What Is Spiritual Gaslighting? 8 Signs You’re Being Spiritually Deceived And Taken For A Ride


What Is Spiritual Gaslighting? Signs You're Being Deceived

When we hear the word “gaslighting”, many of us picture manipulative relationships and insidious mind games. But what if we told you that gaslighting can also seep into the realm of spirituality? A realm that, for many, is considered sacred, pure, and a source of solace. Yes, spiritual gaslighting is real, and it can be as harmful as any other form of psychological manipulation. But what is spiritual gaslighting, really?

Gaslighting, in its essence, is about causing someone to doubt their reality or perceptions. So when this tactic infiltrates spiritual practices, beliefs, or experiences, it can leave you feeling lost, disconnected, and even betrayed by the very source they sought comfort from.

Let’s delve deeper into this topic, and by the end, you’ll be equipped to understand what is spiritual gaslighting, spot the signs of spiritual gaslighting, understand the implications, and navigate your spiritual journey with more caution and clarity.

Related: Gaslighting Explained: Everything You Need To Know About Gaslighting

What Is Spiritual Gaslighting?

Spiritual gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation where individuals or groups use spiritual beliefs, practices, or experiences to make someone doubt their own perceptions, feelings, or reality. This tactic can be used to exert control, gain power, or dismiss the personal spiritual experiences of the victim.

Imagine someone making you feel bad or doubtful about your personal beliefs or spiritual experiences. That’s spiritual gaslighting. It’s when someone uses spiritual ideas to mess with your head, making you question your own feelings or truths.

It’s like a friend telling you that your own spiritual feelings or moments aren’t real or aren’t right. They might act like they know more about spirituality than you do, just to make you feel smaller or less sure of yourself.

Now that we know all about what is spiritual gaslighting, let’s find out the signs of spiritual gaslighting now.

What is spiritual gaslighting
What Is Spiritual Gaslighting? 8 Signs You’re Being Spiritually Deceived And Taken For A Ride

8 Signs Of Spiritual Gaslighting

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

Many believe that forgiveness paves the way for spiritual healing. But if you’re pressured into thinking that your lack of spiritual progress stems solely from your inability to forgive, it might be a form of gaslighting.

While forgiveness is valuable, it’s essential to set boundaries, especially with repeat offenders. The Hawaiian Ho’oponopono prayer offers a heartfelt approach to forgiveness without always needing direct confrontation. Sometimes, personal peace is more about internal resolution than external reconciliation.

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

One of the major signs of spiritual gaslighting is this.

Some spiritual leaders, driven by arrogance or insecurities, portray themselves as the ultimate authority. They often dismiss others’ perspectives, creating a one-sided relationship that suggests, “Just listen and don’t question.” This form of gaslighting can be seen in religious settings, like churches, where questioning interpretations can lead to being labelled as a sceptic.

Such leaders might claim that true comprehension of holy scriptures, whether the Bible or the Quran, is reserved for the initiated or the ‘chosen’. They insinuate that rites like baptism will magically grant you deeper understanding, implying that without such ceremonies, you’re spiritually inferior.

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

What is spiritual gaslighting? Imagine someone blaming you for your illness, saying it’s because you lack spirituality. They make you feel like you need to try harder or involve them more in your life. You might even ask them to pray for you, thinking it will help. But this idea is farfetched.

Illness can happen to anyone, regardless of their spirituality. Many spiritual people get sick and don’t recover. Blaming yourself for being ill only brings more pain. It’s important to reject these harmful beliefs and understand that health is complex. Embrace your experiences, be kind to yourself, and let go of the blame.

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

One of the biggest spiritual gaslighting examples is this one, right here!

A key indicator of spiritual gaslighting is when your personal spiritual encounters are diminished or ridiculed. Picture this: you open up about a deep spiritual realization or a mystical experience, but instead of support, you’re met with doubt or mockery.

This kind of dismissal can make you second-guess the genuineness of your spiritual path, causing internal turmoil and undermining your self-confidence. Recognizing these signs and staying grounded in your truth is crucial for a genuine spiritual journey.

