If you have been a staff member or even a ministry leader that was wounded by a pastor you may have experienced DID. It could even apply to just a member of the church that was abused. Dr. John K. Setser presents this information in Broken Hearts Shattered Trust: Workplace Abuse of Staff in the Church.

People who have “sustained a trust injury due to senior pastor mistreatment have all been traumatized. As a result, many of them manifest symptoms that are associated with both Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). ”

“The fundamental characteristic of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is ‘the presence of two or more distinctidentities [and]…a failure to integrate various aspects of identity, memory and consciousness.’ Indeed, staff associates who have been injured by their spiritual caregiver/senior pastor boss experience this dilemma. They are caught between the sense of being painfully mistreated and the need to be in harmony with their spiritual authority figure. These staff associates experience internal discord over the fact that their spiritual caregiver is also the source of their pain. They cannot reconcile being valued and loved by God on one hand only to be minimized and abusively treated by God’s representative on the other. Failure to integrate these various aspects causes them to experience an agonizing and conflicting reality.”

“When any person lives in such a conflicting reality, he or she is forced to adopt a disorganized and disoriented attachment style. ‘The natural, innate protective mechanism of turning to people to whom you are attached for safety is turned on its head. Your persecutors become the same ones you turn to for relief.’ For staff associates, trauma, insecurity, and emotional distress results when a senior pastor is both protector and persecutor. It forces the individual to live in a state the Leah Coulter calls ‘frozen watchfulness,’ in which they continually as themselves, ‘Am I safe?’ or ‘Should I hide?’ Coulter explains, ‘Frozen watchfulness is an adaptations to unpredictable behavior by a loving [individual] who without provocation, is transformed into an angry, abusing [person] and then back…again.’ Frozen watchfulness indicates the presence of inner panic. it shatters an associate’s self-confidence and disrupts every aspect of life. The words ‘wounding’ and ‘senior pastor’ were never meant to be used together. However, this is precisely the persecuted staff associate’s dilemma.”

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