Every time I revisit my abuse I discover new things. Things that help me heal little by little. Like droplets of water filling a dry lake.
It’s been a while since I noticed religion triggers me and I couldn’t pin point why that was. My curiosity, of course, got the best out of me.
I was born and raised into a christian evangelist family. We went to church every Sunday like a devoted family. It’s safe to say that I always felt left out, like I just couldn’t be as perfect as my peers made it to be.
Sadly my mother had been developing schizophrenia since her childhood, and she found comfort in religion. She became more and more obsessed with religion, and the tool she used to find relief for her voices and her torment, promptly became my nightmare. Literally and figuratively. I still have nightmares from time to time.
As I grew apart from my family and the church, questions arose around God and my abuse. Where was God when I was being sexually abused for all those years? How come my abuser got a pat on the back and was told “what you’re doing is wrong but God still loves you”? How bad was I as a child that I didn’t deserve to be protected? Didn’t God love me too?.
I found a picture on social media. A girl with a sign that said “Where was God when I was being abused?” And a follow-up comment, a person explaining that it was to make her more humble. I could literally hear my mother in that comment… “It was all part of God’s plan to teach you [insert whatever twisted comment here]”. I have many contacts that are christians, friends from childhood. So I decided to test it. I shared it with the caption “That’s how cynical they sound”. Not too long someone said “The same place where his son (Jesus) was crucified”, although ironically, it never says in the Bible that Jesus was abused as a child. Another friend just rant about how we cannot blame God for humanity wrongdoings. But neither responded as to why, if God is omnipresent, he did nothing more than watch.
I know many people enjoy their religion in a healthy way. But I also understand how damaging can be, especially to children, and even more, those who are abused in the church. And that’s when I came across the term “Religious Trauma Syndrome”, as if my sexual abuse wasn’t enough. It’s like I have layers and layers of trauma neatly intertwined.