Here are a few suggestions:
Find a safe place. God does not require you to stay in a place or a group that is abusive in its leadership. Be bold and courageous and move on.
Find some safe relationships where you can process what has happened. Share with others who you can trust. Talking to a qualified Christian counselor can be very helpful. Bring your feelings and experiences out in the open.
Allow your mind to be renewed. Spiritual abuse tends to distort the truth. Seek perspective on what has happened and why it has happened.
Give yourself time to heal. Allow your soul to be restored. Spend time in worship and in God's presence asking him to heal you. Experience his love and care. Prayer ministry can be a very powerful tool in this process.
Also, remember that it will take time to learn to trust again. Once you have been hurt, you are very vulnerable and it is easy to project your past experiences on to new situations. Go slowly and walk carefully. Give new people in your world opportunity to show their trustworthiness.
Click here for a list of additional resources that may be of help to you.
Finally, church leaders, let's do our best before God to create healthy environments free from spiritual abuse so that God's people can thrive as he desires them to. Let's also realise that leaders can be abused too. Unfair criticism and gossip can cause deep wounds in the hearts of leaders. Treat them with honour and respect. The writer of the book of Hebrews puts it this way …
"Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith … Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit." [Hebrews 13:7, 17. NLT]
That doesn't mean we should put leaders on a pedestal. After all, leaders are part of the church community too. They have simply been given gifts to lead and they must be faithful to use them well, just like those who have other spiritual gifts.
The church of Jesus Christ should be the safest place on the planet. Unfortunately, that isn't always so. What do we do about that – give up on the church? No. Let's work together to make the church what God intends it to be. After all, Jesus said that the world would know that we are his followers NOT by the size of our congregations, not by our nice buildings, not by our anointed ministry, and not by our depth of revelation BUT simply by our love – how we treat one another (John 13:35). That's the kind of church that Jesus longs to see. Let's work together to make that a reality in our time.