Friday, May 20, 2016

Abusive Parents Influence One's View of God


Abuse and narcissistic parents can lead to troubled relationships with God or viewing God as a cruel tyrant like in the above meme. Our early experiences with our parents can influence our view of God. In the above meme it is obvious the person who wrote it had some control freak abusive parent who gave them negative concepts of God. This happened to me too as I will describe more later in this article.

I have struggled with some anger at God lately.  I know that sounds bad. It is. I can't lie to God. Becoming an atheist is not a way out, I've already taken that route for anyone who wants to recommend it. I have asked God for justice and some peace in this life. It seems like God is not answering my prayers and those of others I care about and I am not sure why. It has left me very troubled. People don't want to be squished and wrung out so there is nothing left.

 I am even worried about falling away lately and have enough bible verses in my head to know that I am in a bad spiritual position. I am sure God can take some yelling and "wrestling with Jacob" moments but ever since Aunt Scapegoat died and I felt like evil won, I have been feeling a bit spiritually sick to my stomach. I even shouted to God, "Why are you letting these evil people always triumph and why didn't you answer my prayers regarding Aunt Scapegoat?". I was even angry that I didn't have the money to go down there and visit her. What she went through was too much.

It's like God is saying NO to everything. The legions of clean and well-heeled middle class church people who have judged me went through my head in a negative fashion.  If it wasn't for the bible verses about the wicked prospering and other warnings, I don't know where I would be. The Bible warns that the world system is corrupt, and has many verses about the oppression of the poor. The false Christians who talk about the world being a great place and that being positive will make all your dreams come true are cracked in the head and living in a bubble. It is God's Word that has kept me a Christian and trying to see through all the lies and nonsense.

God is not like our parents. It's something I have to remind myself of now. God is not your enemy. God does not hate you like your mother. God did not do this to you, the other guy and his minions did. As I have written about before and a guest blogger did too, I don't want to hear about great plans for life or how God is wanting to teach me a lesson either, that is the kind of stuff in churches that is making people all lose faith. Also when people are told that blessings come via being "obedient to God' and they get hardships from being "bad people", that is not good either. There's no truth out there. This world is a hard place, and many deny it's realities, it is affecting people's relationship with God.

Here is a place where spiritual trouble can await even someone whose been a Christian for over a decade, I start thinking God is against me too and have visions of God having turned his back on me with a giant thumbs down! The false stuff in churches doesn't help with this. They preach "Honor thy mother and father" and never address child abuse. I never once heard this verse ever read in a church!

Ephesians 6:4King James Version (KJV)

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Even after 14 years of being a Christian, I avoid personal prayers where I refer to God as "Father". I know that is a biblical title but may some can guess why I leave the parental references OFF.  It comes with too much baggage. Sometimes when I am facing spiritual turmoil, I can feel the bad parental stuff mixing with creeping negative thoughts about God.

I became an atheist by the time I was ten years old. That's pretty young to renounce God. I would not believe in God or even entertain the thought of God. I remember being that young and saying to friends, "There is no God" and "Church is bunk".  I would be an atheist until my thirties with forays into comparative religions and paganism while in the Unitarian Universalist church before I became a Christian.

At the age of ten, I was busy reading Thomas Paine and other books, that questioned God. I was a strange Aspie who read everything I could get my hands on. Catholicism didn't seem to add up. I don't want to start a religious argument on my blog here, but once one of my nun teachers sent me to the principal's office for questioning Purgatory. They were horrified by me. I was forbidden to quote the Bible in religion class. Later when I went into full atheism, I figured I got smarter after too many visits to the principal and the rectory to be lectured at by priests, and kept my mouth more shut.

It was weird to be confirmed into the Catholic church as a full blown atheist. No one cared what I believed or did not believe. It's not like I could talk to my parents about God without being screamed at. My religious and spiritual questions remained unanswered. This would put me on a path of being a seeker, for YEARS.

When I told my parents, that I did not believe in God which was a mistake, they saw me as the devil's seed. They called me evil. My grandmother screamed at me in the car one day, that I was horrible girl and would see hell for renouncing God. This is ironic to me now given the evil I've seen on that side.

 There is the psychological and spiritual danger of abusive parents where God Himself can be defined by the example of the parent to a young child. Some of us have to work on separating these things out for decades. Even this week I am facing it, feeling like I am being "punished" inside having to go to God's Word to work my way through this stuff. It is hard to imagine God embracing, loving and comforting you when your parent never did so. 

Years ago I drew a blasphemous cartoon during my years as an atheist where I drew "Budgie" getting dropped kicked like a football by a large halo wearing God figure--kind of like how God is drawn on the Simpsons. Sure, one's view of God is influenced by early parental figures.

 Add in spiritual abuse and abusive authoritarian churches that teach blind obedience to parents and authority and you get a mess. God is seen as a narcissist, a cruel tyrant who seeks to only punish and beat you down. There were times as a child, I thought, "Look at this world, God must be cruel, to have given me these parents." I remember one day standing in my bedroom, thinking "Forget God, and look at these jerks!" Thinking of my parents. I even thought God was evil a few times to put me with such a horrible family.

