Religious Abuse,  Trauma

Millions Against One

Leaving the church is like finally escaping an abusive relationship
But when you go home, all your family talks about is your ex-partner
And they constantly ask about your abuser, like when you saw them last
And they announce being disappointed in you for leaving
And they ask you to call up your ex before eating at the dinner table
And they beg you to apologize to the person who mistreated you. You’ll be forgiven and granted a second chance
And your uncle pats you on the shoulder and assures you that your ex will always want you and will forever pursue you
Then your parents tell you their greatest desire is to see you get back together with your ex.

Leaving the church is like finally walking away from a narcissist
Only for everything else in your life to suddenly fall apart because it all hinged on that one relationship
And you lose your friends because they “liked you better” when you were with your abuser
And everyone staunchly defends your ex, even those who don’t know your situation
And they inform you that your efforts to protect yourself were morally wrong
And any place you go, you run into the narcissist’s friends – everywhere you turn someone is singing their praises
And people only refer to you as “so-and-so’s ex” – that’s all they can see you as
Then they hand you a Relationship Self-Help book, saying they are worried about you and this will fix everything.

Leaving the church is like finding the strength to break up with a toxic, controlling, co-dependent oppressor
Except instead of support, your friends say you’re breaking your abuser’s heart
And they give your ex credit for anything good in your life
And they tell you you’ll never find meaning or purpose apart from your ex
And folks you’ve never met before are personally offended at your decision to end the relationship
And even your therapist sides with the narcissist – with subtle jabs and snide remarks
And distant acquaintances comfort you with reminders that they’re talking to your abuser on your behalf
Then years down the line you’ll still meet people who declare they know exactly what you should have done, but they weren’t even there.

This will happen for years, for decades, for the rest of your life.
And you’ll wonder if you can ever truly be free because you weren’t breaking up with just one person – it’s millions against one.

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