Nightmares
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08-12-2015, 01:09 AM
Nightmares
Religion did a lot of harm to me. More than I can share online. I was a 13 year old boy and I hadn't even discovered I was gay when I entered it, and I didn't leave until 21.

Sometimes I think about what it would be like to be back in Church. I sometimes miss the pretty icons and sweet incense. And the community. But then I remember that their understanding of human sexuality is nothing more than total hogwash. I was so hurt by so many people about this. I wasn't the only one, either - the Church abounded with closeted people, and a few gay men married to women (because that's what they thought God wanted them to do).

Sometimes I have nightmares where I'm in Church, and it all feels good until I remember were I am, and who I am. I look out the door, and I see a figure of some guy - not sure who he is, but I'm fairly sure that in my dream, he represents my chances of ever having a real, healthy relationship. The doors to the Church close. I freak out and can't move. Then I wake up sweating and gasping.

This has happened 5 times now. It's been so long since I left Church (roughly 6 months), but recently I have thought about going back to see the people. I just can't to it. I'm just so lonely. I know I need to work out so I can lose a few pounds, and then be confident enough to ask a guy out. This is where I hold myself back, because I know I can lose weight (I've done it before), but I haven't found the time. This scares me, too.

But I'm seriously so lonely, and in the old days my Church would help with that. But at this point the thought of going back literally terrifies me.

Just wanted to share. An I nutts?
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08-12-2015, 01:19 AM
RE: Nightmares
I think one reason people have a hard time leaving religion is because it does provide that sense of belonging/sense of community. But the church is also much like an abusive spouse, it will love you as long as you do and act how it says you should act. If you don't, you face shunning by church members and they try and scare you with thoughts of torture in hell.

I would suggest joining groups or meetup.com to meet other atheists or other people who enjoy some of the same hobbies you do. IMO, it's best to be true to yourself and find a support system of likeminded people to surround yourself with.

If you like the church atmosphere, there are liberal Christian churches and Unitarian churches you can go to. These churches tend to be more accepting of people of all walks of life and backgrounds. There are also atheist "churches."

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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08-12-2015, 06:40 AM
RE: Nightmares
Leaving a religion is like getting divorced, or breaking up any long term relationship.

Going back is almost never a good idea.

The problems that caused the split, will still be there.

I know six months seems like a long time to you - but it's really not. 6 years isn't really even all that long.

Give it time - you'll find new interests, new people, and new relationships.

It's a big world - go find it.

.......................................

The difference between prayer and masturbation - is when a guy is through masturbating - he has something to show for his efforts.
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08-12-2015, 07:36 AM
RE: Nightmares
(08-12-2015 01:09 AM)FreeThinker1994 Wrote:  Religion did a lot of harm to me. More than I can share online. I was a 13 year old boy and I hadn't even discovered I was gay when I entered it, and I didn't leave until 21.

Sometimes I think about what it would be like to be back in Church. I sometimes miss the pretty icons and sweet incense. And the community. But then I remember that their understanding of human sexuality is nothing more than total hogwash. I was so hurt by so many people about this. I wasn't the only one, either - the Church abounded with closeted people, and a few gay men married to women (because that's what they thought God wanted them to do).

Sometimes I have nightmares where I'm in Church, and it all feels good until I remember were I am, and who I am. I look out the door, and I see a figure of some guy - not sure who he is, but I'm fairly sure that in my dream, he represents my chances of ever having a real, healthy relationship. The doors to the Church close. I freak out and can't move. Then I wake up sweating and gasping.

This has happened 5 times now. It's been so long since I left Church (roughly 6 months), but recently I have thought about going back to see the people. I just can't to it. I'm just so lonely. I know I need to work out so I can lose a few pounds, and then be confident enough to ask a guy out. This is where I hold myself back, because I know I can lose weight (I've done it before), but I haven't found the time. This scares me, too.

But I'm seriously so lonely, and in the old days my Church would help with that. But at this point the thought of going back literally terrifies me.

Just wanted to share. An I nutts?

No, you are definitely not nuts. No

I'd guess you are suffering from something akin to PTSD from your years of 'captivity'.

Maybe some talk therapy would help you let go of the past and the fear of the past.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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08-12-2015, 09:27 AM
RE: Nightmares
As has been said already, 6 months isn't long at all and you still have a dependency for something akin to a drug. You're going through an emotional rollercoaster because the church provided you with support and reassurance.............at least you thought it did until you realised that really wasn't what it provided at all, and the reality was something that you felt extremely uncomfortable with.

The fact that you now feel vulnerable and need reassurance is no reason to go back.

Your nightmares can be rationalised as you dealing subconsciously with the fears that you had in the church environment.

Give it time. Things WILL get better.

The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike
Excreta Tauri Sapientam Fulgeat (The excrement of the bull causes wisdom to flee)
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08-12-2015, 11:59 AM
RE: Nightmares
I'm sorry you're lonely. I know what that is like. I too get lonely from time to time. I agree that you should check out meetup website. If you do go to a gym to work out try to strike up a conversation and make some friends there. I hope that you feel better and recover soon. I'm still recovering from this religion too.
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08-12-2015, 12:09 PM
RE: Nightmares
Nightmares are quite normal, but get blown out of proportion, especially by religion. They are triggered by multiple things, but mainly stress you can be aware of or unaware of. Childhood indoctrination full of scary stories doesn't help.

The good thing is ultimately they are merely dreams. Don't read anything into them other than the baggage you left behind and a hidden stress that may be triggering them.

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25-01-2016, 02:04 AM
RE: Nightmares
I've been having bad dreams too, and I miss the same things you miss. I miss the icons, liturgical ritual, incense, and all the aesthetics of it, but then I remember how much the people sucked, especially the priest. Other times I miss the more wild charismatic services I went to, the intense and emotional feeling of being connected to God, and Him with you. And I hate to think that I will always miss that, and I hate to think that I will be wishy washy about this whole thing for a long time. But I probably will.

Last night I dreamed that demons came to torment me in my room. I immediately thought to myself, ah-ha, this is a spiritual attack I'm going through and I need to get invested again in my faith before I find myself in Hell. But then, as the fear subsided, I started thinking, hey... this is most likely my subconscious mind trying to process the shock of this operating system deletion, for lack of better terms. It must be only natural.

“If a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission.” ― Flemming Rose
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25-01-2016, 09:37 AM
RE: Nightmares
(25-01-2016 02:04 AM)Capn. Irrelevant Wrote:  I've been having bad dreams too, and I miss the same things you miss. I miss the icons, liturgical ritual, incense, and all the aesthetics of it, but then I remember how much the people sucked, especially the priest. Other times I miss the more wild charismatic services I went to, the intense and emotional feeling of being connected to God, and Him with you. And I hate to think that I will always miss that, and I hate to think that I will be wishy washy about this whole thing for a long time. But I probably will.

Last night I dreamed that demons came to torment me in my room. I immediately thought to myself, ah-ha, this is a spiritual attack I'm going through and I need to get invested again in my faith before I find myself in Hell. But then, as the fear subsided, I started thinking, hey... this is most likely my subconscious mind trying to process the shock of this operating system deletion, for lack of better terms. It must be only natural.

That's exactly what it is re: subconscious mind/operating system deletion. Demons and devils are a man-made creation. Elaine Pagels' book The Origin of Satan is a great read. If you educate yourself on where these myths came from, it'll help to realign your thinking into reality and out of woo territory.

As an atheist I still go to church sometimes with family and celebrate religious holidays. Just because you call yourself an atheist doesn't mean you have to stop going to church if you enjoy going. I personally go because it makes my mom happy on holidays and it's kind of a tradition in my family to go to midnight mass on Christmas Eve. As a Christian going to church was a spiritual thing--now I view it as going to a book club (I like reading the Bible and find it rich in literature).

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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25-01-2016, 09:59 AM
RE: Nightmares
(08-12-2015 01:09 AM)FreeThinker1994 Wrote:  Religion did a lot of harm to me. More than I can share online. I was a 13 year old boy and I hadn't even discovered I was gay when I entered it, and I didn't leave until 21.

Sometimes I think about what it would be like to be back in Church. I sometimes miss the pretty icons and sweet incense. And the community. But then I remember that their understanding of human sexuality is nothing more than total hogwash. I was so hurt by so many people about this. I wasn't the only one, either - the Church abounded with closeted people, and a few gay men married to women (because that's what they thought God wanted them to do).

Sometimes I have nightmares where I'm in Church, and it all feels good until I remember were I am, and who I am. I look out the door, and I see a figure of some guy - not sure who he is, but I'm fairly sure that in my dream, he represents my chances of ever having a real, healthy relationship. The doors to the Church close. I freak out and can't move. Then I wake up sweating and gasping.

This has happened 5 times now. It's been so long since I left Church (roughly 6 months), but recently I have thought about going back to see the people. I just can't to it. I'm just so lonely. I know I need to work out so I can lose a few pounds, and then be confident enough to ask a guy out. This is where I hold myself back, because I know I can lose weight (I've done it before), but I haven't found the time. This scares me, too.

But I'm seriously so lonely, and in the old days my Church would help with that. But at this point the thought of going back literally terrifies me.

Just wanted to share. An I nutts?


I'm sorry you're struggling. I do have some advice:

Seek secular counseling or counseling in general that doesn't send you back to church. My of my atheist friends who were in the faith before (I was never a believer) have said this organization really helps them.

http://www.recoveringfromreligion.org/

Also, you're in need of a community and there are lots of them out there that aren't religious based. Volunteer organization, groups that have a common interest like painting, photography, hiking and many others. You can find these groups on Meetup.com and local atheist/humanist/secular groups too. You may even find gay groups to join as well. Or you could start a gay secular group. Smile

These can provide you with the community and support you're lacking. Consider political groups as well, I am involved in a Separation of Church and State group. A group of people, not all non-religious, with an agenda to keep the church out of our government and schools. How great is that!

You need friends and support and there are places to find that even in the atheist life.

As for the nightmare, you have an issue or fear your mind is struggling with. Deal with the issue and the mind will follow.

Be well. Smile

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