Trauma from childhood experiences can have lasting effects throughout life. In fact, childhood trauma has been linked to all sorts of mental and physical problems later in life, including depression, alcohol and drug addiction, eating disorders, and PTSD. If you were raised in the Christian church, there’s a good chance that you experienced some form of trauma during your childhood or adolescence—especially if your family was involved in a cult-like group or if your parents were particularly controlling and abusive toward you while trying to raise you right in their version of Christianity.
1) Are you suffering from the psychological effects of being raised in Christianity?
If you are someone who is struggling with deep emotional scars that stem from being raised in a toxic religion, there are resources for you. Please know that it is not your fault, and there are many things you can do about it. Here’s how to start healing. The goal of this piece is to provide an entry point into improving your mental health if you have suffered trauma related to Christianity or other mainstream religions, along with some ideas on addressing any emotional distress that may have come from having these experiences. While I have focused on Christianity here because it has been my direct experience, most of these recommendations would be applicable to anyone who has gone through similar experiences in another belief system.
2) What are typical impacts of being raised in Christianity?
It can be hard to break away, even if you no longer identify as a Christian. As atheist blogger Greta Christina once said, when people talk about ‘drinking your own Kool-Aid,’ they’re talking about Christians. That’s what we do. We drink our own Kool-Aid! We don’t just follow our leaders and believe their ideas uncritically; we constantly validate them in every way possible, constantly reifying them and telling each other how great they are — or at least that we agree with whatever it is that they say they stand for. And that means that when you stop being one of them, when you stop drinking their Kool-Aid, it’s quite a culture shock.
3) Are you suffering because your friends are Christians?
Some of us are born into families that are more or less normal, but that changes when you go to school and all your friends start talking about Jesus. From there, their parents become an intimidating authority figure. And later on, they show you what happens when people stop being Christians. This is what happened to me. You might call it Christian trauma. Or maybe Christian brainwashing will make sense for you. Maybe it’s both. Whatever you call it, I know what it’s like because I grew up in a dysfunctional family with abusive parents who were Christians. Christianity spread through our home like a disease, wreaking havoc on my life—until eventually I stopped believing.
4) Are you struggling because your parents are Christians?
My parents were Christians, but they never told me about my ancestral religion until I was old enough to decide for myself. My mother used to teach Sunday school when I was a kid. She would go with us on family vacations when we visited relatives in Kansas and Oklahoma. When I went off to college, I started visiting with a Pagan group in Ames, Iowa—only a couple of hours away from home. But my parents didn’t know anything about it.
5) Are you struggling because other family members are Christian?
This website has been created by pagans for pagans. If you are trying to figure out how you can deal with having a parent, spouse, or other family member who is a Christian and how they try to tell you what your spiritual path should be and what it shouldn’t be, Coven Cloud is for you. It will help you figure out how we came to our beliefs, why we believe them today, and how we can embrace who we are, instead of drowning in shame because someone else tells us that who we are isn’t good enough. Coven Cloud will help you discover things about yourself, question if Christianity is right for you, and find pagan roots in your life that might have been hidden from you all along by Christian family members. Join the Coven today.
Written by Vehemence