Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?

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  • user warning: Table './exmo_08072012/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>by derrida May 2012</p>\n<p>Went out to lunch with ds [dear son] and dd dear daughter] and lo and behold as I enter the restaurant I hear a \"Well hi Brother Derrida!\"</p>\n<p>\"Ah, hi!\"</p>\n<p>\"I haven\'t seen you in a while.\"</p>\n<p>\"Well there\'s a reason for that.\" Smiling.</p>\n<p>Her DH says, \"Uh oh.\"</p>\n<p>\"I haven\'t been to church in over two years.\"</p>\n<p>She said something. I can\'t remember. We were all entering at the same time.</p>\n<p>I then said, \"So how\'ve you been? Still working with the rabbit farm?\"</p>\n<p>\"Oh no. I\'m a married woman now. Cattle. We work with cattle.\"</p>\n<p>\"Okay.\"</p>\n<p>----</p>\n<p>A pretty nothing interaction and yet I felt on the defensive the whole time, started off relaxed and then the anxiety ratcheted up. I helped this lady quite a bit when I was active in the ward. She was divorced, living at her Dad\'s, and kind of stupid. If she\'d been someone unrelated to.... If the LDS church had not been part of our past equation, I would have asked about her kids, one of whom had a congenital health defect that was life threatening. But it\'s like a couldn\'t be relaxed and wholly engaged with the interaction because I felt like on was on the spot or being challenged or quizzed somehow. The DH just smiled lamely, as he usually has always done. He\'s a good LDS guy in the sense that he\'s well off and pretty much always does what he\'s told. She\'s much younger than he. I figure that\'s why he smiles all the time.</p>\n<p>Anyway, yeah I\'ve had my own particular anxiety ridden struggles detaching myself from the Mormons, but seriously, what\'s up with the amount of charge that exists in these nothing interactions with people one used to go to church with, these basically dead relationships? Other exmos experience this rise in emotion--like the fight and flight instinct is being engaged. Really though, this lady is about as intimidating as a bowl of goldfish. I was bothered that I couldn\'t be more relaxed with the whole scene. Freakin\' lame to get tilted, even a little, by something so trivial.</p>\n<hr />\nforestpal<br />\nRe: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?<br />\nI wish this syndrome had a name! This is very obvious in children and animals. For example, we have a couple of relatives that are extremely annoyed by children, and are very vocal about it. The minute these people come into the room, I can see my grandchildren\'s behavior change--for the worse. I can tell when my daughter is talking to a cult member on the phone, as opposed to a friend or a client. Her voice gets higher and louder, and she is not herself. Our dog pesters and jumps on only one family member--the one who does not like dogs. Our cat was the same way. She could sense if a guest was afraid of her, and she would jump out from under the person\'s chair and grab an ankle with both paws. (It was rather funny to watch the person scream and jump up.)\n<p>I feel just as you do, with most encounters with former \"friends.\" As you wrote, it is like the fight or flight instinct. I have PTSD, and these encounters often create unpleasant reminders. With great effort on my part, I got over the initial shunning and the gossip--but now, years later, I\'m just sick to death of it all, and I avoid Mormons altogether.</p>\n<p>If I\'m out and about, happily living my life and working, and I run into any of those \"dead relationships\", I simply look past them, or nod, and keep walking. I hang onto my happiness, and I keep the same expression on my face, and concentrate on the task at hand. I have to make an effort to put them out of my mind, as soon as they are out of my sight. After all, that\'s what they do with me.</p>\n<p>As Mormons, we were taught to forgive, and not seek revenge. We were also taught to accept abuse. Rudeness is just the Mormon way. Whatever. I don\'t accept that, and it feels damn good to snub them.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>nonmo<br />\nRe: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?<br />\nFrom a never mo\'s perspective:</p>\n<p>\"\"Ah, hi!\"<br />\n\"I haven\'t seen you in a while.\"<br />\n\"Well there\'s a reason for that.\" Smiling.<br />\nHer DH says, \"Uh oh.\"<br />\n\"I haven\'t been to church in over two years.\"\"</p>\n<p>Why even mention that you haven\'t been to church at all?? or that there\'s a reason for that.\"??</p>\n<p>It\'s more like...how\'s it going? How\'s so and so? Are you still living at \"x-place/city\"?</p>\n<p>Personally from my prespective, I can ask about and carry on a conversation without having to know the person\'s religious details and them knowing mine...</p>\n<p>BUT.....</p>\n<p>I wasn\'t part of a group my life revolved AROUND those same religious details..</p>\n<p>My 2 cents...YMMV</p>\n<hr />\n<p>derrida<br />\nRe: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?<br />\nIt is a big deal isn\'t it? And odd and fascinating. I wonder who else on this board has experienced these feelings, basically related to PTSD. What sort of group leaves one with these feelings and reactions? There is an obvious label for such a group, but I am looking for a functional definition.