Jump to content

I Need Some Advice, Please...


Brenna109
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello!

 

Short background; I was raised as a christian my entire life. My entire family is full of strong, conservative christians. I am 15 years old right now, and finally giving up christianity.

Around April of last year I finally figured out that christianity is brainwashing and fake. Of course, I no longer wanted anything to do with it, and that still applies.

Anyways, I have been having a lot of fear lately; fear that "the devil" is just putting this idea in my mind, but then I just shake myself and realize i'm being ridiculous. I know 100% that I don't want to believe in these lies, because they are all false.

I realize that christians are brainwashed with fear and guilt, but since I have been raised a christian it has been hard to fully let go of this fear. When I was a little girl, I would stay up all night crying in fear of hell...so as you can see, it did a big impact on me.

Christianity has made my mental health very poor. Luckily, I have a trusted therapist; BUT, she is christian. My parents made me have a christian therapist... she knows i am not very religious, but i have not told her that I want to leave this controlling religion. I feel like i need to tell her because I have been getting panic attacks while in this process of change. It's hard to leave something you grew up with, I am sure a lot of you understand how hard that is. However, ever since I decided to leave I have felt a lot more free :)

 

So, the question is should I tell my therapist...? If so, how can I talk to her about it without offending her?

and some advice would be great too.

 

Thank you!

 

P.S Sadly, I don't know anyone else who isn't a christian. My parents made me stay in a christian school all my life until last year I got to leave because i was emotionally unstable and being bullied. So now I am homeschooling to recover from the emotional stress.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, the question is should I tell my therapist...? If so, how can I talk to her about it without offending her?

 

Hi Brenna, welcome to ex-C! I wish I could give you the right answer about your therapist but I don't know her. I don't know anything about her. I couldn't tell you how she is going to handle the news. If you don't think she will handle it right then it might be better to not share.

 

Reading your story just hurts. Okay it's going to be tough for a while. If I were you I would not tell your parents or family about your religious views. It's something you can always do later but you need to wait till you can make your own life. Personally I have told nobody offline that I have de-converted. I don't need the hassles of everybody praying for me to come back and constantly getting witnessed. I don't want that so they don't need to know. I go through the motions of being a good Christian and it's enough that I don't get flak or draw attention to myself at church. I've learned to have a poker face. It's not my job to correct delusional people or the nonsense they spout at church. Sometimes I hold a cup of coffee and pretend to sip when I am trying not to laugh.

 

There are lots of people here who have been through what you are going through. Come here and rant when you need to. It's going to take a while to get past all the brainwashing but it does get better. You will get stronger.

 

 

MM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting question.

 

Not sure that a "Christian therapist" is the best to confide in.

 

My advice would be to tell your parents that you want a therapist that will be more able to handle your situation.

 

Good luck and welcome aboard!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

Brenna,Welcome to ex-c. Thanks for sharing your story. Very familiar stuff! I think if you hang out with us a lot - you may do really well in dropping all the extra bullshit christian doctrine.

 

I kinda' wish you were going to a secular therapist, but try her out (to keep the peace) and see whay happens. Maybe, she's a more 'open' christian!

 

Glad you have joined us - read, read, read....... there are tons of good posts here to direct you. Wishing you much happiness on your new journey!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It gets better with time. I would not mention your deconversion to your therapist until you are 18, at which point in time your parents cannot force her to break patient confidentiality.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, the question is should I tell my therapist...? If so, how can I talk to her about it without offending her?

and some advice would be great too.

Regrettably I agree you're going to have to go along to get along for awhile, frustrating as that is.

 

Some Christian therapists are more open than others but I would not risk sharing your religious situation with her, given that you're a minor and you don't have full confidentiality. At the same time you could use some help with the panic attacks. You're in a tough situation. Maybe it would be as helpful to anything to talk openly here about your fears. We'll do our best to help put it in perspective for you. We're not mental health professionals but we've been through the process you're going through; most of us are also from a fundamentalist background. In addition, no offense, but we're adults -- we have experience and perspective to offer. So often at the point in life you're at, things loom larger than life. I certainly remember what it was like to be 15. I have a 17 year old stepdaughter and raised two children of my own, too.

