Lesson learned and the wheels keep turning...

ambivalent exmo Sep 2012

Although I finally made an appointment to go see a therapist,
It's 2 weeks off. So you all get to be my shrink for a few more days...

Dear Dr. RFM:
On saying no:

As a former tbm,
I was taught these things
( whether specifically, or by insinuation)....
Never say no to a priesthood " authority"
Profit, stake president, bishop, father, brothers, etc.

There was no clear cut boundary.
There were no clear cut boundaries.
They were... fluid, ever changing,
I never could pin them down,
There was......
No...... solid footing......

The lessons learned have colored my responses and reactions to
The entire spectrum of ... Life.
Second guessing becomes second nature.

Am I doing this right?
Is this ok???
On and on and on.......

Will they still love me if I:
Disagree, speak my truth, stand up for what is inherently... True.
Answer: no.

If I said no, ( to idiotic and misoginistic "doctrine"),
Love, acceptance was...


The self sacrificing.
The self .. delusion
In order to be ... Loved, accepted, and not..
It has... I have made choices,
Been an accomplice to my own...

Mea culpa......

How to undo the disastrous learned behavior
Necessary to my .... Literal survival?
How does one repair /change the Internal dialog
That propels this type of behavior?

As a defense mechanism,
I isolated myself from:
Friends, family, everyone....

My words are my only... Bandage.....
Must stop the bleeding.......

And now that I have isolated myself so well....
How do I undo the ties that bind me,
That curse me to keep repeating & repeating
And unwillingly......
or willingly???.....
participating in this cycle?????

Like, where is ..
where..... what are the boundaries & parameters
Of "normal" (????)
"healthy", (???)....
interpersonal communication, behavior, and relationships??

I have to fix this......
I have to repair the.....
damage, the crossed wiring...

How did you...
Unlearn what you learned?

I totally realise only I can fix this.
So I'm sending this off into the void,
Even .... Even just to get it off my back..
Thanks for listening....


Re: lesson learned and the wheels keep turning...
Wow that really resonates with me! You articulated the exact same thing I have been struggling with since leaving the church. And I've done the same thing, totally isolated myself. I'm so afraid to have relationships with people because I feel like I don't know what's normal and healthy.

I don't have anything helpful to say just wanted to say that you're not alone in your feelings. I can relate so completely as I'm sure many others can too. I hope you can figure things out and then tell the rest of us :) Hugs to you.

Re: lesson learned and the wheels keep turning...
Most of us here totally get where you are, and you expressed it so well. Mormonism takes normal relationships and twists them as a means of control and fear. Letting go of it does take some time. Like not being able to give a neighbor a ride to church because another male priesthood holder isn't there, but interviewing a teenage girl about sexual matters behind closed doors with just the bishop is ok. How did we ever think this was acceptable?

Taking back your "self", not allowing the church to have any power over you is the first step. That is a powerful feeling - knowing that you have just as much intelligence, inspiration, and knowledge about what is best for you as anyone in the church does.

Taking back control is both an intimidating and powerful feeling. Keep making decisions for yourself, think, read, analyze, accept that you will make mistakes, learn from them, learn something new each day, love your husband and kids.

I've learned that I can't change other people's response to my rejection of their church, its their problem not mine. I know its much more difficult with close family, but you will get through this, I know you will.

ambivalent exmo
Thank you, my dear...
Means more than you know...

Re: lesson learned and the wheels keep turning...
Glad you're seeing a therapist--I should've done it years ago, and still haven't. Still probably should, even though I feel like I've finally gotten over many of the feelings you're describing.

Hope you are keeping these posts
The way you express your journey is poetic.

A powerful memoir


Re: lesson learned and the wheels keep turning...
MORmONISM is here to take.

MORmONISM will take whatever its wants in concert with whatever it can get.

It works out so this cult can take your life, one way or another.

The individual is the one who must stop it.

Re: lesson learned and the wheels keep turning...
You have a good understanding of what Mormonism has done to you. You are taking an active role in getting your self back.

Yes, I, too, have had the feelings you so skillfully described. I felt just as lost as you did. I can tell you that it will all happen for you. Having a good non-Mormon therapist will speed up the process. I am in therapy, but mostly for my PTSD from severe childhood abuse, and also a physically abusive marriage.

Try to see this as a great adventure in your life. A rebirth. You will learn to set boundaries, and re-set them, as need be. I didn't set strict enough boundaries at first, and I kept tightening them up, in reaction to how the Mormons in my life were reacting. Now, I have zero contact with Mormon family members who abused me, stole from me, lied to me.

You will learn to say "no." I took two classes is assertiveness training. I was amazed to learn the very same assertive techniques that the Mormons had been using on me all my life. You will learn dialogs, on how to give it right back at them.

You will learn to love yourself! Do you know that Mormons do not believe in unconditional love--not even from Christ or God? Russel M. Nelson said in a recent talk, that unconditional love is anti-Christ! Wow! Most of our Mormon parents only loved us if we obeyed. The more perfect we acted, the more we were loved. Since none of us can ever be perfect, none of us can ever be loved. What helped me, here, is realizing that I love my own children unconditionally, and it is in this mode, with my dear ones, that I feel closest to God.

