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Losing Major Ground


Guest ScreamingNurse
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Guest ScreamingNurse

Hi, there. I am here because I really need some help.

 

I am not comfortable with getting into a lot of personal details about my life on an Internet message board, so, this is difficult. Please be patient and bear with me.

 

I am seriously considering seeking counseling from a priest. I left Catholicism some time ago. I had a lot of reasons. I still do.

 

I do not truly want to go back to Catholicism; but I feel increasingly self-pressured to do so. I have an extreme problem with an anxiety condition, and the Hell doctrine has been wearing on me relentlessly since I left. This is the only reason for which I am even considering going back. I cannot bring myself to accept any of the rest of it- I am just so terrified of Hell, despite the total contradiction of not believing the rest of the teachings, that I just truly cannot take any more. It torments my every waking moment so painfully, that this life is beginning to feel like a psychological hell of its own.

 

I do not wish to try to tell anyone what to say; but please do not suggest any more involvement with psychiatry or psychology. I have already been down that road repeatedly, and have reached a point where it cannot help me any further. The problem has become as existential/philosophical as it has mental. The mental health system has a crappy track record with that sort of thing. With them, it's either happy pills, or sugar-coated self-esteem woo. Also, I have already reached such a point with any and all attempts to talk myself out of it via logic, science, or the study of other world religions. Please just believe me- I am truly at the end of the road with this horrible problem.

 

You probably wonder why I am even writing this, if I am just going to reject the usual suggestions. I am writing as one desperate last-ditch attempt to see if anyone might be able to talk me out of going crawling back to that priest and that religion. I am losing the last of my ability to hold out. I need some support from someone who has been somewhere similar.

 

I don't know what to do anymore. I am really and truly at a point where the Catholic Church has just beaten me down completely. I am about to slide right back into its grip completely. Somebody, please help me stop myself :help:

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The horror you're experiencing is quite similar to spousal abuse. Many victims of abuse continue to return to the abuser because they know no other way and don't feel worthy of a better life. They often feel they have done things that deserve the beating. In a very sick way, they even love the abuser. Continually returning to the abuser and going to him for advice are fruitless endeavors.

 

Outside intervention is the only hope for the victims of this treadmill. Rejecting secular counseling and psychological help insures that the cycle won't be broken.

 

I wish you success in freeing yourself from the grip of the cult, but you will not do it alone.

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I was quite reserved in my answer to your rude reply.

 

You say, "next" but you probably won't get much response here if you just intend to be rude and obnoxious to people responding to your plea for help.

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Screaming Nurse, I was going to give some thought out advice, but now that I've seen your reply to what florduh wrote, I decided to write this instead.

 

What he said was an honest explanation of what your going through, meaning that if you want to understand your situation better you could look at stories of how those suffering from abuse managed to get out since stories of how those suffering from religious brainwashing are far more scarce. The fact that this kind of advice is not in the least bit helpful tells me that you really aren't looking for advice or at all, but rather you would like one of us to wave our magic wand and have all your emotional and psychological problems magically whisked away like they were never there in the first place.

 

 

It won't happen.

 

 

When reading words of advice on the internet, the best you can hope for is something to give you an idea of how to think your way out of it and ultimately find the relief you seek on your own. If you honestly are not capable of living without being told what to think, then you might as well walk yourself down to that priest right now and have him re-insert you into the borg as quickly as possible so you can get on with your life before this whole ordeal burns itself into your memory to a point beyond repair. A life based on philosophy and freethinking is not for everyone.

 

I am not saying this to be rude either. If your life was honestly clearer for you back when you were a Christbot, you should go back to being one.

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ScreamingNurse, I don’t know what to offer you. I believe that florduh’s first response was sincere and honest, yet that was not what you were looking for. (Maybe I could see his message very clearly since I have allowed myself to be emotionally abused by a spouse.)

 

I have no experience with Catholicism, but I do understand the fear of hell. I only admitted that I don’t believe in god a few months ago and just stopped attending church last month. I had a difficult time stopping the voice in my head that kept saying, what if you’re wrong, what if you’re wrong??? But, no matter how emotionally worked up I would get, my intellect would just not let me accept a god who would create me and then condemn me to an eternity of torture simply because I could not follow the directions in his convoluted, disjointed, contradictory instruction manual. I simply do not believe an all powerful, loving god could be so cruel.

