I've been out of the church almost a year now, and I'm still recovering. I'm starting to become very frustrated. I lost everything, in a lot of ways when I left, and all I was doing was honestly searching for truth. It hurts when other people think that I was just making the decision on a whim, when it was honestly the hardest I'd ever made in my life. It's been a year, and I still have no other friends really, beyond my boyfriend. I love him to death, but I just feel so much resentment and anger for not having anything else, when before I had everything.. everything but truth. Sometimes I wish that people understood that, that I really was just looking for truth. Sometimes I think it'd almost be better to go back, but then I know that I'd be lying. It's hard to switch from thinking you know everything, to realizing you know basically nothing. Does anybody have any advice for piecing yourself together?
I agree with everything everyone has said thus far. I feel so much better about myself and my life now that I have been honest with my husband about my feelings about the church. Of course, we'll see what happens when he gets back from being overseas and actually has to live with me....I don't know how he will handle it "in real life". I too am on the slow-curve for finding new friends. It is so interesting to see how completely the church takes over your life when you are in it - to the point that it becomes a little microcosm that you live in and you ignore reality and the rest of the world (ie - normal friends).
Best wishes to you, and I hope that you can find the support that you need. I agree with Bar Kockhba that one good friend is worth so much more than 100 fake ones.
I wish you like! If you ever need to talk about it, feel free to talk to me. So you just left? It's hard, but things have been happening for me.. miraculous things. If it can't happen to me, it can happen to you!
I have no advice only that I feel your pain. I've been out for a little over a year and while there were times it has been extremely difficult I have been waiting for it to get better-when does it get better anyway? I haven't made any real connections but I also know that this is part of my own issue right now. I'm emotionally fragile and don't feel like reaching out, when in reality, I sometimes think if I would I would make it much better. Instead I feel sort of stuck in this place of pain. ((((hugs)))) you aren't the only one.
It does get better with time, learning to trust yourself, letting go of anger, and discovering your authentic self. The time frame is as varying as the number of us going through this transition. Be patient with yourself. Allow the emotions to flow through you and not get blocked and built up. Hugs and good luck!
I'm so sorry that you've been lonely - I do obviously understand what's that like. If you ever need someone to talk to, I'm here.. and I'm not just saying that. =)
First, let go. That's right. Much easier said than done, true, but it is necessary. Your anger and resentment are justified, but if you hold on to them it only hurts you, not your offenders. I don't know how old you are, I was 24 when I left and my 30th birthday just passed. I still suffer from some ill effects that being raised in the church (in combination with who my parents are) has caused me. At first, I didn't have a plan and wandered aimlessly in my life (for about 3 years). I hddn't let go. But things slowly started coming together. I saw that I needed to do something different. I left my emotionally abusive boyfriend and started to take my worth seriously. I began to really look at my life. I looked at all the things I remembered, that stood out. I knew that I remembered them because they are somehow important. I could plainly see that my behaviours were the direct result of my experiences, and learned (well, am still learning) that when I can see the root, I can either leave it firmly planted or remove it from my life. I'm getting to know myself better than ever before, and I am in charge of my beliefs (about myself, others, and the universe). I choose. That is my power. That is my joy.
My advice to you would be to get to know yourself deeply. Don't be afraid of what you'll find, leave no dark corner unexplored. I don't think you should be piecing yourself back together, I think you should be reinventing yourself. Once you know yourself decide first, who you want to continue to be and then what it is you want to do with this life. I'm currently deciding both of those and it is a very exciting time!
And one last thing, it's not that you know nothing, it's that you are now understanding what it is to truly know something. You gotta start somewhere! Opening your eyes is the best thing that has happened to you, but the shock of the light stings! It lasts until you are adjusted, but after that you will never want to close them again!
I am curious too.
I left the church when I was fifteen, in 1980. I had dreaded church for years, ever since I'd become a deacon, especially - and every Sunday morning I did everything I could do to avoid going. I didn't believe it, for one thing - and I was a spiritual kid, it's not like church was keeping me from other fun. Church just made me miserable. Almost every lesson was about Armegeddon, the second coming, the end times, the end of the world, nuclear winter, annihilation, death, suffering and misery. I'd literally get sick to my stomach with dread and fear. It was like forcing someone who hated and was terrified of horror movies to sit through 5 hours of "the Exorcist" every Sunday. When I was fifteen, my parents got divorced, I went on a long, church-free eight week trip back east with my dad (although we did stop at all the mormon shrines, Nauvoo, Adam-on-diamon, Hill Cumorah, etc.) I went about my life for the next twenty-some years until I discovered another ex-mormon site on the internet and started doing some reading. I realized I had some leftover baggage that it help me purge, and also I found out a lot more about discoveries and events that proved mormonism untrue that helped me realize that I'd done the right thing all those years ago. And it was mostly nice just to see what others like me had to say and share. Best of luck as you extricate yourself from the very sticky web of being LDS.
I havent read the other postings yet so will just give what worked for me.
I was very active in TSCC - VERY ACTIVE! and when I made the decision to hand in my resignation after much soul searching preceded by much church history searching I knew my personality type was to find something to replace it - something where I could feel I was making a difference - the same difference I thought I was making while a member.
Personally I got involved in a Christian Children's Church (that, after I vowed for many years I would know the church was not true if I was ever called to Primary inspiration versus desperation)) but the absolute joy and happiness I felt working with children who gave such unconditional love (not tainted by parental brain washing) for 6 years led me not only further away from TSCC but convinced without a shadow of a doubt (sound familiar?) that painful as it may be that I was shunned by so called friends, I had done the right thing.... FOR ME.
I have heard many talk about feeling "lonely" and even considering just going back to live the sham after leaving - kinda like when a marriage breaks up - but knew I had to replace what seemed 'lost' with something else.
Stumbling upon this site was also a great help just seeing so many others experiencing similar feelings.
May you find what you are looking for.
It's been (counts on fingers) nearly 30 years since I left, and I still feel resentment and pain at times. Someone on another forum some years ago explained to me that what we've gone through is equivalent to being brainwashed by a cult, and then finding the strength to leave that cult. But patterns of behavior and thinking still exist, and breaking those down/dissolving them is like peeling an onion. You have to keep peeling, and some days are good and some are a little bit harder.
I didn't have access to a psychiatrist proficient in deprogramming people who have escaped a cult, but one thing that's helped over the years is a book/workbook called Leaving the Fold: A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving Their Religion. You can find more information on it here. I downloaded mine as a PDF...I think from her site.... because I was in a hurry. (Obligatory disclaimer: I'm not associated with the author in anyway; I've just found her work to be helpful in peeling that onion.)
One of the major things it did for me was help me see there were good things that came from my growing up in the church. Those things, I could decide to keep. The things that had damaged and hurt me, I could more easily leave behind. What was most exciting was the realization that I could explore and pursue anything, and no one required me to report in to them. I was free to develop my own personal relationship with god -- or not. The freedom was extraordinary...but I also had to move to enjoy that freedom. You may have to move as well, to find a new life if those still in the cult are tormenting you. The torment/ manipulation can be so subtle, sometimes the only thing you can do to retrieve or continue building your sanity is to put more miles between you and what's likely to keep hurting you.