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Goodbye Jesus

Still Dealing With Anger Issues...


Creepy Doll

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I left the faith six years ago and a lot changed since then. As I deconverted I went through stages, trying a lot of different religions on before finally settling on the fact that I just don't know and it doesn't really matter. My very socialist, mostly atheist partner says I am an agnostic theist, because a big part of me wants to believe there is more. But anyway. Christianity really f'd my life up and I have now seen how it has f'd up a lot of other people too. Some of the most dysfunctional people I have ever met are those who have come out of christianity. I won't bore you with details right now, but my life is so much better. Even so I still deal with a lot of crap. For a long time too, I thought it was just as bad for us as ex or non-christians to knock christians and their faith in places like these bulletin boards. Now I am realizing that I am still dealing with and very angry over things that happened and are still happening to me because of christian dogma and a place like this is probably the best place to get it all out.

 

I am just very thankful to have found such a wonderful partner, who grew up in an atheist home and has never dealt with the kind of crap I did. She has given me a lot of great information and insight, and is very sensitive to what I still deal with even though she never has herself. So I hope there's a few christians who come on here once in a while to play cat and mouse game with, because I need that right now for some good therapy.

 

-Lost

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I have been out of Christianity for about 9 years, yet I still have anger now and then. It does abate and I am OK for months or even years, then it comes back. I am quite pissed off that this lie was foisted on me by my parents. It has had a terribly damaging effect on my life - not the only thing, but one of them.

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Welcome to the Ex-C boards, Lost. Your experience with having gone through stages yet still finding that after six years that you have anger over the damage done by the cult is very common. I think a huge amount of our psychological and even cognitive processes of cleaning up happens below the conscious level. I've come to understand that by far, what I tend to think of as my mind really is a relatively minor surface system; just a tip of the iceberg as they say. I've found that when I go through some process of dealing with something, often my conscious mind is the last one to know what's going on, or been going on. I've come to think of most of my psychological activities as being more like emotional/rational digestion than anything else. I've learned to trust my own deeper wisdom and time table. Just as I don't need to oversee my actual digestion like some neurotic micromanaging supervisor, so also I don't need to micromanage most of my psychological stuff. I just try to remain honest with myself for purposes of getting best results. Every so often, something will come bobbing to the surface like a cork in a lake. Or sometimes, more like a bloated corpse in a lake. Oh, look. Yay.

 

From what I've seen, I kind of think that the three most common long-term issues people deal with after they've left the One True Faith are anger, fear of hell and sexual guilt. Anger seems to me to take the lead, by far.

 

I'm glad you have such a supportive partner! Emotional safety and support at home is so important, especially when dealing with any kind of damage or issues from the past. I've read posts from so many members of this community who don't have that sort of healthy environment that it's really hard to read about it sometimes.

 

My very socialist, mostly atheist partner says I am an agnostic theist, because a big part of me wants to believe there is more.

 

What!??! Well, as self-declared Grand High Epopt of the local Evil Atheist Conspiracy, I'll expect you to turn in your EAC badge to the nearest EAC indoctrination and global domination center immediately! (Remember that cute little badge our operatives slipped into your lunch box back when you were in the third grade? It's probably underneath the dresser in your old room at your parents' house.)

 

Again, welcome.

Loren

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Welcome, Lost.

 

What you're going through is so very normal. Sometimes it helps to remember that. It also might help to know that often the anger wells up as a substitute for the grief that hasn't yet been expressed -- the grief over loss, betrayal, denial of self, rejection of innate happiness... and so on.

 

Good for you and your partner to be so supportive to each other as you are.

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I have been out of Christianity for about 9 years, yet I still have anger now and then. It does abate and I am OK for months or even years, then it comes back. I am quite pissed off that this lie was foisted on me by my parents. It has had a terribly damaging effect on my life - not the only thing, but one of them.

 

I'm sorry it seems like you're going through so much. I don't think I realized how damaged I came out of it all until recently. Between my ever-calm partner and some friends who have gently pointed out to me how angry I can be at times, it has become apparent even to me. I can't imagine what a bitch I must have been while I was in the thick of it. To be honest I don't remember a lot. It's two decades of my life that I've been trying to forget.

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From what I've seen, I kind of think that the three most common long-term issues people deal with after they've left the One True Faith are anger, fear of hell and sexual guilt. Anger seems to me to take the lead, by far.