 

Can you help us understand how we can help you? It is not always easy to convey your exact meaning and intention in this format. I do believe that if you give us a chance you will find compassion and a genuine desire to help.

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I was quite reserved in my answer to your rude reply.

 

You say, "next" but you probably won't get much response here if you just intend to be rude and obnoxious to people responding to your plea for help.

 

I agree completely. She comes here allegedly asking for help, then turns into a rude troll.

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I am not comfortable with getting into a lot of personal details about my life on an Internet message board, so, this is difficult. Please be patient and bear with me.

Okay. Looking at your initial contact with florduh could I ask that you be willing to extend the same courtesy to us as well?

 

What you're asking for isn't going to be a quick fix. We come from a lot of backgrounds here and so we might need to poke and prod a bit before we even start to come close to being what you might consider being helpful. It took some people here literally years to break free of the hell doctrine and that is with help from every source they had access to. It's a powerful doctrine and being dismissive isn't going to be helpful on any level even though I know you must be frustrated.

 

I have an extreme problem with an anxiety condition, and the Hell doctrine has been wearing on me relentlessly since I left. This is the only reason for which I am even considering going back.

So with the above in mind can you be more specific? What is it about the hell doctrine that is really digging at you? Different people seem to have different issues with it so spelling it out for us is helpful. There may be someone here that has been where you are (or may still be there). There are also a lot of ex-Protestants here so we may come at it differently. The more info the better.

 

And again, please give us a chance and don't be quite so dismissive. What was said was valid but perhaps it didn't address what you had specifically in mind. Lets try again but be a little less combative and I think things will go a little better. Tell us what you're looking for and maybe we can help (I know we won't if we get attitude).

 

mwc

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I have to agree, there is no quick fix when it comes to leaving organized religion. It is completely normal to feel pressure to return. As long as you continue to associate with people who are members of your former religion, you are going to feel that. I strongly encourage making real life friends who are non-religious, it helps.

 

That having been said, can we please try to keep it civil? This is not the Lion's Den.

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My advice to you would be to read the bible on your own without any books or priests interpreting it for you. There's a reason why the tree in the Garden of Eden was referred to as the tree of knowledge: knowledge is power. With knowledge and a skeptical mind, you can see that god cannot possibly exist, and that hell is even more impossible. Educate yourself on the history of hell, on the original text of the bible, and on the bible itself. Read books by atheist authors such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Watch atheist documentaries. A great one that really got me thinking is Religulous. Something that you seem to be lacking that will help you a great deal is confidence and a belief that you don't need to live your life in torment. That's the christian way of thinking, that you need to pray away your every sin, fast, and beat yourself up your entire life. You're not a speck of dirt that deserves nothing like the church had you believe for so long. You are a human being worthy of dignity and life. You deserve to live a life of peace without this pointless torment. After watching the documentary The God That Wasn't There, I was terrified of blaspheming the holy spirit, but once I did it, I felt so much better. I felt like I was finally the person I was meant to be and that I could accomplish anything. You need to convince yourself both logically and emotionally that hell doesn't exist because it is a concept that is so ingrained in our minds through fear.

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Guest QuidEstCaritas?

It sounds to me like you need a sense of community and friends you can trust.

 

If I were you I would go back to the Catholic Church with the mental note that you won't believe any of it, and you are going there for community and not because of Hell. I would wear headphones during the services and remain sitting playing music I liked, and then I would take full advantage of the most liberal believers in the Parish. That would be my advice for the short term. The long term advice would be for you to find people who are Eastern in their approach to "spirituality". The distant long term would be integration with a skeptics community once you take care of immediate needs (distant being a year down the line). Also, if you can find a mental health "peer support" movement in your area, that would be my advice as well.

 

It sounds to me like the crisis you are going through has to do with no ability to meet your immediate social needs in a way that is comfortable to you. Wear a "mask" when you go to get Catholic community. Act but do not believe. That is my advice.

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Isn't it true after confession, that a priest has the power to absolve sins? Would that rid you of the fear of hell? What could this priest do that would help you? Just ask yourself. I don't know how much you believe of other parts of catholic doctrine.