</p>\n<p>The husband bothered me with his avoidance behavior. Do these people realize what pieces of @#$%&amp; they are being when they meet exmos? I was struggling to be decent and polite. He didn\'t say anything but \"uh oh.\" I expected something I guess. Maybe like a \"How are you?\" These people were taken off guard by my appearance? They were upset having to interact with me. Why? Functionally. What is the training that makes them do this? They are told to fear me, right? Yet they feel superior to me and pity me.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>derrida<br />\nRe: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?<br />\nI get you but going to church in an LDS ward you see those people regularly. You stop going to church you stop seeing them. It seemed the obvious and real thing to say, but maybe that\'s the point: what\'s obviously true does not apply very much in such nothing encounters. Of course perceiving the truth and stating it are casualties of being Mormon.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>WinksWinks<br />\nRe: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?<br />\n\"Perceiving the truth and stating it are casualties of being mormon.\"</p>\n<p>Yes indeed!<br />\nI can tell I inspire the same awkwardness in my family members. Actually this started when I still lived at home.<br />\nAnd of course, I feel the same way.<br />\n(It\'s more than awkwardness, but I think an observer would merely think it was an awkward exchange. I agree with the PTSD relationship, massive adrenaline dump, usually.)</p>\n<p>They really don\'t talk directly about anything. Dancing around things with hints all the time. I will always guess that game wrong, so I speak plainly, and it puts their hackles up big time.</p>\n<p>And me, wondering what they mean when they answer me indirectly.</p>\n<hr />\ncl2<br />\nI went to a few funerals in \"this ward\"<br />\nin the past 4 years. The first one I went to--it was my VT who had been my friend before that for years.\n<p>Now--what I love is the people who look down on me for the fact that I\'m a \"single\" woman--well, according to Dr. Laura, not single, divorced, so I can properly carry my lable of shame.</p>\n<p>So 4 years ago, I went to this funeral and my daughter was recently reactivated, the bishop was watching for my response. I didn\'t cry one tear--not that I didn\'t feel anything, but because I was ON GUARD. I got to see the bitch women who look down on me for being single--especially one or two.</p>\n<p>That evening, my boyfriend asked me if I saw ANYONE I was glad to see. I thought for a moment and said, \"No.\" I had my walls up the entire time--just gritting my teeth getting through it. I went for my friend.</p>\n<p>yes--I know what you mean.</p>\n<hr />\nava<br />\nRe: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?<br />\nI think it\'s just odd to see someone you haven\'t seen in awhile. Just like reunions. It is just surreal.\n<p>Or just like seeing someone you worked with for years who was fired or laid off from a job you worked at. Awkward.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>Chris Deanna<br />\nRe: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?<br />\nDerrida,</p>\n<p>I kind of like to mess with people sometimes and I think that it \"saves\" me from the raw emotion that is agreeably PTSD. In the early days, I couldn\'t do this, but now it\'s easier.</p>\n<p>When I run into TBMs inevitably one in the group has the nerve to say, in a very obvious surprising condescending way, \"You look so good!\" I love by responding,\"Do you mean I didn\'t look good before?\" \"How have I changed?\" And then I actually wait for an answer! I don\'t move, I don\'t continue to talk, I just wait for an answer. Love to see them stumble all over themselves. I usually walk away with a \"I feel great, too, and YOU GUYS haven\'t changed a bit! Take Care!\"</p>\n<p>Assertive women in Mormon society are considered \"bitches\" then let the chips fall where they may. I do look and feel better than when I was in the cult. That kool-aid was bad for my beauty treatments. Now, my skin glows, my hair is shiney...I feel like a new puppy.</p>\n<p>Next time, try messing with them a bit...it\'s kind of fun.</p>\n<hr />\nnonmo<br />\nRe: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?<br />\nIt\'s easy for nonmo (me) to say...here\'s what you SHOULD do....That wasn\'t my point. I did put in my disclaimer of \"BUT....\"\n<p>My point is for exmos...(from someone NOT indoctrinated) going forward to realize that religion plainly should be left out of<br />\na casual conversation with someone you are (briefly) trying to catchup with and be friendly with. I would guess that it is hard and strange for someone you were supposedly so close with in a previous (religious) life to act like they are trying to avoid you., like an ex-BF/GF, spurned at all. If the mo\'s can\'t handle it (some can and some can\'t) then I guess you learned a valuable lesson. That doesn\'t make it any easier, but there is a different world out there with a different type of normal to go with it..</p>\n<hr />\n<p>derrida<br />\nRe: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?<br />\nI always hope to be welcoming to the New Normals in my life.</p>\n<hr />\nsummer<br />\n:-)<br />\nI agree with Nonmo. Just as a point of reference, here\'s how a typical nevermo conversation would go under such circumstances:\n<p>\"Ah, hi!\"</p>\n<p>\"I haven\'t seen you in a while.