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How do I figure out my life now?


Sirinthebird
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I’ve been among evangelicals for 20 years or more since my early teens. I was isolated as a kid and when, after divorce, my mother got religious, she brought me to church and it became my only social circle till now. I got married and became a housewife, I served a lot since 14 or so. But I still couldn’t figure myself and thing I was told to do, well I did but never felt right. I am analitycal by nature but as a girl it made me even more isolated as men didn’t want to talk to me. I got isolated from everyone in an isolated community. My husband stopped talking to me almost completely and from the start he hasnt been good processing emotions or reacting to them. I got depression and a nervous breakdown and understood that was it.

 

I’m currently an unemployed grown up woman with no life and work experience, no social connections. I found no support groups in my country. How do I find myself and stitch my life together?

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Well at least you found a support group here - welcome to our community!

 

I’m so sorry you’re in such a tough position.  I was wondering, is your husband an evangelical, or what?  Do you have any kids?  Other family members that are not very religious?

 

What are the things you enjoy?  Are there things that make you feel better for a while?  

 

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First things first.  You don't have to have it all figured out today, or even tomorrow.  In fact, I'm about 20 years into my post-christian life and I still don't have it all figured out.  Start with small things.  For example, decide if you prefer coffee or tea.  I don't mean which do you think you prefer right at this moment.  I mean, truly decide by exploring various ways of brewing, different roasts, with and without milk, cream, sugar, honey.  Really dive deep and make an educated decision based on an abundance of experience and knowledge. 

 

Now, you might be asking what this has to do with discovering yourself.  And I would answer: "Exactly!"  Because it's not about the tea or the coffee.

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Welcome, sorry to hear you are going through a tough time, please remember it can and will get better. 

Personally I found a great need to keep myself busy, sitting and dwelling is not helpful, you need to find your joy.  That is a very individual thing and can be greatly influenced by what is available in your area and what your interests are.  There are many social clubs such as martial arts, dancing, learning a language, cooking, creative writing or art.  Some have a cost, sometimes there are community centres that put on free classes, its really a matter of exploring options in your area.

I've done martial arts, learnt German, wrote a couple of books, started a D&D group and delved into making 3D computer games.  Some options are completely free (exercise, reading, writing, D&D etc), some clubs charge fees so may not be available to everyone.  Even just working on your own fitness can be free.  You don't need to join a gym, you can just go for a run, go swimming, stair climbs, push ups etc.  Exercise is a good endorphin release, so its hard while you do it but feels great when you've succeeded and start seeing results.  Set those goals that you can reach and feel great as you achieve.

Reach out to all options, try new things, find where your joy lays and throw yourself into some hobbies and studies that excite you.  You then gain a social group with a subject in common and can make some great friends.

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Two quotes to think about. First is called the Serenity Prayer, but let's leave the God part out of it:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The power to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

 

And the second one is attributed to the American tennis player Arthur Ashe:

Start where you are.

Use what you have.

Do what you can.

 

Coming here and sharing with us shows you have strength. You will find ways to use that. It may take some time, but it will happen. Start by writing down one thing you cannot change, and then draw a line through it. Then write one thing you can change, and how you will change it, using what you already have. Work on that. When you are ready, move to the second thing. It's like baking bread. It takes time. You have to mix the ingredients properly, knead the dough just the right amount, and then let it rest, and it will rise by its own schedule. You can't rush it but it will happen.

 

Stay with us and let us know how you are doing.

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I understand the OP and agree with every reply on this thread.  Christians and 'Christianity' has created more stress and grief in my life than any other one thing and it's not worth the hassle dealing with IT and THEM! My problem is I have difficulty completely disconnecting from it because it's what I know as a former pastor. (Mid 70's) Every time I try dealing with Christians whether in church or on-line it turns to crap. They are terrible people, I'm sick of them and their religion and I want OUT. I see nothing good in this debacle of a religion OR the people in it.  

 

How do I stay disconnected?  There's some good advice on this thread.

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55 minutes ago, DOA said:

I understand the OP and agree with every reply on this thread.  Christians and 'Christianity' has created more stress and grief in my life than any other one thing and it's not worth the hassle dealing with IT and THEM! My problem is I have difficulty completely disconnecting from it because it's what I know as a former pastor. (Mid 70's) Every time I try dealing with Christians whether in church or on-line it turns to crap. They are terrible people, I'm sick of them and their religion and I want OUT. I see nothing good in this debacle of a religion OR the people in it.  

 

How do I stay disconnected?  There's some good advice on this thread.

I can't imagine how difficult it is to walk away from an entire system of beliefs, friendships, possibly a job or career, and perhaps family, when all that becomes intolerable. Those who do it have a most admirable strength.

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20 minutes ago, older said:

I can't imagine how difficult it is to walk away from an entire system of beliefs, friendships, possibly a job or career, and perhaps family, when all that becomes intolerable. Those who do it have a most admirable strength.

My belief system is still somewhat intact, though it's more agnostic than ever.  My biggest grip with all of Christianity will always be Christians, and some of the OT stories are outrageous and even evil and don't belong in any kind of religion.

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1 minute ago, DOA said:

My belief system is still somewhat intact, though it's more agnostic than ever.  My biggest gripe with all of Christianity will always be Christians, and some of the OT stories are outrageous and even evil and don't belong in any kind of religion.

I don't see an edit option so corrected a typo by a quote.

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Hobbies and outside interests are another good was of staying disconnected and, in some cases, forging new connections and networks.  In the twenty years since my deconversion, I've taken up hiking, biking, travelling, and woodworking.  I can ride my bike or work on a wood project just about any time I want to; and I get a profound sense of satisfaction when I finish a project and see other people enjoy using it.  I also intentionally limit the amount of power tools I use in the shop, preferring instead to use the slower, more tedious, and patient approach of doing most things by hand.  There's a certain Zen to it; and I feel it has helped me grow as a person.

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2 minutes ago, DOA said:

I don't see an edit option so corrected a typo by a quote.

Edit option will open up after 25 posts.

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Sirinthebird:

The Redneck Prof above has some good advice. Somewhere there is a group of folks you share an interest with that is outside religion. And even if that interest is not all that strong in you, just being with those folks is a relief. I find that my hobby groups are a good safety valve. While there are no written rules about politics and religion, we just don't discuss those topics. We just seem to discuss the topic that brings us together.

 

I am reminded of a story about a woman who was single (divorced or widowed I don't remember). She thought about where she could meet decent people, and perhaps find male companionship, and looked at what guys liked to do. She found a local club that was dedicated to trains, and although she wasn't at the beginning a railroad fan, she signed up and went to meetings and events. The end of the story is that she ended up married to one of the members.

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On 8/20/2022 at 10:03 AM, Sirinthebird said:

I’ve been among evangelicals for 20 years or more since my early teens. I was isolated as a kid and when, after divorce, my mother got religious, she brought me to church and it became my only social circle till now. I got married and became a housewife, I served a lot since 14 or so. But I still couldn’t figure myself and thing I was told to do, well I did but never felt right. I am analitycal by nature but as a girl it made me even more isolated as men didn’t want to talk to me. I got isolated from everyone in an isolated community. My husband stopped talking to me almost completely and from the start he hasnt been good processing emotions or reacting to them. I got depression and a nervous breakdown and understood that was it.

 

I’m currently an unemployed grown up woman with no life and work experience, no social connections. I found no support groups in my country. How do I find myself and stitch my life together?

 

Welcome to Ex-Christian Sirinthebird. What country do you live in?  Social norms concerning the integration of women in society are a little bit different from country to country in the western world, and even more so in Eastern Europe.

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Sirinthebird,

 

You are facing both the loss of your former faith and separation and isolation from your former social circles... very difficult for anyone.

Please know that many here can understand from personal experience that these two aspects of your life have been and are related and intertwined.

 

Your former faith and your social life are (or can be) two separate things however.

Really, they can be separated, and you should probably begin to approach resolution of each on separate terms.

 

Please try to take good care of yourself each day.

 

 

 

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Volunteer work with a non church based organisation might be a good way of expanding both your social group and getting some experience that could help you eventually find a job as well.  You sound like you need a period of time in which you can slowly build your confidence after having been isolated for so long. 
Fellow volunteers are often accepting and patient people.

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sirinthebird:

How are you doing? We're here for you.....

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On 8/22/2022 at 8:42 AM, DOA said:

I don't see an edit option so corrected a typo by a quote.

After about 20 postings with no trouble you will get the edit function, if not ask a moderator.

 

best regards

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I hope the OP is not in a cult in a very isolated rural community. 

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On 9/17/2022 at 10:22 PM, Weezer said:

I hope the OP is not in a cult in a very isolated rural community. 

 

Since the OP said "I found no support groups in my country,"  I think she lives in a smaller country outside the US. And she hasn't posted again since her opening post. As for me, I needed to know where she lived to give advise since it could be quite different for a woman from country to country.

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