It’s the toxicity that’s hardest to recover from. Both in my evangelical upbringing and also in my now ended marriage. It’s the little things; the way they make you doubt yourself. It’s the way they make you question whether your feelings are real or made up. It’s the way they make you feel like you are doing something wrong for simply existing. For wanting what you want. For wanting pleasure. It’s the way they make you rethink talking about pleasure because surely if you’re wanting pleasure you are just selfish and a jerk.
It’s the way they make you question every comment, gesture, posture. It’s the way they make you interrogate every single fleeting thought that runs through your mind. It’s the way they make you shoulder all of the blame. Always all of the blame. They are perfect, always. They are blameless. You are the terrible sinner who does everything wrong.
And you’ve left the situation; the church, the marriage, the relationship. And yet, these things linger. You carry them with you. They make you wonder.
You know that it’s not the truth. You’ve done your work. You’ve gotten therapy, learned biblical interpretation, shaken off the atrocious theology and yet. And. Yet.
You hear it when you’re trying to fall asleep at night. It burrows into your heart and brain and comes at you when you are tired. You feel it creep up in conversation with other people.
You judge yourself when no one else is judging you. You question yourself when no one else is questioning you. You doubt yourself when no one else is doubting you.
And you do it because your church and your former partner and your parents were toxic. And they made you doubt yourself. They made you feel shame. They made you feel unworthy. They made you feel sick and shameful and sinful.
But you are none of those things. You are not unworthy. You are not sick. You are not shameful.
You are not to blame for their bad theology, their unhealthiness, the way they refused to do their own work. Those things aren’t on you. So keep fighting the toxic and get yourself some healing because you deserve to be healed and whole.