stepping away from church for a more spiritual path--and resultant trauma

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Sarah
@sarah
3 years ago
386 posts

So, I've been going though a major spiritual awakening for just over a year now. I don't fully understand it, but one thing I do know is that back in June when I knew it was time to step away from my church, I've been having PTSD reactions to it all.

I've been away for six months now. At first I felt wonderful and free, but I also had trauma symptoms like constant nightmares, aversion and avoiding behaviors, like feeling sick when I drove by my church building, which is only a couple of blocks from my house. Those symptoms are starting to subside now. I have even had a couple of not-nightmares, and have seen my bishop and didn't have that panic traumatic reaction.

Well, I have been posting about some of the less personal parts on Facebook because some of my loved ones are going through the same thing, and I want to help them by being honest about what I feel is appropriate to share. Really, though 99.9% of it has stated private and in my heart. It has pretty much been the biggest life changing spiritual experience of my life, but almost all of it is too private to share.

Today I shared an article on Facebook that I found that somewhat relates to my journey. I always get stress at being open about that kind of thing, but I figured it was safe enough and would be of help to those who are struggling like me. Not ten minutes later, a Facebook friend from my congregation made a passive aggressive post about how all these people who are stepping away are being deceived and if they say they are having nightmares and all that, shouldn't that mean they should realize it's a message that they are stepping away from God and being bad. She pretty much took the article I posted beat by beat, took it out of context and judge people going though it and said she has no desire to judge people, she's just saying.

Then came the choice I have to face sometimes, whether to get in there and set them straight for the benefit of anyone who might be reading their posts and struggling as well, or decide it's casting pearls before swine and pretend I didn't see it. Most of the time, I do the later. This time, I went in and wrote that I am going though this right now (duh, it was me she was talking about) and here are a list of things that are helpful to do for someone going through that like trusting them. They may not have asked for this road, or even understand why this is happening, but they got it and it is, and the best thing you can do is to give them space and tell them you trust them. And things that aren't helpful, like bearing your testimony that if you step away from the church , you are stepping away from God and it is the only path to truth because it puts them in a psychological double bind situation that can increase the trauma responses.

Now I'm feeling a bit discouraged because I'm having a trauma reaction to her post and my feeling the need to respond to it. I thought I was past that. I guess it just shows me how I need more time away from my church and I am nowhere near ready to go back (if that is the best choice for me at all). I'm starting to think it just isn't.

I guess I just wanted to say this out loud and be heard. Thank you.


updated by @sarah: 03/19/17 11:38:59PM
Sarah
@sarah
3 years ago
386 posts

Oh, I'm so sorry for your friend! I'm glad he found a better church community for him. I agree with you on all of this. Thanks for the comment!

Sarah
@sarah
3 years ago
386 posts

Now the girl is asking on Facebook if I'm sure I'm not being tricked by Satan and one of my friends from my congregation liked it. This shouldn't sting anymore. This is weird stuff that I know is irrational and abusive and I don't have to take any of it, but it just makes me feel all gross inside and creeped out. I can't wait until I'm healthy enough not to have feeling reactions to this. I'm for sure out of that conversation. They can't hear me.

Sarah
@sarah
3 years ago
386 posts

I feel so bad for your friend, and I'm so glad he's moving away! I hope he finds a great place where he will be loved for who his is. Poor guy.

Sarah
@sarah
3 years ago
386 posts

Poor guy! I don't know why religions seem to be ganging up on people of the LGBTQ community in the past 20 or so years. I think God has a plan for everyone and I don't think that plan includes getting bullied by the institution that claims to be connected to God, or living a life of loneliness or celibacy or dishonesty. I think God made us each ourselves and we are living up to our full potential when we fully embrace ourselves and live honestly and openly. To me it seems more christlike to love and not judge and to embrace people as they are, than to try and force them or bully them into a certain lifestyle that might be painful for them.

Sarah
@sarah
3 years ago
386 posts

I couldn't agree more with all of this!

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