 

So if you feel comfortable doing so, feel free to tell us about your panic attacks, what your concerns are, etc. I'm willing to bet you'll feel less isolated and alone if you do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you so much everyone.

It feels really nice to see that I have supporters in this, it means a lot. I feel a little more confident reading your replies. And I think I won't mention it to my therapist, unless she asks.

Thank you! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

. . . . feel free to tell us about your panic attacks, what your concerns are, etc. I'm willing to bet you'll feel less isolated and alone if you do.

 

 

Maybe it will be easier if I break the ice.

 

I've struggled with panic attacks for a very long time. Years ago I would ask Jesus for help. Even today my dear mother (I love her) will say to me "Why don't you ask Jesus to take them away?". I don't have the heart to tell her that it doesn't work.

 

My trigger: realizing that I didn't know something when I feel like I should have known it. It's a shame trigger. For example if I offer someone some food that contains nuts and they happen to be allergic I can get a panic attack because I didn't ask them about their allergies. Just something little like that can release all the shame that was crammed into my head over a lifetime. It's silly but emotions don't have to make sense.

 

Now I have tried many different techniques and I've been getting better at handling them over the last few years. However I made the most progress this year. Since de-converting from Christianity I have learned how to sometimes stop my panic cold. When I feel an attack coming on I tell myself "I decide what it means to me". The "it" is whatever I found to be embarrassing. I remind myself that either there is no God or God wasn't offended. All that matters is what these things mean to me. And if I am the one who decides how it effects me then why should I put myself through all that shame?

 

I don't always remember to do the technique. That is kind of the hard part. I can't guarantee this will work for anybody else. It took me a while to figure out what was driving my attacks. But also occasionally I am in a situation that would have caused an attack in the past and I don't experience one. I guess you have to learn to know yourself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A xian therapist seems a conflict of interest, in the vein of a faith-healing doctor.

 

Take heart. Non-belief is sort of like buying a green car. You suddenly start noticing all the other green cars around you. Don't know how to handle it with family, but finding a less religious therapist shouldn't be hard and is imperative.

 

Good luck and welcome to the forums.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Relax and talk to your therepist openly and honestly about what you believe, what you don't believe, what you fear, and what you don't fear. Be yourself. Know yourself. Don't be afraid to express it to anyone, including your therapist.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Relax and talk to your therepist openly and honestly about what you believe, what you don't believe, what you fear, and what you don't fear. Be yourself. Know yourself. Don't be afraid to express it to anyone, including your therapist.

 

 

Agreed. Though she may not agree with you. If she is any good, then she will be able to address your concerns without bible thumping.

 

If you can't be brutally honest with your therapist, then you need a new one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Often times a "Christian Therapist" isn't exactly a true therapist, in that they don't have the college/state requirements to qualify themselves as counselors. A counselor can be religious, and if they are a good one, will set aside their own personal beliefs and deal with each patient on a case by case basis. Christian "therapists" on the other hand will set aside any medically accepted counseling practices and instead try to treat patients using "Biblical values". I've known many pastors who try to qualify themselves as counselors, and get away with it, because they label themselves religious therapists or whatever else they can think of. So keep in mind that your Christian therapist may be trying to approach counseling through the filter of their own religious opinions and not remaining impartial. The key of any counselor is to remain impartial, and any counselor trying to treat people using religious means is already going to be rendering judgement based on their own religious beliefs.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If she's a biased "Christian therapist" then it is all the more reason to be yourself. A big part of deconverting is being able to stand up to the religious zealot bullies who want to manipulate you into going back.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had an experience with a christian doctor and he tried to keep me back in christianity. Honestly I would seek another therapist. I know for you

it is difficult without your parents advice...is there really any way to have the address of a "normal therapist" ?

