a positive thing in the wake (no cheap pun intended) of your loss. Yet, if you have used sex in the past as an escape, rather than as a means to contributing to a mutual, respectful, and equal relationship, you will be furthering behavior that is ultimately destructive for you. Then, if you adhere to a faith tradition which precludes you from engaging in sex outside of marriage, you might find some short-term relief in sexual behavior, but you will ultimately self-inflict emotional and spiritual discord.

But I will assume you, an adult who has endured a significant loss, are understandably reaching out for love and affection.

Three things:

1. You are not betraying the deceased.
2. You and your faith tradition decide on when is acceptable to you to have sex (it is not up to anyone else).
3. You will take into account that sexual behavior is never purely recreational.

It is impossible to do something so profoundly intimate with your body that doesn’t also impact every other aspect of your emotional and spiritual life.

December 26, 2007

He needs sex to maintain any kind of decent mood…

by Rod Smith

“I love my husband but he is sending me into an abyss. He’s become more and more jealous, insecure, and needy. He requires sex to maintain any sort of decent mood. I pay the emotional price if I don’t have sex every two or three days. He never admits to being controlling and I don’t think he believes he is. I have lost most of my sex drive. I am constantly fearful of crossing his moods. He says his mood cannot improve without sex. I feel it’s abusive to submit to something sexual when I am feeling hurt, sad, and exhausted. Are we in a catch-22? Is it unusual to have one’s libido destroyed by a requirement to provide sex?” (Edited)

Until you, not your husband, govern your internal (emotional, sexual, spiritual) life, things won’t improve. Control and love cannot co-exist within the same relationship.

Your husband’s belief that he needs sex (from you), more than you need kindness (from him), demonstrates his distorted, immature understanding of sex. It is this very misunderstanding which reduces sex into something cruel, divorcing the act from anything resembling love.

Of course your libido is diminished: you’re in an abusive cycle that won’t improve until you find and use your voice. I don’t doubt you THINK you love him (you believe you love him and cannot, at this point, conceive of NOT loving him) – but can you love him enough to stand up to him? His controlling behavior (and your submission to it) does neither of you any good.

November 29, 2007

The power of human love…. is in you…

by Rod Smith

It is in us to love. It’s human. We have the capacity for it. Even hurt and rejected people can love. Once a person accepts that love has more than romantic connotations, as powerful and valid as these of course are, he or she will be able to see its broader power.

Love is unleashed through simple, but not easy, human acts of seeking the highest good both for oneself and for others. Acts of offering unearned forgiveness, of reaching out to the estranged, of welcoming a stranger, of letting go of all prejudice, of rejecting dishonesty – all begin within the individual human heart.

When a person intentionally facilitates others toward finding and enjoying and exercising the full range of their humanity, he or she will know and see and experience the powerhouse love is.

Even people with reason to reject others, having themselves been rejected or treated inhumanely, have it in them to love, if they dare to muster the courage for it. It comes quite naturally to the courageous person, and when it is unleashed, the purposes and the meaning of life surge into the heart of all who have the courage to hear and respond to its powerful call.

If you want a bound edition of all 400+ columns GO TO: and follow the directions on the right of the page…….