When religion adds to the trauma.

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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.


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48 comments

  1. meg Volunteer

    Hi NoMore,

    Thank you for trusting us with your story. It is difficult to untangle traumas, especially when they involve religion and family on top of abuse. Just like you said, there are layers that are intertwined. But! It is possible to untangle them and to find ways to manage the knots that may have been made. Do you have a therapist that you can talk to to help you navigate safely through to help you heal? You are moving forward already by noticing the complexity and being honest with sharing your story. If you go to our FIND HELP tab, you will find free counseling resources that you can use to find a therapist. We are always here for you.
    -Meg

  2. dzreid Volunteer

    Hi Nomore!
    Thanks for returning to give an update on how you are doing! I think as far as you being able to see new things related to your abuse & being able to heal from them is a positive step in the right direction. To me, that shows how far you really have come. Sometimes, our minds have ways of causing us to “forget” certain events that are too painful at the time. I believe that in time, our mind also brings awareness of those painful events, so that we can examine, deal, heal, & move on. We might be in a different place & could be ready to handle what was once hidden. I can see how you would have an issue with “religion.” I used to wonder & ask this all the time, “God if you’re real, then help me out of this mess, or if you’re there & care, then where are you?” You had a bad experience while attending church. I think that it is normal to wonder. I also think how sad it is that people who attend church could say such hurtful things instead of supporting you, & being there for you. I shared this with you before, you didn’t deserve what happened, but I don’t think you should be shamed each time your in that church. It’s not fair what happened to you & you should have to freedom to attend church without bad memories. Continue working on you because you so deserve it & are worth every step! It’s often little steps that make a difference!
    Dawn

  3. Natalie M Day Captain

    Hi there NoMore,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. It is great that you are able to discover new things about yourself and that these things can help you heal. It sounds like you are doing all of the right things to help you heal. Religion is definitely not for everyone and as you mention it can have positives and negatives. What happened was not okay, and it was not your fault! Working though your thoughts is the best way to find the right path for you and your healing.

    Stay strong,
    -Natalie

  4. Dayana143 Volunteer

    Hi NoMore,
    it makes me happy to know that even little things help you heal! I’m sorry if I sound repetitive, but time will heal.
    I’m sorry for what you have experienced, and it’s truly unfair. Religion is not for everyone, nor does it doesn’t make abuse okay. I think you need to do whats best for you, and for your mental/physical health.
    I’m very sorry for what your mother is experiencing I send my best wishes to her, and hope she is doing well.
    Please continue to update us as we are here to help you, and listen. You are not alone! Sending you the biggest hug.

  5. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. This website is a safe space and know I’m sorry you gone through all you have. We are here for you.

  6. KatherineL Volunteer

    Hey NoMore,

    Thanks for sharing your recent thoughts. You’re totally right, there are people who enjoy religion in a healthy way or turn to religion to cope with something happening in their life. That does not mean that religion can be used to justify or minimize the abuse you experienced. I’ve had similar thoughts and questioned religion in this same way. Religion isn’t helpful for everyone, so we have to make the decision to be religious (or not) that is best for us and our needs. The intersection of religion and trauma is – like you said – complicated. I think it’s good that you’re working to explore this to help process your experiences. I hope that you’re able to come to a conclusion that helps in your healing. Feel free to come back and share as you work through this.

    KatherineL

  7. ceriselc Volunteer

    Hi NoMore,

    Thank you for sharing your story. Many people have a complex relationship with religion and it’s not uncommon for it be intertwined and associated with trauma. It’s good that you were able to recognize this as a trigger, and I hope that being able to examine your relationship with religion can help bring you further along the path of healing. Many believers who have suffered abuse struggle with the exact questions you posed here on the subject of God. It may be a difficult journey, but I hope you can come to answer that is satisfying to you. Always remember that your abuse is never your fault, and certainly not something you deserve. I’m deeply sorry about the responses you have received from your mother and friends insinuating this. I wish you all the strength going forward. Thank you again for sharing.

