ABUSE & VIOLENCE IN THE CHURCH, Julie Anne's Personal Stories, Personal Stories, Recovery Process, Stories of Hope, SURVIVOR STORIES

What’s Going on with JA?

Compassion Fatigue, Trauma, Abuse

Painted Hills, Oregon

Have you noticed more posts from Kathi and less posts from me? Yea, I’ve noticed, too. And sometimes I feel guilty about it and tell myself to get on the ball. But lately, I’ve been trying to treat myself in a kinder, more gentler way by cutting myself some slack.

This is what I mean by kinder. I started this post on May 16, when I saw this tweet which resonated with me:

Almost two months later, I am finally finishing it. Yea, so, I start a lot of blog posts, but don’t finish them. I get roused up by a new potential blog post, find a bunch of articles, sources, and quotes, put them in a draft post on WordPress, and they remain there. Unfinished and unpublished. Please don’t ask how many tens of posts are there. It’s not in the tens, it’s in the hundreds. Yikes!

Every once in a while, I can do a post at one sitting and hit publish, but that’s been rare lately. I can’t even begin to think about the in-depth posts I used to do when I was in school. I don’t know how that happened. Now, when I’m not in school, when I have the time to do longer, detailed posts, I simply can’t. What is going on?

I need to take better care of myself.

I noticed last year when my former pastor was fired. My pastor’s wife had told me about compassion fatigue and wanted me to look it up. I did. When I did, I noticed the symptoms and could personally relate with many of them. It makes sense. After the lawsuit, the influx of people needing help because of spiritual abuse after reading the blog, going to school full-time, being wife/mother . . it caught up to me. I need to take better care of myself.

I’ve always said that when I quit crying when hearing stories, then I know my time is up. My time is not up. You better believe I still feel pain and cry when I hear stories. But what I missed in listening to the stories is that sometimes those stories resonated personally for me. It reminded me of my own journey —and my own unfinished business.

But what I did was push my story aside and put my energies towards the person seeking help. I am quick to stop everything to help someone who needs it, but sometimes at the expense of my own health.

So, now, I am trying and doing a much better job of taking care of myself.

What Does Compassion Fatigue Look Like?

So, what are symptoms I recognize in myself? Mostly everything in #1 above. Not all, but most. Not all at the same time, but frequent enough that when I read this, I knew it was talking about me.

I always like to be transparent here. I am going through a lot on the home front. Some big decisions need to be made. I’m looking for a job. I’m learning a ton about trauma-informed care – taking an online class. I’m learning about our personal stories in a deeper way and how important it is to honor them.

Over a week ago, a good friend and I took off to remote areas in Eastern Oregon, near Painted Hills area. On my way there, I drove over two hours and maybe saw a handful of cars going the opposite direction, it was that remote, with little-to-no cell coverage. This was about self care. Our only plan was to drive around and visit small towns and chill. We had a wonderful time unwinding and enjoying the beauty around us.

And Kathi is fantastic. We are usually in touch with each other several times a day. I have kept her in the loop on how I am doing. She is the real deal. She checks in with me and makes sure I am taking care of myself. What a gift she is!

If I cannot take care of myself, I will be unable to care for others they way they deserve. When you have experienced a lot of abuse in your life, abuse tends to be your norm. I am trying to create a new norm of kindness in my life to myself and others. I have a lot to share, and I will.

Thanks for reading and for your support.

20 thoughts on “What’s Going on with JA?”

  1. You are so loved, Julie Anne. How I relate to compassion fatigue! You are in my prayers and my home is always open to you if you need a place to decompress. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Twitter is having problems. I experienced some earlier and I just got a news alert saying Twitter was experiencing “significant outages”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. JA, The lesson you are learning is one worth sharing with all of us! I have a family member who believes if she stops her constant (and unreasonable) caretaking, she will lose her “witness”. I have never understood this attitude. It’s as if God is impotent without her!
    I too am thankful for Kathi’s posts. We all have a role to play in assisting others, but that also means allowing others to help you! Thank you for sharing your struggles and recognizing the importance of slowing down! You have taught us all an important lesson!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear JA, I have suffered compassion fatigue too, so perhaps I have some understanding of what you’re going through. Good for you for doing whatever you need to do to re-set.
    Wishing you all the best as you navigate the stuff on the home front and look for a job.


  5. I am glad that you are taking time for yourself. I can relate, at least in part, as there have been times I’ve had to step back. And unfinished blogs, along with a huge ‘to-do’ list that never gets done…

    I hope you feel refreshed from your trip. It is good to get away like that and being around nature has a way of lifting our spirits. You’ve done a great deal of work here (and behind the scenes) in the past and continue to do so- you more than deserve some ‘me time’. May you be uplifted, refreshed in your spirit, and have wisdom in your future decision making.


  6. Julie Anne, you’re already moving in the right direction because it’s not easy to stop and take care of yourself. Especially for people who are advocates because you don’t want to let anyone down. You can’t advocate for others unless you are taking care of yourself. So, you keep on taking care of yourself, dear friend. We’re all here for you!

    Thank you to everyone for understanding when posting is minimal. Julie Anne and I have come to the conclusion that we will do the best we can when we can. It’s not that we don’t care or don’t have it in us, it’s just that time and emotional energy are precious sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Julie Anne,

    Great post. It takes a lot of courage to be honest and vulnerable like this. Yes, we all agree that you should have some well deserved rest. Glad to hear you are taking care of yourself.


  8. Thank you all for your kind comments and support. As Kathi mentioned above – I have already been making positive changes in my life, making better choices, etc. I will probably share more about this and what I’ve been learning as time goes on. I’ve been hearing from others who have been going through the same thing. I think it’s an important discussion to have.


  9. Thanks, Julie Anne. I have battled compassion fatigue for more than 25 years. It seems like and ebb and flow movement, but always leaves me exhausted, weary. And having compassion is at the heart of my ministry.

    So glad you are making changes. Blessings on your time.


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Take care of yourself for sure! Blessings and thanks to you and Kathi and everyone at SSB  for providing this safe space.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dear Julie Anne,

    I read your post some time ago, and have learned that most of the time, it is best for me to get me butt on me four wheeler and drive, drive, and ride some more in letting that other person (in this case, you, Julie Anne) minister to me soul. There are times when your posts resonate with the heart of the matter, that one needs to read, wheel away, and let your words ferment in our hearts and minds.

    And the tears…..they flow, flow, and flow generously……in healing.

    From the depths of my soul, I want to express how grateful it is for you to be real in your journey here. What I appreciate is your humility and your humanity in being a genuinely loving person who does not need to be a theological “big shot;” you remind me so much of how Jesus approached people who needed hope and an encouraging word in a world that was/and is, difficult to live in/survive in. And the “visible times” may have changed somewhat, but the “heart of the matter” remains the same until Jesus returns again.

    The most wonderful aspect of the internet, I feel, is that we can express how we truly feel and not expect anything in return…..in the form of a kick-back, unlike the c’hurch systems of this world. The reason I speak this, is that when one encourages another, in front of wicked pastor men, they become jealous and envious, and the sermons on “flattery” flow generously from their man-made pulpit systems, because, these men are not being the “center of attention;” or “flattered themselves (which they love the first seats in their religious buildings) for being the pew sitters’ “all in all”; or ” idolized as the utmost authority on the word of a god, which I have found personally, is NOT THE UTMOST AUTHORITY ON THE LORD’S WORD” because they are in it for the money and benefits as they guilt people into paying them to interpret God’s Holy Word for their income/lifestyle. I cannot imagine Jesus guilting people into providing Him a cushy lifestyle……. for He did not. It is a joy to speak truth in appreciation for your healing ministry here, Julie Anne, for you have helped many, heal and begin to enjoy life again…..including meself.

