people swimming on the beach

What is Emotional Abuse?

“The systematic tearing down of another human being by rejecting, ignoring, terrorizing, or corrupting.”


“4 Reasons Churches Attract Narcissists” by Pastoral Counselor Bonnie Ronstrom

“Let Us Prey: The Frequency of Narcissistic Personality Disorder in Pastors” by Dr. Darrell Puls

Video on Calvary Chapel Spiritual Abuse by Pastor Chris Lawson

How To Know If You Are Being Spiritually Abused Or Deceived by Pastor Chris Lawson

Spiritual narcissists love churches. By ‘narcissist,’ we are not talking about people who struggle with being too self-focused. That’s most of us. A narcissist is a person whose narcissism influences every aspect of their functioning. They are wholly self-focused, lacking in empathy, and willing to lie, cheat, and manipulate others to feed their insatiable need for power, control, and adoration.

Bonnie Ronstrom, Certified Coach and Pastoral Counselor

Spiritual abuse is a form of psychological abuse which happens when a narcissistic, legalistic and/or unsafe religious leader spiritually, verbally and/or emotionally abuses those in his or her care under the guise of religion (in the name of God and/or spirituality). It happens frequently in many religious settings. It can happen even in “safe-looking” evangelical groups.

As a coach and with my deep wealth of experiential knowledge, I help those recovering from destructive groups and cults.* I also help their families through compassionate support and education.

I also provide consulting for organizations adversely affected by spiritual abuse.

When it comes to severe cases of trauma or medical issues, I am happy to provide resources. I am neither a medical healthcare provider nor a government-licensed trauma expert. I network with medical/licensed professionals, and I am happy to try to help connect you with them (please read my disclaimer on top of this page).

I especially love giving others, including guest authors, a platform for their voices. Let me know if you have a story to share.

*I am an expert at two unsafe movements in particular: “New Apostolic” groups including Bethel in Redding, California and Calvary Chapel.

Click here to read about how a certified coach differs from a licensed therapist.