You probably associate spirituality with something positive unless you’ve been a victim of spiritual abuse. However, even spiritual communities can hide narcissistic personalities who spread their poison in what should be safe and accepting spaces. The damage spiritual narcissists do can be insidious, not just to the individual but to the spiritual community as a whole.
You might be wondering how someone can be spiritual and still manage to be a narcissist, but I guess the old saying is true – where there’s a will, there’s a way. Let’s watch this short video that we found for you online and learn the warning signs of spiritual narcissism.
Spiritual narcissists can exist in any religious or spiritual tradition. They can cause great trauma to those in their path. Let’s talk about ways to heal from religious trauma and spiritual abuse.
How to Recover from Trauma and Spiritual Abuse
- Make an appointment with a trauma therapist to process the experience. Acknowledge that a therapist will likely be a necessary part of healing from the trauma of dealing with a toxic spiritual advisor. No matter the religion or spiritual practice, there’s likely a therapist who can guide you through the recovery from this negative experience.
- Begin a breathwork and mindfulness meditation practice to help soothe your nervous system. This will also help improve your body-mind connection and establish a stronger sense of self following the spiritual abuse you endured. Breathwork and mindfulness are evidence-based practices that can help improve both your physical and mental health.
- Attend a trauma-informed yoga class. A yoga practice is another way to strengthen your body-mind connection, an important thing to do after any trauma. Just remember that yoga is for everyone – no matter your ability. Find an inclusive, trauma-informed class that can help you manage the physical experience of having gone through a toxic experience.
- Join a support group with others with similar experiences. This can help validate your experiences and feelings, but it also provides you with social support as you move through the healing process.
- Practice self-compassion, always. You might wonder how you could have been used and abused by someone who claimed spirituality. Remember that you are not at fault. Practice self-compassion for the version of you who didn’t see clearly what was happening until hurt had been done.
Toxic people are everywhere – yes, even in spiritual communities. If the traits of a spiritual narcissist sound familiar, make sure that you’re taking the necessary steps to end this toxic relationship. It doesn’t have to spoil your spiritual experience. It can be a chance to flex your boundaries and to move into a spiritual space with teachers who are filled with empathy and kindness rather than narcissism.
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