    I so appreciate your posts, Julie Anne, for you provided me a venue of hope and sanity when I needed it the most. And I praise Jesus, the Living Christ, for you and all of the hard work in creating a venue for people to share and fellowship, and, for all of the comment threaders, ie. real people, who have experienced abuse in the name of a religious system that claims to know a jesus figure, yet, their hearts and minds cannot grasp the full understanding of His Word/Ways. We are all on a journey together and I appreciate the wisdom, knowledge, understanding and grace that many have expressed on this site throughout the years.

    So please do, take good care of yourself and your family, without the added guilt and urgent responsibility that so easily creeps up on you when you are not looking……abusive c’hurch systems/clergy/leadership, etc., are mirror images of the guilt laden system that satan hurled upon our LORD Jesus Christ. Even Jesus, Son of man and Son of God, was led into the wilderness to commune with His Father, our Father Who art in Heaven, for a time. And this is good! Wilderness times promote the greatest growth spurts in every area of our lives!

    Thank-You, Julie Anne, for being the brave and courageous woman that you are in helping so many of us find comfort, realizing that we are not alone with regards to spiritual abuse, or any other form of abuse for that matter. And, for shedding the light on blatant heresy that masquerades itself as c’hristianity, but in fact, practices darkness apart from the Living Waters of Jesus Christ.

    I would say that both, you and Kathi, have been a major blessing in my life and the lives of others here. May our LORD bless you and yours, always.

    So grateful for Spiritual Sounding Board!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow, Katy. What a kind and thoughtful comment. Thank you so much. I’m so glad that you have found SSB to be beneficial. To be a blessing is the cherry on top. 🙂


  13. Julie Anne,

    You are so welcome! Truthfully, I did not know that such a thing as spiritual abuse occurred within the visible christian industrial complex until I discovered Spiritual Sounding Board and read your testimony, leading me to your website on a continual basis. It is here, that I wept with the least of these (Jesus’ Words) who experienced abuse in the name of a religion Jesus never, ever condoned.

    Your site opened the doors to freedom, liberty, and the joy of my faith in Jesus Christ as my all in all LORD, because my faith was faltering due to the fact that I had replaced man (complementarianism) and their authoritarian words, with true faith that comes only from my Master/Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. A sort of replacement theology within me soul, and as others here have labeled it as pure, and unholy unadulterated “idolatry.”

    I was worshiping man and trying to “please” man at the cost of me own health….my spiritual, emotional/mental, and physical health, BUT, to no avail. One cannot please man, ever, ever, never ever! And to harm oneself in order to please “religious man”, I believe, is an abomination unto our LORD Jesus Christ, because He came to set all of the captives “free,” including all of us who have experienced religious bondage.

    I could go on and on and on…….and will say this………I have discovered more good and godly Christian, truly Blessed fellowship here, on Spiritual Sounding Board, than I have in all of the years sitting under an abusive baptist c’hurch religious system. I know, for certain, that our Savior, was and never will be a “baptist.”

    Please do, take good care of yourself Julie Anne, because you are loved by Christ. No doubt in me mind! 🙂


  14. Thank you, again Katy. Your heart-felt words make me smile with gratefulness. I’m so, so glad you are on a new path of spiritual freedom. 👏💕


  15. Julie Anne, I’m new to SSB but thankful to the Lord for directing my path here…and thankful for your sacrificial care for those who are hurting from abuse in Christian circles. I’ve been through the roughest few years of my life as I experienced utter shock and great pain encountering the unveiling of the true nature of a Christian mega-figure in up close encounters. I’ve been told I just have to let it go. And that’s true. But having a supportive voice and an understanding ear as a resource is a gift from God. Thank you.
    By the way, I responded to your offer to email you re the debacle you recently discussed (gas lighting and ingratiating…honed to a high degree).

    God bless you.

    Heavy Hearted


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