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About sparklingphoenix

  • Birthday 04/08/1992

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    Art, cats, tea, reading, donuts, learning languages, culture, and perspective, trying new foods, sleeping, watching movies, reading...
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    University student, former Southern Baptist, currently a heathen

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?

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  1. These are some really great responses, and so helpful and valuable to me. Amateur, the things you said resonate with me a lot and I have been trying to figure out what it is that makes people ruin the rest of their lives over their terrible childhoods so that I don't make the same mistake. I have to leave my computer for a while today, but I'll respond more when I get back to everyone!
  2. From what I keep reading from everyone here, it sounds like forgiveness is a two way street. The wrong doer first has to make amends in some way and make a change, then the hurt person can let go and move on. The burden of forgiveness is placed on the hurt person in Christianity, but I'm seeing that this is wrong. Forgiveness seems more like a natural (maybe slow) response to the wrong doer repenting and changing. Over the years I get snippets of info on my dad and I can tell that he's no different, so I continue my no contact strategy.
  3. Hmm. This could be possible. I don't really know what a healthy family looks like so my ideas are based off of what I see in other families and how I wish things would be in my own. I know that I have expected more than my mom can give me, and I'm still trying to accept that literally all she can do is provide for me financially. I am thankful for that, but I wish I had a mom that I could talk to and ask advice from once in a while. Is that too much to ask from a mom? I guess for my mom it is... I don't expect people to give me anything for free in life, I know that's not how it works. I'm always willing to give a lot to a fault and that has gotten me into situations where I'm easier to be taken advantage of in the past. Since quitting xtianity I've been working on boundaries and that's one reason I let go of the older friend with children. I was willing to help her out, and I did help her a lot with her kids, but it was more that I was able to take on at the time. I do appreciate her help also, but I think I was feeling drained by a lot of things then. It felt unbalanced. I actually like being alone to a degree because I'm used to it and also introverted, and I'm aware that loneliness is part of the human condition. However, feeling like I have no support system has been difficult. I think with my family I definitely do have to settle because that's just the way they are, but I had hopes that in the future I could actually find people who wouldn't disappear or back away when I'm in a difficult situation. I'm coming to terms with the fact that I can really only rely on myself and trust myself to take care of me, while I also still have that desire to have family that I can trust. Maybe TV and movies are lying to me about friends and family, I really don't know, but I find it hard to accept that me is all I've got.
  4. I can relate a lot to what you're saying about the mental gymnastics you went through with your ex and how everyone responded to you after the divorce. That's similar to how everyone spoke to me when my parents divorced, and now every time I put more distance between myself and my family. It nice to know that I don't necessarily have to forgive. How interesting that you found a bible verse to support this! Thanks for sharing your experience!
  5. @ amateur, I can see how your ex being honest with you helps you to move on. Even though it's not a formal apology, at least it helps give you some closure. In a way, since he admitted that it was his fault and not yours also kind of works in the place of an apology. I would appreciate hearing that from my parents. My mom just blames my dad, and my dad blames me and everyone else. I'm really glad you guys were able to get past everything, even thought it hurt at first. I think this could be a big reason why I can't get over my dad and the things he did. He still blames me to this day for our broken relationship. I am so tired of my family members insinuating that the blame for problems in the family is due to me. My mom makes me feel like I am just making problems for her all the time and my grandparents always discreetly admonish me and tell me to forgive. I absolutely agree about the parents being held to a higher standard and that they are responsible for the relationship with their child. My dad always made maintaining our relationship MY responsibility, and he expected me to love him no matter how badly he treated me. He would get so mad that I was afraid of him and that I didn't want to be around him and then he would just yell at me and make it worse. My mom made me into a mini adult by relying on me like I was her mother. I wrote both of them letters a long time ago telling them my feelings about all this. My dad said 'hope you get through your problems' and my mom was apologetic, but she never makes much change in her life. She still puts herself first and isn't there for me emotionally. She just shuts me out when I'm in need. -____- I don't know how I'll ever have a good relationship with any of them. I am so over family. I love them, but they make me feel so unhappy