  8. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi NoMore,

    Thank you for coming here to share your story. AVFTI is a safe space and we are all here to help in any way that we can. I’m sorry to hear that religion developed into a trigger for you. Also sorry to hear that your mother has been developing schizophrenia. It’s a really hard mental illness to work with sometimes. I think it’s important to remember that you weren’t a bad child for what happened. None of what happened was your fault. I’m sure God loves you. Religion is hard to explain sometimes and it’s hard to think God just sat by while this was happening to you. If church is hard for you I would definitely try to avoid going to services. Religion isn’t a good thing for everyone. We are always here if you want to talk.
    Stay strong,

    Tyler

  9. Thomas Volunteer

    Hi NoMore,

    Religion can certainly be used in a way that is damaging and traumatizing to people. For others, it can be a source of comfort. And for others still, it can be both of these things simultaneously. Philosophers have long debated if God would or even could stand by while there is suffering in the world. As you continue to grow and have new experiences, you will get to decide for yourself what you think on that issue. What’s the most important is that you are given the opportunity to figure out what you really think. Both in regards to faith, or a lack there of, as well as its relationship to the other traumatic things you have experienced.

    Labels can be liberating sometimes. You go to the doctor and they say you have “this” or “that.” And it can be a relief. But sometimes, like you say, it can be even more stressful, as if now there is other condition you have. Just adding it to the list of problems. What is important to remember is that the labels are ultimately just ways that we categorize things we experience. You are not defined by any term you are labeled as. You are your own person deserving of compassion and respect. You are not “broken” because of religious trauma syndrome, or anything else. The layers of trauma can be intimidating, but another way to look at is that you have another way of understanding your traumatic experience. As you say, it’s another drop of water into the lake. But ultimately, you define who you are. Not anyone else. In time, these questions you are asking will get easier as you figure out how you view things. But your opinions matter and so do your feelings and expereinces. You are not alone and we believe you. Stay strong, you can do this!

  10. musicislove

    Hi NoMore,

    I’m so sorry for the abuse you went through when you were younger. Religion was a big trigger for me after the abuse I went through as well. I went through phases of hating God and even not believing in him for a long time, and everything you stated above is understandable. I agree religion can be really damaging for people that have gone through trauma especially when it’s intertwined with the church, and I’m sorry you weren’t protected like you should have been. Thank you for continuing to trust us and know we’re always here if you want to share more. Sending you hope and strength as you continue to heal.

    Delaney

  11. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi NoMore,
    I’m so sorry this happened to you. My aunt views god and religion like you mom and peers where good can do no wrong and it’s hard to agree and listen to her myself. I know exactly how you feel. I tend to just try to ignore her and remind myself that I’m allowed to have my on views and opinions. You are also allowed to have your own views and opinions to. You should be able to post something and not have people tell you god has a plan.
    I agree with you that if god really did have a plan why did he let this abuse happen because no one deserves to get abused. Just remember to continue to stay strong. Don’t let anyone’s comments get to you. Just take this road to recovery one day at a time.
    Thank you for updating us. We are always here for you.
    -Alyssa

  12. rkr18 Volunteer

    NoMore,

    Its ok and makes so much sense to me that you feel that way. We have to validate what we feel. None of this was your fault.
    I experienced those feelings as well as a Christian. I always wondered how can my dad be accepted at church and then continue doing what he was doing. I also didn’t understand how mean and prejudice and judgmental all the Christians around me were. It took me a while but I now understand that god doesn’t allow it and that there is sin and evil people and we are all broken. This is my opinion now and I choose to be a good, kind nonjudgmental accepting person and that is my definition of being a Christian.
    -Marie

  13. colton95 Volunteer

    As a Christian, I have personally experienced my religion in both good and bad ways. I have been taught both good and bad things in the church, and being a Christian has definitely made life a little harder for me and made me a slightly worse person. The fact that Christianity, a religion that is supposed to bring comfort and peace, usually does the opposite, is terrible and saddening. It’s horrifying and ironic that Christians, who are supposedly to be caring and loving, seem to say and do the worst things at the worst possible time. As a Christian, I will say to you that I’m sorry that those other Christians said those awful things and that God has seemingly abandoned you. I hope that you can find someone in your life who you can see; who will listen to you and genuinely care for you the way you need to be right now. I hope that you will somehow be able to come to peace with your religious past and your family. Stay safe and positive!

  14. mikaylaanne11 Volunteer

    Hi again, NoMore,

    I sympathize with you and your thoughts regarding religion and your abuse. I had a lot of similar thoughts, and still do, around the time that I realized I had been assaulted. It’s definitely an additional difficult layer to your experience, and we’re here any time you want to sift through those feelings. We believe you and are here to validate your concerns, regardless of your beliefs.