\"</p>\n<p>\"Yes, it\'s been awhile. Nice to see you! What have you been up to?\"</p>\n<p>Etc.</p>\n<hr />\nnonmo<br />\nRe: :-)<br />\nYep....that\'s it. Pretty benign, but very possible to get and give updated pertinent info from the person in ~5min...or to make a plan to cathup later\n<hr />\nomreven<br />\nRe: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?<br />\nNonmo, I picked up on this too, and I am also a nevermo. I didn\'t see why religion or churchco had to come up at all either. It\'s just small talk. It\'s hard to understand just how dominating \"the church\" presence is, even in such a benign \"haven\'t seen you in awhile\" interaction. I totally LOL\'d at \"rabbit farm...no cattle.\"\n<hr />\nnonmo<br />\nRe: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?<br />\nAs I work in Utah and work around many TBMs, I overhear just how dominating their \"church\" is.\n<p>One TBM I know, smart guy, RM, BYU grad, temple married,3.. soon 4 kids...active in the church. I over hear alot of his conversations to his wife on the phone, generally talking to her about stuff you and I would talk to our spouses about...at home. Why does he talk to his wife about this stuff at work?? Because he is VERY involved in the church.</p>\n<p>He clearly loves his wife and kids...AND his church.</p>\n<p>A recent conversation I heard him talking to his wife...basically apologizing for leaving dirty dishes out..Whyy?? because he was at church doing \"important\" priesthood church stuff...until midnite.</p>\n<p>Now you and I would say...EXACTLY WHAT does he have to do ...at church...in the MIDDLE of the week...until MIDNITE??<br />\nNow I would say (and I assume many other nonmos) when asked by a church leader to do some kind of task for the church in the middle of the week, until late at night...\"Uh, I\'m going home to my family, I\'ll see you on Sunday\".</p>\n<p>I over hear this kind of thing alot from this TBM guy so I KNOW...the mormon church is NOT just about families....</p>\n<hr />\n<p>onendagus<br />\nRe: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?<br />\nI get what the nevermos on this thread are saying. BUT, it is very difficult to leave religion out of these encounters when the mormon church was the context of our former relationship.</p>\n<hr />\nomreven<br />\nRe: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?<br />\nThe church \"calling\" situation is a little bit of an anomaly to me too. This organization that stresses family and strong family values seems to do a great deal in the opposite direction...in the name of God...who would say no to a calling from God? Mormonism infiltrates itself in so many ways, you can\'t even run into an old friend at a restaurant without it becoming the forefront of a benign exchange. On the other end of the spectrum, this woman could have busied herself digging for gold in her handbag and completely ignored Derrida. Hotel California.\n<hr />\n<p>sam<br />\nRe: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?<br />\nBecause they think you have failed, sinned, were offended and not strong enough. So, they either shun you or look down on you.</p>\n<hr />\nTara the Pagan<br />\nRe: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?<br />\n\"fight or flight\" response: Exactly! And cl2 is right about the bitch-women.\n<p>I always run into these people at either the grocery-store or Walmart (fairly small town), where they stare at the pentacle around my neck and peer into my cart looking for coffee or beer (they invariably find both).</p>\n<p>The conversation\'s always laced with questions (from them) like, \"What\'s your ward like?\" and \"What calling do you have now?\" and \"Been to the temple lately?\" They are incapable of talking about anything non-Church-related because they have no lives. They could care less about me as a person. I\'m only an object of interest if they can test me for \"Mormon-ness.\"</p>\n<p>I know they will gossip about me the following Sunday -- if they can wait that long.</p>\n<p>I smile politely, pretend my cell phone is vibrating in my pocket or bag, and wave at them while I stroll away.</p>\n<hr />\nMia<br />\nRe: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?<br />\nDon\'t ya love the cart check?\n<p>I used to hide stuff under a loaf of bread. not any more. I go pick up the wine, beer and coffee first. They get to sit right on top for the whole world to see. I\'m flying my flags of freedom!</p>\n<hr />\nwittyname<br />\nRe: :-)<br />\nMy take on it was that being addressed as \"brother\" after so long, and in an out-of-context situation, snapped him back into the church/explanation loop. I wonder how the conversation would have gone if it was just \"hey derrida! I haven\'t seen you in a while\" (we\'ll never know, because that\'s not what happened), maybe the church subtext would have never entered his mind. The way we act/react to different cues is interesting.\n<hr />\n<p>myselfagain<br />\nRe: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?<br />\nMia Wrote:<br />\n-------------------------------------------------------</p>\n<p>I need to learn how to do that- get the balls to do it, actually. I have only been sout several months and I still feel odd buying beer and wine. Guess it comes with time.</p>\n<hr />\nderrida<br />\nRe: :-)<br />\nThank you so much wittyname. I didn\'t even think of this and yet there it is. And at the time I know one part of my brain was whirling because I did NOT want to call her by the automatic \"Hi SISTER Soandso!