34 – Dorothy Husen – Former Charismatic Christian, Now Atheist – Marriage and Family Therapist

Dorothy Husen – Former Charismatic Christian, Now Atheist – Marriage and Family Therapist

Dorothy Husen - Former Charismatic Christian, Now Atheist - Marriage and Family TherapistChildhood

Dorothy Husen grew up in a family with parents who were traumatized and passed their trauma onto their kids. Her father had a mental illness and her mother was very controlling with intermittent fits of rage.

In childhood, she survived by becoming the good, quiet, obedient, compliant, and dependent little girl that her mother needed her to be. She scared of her parents and witnessed their anger exploding onto each other and her siblings regularly. Although never physically abused by her parents, Dorothy witnessed her sibling’s beatings and spankings regularly. She was vulnerable to perpetrators and was sexually assaulted and molested by a stranger and 2 family “friends”.

Christian Identity

When she was 13, Dorothy’s parents converted to Charismatic Christianity through the Jesus movement in Southern California during the late 60’s and 70’s. This was the emergence of Chuck Smith’s Calvary Chapels, Maranatha Music, & Melodyland Church. The emphasis was on love, joy, peace, and fellowship.

Dorothy’s parents were seemingly instantaneously “healed in Jesus”. All was forgiven, healed, and made new in Christ Jesus. Those first few years as a Christian family were the happiest years of her childhood. Although the fighting between my parents did start up again, She was older and she formed her Christian identity to help navigate through life. The Christian faith provided an outer structure in which Dorothy could live her life. It gave her a purpose and role to fulfill as long as she remained within the walls of this structure. The faith held her together but at a high cost. The damage it did to her was that it taught her to repress and deny the pain from childhood. Christianity was a way for her to “spiritually by-pass” the emotional wounds.

The horrible damage this perpetuated then was that Dorothy passed on her trauma to her children. She felt like an emotionally vacant mother. All she had to give them was Jesus and this outer structure of religion and rules.

Both Dorothy’s children sought comfort and solace in drugs and alcohol.  Their home became the chaos of her childhood with the constant fighting over the children’s disobedience and “rebellion” from God and the church.

When she became a mother, Dorothy became triggered by her old childhood wounds and began isolating and escaping even more. Religion provided the perfect avenue to dissociate by:

1) Praying

2) Reading and studying the bible

3) Reading Christian books

4) Watching tv

4) Sleeping & Working

5) Going to women’s bible studies

6) Going to church

Finding her True Core Self, her Authentic Identity, and Deconverting

 One day, Dorothy’s husband said that he was unable to sustain the stress of being an attorney and that he might die of a heart attack if he kept this up. She got really scared because she loved him and was dependent upon him. He asked her to go back to school with him and they both could become Marriage and Family Therapists. Dorothy agreed. And thus began her journey of healing, identity formation, and deconversion.

The first day she sat across from her therapist ( a requirement to graduate was 6 months of personal psychotherapy), Dorothy told her that she didn’t know what to talk about because her life was so good and healthy. She thought she was a spiritually mature Christian woman.  The therapist told her, “Dorothy, I think you have PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder]”. Outwardly, she protested, but deep down inside, for the first time ever in her life, she felt validated!

She started healing, slowly, by journaling. She started having nightmares and journaling about those. And, she started crying for the first time. Eventually she moved on to training in Mind/Body Psychotherapy and then her own personal Mind/Body Psychotherapy which got down into her body releasing from deep within the brain and subconscious. [This is when she stopped going to church]

Dorothy started provided for herself what her parents couldn’t give her…security, acceptance, unconditional love, a safe haven. She discovered her own moral compass and found that she was GOOD. [This is when she stopped reading her bible]

Then she moved into the normal human development of curiosity, exploration, and trying new things. She began to make mistakes, then go back to her secure base within, self soothe, and then try again.  As Dorothy found her true authentic identity, the function of religion was no longer needed…and her faith just fell away.

She opened up her own private practice, joined Toastmasters, found her voice, and grew in confidence. [This is when she threw her Bible away and stopped praying].

Dorothy remained agnostic for a couple of years, believing in source, love, or some higher power. Then, in early 2017, she decided to try a Meet-Up with a local agnostic & atheist group. She also started watching TED talks and listening to atheist podcasts. [This is when she completely de-converted and became an atheist]

Dorothy Husen’s website www.dorothyhusen.com

YouTube channel, Dorothy Husen

Email is dorothyhusen@gmail.com

Podcast YouTube Channel

Music – Original Composition by Esther Nicholson

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson