In one of these moments of self-doubt, I turned to my childhood journal for affirmation. What I found startled me even more than my memories. Every page is swimming with self-hatred. Half the journal entries read like a suicide note. It's horrifying.
Fundamentalism teaches children that they are sinners. It teaches them to deny themselves, despise their needs, sterilize their personality, and strangle their sexuality. It teaches girls that they are stupid, insignificant, and purposeless without a man. The things you believe about yourself during your formative years shape the way you think, feel, and behave for the rest of your life. Nothing can be more crippling than self-hatred.
To illustrate how deeply fundamentalism destroys a child's self-worth, I am considering publishing some of the entries from my childhood/teenage journals. This will not be a commentary on my family or the things that happened in my home. It will be a glimpse into the mind and heart of a little girl who believed she did not deserve to live. My hope would be that people will see the dangers of fundamentalist Christianity and think twice about the things they teach (or allow to be thought) to their children.
Would anyone find this helpful or interesting? Would you be interested in sharing bits from your childhood journal to add to the illustration?
UPDATE: Many people experienced similar self-hatred stemming from psychological abuse that was not necessarily religious in nature. I welcome journal entries from those children as well as they offer a clear example of how religious fundamentalism is a form of psychological abuse.