because they are all in denial and they never admit their faults. No one wants to accept any blame for anything and I end up being the scapegoat. I can't even talk to my brother because he still always expresses so many negative judgements on me. I have friends, and in the past I have treated them like they were my family. The problem I've run into there is that my friends all have their own family and do not want to take me on as part of theirs. My friends are willing to be there for me to an extent, but they still want to go home to their separate lives and not deal with me when I'm desperate. I really don't know where to turn for family. It's the thing I need most, but I just can't find it anywhere. This site is nice, but it doesn't really replace the absence I feel. I thought I had found family in my ex, but he still put his family first and made me do all the sacrificing so he wouldn't have to disrupt anything in his life. Ugh... If I could find a "Buddy," that would be so helpful. I've had some older people in my life who have helped me along the way, but I had to let one go due to her taking advantage of me through making me responsible for her kids. The other person also had many other responsibilities and is also very religious. I'm kind of scared to try to create new family with other people because I've been let down so many times by other people not being there for me like a real family. Sometimes I feel like I'll always be alone and have no one to trust or rely on. Hate it. :/
  6. I'm glad you and your mom try to respect each other's boundaries more now. My mom has stopped trying to engage me on religious topics, but she still spouts off stuff and prays. It sounds like you and I are basically on the same page in that area! My issues with my parents involve a lot more than just religion, so that makes it more complicated. Aside from religion, both of my parents have really unhealthy tendencies in the way they interact with me, so I have to keep my distance because of that as well. My dad was so abusive that I can't have him in my life at all. I can at least feel that my mom loves me, how ever limited her ability to show it is, so I don't want to be totally estranged from her. She has good moments here and there. My mom did help to provide for me, where my dad did not, so I do feel some appreciation to my mom. I don't know if I will ever be able to forgive my dad, and sometimes when I feel like I have forgiven my mom, she does something that makes me feel so alone and unloved that I end up at square one all over again. I really don't think it's possible to have a normal relationship with them. My dad is already remarried and has his own life. He disowned me on my birthday last year so I am done with him. Maybe once I get more stable, I can be able to let go of my mom's mistakes.
  7. I agree! Forgiveness really did always feel like an obligation to me, and that made it feel fake. I like the definition you have of it meaning letting the past go. That's what I've been trying to do. About boundaries, I don't think I was raised to have any boundaries with people. It really messed me up and so many people took advantage of me because of that :/ I've been able start making more healthy boundaries for myself after deconverting as well. I would also rather have people treat me the way you described. If I hurt someone I wouldn't want them to forgive me out of obligation. That would make things awkward and unnatural.
  8. That's an interesting thought! It probably has something to do with the whole complicated salvation message and how we need god's forgiveness for being exactly what he created us to be.
  9. I don't know if the past will ever stop bothering me or making me sad if I think about it, but maybe forgiveness will be complete when I can finally accept everything. Maybe forgiveness is never-ending. That's how I feel now, but hopefully later I'll feel differently!
  10. Ahh I see. I know seeing the remorse in your dad is probably not as good as it would be to hear him actually apologize to you. I really wanted my dad to apologize to me for a long time, but he isn't capable of that. Both parents adopt the approach of, "I'm sorry you feel that way," which allows them to not take any responsibility. So along with what Graphicsguy is saying, it has been hard to get over everything since no one will own up to their mistakes. They just act like I am the weird one with all the problems. I've had times where I felt pity for my dad, and it encouraged me to try with him, but I kept ending up with the same results every time so I decided to just end that relationship all together. Now I just try not to think about it too much. Hopefully since I did therapy and I don't see him anymore, I can move on in time. I can understand your sentiments about your dad and I would probably feel the same way if I saw my dad appear to have any remorse. Even though I'm sure it still sucks, I'm glad you can have some sort of closure. I actually like this quote. Its a fresh perspective for me. I've had to give up on my resentment and disappointment of my past. The struggle to accept it is real though... I don't think pain is ever redeemed or gone. It is always with you. I still feel the pain of deconversion, the pain of loss every day. All one can really do is grow past it. Grow strong enough to stand up and move on with the pain intact. I still feel the guilt and anguish of hurts that I caused others in the past and I know they haven't forgiven me...but I have to accept and live with that guilt, not attempt to throw it on them. All I can do is understand why I did what I did and attempt to never repeat those actions again. The most difficult (for me) to deal with is when the person that caused you pain won't admit they did anything wrong. That, I find, is the most frustrating of all because there is never a resolution and even the opportunity to "forgive" is never truly presented. The last part you said here about people not admitting that they hurt you is the worst. That's what I've been dealing with my family on the daily. They're always in such denial. Yay! I really have no idea if the pain will ever go away. Maybe in time it won't be loud. We can always hope for that, right? ;~;
