ABUSE & VIOLENCE IN THE CHURCH, BLOG INFORMATION, Julie Anne's Personal Stories

Update on JA


Hi everyone!


I wanted to share a personal update. Right before Christmas, I was offered and accepted a new job. The official title is Cyber Security Project Coordinator – a project management position! Woohoo! I graduated with my Bachelor’s in cyber security, but was certainly not looking for a project management job. It turns out many of my personal life experiences (even blogging) are the same skills needed for project management. BTW, the Cyber Security Director was intrigued by Spiritual Sounding Board blog and even read a bit of it! He gets systems of abuse, too, and in fact, today we had a discussion about cults and abusive systems.

I started on Monday and think it’s going to be a great fit for me. The people are great. It’s only 5 minutes from home. I work four 10-hour days which means I have 3-day weekends each week. This is the schedule I was hoping for!

I think having this job will be better for my mental health. I noticed I was dealing with compassion fatigue, and boy, is that ever real! You cannot invest emotionally into the lives of others without a cost. I think this job will be good because I won’t be spending hours and hours every day on abuse-related issues. I will have a healthier balance with my time.

What does that mean for the blog – will things change? Probably not too much. The primary difference as I can see it, is I probably won’t be online enough to read about and report on “breaking stories.” Oh well. No big deal. Someone else will do it.

Kathi and I will still be plugging away with blog posts about abuse in churches, harmful teachings, terrible books book reviews, weird tweets, and personal stories.

Thanks for all your support to me over the years. Some of you remember when I just started school! Time sure flies! 🙂



35 thoughts on “Update on JA”

  1. Congratulations, and good luck!

    Cybersecurity projects are tough to manage. I do Cybersecurity myself, making all the systems work as designed, operationalizing the security tools, managing the vulnerability lifecycle, compliance audits – sometimes it’s like moving mountains and there’s lots of resistance. The people kind of problems are significant, but also very thorny technical problems that resist simple solutions. Sometimes the only way to solve a problem is with an expensive tool – but then you find there is no budget. Cybersecurity is often the 21st century version of castle-building – heavy laborious work.

    The important thing to remember is that Cybersecurity is nothing but spiritual warfare being fought in another domain. The threats you face from hacktivists, criminal gangs, nation states, and insider threats are real and tangible expressions of human sin.

    Still it was God’s favor that brought me into this career path, recovering from a spiritually abusive church, and two abusive workplaces. While on the security team at one position, and being in a prime spot for promotion (I had actually been recruited by one of the leads in the security team for a role on their team) suddenly I found myself (and others) targeted by the newly minted VP of Security who was determined to set me and the team up for failure to build a fiefdom. During one dark day I sat in the break room, almost in tears about the damage that was being done to me and my family, when a Christian co-worker talked with me, prayed with me, and told me directly: “I believe what you are facing is spiritual warfare. The enemy is now attacking you in your ability to provide for your family.” That conversation made all the difference. Four months of extreme drama later, including the unjust firing of the other team lead, God provided a new position at another company – that gave me both the work I needed and the rest from unnecessary abusive politics. The story of what happened at that company is still playing out and maybe someday it can be told.

    I think sometimes that we don’t connect the dots between the abuse we receive from the church and their attacks on our reputations, and those of the workplace, and those committed by our own families. As soon as I joined another company and could take a breath on the work front, the enemy sowed a major division in our family. It was like dominoes falling between the church abuse, workplace abuse, and major family problems.

    Despite all this, God shines favor upon us, and sometimes gives us favor in unexpected places – knowing that God delights in us and is blessing us despite the plans of men to destroy or defame us gives those of us who trust God and seek His face and righteousness the confidence and security to live righteously even when the enemy’s worst arrows are coming at us. The enemy archers are no match for God’s mighty hand 🙂

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  2. The world is a safer place because someone like you has this education.

    Happy day!
    Thank you!
    You ROCK!

    Having empathy hurts. But, I would rather have it than not. People who have it are cool, impressive, and rare.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats JA! So happy for you. Yes life balance is important. Empathy can get very involved and need to back off and refuel❤️ BlesSINGS!

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  4. Awesome! What sort of cyber security? Is it more like building defenses, or testing code, or pen testing on websites? Our security team has a guy who’s kinda a white-hat guy. He shot a video of how he broke into our server room, then showed it to the chief of security. Then he ran a conference where he showed why it was a bad idea to plug in USB flash drives found in the parking lot, or why you shouldn’t leave your badge in the car, etc.

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  5. Thank you, everyone. I just finished my first week and am so impressed by what I’ve seen: from my boss to the co-workers. What a great group of people. And my boss is all about servant leadership and healthy environments. Excellent!

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  6. Awesome, Julie Anne! They’re so lucky to have your heart and your talent there. Wishing you much happiness in your new endeavour!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Michael, thanks for your note. It sounds like you have experienced systemic abuse in multiple arenas. Once you understand systems of abuse, you will be able to identify it and can look at it as a system “from afar” rather than as a pawn to be used within the system. I hope that makes sense. All in all, when we have experienced harm in church or work, we now have a better picture of what to look out for as a warning, and what healthy aspects to seek after.

    My new job seems to be a healthy environment from what I have gathered so far. I’m very encouraged.

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  8. re: compassion fatigue.