    I also didn’t know about the Religious Trauma Syndrome until reading your post! I’ll do some research about that 🙂 Be gentle with yourself and this new realization. Take some time to do your favorite things this weekend! We’ll be here whenever you want to share again.

  15. Nichole-SW94 Volunteer

    Hello NoMore

    Thank you for sharing such a personal story here and allowing me to be a part of your journey. I hope to add a small droplet in your lake just being there for you and support you without any judgments. You sound so insightful and your curiosity is your strength and helping you heal. I know the pressure religion puts on us to be this perfect image. But I hope you know that your perfection is unique and different from what others may perceive it should be. I am so sorry that religion became a trigger for you. There is no definite answer in terms of why something like this happened but I hope to shed light on a few of your questions. You absolutely deserved to be protected from your abuser. There is no reason why you should have been through that and feeling confused and angry is valid. Even if you were the pickiest child growing up, there is nothing to justify what happened. I believe people try to understand why bad things happen in order to cope and heal. However, just like you said, sometimes bad things just happen and there is no good reason for it. Religion is tricky, so many find healing in it. But that does not mean you cannot question it and believe in something else. You have the right to question and be angry and ultimately you have the choice to believe in whatever you wish. I am sorry this brought back unpleasant memories but it seems to have led you to another step in your healing process. I hope identifying this will help peel back some of those layers.

  16. Jess Volunteer

    It’s amazing that you were able to identify a trigger and examine that for yourself. I agree with you – religion can be incredibly beneficial, but it can also be damaging. I think you asking these questions and identifying things for yourself is really amazing. We are always here for you, whether you want feedback or simply a sounding board. We are here and we believe you. Stay strong and keep fighting. <3
    -Jess

  17. Neesha Volunteer

    NoMore,
    Moving through the trauma and healing from often happens in spiral each time you come back to it a little more healing has occurred and continues to occur. I am so sorry that you were sexually abused and it makes sense on how religion was weaponized in your life, that it is part of the many layers of trauma you have endured. It was not okay for religion to have been used to justify your abuse and minimize your trauma.

    I am glad you hear that you are healing, it is slow process, keep pushing. In the meantime we are always here for you as you choose to share.

  18. rainedprieto Volunteer

    Hi NoMore,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. It’s admirable how strong you are to share your story despite what you’ve gone through. I don’t think it’s my place to say what God thinks, and neither should those people think, too. Besides not being God, they also don’t know the way you feel enough to say anything about your situation. That being said, I hope you find better, more understanding people to surround yourself with, and that you keep your strength. Sending hugs & love.

  19. Monty Volunteer

    Hi NoMore,
    Thank you for coming back on here with another update, I am so sorry that this happened to you. Religion can change a lot about people for better or for worse and I’m sorry that it affected you poorly. You did not deserve this to happen to you at all and it must be really hard watching your family support you abuser. I’m happy that you have your own family that supports you and that you can support them. I’m also glad that you are finding whats helping you heal. It may be slow but it is up to you and you only on how long it takes you. You’re amazing and keep doing what works best for you!
    Monty 🙂

  20. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi NoMore,
    I’m glad that you could introspect and figure out where the trigger came from. That being said, what happened to you was not okay. You deserve support and protection. I relate to you in a couple of ways. 1) I feel left out at church, and 2) I’m asking myself similar questions to the ones you’re asking now, and I don’t know the answers. I agree with you; I think religion can be practiced in a healthy way, but it can also be so damaging. I say this to let you know that you’re not alone, and it’s okay to question things. It’s okay to come to your own conclusions.
    Thank you for this update. We’re glad to listen and support you through this journey, so please write back if you need anything.

  21. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear NoMore,
    Thank you for coming back to share more of your journey with us. I hear you about Religious Trauma Syndrome…there are some good support pages on social media if you are interested in those types of communities. I hope that you are able to work through all of those layers in whatever way works best for you. We are here to listen and support you anytime you need us. Keep searching, keep learning, and keep healing.
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  22. Hugo Volunteer

    Hey NoMore,

    Thank you for sharing and trusting us with your story. What you went through was not okay and you did not deserve any of it. I hear you and your feelings are valid. It is okay to feel that way towards religion. I’m very sorry your family wasn’t so supportive in this situation, you deserved to be heard and protected. Telling your story to us shows that you carry strength and being able to talk about it is a first step in your healing process. Have you considered talking to a counselor or therapist? I recommend you do as it is a great step in your healing process. You deserve to be happy, loved, and able to appreciate life. Please let us know if you need anything, we are here for you!
    Stay strong,

    -Hugo

  23. hina.jawaid Volunteer

    Hello Dear,

    Thanks for sharing your feelings with us. I totally understand your anger and frustration. You didn’t deserve to go through the pain you are feeling. I would suggest that you talk to someone professional. If you ever need someone to talk to, text VOICE to 741-741 to speak to a trained counselor. I hope you feel better. We are always here for you and we understand your emotions.

