The 4 Symptoms of Religious Harm

faith deconstruction healing religious harm Mar 15, 2023

The process of questioning (or leaving) a high demand religious environment is a really BIG deal. But because we were conditioned to see our struggles as:

  • Blessings from God
  • Tests of our faith
  • The Devil's still easy to overlook our suffering even after leaving the Church. We think, "Oh I must be doing something wrong to be feeling this!" but we want you to know how connected these experiences are with a faith transition. No, you aren't being dramatic (or are 'crazy'), you're not doing it wrong, nor are you alone for that matter. The 4 symptoms are exactly what we would expect you to be feeling: 

1: You feel like you're on an emotional rollercoaster.

One moment you feel deep grief for the structure, safety, and relationships you’ve lost; the next you are full of anger and rage and want to burn it all down. Then, just a few hours later, you might feel total freedom and hope like you’ve busted out of the smallest box imaginable and you can finally breathe. How normal to feel the wide range experience of emotions! And if you are looking for extra help navigating your way through some of these bigger feelings, we have some great questions to help you.

2: You feel 'naughty' for being so secretive.

If you grew up confessing your deepest sins to near strangers, it’s no wonder you feel guilty for having any sort of boundary now around sharing your faith transition with others. Boundaries were certainly NOT something that religious environments taught nor honored so it’s no wonder you feel very guilty for having them at all. But that isn't the last word! Here are some helpful tips on creating boundaries now.

3: You constantly feel exhausted.

This is tiring work. The house of cards you built your entire life around has fallen around you and no area of life has been untouched by grief, sadness, and anger. If you're feeling exhausted (emotionally and physically), you're doing it right. We have some great tips on taking care of yourself during a faith transition.

4: You feel totally uncertain of what you believe now.

Your perfect, systematic worldview just came crumbling down. You’re suspicious, as you should be, of anyone with trite answers because you are feeling all the nuance and complexity of life unlike you ever have before.  Maybe it’s okay to just be a human and not know what the eternal grand plan and meaning of all of life is. Maybe that’s what you’re letting go of now. And if you're looking for a ritual of release, you can find it here.

Recovering from religious harm is a long and layered process. Take a deep breath and give yourself permission to be where you are at. There’s no rushing this process. It’s like growing a baby inside you for 9 months; it simply takes time. We hope you feel heard and validated, because trust us, there are so many people like YOU. You’re not alone!


Stay connected with us!

Join the 4000 others signed up to get Happy Mail 2x/month in your inbox! We are trained to help you through your faith transition. You're not alone.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.