Gender Trauma,  Mental Health,  Religious Abuse

Eyes Down

Eyes down; display humility. Don’t dare question authority.

Be quiet and kind; don’t look him in the eyes. Avert your gaze, stay polite, use manners always.

Submit, obey, follow. Empty yourself until you feel hollow.

Listen, don’t speak, have self control. Suppress your emotions, remember your role.

Serve, give, smile, sacrifice. Set yourself aside no matter the price.

Slouch your shoulders a little bit; just enough to show you’re not a threat.

Step aside, get out of the way, be flexible. Don’t be a burden and make yourself small.

“What do you want to do today?”

Oh, whatever you want.

“Where do you want to eat?”

Anywhere is fine.

“How do you feel about ______?”

I honestly don’t know.

“You should be more assertive.”

I’m not sure how. I’ve never been allowed to take up space or time with any of my own opinions, emotions or needs. I have always existed for the sake of others. It has been almost 15 years since I left and I’m still digging out the parasitic tendrils of toxic religion. That’s proof as good as any that I was a Good Christian Woman.

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