Friday, January 18, 2013

All Too Familiar

Yesterday I received this comment on the post "The Controlling, Abusive Pastor". Everything she said was all too familiar. I have experienced everything she described while in my former church and I've experienced the same effects she described after leaving. I'm posting her comment and invite you to tell her your story or give her advice on how you've handled the questions, the hurt, and the inability to trust again (which is very normal.)

"I too was hurt by an abusive and controlling pastor, and by the church. The pastor attacked me from the pulpit in a very passive aggressive manor, and behaved inappropriately with me on several occasions. His wife yelled at us during a women's group because she couldn't reach her husband one day, how he needed a day off because some of us in the church are so needy and we take time away from her and her husband--yes she actually said that to us. I finally made the decision to leave, only to hear, after I left, all the hateful and hurtful gossip about me being insane, or an alcoholic etc... just because I had problems and I left. This was also my first experience in a Christian group. How can I trust again? I'd like to come back to a church, but how do I know which one to choose? I've attempted going to two new churches on two different Sunday's but I keep having panic attacks when I pull into the parking lots, believing that what happened to me before will happen again and I just leave. How do you get over the hurt and how do you trust again?"

My answer...
"I can relate to your situation so well. My best friend, who was in the same church I was in had the same experience in the parking lot of a church she was trying to attend. You are not alone. This is normal behavior for someone who was in an abusive church. The best thing to do is to continue talking about it. Don't hold it in. If you need to talk to me please feel free to email me. To trust again - it just takes time. I left my church almost 5 years ago and I still have a hard time trusting. I'm getting better with time, but it just takes time. I also highly recommend going to talk to a therapist. The pastor of my former church is still talking about us. We were called evil, snakes, etc. The good thing is, he just resigned from being the pastor. I hope some of this helps. Please feel free to vent here or ask more questions if you want to."


Bill said...

This is so sad to me. It is amazing to me how these abusive controlling situations are so similar. Right after I left the church, one of that church's prayer groups actually prayed that affliction would come upon me for leaving. Where's the love of God in that? And not only that, the pastor held a staff meeting and called me and my family goats. I said all that to say you are not alone. God loves you and there are real christians out there that really care about you. Take all the time you need and if you can't go to church right now that's okay. God is right there with you and He understands.

re-Barr said...

When I left my abusive church, I had to just focus on the Gospels. I didn't read anything in my Bible but the Gospels for months. An abusive church has moved so far away from the teachings of Jesus and from the Great Commission that I would recommend just reminding yourself about who our Lord and Savior is. Also I would echo Set Free in talk about it with people. You will find some people won't understand but there are people who have been there. It takes awhile to trust. Goodness knows I still have some things that I don't trust anyone on and I have been out of it for nearly 5 years now.

I did go into churches but I did not always stay through the service. Don't feel pressured into joining a church right away or helping a church right away. You need to heal first.

Anonymous said...

Being in a contolling, which is ABUSIVE, church is horrible. Healing is definately needed to help undo the emotional damage caused by pastors and often their wives.

Dont be afraid to leave. But DO expect being shunned by who you thought were friends. DO expect to be harrassed with invites to church. DO expect some kind of threat on your well being....the list goes on.

Remove yourself from that ABUSIVE relationship (that church). That church and pastor is NOT OF GOD. It wont be easy. Healing from the damage will take time. But trust God will heal you and remember He will deal with that church/pastor accordingly.

Jennifer Rimando said...

Is this the site for a rebellious christian like me?:JActually,ihad experienced turning out of our church for several months from now because i can't submit anymore to my pastor and elders. Destroying one another,backfighting,deception,division,gossips and the worst thing i will never forget... our former pastor and his family are good in misunderstanding things.Until now i'm being trustless to anyone around,ashame to anybody. The real story turned upside down and every mistake was thrown to me.Some ignores as if i'm the divisive one,their enemy.Some look at me like i'm a criminal.I know my mistakes though,but it seems they never realized nor recognized their own faults.And now its our family they see.A family of an unbeliever,with wordly living,selfish..evry bad thing they see it on us.Perhaps they are the jews over us sinners.

Julia said...

oh my word - can't believe what i'm reading here. it sooooo resonates with me. my husband and i left 'the church' the beginning of last year. i can so relate to what many people have said on this forum. i've read a few things on this forum, and especially the one titled 'all too familiar' - i can relate to every single one of the 12 points mentioned !! although i sometimes miss the fellowship, worship and positive things, i won't go back to 'the church' in a hurry - it's actually very sad.