I’ve written about dominionist Christianity extensively, so I won’t describe it at length here. One of the most toxic and abusive doctrines of dominionism is that if you are vulnerable in any way — if you are poor, sick, disabled, mentally ill, or even a person of color (in dominionist doctrine, people of color are believed to be derived from the line of Ham, the son of Cain, who was Adam and Eve’s “bad” son — in the past this has been used as “biblical” justification of slavery) — these are all indications of God’s disfavor and people “afflicted” with these things deserve their lot. In contrast, God’s favored people are always rewarded with great wealth, perfect health, and no disabilities. They are also usually white and Republican. This is why dominionist Christians feel no obligation to show compassion toward the sick, poor and disabled (as Christ would do) — because to help them would be to go against God’s will. It’s also why they seem to think unlimited power and greed (and oppression of others) is perfectly moral.
But getting back to myself. While I was never a dominionist Christian or even a conservative evangelical, my attitude in the past toward myself was a very negative, self punishing one. I always had at least a nominal faith in God, but I truly believed he disliked me and my terrible luck, my bad relationships, my inability to form close relationships, my emotionally abusive family, and my poverty were all punishments God was inflicting on me because he hated me. I looked at others and saw how fortunate they were (or at least seemed to be) and felt like God must like them much better. Sometimes I thought God only put me on earth as an example to others of what not to be.
This made me feel completely worthless and made me want to hide in shame from the world. It made me painfully shy, which only exacerbated my problems meeting people and socializing. In my recovery from narcissistic abuse, I realized this negative, self defeating narrative was self inflicted due to internalizing abuse inflicted on me when I was young. I began to realize that I had good qualities and never had the chance to develop them.
I like myself now. No, I’m not living my “dream life” (that would involve traveling all over the world and writing bestselling books) and I will probably never have a high powered, high paying career at my age. I probably won’t ever achieve all my dreams, but really, who does? I’m still on the lower end of the income scale, but I wouldn’t say I’m impoverished anymore. I have enough money to be comfortable and even buy a few luxuries (like occasional inexpensive vacations, beach trips, new books, the occasional dinner out, and nice clothing).
I’m still alone (not in a relationship), and even though sometimes that’s lonely and I even occasionally feel sorry for myself, I also know I prefer things that way for now. I’m still working on myself, trying to find out more about me and what God wants for me (and what I want for myself).
I feel fortunate to have two wonderful adult children, both of whom I have a great relationship with, and three awesome cats. I also live in a beautiful part of the country, with endless opportunities for photo taking and just enjoying the natural world. Not everyone is so fortunate to have that.
Recovery from narcissistic abuse coupled with reframing God as a benevolent and loving Father who wants all his children to be happy and healthy rather than as a punishing and hateful bully who favors some of his children over others (and rewards them primarily with wealth and material abundance) has made all the difference.
I think this is why I find Christian dominionism so triggering and scary. Not just because it’s become a real threat to our basic freedoms and rights, but because it’s a toxic, abusive, and hateful belief in an avenging, constantly angry, narcissistic God who likes to bully and punish the most vulnerable. That sort of God, to me, is as bad as the devil. I think that God was made in his narcissistic control freak human makers’ own image.
I’m so glad I don’t believe in that God anymore.