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Are We Afraid Of People And/or Rejection?


GraphicsGuy
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There have been a trend of threads lately related to meeting people and being social.

 

When I left the church and my wife I worked my ass off to become more extroverted. I think some people think it was easy for me. It wasn't. It was fucking hard work and I had to make myself do a lot of things that were really uncomfortable at first (like dancing at the club for one example). There were many, many nights where I simply hid in my apartment too.

 

I'm wondering about a few things. I could have polled this, but everyone generally answers the poll questions long-hand anyway.

 

1. Many churches teach that The World™ is a place full of evil people. Does memory of this teaching have a bearing on your social life? In other words, are you afraid of all the "bad" people out there?

 

2. Church taught us that we are lowly worms and pieces of crap. Does this affect your self-esteem and make you feel that people won't like you?

 

3. People in church generally over-compensate for the negative self-esteem by putting on a fake-face. They put on a neat and clean outside appearance because they KNOW that the back-biters and gossipers in the church are watching them. Do you feel like people in The World™ are just as petty and jealous OR are you afraid they'll see through any facades you put on?

 

I'm just going to end by saying that people in The World™ are far more real, accepting, trusting, loving, and honest than any Xians I've ever met. I find I can totally be myself with pretty much anyone out there.

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There have been a trend of threads lately related to meeting people and being social.

 

When I left the church and my wife I worked my ass off to become more extroverted. I think some people think it was easy for me. It wasn't. It was fucking hard work and I had to make myself do a lot of things that were really uncomfortable at first (like dancing at the club for one example). There were many, many nights where I simply hid in my apartment too.

 

I'm wondering about a few things. I could have polled this, but everyone generally answers the poll questions long-hand anyway.

 

1. Many churches teach that The World is a place full of evil people. Does memory of this teaching have a bearing on your social life? In other words, are you afraid of all the "bad" people out there?

 

2. Church taught us that we are lowly worms and pieces of crap. Does this affect your self-esteem and make you feel that people won't like you?

 

3. People in church generally over-compensate for the negative self-esteem by putting on a fake-face. They put on a neat and clean outside appearance because they KNOW that the back-biters and gossipers in the church are watching them. Do you feel like people in The World are just as petty and jealous OR are you afraid they'll see through any facades you put on?

 

I'm just going to end by saying that people in The World are far more real, accepting, trusting, loving, and honest than any Xians I've ever met. I find I can totally be myself with pretty much anyone out there.

 

You know, this is something I've thought about a lot, but never quite from this angle. I am VERY introverted (Meyers-Briggs I scored 89% IIRC), and maybe I attract it because of my fears, but I find I am 'fucked over" by most people in my life in some way or another. I usually keep people at arms length, even people I love to death, because people I never thought would have betrayed me before.

 

But I've also been told I am "way too sensitive" about a lot of things, so I don't really know what to think of it all. But I do blame the church for my social issues, and they are surely the source of my anger at the world too. But I always thought these feelings were because of my manipulation and brainwashing, and how hard it is for me to find a GF, for example, because of my church induced neurosis. IOW, I thought my anti-sociableness was because I realized the damage the church did, not because I have been conditioned to distrust the outside world.

 

This is going to force me to examine the source of these thoughts when they enter my head now, thank you! I've known my social issues were from the church, but I never realized they could be surviving brainwashing programming, and not just residual damage from the brainwashing. (Xtianity is like AOL, you can never un-install the damn thing from your hard drive!)

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1. I don't think so, I do have many non christian friends and they are awesome. My attitude for most things is to each there own but I do think you are who your friends are so I don't really like hanging out with girls that are having affairs, or partying all the time etc. because I don't want my life to be that way.

 

2. I think a little bit as a women.

 

3 Not sure, I try to be real with people, that's one of the reasons I stopped fitting in at church.

 

 

Right now I'm having a hard time with my new belief system and my old christian friends. They are all facebook friends and they post the most ridiculous stuff about religoin and god. I normally just ignore it but lately I've made some points, thats been REALLY scary.

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I'm introverted and I like being the way I am- it's my personality, not a fear of being hurt by other people. I think that most people have something positive to offer, but I don't feel the need to expand my circle of casual acquaintances.

 

While I suppose that some ex-Christians are afraid of "the world", I think that the social problems of leaving a church are usually inevitable to some degree for even the most open person with the most self-esteem. Some of the friends that I lost, I'd known since I was seven. You can't just replace a 20 year relationship with even the best 1 day old relationship and expect to instantly be as close or to have that common history together.

 

That's why I think that starting to do some catching up activities by yourself is a good idea. You probably won't start out with a group of close friends to do things with every time you have some free time, but if you're building your own interesting life with interesting activities, then you have something to offer when you do meet people instead of just your childhood sob story. You can invite people to start learning or participating in the things you were previously doing by yourself, instead of waiting for people to invite you to do their activities.

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1. Many churches teach that The World™ is a place full of evil people. Does memory of this teaching have a bearing on your social life? In other words, are you afraid of all the "bad" people out there? I think it may have had some bearing, and perhaps still does but I'm starting to get over it. I think the more people I meet and talk to the less this is becoming a problem. It was difficult at first, but now I'm starting to enjoy meeting new people outside of those damned church walls!

2. Church taught us that we are lowly worms and pieces of crap. Does this affect your self-esteem and make you feel that people won't like you? I KNOW this affected my self-esteem, and not only that, my self image. I was not happy being who (and what) I was, so this had to have affected people I met. I didn't see myself as valuable - even though people who got to know me (through work or online communities where I could hide behind the screen) saw something different, I know my self image created issues when meeting new people and groups.

3. People in church generally over-compensate for the negative self-esteem by putting on a fake-face. They put on a neat and clean outside appearance because they KNOW that the back-biters and gossipers in the church are watching them. Do you feel like people in The World™ are just as petty and jealous OR are you afraid they'll see through any facades you put on? Yes and no, but I wouldn't say it's as thick "out here." There are still gossipers and back-biters, but I don't think the percentage is as high. Along this same line, however, I think there is a period where we have to get over the idea that everyone is "out to get us." I see this in my mother (who has a host of issues that feed into it, but christianity does NOT help) where anyone says or does something that affects her is because of their feelings towards her - which I would say is the actual case almost none of the time.

I've noticed as well that now that I've started to become a lot more comfortable with not only who I AM, but also who I WAS, and I can acknowledge and talk about that, people are more willing to form those deeper bonds. I'm no longer on the defensive (except around christians - who I really don't hang out around anymore) and am willing to share my experiences. I'm more open to other ideas and ways of thinking even if I do disagree. Add that all up with my boosted self-assurance and I think it makes it just that much easier. I still have to put myself out there, but now it's actually accomplishing something whereas for most of my life I felt like I was spinning my tires.

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I would love to be Shallow Hal just for one Sunday. I would visit as many churches as possible and look in on the detestable creatures in the pews. I have consistently met better quality human beings outside of church.

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I wonder if introverts are more or less likely to leave the church...I'm leaning towards more likely since the social aspect is less important.

 

1. Many churches teach that The World™ is a place full of evil people. Does memory of this teaching have a bearing on your social life? In other words, are you afraid of all the "bad" people out there?

 

My parents did shelter me a bit like banning MTV, so I missed out on some pop culture, and teaching me to keep away from strangers. I struggled with intimacy for most of my life, I was terrified of being thought of as a pervert so I could not flirt well and dates were awkward. I did overcome it through sheer will and practice though, but the residual effects are still noticeable...for example I rarely initiate hugs.

 

2. Church taught us that we are lowly worms and pieces of crap. Does this affect your self-esteem and make you feel that people won't like you?

Yes, I often feel worthless and not good enough. Fear of abandonment is the core of my anxiety.

 

3. People in church generally over-compensate for the negative self-esteem by putting on a fake-face. They put on a neat and clean outside appearance because they KNOW that the back-biters and gossipers in the church are watching them. Do you feel like people in The World™ are just as petty and jealous OR are you afraid they'll see through any facades you put on?

 

I don't recall much church drama, but I was naive and probably missed it. I do use humor to ingratiate myself with everyone I meet. I am rarely assertive and have a tendency to not take sides unless I trust who I'm with.

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When I left the church and my wife I worked my ass off to become more extroverted. I think some people think it was easy for me. It wasn't. It was fucking hard work and I had to make myself do a lot of things that were really uncomfortable at first (like dancing at the club for one example). There were many, many nights where I simply hid in my apartment too.

Have you found that it gets easier over time to be outgoing?

