Memories. Previously I touched on the subject of good things happening at unhealthy/abusive churches and that being able to see and admit such is an evidence of the healing process. There is another aspect, that it is OK to miss the good that happened.
When one has been involved for awhile in any activity, when they leave they sometimes have periodic times of missing it, even longing for aspects of it again. It is natural. If you spent years coaching a football team or playing cards with a group of people, you would have periods where you missed the good times, the fellowship together, the camaraderie. I think to never feel these would be abnormal.
Why should you feel it would be different after leaving a church where you spent many months or years bonding with the people and involved in the activities? Yes, even when you later found the church was unhealthy, abusive and/or taught false doctrine. Those things do not change the good times you had or any closeness with people. It is OK to miss the good things from your former unhealthy church.
I want to share some well spoken thoughts on this, that a member of our support group once wrote. I feel it wraps up the subject very well and gives an important word of caution at the end. It is quoted with permission.
I think this is something important for anyone to realize after leaving an unhealthy church. After having been a part of something for a long time, it can be hard to reconcile mixed feelings when there were good times too. I’ve missed a great deal of things since leaving, and even felt a little nostalgic at times. Never enough to warrant going back to it, but I’ve certainly dealt with periods of sadness. I’ve cried over friendships I left behind and wished I could re-live some of the positive experiences without returning to all the negative. I think it’s good for everyone to realize some of those feelings are “normal”… so long as it’s kept in perspective and doesn’t drag us back into another unhealthy situation.