“So I won’t just go . . . crazy . . . if I forgive myself?” “No, I am certain that you will not. Your brain and life lessons won’t go anywhere. You’ll just feel good again. Don’t you deserve that?” She nodded. “I think I do.” Whole Again: Healing Your Heart and Rediscovering Your True Self After Toxic Relationships and Emotional Abuse Jackson Mackenzie
Don’t you deserve to feel good again?
This is a simple but profound question I found myself asking while reading Whole Again this morning.
The heavy weight of my choices seven years ago as a result of being abused by a spiritual leader have been my constant companion.
It is common for survivors of abuse to carry the weight of toxic shame for many years following abuse.
Toxic shame manifests itself in my life by reminding me through self-loathing and condemning voices that I screwed up, and I better not do it again. It tells me if I let my guard down I will screw up again. It says, because of what I did, I don’t deserve to experience happiness again.
For years I was taught in church that we are sinners and not capable of doing good without Jesus. In order to connect with Jesus, who enables us to do good, I was told that I needed to attend church, pray and read my Bible. Because I did all of these things and still “messed up,” toxic shame reminds me that nothing can help me be better. As a Christian, the one thing that I believe can save me from myself, has become a reminder of the things I am most ashamed of.
This is why we should not pressure survivors of spiritual abuse to attend church.
Attending church successfully is not our goal.
Learning how to love and forgive ourselves is the goal.
Getting rid of the toxic shame is our goal.
Learning how to experience life again is our goal.
The best thing we can offer survivors of spiritual abuse is unconditional love, forgiveness, and reminders that abuse was not their fault.
The best thing we can offer ourselves as spiritual abuse survivors is unconditional love, forgiveness, and reminders that abuse is not our fault.
If you are a survivor of spiritual abuse, you deserve to feel good again. You deserve to receive love again. You deserve the unconditional love and forgiveness of Jesus just like everyone else, even if you can’t attend church, read your Bible or pray.
Whole Again is a great resource for survivors of narcissistic abuse. The most important thing we can do is to continue our healing work by taking care of ourselves in ways that bring relief. Reading this book has been one such way for me.
The next blog includes an exercise from this book that has been very helpful to me in uncovering the core of my toxic shame and learning how to offer unconditional love to myself.
If you are a survivor of spiritual abuse, your deserve to feel good again…
Read more in Learning Self-Compassion.