\" That would have been easy and \"natural.\"\n<p>Screw that. I even blanked out on her name. (Wonder why? haha.) I didn\'t recall it until I thought about it later in the car.</p>\n<p>She ain\'t my sister by a long shot.</p>\n<p>So already in the interaction I\'m working on overload processing $4!t from LDS church conditioning and still trying to remain me, remain human, and relaxed and engage in what many other circumstances would have been a relatively pleasurable \"long time, no see!\" interaction.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>wittyname<br />\nRe: :-)<br />\nYep! That\'s exactly what I imagined the story to me. It\'s kind of hard to balance back out after that greeting framing the whole exchange.</p>\n<hr />\nNormaRae<br />\nI\'ve had very few real mormon friendships.<br />\nSo when you leave and they try to act friendly, it\'s almost more bizarre than when they totally shun you. The nice thing about leaving mormonism is you find out who you were really friends with, and amazingly I do have two TBM real friends. The last time I was home in California my mom told me that a girl I hung around with a lot in the church group during high school was in town or something and wanted me to call her. I said, \"mom, what would I say to Laurel?\" She was like \"well, you were really good friends.\" Ummm, No. We hung around when the church kids socialized. But at school we had an unspoken pact that we did not know each other. She wasn\'t near as bad a freak as I was and she had popular non-mormon friends. I knew it was embarrassing for her to acknowledge me. So 40 years later we\'re old and grandmothers and we supposedly have something in common? I don\'t think so, because it was only the church then so it would be nothing now. I have no clue what I would even say to her.\n<p>Yet, I made some good exmo friends after I left the church when I lived in Utah and although I wasn\'t there long, we are lifelong friends. I\'ve made incredible friends in the UU church I attend in the Southeast and some have moved on and again, I know we\'ll be friends for life. That\'s because none of our friendships were ever based on going to the same church, or exmo activities. That was just the method of meeting people who were interesting and who I have a lot in common with--something I never did with most mormons, other than being members of the same weirdo cult.</p>\n<hr />\nsexismyreligion<br />\nRe: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?<br />\nI noticed that the church came up in the conversation, not just with the \"Hi, Brother!\" but also with the \"I haven\'t seen you in a while\". Isn\'t that exactly what the Church tells home/visiting teachers and missionaries to say to people when they want to guilt them into coming back to church? \"We haven\'t seen you at church in a while, and we miss you. Where have you been?\" The inactive member is then supposed to apologize and make excuses for not having been there, and the \"activating\" person offers to give a ride or sit next to them in sacrament, thus ensuring that the person really shows up the next week. Derrida broke the script by being straightforward and saying, \"There\'s a reason for that,\" instead of acting ashamed, which is why the husband said \"uh oh\".<br />\nJust my take on the situation.\n<hr />\nomreven<br />\nRe: :-)<br />\nThis is very interesting. A \"trigger word.\" I didn\'t consider this. That makes sense. I have never been very fond of the \"brother\"/\"sister\" terminology in any religious group, but I do remember some Mormon ringing the bell late at night addressing me as \"sister Smith.\" My response was somewhere along the lines of I\'m not your sister and I\'m not a nun, I think Omreven will do, or Mrs. Smith if you prefer. :)\n<hr />\nmunchybotaz<br />\nYou volunteered answers for this quiz<br />\nthat there wasn\'t much reason to believe existed. \"I haven\'t seen you in a while\" is a perfectly normal thing to say. It doesn\'t have to mean, \"You haven\'t been to church\"--although it may well mean that to a Mormon, but in normal conversations with non-Mormon people it means what the words say.\n<p>Try not spilling your guts. Other people don\'t need to know things, and it\'s OK for you not to tell them. I\'ve been practicing that, and it\'s saved me a lot of stewing. If I don\'t say it, I don\'t have to stew about it later.</p>\n<p>And really, I don\'t have to stew even if I do say it. I\'ve also been practicing that with some success.</p>\n<p>:)</p>\n<hr />\n<p>derrida<br />\nRe: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?<br />\nThat\'s what I was shooting for. Break the BS script. Not play the game.</p>\n<p>\"That\'s true. I haven\'t seen you for a while either. MRS. Soandso.\"</p>\n<p>Just not calling her \"Sister\" breaks the script and starts us on little bit of \"arrogance\" or \"rudeness\" on my part, drawing very clear lines in the sand.</p>\n<p>And yes, the \"I haven\'t seen you in a while\" is a well run script in Mormon circles. To not respond to it, to pretend to not know what it implies, is to ignore years of LDS church conditioning.</p>\n<p>\"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org\"</p>\n', created = 1495668418, expire = 1495754818, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:bc56a1d051b1cfecbb2a2489920d7e78' in /home/exmormon/public_html/d6/drupal/includes/cache.inc on line 112.

