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Going Through And Angry Phase-hopfully


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I have been "de-converted" now for about 5 months. Lately, I find myself getting so frustrated and even angry at simple religious comments. That turns into real anger and frustration towards my Christian friends and family. I see friends posting things on facebook like "We just put an offer on a house...now it's up to God whether or not we actually get the house", or "I thank God that He allowed me to be born in this country"...this comment was made during the fourth of July. I so much want to comment back on these Facebook comments with things like "Doesn't the asking price and offer amount, or the realtors, or the sellers, really determine whether you get this house or not?". Or, "So is God a total jerk to the people starving in third world countries for not allowing them to be born in America?". But, I dare not write these things on facebook, as I would get slammed from my friends...and it just isn't socially acceptable. Instead, all the follow up comments from other people say things like "We'll be praying for you!!!" and crap like that. I find that I really get worked up when I see these sorts of comments and hear these sorts of things coming from my Christian friends (even my wife!). I used to think the same way of course, and it never seemed odd or something to question when I was a believer. I just wish now that I could somehow let things things "roll off my back" and not let them get me so worked up, but I just can't let them go. I find myself getting more and more frustrated at the lunacy of Christianity and all my friends, and wish I could be more understanding and empathetic towards them (especially since I was thinking and saying the same stuff less than a year ago!). I have an atheist friend who also de-converted a few years prior to me, and he is much more easy going about this kind of stuff. It really doesn't bother him for the most part. I so wish that was the case for me. I keep thinking that maybe this is just a phase I am going through, but I just don't see it changing anytime soon.

 

Has anyone else struggled with this anger, and if so, have you been able to get past it on move on when you hear this kind of stuff? I don't have many non-Christian friends. And, my wife still believes, even though our marriage is still going well...we just stay away from the subject...even though that doesn't seem very healthy to me. But, one step at a time I suppose.

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Yes, it is very common to go through an anger phase after deconversion. I was angry at the religion itself and the bible for the lies. For most people (really, I think the vast majority), it will pass with time. Have patience with yourself.

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I absolutely relate. My circles say, "Praise god" for almost every seemingly positive occurrence. It's very frustrating and I do as you mostly -- just keep my mouth shut. Honestly, it's not worth it in my opinion. Feelings just get hurt and nothing progresses from a state of understanding. As far as I can tell, most who have never looked into the basis for their faith were not converted based on intellectual reasons, and thus it won't be intellectual reasons that reach them from a non-believer's standpoint. I still try at times (I'm married to a Christian), but so far (1.5 years post-deconversion) the result is never pretty.

 

One way that might be helpful, despite being hard, is to look at these beliefs as preferences. Or just goofy rituals, lucky charm, or the like. Re-read the post in your mind and think of them saying, "Just put an offer in on a house; going to go roll the dice and see if I'll get it." Now, if someone does that, you might think 1) rolling the dice will have no effect on the outcome and/or 2) that it's pretty much stupid and/or harmless. Perhaps in these situations, you can just let it go. Sure, I happen to think that if one actually believes that praying will affect whether or not they get a house is delusional and separate from reality, but it's not really hurting anything to do so and I've found that it's rough waters expressing my negative views on those who have this delusion anyway.

 

So I keep my mouth shut and try not to worry about it unless it matters. And sometimes it does. Politics, kids, not going to the doctor for treatment (praying instead), etc.

 

One aspect of this is that we see only what we look for. Christian phrases bother you because it was probably a heavily emotional and difficult journey out of Christianity. I went through a ton of emotion and frustration, disappointment in myself that it took so long, regret over how I spent some parts of my life due to my belief, etc. But I'm not equally upset at people who use homeopathy for non-serious things, or Tom's Natural Toothpaste because they think that fluorine is a government conspiracy to dumb down America, or that genetically modified foods and using the microwave are going to slowly kill you. Let them take sugar pills, more expensive toothpastes, and eat however much pure-bred/non-modified alfalfa as they want.

 

Does that help a lot? I'm just trying to put things in perspective and suggest that you might not get as angry at similarly deluded ways of thinking that you haven't had a negative emotional encounter with -- just Christianity.

 

If you can adjust your view of Christianity and it's non-harmful manifestations to resemble that of other harmless delusions, perhaps it will help you be more at ease and not as ruffled. It definitely feels good to know I've done my research and finally have reasons for what I believe rather than just following along and having no clue... but trying to convince anyone else of their delusion has just never produced productive results for me, personally. Hence, I advise against it in most cases unless there's good reason (harm, infringement upon personal space/activities, etc.).

 

Best of luck to you.

 

---

 

You may want to read THIS guest post I wrote at the blog, Debunking Christianity, especially the conclusion. I make the case that religions should basically carry the weight of personal preferences. Thus, when used personally in the privacy of one's on home, like toothpaste, who cares if one uses Crest or Colgate or even posts on Facebook, "Crest is awesome! Colgate sucks!" or some equivalent. By the same token, however, personal preference should not provide grounds for forcing opinions down one's throat, hence that's when I suggest it's time to ruffle feathers and get a bit louder.

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Has anyone else struggled with this anger, and if so, have you been able to get past it on move on when you hear this kind of stuff?

 

Another vote for it happened to me and it does get better.

 

I can't say I totally got past it to the point where it doesn't bother me, but it's now a minor annoyance, and eye roll, not rage. Sometimes I'm more angry than others; hearing christians bash something (like glbt people) that I've come to identify with makes me more touchy for a while. And don't be surprised that this is such a sudden change from when you used to say the same things; there's probably an element of being angry at yourself and/or those who misled you so that other people using those phrases becomes personal. For me, the anger faded along with my sense of betrayal. Or rather, I was angry while I strongly identified as anti-christian. As my sense of identity shifted away from that to a more positive definition of what I was becoming, the anger faded.

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I've only deconverted within the last couple months so I'm right along side you. What's helped me get through these very similar experiences is thinking about the calm, cool, collected non-believers in my life who put up with me when I was a Christian. Of course at the time I just thought they were lost souls and had they picked a fight with me I would not have listened to a word they said. I've already started reaching out to some of them. This may help: if you personally know any non-believers, gather some humility, reach out to them, tell them you're no longer a deluded idiot, and ask for advice on how they dealt with you and others for so long with so much patience.

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You'll get over it. We live in a Christian culture and most times phrases such as, "We'll be there, God willing" or "Our prayers are with you" or "Thank God" don't really mean a lot unless they come from a serious fundy who is always in preaching mode. Figures of speech, more or less. I don't believe in God or Creation, but the phrase "All God's creatures" feels neutral to me.

 

One of the great things about deconverting is the freedom to not worry about what others think or say.

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Yes I think it is a phase and I think you will get over it. I went through that too, and don't feel much anger anymore. There is a lot to grieve for and be angry about. But as you focus on real life outside the delusion and how you can grow from here on out, you'll hopefully find peace in being able to just be yourself and enjoy this life.

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Anger serves a purpose. It has a function.

 

I agree with Overcame Faith. Be patient with yourself. In time the religious talk will roll off of you like water off a duck's back. And that is truly the worst enemy of religion. Hate a religion and it thrives. Love a religion and it is strengthened. Be apathetic towards it and it dies.

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Yes, it is a normal phase to go through after years of betrayal--feeling like you've been lied to for so many years! I went through it. I've mellowed out a bit since joining this website and had the opportunity to vent those feelings with visiting evangelicals tossed into the Lion's Den. Leaving a cult is an on-going experience, probably like withdrawals from drug addiction. It is still difficult at times to carry on a conversation with someone that is still wrapped up in the religious doctrines. It is tough to type what I feel because I am not face to face with someone who may take what I am saying personally and be offended because when we speak face to face we have the added facial expressions that soften our tone but it doesn't always come across that well when we can only post our thoughts. I am not that gifted of a writer and generally write like I talk which isn't always of pretty speech. But yes, anger is a part of deconversion and I think you do just fine as you progress.

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Yes, as others have said, the phase is normal. It gets better with time, although even after a few years of being deconverted, I still find it annoying...but it's a passing annoyance now, not something that disturbs my day.

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I get this all the time, any sort of religious talk I twitch, I want to question question question them and tell them why they don't make sense. But like you, I usually have to shut my mouth, because it's not socially acceptable.

 

What I try to do now is channel my rage to making fun of the religious talk. Point out how ridiculous there claims are, it can be quite entertaining. I remember when I was a Christian and things that made me question my beliefs were people mocking them for how obviously stupid they were.

 

Example was when I was watching Ricky Gervais's Animals stand up DVD. He was talking about the garden of eden i.e talking snakes, how embarrassed was it!

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I feel the same way oftentimes. I see updates on Facebook from some of my facebook friends with bible verses and how certain things are "god's will," etc. Then I see that a bunch of people "like" and post comments of agreement. It does indeed annoy and anger me. I've been trying to figure out why, and what people have posted in this thread are good. I guess because it reminds me of how I used to be. I was so foolish, so deluded. There's really no way to punch through the "armor of god/delusion" these people have built up around them. It is disheartening, in a sense. You want to yell out and intellectually challenge them, but you know, that it is pointless, and that they'll probably just respond with a "I'm praying for you" or such.

 

Plus, if you're not really a confrontational person, you hesitate to challenge religious people, yet at the same time, you have a big desire to do so.

 

Also, I feel like I have a lot to learn now that I've walked out of the cave, so to speak. I am reading a lot right now and trying to learn. I actually read a Bible passage yesterday that truly, deeply disturbed me, Judges 19. I could've sworn I had read that story before in baptist school, but I only remember the part about the hospitality to the guest. I do not at all remember the incredibly horrendous things that happened after that. I haven't been disturbed like that in a while. Anyway, sorry for the off topic, but the point is, I want to learn more before I try to engage religious people, if I ever decide to do so.

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I just thought of something after I posted my last post.

 

I think the issue is that I just don't know how to view these people anymore. Before, you had a fairly black and white way of "understanding" believers and non believers. Even if someone posted an update about another theistic religion, at least you understand the belief itself, even if you disagreed with it.

 

In essence, I think dealing with this is part of the large task of having to rebuild your world view after deconversion. Christianity gave you the context in which to view many things. Most importantly, how to view believers vs. nonbelievers. Now you have to figure out a way to rebuild that view. I'm struggling with this myself.

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I absolutely relate. My circles say, "Praise god" for almost every seemingly positive occurrence. It's very frustrating and I do as you mostly -- just keep my mouth shut. Honestly, it's not worth it in my opinion.

Most of this "praise god" nonsense is just background noise, verbal tics, and not meaningful even to them. It's a bad habit, but just as you don't go around grabbing cigarettes out of people's mouths, you don't correct them or be exasperated with them. You just accept that it is.

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