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'Spiritual Bypass' - a question for discussion

Applecore

Confident
In recent years I learned a very helpful term, 'spiritual bypass' - the "tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks."

A classic one I have heard very much from bypassers I know is "everything is an illusion". This is an idea based on certain religions, and it seems to be a handy way of justifying avoidance of many things, from trauma to responsibility. It draws traumatised people in to new age cults when they could be in self-help or therapy. I see escapism there too: similarities between alcoholism or drugs and spiritual bypass. Spirituality and psychoactive substances both cause some people to float away - and sometimes to float back to perpetuate the cycle of abuse.

(In my life experience, for many people spirituality is connected with meditation. I've heard one wise person say our recent fad for so-called mindfulness is dangerously causing mindlessness.)

Question. When you want to point out to someone that they abused a child because they were abused as a child, and they reply, "but everything is an illusion", how on earth do we communicate with that?
 
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First of all if someone is delusional then it’s quite difficult to communicate with them. Second, a common cognitive distortion is dismiss/discount. If someone hasn’t accepted their own abuse (or some aspect of it) it can be very difficult for them to see it happening in other people (or to see myriad other truths) because it’s too uncomfortable.
 
Question. When you want to point out to someone that they abused a child because they were abused as a child, and they reply, "but everything is an illusion", how on earth do we communicate with that?
Hopefully through the cops only, or a criminal lawyer.

That response is simply so "out there" that it makes less than zero sense. If someone said that to me in response to that extremely direct question, I would probably assume they were in the grips of extreme mental illness.
 
Question. When you want to point out to someone that they abused a child because they were abused as a child, and they reply, "but everything is an illusion", how on earth do we communicate with that?
You can’t communicate with that.

i don’t see this as anything spiritual. Maybe they are hiding behind spirituality to give their abusive behaviour Some false flare of authority to try and control.
but this behaviour is: emotionally manipulative, deflecting, dismissive, not based in reality, lacking responsibility taking etc etc etc.
and you can’t communicate rationally with someone with that mindset. And why should you? What’s the purpose?
 
What? @somerandomguy is on the money.

Why is this even a conversation with “them”? Are you their therapist or parole officer? If not, step back, and inform the authorities.

@Sideways @somerandomguy @OliveJewel @Movingforward10

My mistake for not being more precise, sorry. I used the word "abuse" in its most general sense. In this case the abuse was emotional or psychological only, the type of child cruelty without any sexual or physical aspect at all. A perfectly legal, living hell. No, I'm not their therapist or parole officer, I'm a survivor of their severe emotional or psychological abuse when I was a child and they were an adult. He was the boyfriend of my single mother and he lived nearby, but we spent a lot of time together. They married when I left home. He has admitted it was wrong, and he has drawn a connection to his own physical and emotional abuse from his own caregiver as a child, which may have been worse. But he's in a quasi-Eastern spiritual group (an alleged cult that was busted for illegally beating children), and he subscribes to the idea that 'everything is an illusion'. Which is indeed difficult to communicate with, but I am seeking closure by speaking up at last. I've been told by many to walk away, but I still feel drawn to call him out about what happened and why it was wrong, for my own empowerment. I've already gone through this with my mother, about why she enabled it, she has shown remorse and I have processed it with her, which has helped my recovery I assume. For the record, I've been through a huge psychological journey since childhood and CPTSD, and doing pretty well in life as an adult today. From this perspective, am the age he was when I was a child, I can see it was vicious child cruelty and thoroughly wrong.
 
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No need to apologise to us. I jumped to a conclusion/assumption!

Sounds like he continues to emotionally manipulate and abuse now with what he says.

I can understand your network advising you to walk away.
I can also understand your desire to speak up.

I suppose speaking up and saying what you need to needs to be separated from the person being able to hear it, acknowledge their wrong doing and apologise.
Speaking up and saying what you need to might need to be enough.

Or telling him his response "everything is an illusion" is abusive and wrong and leave him to his little sad life. His illusion.

Your life is more powerful. With the truth. And no illusions or stupid made up excuses.

I am likely projecting a lot here!
 
No need to apologise to us. I jumped to a conclusion/assumption!

Sounds like he continues to emotionally manipulate and abuse now with what he says.

I can understand your network advising you to walk away.
I can also understand your desire to speak up.

I suppose speaking up and saying what you need to needs to be separated from the person being able to hear it, acknowledge their wrong doing and apologise.
Speaking up and saying what you need to might need to be enough.

Or telling him his response "everything is an illusion" is abusive and wrong and leave him to his little sad life. His illusion.

Your life is more powerful. With the truth. And no illusions or stupid made up excuses.

I am likely projecting a lot here!
This makes a lot of sense.

Whether you are projecting or not - maybe that's not a bad thing!

I'd shake your hand if we were in a room: thank you.
 
I recently joined a Buddhist group, I'm new to it but I'm having a good time with it. It has many benefits already, structure, good friends, a good community and teachings that align with my moral and ethical codes. Is it a spiritual "bypass" for me? No I don't think so. I still have to accept my failings and flaws and take responsibility for myself and my actions.

Do some people use religions to bypass their responsibilities and come up with stupid shit like "everything's an illusion" ergo it doesn't matter and I don't take any responsibility for it....Yeah cause they do! And they need professional help from authorities.
 
I recently joined a Buddhist group, I'm new to it but I'm having a good time with it. It has many benefits already, structure, good friends, a good community and teachings that align with my moral and ethical codes. Is it a spiritual "bypass" for me? No I don't think so. I still have to accept my failings and flaws and take responsibility for myself and my actions.

Do some people use religions to bypass their responsibilities and come up with stupid shit like "everything's an illusion" ergo it doesn't matter and I don't take any responsibility for it....Yeah cause they do! And they need professional help from authorities.

Interesting. Have you read the book by Robert Augustus Masters? He remains a Buddhist convert and psychotherapist, urging fellow Buddhists to include awareness of bypassing as part of their practice.
 
Interesting. Have you read the book by Robert Augustus Masters? He remains a Buddhist convert and psychotherapist, urging fellow Buddhists to include awareness of bypassing as part of their practice.
No I haven't read that book or heard of him. Maybe I misunderstood you. By spiritual bypassing I thought you meant using religion to abstain from accepting any responsibility for their actions?
 
No I haven't read that book or heard of him. Maybe I misunderstood you. By spiritual bypassing I thought you meant using religion to abstain from accepting any responsibility for their actions?

The phrase does indeed appear to include that, and much more. In case of use, here's the book Amazon.com

And a few free articles at PT https://www.google.com/search?q=spi...xMDQ1MWoxajeoAgCwAgA&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Based on my life-long experience I think we need to treat spiritual groups as carefully as say alcohol. Both can be great, and both have a potential for avoidance, escapism, addiction and trouble. Awareness is the key.

All organizations involve power relationships. Power corrupts. One of the most famous Western Buddhist groups is written about here Survivors of an International Buddhist Cult Share Their Stories
 
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