 

I am so glad you opened you eyes and so young.and you realize that christianity is fake. You are young. Don't waste your time for something that

will keep you far away of the true life. When I fellowed christians the first time I was 16. It was something who looked nice, I was in

a youth christian group. All started slowly, and when I realized my brainwashing I was 35. The fear of devill as said in other post, was something that

keep me in christianity for a long time. But devil is a lie.

Even if you will have difficult time, it is worthwile. Believe me, it has been so hard for me but I do not regret my freedom. Freedom is costly.

 

Take care of you yellow.gif

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If she's a biased "Christian therapist" then it is all the more reason to be yourself. A big part of deconverting is being able to stand up to the religious zealot bullies who want to manipulate you into going back.

 

Think about all the advantages the therapist would have. It wouldn't be a fair fight. The therapist can work with her parents. Yeah standing up to zealot bullies is a great idea but you have to pick your battles as well. If Brenna wants to find some Christians her own age and ask them questions they can't answer that could be a lot of fun and build her confidence. But one shouldn't annoy someone who can tell the people who could make your life a living hell for the next three years. Now if the therapist were to come here to Lion's Den that would be a fair fight because it's not like she could sick any of our folks after us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not saying she should try to win a religious debate. I'm just saying she needs to be secure enough to be herself in front of anyone.

I get that, totally, but on the other hand, I'm not sure this is a question of self confidence or security so much as prudence. She's a 15 year old in an adult world, and to stir up a hornet's nest with someone who may or may not themselves be secure and centered enough to allow her to have differing beliefs -- and then has the power to break confidence with parents who are apt to not handle it well -- seems imprudent. Pick your battles, and their timing, sez I. Although 3 years may seem an eternity to a 15 year old, I'd lean towards biding my time if I were in her shoes -- unless she is being so ill treated or tormented that it truly is damaging her.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Brenna, my heart goes out to you, sweetie. I have a daughter close to your age and I can't imagine her going through something like that alone. I'm so thankful my husband and I didn't push our faith on our kids as they've grown up. You may not feel like it right now, but you are a VERY strong young woman. For you to search for the truth and come to these conclusions on your own is a big deal. I went through a lot of fear and panic when I was your age, too, and I have no doubt it had a LOT to do with my faith. I was afraid of satan and could not sleep at night. I felt so alone. All the prayers in the world did not seem to help.

 

I wish I had known then what you know right now. Think of that knowledge you have as a weapon, not as something to fear. Remember that you are a strong person. I agree w/MyMistake - just knowing that the cause of the anxiety comes from your own mind actually helps you to diffuse it. That's b/c knowing you cause it means that YOU can stop it. It is not out of your control. It does not come from some circumstance (or invisible being) outside of you. It's just thoughts.

 

Something that has helped me a lot is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). If you do a google search for it, there are some online programs you can do on your own that really help give you tools for handling anxiety. Here are a few notes that I keep on my computer from one of the programs that I used. I hope they will be of help to you. Also there's a book you can download called "Leaving the Fold" by Marlene Winell, that could be of help to you.

 

I'm really glad you are here and encourage you to post as often as you need to. Feel free to contact me personally if you ever need someone to write to.

 

 

Keys to Avoiding Panic Attacks:

1.) Give yourself an out in a situation that might make you anxious.
2.) Try to figure out what’s really bothering you.
3.) Give yourself permission to feel anxious
4.) Use positive dialogue.
5.) Distract yourself…read, listen to the radio, talk to someone – DON’T RUN
6.) Laugh at yourself, make light of the symptoms. The feelings always go away.

Six Steps That Will Put an End to Panic Attacks

There is a six-step approach to self-control when dealing with an anxiety attack:

FIRST ACCEPT - recognize that you are feeling anxious. Accept your body feelings as a symptom of your anxiety and a sign that something is bothering you.

SECOND PERMISSION - give yourself permission to feel anxious about whatever it is that is bothering you. "Of course I feel anxious because...and it's okay to have anxiety. I know what this is and why I feel this way. I'm ok."

THIRD BREATHE. First, inhale through your nose slowly for two-seconds, mentally counting one, one-thousand, two, one-thousand. Then exhale through your mouth to mental count of four-seconds - again by one-thousands. Do this for at least 60-seconds.

FOURTH INNER DIALOGUE - use truthful, positive dialogue to talk yourself through the anxious time. It WILL pass. Examples of dialogue might be, "It's just anxiety. It will go away. I will not lose control. I can still go about my business feeling spaced-out. It won't hurt me."

FIFTH DISTRACT - get busy. Do something to release some of this self-induced stimulation. Your body is like a car in high gear with the brakes on. Don't just sit there! Walk, jog, clean closets - but do something. Distract yourself from the way you are feeling.

SIXTH LET TIME PASS - and try to see a little humor in the way you feel. You may feel weird, you don't look weird. Give yourself permission to feel weird for a little while. It's no big deal. Try to figure out what is really bothering you. Is it some type of conflict that you don't want to deal with? Is it a scary thought? Is it a ridiculous expectation you have about yourself? How about the television program you watched last night? What is bothering you?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not saying she should try to win a religious debate. I'm just saying she needs to be secure enough to be herself in front of anyone.

I get that, totally, but on the other hand, I'm not sure this is a question of self confidence or security so much as prudence. She's a 15 year old in an adult world, and to stir up a hornet's nest with someone who may or may not themselves be secure and centered enough to allow her to have differing beliefs -- and then has the power to break confidence with parents who are apt to not handle it well -- seems imprudent. Pick your battles, and their timing, sez I. Although 3 years may seem an eternity to a 15 year old, I'd lean towards biding my time if I were in her shoes -- unless she is being so ill treated or tormented that it truly is damaging her.

 

I agree. Be prudent. Pick your battles, absolutely. And avoid certain fights. But at 15, it's time to start thinking about who you are, what you believe, and stay true to that. If she's questioning her religion, she's already begun that process (which for many of us was a painful one). I just want to encourage her to be strong and continue on this path.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, Brenna, welcome to ExC. I'm glad you joined us and I am glad you felt confident enough to post about your concerns.

 

This is your specific question:

 

So, the question is should I tell my therapist...? If so, how can I talk to her about it without offending her?

 

First and foremost, you must get out of your mind any concerns you have about offending her. She is a professional and it is her job to help you. You're mental health should be your one and only concern and it should also be her one and only concern. And any professional would tell you the exact same thing. So if it is your concern about not offending her that is preventing you from opening up completely with your therapist, then my advice is to forget that concern completely. Do what is necessary for you to get over your fears. If you and I were having a face to face conversation, you would hear the resolute tone of my voice when I said what I just wrote and I would use that tone so you would know how emphatic I am in saying it.

 

Now, about whether you should tell your therapist about the true source of your fears, leaving Christianity. In answering that, I am going to quote you again:

 

 

Luckily, I have a trusted therapist....

 

I take you at your word that this therapist is "trusted." That's the key word you used which guides my advice to you. The answer is that since you trust her, then you should rely on that trust and open up with her.

 

Remember something very important. There are therapists who happen to be Christian and then there are "therapists" who are "Christian therapists." There';s a difference in my mind. A therapist who happens to be a Christian, is the same professional as are all other therapists. They have the same education, use accepted therapeutic techniques, and employ a science guided compassion for their patients. A "Christian therapist," on the other hand, is someone who relies on the bible as their primary guide. They're the type of so-called therapist that if you told them you have a fear of hell, they'd tell you something like, "The way to overcome this fear is to lean on Jesus as your Lord and Savior and accept his grace into your life." Though I have no way of knowing this, I strongly suspect that your therapist is a therapist who happens to be a Christian. And what makes me suspect that is the fact that you trust her.

 

I will also speak to you some about your fears. You are not alone in having such fears. There are any number of people who come here and have those same fears, many of whom are adults much older than you. So, you are not alone and you are by no means odd or unusual.

 

For some people, those fears will fade with time and this may be the case with you, but I can't know that for sure. For other people, it is more of a struggle to overcome their fears. They may have to do some intellectual work to study the doctrine of hell until they come to see, as I have, that even the bible taken as a whole does not support the notion that there is a hell. For example, if Adam's original sin is what destines each of us to hell because of the original sin we allegedly inherited from Adam, then why didn't god say anything about it when he was meting out his punishment to Adam and Eve? All god said was that Adam and Eve would toil, Eve would have pains while giving birth, and that they would eventually die. This "god" never said anything like, "And all your children will be branded with your sin and will all be cast into hell unless they can somehow believe in Jesus, whom I will send in a few thousand years."

 

Hell was really only intruduced into the equation fully and completely in the New Testament. And the reason for that was to be used as a control mechanism on the new Christian converts. They were offered the choice of an eternity in heaven if they believed in Jesus or an eternity of torture and torment in hell if they did not. There is no counterpart in the old testament. And why is that? Because the concept of hell is a new testament invention (actually, it was borrowed from other religions).

 

What I wrote above about hell is by no means a complete study of the false and cruel concept of hell. But it may serve to show you the type of thinking and study you can undertake to help you overcome your fears on an intellectual level.

 

In addition to the intellectual pursuit, don't downplay the value of giving yourself time. As I said earlier, that has helped a lot of people.

 

Something else that seems to help some people who are suffering as you are is to express your fears on ExC. There are many compassionate people here who will take the time to discuss the issue with you.

 

Finally, I think you are doing the right thing by seeing a therapist. You said you have had these terrible fears even as a child. That tells me that it is a problem that you should seek, as you are, professional help in overcoming.

 

I wish you all the best.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello!

 

Short background; I was raised as a christian my entire life. My entire family is full of strong, conservative christians. I am 15 years old right now, and finally giving up christianity.

Around April of last year I finally figured out that christianity is brainwashing and fake. Of course, I no longer wanted anything to do with it, and that still applies.

Anyways, I have been having a lot of fear lately; fear that "the devil" is just putting this idea in my mind, but then I just shake myself and realize i'm being ridiculous. I know 100% that I don't want to believe in these lies, because they are all false.

I realize that christians are brainwashed with fear and guilt, but since I have been raised a christian it has been hard to fully let go of this fear. When I was a little girl, I would stay up all night crying in fear of hell...so as you can see, it did a big impact on me.

Christianity has made my mental health very poor. Luckily, I have a trusted therapist; BUT, she is christian. My parents made me have a christian therapist... she knows i am not very religious, but i have not told her that I want to leave this controlling religion. I feel like i need to tell her because I have been getting panic attacks while in this process of change. It's hard to leave something you grew up with, I am sure a lot of you understand how hard that is. However, ever since I decided to leave I have felt a lot more free smile.png

 

So, the question is should I tell my therapist...? If so, how can I talk to her about it without offending her?

and some advice would be great too.

 

Thank you!

 

P.S Sadly, I don't know anyone else who isn't a christian. My parents made me stay in a christian school all my life until last year I got to leave because i was emotionally unstable and being bullied. So now I am homeschooling to recover from the emotional stress.

 

I assume your therapist reports her findings to your parents? Or is it confidential? If she is a decent therapist she won't be offended if you tell her you don't believe. But whether she is or is not offended is immaterial. Your family is paying her money to provide a service to help you. If you tell her you don't believe , will she try to bring you back to the flock? I don't think letting people know your beliefs will be helpful necessarily, but could direct the spotlight onto you. Knowing that you aren't a believer could make your parents intensify their brainwashing attempts on you. It may seem like a long time, but if you are 15, you only have 3 more years then you are an adult (I assume) and you can take off and live your own life. You could simulate belief until you are out of the house which could make those 3 years go smoother than fighting and arguing the whole time.

