“Hangman we played double dutch with a hand grenade
This is the nature of the beast. Spiritual abuse leaves a visible mark on the psyche, on the soul, and it is damned near impossible to explain this to someone who is unable or unwilling to hear it. Three years ago, Mica posted about the aftermath of spiritual abuse and post-cult trauma. Less than two years ago, I read her words and finally realized that Yes, Teen Mania Is A Cult.
|In 2005, around the height of alumni Xanga usage, I began a blog ring called “No, Teen Mania is Not a Cult.”|
Sometimes (read most days), I look at all the work ahead of me for the day and I cry. No, I literally cry. I get so overwhelmed with the fact that there are nowhere near enough hours in the day to go to work, nurture relationships, get my basic chores done, get my blogs written, work on my book, exercise, do what I want to do, and eat or sleep. It’s impossible and I think to myself that something has got to give because a life lived in frustration really is not living. Or maybe not worth living? I never make up my mind, but I think about it for a few hours and stress myself out some more. Or attempt to ignore the deadlines hanging above my shoulders and pretend that I think everything is fine.
The truth about my healing is that I spent my 20s with my brain steeped in religious, abusive Teen Mania jargon. To the point where I was unable to sail my own ship. I allowed guilt, obligation and fear dictate my life until I was so far away from myself that I didn’t know how I would make a return. The good news is that I did return. But I know… I had to sort of pick up where I left off. In my own way I had to make up for lost time.
I touched upon this in my Filmspiration post. Regularly now, I test the boundaries of my freedom in pursuit of joy. What I didn’t add was that I’m a full decade (at least) behind most of my peers. Emotionally, mentally, financially, perhaps even spiritually… I am very childish. “Child-like heart” has come up several times in my friendships and relationships–and not always in a positive way. But frankly at this point I’m resigned to this idea that I need to be a child for at least a little longer. Though I suspect I may always live with one foot in the clouds of Never Never Land.
At this point, I believe this is a natural response. When I was 18 I had very adult responsibilities for a ministry that was saving the world. Minus the paycheck and affirmation of a job well-done. I was gritting my teeth to get through the physical challenges and pain.. not to mention the terror of Gauntlet and various other retreats. In beating my body and making it my slave, I learned to disassociate my mind from my body so effectively that I am still struggling to quit living inside my head. My personal soundtrack–though immensely improved since beginning therapy–still upon occasion plays from Dave or Ron’s Greatest Hits: “You can sleep when you’re dead. Embrace adversity. God hates liars and those who break their commitments. This is okay sexually when you’re married and this is NEVER okay even when you are married…” And I still have nightmares where I’m being confronted for doing something wrong but no one believes me that I didn’t do it. Or I get hit with “fight or flight” terrors when I go to church or have to speak to new people. I had flashbacks to the internship and panic attacks when I read The Hunger Games trilogy.
If you’re up to sharing with the group, let’s discuss some of the triggers or symptoms of spiritual abuse that have gotten in the way of simply enjoying your life.