    I hope you feel better.

    HJ

  24. CarmenR Volunteer

    Hi there,

    I am so sorry for what you have been through. Please know that you did not deserve it, and it wasn’t your fault. You deserved to be protected, and I am sorry that your family and your church did not do that. Know that you aren’t alone. Everything you are feeling is completely normal, and many survivors have had similar experiences with religion and trauma.

    Have you considered, if you don’t already, contacting a mental health professional? It may help you to explore your trauama and work toward healing.

    We are here for you. Let us know if there is anything we an do for you. Stay strong.

    Carmen

  25. rachelb098 Volunteer

    Hi there,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am so sorry that after everything you went through, you didn’t get the support and validation you deserved from your mother and friends. That must have been devastating, and you’re incredibly strong for speaking up about this. It can be incredibly draining to be in an environment like that, and you’ve been resilient through so much, even though it’s not fair you’ve had to be. No one should have to go through this alone. If you ever need someone to talk to, reach out here or text VOICE to 741-741 to speak to a trained counselor.

    Hope you have a peaceful day.
    -Rachel

  26. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Thank you for sharing with us again. I know that regardless of religion, no one should use it as an excuse to belittle the pain you have experienced-and I completely understand you questioning religion given what has happened to you. I am personally not very religious, but I grew up in the church, and I know that I questioned similar things, and I wish you had people who supported you in questioning something you have every right to question. You can always do that here, and share whatever you would like. We are here for you.

    Erin

  27. Jordan Volunteer

    Hey there NoMore,

    Thank you for coming onto our platform and sharing your thoughts and feelings with us. I am so sorry that you experienced abuse throughout your life, I can’t imagine what that must have been like for you growing up. I agree with you, many people do view their faith and religion in a healthy positive way, but when you have had negative associations throughout your life with religion it can become quite tainted and it doesn’t seem like many people understand that. I don’t like it when people say that it was part of ‘God’s plan’ for you to experience trauma, abuse, etc. This is trauma and memories that not only you will remember for the rest of your life, but are consistently trying to cope with and move on from in the best way possible. How is it fair to say that, that was meant to happen? Some survivors are able to pull through and live better, healthier, different lives- but some don’t. Some never end up getting the help or support that they need. What kind of life to live is that? There are just bad people in this world who do horrible things and sometimes, there is no meaning behind that. It just is. Most people don’t like that answer- when something wonderful or terrible happens to us most people like to think there is meaning behind that event, but sometimes there isn’t.
    I just want you to know how strong you are and that we will always be here for you no matter what. The healing journey is a long one, but it sounds like you are heading in the right direction by being able to identify what are triggers for you and how you can properly cope with those feelings, distancing yourself from your family and church (it sounds like they were contributing to your abuse), and finding better support systems. <3 If you ever need anything please feel free to always come on here and share your thoughts, feelings, questions, or concerns with us. We are here to be apart of your support system. <3 Keep your head up, sending love and hugs your way. <3

    – Jordan

  28. avahalliday Volunteer

    Hi NoMore,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us all. I am so sorry that you have had to endure this trauma and these difficult comments from your mother and contacts online.

    I think that you are showing a lot of strength in being able to identify this painful trigger. Being curious about this and exploring why it is triggering shows a lot of strength on your part! I encourage you to ask questions and continue to confront these feelings if you find that it is helping you to heal.

    Please know that what happened to you was awful and none of it was your fault. The way that you are feeling about God and religion is completely valid and understandable! Religion and trauma are so complex and it makes sense that feelings regarding them both are complex, too.

    We are always here for you to share you thoughts, and we are rooting for you! Sending you much love <3

    Ava

  29. zelda Volunteer

    Happy Monday!

    Thank you for posting. You bring up a good question that I’ve heard a lot throughout the years. Why would God allow horrible things to happen, if he truly was omniscient and all powerful? If there was a God in the first place, then how come he hasn’t stopped all of the evil things and evil people?

    I don’t know, and I don’t believe anyone else does, either. I can only speculate.

