In my last blog entry, I talked about my experience with reframing or challenging faulty premises in my life. Today I am going to share the specifics of how I work through this process. I will use a specific example from my life that was very difficult but also empowering for me.
My mother/abuser was a “religious nut.” She started taking my sister and me to church when I was eight years old, and we bounced from church to church every few years because she was asked to leave so many times.
My mother has very strange views about religion, and she raised my sister and me to believe that she had this special connection with a higher power that we did not. If we only had more faith, we would have this special connection, but we didn’t try hard enough.
I bought into this premise hook, line, and sinker. I truly believed that my mother had this strong connection with a higher power while I was not “good enough.” This premise shaped my views on religion well into my late thirties (when I was in therapy for healing from child abuse). I held onto this belief despite all of the memories I recovered of being sexually abused by this allegedly religious person.
I spent one Easter pushing my baby in his stroller on a two-mile walk. Since we did not go to church, I thought I would meditate on scripture as we walked. During this process, I faced my frustration with not wanting to connect with a higher power who viewed my mother as religiously “right” and me as religiously “wrong.”
The thought hit me like a ton of bricks – What if my mother isn’t actually a Christian? This is probably a “duh” question for all of you reading this since you know my mother was my first abuser. However, this was a groundbreaking thought to me that felt like heresy even to ask!
When I chose to challenge the premise, I experienced amazing clarity. If my mother wasn’t actually a Christian, then her abuse, whacky versions of faith, etc. made complete sense. I no longer had to wrestle with trying to make sense out of the contradiction of my mother being a Christian and being an abuser. My premise was faulty, so when I challenged my premise, my life suddenly made much more sense.
Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt