The Beginning

So I have a blog over at WordPress. But I have friends here. So I thought I'd try shifting my blog to SpaceHey. BECAUSE ITS BETTER!

This was the first entry, less than 2 months old now.

The Beginning

As with most people in the US of A, I was raised in a Christian household. Not my choice.Like so many of us in the US of A who were raised in a Christian household, it messed with my mind. More than I ever knew, honestly. At the age of 52 my primary care doctor diagnosed me with anxiety when I broke down in her office. Again. The very first time I'd seen her, three years or so prior, I'd burst into tears and had a heart rate high enough that they slapped an EKG onto me to check my heart.

That was fun.

I was surprised and relieved all at the same time. She gave me a prescription and recommended therapy. I am happy to say that all the above is covered by our health insurance, a privilege not everyone in the US of A has. I am taking FULL advantage of this as long as I possibly can. After a false start with a therapist who did not fit me at all, my second try was a winner and I'm now actually starting to put myself back together again. Its been a long, hard road. Turns out that aside from the generic, garden variety social anxiety and the super-special avoidant personality disorder that comes up now-and-then, I also am the proud owner of some lovely PTSD, straight from Christianity.

And most of the damage was self-inflicted.

My major anxiety is related to a need for approval, love, acceptance. The usual, I suppose. This includes a need for my father's approval. My father's father was a Baptist minister, his mom played the organ for their children's ministry. He converted to ECUSA when he and my mother married. Sweet, I know, but he never did lose the fire-and-brimstone edge to him .Now, they're both Catholic and things got weirder. But we'll get there eventually.

As explained to me by my therapist, we humans start to develop our own moral system somewhere around the age of 12 or so. I smothered mine. I forced my square peg into the Christian round hole (why does that sound mildly dirty?) for years. Forcing myself to accept the good girl myth and all the restrictions that come with it. I did some serious damage to my own psyche as a result. Could I blame my parents? Sure, plenty of people do. The truth is, however, that I'm complicit in this, and I know it. I own it.

At the height of my involvement with the Church, I was an acolyte ("altar girl"), a member of Junior Daughters of the King, I assisted Sunday School teachers (until they figured out I was too young), attended youth group weekly, and Bible Discipleship once a week. Fairly often, my brothers and I would be called in to assist at the early services when other acolytes weren't available. On the most involved week, I would be at the 7:30 am service as an acolyte, I would be working for Jr. Daughters to tend the altar between services and lay out vestments, then down into the nursery to attend to that for the 9:00 service, again, for junior daughters, then I would attend the 10:30 or 11:25 services simply because I hadn't sat through services myself yet. After lunch, I'd be at the church plenty early for youth group, and then Wednesday nights I'd return for Bible Discipleship. And that doesn't include classes for my Confirmation.

I was involved.

Not all of that experience was bad. There were some experiences that have stuck with me throughout the years. At the same time, the damage I did to myself, the emotional and psychological damage that was done to me by both other church attendees and my own father are things I now have to deal with. You just can't keep up with those expectations and live under a constant fear of hell without some damage.

When I was seventeen, the dam finally broke and broke with style although I hid it well. I still hide it well. My parents, now in their 80s, have no real concept of how far from Christian theology I have strayed. Everyone else in the world knows, but not my parents. Not because I'm seeking their approval still but because I love them. My mother isn't as strict of a Christian as my father is still, to this day, and we're extremely close. I love them both. They are true believers, and have every right to their own beliefs. But I couldn't live my life happily if I thought they were on their knees praying for my soul every day of their lives. I will save them the anxiety and worry that I carry, I want them to enjoy these last years on earth.

There will be time enough for them to find out when they're no longer physical beings.

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Cranky Old Witch

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I was raised secular culturally Christian, and feared my parents would think me 'weird' for professing any particular faith - especially paganism.

In my early twenties, I did come out.

When I started transitioning in my mid forties, my father was long passed, and my mom was just started to show some early signs of dementia. Like you, DARN RIGHT I wasn't going to come out to her at that age.

I know she'd love me all the same, but knew she'd worry after me and worry that she had done 'something wrong'. It was my love for her that prevented me from coming out to her.

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I absolutely grok that. Its the same for me. Virtually everyone I know, knows. From friend to enemy and all in-between. I'm not exactly shy about it. But I'll not disturb my parents' peace, they've done their job, and it wasn't easy. The things we do for love sometimes means hiding our true selves, as painful as that is.

Thank the gods for therapy.

by Camylleon; ; Report

And many, man {{{Hugs}}} right back atcha. We need as many of those as we can get these days.

by Camylleon; ; Report