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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 (21-30):
morriganna
by Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 1:29 PM


Quoting furbabymum:

 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.

I wholeheartedly agree.  Jesus wasn't about most of the things people carry out in his name, the golden rule was the foremost law to follow. 

Annettey19
by Bronze Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 2:19 PM
1 mom liked this

I think it's incredibly real. There are quite a few blogs out there about the effects of harmful religious groups and beliefs.

mehamil1
by Platinum Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 2:26 PM
1 mom liked this

It took me years to work out the nonsense that was drummed into me by the Catholic church. 

ACDC_fan
by Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 2:28 PM
1 mom liked this

I have deep, deep, DEEP resentment for organized religion due to personal experiences (with more than one religion, by the way).
Trauma? Pretty much. 

mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 2:36 PM

 

OMG hugs hugs hugs - you are strong person for coming through this and being able to speak about it. You have clearly illustrated one of my main reasons why I don't think homeschooling is ok, often times the only outlet these kids have is public school. - not saying all homeschooling are like this but many of these fundamentalists home school their children to keep them away from other influences. so sad.

Quoting morriganna:

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.


 

tscritch
by Silver Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 2:43 PM

 My trauma at a young age wasn't anywhere close to what others have experienced. It was rather benign in comparison. That being said, it was extremely traumatic for me at a young age. I was brought up Episcopalian. My family weren't regular church-goers...more the Easter/Christmas type. I was always taught God was loving/giving. When I was 5 or 6 a babysitter (my parents were gone for the weekend) took me to a Southern Baptist Church (I'm pretty sure that is what it was) and they preached damnation, hellfire, all people are born evil type stuff. Very different then what I had been taught. Now it just so happened that that very same day I broke out with chicken pox. So in my little mind, I was so bad and evil that I now had this horrible affliction. It didn't matter that my sister had just had it...nope I associated it with what the preacher had told me. It took quite the "talk down" from my parents to convince me that God didn't hate me, I wasn't being punished and that I was a good kid.

Like I said, to most, not a big deal...but it really scared me.

morriganna
by Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 3:28 PM

Awww...Thanks, mama.  Ironically I am a homeschooler, finally started this year.  I want my children to learn and experience MORE than what they get at school instead of using my home to keep them ignorant though. 

Quoting mikiemom:


OMG hugs hugs hugs - you are strong person for coming through this and being able to speak about it. You have clearly illustrated one of my main reasons why I don't think homeschooling is ok, often times the only outlet these kids have is public school. - not saying all homeschooling are like this but many of these fundamentalists home school their children to keep them away from other influences. so sad.

Quoting morriganna:

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.




Carpy
by Ruby Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 6:52 PM

You asked a loaded question. 

Quoting morriganna:


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.


morriganna
by Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 8:52 PM


Quoting Carpy:

You asked a loaded question. 

Quoting morriganna:


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.


I asked "What are your thoughts on this article?"   

Sorry, I'll try to be more neutral next time.

eye rolling

Imacakebaker
by on Mar. 28, 2013 at 8:55 PM

Way to bash Christians.

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