Several times recently something has come up to remind me of how different men and women are from each other, and how we process information, relationships, and situations differently. In all the research and information I have seen on spiritual abuse, disillusionment of Christians, and impacts of traumas experienced through churches I have never seen the issue of gender adequately addressed. I think it is an overlooked component of how we process the trauma we have been through, and respond to it.
You know your own gender, you know yourself better than a counselor, friend, or even a spouse. Think about the ways you have responded to things that have happened to you. Have you handled them well? Not so well? Is any of that due to your gender and things you have been taught?
I know in my situation, both in the trauma I experienced, the messages I walked away with, the responses I felt afterwards, and even in the process of healing my gender (which is female) has played a key role. The trauma went to the core of my identity, a fragile area for women. I was rejected, cast aside, and betrayed by men – a wounding which has had significant impacts for me. I didn’t leap to anger, but instead turned timid and felt incompetent and deflated due to the rejection and disapproval. This has also resulted in it being very easy for me to communicate lack of respect unknowingly toward other men, a side effect from my trauma that I despise!
I don’t have specific information on this issue, but I wanted to call it out as something to keep in mind as you go through your journey. Whether you are recovering from trauma yourself, or helping others through their journey, pay attention to how gender has played an important role in the story. I believe a firm awareness of it will help us in the recovery process if we are alert enough to recognize the impacts both genders have had in the story.