Thursday, April 20, 2017

Running from Religious Trauma

I realize this post might be a bit controversial since religion is a beautiful and uplifting part of life for many, many people. And to be clear, I'm all for any belief system that promotes peace on earth and good will to men.

And women.

If this has been your experience with organized religion, then I'm happy for you. Unfortunately, the religion I grew up in was very conservative and not in the slightest inclusive. It was kinda like this.

Minus the tacky billboard and the fire, of course.

As a result of really believing and wanting to act out what I was taught, I made some rather foolish life decisions that were not in my best interest. Like choosing a college major I couldn't make much money from because I knew God wanted me to marry and stay home with my future kids.

Like getting hitched after a six-month courtship to a man I'd not once French kissed, because I was determined to hold onto my virginity until after the wedding ceremony.

Like staying with that man even when he treated me poorly in order to fulfill my life's purpose.

The religion of my youth fucked with my mind like you would not believe, which is why you'd think leaving it would be easy. But it was endlessly hard. After over thirty years of believing, I couldn't walk away without repercussions. I had a community that was gone over night. A meaning for my life that simply vanished. And then, about one year after I'd extricated myself... the dreams came: Sickness for me, pain for my children. Satan incarnate threatening death.

I still have the dreams, but they're getting less intense. My marriage was hard and traumatic. I had expected trauma dreams from that experience, but not from something so commonplace.


Doesn't everybody have one?


  1. Religion is like a whip that beats people into complying. I'm outraged at what it did to your life. We can find peace without religion is what I found after my own bad experience which was nothing as bad as yours.
    Romance #Lexicon of Leaving

  2. So sorry about the experience you had with religion and how it continues to affect you through the years. Jesus made it so simple; people made a big mess of it when they imposed this and that on something that was simply laid out by him. I like to refer that I have a faith; I attend church, read my Bible, pray, but I'm definitely careful in those situations in choosing a new church to make sure it is not one of religion but one of faith (which is a big difference in my opinion). I grew up in a religion and I left that religion in my early adulthood because I didn't care for some of its practices. It was the religion of my mom, dad, and their family for many a generation and still the religion of my sister and her family; my brother and me choosing to live it and pursuing faith. I hope your heart and mind and soul heal one day and that you will seek out faith instead of religion and then too you can definitely see the difference and the hope faith has over the cumbersomeness of religion :)


  3. You don't have to have a religion to be a good person. If you do believe in a hell, any religion that teaches you're going to hell if you're not a member of that particular faith isn't a good religion. (Fortunately, the one I practice believes that all good people will go to heaven, regardless of which religion they belong to, so according to my beliefs, you'll be okay.)

    I mean, if you *do* want the comfort of belonging to a religion, find one that brings you happiness, not scares you with fire'n'brimstone. But if you don't, don't beat yourself up for it.

    Hope the trauma dreams are a short-lived thing.

    Her Grace, Heidi from Romance Spinners

  4. The religion as an authoritarian dictator , its laws as the last verdict , is terribly unfair , but most of the times we are helpless victims , for, living a "good life" by one's situation-specific decisions is something only the most courageous can do ! I am happy you could come out of the grips of a terrible part of your past . Really sorry to hear about your emotional turmoils.
    Best wishes,

  5. I am sad to hear your story. Christ came to set us free to live and enjoy the life we're given, not to be trapped by those who want to control and who think the principles of the faith belong to everyone but themselves. Fundamentalism in a cancer in all religions. Your faith community should be supportive of you, not oppressive. I pray you are able to find a wholesome community of faith that can care for you as you work through this.

  6. I was religious through high school but questioned my religion which said non Christians wouldn't go to heaven. I then thought if most religions believe that then they must all be wrong. I also can't see the point of a God who lets the world destroy itself over and over again. If God is standing back and giving us free will then what is the point of praying to him. I think religion is made up by man to explain the unexplainable. I don't believe in an after life although I would love to come back and have another go at life in the future. I wouldn't remember who I had been but I would still exist. Don't think that will happen though. I think death will just be like the billions of years before my birth. The thing I think is incredible is that in all the history of time I am alive right now.

  7. People have a way of distorting what is supposed to be a relationship with our Creator, God. I'm sorry you had such a devastating experience. I encourage you to listen to your heart and seek to be around encouraging, loving people. God loves everyone - no matter what. As Sage said above, "Christ came to set us free" and to love him, ourselves and one another. A childlike faith. Hope you find peace and a joyous future! Found you through the A to Z Challenge. Have a great weekend!

  8. I’ve always struggled with the idea of religion. I grew up in a non-religious house, but I lived in an extremely religious community. My best friends were Christian, and my bullies were Christian. Some of the Christians talked about peace and love while using their beliefs as justification for harassing non-Christians. It all seemed hypocritical to me.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  9. One problem with religion is one size does not fit all. Faith helps me with difficult parts of my life. However, I am not much for rigid dogma. I envy people who get to live a life as such but I would not care to live that way.

  10. Religion is man-made but God's love is eternal. Man is human, Jesus is divine. I hate learning when others are subjected to misguided understanding of God. I hope one day you'll find true peace and happiness that only comes from God. Listen to His direction for your life and you'll never go wrong! Sending you hugs & love!


When Reality Sinks In

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