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Reclaiming Your Spirit – Healing Religious Trauma And Embracing Authentic Paths

Ellen Mennell is recognized when it comes to her work in Social Justice, Inner Healing, Awakening, Religious Deconstruction and Religious Trauma. She is CEO of Advocate of Soul, an online coaching business, an International Speaker, Women’s Circle Facilitator, the author of AS IS, Book 1 & 2, and the host of Advocate of Soul., on YouTube.

Executive Contributor Ellen Mennell

An extraordinary shift is happening, a collective awakening to a higher state of consciousness. This is not just in theory; it is tangible in how people see themselves and the world. Because awakening can be contagious, more and more people are discerning the toxicity present in many traditional systems, particularly organized religion. This growing trend is ushering in a mass exodus from these institutions as people seek healing from religious trauma

 depressed woman sitting alone on the floor

Religious trauma and its sinister web

For many, religion has been a fundamental part of life, offering community, moral guidance, and spiritual comfort. However, for others, it has been a source of significant pain and trauma. As a Spiritual Coach specializing in healing from religious trauma, I have seen this emerge in my clients in various ways. Whether it be fear-based teachings, guilt indoctrination, suppression of individuality, and critical thinking, these experiences can leave psychological scars, deeply affecting one's self-esteem, personal identity, and overall mental health. 

The pain and sadness from religious trauma can be intense and long-lasting, so It's important to identify the symptoms around it to manage and heal from these deep emotional and psychological injuries. Recognizing these signs gives people the permission and awareness to take necessary steps toward recovery and reclaim their well-being and personal power.

Three main symptoms of religious trauma

Religious trauma can be challenging to identify because teachings and beliefs start at an early age. If the pain remains hidden, a person can stay brainwashed within the system all their lives. The subtlety of the manipulation makes it difficult to recognize the harm, leading religious communities to operate from unhealthy mindsets. Some common symptoms include;

1. Anxiety and Fear

Many who have experienced religious trauma have persistent distress stemming from teachings about sin, punishment, and the doctrine of hell. These fears can linger after leaving the environment, making daily life and decision-making difficult. 

2. Guilt and shame

are common symptoms of religious trauma. These feelings arise from strict moral teachings with leaders as the ultimate authority. In purity culture, a church movement, human desires are judged enforcing beliefs around inadequacy. When someone succumbs to unacceptable desires, the self-blame for not adhering to the rules becomes a heavy burden.

3. Depression

The internal struggle between the true self and an imposed religious identity can be hard to overcome. Losing a sense of community and feeling betrayed by trusted leaders intensifies feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Strict guidelines keep people on a tight leash, so when someone leaves, they may struggle to define their beliefs, values, and sense of self outside the religious framework. This relationship acts like codependency by eroding trust and confusing thinking ability. 

The good news is that people are waking up to the abuse within certain religious systems, and information about religious trauma is readily available. As this understanding expands, more are finding the support and resources they need to address and overcome the emotional and psychological wounds inflicted by harmful religious practices. 

The path to healing

Leaving behind a familiar religious community is not just complex but is a painful journey. It means confronting ingrained beliefs by questioning long-held assumptions. Doing this shadow work is intense because there’s uncertainty when creating a new spiritual path.

The healing process usually begins with acknowledging the pain and trauma caused by religious experiences. This acknowledgment can be cathartic, providing a sense of validation and a foundation for further healing. Receiving help from therapists, support groups, and spiritual mentors who understand religious trauma is invaluable during this phase and creates a safe space to explore difficult emotions.

As people progress in their recovery, they believe they can reclaim their power and voice. The very act of self-empowerment permits boundaries and makes choices aligned with personal truth. This process is deeply personal and varies for everyone, but it consistently involves letting go of imposed identities to reveal the authentic self beneath.

This journey of healing is an inner work that demands patience. Rushing through this process risks overlooking crucial insights and healing opportunities. Each step is a deliberate act of self-discovery and healing, requiring compassionate self-care and support from trusted allies. Embracing the sacredness of this journey means honoring its pace and allowing oneself the necessary time and space to heal fully and authentically.

Rediscovering spirituality

One of the most profound outcomes of this healing process is the reclamation of spirituality. Many who leave organized religion find their spiritual longing does not disappear; instead, it transforms into a more personal and authentic quest for meaning. This journey leads to discovering new spiritual practices and philosophies that resonate. This trusting of intuition helps cultivate a fluid and unique spirituality unearthing a deep connection to oneself, the universe, and the collective. Ultimately, a transcendence occurs from dogmatic beliefs.

The larger impact

The global shift towards higher consciousness and departure from toxic systems like organized religion has profound implications. An awakening of the self and embracing unique spiritual paths leads to authenticity, compassion, and interconnectedness. These attributes will reshape societal structures, building a more inclusive and peaceful world. The way people have related to traditional religious systems is dismantling minute by minute. 

A call to community and unity

As we embark on this collective journey of higher consciousness and spiritual reclamation, let us inspire each other to question and seek truth. Let us support those stepping away from harmful systems with compassion and understanding. Together, we can and are creating positive change for a future where everyone thrives on their spiritual path, free from fear and oppression. Your voice matters. Your journey is valid. Your potential is limitless. We can do this!

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Ellen Mennell, Spiritual/Empowerment Coach

Ellen Mennell, a trail blazer for Freedom, believes compassion, love, and understanding is key to healing our planet. This led her to live in more than 20+ nations leading humanitarian efforts around Social Justice. These experiences shaped Ellen’s life forever and gifted her with a diverse way of thinking, living and being. Overcoming Life’s challenges and Spiritual awakening led her to abandon decades of religious fundamentalism. Her journey has inspired others to rise into their own power. Ellen’s coaching strategy, writings, speaking events, and inner healing work gives permission to people everywhere to live from their own truth, by walking their own path, and by saying YES to what stirs their soul.



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