 

I'm somewhat introverted, though not as much as I used to be. I think it definitely helped me to get out from under my father's roof, since he tended to be negative. I'm still not what one would call outgoing, and I usually can't get myself to easily start a conversation with someone I don't know well, though there are occasionally exceptions. I can usually get along with about anyone (except religious zealots, now that I'm an ex) and usually don't mind participating in conversations initiated by others that I don't know well.

 

But I simply couldn't get up and dance in front of people, though, as that is not my personality at all, but I did used to play drums in front of people quite a bit.

 

1. Many churches teach that The World™ is a place full of evil people. Does memory of this teaching have a bearing on your social life? In other words, are you afraid of all the "bad" people out there?

 

No. I fully realize that a lot of what the church called "bad" isn't bad at all, like someone being gay or having a beer using a "swear word" or whatever, so that stuff isn't a big deal to me anymore.

 

2. Church taught us that we are lowly worms and pieces of crap. Does this affect your self-esteem and make you feel that people won't like you?

 

I definitely think that this has had a negative impact on me. I have often felt inadequate, and I attribute this to religious indoctrination and my father's negativity. I certainly wish that I had more confidence.

 

3. People in church generally over-compensate for the negative self-esteem by putting on a fake-face. They put on a neat and clean outside appearance because they KNOW that the back-biters and gossipers in the church are watching them. Do you feel like people in The World™ are just as petty and jealous OR are you afraid they'll see through any facades you put on?

 

I guess I was fortunate in this department, as I didn't experience very much back-biting in the church. I know there's some of that out there, though, and there's some of that outside the church as well. As far as which side has the higher percentage, I don't presume to know.

 

I wonder if introverts are more or less likely to leave the church...I'm leaning towards more likely since the social aspect is less important.

 

This seems plausible to me. I also wonder (not asserting, just wondering) if introverts are more likely to be analytical, and therefore more likely to see problems with the religion.

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This is going to force me to examine the source of these thoughts when they enter my head now, thank you!

 

Yes, I can relate to examining thought sources. I think church robbed me of understanding and showing my emotions. I've had to work very hard with my counselor to get to the point where I can express my emotions in healthy and useful ways. For a while I had to carefully examine every thought and feeling. It's become largely second-nature now, but I'm still working at it.

 

1. ...My attitude for most things is to each there own but I do think you are who your friends are...

 

2. I think a little bit as a women.

 

3 Not sure, I try to be real with people, that's one of the reasons I stopped fitting in at church.

 

1. Yes, still pick and choose who you want to hang around and/or emulate. As much as I make sweeping generalizations, you can't just let everyone into your life.

 

2. Women do seem to be hit extra-hard by the self-esteem issues church brings. It seems women get blamed just for being women. It's totally wrong.

 

3. Exactly what I meant. You simply can't be real in church. It's like you're supposed to admit that you're a sinner and have problems, but if you actually say what those sins and problems are then you end up making a target of yourself.

 

I'm introverted and I like being the way I am- it's my personality, not a fear of being hurt by other people. I think that most people have something positive to offer, but I don't feel the need to expand my circle of casual acquaintances.

 

(snip)

 

That's why I think that starting to do some catching up activities by yourself is a good idea...then you have something to offer when you do meet people instead of just your childhood sob story.

 

Excellent points, Clara. It's definitely okay to be introverted. In my case, I was sick of it. I wanted to be out there with people and to have a thousand friends.

 

And "catching up activities"...absolutely! They're a must. You have to find and know yourself or part of yourself before you can be real with others.

 

Yes and no, but I wouldn't say it's as thick "out here." There are still gossipers and back-biters, but I don't think the percentage is as high. Along this same line, however, I think there is a period where we have to get over the idea that everyone is "out to get us."

 

Yes, I tend to make generalizations and they do swing both ways.

 

Have you found that it gets easier over time to be outgoing?

(snip)

I also wonder (not asserting, just wondering) if introverts are more likely to be analytical, and therefore more likely to see problems with the religion.

 

Yes, it is easier to be more outgoing over time. Social skills are like any skill. The more you use them, the better you are at using them.

 

It's also really important to laugh at yourself...

 

...and drink plenty of alcohol before trying anything new...

 

Not sure about the introvert/extrovert leaving religion. It's possible that introverts may be more in tune with the real world. In some ways I'm still an introvert...I actually think I'm a decent blend of both...

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