 

Fear of hell was the first to go. It took a few years for that, probably two or three. Sexual guilt? I still deal with that. My family helps fuel that guilt too, which is why I avoid them for the most part. My father won't even speak to me anyway, so that makes it easy. I've pretty much been shunned by my father and my one fundy sister, but that makes it so I can't really have a meaningful relationship with my Mom, who is disappointed and worries about me but at least cares enough not to alienate me and has asked me not to shut her out of my life. The sexual guilt is still there though. My partner and I have bought a house together and yet we are not very intimate at all sexually. Emotionally yes, but sexually there is practically nothing and it's mostly due to my hangups.

 

 

I'm glad you have such a supportive partner! Emotional safety and support at home is so important, especially when dealing with any kind of damage or issues from the past. I've read posts from so many members of this community who don't have that sort of healthy environment that it's really hard to read about it sometimes.

 

She is wonderful. Drives me crazy sometimes but wonderful. I think she's only been mad at me once, but I really deserved it. I'm the high strung one and she's just calm as can be, all the time. Sometimes I wonder how much of my super high strung personality is really personality or if it was induced from so many stressful years of worrying about hell and pleasing god, with all those terrible, sexually deviant lesbian thoughts running through my head all my life that I fought so hard to suppress.

 

What!??! Well, as self-declared Grand High Epopt of the local Evil Atheist Conspiracy, I'll expect you to turn in your EAC badge to the nearest EAC indoctrination and global domination center immediately! (Remember that cute little badge our operatives slipped into your lunch box back when you were in the third grade? It's probably underneath the dresser in your old room at your parents' house.)

 

lolz! I'm happily a skeptical agnostic but closer to atheism than I've ever been. I don't think I could be completely atheist though. My mind requires a twinge of hope of reality in order to produce some of the fantasy fiction type stuff I like to write. A girl can dream, right? I have a list of people I want to haunt after I die. I'll be really disappointed if I die and find myself not able to find myself.

 

 

Again, welcome.

Loren

 

Thank you

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Welcome, Lost.

 

What you're going through is so very normal. Sometimes it helps to remember that. It also might help to know that often the anger wells up as a substitute for the grief that hasn't yet been expressed -- the grief over loss, betrayal, denial of self, rejection of innate happiness... and so on.

 

Good for you and your partner to be so supportive to each other as you are.

 

Thank you and yes sometimes I feel so f'd up, like why haven't I worked through all this yet? That's why I'm here, because I realize there are still things I haven't worked out that I need to.

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I deal with anger at times, too, and I'm still pretty bitter about the situation that I was forced into as a child. I questioned god's existence at an early age, but with that came intense feelings of guilt and shame, and I felt as though god had abandoned me because I would try to understand the bible and pray but nothing ever happened for me. I tried to convince myself of god's existence quite a few times and I got "saved" on at least three occasions that I can remember, but it just never clicked for me. My parents are strictly fundamentalist and evangelical in their beliefs, and they were very authoritarian discipline-wise, so I was this square peg that was being constantly hammered into a circle peg so I could fit into the circle hole of xianity.

 

So, in short, I know where you're coming from with the anger. It's understandable, and even if it doesn't seem healthy at this point, especially since it's gone on for a few years, it's often a normal part of deconversion. Something that I've noticed about society, and probably American culture in particular, is that anger is a feeling that is often discouraged. I used to repress anger, and I sometimes get into this habit at times, but if you don't express feelings, they will often build up and build up to the point that it has to come out somehow, and that's how anger can end up being destructive. It seems to me that you have the same problem that I do, where you don't give yourself permission to feel certain feelings. I want you to know that you do deserve to feel angry about what you went through, and if anyone tells you otherwise or tries to make you feel bad about being angry, ignore that person. That doesn't benefit you at all, and repressing the feelings causes a lot more damage than expressing them. Good luck, and I look forward to hearing more from you.

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You have my sympathies, and I really don't say this often (because I think it is over used and condescending if untrue), but I really do understand. I was raised mormon with smatterings of Catholics in my family. Anyway, while I was still a faithful mormon I had a pretty nasty accident that nearly killed me and left me physically ... well ... fucked up ... to this day. The kicker is I thought for years that I deserved what I got. I would hear family members say "thank god you're alive." I'd smile and nod, but what I was thinking is that I don't think I deserve to be and I definitely deserve all the pain, etc. My father brought in the faith healers to pray over me time and time again, but I knew in my heart that it wouldn't work because I was such a horrible sinner. I didn't see my being left alive as anything but a punishment, and I was sure that when everyone looked at me they could see my sin and know that sin was the reason I had been hurt so badly. I know reading this you would think I used to kill babies for sport or something, but it was really just run of the mill teenage sexual "sin."

