My experience is definitely not the same. I think the biggest hang up I have, is that if being a woman in Islam. That is the biggest trauma left within me.
I wasn't a convert, and my most religious phase was quite brief in comparison. I was also quite rebellious inside and so I never willingly let go of things like non muslim friends (although my violent ex just made those friends abandon me in the long run, I myself did not cut ties). I didn't believe as other muslims did, and believed that all people were worthy.
Even my muslim friends, other than my ex sister in law, were bad muslims. I was often insulted for the choice of my friends.
For me however the biggest psychological trauma inflicted on me was the life long, never ending reminder that I was nothing compared to a man. It was a daily occurrence. Never ending. If it wasn't be said, I could read it in Islam, if I wasn't reading it, I was observing it.
Stuck at home as a young girl child, or stuck at home as a married muslim woman. Watching the freedom the men had, the right to eat first, to have the best meat whilst we ate the left overs, and only after they had completely finished and vacated the area so we could then go and eat.
I felt like I breathed in my inferiority constantly. How could I ever find peace in Islam, no matter how hard I tried, even at my most religious, I was so unhappy because I wasn't a man, and I was/believed in a religion that didn't believe in my intelligence. It made me doubt whether I honestly did need a second woman to back up my witness statements, because maybe I was too fucking stupid to remember.
I feel like I spent most of my life back then battling an internal war, trying to accept my gender, and not feel bitter that allah had given so much to one gender and so little to another.
I was more depressed over being me back then, than I have ever been since, and that is saying something, since I have been depressed since too. Islam never gave me peace because to my mind, I would never be able to avoid going to hell, because I was a woman. And what is more, even the idea of heaven, seemed like hell to me.
To be married to my husband and part of his harem up there? I actually felt serious dread at both prospects.
Those sorts of feelings are still with me now, and have left serious damage within me.
Another issue I would say I am left with, are sexual hang ups. The belief, as much as I try to fight against that belief, that I am dirty on some level. Unworthy and unlovable because I am not pure.
It is why I am single, and why I am likely to remain single since I am unable to trust that a man, is not a typical muslim man, who wants only a woman who is pure. This belief that all I am is a piece of meat, and that anyone I meet, is only looking at me as the type of woman you sleep with, not the type you stay with.
Of course I know that this is part of what Islam has left me with. Sexual hang ups that mean sex leaves me feeling nothing but shame, but it's such a deep down belief, only appears when I am at my most vulnerable, and isn't any better than it was when i first left Islam. It's on an almost primal level of feeling, bound to feelings of fear and fight or flight. Overwhelming shame that I experience each time, and so choose to not experience it anymore by never taking those sort of risks in the first place.
These beliefs were pressed in to me at every step through my history with Islam, from childhood, and into adulthood, and represent the psychological trauma I felt with Islam.
On the rest, I never felt connected to the muslim ummah, so I lost nothing, I never felt a part of my family, so I lost nothing. I never felt at one with the message, so again I lost nothing.
But I never gained a sense of a self as a female from the outset, so making myself into one since I left Islam, has been a hard journey, and still is.
You reminded me of the guilt i am left with as an apostate too, i cannot enjoy a single glass of wine or a night at a bar without feeling i have done something really bad, i have been out of islam for over five years and still i cannot enjoy alcohol, i havent considered having a boyfriend either because it makes me feel impure, like i'm supposed to be married, islam has turned me into a prude i guess so.. Poor sweeties! Sexually even I sometimes feel guilt for it though.
Berbella I can really relate to your post, I myself was similar to you in the sense of rebellion inside and not agreeing with all of islams rules
I do wonder though, does leaving a religion make us selfish, in a sense that now a lot of us have to make decisions that hurt our families in the end. As a muslim family comes first, could it be said as an ex muslim we are more selfish and concerned for our own well being?
Maybe in one way it makes ex-Muslims selfish, but isn't Muslim parents wanting their children to be a certain way/s also selfish?