C-PTSD, Uncategorized, United Pentecostal Church

Fighting My Way Through Old Trauma

Hello dear readers! Although I have not been doing much writing here I have been writing. I have been attempting to hone my skills and get better at accessing the emotions that go along with telling this story. The cost of doing so has been high. The last couple of days I have been writing about my salvation experience among other things and I’ve been trying to do it from my heart rather than just telling the facts. I’ve been opening rooms long locked with yellow tape across them saying, “Do not enter, crime scene!” I am at home alone, except for my doggie companion, most days and I prefer to write when I am alone because it requires a level of solitude and quiet I can’t get at a coffee shop. That being said being alone when writing about trauma can be scary. My C-PTSD has been triggered and I have been having flashbacks and a sense of dread follows me around everywhere I go, it is very hard to shake. This is the very reason I put off this process for so long. I feel like I’m giving birth to a monster. Yesterday I had to stop and ask myself is it fair to unleash this awful story to the world, is it my job to contain the pain and suffering? I know that I have to let the story go out from me if for no other reason than it might save someone else from the same pain. My story might help another survivor, I do understand the power of that, but there is a part of me that feels guilty. Whenever I write about this topic there is a sense of relief. I feel lighter as I sit at my desk and bang away at the keys of my laptop, but once I get up and start moving around in the world that relief goes away and anxiety takes it place. It is so weird to really not believe something in your mind and I know that what they taught me is not true, but my lizard brain sure does believe it! C-PTSD is predictable as the sun coming up in the morning.

Yesterday I was writing about the Mark IV films. Really just a sentence or two in passing. To do the writing I had to look up a quote from one of the films and that was all it took. Was it seeing the DVD cover art or something else that brought that damn song into my head? If you are familiar with the films you know what I’m talking about. BTW please don’t mention the title of the film in your comments it really makes it worse for me the more I am exposed to it. All day long I was trying to get that song out of my head, once it is there it is almost impossible to remove. Then I had to fight off the cascading triggers that come after that one gets in. When I went to bed it was still there insistent that I pay attention and I had to sing other songs to myself in the dark so I could fall asleep.

All of this recent writing has made one thing very clear, it is amazing that I am as normal as I am. How can you grow and develop normally when you believe that everything about you is broken and wrong? How can you have a normal childhood and adolescence when you are afraid all the time? I have often beaten myself up in my adult life for not being as accomplished as other people, for not having a formal education, and for not having experiences that other adults see as normal and expected. I have to keep reminding myself to be fair with myself. I will never be like everyone else.

One thing I know that I need to do is some more reading about recovering from cults. I have always been interested in the stories of people who have survived cult experiences and the question has always lingered in my head, “Is the UPC a cult?” My gut says yes, but then I see people online and in person who say no, it is just a destructive church, but really what is the difference. The survivors in my life have experienced the same outcomes as people who escaped from cults. I say if it walks like a duck…One thing I know for sure is that I am done making excuses for people and I’m done with giving anyone cover.

7 thoughts on “Fighting My Way Through Old Trauma”

  1. Regarding a cult and how people view it depends on where they are coming from and what definition they are using. For many other Christians who believe in the Trinity, they consider the UPCI to be a cult due to their Oneness beliefs and denial of the Trinity. I don’t agree with that line of thought. For me, I use what secular cult awareness groups use to define a cult, which deals with in part the control and manipulation a group uses. When you get down to it, it doesn’t matter whether a person believes them to be a cult or not, what matters is the truth that hundreds upon hundreds of people all over North America and beyond have been harmed in their churches.

    Have you seen where I’ve shared about Ronna Russell’s forthcoming book, The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid? I believe it was difficult for her to write her memoir. (See https://amzn.to/2I3qPT7 ) She wrote about fear of the rapture and various other things from her early childhood growing up in the UPC, how she was kept from doing things and how she desperately wanted to speak in tongues so she would be saved. I think these books and blogs are needed. People need to know what these churches have done to people.

    My heart goes out to you, Debbie. I want to see you have more healing and for the triggers and PTSD to subside. No child should ever experience what you did. I will definitely support you in getting word out about your book when the time comes. I do still hope we will get to meet someday.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Lois! It means so much to me that I have you in my corner. I have Ronna’s book on my reading list for the year. Writing stirs up so many things but it feels so important to do, so I will keep going

      Like

  2. Hi Deb, I am so happy to see your article here. Your process is deeply familiar to me-I spent decades pretending I was fine, avoiding any acknowledgement of the long term consequences of my upbringing. The semis and avoidance compounded the damage. It’s ok to write
    for yourself, others will understand and be grateful for your courage but writing for your own healing is valid. You deserve to heal and to speak. I used to have anxiety attacks after every blog post! No more.
    Check out this article about women, guilt and writing:
    https://www.thecut.com/2016/03/patronizing-questions-we-ask-women-who-write.html

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s excellent! I have asked myself all of those questions. In the end I believe that if people really love me then they will love me after reading my writing. I also believe that when women write memoir it isn’t respected as much as when write about their experiences.

        Liked by 1 person

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