Living an authentic life

foggy Aug 2014

For the most part each piece of my life is pretty good right now, but I've discovered that the big underlying problem I have is one that probably many of you face as well.

In order to keep what on the surface seems to be a 'good' relationship with my family and DH's born-again-christian family, I pretty much have to keep my opinions to myself

, and am constantly leaving the room or mentally checking out when politics or religion are brought up. (Even in my own house)

This really hit home the other day when my very TBM cousin friended DH on FB (I am not on it, for this very reason) and DH sent me a copy of a post from this cousin that he found very interesting. It was basically a rant about how the cousin hates that every time he gets on FB someone he knows has decided to leave "the faith" (his quotes) and has used FB to share their feelings about it.

The gem of the whole rant is this part; "I don't like my Facebook feed to barrage me with your malice and targeted hatred. I am now going to be un-following you and hiding you from my feed because you don't have the courtesy to filter your posts so they are not offensive to me"

I realized that I have been filtering MY life so I don't offend people, which little by little is killing me inside.

I know that I need to start standing up for myself more, and letting people know that I don't agree with what they are saying, but I don't know quite how to start after being a walking doormat for so long.

How do you get over the fear of forever altering important relationships, even when intellectually you know they're not healthy?

Re: Living an authentic life

My suspicion is that in the internet age, your TBM cousin will find himself more and more isolated over time (along with other TBMs who can't handle this).

Re: Living an authentic life

haha, the irony of a mormon ranting about people filling their FB with useless information!!!

Anyway, on topic: to they ownself be true.

Your life is for you alone to live. For better or worse, this is the only life you'll have, so don't hide yourself. Be the person you want and if you can do this, you will truly be free and happy.

You will be one of the few.

Re: Living an authentic life

The choice boils down to living with the status quo which Mormons keep in their favor by playing the persecution card as your cousin did, or being true to yourself which means risking relationships.

I asked myself once if I really wanted relationships that could be shattered so easily. The answer for me was no. I would dump your cousin in a heart beat. I am busy having the best life I can and don't need that crap.

There are always three ways to enter a discussion with Mormons and make your feelings and thoughts known that I know of.

One is to be in your face and contradictory, setting them straight with facts or questions they can't answer except by bearing their testimonies. This usually bombs.

Two is to try to say everything in a non offensive manner which usually makes your position sound weak. This is useless.

Three is say exactly what you mean in a clear concise manner, (clever is helpful if you can manage it) but always in a matter of fact, classy way--leaving emotion out of the delivery. That usually doesn't work either but it will leave you feeling good about yourself.

I just made it clear I didn't want to hear their agenda any more than they wanted to hear mine. That bought be a somewhat acceptable "half relationship" with my family.

Re: Living an authentic life

Authenticity cost me my biological family, as they are Mormons. Nevertheless, I prefer the real over the lie. It's their loss.

Re: Living an authentic life

I totally get where you are coming from! I've had this same internal debate... My husbands parents are retired. They teach seminary, have primary callings, and volunteer at the storehouse once/week. Their lives are entirely filled by church and they don't even live in the morridor!

The point is, we have nothing to talk about because that's all they do! It's painful to try to make conversation. We also are opposite on politics and religion - things like that. I, as you, want to live an authentic life, and when we are around them, even though they know we don't believe in the church, I have to completely check my real self at the door! I hate it! I'm not even one of those women who's super girly and likes cooking, decorating, crafts, etc, so there nothing even to talk to mom in law about. It's such a struggle!

Even though they know how I and we feel perfectly well, it just makes for absolutely nothing to talk about or bond over other than the fact that they gave birth to my husband. If we didn't have family ties, we'd never talk to them. It's such a downer and stressor.

Re: Living an authentic life

Speak out. There are people out there who you can influence. Think of it just the same way you did when you were in the church, afraid of speaking out about "spreading the message" but doing it anyway because you wanted to make a difference. Sure you'll offend some people, but that's their problem. Obviously it's different when it's your friends/family rather than random people, so I get that. But you're right, keeping it all inside is not good. You are who you are and you're a not a bad person for believing truth.

For example, I've already been a big influence on my nephew for the positive. He sees the flaws in the church and is planning to skip the mission and probably leave the church as soon as we gets out of the home as an adult.

CA girl
Re: Living an authentic life

That's outrageous that he thinks someone should filter THEIR Facebook posts so not to offend HIM. Maybe you should say that Mormons are always taught to not be easily offended and it seems like he's not keeping the commandments very well. And what about how Mormons dis exmos for leaving the church because they are offended. What a hypocrite.

