You are not alone

Sent in by Debra T

I found this website through Marlene Winell, the author of Leaving the Fold: A guide for Former Fundamentalists and others leaving a religion. I was a fundamentalist for about 25 years and have been in recovery from it for about 12 years. A year ago I graduated with my masters degree and my thesis was titled: Writing and Healing: A Personal Journey of Religious Addiction and Spiritual Abuse Recovery. Healing from all the woundings and mind games put upon me for 25 years has not been easy and just when I think things are going great, another layer of stuff reveals itself. I experienced spiritual abuse and stayed in the religion as long as i did because of the fear of going to hell. Three things the church does to manipulate people is the use of guilt, fear and shame.

I discovered Marlene Winell and her healing work through my thesis research and got in touch with her. I've been to three of her retreats now and it has really helped, first of all to know that I didn't have to spend the first ten years in religious recovery alone, which I did, and second of all, I've learned a lot about the manipulations and just how deeply they've affected me. I have PTSD from the apocalyptic end-times indoctrinations.

I am grateful to have found this website and like this website, Marlene Winell 's retreats provide a safe, nurturing environment for healing work. Her Release and Reclaim series of workshops took me through the basic steps to self-understanding in relation to imposed belief systems and abuses, and provided practical tools for personal healing and growth.I recommend her workshops to anyone who may be feeling alone in their struggle to sort out the religious abuses and indoctrinations of their life experiences. YI am glad to have finally found a great community of support for my struggle to heal the wounds of the dogma that bit me. Remember, you are not alone!

-- Debra T., M.A.
certified applied poetry facilitator


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10 comments:

Dan in PA said...

Hi Debra,
I enjoyed your story. Perhaps you could help other ex-christians by participating in the forums here.
Thanks,
Dan

Anonymous said...

Welcome,..hope you'll stick around. I still remember the abuse I suffered and inflicted on others during my 20 years of being a fundie,but it's getting better everyday.


Peace,...freedy

Anonymous said...

Ye, it sounds like you were traumatized deeply, Debra. I am just wondering if you are planning on joining this community or you are here to advertise Marlene Winell, whom I know is great.

Sorry, it's just that your story reads like an infomercial.

Nvrgoingbk said...

Christians just can't seem to understand or refuse to believe how deep religious abuse runs. I too, have PTS from years of trying to win God's love only to know in the end that I would fry in Hell. I took the scripture that reads "Work out your own salvation with FEAR and TREMBLING" literally.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Debra.

I guess you could say I was lucky that I don't suffer from any side effects due to my time as a cretin. Once I learned the truth the fantasy world was over and I have enjoyed my freedom immensely. I will admit that the more time goes by, the more happy I become that I escaped the madness. Welcome aboard. Jim Earl

Deb said...

Lorena,
No infomercial intended. I had just attended one of her retreats a week ago and it was fresh in my mind. And she is the reason I found this site in the first place. I do plan on joining this community but part of my ex-fundy mentality is caution with anything I get involved in. Thanks to all of you for making me feel welcome and I look forward to good discussions and being able to support you as well as be supported in this process of healingand sorting things out. I've never been part of a forum or anything so I am not sure where to go from here but I know I'll get it figured out.
Walk in beauty.

Anonymous said...

Hi Deb,

Good to hear you plan to stick around. As far as what to do from here, I guess you just step in and write your opinion on whatever whenever you feel like it.

As for the emotional damage, I guess it varies from person to person. The damage I suffered is great. I like that you talk about fear, because whether I want to admit it or not, fear is my most obvious symptom. Always that fear of being watched, scrutinized, or of not doing the right thing.

For me the recovery is coming rea...lly slowly. Gush, sometimes I feel stagnant, but when I look back, I can always observe some progress.

Welcome, Deb!

Anonymous said...

Hi Deb,

I'm sorry you had to suffer in isolation. After my loss of faith and ensuing confusion and depression I at least had my brother... until, 20 yrs or so later, I found this site. It has been a source of insight and comfort-- I can't describe how wonderful it is to read a post and find your exact experience in it. Our pain and suffering is real and not demonic, and the mind-messing religion inflicts is the real demon. Welcome to a healthy community of people committed to healing.
-Barb

Epicurienne said...

Welcome, Debra. Take as much time as you need....everybody progresses at their own pace.

Lee said...

Welcome, Debra!

I hope the healing process will eventually completely free you from, what must be, a tortuous for you. Many of us have been there. Many of us have had various levels of indoctrination. Many have suffered the stress of "coming out" as a non-believer to family, friends and colleagues.

In addition to your retreats and, hopefully, therapy, you now know that there is yet one more place you can go to find you are NOT alone, indeed!

I'm happy to see that education became a help for you, as well. If I can offer one piece of help to your healing process, I would encourage you to READ AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE about the effects of religion around the world...the U.S., in particular.

Today, we have authors like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins on the Best Sellers' List...there is more talk than ever in the ranks of atheists and anti-theists alike and people are responding...that's a GOOD thing...we will, probably, have a LONG haul to eliminate the grip of the power-hungry in this world; those who use religion for their own gains, hiding behind the skirt of "mass salvation." But, we're talking about it more, these days, and we're arming ourself appropriately to face the double-speak that tries to put us back in the proverbial closet.

Keep moving forward, Debra. The light you see at the end of the tunnel isn't god welcoming you to heaven...it's your salvation through the realization of all you can be, based on your own merit.

Lee

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