by derrida May 2012

Went out to lunch with ds [dear son] and dd dear daughter] and lo and behold as I enter the restaurant I hear a "Well hi Brother Derrida!"

"Ah, hi!"

"I haven't seen you in a while."

"Well there's a reason for that." Smiling.

Her DH says, "Uh oh."

"I haven't been to church in over two years."

She said something. I can't remember. We were all entering at the same time.

I then said, "So how've you been? Still working with the rabbit farm?"

"Oh no. I'm a married woman now. Cattle. We work with cattle."

"Okay."

----

A pretty nothing interaction and yet I felt on the defensive the whole time, started off relaxed and then the anxiety ratcheted up. I helped this lady quite a bit when I was active in the ward. She was divorced, living at her Dad's, and kind of stupid. If she'd been someone unrelated to.... If the LDS church had not been part of our past equation, I would have asked about her kids, one of whom had a congenital health defect that was life threatening. But it's like a couldn't be relaxed and wholly engaged with the interaction because I felt like on was on the spot or being challenged or quizzed somehow. The DH just smiled lamely, as he usually has always done. He's a good LDS guy in the sense that he's well off and pretty much always does what he's told. She's much younger than he. I figure that's why he smiles all the time.

Anyway, yeah I've had my own particular anxiety ridden struggles detaching myself from the Mormons, but seriously, what's up with the amount of charge that exists in these nothing interactions with people one used to go to church with, these basically dead relationships? Other exmos experience this rise in emotion--like the fight and flight instinct is being engaged. Really though, this lady is about as intimidating as a bowl of goldfish. I was bothered that I couldn't be more relaxed with the whole scene. Freakin' lame to get tilted, even a little, by something so trivial.


forestpal
Re: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?
I wish this syndrome had a name! This is very obvious in children and animals. For example, we have a couple of relatives that are extremely annoyed by children, and are very vocal about it. The minute these people come into the room, I can see my grandchildren's behavior change--for the worse. I can tell when my daughter is talking to a cult member on the phone, as opposed to a friend or a client. Her voice gets higher and louder, and she is not herself. Our dog pesters and jumps on only one family member--the one who does not like dogs. Our cat was the same way. She could sense if a guest was afraid of her, and she would jump out from under the person's chair and grab an ankle with both paws. (It was rather funny to watch the person scream and jump up.)

I feel just as you do, with most encounters with former "friends." As you wrote, it is like the fight or flight instinct. I have PTSD, and these encounters often create unpleasant reminders. With great effort on my part, I got over the initial shunning and the gossip--but now, years later, I'm just sick to death of it all, and I avoid Mormons altogether.

