Secretive January 12, 2017

iamphoenixby AJ cross posted from her blog I Am Phoenix

I don’t know if I’ll ever shake the need to be secretive. About, like, everything. Even writing this blog is a big stepping off point for me. It still feels taboo to be actually writing things that anyone could find and read.


Growing up in a highly religious home with a parent who cross examined everything I did, looking for sin and finding it where there was none… helped me unconsciously fall into the habit of feeling like I was sinning when I wasn’t. I thought I was sinning pretty much most of the time even though looking back I know now I wasn’t.  The hyper focus on sin has made me cross examine every little thing I do even now. I’m always fearfully looking over my shoulder, carefully dotting my I’s and crossing my T’s. I feel guilty about things that are innocent, like this blog.


I was talking to one of my sisters the other day about being afraid to ‘like’ anything on social media. We talked about the need to make a pseudo account for ourselves so we could express ourselves more freely. The thing is, nobody that I’m ‘friends’ with on social media would think twice to question or guilt trip me on expressing myself. Yet, I still don’t feel safe expressing myself. Being bland and colorless, saying nothing, is easier. Safer.
I remember what it was like being a sensitive soul as a child, traumatized and judged within an inch of breathing… and I just do not want to put myself out there and risk a replay of that scenario.

The fear is still there.

But not as much as it used to be.

I’m re-parenting my inner child and telling her that I approve of this blog. I approve of her courage in expressing herself. I approve, and she is safe.

moreRead more by AJ:

Waking Up to Hidden Abuse in the Christian Faith


SASBN member AJ blogs at I Am Phoenix

Hi! I’m AJ. I grew up in a spiritually abusive cult. It was based on the teachings of Bill Gothard and was heavy on patriarchal control. I have two brothers and three sisters, so six of us in all. We experienced emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual abuse, but thought it was normal because it was done in God’s name. When I became an adult, I moved far away from home and finally was able to breathe and live a fairly happy life. But because I feared what would happen to me (God’s wrath and my family’s judgement), I still held onto the beliefs I grew up with.

Over time the stress of repressing the trauma from childhood built up in me and I developed severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Chronic Fatigue, and Adrenal Burnout. I had to move back home, but my parents turned their back on me and wouldn’t open their doors to me or help me. I was shocked. I was the black sheep in their eyes because I wasn’t going to church or following the rules of the cult, but I was their child. I couldn’t believe the cult had them so blinded that they couldn’t help their own child. At that point, I started seriously evaluating this religion of theirs. Over time, the blinders fell off my eyes and I began experiencing truth. I am now so free and joyful.

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  • SAO

    The isea that you announce your opinions to the world was born with social media. Some people always had bumper stickers and pins, but most did not. It is the need for companies like Facebook to drive activity and usage that pushes it. There’s nothing wrong with not broadcasting your opinions. You don’t want to hide your opinions from those you are close to, but if in real life, you think your brother-in-law or kids’ teachers don’t need to know what you think of Trump, why put it on FB?

    It makes sense to control who hears what.

  • bekabot

    There’s nothing wrong with not broadcasting your opinions. You don’t want to hide your opinions from those you are close to, but if in real life, you think your brother-in-law or kids’ teachers don’t need to know what you think of Trump, why put it on FB?

    These are some of the wisest words I’ve ever read on the internet, here or anywhere. You don’t owe anybody your silence, but also and perhaps even more, you don’t owe anybody your speech. If your opinion is valuable, it need not be thrown away on those who won’t respect it. You get to control how close you let other people get, and that includes how much you’re going to let them know about the contents of your head. That’s not necessarily ‘fear’…that’s just caution, mixed with a proper amount of self-regard. Many people could use more of both those qualities, and I don’t believe the right combination of them is something one should apologize for having.

  • Finding Home

    “Re-parenting my inner child”
    I love that! I’m definitely borrowing that philosophy.

  • Melody

    Very recognizable. I’m a private person and even though parts of that may be innate to my personalty, it also comes from constantly watching what you say or do in a Christian environment with lots of rules and constant judging. It makes you secretive. (Lately I’ve begun to wonder if it is a little like living in an oppressive regime, but with God and other believers as the police/the state instead of the actual police or state looking over your shoulder. Complete with imaginary enemies.)

    I can be open on here because it’s not my real name but in ordinary life I’m reluctant to share. To the point where it seems weird even. It’s just hard to shake the feeling that whatever you say or express will backfire at you, because that’s what it was like in the past.