Just be yourself. If you can maintain polite relationships with these people, do it but if they expect you to tolerate them, they need to be willing to do the same for your beliefs too.

Re: Living an authentic life

I figure it's a Good Thing when someone is upset with my comments. If they can't handle them, I don't need their negativity.
People have all kinds of ideas about what they want to see and read and how they think they can filter out what they don't want.

You don't like my posts? Here, let me block you so there is no chance you are Taking Offense. Notice that it has to be taken!

Live your life so it's enjoyable. Delete, block, get rid of the influences that are not uplifting and helpful!

I love my Facebook and the "new unknown friends" that comment and share with me.

I've gladly been blocked, deleted, and I'll do the same with garbage.
I like to keep my life the way I like it and that means, make nice, be positive, supportive, or go away! And goodbye!

Re: Living an authentic life

Have you read in the news, that Facebook makes people depressed?

When I left the cult, I quit Facebook altogether. I had a lot of reasons. One reason was that I was too busy and occupied with other things, and I would forget about going onto Facebook. My neglect caused some Facebook friends to think that I was intentionally ignoring them. I had to explain, and I now exchange personal e-mails, which include selected photos, individual conversations. Everyone is happy with this.

Group conversations, and group letters, such as Christmas brag letters and mass e-mails--all popular with Mormons--are dangerous. "You can't please all the people all the time."

"Speaking out" is good, but only with very close, immediate family members. My children and I have always been very close, but they were afraid to tell me about their experiences with Mormon abuse. Also, the Mormon leaders had threatened my children not to tell anyone--especially me. Finally, I asked them point-blank to tell me exactly why they hated church so much. They told me everything! We cried. I told them that they never had to go to church again, though I still believed. I went online to RFM and discovered the church is a fraud, discussed it with my children, and we resigned together. We are now even closer than before. I have heard about husbands and wives that have resigned together, too. Usually one finds out the truth before the other one, and they resolve things through loving, listening to, and understanding each other.

It is more about listening, rather than "speaking out."

There was very little I could say to my Mormon fanatic in-laws, except when they would talk about business, health, current events, cars, which amounted to about one conversation a week. Mostly we had the grandchildren in common, which was a huge part of our lives! We disagreed on politics and the temple, which they talked about constantly. I would sit with my mouth shut. Later, they would think of me as "a good listener."

The world needs more good listeners!

You don't have to agree with everything. You already know in your heart what you believe, and what opinions you have. You live by your own values, and you set your own rules, quietly. Set your own boundaries of tolerance. If those boundaries are crossed, you can leave, you can change the subject, you can put in your earphones and listen to music. I like to say, "Let's not talk about politics or religion--let's enjoy the party!"

Religion should not be an issue in a relationship. You can make sure to keep that boundary.

BTW, Blueorchid is right. Good advice. Nothing you say or do will change a brainwashed fanatic. The testimonies of Mormons and other fanatics are based on feelings, not on debatable logic.

Re: Living an authentic life

Facebook has no power to "make" me do or feel anything unless I allow it, same for the rest of life, people included.
I get my first and last laugh and positive input from Facebook. It's totally positive and encouraging and supportive.

Guess it depends on attitude. Mine is one of gratitude so I get a lot of anything I spend my time on.

That is what the rest of my life is for. Enjoyment, love, fun, laughter, support, great experiences, making memories with my friends and loved ones!

It's all in the attitude! :-)

I have very little to do with Mormons in real life.

That is, aside from being married to one.

But fortunately, being around me, (especially during the near-decade since I resigned) he has learned a LOT that he didn't know before. He has heard other viewpoints and been excited about broadening his own view. And he doesn't have much use for Mormons who voluntarily clutch their Mormon cocoons around themselves, lest they be exposed to new ideas. He is a solid, Christian believer, but he loves to hear different angles on religious topics, so he is uncommonly open-minded.

I have exactly TWO FB friends who are TBM. One is my son (whom I couldn't very well disown anyway!) and the other is a very long time friend whom I consider close. She knows I left the church, but we agree on so many other things, and truly care about each other, that we can discuss bazillions of things without getting into Mormonism. So, with those two, I simply don't discuss Mormonism. At the moment, we both have ailing husbands, so without being self-conscious, we have asked each other for prayers for our husbands. No problem.

I also have exmo friends on FB, whom I first met here and later on in real life. I also have atheist friends and Jewish friends. So religion just doesn't get a lot of mileage with me on religious issues.

The few Mormons in my life tend to be of the "live and let live" variety (I know that this view is not encouraged in SLC, but I like it) so we get along very well.