 

I remained in that church for a year or so after the accident, but began to study mormonism's roots, and to study mormonism is a short road to disbelief in it, I assure you. I still believed in a god, however, and I spent the next 5 or 6 years studying the bible and looking for a brand or christianity that I could wrap my mind around. The more I studied, the more I lost my faith. I have since let go of all that "I deserve this" bullshit, but the anger bubbles up from time to time. Thankfully, I have an amazingly supportive husband that really does have the same issues that I do. He was raised in the Calvary Chapel movement so we had slightly different experiences with ultimately all the same results ... and as someone previously said in this thread they are anger, fear, and guilt. Maybe the anger will never go away completely ... maybe it's better that it doesn't. I find that these sorts of things keep me on my toes so that I don't ever become apathetic ... sort of a reverse moral outrage. I find that it is usually better to just talk through it all with my husband or on these boards or something of the like. Bottling it up and waiting for it to pop at the first Christian I come across is a dangerous game ... maybe because I have an Irish temper. Also, I find that studying/reading all I can about religion or anything related to it has sort of channeled my frustration in a useful direction. My husband and I like to do our own *critical* bible study, as well as catch the webcast of his old church when we are feeling frisky. I just finished God is Not Great by Hitchens which is a great read and definitely cathartic, and The Great Derangement by Matt Taibbi (a hilarious undercover look into Pastor Hagee's church). For extra fun, or maybe due to underlying masochistic tendencies, I like to read up on apologists. I follow Ken Ham and Ray Comfort especially closely, though I am about to delve into Strobel. Also, I listen to the non-prophets and the atheist experience when I can. They are a couple of podcasts based out of Austin by atheists of many stripes. Finally, talk to people. Most people on here are pretty open and understanding, and there is always your partner too. From what you describe she is pretty understanding. It took me a good while to work out guilt issues with my husband, (guilt/sex issues are not in short supply among female mormons) but I found that when I talked to him, it helped both of us to understand. I guess I may never completely root out the anger, but at least now I get guilt-free sex (and really, is there any better way to work out anger *wink*)

 

Best of luck to you and if you need anything just ask,

holly

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I still get a good pissed going once in a while. Someone in another thread said something that made a great deal of sense to me. If he/she will 'fess up I'll gladly give credit.

I paraphrase: Peace comes in realizing you are insignificant, and you really don't care.

Self important people, and xians, just haven't got it yet.

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I still get a good pissed going once in a while. Someone in another thread said something that made a great deal of sense to me. If he/she will 'fess up I'll gladly give credit.

I paraphrase: Peace comes in realizing you are insignificant, and you really don't care.

Self important people, and xians, just haven't got it yet.

 

 

that reminds me of a quote by Jimmy Buffett "Once you figure out that you don't need to figure it all out, you're finally getting your shit together."

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The fundies still piss me off from time to time, although I try to ignore them. I think it means we're human.

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Sexual guilt? I still deal with that. My family helps fuel that guilt too, which is why I avoid them for the most part. My father won't even speak to me anyway, so that makes it easy. I've pretty much been shunned by my father and my one fundy sister, but that makes it so I can't really have a meaningful relationship with my Mom, who is disappointed and worries about me but at least cares enough not to alienate me and has asked me not to shut her out of my life. The sexual guilt is still there though. My partner and I have bought a house together and yet we are not very intimate at all sexually. Emotionally yes, but sexually there is practically nothing and it's mostly due to my hangups.

First off, welcome, Creepy Doll.

 

Like you, I had massive amounts of sexual guilt. It took me years to overcome, but eventually I did.

 

Here is the plain and simple fact: You have been lied to.

 

You were lied to that there IS a cosmic Santa Claus who is personally obsessed with what you do in your own bedroom, but along with that yarn another lie was implied: that it is immoral, wrong, or "a sin" to have sex with another woman (or have sexual feelings for another woman, or just fill in the blank: have sex before marriage, "lust"--i.e., have perfectly natural sexual feelings of any sort, etc.). The second lie became internalized "baggage" to deal with even after we've realized how absurd the bill of goods we were sold surrounding the cosmic Santa was. Yet, the whole origin of that guilt was from the selfsame xian god myth, part of that myth being that the xian god was hung up on your sexuality and your being a lesbian, having the feelings you did, etc. was a "sin."

 

That's not to say that those who propagated that lie about sexuality did not believe it, nor that it is not widespread. But that does not make it any less f'd up.

 

I know I found that to be a useful reminder, hope you do too.

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