Escaping this view of God has taken me a lot of prayer and bible reading. A lot of the churches don't help either. In fact many of them are making this problem worse.  I haven't talked about this except in a few articles but leaving the church system has been a big deal for me and especially leaving the churches I was affiliated with, which was your independent Baptist churches.

 The politics ground me down and I always thought they were cruel. I still think they are. The evangelical churches have gone authoritarian to the max, where God is presented as a cruel tyrant and with the prosperity gospel stuff, there is even more oppression of the poor and the abused. Some young people are abused too by religious narcissistic parents who go to town, with life being nothing but legalism and endless rules. The "god" they present is cold and capricious and all about the rules and a lover of the oppressive narc and sociopathic system. It is not a "god" I can get on the team with. Young people who question Christianity don't freak me out because I was there, and with religion being used in the way it is, so wonder many are thinking poorly of how god has been presented to them.

I understand when people say forget "God" in the way that narcissistic parents influence our view of God when young. I even worry when I get angry at God like this, it is rooted in some of this false stuff. I have to go read God's Word and calm down.

1 John 4:8King James Version (KJV)
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.



19 comments:

  1. I know how you feel. I have been there for years but still hanging on to the faith by a thread.
    I don't know if this will help but because of the internet you can find a lot of answers or comfort to your questions online. Write people who seem really strong in the faith and ask them to pray for you. Ask God to search your heart for anything on your side.
    I really feel for you because I have been going through the same thing.I don't know what to think. I know I don't spend enough time in prayer if any lately.But, I still feel the power of Christ in the few prayers I say to keep me from sin or for small things; so I try to hang on to that. I really think it is Ok to doubt and that it could bring you to a deeper faith. People in the bible expressed doubt throughout history.I don't think doubt is a huge sin or even one,though I'm not a bible scholar or anything. Didn't Jeremiah spend most of his time complaining to God..
    I think the worst thing for me has been lack of Christian fellowship and that my husband doesn't believe at all. He goes against me.
    I hope you find comfort and I will remember you in my little prayers.
    Peace to you...

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    1. Thanks anon for telling me you know how I feel. Yes I understand hanging on to the faith by thread too. I do look articles on line, but that is a good idea.

      Christians online can be a great support.

      I do not think doubting is a sin, like some people think. We are allowed to think things out. "Come now let us reason together" like that verse.
      Its true Jerimiah complained a lot. LOL I think it's allowed more then some of the stiff upper lip types say it is. Thanks for your prayers, I hope your husband supports you more soon.

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  2. I admit I have seen God like that at times because of my parents. But sometimes my perspective changes.Maybe your prayer could be to shift your perspective.

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    1. Makes sense. Pray for the right perspective and so on.

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  3. Sometimes I just take a break from God. I know this isn't biblical but it usually brings me back to him. He knows your limitations.

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    1. Hey it makes sense to me. I don't think it is wrong, sometimes a person is just needing to rest.

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  4. I don't know either if its ok to be angry with God. He's given everyone such good parents, and I got mine? Couldn't he have just done something about that? I make so many mistakes in Christianity, its embarrassing. How everyone claims to make a 180 degree turn in their lives is actually beyond me. Some things I don't feel convicted by God for, and I do question his presence in my life. Or if I'm just going to be one of those that he says he doesn't know.

    Faith and trust that God knows what he's doing is about all I have. I have lots of fear, and that's supposed to be a sin, but I can't help it. Its strong in me, something that mother used as her narc supply, to have me scared, its hard to make that change, and its not that I'm not willing. I'm working on it, I won't give up, but this is not the utopian society that is expected of me.

    I've been with the same church for 3 years. I long to talk to someone about this, but I can't. No way can an elder ever know or understand, the impeachable network that is my heart and soul. I have a sort of a different challenge than everyone else, I don't feel safe and confidenet without a hell of a lot of work, there I just swore, lol, proved my point. Even if I learn something and I know it, doesn't make it easy. I don't know if I'm just lazy, can't or won't do it, feel entitled, etc.

    I have faith in God. I'm sure God wants the real us, not fake, even with the warts, warts and all, I think that is all that is required. As far as prayers being answered, for me its just that I can't stay on the path to see a fulfillment of that, and that might be a problem. Not saying that is your problem, but I am a child of pain, pain is all I know. Each day is brand new however.

    I have a lot of respect for God even in my anger with him. I sort of take that anger and really get down and authentic with him about it. My oldest daughter really believes in evolution, and I told her to take that to God. Its the ability to stay constantly obedient. But maybe its not that. We constantly feel guilty I'm thinking, guess where we got that one from? Yep, narc parents. So its hard when we feel we are constantly wrong. So I think maybe we don't understand everthing.

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    1. I don't know if it's okay to be angry either? Some trying to work things out may be okay.

      I wonder too why did I get placed into such bad family? The bible has the verse about those who are set solitary in families, but still doesn't answer the why. It seems like all such a waste you know? Even if they don't love you, there's no one in the family for you to love once they have turned you into a "nothing".

