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Goodbye Jesus

Finding New Coping Mechanism


Whindian

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The Bible asks us, via prayer or petition, to cast all our anxieties onto God. One thing we often aren't aware of on our deconversion is how much we relied on Christianity as a coping mechanism for the daily worries of life. I will still pray quite often for this reason, otherwise I feel my anxieties get out of control (normally I am known for my calmness under pressure).

 

I noticed that Brother Jeff has encountered a similar problem. Having been out of the faith for 8 years, he stated that he felt these anxieties coupled a lack of hope for the future.

 

I think this issue needs to be addressed, because it seems to me that one cannot just remove a coping mechanism(s) and continue merrily through life. It will always be replaced, consciously or sub-consciously. For example when comfort eaters have gastric-lapband surgery, they are prone to emerging with a new addiction later on (e.g. shopping addiction, sex addition etc).

 

My question for the 'experienced' ex-christians is what methods do you use nowadays to cope with everyday life? Did you join a sporting team, become an avid sports fan, throw yourself into music/philosophy/art, or even just pursue your atheism as passionately as you pursued christianity? Furthermore does anyone have advice for new ex-christians?

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Edited to change format!

 

I love to:

 

Knit

Crochet

Sew

Unlock/debrand phones

Play D&D (old school style!)

Cook

Play video games

Watch Monty Python until I think I'll die laughing

Listen to music

Write out research

Read anything I can get my hands on

Study languages and cultures

Be a red-head ;)

 

This list could seriously go on for a LONG time.

 

My advice: find something you just love to do, and if you don't have a non-religious hobby, try a new one. I knit, and if I didn't have the means to - I would go mad. Not because it's in replacement of religion, but because I simply love having something to do with my hands. Just relax and realize you can do ANYTHING you want with your life now - no holds barred. Have fun, and don't think about needing to cope for the rest of your life, when your life is now, and each new day is a new chance!

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+2 on Rhia's content

 

You are now Free to do as you damn well please.

 

Take up a new hobby. Follow along something you didn't have time/effort/inclination to do before due to religious constraints.

 

Do things you want to do to take up time and moments you find needing "direction". find an association or group of folks who are doing what you like, or may like to do that doesn't regard or require "religion" to complete tasks.

 

Be yourself and enjoy life.

 

kevinL

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Rhia hit the nail on the head. I do what i want to do, what i enjoy. I occupy my time doing that which i either didn't do whilst a christian or did but had worries that it was a sin, whereas i then had to spend a little extra time during night time prayers before turning in repenting. The doubts that all us ex-christians have had are a common thing. Unfortunatly for Jeff, they reconverted him back. Each one of us certainly takes different approaches to how we deal with this but i assume what rhia said is one of the most common solutions. Also, the times whenever i get doubtful, which are thankfully getting fewer and fewer inbetween, i simply review some information that i have bookmarked on my computer. Irrefutable evidence that "christianity is bullshit" (kudos Jeff, i know you can come back and realize this once again). I have several books that deal with pretty much the same thing. I just review some of these things whenever a little doubt, like maybe the flood could have happened, creeps into my mind. It's common to go through episodes like this. It's just that people need to learn how to cope more effeciently.

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My question for the 'experienced' ex-christians is what methods do you use nowadays to cope with everyday life? Did you join a sporting team, become an avid sports fan, throw yourself into music/philosophy/art, or even just pursue your atheism as passionately as you pursued christianity? Furthermore does anyone have advice for new ex-christians?

 

Just as a half-humorous sidenote (sorry can't resist :) ):

 

Never having been sucked into a morontheist coven I (guess I) have much less problems with residual dogma than many others in here have... but I guess if the time should come where I feel so much pressure building up that I need to release it somehow...

 

...I guess I'd do it on the virtual battlefield of Eve Online. Having chosen this race for my main player character, going out and fighting them not only fits well into the background story of the game world but makes it easy to identify with fighting the morontheist madness. :fdevil:

 

So much for the sidenote. Now back to our regular schedule :lmao:

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I started really getting into the sports teams in Boston. I always was a fan, but now I really follow everything and I really enjoy it. Unfortunately I drank for a while after deconverting, and it felt like it worked! I have since stopped drinking entirely. I think you are totally correct about the coping mechanism thing. However, what good was the coping mechanism for? Ultimately it was really only therre to solve the riddle of fearing death. I'm not lying when I say I do not fear death anymore. Death more makes me sad on some levels. I have little children that I love and the thought that I don't get to enjoy them forever and ever and ever is kind of a bummer. However, if you flip it on its head, you can make yourself appreciate what you have for as long as you have it. We are human beings. We are going to be melancholy about some things. You can't avoid it. My Mom died when I was 19. She was the most important person in my life at that time, and it is no cooincidince that I became "saved" a year after that happened. We want to see these people again. What we really need to do, if the people we care for are still with us, is call them today. Go to see them when we can. And always remember that every time together is precious. God I want to cry now. LOL

 

 

The Bible asks us, via prayer or petition, to cast all our anxieties onto God. One thing we often aren't aware of on our deconversion is how much we relied on Christianity as a coping mechanism for the daily worries of life. I will still pray quite often for this reason, otherwise I feel my anxieties get out of control (normally I am known for my calmness under pressure).

