vadarama

Apostasy and Survivor's Guilt

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Hi guys. I haven't been on these forums in awhile, but I feel a need to plug back in. Seems I must actively continue down the road of healthy recovery from my discarded evangelicalism, with patience and awareness. It doesn't just fade away, and my actions and thoughts are still informed daily by the trauma of that spiritual violation during childhood. 

 

Upon deconverting, I was so excited to really start living- I was truly invigorated and enlightened in a way that confirmed I was on the right path- the path of reality and truth outside of my weird matrix of dogmatic interpretation. It was a thrill. I'm still so eternally (ha!) grateful for my new perspective and intellectual/spiritual freedom, but I struggle to adjust and live like a normal human day to day, and to really invest in longterm things like personal career goals and family/friendship. I struggle with agency and personal responsibility, even though I'm so relieved to have access to these things now. There are many reasons for this, but I think I've been ignoring a key one.

 

I've heard countless references to survivor's guilt as a phenomenon, but for some reason it really hit me for the first time last night that it might apply to me and be one of my major hangups. Years later, I'm almost paralyzed by guilt for escaping. Extended family members are super caught up in the insanity of death-cult American evangelicalism, and some are even Right Wingers/Trump supporters, despite us being Black and not coming from money. To see the irrational and self-harming ideology continue to affect my loved ones is too much. I can't accept that I've gotten out of the mindset but they might never see what real life is like. It's heartbreaking! I wonder if I'm subconsciously holding myself back from thriving in the real world because I can't bring others with me, and because of the shame I feel about having the chance to thrive without God. It's a basic human right that we all should have- I feel like I'm sitting at a banquet table that my family can't join me at, and I'm unable to enjoy the meal, or even fully partake.

 

Does this make sense to anyone?

 

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vadarama,

 

I see where you are coming from and also feel I would very much like to "rescue" the fams from harmful indoctrination.

 

As for guilt. No. Not so much.

Just a kind of loneliness knowing I cannot relate with Mrs. MOHO, her son and his family.

The oldest grand-daughter (stepson's daughter I have no kids of my own), however might be awakening so ... maybe I'll have a confidant in a while.

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3 hours ago, MOHO said:

vadarama,

 

I see where you are coming from and also feel I would very much like to "rescue" the fams from harmful indoctrination.

 

As for guilt. No. Not so much.

Just a kind of loneliness knowing I cannot relate with Mrs. MOHO, her son and his family.

The oldest grand-daughter (stepson's daughter I have no kids of my own), however might be awakening so ... maybe I'll have a confidant in a while.

 

Rooting for her awakening and you having a confidant! Thanks for sharing. I feel the loneliness, too, knowing we inhabit such different realities. The chasm is so big I can't stand to even have normal conversations without wanting to mention it (if they don't first!).

 

 

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Hi, Vadarama.  I completely understand where you are coming from.  For me, it's gotten to the point that I can't hardly stand going to my parents house to visit.  As I've grown further and further apart from my Christian past, I have started to look at the world through an entirely different set of lenses.  Now, I find that there are very few subjects that concern life, politics, science, love, etc., that I can actually talk about with my family.  They always reinterpret everything that I try to talk about from a Christian perspective.  It's extremely frustrating and very disheartening.  At times, I feel like I'm talking to little kids who don't really have a clue about how the world works and who don't care to know either.

 

Anyway, the end result of my visits is that I always go home feeling severely depressed.  Just being around them brings up old feelings and resentments that I have tried hard to put behind me.  So, I kind of think I understand where you are coming from.  I guess you just need to find the strength to move on without them.  To a great extent that's what I had to do. 

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One thing I do maintain is that we are each responsible for our own approach and attitude to religion.  Hence, I have no particular wish to turn anyone from their belief (though I modify that when the outcome of that belief actively harms another) nor any feelings of guilt at having jumped ship when others are still stuck in the system.  They must believe and do as they see fit.  As must I.

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On 3/17/2017 at 7:47 PM, Shinobi said:

It's extremely frustrating and very disheartening.  At times, I feel like I'm talking to little kids who don't really have a clue about how the world works and who don't care to know either.

 

 

I feel the same about my fam. That's what's most disheartening; they can't see the actual world for what it is, and I have to move forward knowing we live in different realities, knowing that might never change, and being okay with it. I know there's no other answer to the situation; it's just another loss I have to mourn.

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On 3/19/2017 at 9:29 AM, Ellinas said:

One thing I do maintain is that we are each responsible for our own approach and attitude to religion.  Hence, I have no particular wish to turn anyone from their belief (though I modify that when the outcome of that belief actively harms another) nor any feelings of guilt at having jumped ship when others are still stuck in the system.  They must believe and do as they see fit.  As must I.

 

I agree; the only thing that gets me hung up is that they only see fit to live the way they do because they're deluded about some very fundamental things, and that's unfortunate. You're right that it comes down to personal responsibility and I can't control it. But I think because I had such helpful freethinker guides along my path, I know how much of a difference it can make when the right person asks you the right questions to trigger reflection. I need to stop wondering how I might be that person for someone else, and instead rest assured that I can give my help if and when it's solicited.

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De-conversion invariably comes with a complete worldview change and mindset. The same is true for those that find Jesus. Their worldview changes too but very differently from a non-believer because their worldview suddenly includes Deities, Angels, Demons, Sin, Heaven, & fear of Hell. God suddenly becomes responsible for everything that happens in their life and the very last thing a believer wants to do is piss God off. So a believer lives their life in fear of punishment for an invisible force that is constantly watching every move they make and every thought they have. And that brings pressure along with fear.

 

It's no wonder that believers and non-believers have such a difficult time communicating because we're metaphorically living in different worlds.

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On ‎3‎/‎17‎/‎2017 at 3:16 PM, vadarama said:

 

I've heard countless references to survivor's guilt as a phenomenon, but for some reason it really hit me for the first time last night that it might apply to me and be one of my major hangups. Years later, I'm almost paralyzed by guilt for escaping. Extended family members are super caught up in the insanity of death-cult American evangelicalism, and some are even Right Wingers/Trump supporters, despite us being Black and not coming from money. To see the irrational and self-harming ideology continue to affect my loved ones is too much. I can't accept that I've gotten out of the mindset but they might never see what real life is like. It's heartbreaking! I wonder if I'm subconsciously holding myself back from thriving in the real world because I can't bring others with me, and because of the shame I feel about having the chance to thrive without God. It's a basic human right that we all should have- I feel like I'm sitting at a banquet table that my family can't join me at, and I'm unable to enjoy the meal, or even fully partake.

 

Does this make sense to anyone?

 

One consideration is that to your extended family members, their concept of real life would be a Christian worldview.  Even if you present them with alternate perspectives and evidence, that may not sway their view of Christianity as true.  Many people hold on strongly to personal experiences they've had that they feel comes from God/Jesus/HolySpirit, answered prayers, etc., that convinces and convicts them in their faith.  Combine that with confirmation bias and the fear of punishment in hell, and their perspective may never change.  I am also black, and I live in south.  I think often in the African-American community and families, there is also something of a cultural tie/bond to Christianity, or at least to (the general term) the black church, with its historical role in communities and in the civil rights era.  So to some, leaving Christianity could also be like turning your back on your history and your people.  The best opportunity to introduce freethought and alternate perspectives on Christianity may be if you ever find that one of your family members sincerely begins questioning on his or her own. 

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