I discovered that the fear-based beliefs of my childhood religion were a greater abuse than any physical or sexual abuse I endured. Spiritual abuse affected me in a very deep an profound way that prevented me from finding true happiness.
The core belief in my childhood religion was that men are Gods and God is man. I was born into the belief that I was, and always would be, worth less than men.
As a child I knew very little about gratitude or how to express it. We were not taught the simple expression of "thank you" and the only mention of gratitude was in the meaningless words that were simply lip-service at the many prayer times. I had no real association to a feeling of genuine gratitude for anything in my life. I knew nothing of what it could do for me and its real value. In fact, I did not really understand gratitude until my mid-life breakdown when I discovered it to be the first essential component to rebuilding my life.