Your Past Does Not Control Your Future- Getting Over The World Wide Church of God
The post that I wrote last week, about what it was like to be raised in the cult known as the World Wide Church of God was my most popular post to date. It got a lot of views, comments, shares, and private messages. I truly did not realise that so many other people shared similar stories and similar histories.
I want to write another post, an epilogue of sorts to clear up some things. I don’t want anyone reading about it to think that I had just left ‘the church’ recently. No, I left 30 years ago and I have been cleaning up the mess ever since.
I left “the church” in my mind as child or young teenager. I knew that it wasn’t for me and it wasn’t how I intended to live my life for long… I did not know how I planned to live it, but it was going to be different than what I lived now. Actually I did know how I wanted to live, I wanted to be happy, and I wanted to raise children in a happy home. It didn’t take spending much time with them to realise the people of the World Wide Church of God were not happy people. They were mostly broken people, sad people, and people searching for some connection.
I started the processes of leaving gradually, as to not cause a ton of drama that I wasn’t prepared to deal with, but it was a done deal by my very early 20’s.
My original thought was that if I just hide the past, don’t talk about it and cut off all people from my childhood still associated with ‘the church’, everything would be ok. That plan worked really well, at least on the surface! I busied myself with raising a family and trying to build a happy life for my kids. When thoughts or feelings of the past showed up, they just got shoved back down, preferably under a pile of cookies. I was lucky in the fact that I never used drugs or alcohol to stifle the feelings. Cookies were an acceptable vice.
I am not one who likes to dwell on the past, nor do I like to blame all of my problems on my childhood. I am now a grown ass adult and it is up to me to get my shit and my life together. Childhood trauma gives us some reasons for why we are the way we are, but how we live our adult life is up to us. This philosophy also is really good in theory. This is assuming that you have dealt with it and let it go, and didn’t just stuff everything into the dark recesses of the soul and not think about them ever again. Like a hoarder. Hoarding these feelings and memories will always come back to haunt you at some point. Always! (Or it just may show up as hoarding plain and simple)
So while I thought I had dealt with things by hiding them, avoiding them and pretending that I had my shit together, I was still struggling with some emotional issues. Emotional issues like unresolved anger that I turned inward because I didn’t know how to deal with it. This inward anger turned into depression, that I also liked to keep hidden and not talk about.
I had some control freak issues… I needed to feel in control of every aspect of my life and I hate feeling controlled by others. I do not like being told what to do, but I am not always confident to do things on my own. I second guess myself a lot.
As I wrote about here, I just never felt ‘good enough’. All these things were always playing on and on inside my head.
But on the outside I was doing all I could to keep up the impression that I had it together. I struggled with keeping my weight at an acceptable level. I was an obsessive clean freak in my house, I micromanaged holidays and events and would get quite upset if my plans didn’t work out. I didn’t take criticism well, and would lay awake at night thinking about what I might have said of done to make someone upset with me. I was certainly doing a great job at keeping up my façade and keeping my life looking together or so I thought.
About 8 or 10 years ago I started realising I wasn’t doing such a good job. I started looking at all of the things I was dealing with and realised it was time to let go, and time to start doing the work to make some changes in myself. I started to get healthier, eating a really clean diet and not filling my body with crap helped a lot. But I still felt like I was getting sicker and sicker. I started looking for ways to be positive, healthy and happy, but there was still some negative thoughts and feelings I could not shake. I still did not want to talk about my childhood though….. nope. Let’s just keep that hidden. I don’t want to talk about it, and I will eat more cookies to keep those thoughts and feelings weighted down, well buried. I just was not connecting all the dots.
About 15 years ago I was diagnosed with Hashimoto thyroiditis, (which is actually an autoimmune illness that affects the thyroid). The Dr told me it was no big deal. This was before I had Google. I was rediagnosed about 3 years ago…. and I Googled the hell out of this illness. I did learn all about autoimmunity and how the body attacks itself.
I also firmly believe in a mind/body/spirit connection. When anyone of those 3 is in distress it affects the others. The thyroid gland is in the throat and it affects every single function in the body. So it was no wonder I was feeling crappy. If you follow alternative health at all you know that that thyroid is in located in the throat chakra. The throat chakra is blocked when we are not able to speak up, when we are not speaking our truth, and not saying what we mean. This has always been my struggle, so as I started reading and learning this, I was not at all surprised that a chronic illness had decided to settle in my throat.
Now…those who do know me in real life, know I tend to often speak in a very blunt form. I often say things in a way that people can assume that I am very blunt and outspoken. I can certainly be… except around anything involving my past.
I finally feel like I am ready to start being more vocal. I may have unleashed a dragon and I want to shout from the rooftops about the damage that these cults, who prey on the weak and the vulnerable, are doing to people. Especially the little people, who do not get a choice or a say.
I want to tell everyone to listen to what their soul is telling them, through the messages that their body is giving them.
I am now able to take those little voices in my head, that still may say “you are not good enough” and I am able to shut them down. I tell those voices to shut the fuck up now. They were instilled by people who did not have my best interests at heart They were put there to control me, and they do not serve any purpose in my life and I won’t let them control me anymore.
Believe me… my head has a lot of positive self talk, and a lot of positive affirmations happening right now.
There are things that I suppose will always be a part of me. But I try to use them for good.
I still tend to be a perfectionist, I am still a bit of a control freak, and I will never be part of organizations, churches, clubs, or anything that looks cultish at all. If it involves attending rallies, meetups, or groups of like minded people….you probably will not find me there.
I really don’t like being told what to do or how to do it, especially when what I am doing isn’t necessarily the wrong way. I will say my husband has the patience of a saint, even though most of the time I am not honest with him about my hopes, dreams or what is going on in my head.
But I can laugh about a lot of this now. I do have a pretty dark and sarcastic sense of humour. Although I still have nothing good the say about ‘ the church’ or my step-father.
But I want to say it again…this change does not happen over night. It is a process, and coming clean for me is the final step in MY very long process. If you are working through something similar, you may not be as stubborn as me, and your process may be quicker. But you still need to do the work, acknowledge and feel all the icky and ugly feels. You will need to then accept your truth and your past as a part of you. Just not thinking about it will not change it. Your past won’t go away just because you want it to.
There are lots of resource books available on every topic of healing. There are therapists and life coaches. I had actually ‘won’ a 3 month session with a life coach and I just finished up with Jessamine, who I fully admit gave me a safe place to work through some of the really deeply buried baggage. There is so much information available at your fingertips with the internet, that whenever you are ready, the help is there.
It is part of your story, but that does not mean that your past has to control you.
You can not change the past….but you have all the power in the world to change your present and your future.