• Rachel Ramer

Part I: Children of Religious Toxicity

Updated: Jul 30, 2019


Children in homes where religious fervor takes precedence over people learn at an early age what is acceptable and what is not. They develop a hyper-vigilance that is similar to those in homes with addictions. They learn to care about adult issues and judge people accordingly. I recently talked to two teachers who spent years in the classroom with second and third graders. They confirmed what I had experienced, that even at this early age, their students from overly religious homes were arguing about doctrine, such who is going to heaven and why, or who is headed to another place.


Children from these homes can develop the following characteristics:

  • a critical attitude towards others

  • inability to trust others outside their religious circle

  • overly submissive behaviors

  • black and white thinking patterns

  • fear of future events and hell

  • awfulizing

  • susceptibility to other abuses

  • a sense of superiority or inferiority (sometimes both)

  • minimized emotions or exaggerated emotions

  • isolation

  • depression, lethargy

  • indecisiveness

  • a rejection of common sense or positive solutions

  • inner criticisms or excessive introspection

  • struggles with reality

  • guilt and shame issues


I grew up in a toxic religious environment. The tendency is to develop coping skills that eventually cause more problems. Some abandon religion altogether. Others limp along over a lifetime. Yet, progress is possible!


Part II: Helping Minor Children of Religious Toxicity


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