We recognize we have been hurt, disappointed, or abused by religion or the religious.
Instruction: Recognize the damage.
Two years into teaching and writing about Religious Recovery, I went through a religious experience that left me feeling hurt and empty. I couldn’t explain what was going on or why, but something had taken my peace, confidence, and happiness. It wasn’t until a certain set of circumstances changed and I found myself removed from the religious experience that I recognized I had been experiencing a subtle form of abuse. I recognized the abuse in hindsight.
After my circumstances changed, I felt more peaceful, happy, and confident. It dawned on me that an individual I had associated with was planting the seeds of doubt, unrest, discouragement, and even failure. I learned from that experience to look for the symptoms of religious abuse, and they can appear in different forms. When we are led to believe we are bad, disgraceful, shameful, less than adequate, or unlovable, we can rest assured there is a good chance that religious abuse could be the cause.
Today’s Assignment is to try to recognize the damage. Are you feeling shame, guilt, depression, despair, worthlessness, incapable of giving or receiving love, unable to forgive, or unworthy of forgiveness? Do you find ways to punish yourself and to self-destruct? Connecting these feelings to your mental, physical, and spiritual health is not a stretch of the imagination. How has religious abuse held you back from being the happy, peaceful, balanced individual that you are capable of being — the person you were meant to be?
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Our purpose is to help individuals to heal who have been injured by religion or the religious. We welcome your comments and questions.