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Dexter

What now?

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How long does this disillusionment last? How deep do these roots go into my appearently non-existant soul? I am tired and frustrated and angry. I’ve caught myself starting fights in my old haunts and offering poorly vieled ire to believers who genuinely don’t deserve it. I see trusted debate partners tiptoing around me at the moment and one asked me if I am ejoying my flamethrower amidst a straw man army. 

 

I wouldn’t say I am directionless but I do not know where to go from here. I was playing the long game. Running the race, as it were, though I had awhile ago stopped running because I had lost confidence. But now I am just standing wondering, “What now?”

 

What do I do now? What happens next? I don’t know where to go. I just find myself lamenting the path I’ve come. 

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@Dexter,

 

You are reacting normally to years of being lied to and manipulated. I have been in that boat for 2~3 years now and, although I still harbor a smidge of resentment, I have recently realize that I may be just as arrogant and obnoxious about my atheism than any fundy ever was about their beliefs. 

 

We don't' really know that we don't have a soul. It would seem that this is our way of attempting to deal with not knowing exactly what consciousness is. Personally I think it's an iteration (running) of our brain's concept of a software program but...who knows.

 

Arguing with seemingly religious folks for no reason? Is there really no reason, Dex? Maybe you're trying to prevent others from being, or continuing to be,  as disillusioned as you once were. Or maybe you still need to have your wall up so you don't revert. Or maybe you're pissed off. Good! That will go away in a couple years. 

 

'til then...let 'em have it! :cussing:

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I could say that it’s about helping others out of the faith but I know that this is not actually true. I am just easily triggered by the arguments I’ve abandoned as wrong. I have considered purging theism from my life but I have concerns with doing this, for trading one echo chamber for another. Because a person is an atheist does not mean they are not deep in the same confirmation bias as a theist. 

 

But then, we do not exist outside of community. Do I delude myself to believe that I can now suddenly prevent others from indoctrinating me? In the same way people escaping abusive relationships learn there lessons and never fall back into them again? 

 

Yeah, right.

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I can already conceive of an argument my family would employ that would be extremely effective on me. 

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Steven, it’s ok. I hear you. I understand how much you hurt. And we probably weren’t there enough to help you through it. You’ve always been a very independent person. But no man is an island and no one person can face the world alone. You haven’t given up on God, and He hasn’t given up on you. Tell Him your troubles, your doubts, your questions. He’s strong enough to handle them. I too went through a time when I fell away and doubted God (insert story here) but in the end I realized that it was God’s love that carried me through. Steven, we love you. And God loves you, no matter what you’ve said or done. And I love you. You will always be my son/brother. Let’s pray together and ask God to help you find peace and reconciliation.

 

...and I would. I know I would pray. Because I need those words. I need those words spoken to me. And I am too weak to refuse them even if I know where they come from. 😢

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29 minutes ago, Dexter said:

Steven, it’s ok. I hear you. I understand how much you hurt. And we probably weren’t there enough to help you through it. You’ve always been a very independent person. But no man is an island and no one person can face the world alone. You haven’t given up on God, and He hasn’t given up on you. Tell Him your troubles, your doubts, your questions. He’s strong enough to handle them. I too went through a time when I fell away and doubted God (insert story here) but in the end I realized that it was God’s love that carried me through. Steven, we love you. And God loves you, no matter what you’ve said or done. And I love you. You will always be my son/brother. Let’s pray together and ask God to help you find peace and reconciliation.

 

...and I would. I know I would pray. Because I need those words. I need those words spoken to me. And I am too weak to refuse them even if I know where they come from. 😢

The almost exact crap was said to me...almost in that order. 

Must be from the Prevent Family Member From Leaving the Fold hand book!

 

The part about "Tell God your troubles...He's strong enough to handle them" really pisses me off. Thesee asshats assume we have not done that countless times. Either that or they are just saying that for the benefit of those listening....or themselves. 

