It's amazing how our brain connects emotionally with events.
This discovery process is occurring with many of us. It's kind of like we are each putting together a big 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. When I started this process 3+ yrs ago, I may have gotten the border of the puzzle put together, but as time goes on, I am adding piece by piece. One day, it will be complete and I will have understanding. Interestingly, even last week I was coming to grips with another aspect that the abuse has had on my family that I hadn't considered before! It's crazy!
It only confirms to me that our brain will only allow us to absorb a certain amount of pain and releases more info as we can handle it or we are reminded (by memories, people retelling their stories, songs, events, etc). I can see how certain questions have been cleared up in my mind.
There is a group of people who left the church over 8 months ago. They are likely to be going through this process of discovery. They are realizing what it feels like to be shunned now and probably have a new sense of compassion for those whom they were previously shunning. I know some are reaching out to those they once shunned and apologizing and restoring those relationships. That is beautiful. But there is also sadness and anger. They are coming to grips with the years that were wasted under bad teaching, relationships that were destroyed, wondering about the effects on their children, wondering where they would be if they never had this experience. This stuff is deep and gets heady!
In this process of discovery, we do not always have the same level of understanding as others. We might understand some aspects of what happened, but be blinded to others. Some of us are dealing with friends or family who don't quite see the situation the way we do. They may minimize events or justify things they saw. This can make it confusing, too.
At one point a friend was labeling the pastor as a "wolf" or "abusive" or "legalistic". I thought this person was just too emotional and perhaps worked up. As time went by, things became more clear to me, and I, too, came to the same realizations and now fully believe we were dealing with someone who is a spiritual wolf, who used his authority inappropriately in ways I find abusive. It was interesting to see how my perspective changed over time.