If I'm out and about, happily living my life and working, and I run into any of those "dead relationships", I simply look past them, or nod, and keep walking. I hang onto my happiness, and I keep the same expression on my face, and concentrate on the task at hand. I have to make an effort to put them out of my mind, as soon as they are out of my sight. After all, that's what they do with me.

As Mormons, we were taught to forgive, and not seek revenge. We were also taught to accept abuse. Rudeness is just the Mormon way. Whatever. I don't accept that, and it feels damn good to snub them.


nonmo
Re: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?
From a never mo's perspective:

""Ah, hi!"
"I haven't seen you in a while."
"Well there's a reason for that." Smiling.
Her DH says, "Uh oh."
"I haven't been to church in over two years.""

Why even mention that you haven't been to church at all?? or that there's a reason for that."??

It's more like...how's it going? How's so and so? Are you still living at "x-place/city"?

Personally from my prespective, I can ask about and carry on a conversation without having to know the person's religious details and them knowing mine...

BUT.....

I wasn't part of a group my life revolved AROUND those same religious details..

My 2 cents...YMMV


derrida
Re: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?
It is a big deal isn't it? And odd and fascinating. I wonder who else on this board has experienced these feelings, basically related to PTSD. What sort of group leaves one with these feelings and reactions? There is an obvious label for such a group, but I am looking for a functional definition.

The husband bothered me with his avoidance behavior. Do these people realize what pieces of @#$%& they are being when they meet exmos? I was struggling to be decent and polite. He didn't say anything but "uh oh." I expected something I guess. Maybe like a "How are you?" These people were taken off guard by my appearance? They were upset having to interact with me. Why? Functionally. What is the training that makes them do this? They are told to fear me, right? Yet they feel superior to me and pity me.


derrida
Re: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?
I get you but going to church in an LDS ward you see those people regularly. You stop going to church you stop seeing them. It seemed the obvious and real thing to say, but maybe that's the point: what's obviously true does not apply very much in such nothing encounters. Of course perceiving the truth and stating it are casualties of being Mormon.


WinksWinks
Re: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?
"Perceiving the truth and stating it are casualties of being mormon."

Yes indeed!
I can tell I inspire the same awkwardness in my family members. Actually this started when I still lived at home.
And of course, I feel the same way.
(It's more than awkwardness, but I think an observer would merely think it was an awkward exchange. I agree with the PTSD relationship, massive adrenaline dump, usually.)

They really don't talk directly about anything. Dancing around things with hints all the time. I will always guess that game wrong, so I speak plainly, and it puts their hackles up big time.

And me, wondering what they mean when they answer me indirectly.


cl2
I went to a few funerals in "this ward"
in the past 4 years. The first one I went to--it was my VT who had been my friend before that for years.

Now--what I love is the people who look down on me for the fact that I'm a "single" woman--well, according to Dr. Laura, not single, divorced, so I can properly carry my lable of shame.

So 4 years ago, I went to this funeral and my daughter was recently reactivated, the bishop was watching for my response. I didn't cry one tear--not that I didn't feel anything, but because I was ON GUARD. I got to see the bitch women who look down on me for being single--especially one or two.

That evening, my boyfriend asked me if I saw ANYONE I was glad to see. I thought for a moment and said, "No." I had my walls up the entire time--just gritting my teeth getting through it. I went for my friend.

yes--I know what you mean.


ava
Re: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?
I think it's just odd to see someone you haven't seen in awhile. Just like reunions. It is just surreal.

Or just like seeing someone you worked with for years who was fired or laid off from a job you worked at. Awkward.


Chris Deanna
Re: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?
Derrida,

I kind of like to mess with people sometimes and I think that it "saves" me from the raw emotion that is agreeably PTSD. In the early days, I couldn't do this, but now it's easier.

When I run into TBMs inevitably one in the group has the nerve to say, in a very obvious surprising condescending way, "You look so good!" I love by responding,"Do you mean I didn't look good before?" "How have I changed?" And then I actually wait for an answer! I don't move, I don't continue to talk, I just wait for an answer. Love to see them stumble all over themselves. I usually walk away with a "I feel great, too, and YOU GUYS haven't changed a bit! Take Care!"

Assertive women in Mormon society are considered "bitches" then let the chips fall where they may. I do look and feel better than when I was in the cult. That kool-aid was bad for my beauty treatments. Now, my skin glows, my hair is shiney...I feel like a new puppy.

