A brave share from a religious trauma survivor…
“I get depressed and upset.
Jesus no longer saves me.
God no longer created me.
What purpose is there?
What am I left with?
What do ex‐Christians fill the hole with?
So we are here for no reason, no divine plan. From nothing — into nothing; reality is harsh. Plus I’m pissed that I was so brainwashed for so long ‐ smashing CDs, burning books, rebuking Satan. . . it’s like having your entire world turned upside down, no, destroyed.
There is a lot of guilt and I react to most religions with panic attacks and distress, even photos, statues, or TV…. I guess although I was willing it was like brainwashing. It’s very hard to shake. . . It’s been a nightmare.
I felt despair and hopelessness that I would ever be normal, that I would ever be able to undo the forty years of brainwashing.
My form of religion was very strongly entrenched and anchored deeply in my heart. It is hard to describe how fully my religion informed, infused and influenced my entire worldview.
My first steps out of fundamentalism were profoundly pull‐rightening and I had frequent thoughts of suicide. Now I’m way past that but I still haven’t quite found ‘my place in the universe.’
I feel angry, powerless, hopeless, and hurt‐‐‐scars from the madness Christianity once had me suffering in.
It took years of overcoming terrific fear as well as self‐loathing to emancipate myself from my cult‐like upbringing years ago.
Still, the aftermath of growing up like that has continued to affect me negatively as a professional (nightmares, paranoia, etc.).
The world was a strange and pull‐rightening place to me. I feared that all the bad, nasty things that I had been brought up to believe would happen to anyone who left the cult would in fact happen to me!
Even now I still lack the ability to trust very easily and becoming very close to people is something I still find very alien and hard to achieve.
After 21 years of marriage my husband feels he cannot accept me since I have left the “church” and is divorcing me.
My parents have stopped calling me. My dad told me I’m going to hell (he’s done this my whole life!).
I had to move away from my home because I just could not be in the environment anymore. My entire family is Christian and I struggle to explain to them what I am going through. I feel extremely isolated and sometimes I wonder if I am going insane. I am extremely lonely and I suffer from intense depression at times.
I lost all my friends. I lost my close ties to family. Now I’m losing my country. I’ve lost so much because of this malignant religion and I am angry and sad to my very core. . . I have tried hard to make new friends, but I have failed miserably. . . I am very lonely.
Many of us feel that we cannot relate to the ‘outside’ world as the teachings we were brought up on is all we know and our only frame of reference.
My new secular friends wouldn’t understand.
My Christian friends either have abandoned me or keep praying for me.
My attempts to think outside the Christian box are like the attempts of a convict to escape Alcatraz prison‐‐ tunnel through hundreds of feet of stone and concrete, outsmart gun‐carrying guards, only to maybe make it to the choppy freezing cold water and a deadly swim to safety. This may be a little dramatic, but true to my heart. I now continue to try to rebuild my soul from the abuse it’s endured.”
~Religious Trauma Survivor