Spiritual abuse refers to the misuse of spiritual authority, beliefs, or practices to manipulate, control, or harm others. It can occur within religious, spiritual, or faith-based contexts and often involves leaders or members exerting power over individuals in ways that are psychologically, emotionally, or even physically damaging.

The funny, and not-so-funny, thing about spiritual abuse is that it comes cloaked in so many things that don’t seem to look like abuse at first glance—religion. But with the rise of Christian nationalism and how so many faith communities have revealed themselves as exclusive clubs for certain groups, it’s no wonder we are now paying attention to spiritual abuse and the trauma it creates.

In her forthcoming book from Lake Drive Books, Tears of Eden founder and certified trauma recovery practitioner Katherine Spearing will tell her story of the manipulation, exploitation, and gaslighting she and others sometimes experience in high-control religious settings. She’ll provide genuine insight into the survivor’s journey and the intricate process of recovery by exploring the impact of spiritual abuse.

In particular, Spearing will dissect the nexus of power dynamics and abuse within the church, zooming in on a central issue—the gender hierarchy. 

Katherine Spearing MA, CTRC is the founder of Tears of Eden, a nonprofit supporting survivors of spiritual abuse, and the host of Tears’ affiliate podcast Uncertain. She also hosts the podcast Trauma & Pop Culture and is a Certified Trauma Recovery Practitioner working primarily with clients who have survived cults, high-control environments, spiritual abuse, and sexual abuse. She also provides specialized trauma-informed career coaching, as folks with trauma often need extra support for interviewing and networking.

Katherine is the author of a historical romantic comedy, Hartfords, a novel that challenges gender roles in a patriarchal society that will appeal to fans of Jane Austen. She has been a guest on a number of podcasts, including IndoctriNation and That’s So Fcked Up, is the author of several nonfiction articles, and writes regularly at katherinespearing.com and tearsofeden.org.

Sign up for her newsletter at katherinespearing.com or follow her on Instagram @katherinespearing.