Next time, try messing with them a bit...it's kind of fun.


nonmo
Re: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?
It's easy for nonmo (me) to say...here's what you SHOULD do....That wasn't my point. I did put in my disclaimer of "BUT...."

My point is for exmos...(from someone NOT indoctrinated) going forward to realize that religion plainly should be left out of
a casual conversation with someone you are (briefly) trying to catchup with and be friendly with. I would guess that it is hard and strange for someone you were supposedly so close with in a previous (religious) life to act like they are trying to avoid you., like an ex-BF/GF, spurned at all. If the mo's can't handle it (some can and some can't) then I guess you learned a valuable lesson. That doesn't make it any easier, but there is a different world out there with a different type of normal to go with it..


derrida
Re: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?
I always hope to be welcoming to the New Normals in my life.


summer
:-)
I agree with Nonmo. Just as a point of reference, here's how a typical nevermo conversation would go under such circumstances:

"Ah, hi!"

"I haven't seen you in a while."

"Yes, it's been awhile. Nice to see you! What have you been up to?"

Etc.


nonmo
Re: :-)
Yep....that's it. Pretty benign, but very possible to get and give updated pertinent info from the person in ~5min...or to make a plan to cathup later
omreven
Re: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?
Nonmo, I picked up on this too, and I am also a nevermo. I didn't see why religion or churchco had to come up at all either. It's just small talk. It's hard to understand just how dominating "the church" presence is, even in such a benign "haven't seen you in awhile" interaction. I totally LOL'd at "rabbit farm...no cattle."
nonmo
Re: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?
As I work in Utah and work around many TBMs, I overhear just how dominating their "church" is.

One TBM I know, smart guy, RM, BYU grad, temple married,3.. soon 4 kids...active in the church. I over hear alot of his conversations to his wife on the phone, generally talking to her about stuff you and I would talk to our spouses about...at home. Why does he talk to his wife about this stuff at work?? Because he is VERY involved in the church.

He clearly loves his wife and kids...AND his church.

A recent conversation I heard him talking to his wife...basically apologizing for leaving dirty dishes out..Whyy?? because he was at church doing "important" priesthood church stuff...until midnite.

Now you and I would say...EXACTLY WHAT does he have to do ...at church...in the MIDDLE of the week...until MIDNITE??
Now I would say (and I assume many other nonmos) when asked by a church leader to do some kind of task for the church in the middle of the week, until late at night..."Uh, I'm going home to my family, I'll see you on Sunday".

I over hear this kind of thing alot from this TBM guy so I KNOW...the mormon church is NOT just about families....


onendagus
Re: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?
I get what the nevermos on this thread are saying. BUT, it is very difficult to leave religion out of these encounters when the mormon church was the context of our former relationship.


omreven
Re: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?
The church "calling" situation is a little bit of an anomaly to me too. This organization that stresses family and strong family values seems to do a great deal in the opposite direction...in the name of God...who would say no to a calling from God? Mormonism infiltrates itself in so many ways, you can't even run into an old friend at a restaurant without it becoming the forefront of a benign exchange. On the other end of the spectrum, this woman could have busied herself digging for gold in her handbag and completely ignored Derrida. Hotel California.

sam
Re: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?
Because they think you have failed, sinned, were offended and not strong enough. So, they either shun you or look down on you.


Tara the Pagan
Re: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?
"fight or flight" response: Exactly! And cl2 is right about the bitch-women.

I always run into these people at either the grocery-store or Walmart (fairly small town), where they stare at the pentacle around my neck and peer into my cart looking for coffee or beer (they invariably find both).

The conversation's always laced with questions (from them) like, "What's your ward like?" and "What calling do you have now?" and "Been to the temple lately?" They are incapable of talking about anything non-Church-related because they have no lives. They could care less about me as a person. I'm only an object of interest if they can test me for "Mormon-ness."

I know they will gossip about me the following Sunday -- if they can wait that long.

I smile politely, pretend my cell phone is vibrating in my pocket or bag, and wave at them while I stroll away.


Mia
Re: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?
Don't ya love the cart check?

