Religious trauma occurs in the context of religious beliefs, practices, or structures that continuously made you feel unsafe emotionally, physically, mentally, socially, or spiritually.
And, you had no way to make yourself safe. (www.religioustraumainstitute.com)
Additionally, there can be trauma associated with losing your religion, discovering that what you’ve been told about reality isn’t really true, and figuring out who you are and how to live without religion telling you who you are and how the world works.
Underlying all of that, there is the grief and loss that comes with the loss of a relationship with someone who you believed knew you intimately, loss of community, fractured relationships with family and friends, and possible job loss.
Living with religious trauma can feel devastating and confusing. You may be exhausted from living in fear of fear, or of sadness overtaking you. You might feel separated from your family and unsure how to interact with them during your deconstruction. Then there is the struggle to understand your own identity and values after letting go of what you were told was the Truth about yourself and your world. Self-doubt can be a constant companion. The people-pleasing you used to survive it all is becoming too heavy to continue. The perfectionism is leading to burnout.
If these things sound familiar, I want you to know that your pain is real. Your trauma is valid and legitimate, even if your family, your church, your friends, or your community tell you otherwise. I see you and hear you. It is real.
If you are recovering from a high-control religion in which you never had the chance to define your own life, I can help. Using an attachment-based approach (NARM), I help people resolve trauma, find and trust their inner strength and wisdom, discover their truest identity, and build the self-trust needed to live their lives out loud, with authenticity.