  11. I suppose that forgiveness is more like a mindset that you have then. If someone is actually sorry and makes an effort to change, then you can offer them forgiveness so they feel better, and just move on without necessarily forgetting what happened. I agree about the restoration of trust being really difficult. My dad repeated the same cycle of bad behavior over and over so many times through out the 21ish years (before I cut off contact completely) that I just don't think I can ever let him back in my life again. Even if I do, I don't think I could ever trust him in any way. Your dad sounds like a piece of work tool. Ugh, I'm sorry :/ My dad put a lot of his debt into our house payment before he and my mom divorced, reaaaaalll nice guy... It's nice to hear your perspective about still feeling upset about what happened sometimes. It makes me feel more normal. My family is not so good at admitting faults, and they tend to shove the blame back on me, so I have to keep my distance. I'm really just trying to do the same as you,it seems. Just trying to find ways to deal with my feelings and then move on. You (and Xiana) made a really good point that forgiveness is something earned, not freely handed out to people who don't deserve it. This helps clarify my thoughts more. It's weird how it took me this long to realize how messed up the christian version of forgiveness is. I always got hurt by other people because they saw my bleeding christian heart and always knew I would forgive them no matter what. Christianity really made me a doormat for a while. I like your thought that forgiveness should be optional. It's like people think they are entitled to be forgiven and if you don't forgive, then you are the evil sinner instead. Just like what you said, it's strange that the person who was hurt gets the blame that the wrong-doer should be getting!
  12. Recently I talked to my grandfather on the phone and he, in an attempt to steer me in the 'right' direction, told me to make sure I forgive so that I don't become bitter. He said forgiveness is the only way to move on and be a healthy person. I honestly don't even know what this word means anymore. Forgiveness seems like such a foreign/abstract concept. What exactly is happening when you forgive? It can't be some mystical epiphany... In christianity, forgiveness has been explained to me like it's some magic spell. When you say you forgive someone, you're instantly expected to be healed and everything is right in your life. *Congrats! You're a pious christian again!* Although I think people know this is not really what happens, people continually tell me to forgive over and over again. It's really annoying. Just because I express that I am still in pain from the idiocy of my family doesn't mean I am harboring hatred for them. It simply means that I haven't healed. Why do people always tell me to forgive? How is this even helpful? In addition to all this, if I don't constantly open myself up to people who hurt me after I forgave them, then I have not actually forgiven them and I'm bitter... To me, forgiveness is more like something you can only give to yourself. You can forgive yourself for making mistakes or being too critical of yourself. To me that has to do with learning self love. However, when you need to forgive someone else... How? The only thing I know to do is to just focus on letting go of the past and trying to find ways to move on and shed my past hurts little by little. I feel like I have forgiven my family members for the things they've done, but I don't think I'll ever forget. I don't intend to learn the same lesson over again forever! That's foolish! Can you still feel sad or upset about things people have done but still have forgiven them? I have to continually accept that my family is not what I need them to be, and my dad has permanently burned the bridge between us through his consistent, toxic behavior. I can't trust my parents with anything, but when my grandfather sees me keeping my distance, he tells me not to be bitter and that I need to forgive. I really don't know what else to do... The christian concept of forgiveness is so full of shit, guilt trips, and empty explanations, so I think I need to figure out a new way to understand it as a non Christian. What are your thoughts on forgiving others as a non christian? Do you feel some sort of epiphany where at some point you don't care anymore and don't feel hurt? Or do you just learn from the past, and try to move on from it even though it still hurts? I don't know if the saying, "time heals all wounds," is really true. From my experience so far it looks more like what this quote from Rose Kennedy says, “It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” I don't think that outlook must mean the person hasn't forgiven. Thoughts?
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