I used to hide stuff under a loaf of bread. not any more. I go pick up the wine, beer and coffee first. They get to sit right on top for the whole world to see. I'm flying my flags of freedom!


wittyname
Re: :-)
My take on it was that being addressed as "brother" after so long, and in an out-of-context situation, snapped him back into the church/explanation loop. I wonder how the conversation would have gone if it was just "hey derrida! I haven't seen you in a while" (we'll never know, because that's not what happened), maybe the church subtext would have never entered his mind. The way we act/react to different cues is interesting.

myselfagain
Re: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?
Mia Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

I need to learn how to do that- get the balls to do it, actually. I have only been sout several months and I still feel odd buying beer and wine. Guess it comes with time.


derrida
Re: :-)
Thank you so much wittyname. I didn't even think of this and yet there it is. And at the time I know one part of my brain was whirling because I did NOT want to call her by the automatic "Hi SISTER Soandso!" That would have been easy and "natural."

Screw that. I even blanked out on her name. (Wonder why? haha.) I didn't recall it until I thought about it later in the car.

She ain't my sister by a long shot.

So already in the interaction I'm working on overload processing $4!t from LDS church conditioning and still trying to remain me, remain human, and relaxed and engage in what many other circumstances would have been a relatively pleasurable "long time, no see!" interaction.


wittyname
Re: :-)
Yep! That's exactly what I imagined the story to me. It's kind of hard to balance back out after that greeting framing the whole exchange.


NormaRae
I've had very few real mormon friendships.
So when you leave and they try to act friendly, it's almost more bizarre than when they totally shun you. The nice thing about leaving mormonism is you find out who you were really friends with, and amazingly I do have two TBM real friends. The last time I was home in California my mom told me that a girl I hung around with a lot in the church group during high school was in town or something and wanted me to call her. I said, "mom, what would I say to Laurel?" She was like "well, you were really good friends." Ummm, No. We hung around when the church kids socialized. But at school we had an unspoken pact that we did not know each other. She wasn't near as bad a freak as I was and she had popular non-mormon friends. I knew it was embarrassing for her to acknowledge me. So 40 years later we're old and grandmothers and we supposedly have something in common? I don't think so, because it was only the church then so it would be nothing now. I have no clue what I would even say to her.

Yet, I made some good exmo friends after I left the church when I lived in Utah and although I wasn't there long, we are lifelong friends. I've made incredible friends in the UU church I attend in the Southeast and some have moved on and again, I know we'll be friends for life. That's because none of our friendships were ever based on going to the same church, or exmo activities. That was just the method of meeting people who were interesting and who I have a lot in common with--something I never did with most mormons, other than being members of the same weirdo cult.


sexismyreligion
Re: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?
I noticed that the church came up in the conversation, not just with the "Hi, Brother!" but also with the "I haven't seen you in a while". Isn't that exactly what the Church tells home/visiting teachers and missionaries to say to people when they want to guilt them into coming back to church? "We haven't seen you at church in a while, and we miss you. Where have you been?" The inactive member is then supposed to apologize and make excuses for not having been there, and the "activating" person offers to give a ride or sit next to them in sacrament, thus ensuring that the person really shows up the next week. Derrida broke the script by being straightforward and saying, "There's a reason for that," instead of acting ashamed, which is why the husband said "uh oh".
Just my take on the situation.
omreven
Re: :-)
This is very interesting. A "trigger word." I didn't consider this. That makes sense. I have never been very fond of the "brother"/"sister" terminology in any religious group, but I do remember some Mormon ringing the bell late at night addressing me as "sister Smith." My response was somewhere along the lines of I'm not your sister and I'm not a nun, I think Omreven will do, or Mrs. Smith if you prefer. :)
munchybotaz
You volunteered answers for this quiz
that there wasn't much reason to believe existed. "I haven't seen you in a while" is a perfectly normal thing to say. It doesn't have to mean, "You haven't been to church"--although it may well mean that to a Mormon, but in normal conversations with non-Mormon people it means what the words say.

Try not spilling your guts. Other people don't need to know things, and it's OK for you not to tell them. I've been practicing that, and it's saved me a lot of stewing. If I don't say it, I don't have to stew about it later.

And really, I don't have to stew even if I do say it. I've also been practicing that with some success.

:)


derrida
Re: Why can seeing old members from the ward, even after a couple of years, be so bizarre an experience?
That's what I was shooting for. Break the BS script. Not play the game.

"That's true. I haven't seen you for a while either. MRS. Soandso."

Just not calling her "Sister" breaks the script and starts us on little bit of "arrogance" or "rudeness" on my part, drawing very clear lines in the sand.

And yes, the "I haven't seen you in a while" is a well run script in Mormon circles. To not respond to it, to pretend to not know what it implies, is to ignore years of LDS church conditioning.

"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org"