Related: The Subtle Danger: How Ambient Gaslighting Affects Your Reality

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

Karma is a belief from Hinduism and Buddhism that says good actions bring positive outcomes, while bad actions bring negative ones. However, sometimes it can be misused.

Some spiritual guides might blame bad things in your life, like illness or hardship, on your past mistakes. This can make you scared of doing wrong. But you know you’re a kind person. And when you see dishonest people doing well, it can make you question the idea of karma. This confusion makes it hard to know what to believe.

It’s essential to remember that life is complex and not everything can be explained by karma alone. Just because bad things happen doesn’t mean you did something wrong. And seeing others succeed, despite not being kind, doesn’t mean karma isn’t real. It’s possible that everyone’s journey and experiences are unique.

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

What is spiritual gaslighting, you wonder?

Spiritual gaslighting is when someone tries to make you believe that there’s only one “right” spiritual path or belief, and it’s theirs. They might say their way is the only true way and that other beliefs or practices are wrong or less valuable. It’s like telling someone there’s only one way to get to a destination, even though many different routes can lead there.

This kind of behaviour can make people feel confused or doubt their own beliefs. It’s important to remember that spirituality is personal, and what feels right for one person might not be the same for another.

Everyone has their own journey and connection to what they believe in. It’s okay to seek guidance, but it’s also essential to trust your feelings and intuition. No one should make you feel bad or wrong about your personal spiritual path.

What is spiritual gaslighting
What Is Spiritual Gaslighting? 8 Signs You’re Being Spiritually Deceived And Taken For A Ride

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

Sounds very cult-ish, doesn’t it? Well, because it is! And this is one of the biggest spiritual gaslighting examples.

Spiritual gaslighting often happens in places that are like cults, where leaders control and take advantage of the people who follow them. In these groups, there are clear signs that things aren’t right.

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 colour and follows one leader without thinking. If you’re in such a place, it’s crucial to realize that real spiritual paths encourage understanding, freedom, and personal growth. True leaders guide and inspire rather than control. Always trust your feelings, and if something doesn’t feel right, it’s essential to seek help or advice.

8. “You are solely responsible for anything that happens to you. Only you are to be held accountable, and nobody else.”

When someone uses phrases like “it’s your fault” for bad things happening in your life, it’s not only unfair, but it’s also harmful and untrue. This kind of blame game can make you feel guilty or not good enough, and it’s a form of manipulation called gaslighting.

This can happen in spiritual settings too, where ideas like karma or chakras are misused, or where people twist religious teachings – for example, suggesting that Jesus would blame you for your misfortunes.

But really, bad things can happen that are not your fault at all. Like if a company has to let go of employees to save money, or, in a terrible event like an assault, it’s the attacker who is at fault, not the victim. These things are outside your control, and blaming yourself ignores all the other factors at play in the world that can affect your life.

Related: How To Deal With Gaslighting? A 5-Step Gaslighting Safety Plan


Spiritual gaslighting can be a subtle yet harmful form of manipulation within spiritual contexts. By understanding the signs of spiritual gaslighting, and what is spiritual gaslighting, you can protect yourself from being taken for a ride.

It’s essential to trust your own experiences, intuition, and inner wisdom while remaining open to different perspectives. Remember that spiritual growth is a personal journey, and no one else has the right to invalidate or control it.

By staying aware and empowered, you can navigate the spiritual landscape with confidence and authenticity.

Have you ever fallen prey to spiritual gaslighting? Have you ever seen someone close to you exhibiting signs of spiritual gaslighting? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!

spiritual gaslighting
What Is Spiritual Gaslighting? 8 Signs You’re Being Spiritually Deceived And Taken For A Ride

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  1. Adewale samson Avatar
    Adewale samson

    Hi I’m someone ,who is confused about my life ,trying to figure out if I’m connected to someone cause I don’t feel well the way I suppose to feel on my head ..how can I disconnected pls and and to know who I’m connected to

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