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  • Writer's pictureBeal Wellness Staff

Healing from Religious Trauma: 10 Steps for Survivors


Growing up in a religious legalistic household can be a traumatic experience for many people. These households often prioritize strict adherence to religious rules and regulations above the emotional and psychological well-being of their members. As a result, many people who grew up in such environments carry with them deep-seated feelings of shame, guilt, and a lack of self-worth.


If you're someone who has rejected religion altogether as a result of your experiences, it's important to recognize that your feelings are valid and that it's okay to distance yourself from organized religion if it no longer serves you. It's also important to remember that not all religious communities are legalistic and toxic, and that it's possible to find a more healthy and fulfilling spiritual path, whether that be through a different religion or through a more personal, individualized practice.


For those who still want to honor their religion but in a healthier way, it can be helpful to start by identifying the specific aspects of your upbringing that caused you pain or discomfort. Were there certain teachings or practices that were particularly harmful or triggering for you? Were there certain people in your community who were particularly toxic or abusive? By understanding the root causes of your trauma, you can begin to work on healing and finding a more balanced and fulfilling relationship with your faith.


Here are ten things that religious trauma survivors can do to help themselves on the journey towards healing:

  1. Seek out a support network of others who have had similar experiences. This could be through online communities, therapy groups, or even just individual therapy sessions.

  2. Identify the specific aspects of your upbringing that caused you pain or discomfort, and work on addressing and healing those issues.

  3. Practice self-care and prioritize your own well-being. This can include things like finding joy in hobbies and activities that bring you pleasure, setting boundaries with others, and seeking out professional help if you need it.

  4. Remember that you are not alone, and that there are many others who have gone through similar experiences.

  5. Recognize that it's okay to take things at your own pace and to be gentle with yourself as you navigate this process of healing.

  6. Consider finding a more healthy and fulfilling spiritual path, whether that be through a different religion or through a more personal, individualized practice.

  7. Don't be afraid to set boundaries with toxic or abusive individuals in your community.

  8. Find healthy ways to cope with feelings of shame and guilt, such as through therapy or journaling.

  9. Remember that not all religious communities are legalistic and toxic, and consider seeking out more supportive and understanding communities.

  10. Find ways to reclaim your own power and agency, such as by learning about your rights and advocating for yourself.

Overall, healing from the trauma of growing up in a religious legalistic household is a deeply personal journey that looks different for everyone. The most important thing is to be gentle with yourself and to seek out the support and resources that will help you find a more healthy and fulfilling relationship with your faith.


Beal Wellness has a team of mental health professionals that is ready to help you live a happy and healthy life. If you're in Georgia, book an appointment with us today.

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