You know that you should feel good about you spiritual/religious life. Religious people should be loving, kind, and a haven from what is going on in the world. But, instead, you may feel judged, ignored, and held to a standard you know you can’t live up to. Sometimes, the church at large feels less safe than even the world. Is there a possibility that you are in a religious space that is toxic instead of healing and refreshing? And is there a possibility that you are suffering from religious trauma syndrome because you have not been treated the way the church was supposed to treat you?
This religious trauma syndrome quiz won’t officially diagnose you with religious trauma syndrome (there is no official test or even official diagnosis). But it will help you to see more definitively if you are in a toxic religious or spiritual environment. And it will help you to learn the red flags of a toxic religious environment so you can get yourself to a healthier place with better support that you are experiencing right now.
Before we start with the quiz below, let’s take a look at some facts around religious trauma syndrome first so we can be on the same page.
Table of Contents
What is Religious Trauma Syndrome?
Religious Trauma Syndrome is a combination of a couple of events that, when they meet, you struggle and feel unable to shake it off, heal, and move on. It is when someone uses religion to make you feel uncomfortable, controlled, forced, or bad if you do not go along with what they want religiously or spiritually speaking. This does not have to be in a church or religious organization, although often it is. You can be abused or mistreated religiously by a friend, neighbor, coworker, superior, family member, spouse, or, of course, a church leader, fellow church member, or literally anyone who uses religion with ulterior motives.n Combine that experience with the realization that you need to emerge from that space, but feel too conquered by it to proceed. This perfect storm causes Religious Trauma Syndrome, or RTS for short.
Often, the victim of religious abuse does not realize they are being abused. Often the abuser believes they are right or on God’s side for expecting you to speak, act, or communicate in the way they are instructing you. After being treated this way for a significant amount of time, the victim will begin to show signs of religious trauma. If not recognized and treated, it can turn into Religious Trauma Syndrome.
For more on the specifics of Religious Trauma Syndrome, check out my article here.
What are the Signs of Religious Trauma Syndrome?
There are some pretty easy ways to determine if you are a victim of religious trauma syndrome. Knowing the signs and being able to recognize them in your everyday life is one of the best ways to start to understand if you are being abused religiously. Here are some of the main signs of religious trauma syndrome:
- Fear and anxiety when in a religious atmosphere or near religious people
- Inability to make a solid decision on your own without feeling dread or guilt in your faith
- A need to people-please other people of faith
- A feeling that you have to live up to someone else’s standard of spirituality
- Black and white thinking regarding doctrine, ritual, or other Christian issues
- An unhealthy fear of God’s retribution
- Exhibiting behaviors out of fear of church discipline
- Refusal to think on your own, allowing others to think for you
- Misinterpretation of Scripture
- Won’t spend time with people of differing religious views
- Constant guilt and/or shame for thoughts, words, or actions
- Difficulty making or keeping friends
- Feelings of displacement if you are leaving your faith
- Being uncomfortable with culture outside of the church you attended
There are many more signs of religious trauma syndrome. This will give you a good guide, though, to know if it is something you or a loved one is struggling with.
Is There an Official Religious Trauma Syndrome Test?
There is not an official religious trauma syndrome test that is administered in psychological circles. There really doesn’t need to be one. If you are seeing a counselor, they will be able to see if you are traumatized by religious issues. They won’t need to give you a test to do that. They will talk to you about what your issues and difficulties are. Then they will advise you on steps and processes going forward that will help you to heal and learn to relate in healthy spiritual/emotionally ways.
So, then, if there is no test and no official diagnosis, why would you need a religious trauma syndrome quiz? Read on to find out!
How This Religious Trauma Syndrome Quiz Can Help You
There is actually great benefit in working your way through a religious trauma syndrome quiz. While it is not official and no agency will put significant weight into the result of the test, it will give you and anyone else working with you in healing a good idea of how you are feeling regarding religious trauma syndrome. You and your support can help you identify triggers. Then they can help you as you move forward in healing and walking in new strength and wholeness.
And with that, let’s go ahead and get started!
Religious Trauma Syndrome Quiz
There are 29 questions that you won’t have to think too hard about. They are just yes or no answers. Don’t try to put to much thought into the words or technicalities–just answer the questions naturally as they impress you one way or the other.
Important: When you see the words “religious organization” in the quiz, it can be talking about a church or other religious organization, or it could be talking about a religious friend or family member, or whoever/whatever you feel may be causing you to have symptoms of Religious Trauma Syndrome. Adjust the words as you need to for your own situation.
Also, whether you “pass or fail” the test, if you are experiencing the things that are discussed in this Religious Trauma Syndrome test, you still need to find resolution and healing. You could be experiencing a lower level of trauma than this test picks up. That doesn’t mean you aren’t experiencing trauma. This test is just to give you an idea of the level of trauma you are feeling/experiencing. Get whatever help or healing you need to get yourself in a better place!
If you feel that you may be suffering from religious trauma syndrome, even if you may not be, it would definitely be good for you to speak with a trusted friend who will keep your words confidential. It may also be wise to speak with a counselor or other professional that can help you to work things out in a healthy way.
And with that, let’s begin! Your results will be immediately below the quiz once you finish.
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