 

I am coming from a protestant background. I am just suggesting that one last session with the priest may be beneficial if you are still so deeply involved in the belief of hell. Why fight it? Instead maybe that would help get it out of your system, so to speak.

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It sounds to me like you need a sense of community and friends you can trust.

 

If I were you I would go back to the Catholic Church with the mental note that you won't believe any of it, and you are going there for community and not because of Hell. I would wear headphones during the services and remain sitting playing music I liked, and then I would take full advantage of the most liberal believers in the Parish.

I agree with this advice but I think that if what you need is community and support, instead of going back to the Catholic church, could you possibly find a secular humanist meetup group or something in the area if there are any where you live? Another thing that helps me deal with the fear of hell is to remember that even if God exists, all you need is an iron chariot to defeat him like in Judges 1:19
So the LORD was with Judah. And they drove out the mountaineers, but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the lowland, because they had chariots of iron.
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personal attack reply reported to admin

 

Consider yourself lucky it was florduh who replied to you at that point and not me. He offered you his opinion---very reasonably I thought, and you rejected it in a really nasty and condescending way. He was a lot easier on you than I would have been I assure you. But maybe you're just lashing out, and I think that is understandable in your situation. I'm sure florduh will take it in stride (or at least I hope he does). Most of us have had to develop a pretty thick skin in our journey out of superstition. I don't know how long you've been going through this deconversion process. The way your OP reads it almost sounds like you still believe. I speak from a place of special authority here that many of my cohorts in this forum don't share-------------

 

I was raised very, very HARD CORE Roman Catholic. 8 years Catholic school. I was an altar boy. Mass 6 days a week, and confession every Saturday for more of them than I ever want to remember. Wednesday Novenas and Rosaries. You name it -------I did the lot. My youth was spent on my knees talking to a non-existent sky spook, in fear of my eternal damnation because I was a boy who did all the sinful things all little boys do after all. We were a built in cesspool of sin to feed their guilt machine, weren't we? I was robbed of my boyhood. And you need to trust me on this------your brand of misery is no better nor more unique in ANY way than anyone else on this or any other forum.

 

I am going to risk disagreeing with one or two of the other posters here about this one thing---------you are suffering from a horrible condition that was manufactured by the Catholic church------------a fear of something called "hell", a fear of being, above all, less than perfect in the eyes of some sadistic twisted fuck of a God. It is a human construct designed from word go as a tool of control over other people. But going back to the monsters who created your problem in the first place for any advice is, quite frankly IMO-------lunacy. It's like asking the arsonist to grab a fire hose while your house burns to the ground.

 

Now here's the other thing--------you clearly state in your OP that you don't believe in most of it anymore. So if you do in fact go back you will knowingly be living a lie. You will be "going along to get along", as the old saying goes. So the question you need to ask yourself at this juncture is whether or not you are willing to go through the motions of Catholicism, knowing it's all a right lot of bullshit. So you seriously think that doing so will do anything to improve your self esteem? How long do you think you will be able to keep that up? I submit that it will only exacerbate any emotional/psychological problems you are already having.

 

What kind of hypocrisy do you think that is? I mean think about this. You are considering going back to SAYING you believe something when you know damned well you don't.

 

If you must seek a religious comfort group, then find a United Church of Christ or Unitarian Universalist congregation and seek their help. But for the love of the IPU stay the fuck away from the Catholic church. So here's the bottom line--------ONLY YOU and you alone can decide what you honestly believe or don't. We can't do that for you. You have to do your own homework and come to your own conclusions. Once you have done that we may be able to help soften the experience for you, but none of us can do it for you. Each of us had our own journey and personal experience we had to deal with. You will be no exception to that rule. The other decision you must make is whether or not you are going to willingly let the assholes who abused you emotionally and psychologically keep on doing it to you.

 

Your decision. The rest of us will do what we can to help, but in the end you are the one to take the next step-----------------------

 

Walk away from it and come back to us------------we can offer little else. If I sound like I'm coming across harshly-------I'd rather do that than sugar coat it and risk giving you advice that would only prolong your problem

 

Next move is yours.

 

I also noticed that you haven't replied to any other posters since yesterday. I hope that you at least have the decency to respond to some of us.

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