Completely transparent, open and honest blog today. This probably will solidify any thoughts anyone may have about my current level of crazy.
Triggers are a thing. I had no idea.
I have heard it said, read about it at times how certain words or things can “trigger” someone’s anxiety and to be honest, I had always sort of dismissed it. Now, I get it, and it seems so silly that it happens to me.
I have been blessed beyond measure in my lifetime so far. I haven’t experienced any obvious trauma like so many other people. My problems seem so trivial compared to some. And I am thankful.
To be completely honest, the fact that I am seemingly so hung up on getting past the church hurt is frustrating to me. There are some days I feel like I am conquering, but then it seems, more often then not, I feel overwhelming waves of anger, anxiety or hurt all over again. I get upset with myself for allowing these feelings to creep in.
The level of betrayal is mind boggling. Not only did the church you invested your life in deceive you, many of the people who were supposed to be your “church family” leave you high and dry. You feel foolish and taken advantage of. But, I am two and a half years out, why do I still struggle with this?
Prime example: a few days ago my husband and I were watching a documentary about the Jonestown massacre. Horrendous act of pure evil. But did you know, Jim Jones got his start in a Pentecostal church? The documentary showed clips of an Apostolic church service like what I grew up in and I lost it. No, I am not comparing the Jonestown massacre to leaving the United Pentecostal Church, or saying that Jim Jones was Pentecostal in any way. He was clearly a sociopath. However, simply the images of that church service were triggering for me. I couldn’t sleep, I felt panicked all over, and I bawled like a baby. It was definitely a uncontrollable physical response I can’t explain.
Another example: someone having a completely normal conversation with me and they drop the word “truth”. That’s the worst. In the church, that word was used all the time. As in, we have the “truth” and all the other churches are just a waste of time and will send you straight to hell. Now, just hearing the word “truth” makes me weak in the knees and my stomach turn. It is an involuntary physical response. It is so crazy!
If someone had come to me and told me these things while I was still in the UPC, I would have thought they were feeling conviction and God was telling them they were wrong for leaving. That view seems so small to me now, but it still echoes in the back of my mind. When we left, someone said to me they hope I can’t sleep at night and would be completely miserable until I came back. Even though I KNOW better, I still think, did I mess up by leaving? It’s a torturous cycle that I cannot wait to break.
It just goes to prove, spiritual abuse is real and man, does it mess with your head. Even though logically, I have no real doubts about leaving, and I also firmly believe I am where God wants me, somehow these illogical teachings still sneak in without warning. It’s exhausting and I am over it.
I am excited Thanksgiving is this week! Spending days with friends and family will give my mind rest. I have so many blessings to be thankful for, the cross, my family, and the peace of God that passes all understanding just to name a few! Going to try hard to focus on the positive, because even though I have triggers, I am so much happier overall than I have ever been. And for that, I am thankful.