 

I noticed that Brother Jeff has encountered a similar problem. Having been out of the faith for 8 years, he stated that he felt these anxieties coupled a lack of hope for the future.

 

I think this issue needs to be addressed, because it seems to me that one cannot just remove a coping mechanism(s) and continue merrily through life. It will always be replaced, consciously or sub-consciously. For example when comfort eaters have gastric-lapband surgery, they are prone to emerging with a new addiction later on (e.g. shopping addiction, sex addition etc).

 

My question for the 'experienced' ex-christians is what methods do you use nowadays to cope with everyday life? Did you join a sporting team, become an avid sports fan, throw yourself into music/philosophy/art, or even just pursue your atheism as passionately as you pursued christianity? Furthermore does anyone have advice for new ex-christians?

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I have been out of the Christian/Catholic cult for six years and have not been able to find a "coping mechanism" that soothes/takes my mind off the rage. I exercise a lot, laugh with my husband, write, and raise my daughter as a free-thinker but the rage is still there and I am now leaning towards becoming an activist/volunteer for women's reproductive health. I don't know if you are dealing with anger but I am *trying* hard to channel years of pent-up rage into positive endeavors that impact other people's lives. Just some food for thought and good luck!!!! :)

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My coping mechanisms... I am a pretty avid cyclist, and sometimes if something's really gotten to me, I'll just jump on the bike and go for a long ride. That burns enough energy to make me feel better.

 

I also started keeping a journal about a year ago. I sometimes miss a night here or there, but I find that it helps me to get those feelings out there, whether I can talk with a friend or simply put them down on paper. Keeping a journal also helps me to sort of treat beating those fears as victories. And really, every time you overcome some Xianity induced psychological damage, it is a victory. Xianity can be a very powerful thing, and overcoming it and its side effects count as victories as far as I'm concerned.

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I'm glad you brought this up because that is a real problem I faced after deconverting. I was keeping all my anxieties bottled up and one day I just broke down crying and cried for a long time. Having no god to pray to was tough, but I learned to talk to my friends about what was bothering me. Talking it out really helps me. If I'm alone, I either talk to a stuffed bear or I say a prayer to "The Imaginary God." Yes, I pray sometimes even though I don't think anyone's listening and it actually helps!

Exercise helps keep me in a good mood too.

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I'm glad you brought this up because that is a real problem I faced after deconverting. I was keeping all my anxieties bottled up and one day I just broke down crying and cried for a long time. Having no god to pray to was tough, but I learned to talk to my friends about what was bothering me. Talking it out really helps me. If I'm alone, I either talk to a stuffed bear or I say a prayer to "The Imaginary God." Yes, I pray sometimes even though I don't think anyone's listening and it actually helps!

Exercise helps keep me in a good mood too.

 

Yeah it's quite weird how that works hey. I'm not sure if thats because prayer is a very useful coping mechanism, or because its all we've known, and if we find a better one we will rely on that and lose prayer. One thing about talking to God is that he is supposedly always there, always wanting to listen, always on your side etc. Whereas in the real world, when you talked to a friend/loved one, they have their own problems/concerns, they might be in a grumpy mood that day etc. Additionally you don't want to always be talking out your problems, at the risk of being thought of a bit of a whinger.

 

It's interesting that Carl Jung, the famous founder of Jungian pyschology, wrote that 'The majority of my patients consisted not of believers but of those who had lost their faith (Jung, [1961] 1989:140)' in relation to neurosis.

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  • 5 weeks later...

My main problem now isn't finding the hobbies, etc., I'm OK there mostly, but it is the 3am kind of anxiety, no warm thoughts in prayer, and I need to sleep not read at that hour if I am not going to fall apart from lack of sleep. Confident I'll get back to sleeping OK, but definitely noticable right now. And unfortunately, indirect evidence for the believing wife of "Know Jesus, Know Peace, No Jesus, No Peace"...

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I figure I'll be able to afford a motorcycle in no time with all the money I'll save from tithing.

 

:)

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i went on a low dose of an anti-psychotic drug! my doctor thought i was irrational in my precoccupation with thoughts of hell, not acutally pychotic, but in need of some calming of my thoughts. i also went to a psychologist and got a couple of good tips for gaining a feeling of peace and security in place of what ii used to have from faith God would look after me. it involves thinking of a time when you felt secure, and staying with that feeling in present situations. i kind of 'meditate' on that feeling, somehow, i cant explain how, and it works a lot. i had hypnotherapy, so maybe that made it work for me. i often feel exhilarated for no special reason. quite similar to what i used to sometimes feel when i 'came before the Lord' to be in his presence. i used to like basking in the presence of a good and loving being. now i no longer think God is loving, but cruel, so that doesnt work for me. but this other, maybe illusiory, thing does seem to work. whatever....it helps me a lot.

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