 

Now, if the cause of your emotional problem IS your fear of going to hell, then by all means discuss with your therapist all the crazy crap that Christianity has done to cause fear in your life. She is there to help you feel better. Maybe your parents will cut you some slack with church if IT is the cause of your problems. Only you can gauge how the people in your life might react though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

p.s.

 

You know those shows on tv and the movies with evil supernatural beings? You never see those in life because they aren't real. Just like hell and satan are not real and you will never see them. But if these ideas give you fear then plant your own idea that you are MORE POWERFUL than satan and when the fear crops up you will kick that fear's ass. You shall kick hell's ass. You shall kick satan's ass. You shall kick religion's ass. You are real. You are powerful. You are going to rewrite your own belief system the way you like it. Or else, drop it altogether. Like you said, xianity is fake. Your cognitive facility knows it but another part of you needs some help. Practice kicking the crap out of these fears by convincing yourself you are more powerful than them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If she's a biased "Christian therapist" then it is all the more reason to be yourself. A big part of deconverting is being able to stand up to the religious zealot bullies who want to manipulate you into going back.

 

Think about all the advantages the therapist would have. It wouldn't be a fair fight. The therapist can work with her parents. Yeah standing up to zealot bullies is a great idea but you have to pick your battles as well. If Brenna wants to find some Christians her own age and ask them questions they can't answer that could be a lot of fun and build her confidence. But one shouldn't annoy someone who can tell the people who could make your life a living hell for the next three years. Now if the therapist were to come here to Lion's Den that would be a fair fight because it's not like she could sick any of our folks after us.

 

 

True. And parents tend to 'win' the battle of wills with their kids. Right or wrong, parents (I am one) tend to think they are right and the child is wrong. Much more so for uber-fundamentalist (fear-based) xian parents if they feel their child's 'immortal soul' is at stake. Unless you are ready for or actually enjoy conflict, might just want to pretend for a while. And btw, you say you don't know any non-christians.....I bet you do and don't know it....don't think you are the only non-believer going to church...especially in a youth group. You aren't the only one forced to go to church. Look around a bit...maybe someone you know is just like you. :)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just want to send you a hug, Brenna. You seem so alone. I hope you continue to come back here and get to know us all :)

 

I just wanted to add, if you're using a computer at home, and your family is anything like my own biological mother, to just remember to clear your history, cookies, and sign out every time. This is not the sort of website that I'd imagine many fundie parents would approve of their 15 year old daughter using.

 

Hope to see you back here :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are SO lucky! You have so much to be grateful for! At age 15, you have left the religion just in the nick of time to be able to have the necessary developmental experiences as a rational person that will allow you to become an adult.

 

You are an adolescent and as someone who has shed the Christian thought virus, you can now do all the things that an adolescent does -- sort out what it means to be a woman, a responsible person, a worker, and a moral agent. You can have romances with boys, experience disappointment and regret, and develop the good judgment that comes from experience. All of these things you can do unhindered by the shackles of the Christian thought virus. Well done!

 

You dodged a bullet, and you left the religion early. This is all to your credit as a wise and virtuous person. Now you can take full advantage of the opportunities that have now opened up to you.

 

As for me, I was not nearly so good as you are, and thus I stuck with the religion until age 25. I was stunted because I passed through puberty and adolescence while still a Christian. At age 25 I might have looked like an adult, but my soul grew up cramped within Christianity. Having left Christianity, you on the other hand, will be able to grow up standing tall in the clear sunlight of reality.

 

As for your Christian therapist, you have nothing -- NOTHING -- to learn from her. She herself is not as wise as you, and all of her advice will come to you with shades of confusion due to her Christianity. Don't allow her to put words and thoughts into your ears. Find a humanist or secular therapist, otherwise money and time is being wasted.

 

The Winnell book is great. Some other books that I have found useful recently are "God Virus" by Ray and "Trusting Doubt" by Tarico. Ms. Tarico is actually a member of this discussion forum -- "Hi there, Maam!" Cognitive Behavioral Therapy seems to be the state of the art in terms of psychological therapy, and I have found it to be sensible and useful.

 

CONGRATULATIONS!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.