Monday, 26 December 2016

Christian Double Standards Part 2 - My Experience

So, this is a continuation of my previous post, as I really want to talk about my experience of Christian double standard and how it, along with all-or-nothing religious views that certain people tried to push on me have affected my daily life since leaving church.
For a year or two after becoming part of the church, I was literally love-bombed. This is a definition used to describe people who shower you with love, support and attention. This term is usually used with people with certain personality disorders, such as Antisocial Personality Disorder (Psychopaths and sociopaths) and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (Narcissists).
Love bombing, in those contexts, is a way of manipulation, as described by Floyd (2013).

And he speaks of similar issue. Love bombing in churches. And since I was a social outcast in school, the love-bombing made me feel accepted. I felt like I belonged.
But, when I started to struggle with my mental health issues, I have begun to withdraw from people, being slightly less open to going to events, not really talking to anyone besides children as they always wanted me around.... The love-bombing went the opposite way. I felt like I had suddenly lost friends. I felt like I had lost that connection with people. And in January 2014, when I first self-harmed, and begun to struggle even more, I honestly felt like a stranger in a crowded room full of church goers I knew so well. But now, I wonder.... Did I know them? Or did I just know their facade?
The time grew steadily on, and the only real friends I felt like I had were two friends I am still close to. The rest felt artificial. Nothing about these friendships felt real. While at church from 2012-2015, a song called "Stained Glass Masquerade" rang so true with me.
But, in February 2014, when I self harmed for the first time and have admitted to my former pastor about it.... I had a loud, LOUD telling off and he wrote a Bible reference on my palm. His words "What are you doing that for?!" still ring through my ears and still haunt my nightmares. I memorised the verse out of sheer shame. The shame that still poisons every single part of my life.
I reached out to him and his wife in 2013 during the Youth Fellowship annual sponsored walk. And this is when the friendship that I've had with them grew cold. Ice cold on my former pastor's side of things anyway. He continually avoided me, and then showed some care, then avoided, then showed some care again and so on for months and months at a time. This on-off-on-off pattern was a severe trigger to my intense self harm urges and longing for a stable friendship. He had spoken with my mother about my issues while I was not present when he invited my mother over. I guess I felt really betrayed and disgusted because I felt like I couldn't confide in anyone anymore. And he himself had said "I will not discuss your mother's issues with you like I wouldn't your issues with her" a year prior when I had relationship issues with my mother due to her issues at work.
But, the double standard started to kick in around the time of my first hospitalisation in 2014, which was at the end of September.
When I needed help, just in a form of listening, the people I was told to contact in crisis weren't around. And when I went to A&E, people (particularly my former pastor) was unhappy with the fact that I didn't turn to "god" for help. Um.... You've written on my covenant for me to reach out to A&E if in crisis, so I'm not sure what the problem was.
I've sent a bunch of links out to all who knew about my disorder at the time, and just one person had watched the videos I've sent after that first hospitalisation.
I got into a huge argument with my former pastor over Messenger regarding the fact that I was at A&E, when I was attempting the brink of suicide.
I don't take lightly to people excusing their behaviour towards me when I know they are talking nonsense.  There's absolutely no excuse for writing "you are bombarding me with lies"
No excuse. For goodness sake, there's absolutely no way that you couldn't expect me to NOT react severely. Especially when I was already through the roof emotionally.
His later messages and face to face conversations, when I've asked to talk, were "I don't have time"
Thing is, he did. He only had time for people in his clique. There's nothing worse to do in a church to fellow members is to discard them like a dirty dishrag. If you happen to read this, the person in talking about, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Reevaluate yourself. I'm not naming you despite every urge to, as I don't want strangers attacking you. When I talked to people at Destiny Church when I was there about all of this, I didn't name you either. But you know who you are. I'm protecting you despite the fact that I maybe shouldn't.
