Effects of Religious Harm

religious harm religious programming religious trauma Oct 08, 2022

It might seem like the hardest part about faith deconstruction or even a faith transition is getting the courage to question and leave. However, it can take a person by surprise when, years after having left, they begin to realize the lasting effects that high demand religion can still have on them. The following are the 10 devastating effects (though not limited to) that we have seen personally in our own lives, as well in the lives of our clients, due to religious harm:

1. Feeling completely disconnected from yourself: High demand religion taught you to disconnect from yourself in order to be reliant upon outside sources for answers (like the Bible, God, pastors, elders, prophets, etc). It was designed just for that. So now, it's no surprise that you have no idea how to connect within. This cycle can explain how it began. 

2: Thinking you're responsible for everyone/everything: When you are told that you are responsible for saving the lost, calling out the sin in your brothers and sisters, and to become perfect like Jesus, it's easy to think that you are responsible for it all. Read more here.

3. Having a long list of unspoken rules: Rules were instilled in you in religion to keep you safe: ways to behave, correct things to think about, and approved ways to be in relationships, etc. Now you still have that long list, it's just gone underground that you're still operating from.

4. Having unclear boundaries: It's not uncommon to think that healthy boundaries seem like they are selfish and mean. It is, after all, how you were trained to see it as. You were taught to confess your sins to strangers, to be held accountable, and to find community through uniformity not necessarily diversity. So learning how to function as an autonomous adult will now feel like a betrayal

5. Sexual dysfunction: Being raised in purity culture has a way of really ruining the connection one can have with their sexual self. It is VERY common for women to report issues revolving around sexuality and function. 

6. Still believing that you are broken: Even though you have left this notion that you are a sinner, in need of a savior, we can bet that you still feel a sense of brokenness and are still looking for the magic pill to finally "fix" you. 

7. Not knowing who I am now: You were taught that your needs, desires, and will were selfish and nothing in comparison to what God wanted for your life. This got you outside of yourself to trust that you can listen within and get to know that person.

8. Constantly monitoring the behaviors of others and yourself: As the religious good girl, you learned how to constantly monitor yours and others behaviors as a means to stay within the rules, and to know who was on your team. Now, you're still doing the same, it just comes out in new areas of your life like on social media, politics, etc.

9. Mistrusting of your body: Spending years being told that your body was this "sin machine" that needed to be tamed and beat into submission causes deep damage now between yourself. Instead of seeing the deep wisdom your body has to offer, you are still hating and fighting it.

10. Constantly fearing that you're doing something 'wrong': You still can't shake this notion that you are thinking, believing, living out your life incorrectly and are looking for the rules to guide you on how to live "correctly" still.

THIS VIDEO WAS MADE JUST FOR YOU. We hope it speaks to you.


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