Religious Trauma Syndrome: Indoctrination and Existential Crises

So I’ve written a few times now about how badly fucked up I am by Religious Trauma Syndrome. For those of you interested, see my posts here and here.

To summarize those posts though: I was raised in a Fundamentalist Christian Cult, one so toxic that it has crippled me emotionally. I’ve gone into panic attacks because of triggers such as watching “The Little Mermaid” with my two year old chemo baby (I had cancer while pregnant) and relaxing (doing non-Christian meditating late at night without supervision and/or approval from a superior). *Mumbles feministically.*


So yeah, I’m an absolute treat to be around some days. The thing with this kind of PTSD is that you’re literally never sure where triggers may come from next. People raised under spiritually abusive conditions, who finally get a chance to deprogram and/or reprogram themselves, are RARELY ever equipped to deal with thoughts of doubt.

You see, when you’re raised from birth into a religion that AGGRESSIVELY claims to have ALL answers to the universe and all the things in it, you never really get to ask the deep questions.


These questions range from the question of whether there are ghosts and/or aliens, to the origins of the universe, to the afterlife, and perhaps most importantly: the nature of sin.


Because these people have all the answers, they hold the key to right and wrong and the consequences of both. So they get to not only give you all the rules, but also decide whether you’re going to hell or not (by the authority of “Bible,” obviously). So if someone gets GOOD and brainwashed, they have no equipment to handle the realities of life if they ever step away from their upbringing.


And we have an ENTIRE generation or more who are RIGHT NOW stepping away from their upbringing. The internet is inundated with think pieces trying to figure out why that is. The answer is really much simpler than they’ve ever given us credit for: we grew up. We found the internet. We found GOOD people who we were told didn’t exist (non-Christians). We were introduced to a broader thinking that we NEVER had access to, we were able to share beliefs and ideas with those outside the fold, and we found out the truth…or lack of it.


We’re all out here right now drowning in doubts. Doubts about ourselves, our beliefs, our families, our (usually former) churches. And for many of us, the moment those doubts creep in, we immediately go into panic mode.


Weird things can get triggery. Movies, books, stupid stuff on TV (I can’t watch Rick and Morty), and even deeper stuff for some of us who have been able to explore other religions: mandala circles and lotus flowers were triggery for me for a while. Synchronicities freak me the fuck out on bad days. Watching science documentaries, which is awful because I usually LOVE those when I’m having a good day.


Here are some thoughts that I’ve actually had over the last month or so:


“Am I going to hell for watching The Little Mermaid? Am I damning my daughter to hell (an ESPECIALLY brutal panic attack)?”

“Am I going to hell for exploring and *gasp* practicing *my GOD* learning from and *THE HORROR* even loving Wicca!?”

“What happens if I’m wrong about everything and my daughter goes to hell?” I literally wanna throw up right now at that thought…

“What happens if I’m not ‘living out my calling?’ Is the entire world going to hell? Will it explode or some shit?” Wish I was kidding about that one.


The current global political atmosphere is particularly fucked up for us. The people who taught us everything we knew about morality brought to us “President” Donald FUCKING Trump. And no, I will NOT apologize for taking this to the political place, because this shit is messed the FUCK up, ya’ll.


Wanna know why our asses aren’t warming your fucking pews anymore? Look at the clusterfuck in the White House. Look at the racist, sexist, homophobic, egotistical, lying, cheating, abusive ASSHAT that YOU GUYS put in office. Look at your UNWILLINGNESS to see the truth and act on it. Look at everything you taught us and then LOOK AT THAT MAN.


WE are not the ones who have let YOU down. Turn that shit around.


And now we are mocked and derided for being triggered by that trigger-happy fuckwad. Many of our families, if they hadn’t disowned us already, have done so because of these divides, and then we are shamed for supposedly creating the division.


Some of us see this almost prophetic situation playing out right before us, while simultaneously those who claimed to love us in the past point their fingers at US and blame US for this situation. Sometimes we LITERALLY ask ourselves, “Am I bringing about Armageddon?”


We were never taught to find truth for ourselves, whilst also being taught that relative truth is not a thing that exists, and that we’d go to hell if we questioned that teaching.


Then we spend late nights in absolute panic because we unironically worry about bringing about Armageddon, damning the whole world, our children, and ourselves. This is why we all MUST start talking about this. The worst thing I could possibly imagine feeling right now is alone. But I’m not alone. YOU are not alone, my friend.


If you don’t have someone in your life to talk to about any of this shit right now, message me. Browse the hashtags on Instagram, Twitter, ANYWHERE. We’re out here. We love you. We’re listening.


Blessed be, ya’ll.

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6 thoughts on “Religious Trauma Syndrome: Indoctrination and Existential Crises

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  1. My own experience many many years ago led me to the conclusion that no one could EVER be perfect enough, and nearly every professed Christian I ever met had more acceptable,forgivable and repeatable sins than the multitudes of unforgivable sins that apparently only I did.

    Liked by 2 people

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