 

Yeah, so either God is not really strong enough or he/she/it does not give a rodent's hindy or ... does not exists. 

 

I'm not going to suggest you not pray but I will tell you that after a year or two you won't need to anymore, Steven. You'll be a strong - unindoctrinated chap who is focused on YOUR life!

 

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It’s social manipulation. I know it is. I’ve employed it knowingly and intentionally on others, of course tailoring the message as needed sometimes even removing the god part entirely. It’s my go-to “talk them off the ledge” script. But the amazing thing about social manipulation I learned a long time ago is that you can tell a person it’s coming and it’s no less effective when it comes. 

 

I did this experiment with my friend, Chris where I told him that I was going to emotionally manipulate him. So he threw up some quick defenses while I looked him square in the eye and told him how disappointed I was with him. How he was not living up to my expectations. I was about to start doing some knife twisting when he asked me to stop. Even knowing it was coming, even me telling him it was coming and allowing him to prepare, it peirced right through his defenses. I knew it would, not living up to his grandfather’s impossible expectations is one of his core damages. It would have taken a LOT more preparation for his regrets to not resonate with my words. 

 

Manipulation is an art. And I am not immune. 

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2 hours ago, Dexter said:

Tell Him your troubles, your doubts, your questions. He’s strong enough to handle them.

 

That makes sense. I mean, if there's a god, I'm sure he knows how this goes. A world without evidence for god, a world where lying to the congregation can make you profit -> it's only reasonable that people reject the form in which god is marketed. If god doesn't understand the reality of that, he isn't much of a god.

 

If they ask you to pray together with them, I see not much harm in doing so, unless it's about them asserting their control over you or something disrespectful like that. Besides, so what if it's a weak moment for you and that's why you might cave in? Then that's the reason you prayed, not your faith.

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Dexter, so much that gets in the way of living a totally free and relatively unmanipulated is our past mental programming.  It comes from the church, society, family, etc.  In the case of your friend it is clear it came from his grandfather.

 

These expectations haunt us because we gain a sense of confort by having a mental touchstone, something we aspire to, something that set expectations for ourselves.  The haunting is due to us choosing to be accountable to some outside agency or person(s).  And, being outside of us, these mental touchstones often violate the very sense of who we are as a person.

 

Here is what helped me get past all of this wasteful angst and anxiety.  First, I chose to mentally dump all of it, make myself a clean slate.  Then, I thought deep and hard about what was valuable to ME.  What was it that I valued.  What should MY personal touchstone/"bible" be.  It took a lot of mental effort.  When I got done I condensed down my own personal mental operating system to these ten very carefully selected words:

 

"I care about facts, empathy, and treating all people fairly".

 

This has been my mental touchstone, my "bible" for six years now.  These ten words inform all of my thoughts, and guide my actions.  The best part is that is all came from ME.  No outside agency or person to account to.  No one to feel shame to.  And, no more need for any cognitive dissonance creating defenses as it is sooooo easy to follow a moral/behavioral code of one's own making.

 

So, I would stringly suggest you undertake this same exercise.  Come up with your own base mental operating system.  It will not eliminate conflict with others, but it will eliminate any mental conflict with one's self.

 

It is early in your journey.  You will be fine.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Dexter said:

It’s social manipulation. I know it is. I’ve employed it knowingly and intentionally on others, of course tailoring the message as needed sometimes even removing the god part entirely. It’s my go-to “talk them off the ledge” script. But the amazing thing about social manipulation I learned a long time ago is that you can tell a person it’s coming and it’s no less effective when it comes. 

 

I did this experiment with my friend, Chris where I told him that I was going to emotionally manipulate him. So he threw up some quick defenses while I looked him square in the eye and told him how disappointed I was with him. How he was not living up to my expectations. I was about to start doing some knife twisting when he asked me to stop. Even knowing it was coming, even me telling him it was coming and allowing him to prepare, it peirced right through his defenses. I knew it would, not living up to his grandfather’s impossible expectations is one of his core damages. It would have taken a LOT more preparation for his regrets to not resonate with my words. 