    I’ve been married to a wonderful woman and her father and her ex-husband for over 20 years.

    What I mean is that I have been married to a survivor of long-term (30+ yrs.) sexual abuse from her father and (15+ yrs) of physical and emotional abuse from her ex-husband.

    Everything I do or say is a constant reminder to her that her dad did that or her husband said that. To say these “ghosts” have left her with physical, emotional and sexual scars would be an understatement. She started telling me anything until 7 years into our marriage and I’ve been experiencing something I couldn’t put into words until now.

    “compassion fatigue” describes EXACTLY how I feel. I know this is a place for women to open up and share their experiences and to get healing but when I start getting advice or counsel from my pastor or other men to divorce
    her, I came here.

    Any suggestions for a husband living with “ghosts” in a marriage?

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  9. Hi UnorthoDOCSJew, thanks for posing your question. (BTW, this place is for all, not just for women.)

    Has she sought therapy for these past relational issues? It sounds like she is living in the past and taking you with her to her trauma. That must be very taxing on you. Have you also considered therapy? It might help you to know how to respond to her AND to take care of yourself in healthy ways.

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  10. Hi JA. She got all the therapy she needed needed before we got married. She stopped going because she “has a husband to carry all the baggage.” I can’t go for therapy myself because “we have each other and that’s all we need.”

    15 Pastors and 6 counsellors I’ve met say:
    1) “it’s just spiritual warfare.” “bind the devil”;
    2) divorce her (“by the way, we have a wonderful singles group”;
    3) “pastors don’t need therapy, they just need more time alone with Jesus”
    4) “masturbation is a healthy substitute if your wife isn’t giving you s-e-x”

    and other useless advice. I have stopped going to church after she developed periods of dementia and she starts reliving all her abuse and starts telling me all the details all over again.

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  11. @Unorthodocsjew, “I can’t go for therapy myself because “we have each other and that’s all we need.”

    I’m happily married, have great kids and a great job. I’m going back to therapy with someone who understands complex trauma because the defense mechanisms I built to survive childhood, while I believe necessary then, have been a relatively constant source of frustration and lack of joy as an adult.

    The more I read about trauma, the more I see it as a pattern of brokenness that pervades our society, and it’s especially heartbreaking when the church gives pat answers like you’ve gotten instead of helping you find those resources for healing.

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  12. UnorthodocsJew, I’m no DSM expert or anything, but I’m wondering if there’s a certain “type” of pastor or counselor you’re seeing that’s simply not able to see what’s really going on here, and that’s the “type” you’ve been seeing. If you can recognize that “type” and choose someone–I’m guessing a licensed mental health practicioner–who is outside that “type”, you may find someone who will be able to help you figure out what’s going on a bit better. God bless you and praying for you in this.

    (another thought I’ve got is I cannot imagine a pastor in the circles I inhabit giving that advice….there are pluses and minuses to where I am, but wow, it’s different)

    Congrats on the life changes, by the way, gracious hostess.

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  13. UnorthoDOCSJew, I haven’t read the other responses yet, but your first paragraph concerns me greatly. Actually, your whole comment does.

    It is not your responsibility to carry her baggage. You can support her while she works on her bagage, but that is HER responsibility. You absolutely can go to therapy. It is apparent that your wife is not in a position to be your “therapist” if she cannot take care of herself.

    I would recommend that you not see anymore pastors. Very, very few are licensed and/or trained to do therapy. It’s important that they are licensed.

    What kind of counselors have you seen? Were they licensed (see above).?

    You cannot change your wife, but you can make healthy changes for you. I hope you get the strength to do just that. You are so worth it!

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  14. Good for you, Mark! I’m glad you are getting help. The stuff I’ve been reading says that trauma is passed through the DNA. When you make healthy change, you are giving your kids a better chance of living a healthy life.

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  15. Thanks, BB and everyone for such kind and supportive comments. It was a great week getting to know people and getting my feet wet with all the newness of everything. Next week I will be given two cyber security projects to manage. Yikes and yippee at the same time – lol. I have a lot to learn, but I’m ready to do it.

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  16. Hi. I was reading an old blog and came across a name belonging to a “woman’s only” online “counsellor” that my wife subscribes to. I asked her if she still reads her advice and she said that this “counsellor” was the reason why she quit going to her own therapist. I haven’t read everything this blog has said about her but … she doesn’t sound “kosher”. (And yes, I’m a Jew so I do know what I’m saying.)

    I’m worried. Just saying.

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  17. Actually the counsellor I was seeing was a church member who works as a therapist for our local police force. I stopped going when the pastor expressed disappointment when I felt so suicidal that I had a plan how I was going to do it.

    (I had mentioned it only the church member/therapist.) I decided then and there: no pastors and no counsellors.

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  18. If the church member/therapist is licensed, I’d recommend that you file a complaint with the state licensing board. Violating confidentiality is a serious ethical breach, unless you specifically asked the member to share the information.

    My first counselor was recommended by my pastor, yes, but she was not a church member and she was state licensed. She was required by law to provide me with information on how to file a formal complaint or report concerns. Everything was completely above board and she was very helpful. We kinda hit a roadblock (I think) because she was not trained in complex trauma, which is a different beast than regular trauma and the tools she was using were not working. It took about a year for me to find the right information online to understand what the issue was.

    Liked by 1 person

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