      I make tons of mistakes too. I think the claim that people get saved in some circles and then everything's honky dory, seems to mislead people a lot. Justification different from sanctification I suppose.
      I don't feel convicted about some things some of the religious circles really are up in arms about. All those rules, my head hurts, I know I can't keep all of them. One lady told me I was a bad Christian for not praying before meals, but to me that seems like empty rituals, I don't do it. Around here, I'm thanking God enough to get the groceries on the front end. I got smacked too for not saying the rote prayer I was required to say every time my family sat at the table. So I don't feel convicted about that, or the bathroom wars going on. Do they want a bathroom police to go with the sex police? Some seem to think they can force everyone to be "good" and that it's the governments job.

      I got tired of worrying about the rules and the constant guilt too. Guilt for everything. Thanks for bringing that up Joan. Then some of the religious and spiritual abusers unload more guilt, you're sick for not being faithful enough, you're poor because you wee not holy enough. You are nice, you didn't do this right, you don't volunteer enough, you aren't enough. One day I found myself saying to God, I'm tired of feeling like I'm not enough, take it or leave it. Was that blasphemous? Was that a flea? LOL I don't feel like seeing God as someone else like a project friend or a narc parent beating me down anymore. If this relationship is going to grow, [relationship with God it's got to move beyond seeing God that way]

      I understand the fear too. I don't think all fear is a sin, maybe cowardice is more the sin. We certainly speak of those who give in to fear and who are enablers to evil. One ex friend used to get angry at me, "why are you always so afraid?" I don't trust people who never feel fear, for me it's a test now for people, if you never show fear or vulnerability and I am close enough for you to see at least a hint, then it's not going to work out.

      I always felt like my fellow church members were in another place. Some were nice people, some very nice, and well I have felt the same "impeachable network" of the heart and soul. This was a whole other challenge I agree. Feeling safe and confident are far from me too.

      I have a lot of respect for God too, I think its better to be honest with God. Like if we hide emotions or thoughts, what good will it do? Trying to grey rock God is a definite dead end. If the pain is there isn't it God's promises to help us with it?

      Yeah I tell people take stuff to God too. Thanks for bringing up the thoughts about guilt and always being wrong. Definitely these are challenges being brought into the spiritual world for many of us ACONS.

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  5. After NC we change. We start questioning and examining our most cherished relationships and deeply held beliefs about ourselves and the world. It seems to me if you didn't have some rock solid faith to begin with, you'd have nothing to question.
    Or reframe.
    TW

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    1. I agree. NC definitely changes us even a few years into it. Thanks TW :)

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  6. I know the guilt is hard, and then there is holiness. In old testament times, the priest had to enter the holy of holies, and the priest was as good as it gets as far as humans go, regarding goodness, but even he had to have a rope tied to him in case he died in there. Any sin would have made him corruptible. Even though he was covered in sacrifices and whatnot, they did not take any chances. It might not have been good enough.

    There you go. The absolute perfection that God requires.
    That's as perfect as God gets. And it is absolute. But we have Jesus and we have his grace, and this is so great at cleansing us. But churches still pressure us to "behave". That is what screws me over.

    As an ACON I need Jesus. Otherwise I am nothing. I pray you understand what I'm saying. lol

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    1. One is saved on the perfection of Jesus not our own, I agree about the endless pressure to "behave" and superficial trappings that is often concerned with. That's interesting about the OT priest, yes they had their OT sacrifices but knew no human would measure up. I understand what you mean Joan too :)

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  7. Both sides of my family were devoutly religious. I would have been too, but I find it hard to believe in a god that would put me where he put me. I just don't buy all that testing my faith stuff. I feel like a very small ant in the hands of a very large narcissist with a strong magnifying glass on a hot summer day

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    1. Understand. I don't believe in testing faith either. I think in this natural world bad stuff happens, it is a fallen world. The churches are driving people to madness trying to tell them Oh all this horrible death and stuff has a "reason" and "purpose" to it. No it's the result of a natural fallen world. I have felt like the ant at some of my worse times, while saying Why God Why? while trying to remember the verses about God's love for us in the Bible. God is presented as a narcissist in many of the churches, capricious, ready to squish you over one broken rule. I had to read the words of Jesus myself.

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  8. Dear Peeps and Friends, a lady at church is coming out of an abusive situation, and I guess the cookie-cutter faction are glad she is trying to quit smoking. Seriously, doesn't she enough on her plate as it is?

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    1. That's sad, maybe she's lucky they aren't lecturing her about weight loss too. Sheesh...

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  9. Dear Peeps, she has been down to her last nerve for years, i don't think she could put on any weight. Though a few pounds could fill in those sunken cheeks. Yeah, she looks rough. Call it a case of way too much responsibly, and way too little thanks.

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    1. She sounds like she needs a rest more then anything. Having abuse will wear someone out fast. Hopefully she can ignore the "fix its" and "achievement-queens" for her own good.

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