 

Manipulation is an art. And I am not immune. 

What's the lesson to be learned from this? Know where your weaknesses lie. And when people go for your weaknesses, just exit the discussion, and tell them you won't be manipulated, and that you have boundaries, and those boundaries wont be crossed. Maybe this is harder for some to do. I've become a lot more in tune with where my weaknesses have been in the past. And trust me, I've severely pissed off people who can't manipulate me anymore, and they are lashing out at me for it. And you know what? It's nice to finally be sticking my tongue out at them :P

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Dexter, another important thing to remember is that you are going through grief. You have had 'someone' die that was a huge part of your life. I have stated on this board over and over again that losing god for me was the single most horrible thing that ever happened to me. I thought I was going to be swallowed by a black hole and never be able to climb out. But I did. Ex-c rescued me.

 

 And by the way,  almost 9 years on this board and if someone (a born-again christian) was aggressive enough today to ask me to get on my knees and pray for god's forgiveness, I STILL might do it!! I'm not ashamed of this anymore. The bible was the 'truth for me and I was severely brainwashed and didn't even know it!!  I NEVER wanted to lose my god or my faith. Never. I don't know if there is any higher power or not but I am at the acceptance stage being OK without knowing if there is or isn't a god. And it's all OK.

 

Keep posting on this board. Keep asking questions. The gang here will help you through all the bumpy ride.  You are trying to form a new 'worldview' and it takes time. Finding out that Santa Claus is not real is very hard for some of us. You're going to be OK once you go through all the grief stages and sometimes that can take awhile. Hang in there, Ex-c got your back.

 

(hug)

 

Image result for stages of grief and loss

 

 

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32 minutes ago, Margee said:

You have had 'someone' die

 

I thought I was being melodramatic when this thought kept occurring to me. But yes. This is what it has been for me exactly. 

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I'm sorry to hear about the difficult time you're having, Dexter. As others have mentioned, it is actually pretty normal to be so frustrated early on after coming to the realization that the worldview your life was built on is a lie. Many of us went through similar feelings and we can attest that in time it does get better. Eventually the triggers should get weaker. In the meantime, you're welcome to continue venting here and you're sure to get support from people who understand. I wish you the best as you move forward....

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On 11/14/2018 at 1:46 PM, ConsiderTheSource said:

Here is what helped me get past all of this wasteful angst and anxiety.  First, I chose to mentally dump all of it, make myself a clean slate.  Then, I thought deep and hard about what was valuable to ME.  What was it that I valued.  What should MY personal touchstone/"bible" be.  It took a lot of mental effort.  When I got done I condensed down my own personal mental operating system to these ten very carefully selected words:

 

"I care about facts, empathy, and treating all people fairly".

Well said, and worth printing out.

 

On 11/14/2018 at 2:19 PM, TruthSeeker0 said:

What's the lesson to be learned from this? Know where your weaknesses lie. And when people go for your weaknesses, just exit the discussion, and tell them you won't be manipulated, and that you have boundaries, and those boundaries wont be crossed. Maybe this is harder for some to do. I've become a lot more in tune with where my weaknesses have been in the past. And trust me, I've severely pissed off people who can't manipulate me anymore, and they are lashing out at me for it. And you know what? It's nice to finally be sticking my tongue out at them

With time, you'll be able to do this ^

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I really do appreciate everyone's help and encouragement. It means a lot. I still find I am on a hair trigger but I've managed to start fewer fights and walk away from AiG's facebook feed for awhile. It was a bit of a cathartic release, I think, to cause mayhem there. It was certainly not constructive and probably not healthy either but I am far from perfect. I am kind of settling into this new reality. Strangely, the one constant that I have managed to cling to in all of this is that the majority of the world is crazy! I just used to exempt my own community from that evaluation. 

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