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Just When I Thought Deconversion Was Over...


Rhia
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So yes. I deconverted quite a while ago, and luckily have not had many problems that make me feel the need for therapy. A couple of weeks ago, I got in a HUGE fight with a fundy friend of mine. He kept trying to tell me that god was "In constant persuit" of me, and was screaming at me that I had no choice, that if god wanted me he would take me. I screamed back (bad move on my part) that even if I was religious at all, that I wouldn't believe in a creepy stalker god, and that I theoretically am not even born under the abrahamic covenant, so why should I waste my time with a god that's not even of my culture? (I was born a celtic-pagan and forced into fundy-ism when I was placed into foster care at 9)

 

So yes. I've been an atheist for about 2 years now, and last night I had a dream that was so creepy in mind that as silly as the concept is, it still has me feeling the post-nightmare aftershock.

 

So if it's not too big of a deal, here's an abridged form of the dream. *Note: I'm typically a lucid dreamer, and don't have nightmares because I can reason in my dreams that I'm dreaming and there's no problem: NOT the case last night!*

 

It starts out basically that I'm being stalked. I've never met the guy, and in the dream I figure that it's a myspace stalker. I'm trying to keep it quiet that this guy is bothering me, because my boyfriend would have a cow. Weird things keep happening though. I never see the guy, but I know he's 21 or so, because the voice is obviously young. He does weird things like call and sound nice, and when I tell him to fuck off and shut my phone off, my phone will turn back on itself and continue to ring. One time it actually sent picture of beautiful scenery, with the voice message "I did it all for you..." and when I got scared and tried to delete them, the pictures changed into horrible images of graphic torture of humans.

 

Going on... I try to tell people, practically anyone I know, including my boyfriend. My boyfriend is mad and kinda leaves the picture during the dream. If I tell anyone else, their eyes will suddenly glaze over and they will start chanting "He wants you, He will have you, He is persuing you, You are His". So basically I freak out and run off, skipping town and go where I think he can't find me. I check into a hotel and bar myself in. When I wake up the next morning, all but the hotel that I was staying in was destroyed. Not just like demo work, but totally disintegrated, like everything had turned to dust, including the people.

 

Several of these circumstances keep happening, and it would seem that he has every oppurtunity to actually kidnap me/force me to do his bidding, but he wont. He seems to be waiting for me.

 

In the dream, I wake up screaming, and think to myself, oh wow, it's just a dream. I get out of bed to go get ready for the day (not knowing I'm still dreaming) and as I'm standing in front of the mirror brushing my hair, an in visible hand literally ETCHES the words "I am always here, you will be mine" into the mirror.

 

That's when I woke up screaming for real.

 

I know, probably very timid of me, to be freaked out by a dream. I know it wasn't real, or that anything in it was real, but it did scare me.

 

What I'm wondering is: should I think about therapy?

 

Has anyone else suffered horrible dreams as a result of their deconversion? If so, what were they like?

 

Thanks for any help you guys can give!

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Creepy dream! I would be scared too.

 

Therapy? If you can afford it, it can't harm you. Research the practicioner really well, though.

I never realized, until I read your post, that most of my "god" dreams are horror dreams. What a loving guy huh?

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I had dreams like that too. Not God stalking me, but more of rejecting me and putting me into Hell.

 

I was in therapy for a while and my therapist told me the dreams were a result of deeper feelings that I hadn't dealt with. One trick she taught me was to sit and remember the dream as vividly as I could. Then pay attention to the feelings that came up when I thought about it and write them out, and after that try to keep a dream journal. What I wrote out revealed a lot of patterns of feelings I've had crop up in my life, not just with God and religion, but family and friendships as well. Mostly low-self-esteem feelings and worry about rejection.

 

Your fundy friend needs a smack upside the head. Religious abuse is religious abuse. If you think therapy would be helpful, I say go for it. Sometimes just having somebody who's not connected to your personal life to talk to is really cathartic.

 

Take care

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No, you don't need therapy. You just aren't used to nightmares.

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I had a couple of scary dreams when I deconverted too. They came back during a couple of weeks only though. Not years after. Haven't had a real good nightmare in a long time now. :scratch:

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I don't blame you for responding to your nightmare with fear and concern for your mental health. Approximately five years now, I've reveled in the freedom of de-conversion; however, two or three nightmares about the horrors of hell have subsequently terrorized my mind. Based on a basic understanding of psychology, these dreams were probably incubated in and birthed from my residual core of fear -- the fear of damnation/basphemy -- that almost every ex-christian attests to harboring at least periodically, and in some cases, more regularly. Just a cursory review of the forum topics on this site will reveal how many ex-christians struggle against the haunting fear of hell; it seems to be the most common, neurotic disorder that Christianity inflicts upon its former victims. After all, as Christians -- especially those of us who hail from fundy-dom -- the fear of hell was continually reinforced (i.e. the pulpit pounding sermons that issued grave warnings about the dangers of losing one's salvation through backsliding and "lukewarmness", the Sunday service guilt trips about the flock's failure to effectively evangelize and save souls from the eternal lake of fire, and don't forget the scriptures themselves, particularly the passage where Jesus casts those who are apparently authentic Christians into hell on the day of judgment, etc..........).

 

Even after logic and rationale show Christianity to be hopelessly dubious, the fact that a majority of ex-christians still clung to their faith solely on the basis of a hell-fire phobia before finally rejecting Christianity altogether also serves to confirm the overwhelming power of this fear. That is to say, when Christians reach the brink of de-conversion due to its intellectual bankrupsy, they typically refrain themselves from jumping over the edge of apostasy only by holding onto the fear of hell. Hence, the fear of hell is the first doctrine that facilitates one's conversion, and the last doctrine that hinders one's de-conversion.

 

All that being said, I would contend that NOT experiencing nightmares rooted in the fear of hell ensuing deconversion is abnormal; that is, these kind of nightmares are a perfectly healthy and normal part of the deconversion process. So, I highly doubt that you need therapy. But if the nightmares are reoccuring over and over, you may want to consider it.

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No, you don't need therapy. You just aren't used to nightmares.

Agreed. I'm no expert, but it's my understanding that dreams/nightmares are just subconscious manifestations of the crap we fret/labor over in real life. Come to grips with things when you're awake and MAYBE the night terrors will end? It's a thought.

 

I haven't had any nightmares. (But then again, I'm an insomniac, so I probably don't have enough time to dream!) But when I DID have dreams/nightmares they were almost ALWAYS related to crap that I was thinking/worrying about during the day.

 

Anyway. My 2 cents.

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Rhia,

 

The ghosts and goblins of religion are simply not real.

 

Imaginary bullshit cannot hurt you.

 

The dreams, lucid and deep as they seem are not able to draw you in and cause you harm.

 

I don't know enough about the human mind to make any kind of differential diagnosis on a professional basis, however will say you are on the bitter edgeof rational thought now.

 

Your irrational is trying to contain you in its comfortable web and zones. The ration is excaping and becoming stronger. The dreams will die when you can understand they cannot hurt you.

 

There may be things you can do in a form of meditation, thought clearing, or even medication for the short term.

 

Don't give into the boogey_man. He isn't there...

 

k, BTDT, L

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Dreams are about yourself, your fears, worries, things you need to process, stuff like that.

 

I've had what I call "monster dreams" where there's some vague, huge, powerful being coming to get me. Your dream sounds a bit like that, maybe. For me it's always about some other worry in life, some vague fear about the future, or about the past, or something I just haven't faced or figured out yet.

 

But it isn't real. It's just a dream. If you feel a few sessions of therapy might be useful, by all means, go for it.

 

I'd figure that in the end, the most important thing is: what did the dream mean to you?

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I don't think you need therapy. But I think your dream would make a great screenplay for a horror movie. Maybe you should consider writing it all out as a way to confront it and get it out of your system. Or not. ;) Just my 2 cents. But these bad dreams are just that - dreams. They'll pass.

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Naw...I don't think you need therapy.

Sounds to me like your subconscious decided that maybe the psycho, bloodthirsty maniac of the Old Testament actually IS real, and needed to see what the case would be if it were true.

 

Luckily, it's not true.

It was just a scary, imaginary scenario.

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Your brain is like a big computer. Sometimes it has to crash to get all of that crap out of the system.

That is what dreams are for. If we didn't dream we would go insane. You have all of that stuff back up in your subconscious and it has to manifest itself in someway.

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