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Deconverting...an early process


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So hopefully this won't be too long. So after my relationship with my christian girlfriend broke down and after months of searching I realised that really I didn't believe any of this christianity stuff and that has led me to being I guess agnostic. This places me in a awkward situation as all my friends and family are christian. (fundamental evangelicals to be specific) I have only come out to one of my christians friends who is the most loving and caring guy ever!!! I know that my family will not take it well and I am kind of waiting to get a good job before I tell them, so I can move out of home straight away after. (Im currently 21) I currently work at a christian school, where to work there being christian is ESSENTIAL!!! I feel guilty going to work because I know I don't believe this stuff anymore. I love my job though, I work in after school care and the chrisitianity aspect doesn't even come into my role. I feel like my whole life is going to fall into pieces if I leave. Just want to hear some thoughts and that haha. 

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You're playing it safe imo - its smart to have an escape route planned out, because family reactions can be very difficult. Not relying on them in any way makes it so much easier. 

 

Welcome to exc!

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WELCOME!   If you haven't already done so, and need some ideas of how others have handled the situation, take a look at the TESTIMONIALS.  Also the INTRODUCTIONS section.  You might get more responses by posting this there.

 

It is hard to know how family will react, but it would be good to be able to go out on your own if need be.  This is a good place to get support, and questions answered.  Have you thought about how you will approach the subject with them?  And how do you think they will react?

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"I feel guilty going to work because I know I don't believe this stuff anymore."

 

If you worked in a bookstore that sold Harry Potter books and you discovered that the boss and all employees actually believed that Harry Potter was a real living human being and expected you to also believe that way, would you feel guilty about working there as a non-believer? Probably not. Granted you are in the process of deconversion so Christianity may not appear as fictional as HP, at the moment. But consider that all these people have a screw loose.

 

Christianity is a tribal thing. They expect people to think the way the tribe thinks. It sounds like you have a touch of that tribal thinking going as well because you feel guilty for thinking differently than them.

 

You most likely will have to work there until you find some different job. There's no need to feel guilty because a group of people all believe something silly and you dont. So do  your job, and dont tell anyone you dont believe in Christianity until you are gone from there...and maybe gone from the parents' home. 

 

 

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6 hours ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

You're playing it safe imo - its smart to have an escape route planned out, because family reactions can be very difficult. Not relying on them in any way makes it so much easier. 

 

Welcome to exc!

Yea 100%. I guess my escape route is to get my own place, it's just hard to do that when rent in sydney is ridiculous 

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3 hours ago, Weezer said:

WELCOME!   If you haven't already done so, and need some ideas of how others have handled the situation, take a look at the TESTIMONIALS.  Also the INTRODUCTIONS section.  You might get more responses by posting this there.

 

It is hard to know how family will react, but it would be good to be able to go out on your own if need be.  This is a good place to get support, and questions answered.  Have you thought about how you will approach the subject with them?  And how do you think they will react?

Thankyou so much! I have looked at the testimonals and they are awesome! I have thought about it and I am just really worried my parents will take it personally. That they will have done something wrong in raising me and that it's their fault for my unbelief. My parents at my 20th birthday said that the most important thing to them was that I was a christian. I am afraid once I lose this tag they wont look at me the same. 😕 

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1 hour ago, midniterider said:

"I feel guilty going to work because I know I don't believe this stuff anymore."

 

If you worked in a bookstore that sold Harry Potter books and you discovered that the boss and all employees actually believed that Harry Potter was a real living human being and expected you to also believe that way, would you feel guilty about working there as a non-believer? Probably not. Granted you are in the process of deconversion so Christianity may not appear as fictional as HP, at the moment. But consider that all these people have a screw loose.

 

Christianity is a tribal thing. They expect people to think the way the tribe thinks. It sounds like you have a touch of that tribal thinking going as well because you feel guilty for thinking differently than them.

 

You most likely will have to work there until you find some different job. There's no need to feel guilty because a group of people all believe something silly and you dont. So do  your job, and dont tell anyone you dont believe in Christianity until you are gone from there...and maybe gone from the parents' home. 

