06-23-2012, 01:47 PM
2 days ago I decided to break free from a group with an abusive leader. The ministry itself was a blessing for me at a time when I needed it most. Over time, I was feeling uneasy, mostly with my group leader. I started sensing a spirit of control. I have been in a controlling church before years ago and walked away, so I knew the feeling. I have gotten so close with the friends and leader and ministry, but have sensed an unhealthy attachment and control from the leader. I am a people pleaser and have a tendency to find spiritual "mentors" to look up to for approval. Her control was subtle. When I started to notice it, I tried to set boundaries, but I would often just give in and respond to her the way she wanted. I recently started backing off, joining less meetings, 3 in a row the past month, and the other night I was rebuked in front of the group for not joining the group enough. My leader said they had invested so much in my life already, they needed me, that I needed to stay spiritually connected, and they are my "covering." That was the big red flag for me. I kind of smiled and nodded, didn't respond, was in shock it was happening. No one said anything. Then she prayed for me and let me go as I said I would only join that night for a few minutes. I knew right then it was time to leave the group. I believe it's best to leave relationships peacefully, so I sent a thankful letter stating my appreciation for all of their support in my life, but that I was in a new season and would not be in the group. I was so angry all day yesterday, and now I feel depressed and sad. Hurt. I feel like I have done something wrong, which is how I felt a lot when I did not meet my leader's expectations. Silent dissaproval. I am a believer in reconciliation and healing in relationships as a Christian, and struggling with feeling guilty from walking away from a leader that was controlling. I'm sure I made the right decision. Now to move forward with courage and wisdom for how to respond to my leader who does not want me to go.