Anyhow, during my second hospitalisation, I went for a day pass from hospital to attend the Girls Brigade service. My friend came to pick me up from the hospital, and I went to the service. One of the members had a beef with me because of my love for Christian Rock music, as it was my one and only thing that was keeping me somewhat sane.
During my third hospitalisation, I couldn't hold back on my reactions to things anymore. After another day pass from hospital, on a Sunday, I had a wave of anger pass over me when I went back. I was mad, for some reason. Now looking back, I think it was the being love-bombed again, when no one would talk to me a week before. And I snapped over text at my former pastor's wife, whom I was messaging. I threw my phone on my bed with incredible force because I was so angry. I couldn't hold back. I've texted my mum who then texted my former pastor.
I left church for a few months after the February, as I couldn't stand what was going on. Many members tried to get me to quit therapy because of its Mindfulness skills in it. Despite his much I needed the treatment, they wanted for me to stop therapy. So, I stopped going to church. And no one batted an eye. But if it was someone that from that popular clique, they would be texting them, calling them, messaging them, etc.
Then, through a friend, I've learned that I was gossiped about by some people from my former church. You thought that I wouldn't find out. Well, I did. Thanks for that, as I've then realised that some of you can be heartless. 
A friend of mine from America whom I talked to for quite a long time, has helped me to realise that some people within the church weren't just toxic, but outright spiritually and emotionally abusive. Certain people check a majority of the boxes of emotional and spiritual abuse. Again, I'm not mentioning any names.
I, for some reason, went back to church for Christmas of 2015. And guess what, my emotions didn't take that too well.
Of course, again, I was love-bombed. But that love-bombing was when I realised that is being done for some purpose.
I've learned a lot about use of love-bombing and what purposes it serves over the last year. But I've left church for good in January of this year.
But, onto what effects all of this has on me. At the end of January, when I was walking up to Tesco Express in Glenrothes, I was struggling with a lot of anxiety and anger because of a certain thing my therapist had texted me. I was highly emotional at the time, and I realised that I was dissociating.
Behind me, there were four, shadowy figures of my pastor and his family. Walking slowly behind me, covered in blood. I literally ran to Tesco as fast as possible. I was utterly terrified.
On my way back, the same exact thing. But, they have disappeared after a while. Not for long, though, as this shadowy representation of my therapist then started to follow me. And then, it showed up in front of me, reaching out for my neck as if it was an attempt to strangle me.
Fast forward to Tuesday of following week, I was sent to A&E from college because of these hallucinatory states.
Between interviews with different mental health professionals at Unscheduled Care, I was seeing figures of one of my former pastor's kids, sitting in the chair next to me, also covered in blood.
It tried to do what the weird shadowy representation of my therapist tried to do, which was to strangle me. I ran to the other side of the room and sat on the floor for some time.
I was admitted to Stratheden Hospital for what was going on, and this was my longest admission to Stratheden Hospital.
The hallucinations were partially influenced by Quetiapine, which I was taking for stabilising my emotions. But, for the most part, it was due to anxiety related to church. Every time I see certain people from church, I have severe panic attacks, hallucinations and my moods shift so quickly that I struggle to keep up, when I usually do. I tend to avoid places I know I usually see people from my former church, I have severe trust issues due to toxicity of the friendships formed there. I avoid talking about church Ave religion with people because of the triggers that these conversations trail along, and I'm avoiding leaving the house as much as possible because of it all.
To be honest, when I finish OU, I'll be happy to move out of Fife and start afresh. I am discovering things about myself now that church has a huge impact in suppressing. Not to mention that my personality and my sense of self is screwed up to the point where I look in the mirror, and I don't recognise who the person in the mirror is.
I'm sorry that this is so long, I wanted to detail my experience to hopefully be able to move forward towards living without regret of being in that church for the five years I was there.
Reference list:
Floyd, K (2013) "Beware of Toxic Affection" Psychology Today, retrieved from:
Accessed 25/12/2016


  1. Keep up the blog Natalia, you're a good writer. Better than me and i'm a native lol. Good luck with OU! Dean.