I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church in Florida. While Florida isn’t exactly the deep south, it was south enough that there were very strict rules and regulations we were forced to follow to keep God happy. The 1990s brought a conservative revival of sorts within the Southern Baptist Convention as liberal and moderates were forced out. The 20 or so years I was in it, purity pledges and “Lady in Waiting” training manuals, hellfire and brimstone, “Growing Kids God’s Way” parenting manuals, Christian-themed summer camps, tracks, potlucks with that diced potato corn flake casserole, bible chapter and verse memorization, church every Sunday and Wednesday — the whole bit — were cornerstones.
There we were taught that there is an ever-present clashing between good and evil — always at odds, and being ever balanced to one side or the other, based on our actions. A pendulum of sorts that humanity needed to sway for good until the return of God. In the meantime, they said, we would face spiritual warfare from “the enemy” or “Satan” (as he was called) in all forms of temptations and pain. It was our job to learn and grow from the problems, or neutralize the problems by finding a solution.
Over the years, I’ve come to find that spiritual warfare is real, no matter your faith or level of liberal or conservatism. It happens on an energetic level. While I may not agree with every interpretation (nor should you — please decide for yourself), I have seen and experienced spiritual warfare myself and with my clients. It’s the banana peel on your jog, the nail in your driveway, the stain in the dead center of your shirt. It’s the things, whether big or small, that seem to keep us on the hamster wheel, never quite able to get comfortable.
If your spirit is simply your soul and you experience a sudden onslaught of difficulties when you try to improve yourself/soul or your life, there is a form of internal and external warfare that erupts as a result. Whether intentional or unintentional, things go awry, communication errors occur, you get angry or frustrated or sad, you temporarily give up on your goals and dreams.
Think of it this way: when you try to get ahead, who or what is trying to pull you behind? Who or what is throwing a wrench in your life so you are stagnant or in the red? Who or what is draining your energy because all you’ve been able to do is be on the constant defense, stress or worry too much?
That’s an energetic trap and a form of spiritual warfare. They’re energetic prison bars keeping you stuck on one personal actualization level despite you trying to break into the next. We are all here to self-actualize, become better, more loving, more knowledgeable people. If something is preventing that, it is a threat to your soul’s growth. I think this is one reason the great spiritual leaders have taught us non-attachment — it truly is the only way to stop the stress cycles caused by what happens in our external circumstances.
Many people have a hard time opening up and sharing about what is really happening in their lives. This happens for many reasons: we’ve been conditioned to be quiet about pain, we deny the pain ever existing, we are scared of the consequences of talking about the pain, etc. As I’ve written about before, talking about or addressing pain can get you shamed, shunned, mocked, isolated, and hurt. Who in their right minds would want to do such a thing? Well as you probably know, when the pain of the pain is finally too great to bear, you suddenly will do anything to get out of it, even if that means facing very difficult truths and putting in lots of hard work. It’s essential to acknowledge and address these things. This information can be used to understand and process the difficulties you are going through in your life.
Whether you choose to think of spiritual warfare as being carried out by a serpent, devil, or otherwise is up to you. I would challenge you to think about the narcissism you are surrounded by as a major form of spiritual warfare. Narcissistic personalities are the number one instigator of spiritual warfare because they are so adept at inducing stress, they feed off of your ATP (used for energy in the mitochondria), and they train themselves to engage in a positive feedback loop with peptides so they feel rewarded by the pain of others. By recognizing common methods they use to drain, confuse, and weaken your energy, the more you can get a solid grip on your life and take it in the direction you choose.
Ways narcissists engage you in spiritual warfare:
- they know your weaknesses and use them at opportune times
- they drain your energy so you aren’t as sharp
- they leave you guessing, never knowing what the truth really is
- they draw you into cognitive dissonance games to make you question reality and back down
- they set proverbial traps so you are prone to failure
- they control the group think, weakening your confidence and energy
- they blame you for everything they did to you, leaving you in a constant state of defensiveness
- they leave you always anticipating their next move so you can protect yourself
- they give you no warning
- you wonder which answer you will have to come up with next to explain yourself to them, despite you doing nothing wrong
- they remind you of how worthless you are and you begin to believe it
- they deflect from the real issue at hand
- they make you keep their secrets
Sounds almost tactical. Remember, think about problems in your life as challenges rather than eternal roadblocks. While you are in it, it feels impossible to get off the hamster wheel. Once on the other side, you can survey the landscape to see how far you came in the battle and be proud you are out the other side. Then you can identify the people or situations in your life that seem to hold you back.
In my experience, we can use the spiritual warfare to serve a good purpose — because narcissistic personalities are so good at tearing down for fun, we can take any perceived weakness they throw at us and build upon it to correct or improve it. My spiritual warfare came for 2 years as I realized I was an Intuitive and incorporated that work into my practice. It felt strange to certain people that I had such a strong sense of who I was, what I was capable of, and how I felt my place was helping those who are sick. “How could one person know things that others may not? There’s no science to back up intuition. She’s speaking with too much certainty.”
But these people hadn’t seen the fifteen plus years it took me to get to a place where I could even trust myself, think my gift is valuable rather than terrible, had confidence to be seen, or am able to open up and speak. I was breaking a pattern that only benefited them. Because they didn’t like this change, wrench after wrench after wrench got thrown at me and I had no choice but to pick them up and fix the loose bolts. I couldn’t get out of it this time. As a result, I’m healthier than before, way happier than before, doing something that comes naturally to me and I deeply enjoy, and actually contributing what I want to in this world. You deserve the same. Without these challenges, I would have never activated these parts of myself.
On the other side of the problems is you, plain and simple. Empaths, you have been used up. You’re probably tired, sick, and weakened by the stress/energetic threats. The only way to stop these stress cycles is to first, identify the problems fearlessly and authentically like you never have before, then stand up to the toxic energy or those engaging in spiritual warfare with you.
Part of activating your chakras (a central goal here) is doing the scary things, stepping outside of the familiar box, and doing what we have dared not do before. Inevitably, it will mean standing up to spiritual narcissists and bullies who thrive on the pain of others and throw wrenches here and there for shits and giggles. Secondly, it also means getting away from them. If you cannot actually leave their presence, disconnect energetically by having no stress response to their passive aggressive games. Third, if possible, share your story. The world will only change when we stop keeping secrets of abuse in order to protect others at the expense of ourselves. Telling the secrets is, and will, change the world.
Until then, remember nothing lasts forever and there is a rhyme and reason — figure that out and you can get out of the spiritual warfare.