Healing Toxic Faith
How a Trauma Psychotherapist Can Help
Beliefs and faith can have incredibly powerful effects on us that can greatly shape how we live our lives. For many it is a source of strength to get through dark times. But what happens when a person has a very negative belief or uses religion as a weapon to control others? Like any source of power, it can be misused. Oftentimes the abuser is someone in a position of power over others, this can be toxic parent, brother or sister, a priest or minister, teacher, or partner.
Do any of these sound familiar?
- Feeling overly controlled in what you watch, read, or even talk about.
- Not being allowed to critically think or question what you’ve been told. Being told it was your fault for someone else’s bad behavior.
- Using a religious scripture to justify abuse even if it’s not physical. Having someone else demand you or your child be raised in a way you may not even agree with.
- Feeling immense shame over intimate relationships.
- Being told who you may or may not associate with.
- Not being allowed to have any sense of privacy.
- Just the perceived threat of harsh physical abuse even if it’s just a raised voice or argument, leaves you feeling terrorized or frozen. So much so standing up for yourself is extremely difficult even with people that are friends, coworkers, or random people, and you feel compelled to be nice to others at all costs.
- You’re told not to read certain books, watch certain movies, meditate, do yoga, or even play video games because they are “of the Devil.”
- You find yourself being a go-to target for bullies and abusive people all too often.
All of these experiences can leave scars to our emotional well-being even if they occurred years or decades ago. You may feel like you must please everyone, or have trouble saying no to people, even if they are a trusted friend. For some, if the damage happened at a young age when they grow up, they seem to find themselves getting pulled into one bad relationship after another and wonder why they keep making the same mistake. There can be explosive bouts of anger, or anger can feel incredibly dangerous to express and you become overly passive in every way. Sometimes depression or even PTSD can develop.
I will work with you to learn to empower yourself to set boundaries and protect your own sense of well-being. Sometimes we need to find and grow our inner warrior spirit and not feel tremendous guilt when we stand up for ourselves. This isn’t easy to do when you’ve been exposed toxic faith. Finding peace and feeling empowered are wonderful and are worth protecting from those who would take it from you easily. This does not have to be about renouncing your spiritual path or religion if you don’t want to. It’s about evolving it. How would it be for you to be able to find peace and more joy and have not it easily stolen, but to have it last?