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9 Best Books to Read on Spiritual Abuse

This article showcases our top picks for the best ‘books on spiritual abuse’. We reached out to industry leaders and experts who have contributed the suggestions within this article (they have been credited for their contributions below). 

We are keen to hear your feedback on all of our content and our comment section is a moderated space to express your thoughts and feelings related (or not) to this article This list is in no particular order.


Escaping the Maze of Spiritual Abuse by Lisa Oakley

This product was recommended by Tal Shelef from Condo Wizard

This book takes on a more academic approach towards tackling the topic of spiritual abuse, which I personally find very refreshing and mind-opening. It’s amazingly well-written, with testimonies and claims backed up by careful and academic research that make it all the more credible. This is a great book that I recommend everyone to read as it opens the eyes to cultures that are incredibly damaging, yet we fail to recognize. Books like this enable us and the Church to positively make an impact and move forward in society, like we are originally designed to.


God, the Devil and Divorce by Linda M. Kurth

This product was recommended by Sonia Frontera from SoniaFrontera

God, the Devil and Divorce: A Transformative Journey out of Emotional and Spiritual Abuse is a gift for anyone struggling in or recovering from a relationship tainted with abuse. Author Linda M. Kurth shares her personal story with honesty infused with hope, offering a healing balm to people of faith who are torn between ending a destructive relationship with a partner and keeping a strong relationship with God.


Redefining Normal by Alexis Black

This product was recommended by Alexis Black from Redefining Normal

The book that I recommend is Redefining Normal: How Two Foster Kids Beat The Odds and Discovered Healing, Happiness and Love. In this, I go into great detail about my experiences going through an abusive relationship from my time in foster care and in intimate relationships to how I’ve overcome and succeeding now.


The Subtle power of spiritual abuse by David Johnson

This product was recommended by Achintya Kolipakkam from Elegance Tips

The Subtle power of spiritual abuse by David Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderen: The book was published in 1991 and explains the dynamics of the church. It has shown how the church was built against legalism, guilt, and begrudging service. The book claims that they are kept from the happiness and joys of life which is a form of serious abuse.


From the Moon I Watched Her by Emily English Medley

This product was recommended by O’Licia Parker-Smith from Greenleaf Book Group

This poignant story of loss and self-discovery shines by showing the human desires for truth, community, and love under a church’s oppressive control. In an impressive feat of voice-driven narration, Emily English Medley weaves an epic family drama wherein delicate and even difficult subject matter is rendered with precise, revealing detail. From the Moon I Watched Her is a complex and sensitive portrayal of mental illness, sexual assault, and the painful aftermath of each. Stephanie Walters is a young girl growing up in small-town Texas during the 1970s. Her family’s roots run deep in a conservative religious community where her grandfather, Daddy Black, is both pastor and patriarch. When Stephanie’s mother begins to show signs of serious mental illness that simply cannot be denied, her family is finally forced to reckon with the truth—and Stephanie is thrust into a dark world of intergenerational secrets.


Toxic Faith by Stephen Arterburn

This product was recommended by Jennifer Willy from Etia

It distinguishes between a healthy faith and a misguided religiosity that traps believers in an addictive practice of religion. It shows how unbalanced ministries, misguided churches, and unscrupulous leaders can lead their followers away from God and into a desolate experience of religion that drives many to despair.


In the House of Friends by Kenneth J. Garrett

This product was recommended by Jennifer Willy from Etia

In the House of Friends by Kenneth J. Garrett is written for survivors of abusive churches, their families and friends, and all who want to understand spiritual abuse and help the abused. There is a place that promises acceptance, spiritual growth, and friendship, but instead delivers criticism, abuse, and exploitation. That place might be a Christian church. It might be a cult. It is probably both.


When Narcissism Comes to Church by Chuck DeGroat

This product was recommended by Jennifer Willy from Etia

When Narcissism Comes to Church by Chuck DeGroat takes a close look at narcissism, not only in ministry leaders but also in church systems. He offers compassion and hope for those affected by its destructive power and imparts wise counsel for churches looking to heal from its systemic effects.


Sacred Wounds by Teresa B. Pasquale

This product was recommended by Phoenix Knor’malle from MysticSense

Pasquale speaks with compassion and honesty about the pain that has been experienced from organized religion. She rephrases this pain in a way that is empowering and backs up this new approach with practical exercises designed at encouraging individual spiritual exploration. Pasquale helps the reader view their wounds not as defects or emotional harm, but rather as a sacred tool that can help them discover their true values and beliefs. She is also a therapist as well as a spiritual leader, making her well qualified to write about this sensitive topic. Phoenix Knor’malle is a Psychic Advisor on MysticSense.com and has been providing professional spiritual readings to the public since 2018. They are also a certified meditation guide and Reiki Master Teacher.

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