Blogging about the past is kind of hard. Sometimes I wonder that maybe I shouldn’t have started this. Especially when I get negative responses. Often from the people, I have hurt in the past. They remind me of who I was before. That still hurts and I am ashamed of who I was and it makes me feel guilty about it.
I am not afraid of telling who I was. I already told about it in my blog “I am sorry, I did it too“. I know I hurt a lot of people. Though my intentions were sincere, I know the criticism I gave, must have hurt. I, Myself got it a lot and was so used to it that I did it to others too. I thought I had too. We got taught that if we see a sin we have to speak out otherwise we are guilty in it too. We needed to help each other grow and be ready for the rapture. And every criticism was given in the name of brotherly/sisterly love to help each other to be that perfect believer.
I had so much fear, frustration and anger build up inside me, it made me ill.
When I got married I was only 21 years old. I was broken and damaged and was in a dark place. I had so much fear, frustration and anger build up inside me, it made me ill. The last few years before I met Johan, I was ill often and was many times in the hospital with stomach pains that made me throw up. The doctor tried to tell me that it was mental but my parents didn’t accept that. But it was Johan, who understood that. Thank God he was patient with me and helped me to get healed.
Moving to Norway made me kind of free. A lot of pressure went away when I wasn’t confronted daily with my flaws and pressure about end-times, rapture, hell and so on. But I had lots of burdens that I took with me. Culture change and the spiritual abuse I was exposed to, which I faced growing up, made me damaged goods. People didn’t understand me. I don’t even think I understood it myself.
When growing up in a cult, you think as a child that it is the way it is supposed to be and you don’t know it is wrong until somebody shows you another way, if you are lucky enough that someone will. The harder the pastor hit us with his words, the more blessed we felt. We would shout amen to every word we liked, we would get in a trance, or the Spirit, as they explained it. The energy you could literally feel it moving through the room. People would cry and speak in tongues. The more broken we were the more God could reveal Himself to us and the better person we would be. We got beaten, broken so we could be build up again. After a meeting, I would be totally exhausted of the emotional experience, but feeling great because of believing that the holy spirit touched me. Comparing the church I left behind in the Netherlands with the church I attended in Norway it was a huge change. For me it was like in the Netherlands, I got meat for dinner but breast milk in Norway. It made me feel like I was starving, where nothing and nobody could be enough to end my hunger. I was starving and it made me fight for every breadcrumb I could get.
I think you can actually compare it to a drug addict.
Like I got explained at school. The part of the brain that gives you a good feeling when someone gives you a hug or touches you. It is like a feather brushing softly over that part of the brain. But the drugs are like a big hammer hitting that part. Some are so damaged that they can’t even feel the feather anymore. I think it was like that after being exposed to the church in the Netherlands for all these years. The people in the church in Norway felt cold and stiff. I couldn’t feel the holy spirit like I did in the Netherlands. After the church, I would be unsatisfied and hungry for more. And it made me desperate.
They break confidentiality
Pastors have a duty of confidentiality. When you go to them with a problem or you don’t agree in some doctrine and you ask him sincerely or want to discuss it, you expect it stays between the four walls of his office and doesn’t get spread around through whole of Norway. As I wrote in my latest blog post “7 signs of spiritual abuse” there is little focus on working through problems. Instead of helping me through the issues. Instead of being the adult and the one who should be wiser. The leader forced power, intimidation, and manipulation to put me in place. When we came to him with concerns or problems, he broke that confidentiality and it got spread over the whole of Norway and even the Netherlands. It caused a lot of pain not only for us but others as well, who got dragged in it too. He was the pastor. He was the adult, the leader, the teacher. The one that supposedly had to show you the right path. I was young, newlywed, in a new country and a very excited, eager and fanatically religious and strict person. He should have handled it differently than attacking me.
A personal email got public and even translated to Norwegian
The worse thing and the last drop for me were when my parents got in a nasty church split up. The pastor from the church I left behind got nastier and nastier. He started to attack people by name from the pulpit. My parents felt betrayed with good reason and decided to leave the church with those that were going to leave, together with my siblings and grandma. Even though I was in Norway I got drawn into it. One of my aunts that also was my mums best friend, broke all contact with me and my family. She was really close to me, since she had this chronicle disease and lived for 9 weeks with us when her husband left her. We always supported her and she was always with us. I was so heartbroken because of it that I decided to write her an email.
That personal email she forwarded to her pastor. He read it from the pulpit and even forwarded it to my pastor. My pastor then got someone from church to translate it for him and he passed it out to all who wanted to read it. Without my permission. Why? I still don’t understand why. If he really had my best interests at heart, and if he had concerns about it, he could have called Johan and in to sit down with us and ask us about it what was going on. But to be honest he should have refused to read it when he got it.
It wasn’t long after that incident that we decided to move away. Unfortunately, we traded one toxic place for the one that was even more toxic.