It doesn’t matter if you have been around spiritual teachers, healers, and Shamans for a long time or are new to these communities it is important to understand that there are cases of abuse, manipulation, harm, and cult-like structures. A loving community, spiritual truths, and energy that feels good can mask very dark situations.
As you search for healing, community, and a teacher to guide you it is wise to know what red flags to look out for.
Here are a few red flags in spiritual teachers, coaches and Shamans to look out for:
Teachings that tell you to discount your body, emotions, and mind. These things protect you.
People who tell you that they are the in-between for Spirit or that they are the ones that are supposed to give you information from your guides. When you tap into your own truth, body, and wisdom and train yourself you can get your own messages. (if you want to learn this let me know)
Love and light people who talk a lot about the horrible things of the world, the dark sides, the Kabal, the apocalypse, government control, mind control, etc. You might notice this in a more religious group but not recognize it in your spiritual community. If your spiritual teacher makes you feel more fear than love there is something off.
Teachers who seem to be distancing you from your family and friends. Sure, you might need support getting out of a toxic relationship or understanding that your family might not get you. But, if they are saying things that make you want to distance yourself from healthy relationships get out of there. If you are growing in consciousness you will see what needs to happen in your life and make better decisions naturally.
Those that have an “us and them” attitude. This is setting it up so that you feel safe in the community like there is harm in the outside world and so you trust the world less and don’t question them as much. This includes all of the “love and light” language that goes on. It can be a technique to create separation.
The slow and steady erosion of boundaries. This can be like the frog in the pot situation.
Boundaries are crossed bit by bit until you don’t know how you got into the situation.
Boundaries are hard for a lot of us and when someone says “I love you” it is easy to be taken advantage of.
Putting down your thoughts, ideas, or questions. If you can’t question your spiritual teacher, you need to go.
Intense experiences designed to break you down such as long periods of practices, fasting, sleep deprivation, or being uncomfortable in your body. This is well known to create the conditions for manipulation in your mind. Can these things be good for you? Sure. But there is a fine line here.
Breaking the ego. If someone keeps telling you that they are happy you are struggling because it’s a sign that your ego is breaking or you need to do something in order to break your ego, really question that. Often people use the destruction of the ego to really mean, destruction of your will.
Sexual advances, creepy touch, comments about your body, etc. Your spiritual teacher should not be having sex with you!
End of story, Enough, Stop it.
Your healer, coach etc should not be having sex with you! (some very specific sexual healing modalities might involve this energetic, but that should be known and agreed on with full consent prior to anything happening).
If someone tells you that they need to have sex w you to heal you, leave.
This can be hard as often we shut down and freeze in these situations.
I don’t recommend doing medicine work in a container that is not with a larger group and/ or with someone that you know will not do this.
This is so common in medicine work that you must be aware of this issue before sitting with anyone!
Coercive language, NLP and hypnosis. These things are well known by manipulators. They know how to instigate an emotional response, how to get you to say yes when you mean no and how to manipulate your subconscious mind. This is tricky stuff that you might not see coming. Educate yourself.
Using things like human design or other astrology or personality tests to manipulate you with a false sense of intimacy and awareness about you.
This is the only way or path. Nope. It’s not. Many paths to the One. And yours is valid and valuable.
Pushing you too far into trauma responses and not knowing how to help you regulate or putting you down for having the response you are having. Our nervous systems are fragile. They need to be cared for and healing can’t be pushed and we all have different timelines.
Highly encouraging you to do a lot of medicine work. Especially really ungrounding ones like Bufo.
Any teacher who does not allow themselves to be questioned. If you can’t reach out with concerns or you see that when others do they are made into a villain and kicked out of the group, pay attention.
If someone is constantly the victim of ‘toxic, abusive, negative energy’ people that are attacking them after they ‘helped them so much’ they might not be the victim they are saying they are.
The sad thing is there is just SO much more.
But, I hope this helps.
If you have been experiencing these things, I am really sorry. This shouldn’t happen.
It is really helpful to share these things with someone that you trust.
Just talking about what your experiences are can be helpful and release the shame and guilt and self-judgment that we experience when we come out of these situations.
This could be a friend, therapist or other coach or healer.
Please understand that the shame that you feel is not your own. It is theirs. They are so unable to be with it that they are projecting it onto you. It isn’t yours. You can and should take your energy back and send back what is actually theirs.
If you need help and support reach out. I have access to a group container for female bodied people to process harm in medicine work and other resources if your experience or body is differnet than that.