    I believe that when God created the world and the people who live in it, He gave us the power of free will. I view him like I would view a parent to a child: He wants the best for us, but He allows us to make our own choices.

    He’s allowing His children to grow up and make their own mistakes, even if those mistakes impact other people’s lives in the worst of ways.

    I’m not trying to preach or sound like I know it all. I’ve asked myself the same question that little girl did many, many times in my own life: Where was God when I was being abused? And, in order to salvage my faith in God, that is the answer I’ve had to come up with for myself.

  30. Ryan4121 Volunteer

    I’m so sorry this yur mother pushed you in this way. My neighbor also suffered from that disease. It ultimately led to her husband divorcing her. Those are big questions that you will answer yourself in time. For now, I hope you focus on your personal growth and recovery. Do what is best for you. Potentially seek therapy if you think that is wise and maybe stay away from anything that triggers. We are with you and will always support you. Sending positive vibes your way. Thank you for sharing and please continue to keep us in the loop.

    Ryan

    1. Kevin Casey Volunteer

      Thank you for posting. I’m so sorry this yur mother pushed you in this way.I am really sorry to hear about what happened to youThank you for opening up and sharing your story with us. I have honestly never heard of Religious Trauma Syndrome until now it’s not your fault you have any questions or need anything we’re always here to help avfti

  31. aegardiner Volunteer

    Hi NoMore,

    I am really sorry to hear about what happened to you. When religion is tied to abuse it can get complicated very fast. Sometimes people do not want to acknowledge that abuse can happen in a religious environment or be conducted by someone who claims to be religious. The fact that people try to explain it away as you not being humble enough or that it was meant to happen to teach you a lesson is absolutely not even a valid reason. I’m very sorry to hear that your mother has said these things to you, when she should want to protect you and condemn anything hateful directed at you. I am happy that you are finding way to help you heal. It doesn’t matter if it’s little by little, just that it is helping you. There is also no timeline for when you are supposed to feel completely healed from your past experiences. It sounds like things have gotten pretty complex for you to reason through though, so I hope that if you haven’t yet started talking with a therapist that you make contact with one. Keep standing up for yourself!

  32. pvb Volunteer

    Hi NoMore ,

    Thank you for opening up and sharing your story with us. I have honestly never heard of Religious Trauma Syndrome until now. I have enlightened myself with some new information thanks to you! 🙂 You bring up some good points that definitely validate your feelings. You shouldn’t feel ashamed in anyway about that. Mothers find a way to get into our heads and that can hinder our relationship with them which is a terrible feeling. Finding some self care routines to stick to that can be an alternative to religion is great. Taking time for yourself will be a great start to staying away from negative vibes. Everyone has their thing that they like to do. I hope you are able to continue finding those things that help you heal daily. Stay strong!

  33. JWorks Volunteer

    Dear NoMore,

    Religion is a controversial, complex, and sometimes overwhelming concept. It was unfair that it was used as a weapon against you, and as you said, layering that with separate traumas can be damaging. I’m sorry that all this happened to you. Please come back and talk more if you need.

    -Jay

  34. jna0297 Volunteer

    Hello NoMore,

    First off I want to start by saying I am sorry for what you have been through with you abuse and religion. Your abuser took advantage of you and got praised for it and I am sorry. Im proud that you understanding your trauma is making you stronger and it it helping you recover. Restore you faith in good way and keep fighting. Thank you again Feel free to check out our “Find Help” tab to see if there are resources near you that may help you work through these experiences. Or if things get too emotional Text “VOICE” to 741-741 to be connected with a trained crisis counselor.

  35. Amysue43 Volunteer

    Thank you for sharing with us. I’m sorry for what you’ve gone through and the frustration that it carries. You didn’t deserve any of this nor was it your false. The concept of how religion comes into play with instances like this can be very confusing and unfortunately there are a lot of people who have awful comments regarding such. One thing is for sure, you are stronger than all of it. You have decided to dig deeper into yourself and how you are feeling – even if it doesn’t feel like it. Just as you are posting this story, you are doing what you can despite of it all by facing your emotions and your questions (like the one you’ve brought up here in your post). You are strong!

  36. Jay Volunteer

    Hi NoMore,

    I am so sorry that your abuse and religion have gotten twisted together. Your abuser has hurt you and all you feel is pain and that is not right. You trying to understand where all of this trauma is coming from is a big step towards recovering. When acknowledging something has happened to you, you will feel pain but also relief. Continue to feel these feelings because at the end of the day, you’ll be progressing. It will be hard but not impossible and I feel like you are already to a great start. Keep the faith!

