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"...Dr. Marlene Winell is a human development consultant in the San Francisco Area. She is also the daughter of Pentecostal missionaries. This combination has given her work an unusual focus. For the past twenty years she has counseled men and women in recovery from various forms of fundamentalist religion including the Assemblies of God denomination in which she was raised. Winell is the author of  Leaving the Fold - A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving their Religion, written during her years of private practice in psychology. Over the years, Winell has provided assistance to clients whose religious experiences were even more damaging than mine. Some of them are people whose psychological symptoms weren’t just exacerbated by their religion, but actually caused by it.   

Two years ago, Winell made waves by formally labeling what she calls “Religious Trauma Syndrome” (RTS) and beginning to  write and speak on the subject for professional audiences. When the British Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Psychologists published a series of articles on the topic, members of a Christian counseling association  protested what they called excessive attention to a “relatively niche topic.” One  commenter said, “A religion, faith or book cannot be abuse but the people interpreting can make anything abusive...” 


http://www.alternet.org/belief/religious-trauma-syndrome-how-some-organized-religion-leads-mental-health-problems


What are your thoughts on this article?

by on Mar. 28, 2013 at 12:05 AM
Replies (11-20):
Carpy
by Ruby Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 5:53 AM
1 mom liked this

There is a difference between organized religion and cults,  I know plenty of religious people who do not fit this alternet crap article, and very few who belong to churches that are a bit off.  Most do not fit this BS narrative.  I would think you of all people, would know better than to use alternet as a source.

momtoscott
by Platinum Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 6:33 AM
3 moms liked this

I agree from my personal experience that this can be a damaging type of childhood, especially, but not only, for females.  I would think the point of naming a syndrome is not meant to degrade religion per se, but to identify clusters of symptoms and the most effective ways to treat them.   

Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 7:29 AM
4 moms liked this
Quoting Arroree:
Quoting toomanypoodles:

 Oh brother.  Some people need to get a life. 

Not all religion is bad but it's not all good either.

I'd argue that all theistic religions do harm, precisely because the poodle-like reaction "all religions are good" provides camouflage and passive endorsement for such abusers.

They are so busy avoiding critical examination of thier own religion, that they stand up against critical examination of religions in general.

idunno1234
by Silver Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 7:42 AM
3 moms liked this

 That's a real hoot coming from you.  You know what hypocrisy means??


Quoting toomanypoodles:

 Oh brother.  Some people need to get a life. 


 

mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 9:16 AM
1 mom liked this

I have a friend who suffers from this, we had a class together recently and she just could not stop talking about the trauma inflicted on her by her family and their church. The stories are horrific, and bless her heart she is working on healing.

mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 9:20 AM
1 mom liked this

 I agree it is horrible that some would use their religion to abuse others. This is awful in any religion that it happens in. Unfortunately, it happens more often than not in right wing fanatical versions of  religion. It also is present when parents claime their children will tow the line of whatever  their momma says, like a mom that claims she can control whether her adult daughter joins the military or not, that.


Quoting toomanypoodles:

 Oh brother.  Some people need to get a life. 


 

morriganna
by Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 12:41 PM


Quoting Carpy:

There is a difference between organized religion and cults,  I know plenty of religious people who do not fit this alternet crap article, and very few who belong to churches that are a bit off.  Most do not fit this BS narrative.  I would think you of all people, would know better than to use alternet as a source.

Is there some reason that I should doubt Alternet as a source?  Also, it's a pretty subjective piece based on the personal experiences of others.  I asked what people's opinions were on the subject (hoping that they would read the article first.)  Nobody has asserted that ALL religions cause psychological trauma.

furbabymum
by Gold Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 12:44 PM
1 mom liked this

 Well obviously it's how it's interpreted. Westboro certainly doesn't represent the majority of Christians. Terrorists don't represent the majority of Muslims and so on.

NWP
by guerrilla girl on Mar. 28, 2013 at 12:56 PM

I grew up in the Assembly of God church. My father is still a deacon there. It was a charismatic branch and not the fundis though....The fundis don't believe in cutting women hair, wearing pants or make-up or any jewelry, even wedding rings. This isn't the case for the Charismatics. Think Jim and Tammy Baker and Sarah Palin. The charismatics are acting more and more like the fundis lately though, but they still look a lot more coiffed. LOL.

I left the church because of full blown hypocricy among the leadership, but I am not scarred. 

Neon Washable Paint

morriganna
by Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 1:23 PM

I know that I was (and continue to be) negatively affected by my parents' religion.  On the surface members are very joyful, open, and nonjudgemental unless you are entrenched in it.  On top of the pressure I always felt to be more involved (simply attending and quietly doing what you were told was not enough) I was also abused starting at baptism age when the children "choose" to become members because I never bore false testimony.  My thoughts were not even allowed to be my own.  I was also refused many opportunities because I was the "problem" child - not just things that my parents provided for my siblings and not me, I'm talking opportunities for enrichment, employment, etc that I earned on my own and was denied because they didn't feel I deserved it.  Children that play pretend are given all, and their transgressions and foibles (even repetitive ones) are erased, while children that try to casually distance themselves from the church are the black sheep no matter how well they live their lives.  The unfavored (in my family and many others, not all) are set up for failure in order to ensure that the self fulfilling prophesy that those who stray from the church will be miserable is not disproven.  If you do manage a successful, fulfilling life in spite of that, you will still be held at arm's length by your family.  Most do not outright disown their children, but we are taught that family is everything and are treated to an extent as outsiders by our own relatives.  My own siblings learned early that if they were too close to me then their lives would be very unpleasant. 

When I doubt my experiences, I remind myself about the levels of the afterlife.  Guess who gets the worst one?  Not murderers and child molesters - they get the second worst.  True outer darkness is reserved for those who "know the truth"  (ie, raised in the church) but turn from it and speak ill of it, turning others away from it.  This standard is very low, ANYTHING not church approved at that time (which changes) or vaguely unflattering is considered slanderous and sinful.  So just to sum that up, if you share your doubts, bad experiences, or negative feelings then you go to a hell WORSE than the one for child rapists.

This is not even considered a cult by most, though the church and active members insist that you should never get information from anybody but active members because anybody that chose to leave will have nothing worthwhile to say.  Oh yeah, and if you're less than psyched about being fully entrenched in this religion, it's because you want to go whore it up guilt free.  The fact that many of their claims are ludicrous will not be acknowledged.  Nobody leaves for any reason other than nasty, promiscous, possibly gay fornication.

So yes, I do believe this is a condition that exists.  I have had my experiences denied my entire life.  Some of my siblings agree and feel the same, while others (the youngest sister that doesn't remember most of the extreme abuse inflicted on me and had much more laid back parenting) believe that it was a benign experience.  Though she stopped attending the second she left for college, my youngest sister does not want to be present for any "bashing" and still believes that our church is discriminated against in the media (which it's not) even though she has experienced aggressive bullying from my mother the first few years when she visited.  My youngest brother has embraced it with open arms, but why wouldn't he?  It's a very male oriented religion.  He is the only one though out of six. 

I know this is all over the place, but if you're affected by it it's engrossing and there is no escape for a child.  I am thankful that I attended public schools so there was some outside influence allowed, maybe not always positive but it takes all kinds.  Anything from outside my bubble helped me to grow and gain perspective.

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