I never thought I would need to write this article, but here I am putting words on paper. We need to take and trust our instincts to avoid creepy teachers. Your soul is staked on it!
This article is inspired by a potential new client who wrote on my waitlist form the following comment about why she wanted to work with me:
“She just seems gentle and normal at the same time. I’ve met many creepy people.”
I laughed at the truth of this when I read it because I completely understood. It can be a jungle out there and I have seen and met creepy people in my time, too. Being gentle and normal are qualities I like being recognized for!
Creepy people, in my experience, are:
- People with ulterior motives
- People who double signal their intentions and transmit mixed messages
- People who are deficient in or sometimes have non-existent feedback loops
- They have poor and unclear boundaries in relationship to you, your life and/or your body.
- They often have unprocessed, unexamined, deep secondary needs that leak through into their relationships, these feel “icky”
All of these make us, at some level, feel unsafe, and the call for all of us is to be willing to take off our rose-colored glasses around any spiritual or psychological teacher and be willing to examine the signals or red flags that tell us that something is not right. There may be many things that are right about a teacher, and this can lead us to discount or ignore our own sense of knowing. Creepy teachers can also be charismatic, compelling and glamorous. There are reasons we are drawn to them in the first place. They are skilled, they represent or teach something we want to learn, and they appear to model what it is that they are teaching.
We also have high dreams about our teachers. We want them to be more than they might be. We want them to be more than ‘we’ are. We hold them in high esteem and put them on pedestals. We need a level of impeccability and consciousness from them.
Creepy teachers know this. Creepy teachers will use their awareness of this in how they behave with students, with the work, and with the community. Creepy teachers will misuse their relationship with a student’s vulnerability and inexperience. And this is what can be both dangerous and damaging.
Sometimes our own deep longing for awakening, for support and for an end to our own spiritual, awakening and psychological pain can make us overlook such red flags and inner signals.
So why is it so important to be discerning with Spiritual teachers (including me, lol!)?
When you are going through a spiritual awakening, you are very vulnerable, your soul and spirit are precious and we need to take great care when entrusting their guidance, healing and holding to external sources. This is because a soul-based injury goes so, so deep and can cause much harm on many levels of our being.
I know, because I have had them myself. They really hurt, cut deep, and take a long time to heal. Some people never heal, and may turn away from the beauty of their soul to protect it or themselves, or they may find themselves making decisions that cause them or a loved one harm.
Over the years I have supported folks to recover from all sorts of creepy, inappropriate, or sexually abusive spiritual and psychological teachers, both ordinary everyday teachers and powerful leaders of cults. I have heard so many different stories of abuse I am not sure anything surprises me anymore. I am certain it continues to exist out there in our communities. I have seen a plethora of heartbreak, pain and a particular kind of disruption in a person’s sense of self when we get harmed at that level of being. It is just not worth it.
Some folks have blessedly had a simple brush with danger and thankfully veered away. Others were not so lucky.
So, here are some suggestions. Some may have you laughing, but nonetheless, I need to write about them. It needs to be said.
- If a teacher asks you to remove clothes, and underwear, loosen your bra or change your clothing to support your “awakening” process and energy movement in any way, end the call, walk away, and shut the door. Tell them off. You can wake up inside a snowsuit or wearing latex from top to toe or dressed as spiderman. I mean it!
- You have inbuilt instincts and intuition and your own radar. Run your teachers through your own radar including just watching them on YouTube. If their energy is not right for you or you get an off signal, pay attention. Listen to your body, get out of your head, what is it telling you? This is your protection system and gut instinct speaking to you. There is a constantly expanding range of spiritual teachers available these days, shop around, and find the right vibe and the level of integrity that works for you.
Be patient. Wait. Don’t choose a “not quite right teacher” because you are desperate. Search or allow the right one(s) to appear. If you don’t know where to start, try popular teachers such as Adyashanti and Eckart Tolle and Gangaji, all clean and appropriate teachers as far as I can tell.
- Take your time with someone and do not do anything that feels misaligned for you. Be patient.
- If someone asks you to engage in some sort of extreme spiritual practice, diet, cleanse, or other tasks that do not feel right or don’t make sense to you please stop, go away, deeply consider and listen to your body and sensitivity. Pray, research, and get clear. Do not do anything that does not seem or feel right to you.
- Don’t be shy about research. If you have a sense of unease with a teacher, Google them, and find out if anyone else has had difficult experiences. Many people who have to come to me to heal from creepy-teacher injuries have gone on to Google and seen that the exact same play, whether it was a sexual advance or other misadventure was tried on other people too, sometimes move by move.
- There is grief, sometimes very deep, when you ‘lose’ a teacher to ‘creepy’ behavior, it is immensely disappointing, especially if you have had good experiences up until the uncomfortable behavior. Give yourself space to grieve. Take that loss seriously, even if it comes with relief, and upset. Get support as needed.
- Find trusted people in your community to have safe conversations with. A lot of this behavior runs on people keeping it secret or feeling ashamed it has happened to them or thinking that they are the only one. Most likely you are not. Sadly, there will be people in the community who will be unwilling to hear you. I hope that you can find at least one or two who can.
To leave a creepy teacher is a call to your inner flame of truth.
You are the boss, your soul is the ultimate boss, and your body tells the truth. Stay close to that inner power and never give it away.
It is never necessary, in order to fully awaken, to surrender to anything other than your inner guru, your truth, your calling unless it is right for you and your soul calls you to engage.
And if you have been harmed I send you tender love, care and deep respect for your healing and recovery. May life bless you and you find the resources and support you need to fully heal. In this, your soul and body can again take the lead.
Blessings to your awakening.