  37. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi NoMore,

    Thanks for posting. I’m sorry your religion was used against you. God didn’t do that to humble you. There’s really no explanation as to why abuse happens, besides that the abuser is plain evil. They have a sick, twisted mind. No excuses. You didn’t deserve anything that happened to you and I hope you realize that.

    Please let us know if we can do anything to help you. We’re here for you. We support you!
    Marissa

  38. Solongago Volunteer

    Hi NoMore,

    I am so sorry that you were further abused by Christians or the church, by the incredible things these folks sometimes say. Some predators thrive in churches because sometimes the things some churches teach make people more vulnerable to abuse. I think more often folks who have not been victimized and some folks who have been are trying to be helpful, but are just failing miserably.

    I am a Christian, and my faith means a lot to me. I have also sustained long-term child sexual abuse, living in a family where we were religious. I have also struggled as well with God’s roll in the sexual abuse of children, with the church in general’s response or lack of response to it, Christian authors that write self-help books, and Christian folks that try to be helpful but are not with their trite, blanket statements.

    Whether or not the abuse itself happened within the church, by a church member, employee or official, sexual abuse and sexual assault has a spiritual aspect to it that needs to be healed also. The secular attitude that we ignore the spiritual is also troublesome.

    I have struggled with the questions you ask, and I figure that some things I just won’t know until I have passed from my body. My current line of thought as to why God allows things to happen is that it is impossible to give humans a free will, and then to protect humans from the free will that others have. I also believe that God is mindful of every sparrow that falls, so He is mindful of every child that has been abused. I don’t think He just sits back and watches us struggle. I think He puts into our paths things/people that can help us. I think that He loves us. I think that we can find in Him what we often cannot find in other people. I also think when we are struggling through it, it is so hard to see how God is working for us. And it is easy for us (survivors) to perceive ourselves as unworthy to being loved by God, or as being abandoned by God.

    How you are feeling about these things is totally normal and valid. They are hard questions that take time to work through. I haven’t heard of Religious Trauma Syndrome, but I think you are right about having layers of trauma. The good news is that you are addressing these thoughts and feelings and from that point healing is possible. You don’t have to tackle all the layers at one time. I think you seem to be doing well in how you are recognizing and working through these questions.

  39. nessa1695 Volunteer

    Hey NoMore,
    Thank you for sharing something that is very triggering for you. It is normal for you to question where was god when you were being abused, if he loved you. Your sexual abuse was horrible and you did not deserve it, you’re allowed to feel your feelings. You introspecting and figuring out triggers and figuring ways to work through the your trauma with information about trauma just show how you have progressed through it. Having layers of trauma neatly intertwined isn’t all that you are there is much more than trauma.
    With love,
    Nessa

  40. yoceline_02 Volunteer

    Hi NoMore,

    It takes such a strong person to be able to identify their triggers, specially when it comes to religion. I’m so proud that you’ve come a long way in your journey and even more proud that you were able to look into Religious Trauma Syndrome, because that must not be easy. Religion is such a controversial topic, for some people do not know how to respond and tend to feel attacked. I wish your peers would’ve focused more on showing empathy to the actual message of the post rather than trying to defend their religion at all cost. But it is okay for you to feel this way towards religion. Whether you want to involve religion in your life or not, your feelings are always valid. Identifying this trigger is a huge step in healing, please don’t let people bring you down for this. Stay strong and keep fighting!

    Thanks for sharing all of this, once again you are so string for this! Take care.

    – Yoceline

  41. haesol Volunteer

    Hi NoMore,

    Thank you for sharing this. That is such an interesting input, “Religious Trauma Syndrome.” However, I’m sorry that you came across and related to it as a result of experiencing it yourself.

    I understand how those twisted and cynical comments from people that see religion in such an ignorant and unhealthy way sound. They can certainly shape the way one feels and deals with life. You really thought about this through, and that’s a really positive thing –finding out a trigger– even if reminiscing about it brings back bad memories.

    Those layers of trauma don’t define you. Like you said, finding out new things about the abuse helps you heal little by little; realizing that you have a trauma and working through it to heal is already a huge process. Healing isn’t the same for everyone, thus it doesn’t have a start-end date. You are doing things at your own pace and so far you’ve been doing amazingly well.