 

 

Hey man! Thanks for the analogy, it's super helpful! Thanks man this info is all really helpful and yea it's going to take some time to deconvert fully haha 

 

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Hello and welcome from a fellow Sydney-sider!

Yes rents here are obscene, I’m looking to buy a house at the moment. It’s one of the most expensive cities in the world.
Your life probably won’t fall to pieces as you fear, but even if it does, it is survivable. I lost almost everything a couple of years ago... my marriage, friends, some family. It’s been a lengthy and painful process but oh so worthwhile. Good luck.

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3 hours ago, wombat17 said:

Thankyou so much! I have looked at the testimonals and they are awesome! I have thought about it and I am just really worried my parents will take it personally. That they will have done something wrong in raising me and that it's their fault for my unbelief. My parents at my 20th birthday said that the most important thing to them was that I was a christian. I am afraid once I lose this tag they wont look at me the same. 😕 

This is exactly the response my parents took.  I had to learn that, not only can I not control their responses, it's not even my place to do so.  

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midniterider is right on. It seems to me that many who leave christianity hold a kind of sacred reverence for the church that is totally undeserved especially in the first few years. These fundamental churches operate a cult and you are the one who has lost years of clear thinking and self direction by getting sucked in. Anyhow it's fair under christian terms to be in a period of deep questioning. Please keep your job as long as it is helpful to you. You're doing a service to others stuck in the cult by being there and no longer accepting all the logic fallacies.

    You really can't tell how your family will handle your disbelief until it's out there. If or when your ready be sure to ask here or read up on the best way to approach this topic to give yourself the best chance to achieve the outcome you most want. It's a two sided thing and you have much more power to possibly influence the outcome than you think. Maybe it will be a disaster no matter what you do but there have been some surprisingly great outcomes we have seen on this site from time to time.

   You're doing the right thing for yourself by looking honestly at what you see around you and making you own decisions about what is true and what isn't. Be proud of yourself! The weight of taking responsibility for your own decisions seems heavy at first but that is a small price to pay in order to run your own life. This is the best part of your life coming up so keep trusting your ability to reason and keep listening to your inner self.

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7 hours ago, wombat17 said:

Thankyou so much! I have looked at the testimonals and they are awesome! I have thought about it and I am just really worried my parents will take it personally. That they will have done something wrong in raising me and that it's their fault for my unbelief. My parents at my 20th birthday said that the most important thing to them was that I was a christian. I am afraid once I lose this tag they wont look at me the same. 😕 

Why should they continue to look at you the same? That's kind of messed up... You're an adult with your own thoughts and beliefs. You aren't responsible for their emotions. Read that again: you aren't responsible for how other people respond to you. Unless you are being deliberately hurtful and hateful to people. Being honest isn't that. Christianity feeds unhealthy relationships and improper boundaries in some ways in particular between parent and child. These two books helped me immensely in recovery. 

https://www.amazon.ca/Leaving-Fold-Former-Fundamentalists-Religion/dp/1933993235 

Marlene has a website and support groups 

https://journeyfree.org/

Also this book https://www.amazon.ca/Adult-Children-Emotionally-Immature-Parents/dp/1626251703

 

Here's how I came out to my parents. A letter was much less difficult than face to face 

 

 

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Welcome to Ex-C, @wombat17.

I like to think we are a good source of support and marginal advice. Kidding. There are some smart folks here.

 

Good plan to seek employment that will allow you to provide for yourself before pushing back against the indoctrination and the cult. I notice your interests are hanging out with friends and gaming. Is that conducive to achieving your goal? Would career guidance counseling and education be more helpful engagements?

 

Welcome again and I hope you stick around and read/post some more.

    - MOHO (Mind Of His Own)

 

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Welcome! I'd struggled for a while with wanting to tell everyone and yet fearing the repercussions. I haven't told the people who are firmly entrenched in their faith. What I mean is: I haven't told those who believe in a literal hell. On one hand it feels dishonest not to be open with them but I'm simply not ready yet. It's ok that I'm not ready yet. I hope I will be someday, but for now I go on as normal.

 

This may be a terrible thing I did but I'd like to put it out there. The other day a friend of mine asked me if I would pray for her. I hesitated because I don't believe anymore and yet the other option was to "out" myself in the middle of her distress. I made the decision that, ethical or not, it provides her with comfort and comfort was what she needed in that moment and so I prayed for her just like I would have back when I still believed. 

 

I don't have any advice for you except to say it's ok that you're not ready to out yourself yet. 

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11 hours ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

This is exactly the response my parents took.  I had to learn that, not only can I not control their responses, it's not even my place to do so.  

Hey man! That's a really awesome way to think about it. I can't blame myself for how they feel or react because in the end that's their battle not mine. 

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8 hours ago, DanForsman said:

midniterider is right on. It seems to me that many who leave christianity hold a kind of sacred reverence for the church that is totally undeserved especially in the first few years. These fundamental churches operate a cult and you are the one who has lost years of clear thinking and self direction by getting sucked in. Anyhow it's fair under christian terms to be in a period of deep questioning. Please keep your job as long as it is helpful to you. You're doing a service to others stuck in the cult by being there and no longer accepting all the logic fallacies.

    You really can't tell how your family will handle your disbelief until it's out there. If or when your ready be sure to ask here or read up on the best way to approach this topic to give yourself the best chance to achieve the outcome you most want. It's a two sided thing and you have much more power to possibly influence the outcome than you think. Maybe it will be a disaster no matter what you do but there have been some surprisingly great outcomes we have seen on this site from time to time.

   You're doing the right thing for yourself by looking honestly at what you see around you and making you own decisions about what is true and what isn't. Be proud of yourself! The weight of taking responsibility for your own decisions seems heavy at first but that is a small price to pay in order to run your own life. This is the best part of your life coming up so keep trusting your ability to reason and keep listening to your inner self.

Hey man, yeah it's taken a while to get here, but I am definetly excited what life is going to look life when I don't have to worship some 'god' with every aspect of my life. I am currently in that period of deep questioning, as my christian beliefs unravel, but I guess it's worth it. Where should I post on this website for advice before I go and tell my parents? Is it just in this forum?

 

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7 hours ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

Why should they continue to look at you the same? That's kind of messed up... You're an adult with your own thoughts and beliefs. You aren't responsible for their emotions. Read that again: you aren't responsible for how other people respond to you. Unless you are being deliberately hurtful and hateful to people. Being honest isn't that. Christianity feeds unhealthy relationships and improper boundaries in some ways in particular between parent and child. These two books helped me immensely in recovery. 

https://www.amazon.ca/Leaving-Fold-Former-Fundamentalists-Religion/dp/1933993235 

Marlene has a website and support groups 

https://journeyfree.org/

Also this book https://www.amazon.ca/Adult-Children-Emotionally-Immature-Parents/dp/1626251703

 

Here's how I came out to my parents. A letter was much less difficult than face to face 

Hey man these resources like awesome, thanks so much for the advice. One thing which is hard is my mum has anxiety and depression and I am afraid this will send her spiralling down into a not good place. But i guess thats not my fault.

 

 

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No it's not your fault. It's not your fault if your mom goes into a depression. I have several family members in the church that suffer from depression and it's my opinion that their strict religious beliefs are exactly what keep them there. I myself suffer from depression periodically but guess what, it improved radically after I left religion. It spirals downwards when I get too involved with my religious family. I do not need their approval. Their approval isn't a reflection of my value. These resources helped me regain my confidence, self worth, and self compassion as well as to trust myself. 

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Also, look for an excellent secular therapist that can help you navigate what's ahead with your family. Marlene is excellent but you can also find one through The secular therapy project and peer support with recovering from religion https://www.recoveringfromreligion.org/#rfr-welcome

https://www.seculartherapy.org/

 

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2 hours ago, wombat17 said:

Hey man! That's a really awesome way to think about it. I can't blame myself for how they feel or react because in the end that's their battle not mine. 

In my mother's case, particularly, self-blame is another form of manipulation and control.  Torturing herself over my apostasy is intended to inflict guilt upon me.  This not only feeds her own religious addiction; but also, obviously, is her way of attempting to coerce me back into the fold.  It may be their battle; but that doesn't mean they will fight fair.

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4 hours ago, wombat17 said:

Hey man, yeah it's taken a while to get here, but I am definetly excited what life is going to look life when I don't have to worship some 'god' with every aspect of my life. I am currently in that period of deep questioning, as my christian beliefs unravel, but I guess it's worth it. Where should I post on this website for advice before I go and tell my parents? Is it just in this forum?

 

You can post here or in Got Questions. We'll probably find you wherever you post on this site. Be sure and read  A letter to my parents that TruthSeeker0 linked and then all the comments that follow. That will give you a good general idea on the thoughts we've developed on coming out to believing parents. For sure you should make every effort to put off telling your parents until you aren't in serious need of their help with say a place to live or with tuition or anything else along those lines.

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2 hours ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

In my mother's case, particularly, self-blame is another form of manipulation and control.  Torturing herself over my apostasy is intended to inflict guilt upon me.  This not only feeds her own religious addiction; but also, obviously, is her way of attempting to coerce me back into the fold.  It may be their battle; but that doesn't mean they will fight fair.

This is an important point I hadn't thought of. My godmother is like this - getting weepy and then preachy by turns. Now I definitely feel less guilt for putting a lot of distance between us. 

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One of the things some parents fear is that if their children stop "believing", they will go down the terrible road of sin.  It helped when I assured my parents that my morals had NOT changed.  That I still wanted to do what I could to leave the world a better place than I found it.  And that I appreciated the good examples of moral living they had modeled for me.  I left the faith because the claims of the Bible were inconsistant and did not "add up."  Like all religions, they are myths created by humans.  Invite them to study the history of religions.  By the way, which denomination do they belong to?

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  • 2 months later...

           First of all, the first Noble Truth- There is suffering/stress/unsatisfactoriness. This is life is full of, from conception until, at least :), death. So suffering is just a part of this mode of existence. A fact recognized by all major cultures and easily recognizible for every sensing creature, including non human life. So it is not YOUR fault, as a general principle.

          Second, your mother has a specific biology, had a specific life, was educated in a specific way, years before you were conceived. That drives a lot of her behaviour. Again, not your fault, not your direct responsibility. 

           Thirdly, if she suffers because you declare your non belief, that will be possibly/probably caused  by narcissistic desires to own you and control you, or the belief system that warps her natural maternal affection and makes her believe you will go to hell, or are suffering, or something like that. Again, not your fault.

           Your intention seems to be have an honest relationships, where each member is free to some extent to express their inner life, as it is in the moment. That intention seems to me an honourable one, one hat would increase the level of relationship, if accepted.  In your case, if the other party chooses, because of causes you have had infitesimal to no control about, inflict suffering upon themselves and you, that is, sadly, on them.

          You can feel compassion, regret, anger, sadness etc, grief all sorts of emotion about the situation, as it is a sad situation, but avoid that kind guilt and shame. The first type of emotion actually help you evaluate and process the situation and create new boundaries, if necessary. Only recently did I learn and am still learning to treat emotions like any other part of my body/mind. If healthy and properly used and regulated, A very useful, necessary tool for gathering information and action towards my and other's wellbeing.

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On 6/12/2020 at 6:49 AM, TheRedneckProfessor said:

I had to learn that, not only can I not control their responses, it's not even my place to do so.  

Man did it take me many years to learn that. Actually, I am still learning it. Anyways, good advice.

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On 6/12/2020 at 3:07 PM, SarahJaneSmith said:

This may be a terrible thing I did but I'd like to put it out there. The other day a friend of mine asked me if I would pray for her. I hesitated because I don't believe anymore and yet the other option was to "out" myself in the middle of her distress. I made the decision that, ethical or not, it provides her with comfort and comfort was what she needed in that moment and so I prayed for her just like I would have back when I still believed. 

 

So . . . I was in a similar situation a couple weeks back with the large client/vendor I mentioned in my introduction. He had his family and one his new employee's families (who had just returned from mission work in Africa for the last 5 years) out to dinner with us. He wants my firm to provide some structure and consulting to his new employee in a field we both operate in. Of course he turns to me to say grace . . .queue crickets . . . so, as rusty as I was, I mustered up a good grace for everyone.  My one slip up was to say "your honor" in the middle of it.  Was able to play it off as a professional hazard.

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