Storytime:  Religion, CPTSD, and Me

I have many friends (and follow many here) who are Christians by choice. Choosing religion is one thing. Being forced to live out and participate in it (at any age) is not high on my “I’m OK with this” list. I am not sharing this post to start a battle for or against religion. I’m sharing it to express my experience and my opinion. Key words, those words are. 

I know that more than 75% of the people that read this will either be offended, angered, or just plain disgusted by it. I can’t say that I am sorry for that, even though I do not mean any disrespect. All I can say is that this is just part of my story and I’ve been encouraged to openly express it as part of my recovery. I am not ashamed of it, and am no longer intimidated by hate or harsh opinion against me at this point in my life, so don’t waste your breath (errr, energy typing) with those comments. I am undeterred from being me, and believing as I choose to believe, and will so remain. 

Personally, I think that spirituality is fabulous. Even atheists can have some sort of spirituality and morality about them. Most, in fact, do. Religion is what I have a problem with. 

From my perspective, religion is damaging, fear mongering, rule based and man made (man being the operative word there). It is (the kind I grew up forced into and coerced by) a practice that hates women, belittles anything that doesn’t offer power, fame and loyalty to men, and takes advantage of – even steals from – the less fortunate and the free thinking. It steals time, belief in self and self-love – things far more important than money (which it also steals). 

That’s my opinion and I’m entitled to it, if for no other reason than at least for my experience with how religion destroyed me before I had a chance to even know who I was, against my will. We’re ALL entitled to our opinions, and I can respect yours. This is an excerpt from my story. Please respect mine. 

Storytime: this is hard (trigger warning), and I don’t think I’ve shared this so openly before, but I want to express to you a story behind my belief in the dangers of religion – you know, the one that led to my cptsd diagnosis as an adult – and my choice of antitheism. In the spirit of recovery, here is an example of the disturbed, perverse humor I found myself expressing as a young teenager. At church. 😂

I grew up in a culture where church was not a choice. It was a requirement, and religion was counted as one of the basic needs, like air and water. I rebelled against it from a very early age – like, 4. I used to throw fits when my mother would dress me in those ridiculous, frilly dresses and lacy socks, and she’d always say, “the devil won’t keep us out of church by manifesting in you!” Things like that can really f*** with your tiny child brain/developing emotional self. 

At around 13 I started youth group – a begrudging experience I was forced into in order to “raise me up right.” That particular group had a sort of open mic night and a year later, as I had gotten my first guitar with my summer savings (a horrid, rough sounding pawn shop acoustic pos), decided to participate. I was just beginning to teach myself, and as the requirement was something Jesus based, I taught myself the basic chords of this song and prepared to wow my (also rebellious and traumatized) teenaged audience.​​​

For obvious reasons, I was cut off and removed from the room for a good old talking to by the time I hit the second verse, but I will forever be grateful to Nirvana and Kurt for introducing me to the awesomeness of musical rebellion. 

For the record, I was kicked out of that youth group and my father dealt with me harshly. As I recall, there was a leather strap, a beating, a removal of all things secular music from my room, and fire involved. But the kids loved it and for weeks I was a hero in the rebellious youth group jr high circle. 

Good times. “Don’t expect me to cry, don’t expect me to lie….” Religion destroys. 

**Nirvana – Jesus Don’t Want Me For a Sunbeam (Vaselines cover)

3 thoughts on “Storytime:  Religion, CPTSD, and Me

  1. Your experience shapes your belief…. and yours was a rather bitter one… but should the blame really fall on the religion or on the so-called custodians of religion who “orthodoxically” follow it, who choose to turn a blind eye to the actual values professed by every religion and give more importance to the literal meaning of the words written in holy books and various rites and rituals, which may have had significance long ago, but are no longer meaningful!!

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  2. Christy, I love reading your blogs. And I really resonated with this one. Like you, I grew up submerged into a fundamentalist version of Christianity with a dad that was a pastor, and in my low self-esteem and need to please others (mainly my dad), I followed in his footsteps, which I talk about in the site linked by my name here. For fifteen years I was a youth minister, a music minister, and even a lead pastor. But during that time, I was undergoing a deep deconversion that I couldn’t talk to ANYONE about. No matter how much I tried to fight it, I couldn’t deny that there was so much that didn’t make sense, and the more I learned about history, about how the Bible was written, and studied other faiths and religions, the less I bought into any of it.

    FINALLY, I was able to break free from it though it came at a great price, and I am still picking up the pieces from it. But it feels so good to not be having to fake that I know answers to things that no human being can possibly know.

    Thanks again for a great post, friend. It’s been a while.

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