    We’re here for you to walk with you through that journey. Stay safe,

    -sol.

  42. rohina_kumar Volunteer

    Hey,

    Thank you so much for sharing your feelings! I understand why you feel so strongly towards the entire of concept of religion and I’m glad that you’re introspecting and reflecting on your past experiences to figure out as to why you feel that way. That is a huge sign of personal growth and maturity. Taking this step has contributed a lot towards your healing journey. I understand how frustrating it can be that your religion seems to justify the actions of many other abusers out there and I recognize that that is not fair to you at all, considering the persistent mental trauma it has caused you. I’m glad you even took out some time to research upon Religious Trauma Syndrome.

    I understand how you feel that you have layers and layers of trauma intertwined, but I want you to know that even though trauma is usually generalized amongst people, it affects each individual in different ways and there are multiple factors that come into play which combine to form the emotions you feel towards certain things. Finding this religious lens through which you’ve faced trauma is another sign of you figuring out how this trauma has been personalized to you, and you can accordingly figure out your own healing journey.

    You have come a long way and we’re all so very proud of where you’ve reached so far. Keep introspecting and fighting like the warrior you are. All the love.

  43. brookeallnutt Volunteer

    Hi NoMore,

    Thank you for sharing your feelings with us! I’m glad you were able to find a trigger, and I hope recognizing it will help you on your healing journey. We’re here for you if you ever want to talk.

  44. smarti14 Volunteer

    Hi NoMore,

    I completely understand your view points on religion and how sometimes it leaves us questioning the power God really has. I’m sorry that you went through what you did. I’m sorry that your family and friends don’t seem to understand what you are saying. Just know that your trauma does not define who you are. You have the right to believe in what you want. Don’t allow anyone to make you feel like you have to have certain belief’s. Stay strong!

    Warm Regards,
    Suzy M.

  45. jcas120 Volunteer

    Hey NoMore ,

    It’s great to have you back with us. I’m thankful you’re here!

    I’ve always thought you were very brave for sharing about everything in your lasts posts, and I saw another example of this today when you decided to explore why religion is a trigger for you. It does take bravery to explore triggers like that. I also grew up in the same environment and also felt left out there, I know what you’re going through and it’s tough! I never understood how some people had such positive experiences with religion while many others had such negative experiences. I know you are strong and will make it through these negative experiences, even if they are intertwined the way they are.

    Thank you for sharing with us today! I hope you are staying safe.

  46. Edjay Volunteer

    Hi NoMore,

    Thank you for sharing. It’s absolutely terrible that people are using religion as a way to excuse other people’s behavior, especially abuse. You are right that while it can be helpful to some, religion can be so damaging to children too. It’s good that you were able to recognize religion being a trigger for you, recognizing it is definitely an important step towards healing. Please don’t hesitate to reach out again if you’d like. Take care.

  47. Shari Volunteer

    Hi NoMore,

    Thank you for for sharing your experience with us. It’s good you were able to identify a trigger! That way, you are more aware of how you’re feeling and you’re able to plan a course of action. When family and religion get mixed in your trauma, it becomes more complicated. I want to start off by validating your experience. I don’t think God intended for you to get abused. It should have never happened and I’m so sorry you were sexually abused. You deserve to be protected and cherished. Your abuser should have been condemned for inflicting pain upon you, to hold him accountable. Religion is a touchy subject and a lot of people participating in religion don’t offer many answers, especially towards acts of abuse. I think religion can be healthy and unhealthy like you said as well, and there is a lot of stigma with religion and trauma. Some prefer to turn away to pretend sexual abuse is not happening, but it is affecting human lives especially in the long run. I never heard of Religious Trauma Syndrome before you mentioned it. It appears to share some dysfunctions alongside PTSD. Your trauma can stem from many sources, resulting in the layers. This is common too, considering some people have repeated experiences with trauma.

    I want to encourage you to keep pushing for healing and it’s great you mentioned that you heal little by little. Healing is not linear and it doesn’t have a set time limit. Do things at your own pace and remember to take care of yourself. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you can ground yourself by splashing cold water on your face! It appears you practiced some sort of mindfulness in the beginning, so I want to commend you for that. Give yourself credit for being so brave and confronting a solid source of your trauma, even if it can be painful. This is such a great step. Please continue to share your experiences here at AVFTI if need be. You matter and your experiences are valid.

    Sending love and support,
    Shari