My mother had an affair with a married man and also slept with our former pastor's brother a few years ago. What steps can I take to get rid of church shame?

Answer

I'm sorry that you're struggling. Please understand, though, that the shame and guilt are your mother's alone, not yours. A good and decent person will experience them when they've done something wrong. Then that individual will want to make amends and do better in order to relieve themselves of that baggage. You, however, have done nothing bad in this situation and, therefore, shouldn't be shouldering any “church shame” as you call it.

Perhaps, you're putting the incorrect label on what you're really experiencing and need to talk with a close friend, trusted adult, or even a therapist to get clarity. One possibility is that you're feeling a lot of anger, resentment, and disappointment toward your mom. Because you're conflicted about these emotions, you might be suppressing them. Talking to her and clearing the air would be useful.

Another possibility is that you're feeling let down and abandoned by your faith community. If you believe folks in the church are gossiping about your family, you may be feeling betrayed by them. You may resent them for passing judgment on you when compassion is what's called for in this situation.

Church communities and religions should be loving, kind, and supportive during the trying moments of our lives. If you're not experiencing that, you may want to look elsewhere. First, though, discuss this matter with your pastor. You're one of their flock and they want you to be nourished by your faith. Their mission is to teach people how God and religion bring comfort and meaning to our lives, and they'd feel awful if someone left without knowing that.

Feelings of shame can immobilize us and keep us from moving forward and achieving our goals. They have no purpose whatsoever when they weren't earned as in your case. Don't let this unwarranted dishonor hold you back from relishing life.

Updated on January 4, 2020

Original Article:

5 Reasons Moms Get Jealous of Daughters: What's Normal & What's Not
By McKenna Meyers
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