Stray Mutt
Re: Living an authentic life

Some sort of filtering is usually necessary in social situations. I don't think that needs to get in the way of living authentically. The point, I think, is that you KNOW what your authentic self is like and you try to be true to it as much as you can rather than being the puppet others expect you to be. But unless we want to be hermits, our authentic self will keep bumping up against other people's crap. Sometimes that crap will be them trying to live their authentic life. No one ever said all authentic lives are compatible with each other. Rather than failure to live your authentic life, filtering can be seen as simply choosing your battles, choosing not to fight futile wars, saving your strength for more important, more pleasant things.

Re: Living an authentic life

Don't you just love it when someone gives away their power of self direction and blame their lack of happiness on other people. The idea that "someone else has to change in order for me to be happy" is totally dis-empowering. Living an authentic life entails being responsible for one's own happiness by knowing when to hit the delete button on emails/post that suggest otherwise.

Each one of us have the freedom and capability to process information and draw our own conclusions about that information. We do not have the capabilities to CONTROL the thinking or the processing of information of/for others.

We may say/do things that we hope will/may affect the thinking of others but in the end, the conclusions that are drawn by them, are not up to us. It is the basis of freedom. We each get to think our own thoughts and draw our own conclusions.

IOW it's MY THOUGHTS about about what you are saying/doing that make me unhappy.

As we point at others and claim that their thoughts/actions are causing our unhappiness, we are giving them control of our thoughts and feelings."You make me unhappy" or "I can't be happy when you say/do something specific"... are statements of dis-empowerment. The blame game gets to be a vicious circle where there can be no winners. JMHO

Re: Living an authentic life

It used to be that religion and politics were considered to be topics that were not fit for polite company. I think that if someone wants to discuss their activities related to their church, that's fine. If they want to discuss their beliefs, then they had better be prepared to hear my beliefs. Ditto for politics. I think it's perfectly okay to say, "I disagree with you because..." I also think it's okay to say, "Well you know that I disagree with you about that." Then change the topic. Other people do not get to drive an entire conversation.

Re: Living an authentic life

"How do you get over the fear of forever altering important relationships, even when intellectually you know they're not healthy?"

That's a great question. I find the only way to get past the fear is to just experience the thing you're afraid of. When you think about it, all relationships are dynamic. People change, circumstances change. Sometimes, things change for the worse, sometimes, things change for the better. And that is one thing you cannot change. Perhaps the fear is rooted in worrying about loss of control. Mormonism tells you that you have control over your salvation and that of others. This is why mormon parents often attempt to control the lives of their adult children.

I think it's simmply healthier, emotionally, to just accept that things change and you cannot always (hardy ever, in fact) control HOW things change. The only thing you can truly control 100% of the time, is your attitude.

So, you do you. Remember, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. If toxic, unhealthy relationships are the victims of your integrity, that's a positive for you. I say stop filtering and let things happen organically, recognizing that the only thing you control is your mindset going into an action and and your attitude toward how you handle it.

Another thing to think about is what are the worst possible consequences for a choice you face? Brainstorm with yourself to come up with the worst possible scenario. I would bet real money that 90% of our fears never come to fruition. Even then, you will still find positives in the situation if you are focused on your own attitude. How do you want to be? What do you think is right? Do that. Should toxic relationships fall away out of your life, then great! Your life now has that much less drama in it. That's nothing to fear; that's cause for celebration.

Re: Living an authentic life

Foggy, too bad someone can't send this douche a finger emoticon.
When I read his unfriending message, it almost strikes me as a reaction formation where he feels doubts himself on some level and goes off the deep end with the attack. If he's so sure about his beliefs, why does he feel so threatened from the opinion of others that he will not tolerate it, period?

Re: Living an authentic life

I am in this exact situation. Literally, there is nothing to discuss with my in-laws. Their lives are 100% wrapped up in the church. I would be happy to discuss the kids, but they really don't care what they are doing because it isn't church related. It really is a strain.

Re: Living an authentic life

Another great story of leaving. Putting your children first without even giving it a thought. I am touched.

Your comment on listening is so true. You made me wonder if we listened hard enough and long enough is the TBMs would start to hear what is coming out of their own mouths and really get how out of what it is?

Re: Living an authentic life

I think this is exactly the balance I need to figure out.

I don't want to start getting in everyone's faces all the time, but I don't think I should consistently have to leave the gathering in my own living room because someone is talking about how Obama and'the gays' are ruining everything (DH's family, not mine thankfully)

"Recovery from Mormonism -"