Parenting After Religious Trauma, How It’s Going

December 1, 2021

Photo by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash

Today is the first of the third month since I’ve started my Parenting After Religious Trauma membership and I just wanted to give an update on how that’s going so far. 

Why I started it

First, let me back up and explain (vent) why I pivoted to doing a membership community.

Perhaps this will come across as another public influencer whining sesh and I guess you wouldn’t be wrong, but this work of creating content publicly can be very demoralizing and dehumanizing. I’ve poured my heart and soul and very private stories out for public consumption in order to help people. If it sounds purely altruistic, it absolutely is. If I wanted to write for my own therapeutic purposes, I could write in a journal or spend time in a therapist’s office. Everything I write for public consumption is exactly that: for public consumption, for the public, you beautiful human beings reading this right now, for you to find resonance in your own life and to seek your own thriving.

I ran a free facebook group called Raising Children Unfundamentalist for 4 whole years before I started a patreon account and as of this writing, 0.005% of the members have found it worthwhile to invest a few dollars a month to support my content creation, despite the fact that I receive emails and messages every week telling me how much RCU has helped them.

On top of that, folks were joining the community that I curated with my blood and sweat over YEARS of work, not to participate, but to hate-follow, to gossip, or to exploit my labor. Now, all of this is fair game because I chose to do this. I chose to get involved on the internets where I know all of these abusive practices can happen. 

It became inhumane for me to sustain serving a large group of people online, in which I cannot distinguish who is there to learn from me in good faith, or are trolls, or worse: “friendly” faces who end up being quite unfriendly because, well, it’s the internet, there’s no loyal obligation to treat me like a human being as soon as they disagree with me or part ways with my ideas. This public work can feel like death by a thousand paper cuts.

It was either pivot or shut everything down.

The membership idea emerged out of a need to find people who were serious enough to engage with my journey to parent after religious trauma, that they would invest time and money. That I could finally take a breath in the safety of a smaller community that care to learn, and not just show up to troll. 

How it’s going

And it has absolutely been a huge breath of fresh air. I feel like I should have learned this lesson by now but I’m learning it over again: the audience I attract always end up teaching me more than I could hope to teach them. Thankfully, I never promised to be a teacher, but a fellow traveler in this road of parenting after religious trauma.

Truth be told, I curate spaces that *I* desperate need. That’s how I started RCU and this PART space is also for me. I’ve moved beyond intellectual deconstruction, my priorities now are to respond to Jack Kornfield’s reminder: “You do not need to be loyal to your suffering.” I realized that part of my religious trauma is embracing my own suffering, and that I’m holding on to pain, even in deconstruction, because it was at least familiar. 

I want to feel safe again.

I want to act with intention more and react out of triggers less.

I want to be well.

My members have paid to be part of this community, but I don’t feel like I’m a consumable product for them, I feel like they are a soft landing space for me. I believe strongly that becoming a resource is an essential part of healing from trauma, and I know they have become a resource for me, which I hope contributes to their healing. 

What’s next

The beginning of a new community is always the most important because we are cultivating the culture and direction for the future, and I’m thankful I have such a solid group of folks to pave the foundation. One thing that I’m trying to emphasize, from the landing page to the webinars to the early content sessions of the membership is that although this is essentially a trauma survivor’s group—our goal isn’t to rehash our trauma, or to trauma bond to one another, but that our goal is to be able to function in life. To be able to work with purpose, play with abandon, and parent with wellness.

To that end, we are simply living our lives: sharing in the ups and downs of family, work, and hobbies. Bonded not by trauma, but by the determination to rewire our plastic brains for goodness and joy.

I want this trajectory to continue as we slowly get to know one another, that together we refuse to be loyal to suffering and run towards our liberation.

To my PARTners, thank you for being the genesis of this project with me, I think we are building something good. 

You can join PART here.