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Spiritual Gaslighting: The Unhealthy Practice of “High-Vibe” Culture

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by Conscious Reminder

Many people associate the term “gaslighting” with manipulative relationships and insidious mind games.

But what if we told you that gaslighting can also occur in the spiritual realm? A realm that many regard as sacred, pure, and a source of solace. Yes, spiritual gaslighting exists, and it can be just as dangerous as any other form of psychological manipulation. But what exactly is spiritual gaslighting?

In essence, gaslighting is about making someone doubt their reality or perceptions. When this tactic infiltrates spiritual practices, beliefs, or experiences, it can leave you feeling betrayed by the very source from which you sought comfort. Let’s delve deeper into this topic, and by the end, you’ll be able to identify spiritual gaslighting, recognize the signs, comprehend the implications, and navigate your spiritual journey with greater caution and clarity.

What Exactly Is Spiritual Gaslighting?

Spiritual gaslighting is a type of psychological manipulation in which individuals or groups use spiritual beliefs, practices, or experiences to cause others to question their own perceptions, feelings, or reality. This tactic can be used to exert control, gain power, or dismiss the victim’s personal spiritual experiences.

Consider someone making you feel bad about your personal beliefs or spiritual experiences. That is spiritual deception. It occurs when someone manipulates your mind with spiritual ideas, causing you to doubt your own feelings or truths.

It’s like a friend telling you that your own spiritual experiences or feelings aren’t real or correct. They may act as if they know more about spirituality than you do in order to make you feel smaller or less confident in yourself. Now that we know what spiritual gaslighting is, let’s look at the signs of spiritual gaslighting.

Signs Of Spiritual Gaslighting 

:: “You are not being able to experience any breakthrough, because you are incapable of forgiveness.”

Many people believe that forgiveness opens the door to spiritual healing. However, if you are led to believe that your lack of spiritual progress is solely due to your inability to forgive, this could be a form of gaslighting.

While forgiveness is important, it is also important to set boundaries, especially with repeat offenders. The Hawaiian Ho’oponopono prayer provides a heartfelt approach to forgiveness that does not always require direct confrontation. Personal peace is sometimes more about internal resolution than external reconciliation.

:: “You are not that spiritual, that’s why you are finding it hard to understand spirituality.”

This is a major indicator of spiritual gaslighting. Some spiritual leaders, motivated by arrogance or insecurity, present themselves as the ultimate authority figure. They frequently dismiss other people’s points of view, resulting in a one-sided relationship that suggests, “Just listen and don’t question.” This type of gaslighting is common in religious settings, such as churches, where questioning interpretations can lead to labeling as a skeptic.

Such leaders may assert that true understanding of holy scriptures, whether the Bible or the Quran, is reserved for the initiated or the “chosen.” They imply that rites like baptism will magically grant you greater understanding, implying that you are spiritually inferior if you do not participate in such ceremonies.

:: “You are not being able to heal, because you are not as spiritual as you would like to think so.”

What exactly is spiritual gaslighting? Consider someone blaming you for your illness, claiming it is due to a lack of spirituality. They make you feel as if you should work harder or include them more in your life. You might even ask them to pray for you in the hopes that it will help. But this is a ridiculous notion.

Illness can strike anyone, regardless of spirituality. Many spiritual people become ill and die. Blaming yourself for your illness only adds to your suffering. It is critical to reject these harmful beliefs and recognize that health is a complex issue. Accept your experiences, be gentle with yourself, and let go of the blame.

:: “Your experiences and feelings don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.”

This is one of the most egregious examples of spiritual gaslighting! When your personal spiritual encounters are minimized or ridiculed, this is an indication of spiritual gaslighting. Consider this: you open up about a profound spiritual realization or mystical experience, only to be met with doubt or mockery.

This type of dismissal can cause you to doubt the authenticity of your spiritual path, causing internal turmoil and undermining your self-esteem. Recognizing these signs and remaining true to yourself is essential for a genuine spiritual journey.

:: “You are simply a victim of bad Karma.”

Karma is a Hindu and Buddhist belief that says good actions result in positive outcomes and bad actions result in negative ones. However, it can be abused at times. Some spiritual guides may blame negative events in your life, such as illness or hardship, on past mistakes. This can make you fearful of making mistakes. But you already know you’re a nice person. And seeing dishonest people prosper can make you doubt the concept of karma. This perplexity makes it difficult to know what to believe.

It’s critical to remember that life is complicated, and not everything can be explained solely by karma. Simply because bad things happen does not imply that you did something wrong. And seeing others succeed despite being unkind does not negate the existence of karma. Everyone’s journey and experiences are likely to be unique.

:: “Your goal is to always follow the One True Path, and if you don’t, then you are not spiritual.”

You may be wondering what spiritual gaslighting is. Spiritual gaslighting occurs when someone attempts to convince you that there is only one “right” spiritual path or belief, and it is theirs. They may claim that their way is the only true way and that other beliefs or practices are incorrect or insignificant. It’s like telling someone there’s only one way to get to a destination, despite the fact that many different paths can lead there.

This type of behavior can cause people to be perplexed or to question their own beliefs. It is important to remember that spirituality is a personal experience, and what feels right for one person may not feel right for another. Everyone’s journey and connection to what they believe in is unique. It’s fine to seek advice, but it’s also critical to trust your instincts and feelings. Nobody should ever make you feel bad or wrong about your spiritual path.

:: “Your loyalty is to your spiritual group, and you have no other choice other than to devote your whole life to it.”

Doesn’t that sound cultish? Because, well, it is! And this is one of the most egregious cases of spiritual deception. Spiritual gaslighting is common in places that are similar to cults, where leaders control and exploit those who follow them. There are clear indications that something is wrong in these groups.

They might:

  • Keep you away from family or friends, making you feel alone.
  • Push you to act just like everyone else, not allowing you to be yourself.
  • Ask for a lot of your money or make you work without fair pay.
  • Make you follow the leader’s rules strictly, without questioning.

It’s like being in a group where everyone wears the same color and blindly follows one leader. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s critical to remember that genuine spiritual paths promote understanding, freedom, and personal growth. True leaders inspire and guide rather than command and control. Always trust your instincts, and if something doesn’t feel right, seek help or advice.

:: “You are solely responsible for whatever happens to you.” Nobody else will be held accountable but you.”

It is not only unfair, but also harmful and untrue, when someone says things like “it’s your fault” for bad things happening in your life. This type of blame game can make you feel guilty or inadequate, and it is a type of manipulation known as gaslighting. This can also occur in spiritual settings, where concepts such as karma or chakras are misapplied, or where people twist religious teachings, such as implying that Jesus would blame you for your misfortunes.

However, bad things can happen that are completely out of your control. For example, if a company needs to lay off employees to save money, or if a terrible event occurs, such as an assault, the attacker is to blame, not the victim. These things are beyond your control, and blaming yourself ignores all of the other factors at work in the world that can have an impact on your life.

Final Words

Within spiritual contexts, spiritual gaslighting can be a subtle yet harmful form of manipulation. You can protect yourself from being duped by understanding the signs of spiritual gaslighting and what spiritual gaslighting is. It is critical to trust your own experiences, intuition, and inner wisdom while remaining open to new ideas. Remember that spiritual development is a personal journey that no one else has the authority to invalidate or control.

You can navigate the spiritual landscape with confidence and authenticity if you stay aware and empowered. Have you ever been duped by spiritual deception? Have you ever witnessed someone close to you engaging in spiritual gaslighting?

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