Religious Trauma and Abusive Romantic Patterns


By B ~

There are innumerable and unforeseen ways in which growing up in the fundamentalist evangelical fold shaped who I am; for the most part I am horrified by the impact. I did not resist a lick of it, being a natural people-pleaser (is that natural? Or is that also part of the programming?). I was a ten-year-old prodigy preacher, considered by elders of my church and leaders of my close-minded Christian school to be “Lady Wisdom”, a manifestation of God’s efforts to guide his flock. I was good at it! I believed it in every crevice of my heart and mind. I vividly remember sobbing in my room at home, listening to worship music and begging God to deconstruct my life, take my world to pieces, and make me His disciple. I was maybe eleven.

That is the start of the story. I am 34 now and I am here to find out if anyone has experienced anything like what I am currently experiencing. My Dad became a pastor when I was a kid, and I dutifully leapt into his mania. His Father (I generally refuse to refer to him as my ‘grandfather’) was psychologically abusive and an alcoholic. My Dad wanted to end that cycle and, bravely, never had any booze when I was growing up. But like so many other unhealed adult children of alcoholics, his style of relating to me never healed. Despite his abstaining from alcohol, my experience with my Dad was much like his experience with his Father. Whereas my Dad, as a child, never knew if his Father would come home drunk or sober, I never knew if mine would come home full of joy or the wrath of God. My developing brain marinated in unpredictability and psychological stress. I found myself compulsively trying to do things to keep him happy, to prevent his instability from tipping one way or another- a futile endeavor, as anyone with an all-black-or-white parent can tell you.

The way this has most recently, and distressingly, manifested in my life is three years spent with a malignant narcissist who I barely managed to escape. As I attempt to tend my mental and emotional wounds, I recognize that this type of oppressive, manipulative, unpredictable personality was welcome in my life because of my experience with my zealously religious Father, and the male-to-female modeling of my evangelical upbringing. I was a prime candidate for “love bombing”- a concept with which you may not be familiar, if you are unfamiliar with the tactics of malignant narcissists - because I was raised to define myself in relation to a man. I recall my Dad, during family devotions, drawing a large umbrella that read “God”, and under it a smaller umbrella that read “Dad”, and under that a smaller umbrella that read “Mom”, under which were the umbrellas representing me
and my sisters.

I was raised to define myself in relation to a man.My Mom became the primary bread winner, raiser of the children, and side-job holder when my Dad went to school to be a pastor, but, despite her strength, she was an all-around-martyr for his religious inclinations. She flushed herself into his obsessions. And here, despite me managing a remarkable career, taking care of myself (especially now that I have cut off the narcissist in my life), and having a very strong group of intelligent and supportive friends, I find myself vulnerable to ideas that I am just not whole until I find someone to complete my family. Like a yin without a yang. And I am scared that I am going to find my way into another abusive relationship if I don’t make sense of how to change this.

That is a long road to asking this: is anyone else making every effort to live an independent, healthy life, but finding themselves vulnerable to repeating destructive, familiar relationship patterns related to their religious trauma? How can I make sure I don’t waste any more time with predatory personality types just because the emotional patterns of submission and unpredictability are familiar?

I hope I am not alone in this.


Agnosticator,5,Al Wm Johnson,3,Alegria,3,Alen Basic,1,American Apostate,3,Andrew Jasko,3,Anne R Keye,6,AnonAgno94,4,Apetivist,2,Apostate Paul,3,Articles,707,Aspieguy,12,Astreja,9,atheistnurse,10,AtheistToothFairy,1,austinrohm,3,Avangelism Project,2,Barrett Evans,2,Ben Love,69,billybee,2,BlackFreethought,12,Bob Keye,3,Bob R,4,boomSlang,1,Bore Venal Charlatan,2,Brad N,1,Brian Kellogg,8,Brisancian,3,Bruce Gerencser,1,Bruno Corey,1,C. T. Ogden,4,Carl S,377,Carol Putnam,2,Carolyn Hyppolite,10,Cecelia,4,Cheryl Ensom Dack,6,Chris Highland,2,Chris W.,1,Christian Agnostic,2,Christmas,31,ChuckyJesus,1,ConversationsWithA,1,Daniel out of the Lion's Den,15,Daniel Payne,1,Dano,17,darklady,7,Dave8,1,DealDoctor,24,Dethblight,6,dharma,4,Discordia,5,Doubting Thomas,2,Dr. Marlene Winell,24,Dr. Valerie Tarico,150,DRC,2,dswrites,2,Easter,28,EChamberlainMD,6,Ed (Teapot),2,Edward T. Babinski,1,Eric Jeffries,2,eveningmeadows,11,Evid3nc3,3,ex-Pastor Dan,19,exfundy,2,exPenty,8,Faithfool,2,Fernando Alcántar,6,freddieb42,2,freeatlast,6,G.M. Gates,2,Gary T. McDonald,2,God-O-Rama,6,Godlessgrrl,5,Greenworld,4,hellboundsoul,3,Herb,3,Houndies,3,illu minati,2,Incongruous Circumspection,11,J.W.,2,JadedAtheist,2,Jake Rhodes,3,James A. Haught,3,James C,2,James Wilhelm,9,Jazzybelle,3,Jennifer,3,Jody,3,John Draper,26,John Loftus,2,John Shores,26,Kalos,3,Karen Garst,31,Kim Anne Whittemore,1,Klym,24,Larry C,5,Larry Spencer,3,Letters,149,Libby Anne,3,Log1cd1ctat3s,2,Luke,1,lungfish,1,Michael Runyan,36,Michael Sherlock,5,Mriana,17,MtlRedAtheist,1,Neal Stone,20,News,185,Nikki,1,NYdiva,2,ooglyman,2,Opinion,980,Patrice,2,Paul Hannah,1,Paul So,26,Philippe Orlando,3,Philonous,1,Politics,59,Positivist,5,psychman33,5,Rational Logic,3,Rational Okie,2,Renoliz,10,Rev Ex-Evangelist,7,RickO,3,Robert Conner,8,Ronna Russell,12,Rudy,4,Russ Hamel,2,Science,30,SeageVT,3,Shaolin,4,Simplex Munditiis,3,Son of a preacher,5,Steve Dustcircle,4,Stillunsure,4,Summerbreeze,25,Susan G. Bonella,3,Tania,22,tekHedd,2,Testimonials,1003,Thanksgiving,4,The STeWpId MoNkEy,4,TheThinkingAtheist,5,Thin-ice,4,ThinkTank,5,Tim Sledge,4,Tim Wolf,1,TinMan,1,True Anathema,4,TruthSurge,1,Ubi Dubium,4,undercover agnostic,25,unoder,7,Vadarama,2,Victor J Webster,2,Videos,102,Vyckie,10,Webmdave,9,WidePathGirl,2,WizenedSage,137,xrayman,2,xxkindofboredxx,2,Yak,9,
ExChristian.Net: Religious Trauma and Abusive Romantic Patterns
Religious Trauma and Abusive Romantic Patterns
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Read more Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy