Urgent: Overcoming the Trauma of Religion
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15-03-2014, 12:31 AM
Wink Urgent: Overcoming the Trauma of Religion
I am so happy that I found this forum.

So, I am having a very serious identity crisis. I have accepted atheism quite a while
ago and this was further confirmed after reading more about it.
The major issue is that I am still having theistic (Islamic - which was forced down my throat during
childhood) thought sometimes disturbing my rational thought.
Sometimes this manifests in high anxiety and feeling 'traumatised' which is
worryingly affecting my life
I feel betrayed and it is like I am still 'in chains' emotionally to the religion of all my family and
community and I cannot exaggerate just how much happiness it has
taken out of my life. Sad

- How do I permanently overcome these very real feelings?
- Where can I get support to stay strong and not fall back to irrational
religious mumbo-jumbo like 'Oh, I feel unwell today - it must be the Devil and
because I am an atheist' or 'I am now failing and all these curses are happening
to me because I have stopped communicating with my intolerant and forceful
parents'

I have been holding on to these feelings hoping that they would neutralise
with time but this is obviously not the right course of action
and I am very clearly in need of support and talking therapy
in order to get over this awful hijack to my mind and enjoy life as it is.

Thank you!
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15-03-2014, 10:20 AM
RE: Urgent: Overcoming the Trauma of Religion
(15-03-2014 12:31 AM)infinitefriend93 Wrote:  - How do I permanently overcome these very real feelings?

Feelings can be diminished and replaced. Allow it to happen. And at the same time you can get familiar with some philosophy and form your new athiest belief which can support you. After you've been an atheist for quite some time, you may still have these feelings, which will more likely exist as mere slight displeasure.

(15-03-2014 12:31 AM)infinitefriend93 Wrote:  - Where can I get support to stay strong and not fall back to irrational
religious mumbo-jumbo like 'Oh, I feel unwell today - it must be the Devil and
because I am an atheist' or 'I am now failing and all these curses are happening
to me because I have stopped communicating with my intolerant and forceful
parents'

Go to the Personal Support section, where there are more willing to help. And you can listen to the TTA podcast.

Want something? Then do something.
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15-03-2014, 01:37 PM
RE: Urgent: Overcoming the Trauma of Religion
(15-03-2014 12:31 AM)infinitefriend93 Wrote:  I am so happy that I found this forum.

So, I am having a very serious identity crisis. I have accepted atheism quite a while
ago and this was further confirmed after reading more about it.
The major issue is that I am still having theistic (Islamic - which was forced down my throat during
childhood) thought sometimes disturbing my rational thought.
Sometimes this manifests in high anxiety and feeling 'traumatised' which is
worryingly affecting my life
I feel betrayed and it is like I am still 'in chains' emotionally to the religion of all my family and
community and I cannot exaggerate just how much happiness it has
taken out of my life. Sad

- How do I permanently overcome these very real feelings?
- Where can I get support to stay strong and not fall back to irrational
religious mumbo-jumbo like 'Oh, I feel unwell today - it must be the Devil and
because I am an atheist' or 'I am now failing and all these curses are happening
to me because I have stopped communicating with my intolerant and forceful
parents'

I have been holding on to these feelings hoping that they would neutralise
with time but this is obviously not the right course of action
and I am very clearly in need of support and talking therapy
in order to get over this awful hijack to my mind and enjoy life as it is.

Thank you!
Allow yourself to feel these things. They're appropriate responses for real things that happened to you. Let yourself mourn. Feel whatever is there to feel, do not flinch back, do not go to your happy place.

When something like that happened to me, I was so ... surprised. Out of myself, totally. I resigned upon any stuff like self-image or identity, no chance of that. Didn't work, obviously. Looks like it's nobody's job to tell you who or what you are, not even yours. You will grow on yourself, grow into what you desire to be. Self-identity isn't clothes, you can afford to walk around without it for a while. Especially when you know that you're still a good person.

Aren't you at least a little happy for the good news? No angry god, no hell, no original sin? Indoctrination is the only sin you inherited. Aren't you angry at those who indoctrinated you? You have the right to be.
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18-03-2014, 07:27 AM
RE: Urgent: Overcoming the Trauma of Religion
I know how you feel.

I deconverted from Christianity in October of last year, and its really tough to separate yourself from something that you've essentially been indoctrinated with since birth.

Not only are you experiencing a major change in belief and mindset, but you're also going to have to overcome that schism that has opened between yourself and your religious peers/family. Part of what you're dealing with is the tribalism of religion - its a part of your identity as much as your ethnicity because its what those around you have been involved with.

I had major issues with anxiety following my deconversion, and I totally understand what you mean by having weak moments. There were times where I had thoughts like "what if this is just a phase" or "what if this anxiety is god punishing me for dropping religion" and other garbage like that.

It goes away.

Seriously. It may take some time, but the most important thing is to try not to think about it. As other people said, just let this new life become you. Go about your hobbies, work, school, etc. as normal. Don't think of yourself as a different person, think of yourself as having a new lease on life, free of worrying about your every action and how some invisible sky person feels about it.

Anxiety is almost 100% just you overthinking, and you won't ever feel better by doing that. A little analogy I came up with to help myself with these frightening pangs of anxiety or scary thoughts was to treat them like a bee had gotten into the room. Yeah, its going to scare you a bit when you realize its there, but as long as you ignore it and just go about your business, you'll find its harmless. Just like your anxiety and harmful thoughts.

Hope this helps, feel free to PM me too if you want to talk. Good luck!
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18-03-2014, 08:31 AM
RE: Urgent: Overcoming the Trauma of Religion
(15-03-2014 12:31 AM)infinitefriend93 Wrote:  So, I am having a very serious identity crisis. I have accepted atheism quite a while
ago and this was further confirmed after reading more about it. 
The major issue is that I am still having theistic (Islamic - which was forced down my throat during
childhood) thought sometimes disturbing my rational thought.
Sometimes this manifests in high anxiety and feeling 'traumatised' which is worryingly affecting my life
I feel betrayed and it is like I am still 'in chains' emotionally to the religion of all my family and
community and I cannot exaggerate just how much happiness it has taken out of my life. Sad

This is all completely normal. Don't worry, every deconversion is like this. I'm into my 6th year and every once in a while I still have those thoughts. More likely, I find myself with predominant positions that are against my new beliefs (leftover from Christianity) and can't explain why. It takes time, you'll eventually find yourself. What I did is get into theology, psychology and Neuroscience. I'm obviously no expert, but just learning a little bit about those subjects (among others) can help you understand yourself, and better train yourself to not go back into your irrational thought processes.


(15-03-2014 12:31 AM)infinitefriend93 Wrote:  - How do I permanently overcome these very real feelings?

Quick answer: Depending on the indoctrination; you won't.
This is something you'll have to live with for the rest of your life. Now, that being said, it does get easier. Just relax, it takes time. Like I said before, I'm into my sixth year. I know there are many others that are father along than I, and I'm sure they have the same problems (just not as often). Just be honest with yourself and do not hide these feelings. It's kind of like your first love; you never really get over him/her, but you move on and life gets better.


(15-03-2014 12:31 AM)infinitefriend93 Wrote:  - Where can I get support to stay strong and not fall back to irrational religious mumbo-jumbo like 'Oh, I feel unwell today - it must be the Devil and because I am an atheist' or 'I am now failing and all these curses are happening to me because I have stopped communicating with my intolerant and forceful parents'

Knowledge is power. Educate yourself. Take some classes (if you can), otherwise the internet is full of information. I'm not saying you need to be an expert, but some general knowledge is always helpful. Keep up with your therapy, find a good forum (us Tongue), get some like-minded friends, and move on. Like I said, it will take time so there is no need to feel discouraged or ashamed. It's all natural.


(15-03-2014 12:31 AM)infinitefriend93 Wrote:  I have been holding on to these feelings hoping that they would neutralise with time but this is obviously not the right course of action and I am very clearly in need of support and talking therapy in order to get over this awful hijack to my mind and enjoy life as it is.

Just relax, talk to people if you need to; one-on-one is usually best. I'm always available, as are many people on this forum. Like Jasozz above me, I can vouch for him. He was there for me with some issues. It helps if you can trust someone, or at least have someone you can talk to.


(15-03-2014 12:31 AM)infinitefriend93 Wrote:  Thank you!

Hope I helped, don't worry. Time heals all Thumbsup

Atir aissom atir imon
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