Maybe you will find God and Christ again, or maybe not. Either way, you will know Mormonism is false, and you will no longer FEAR the Mormon God's vindictiveness and cruelty. You will no longer have anxiety about the hereafter. Instead, you will be focused on life and the living!

The truth is so wonderful! Whatever turmoil you are going through now will be WORTH IT! Finding out I was lied to, finding out that I suffered for NOTHING, was traumatic--but it was worth it to find out the truth. The nasty threats by my bishop and home teachers and neighbors were awful, but it was worth it for my children to realize that these men are nothing but creepy cult members, and what they say are lies. With me, whatever pain I went through on leaving, was better than what I had to endure as a member. I am so happy to be free of that culture and lifestyle.

The best way to forget is to "extinguish." This means, to crowd out old brainwashing with new information. I filled my mind with science and philosophy. The more complicated the information, the more it occupied my mind. Instead of the old scriptures, I read poetry to soothe me, and memorized the best verses, to forget all those Primary chants and couplets--ugh. Sing new music! I'm into opera right now, but went through a Metallica kick, Beatles (forever), show tunes, Beethoven, Mozart--I can't get enough music. You find what pleases you. No more MoTab Choir.

Remember, change is normal and healthy. You may never reach a point where you are static, and can be put into a mold, ever again. The cult doesn't acknowledge that we are individuals. You are changing and growing at the speed of light, and no cult can keep up with you. Enjoy the adventure!

I hope you keep posting here. I love everything you write! You have helped me. Thank you. >^..^<

ambivalent exmo
Re: lesson learned and the wheels keep turning...
Oh, ......love.
My hands are on my heart.
Thank you.
I ...
Thank you..

Re: lesson learned and the wheels keep turning...
Wonderful post, I am smiling for ya!

Re: lesson learned and the wheels keep turning...
I just love the way you expressed that ambivalent exmo.

Having a big basketful of questions is as good as having a big basketful of fruit or flowers or puppies.

You just keep asking the questions. Your whole life.

For me--I am "older" and I feel in a situation that I'm just coasting. I didn't belong in mormonism and I don't think I'll ever belong in regular life and I just don't worry about it much.

My family was always marching to the beat of a different drummer and we still are--most outside the church. I'm very selective about who I choose to spend time with. I'm an introvert and I do isolate, though I have a nonmo boyfriend from the long ago past (I was the one who sought him out and pursued the relationship--which shocks me to this day). I actually had a falling out with one of my closest nonmormon friends over my change of beliefs. That really shocked me.

I don't worry about my beliefs. I am not really sure what I believe, but accept that I don't KNOW anything.

Much easier to be an introvert and isolate outside of mormonism. I got all dressed up (not a dress) to go to the Brigham City temple open house last week and I had that anxiety I had every Sunday that I got ready for church. I feel much more comfortable not having to deal with all that anymore. My 2 best female friends are mormons. My best male friend besides my ex is his last partner.

I live a very unconventional life and it seems to fit much better than mormonism ever did. And many of my neighbors, who are very devout mormons, are good friends, too. Here I live with my gay "husband" and my boyfriend comes to visit, and they don't preach and they don't ask me to come back to church. And they still speak to all of us. (I live in a very unique ward in Utah.)

Re: lesson learned and the wheels keep turning...
"I didn't belong in mormonism and I don't think I'll ever belong in regular life and I just don't worry about it much."

DITTO I love that you said that like that. It is exactly the way I feel.

It is enough to fit in just now and then just for a moment. I feel that many times here at RFM. If you are good at being an introvert it is a really good thing, not a negative at all.

it takes time
It takes time to begin to trust yourself and your feelings. To set boundaries that can make other people uncomfortable.

Saying no is a good step. It's true, many people (particularly women) were never supposed to say no. I just re-read "The Good Earth" by Pearl Buck. The main character's wife is really the ideal mother/wife, never speaks up for herself, gives up everything, never complains, etc. This was the message from the mormon church for women for a long time (martyrdom, live through children, etc.) It's changing, but slowly.

Mormons are very suspicious of any self-esteem/self-help programs as well. Some may be not helpful (or even harmful), but there are quite a few that can help people heal from traumatic events. A suggestion - you may ask the therapist for book recommendations (if you are someone who reads about this stuff). There's a lot out there.

And btw, life beyond mormonism can be pretty sweet. You get to redefine yourself. You get to figure out if there are things that you like or don't - regardless of what 15 octogenarians in Utah have to say about it. The journey can be difficult, but it can also be amazing. So many people are stopped by fear of change.

Re: lesson learned and the wheels keep turning...
Oh dear, no! You have to turn that around. YOU are regular life, and very few people fit in with you.
Don't desire to fit in, shine as yourself to attract others. (Hate cliches. :P)

Is this another leftover from mormonism? Wishing for acceptance?
I reject all who would reject me.

It's too cliched(barf), but you have to operate from the power position, don't give the power position to nebulous "others", the collective of what constitutes "fitting in", YOU make the criteria.

Speaking as the EXTREME introvert myself, it's taken forevvvver for me to implement this in my life, but it is a magical difference!
I have always been keenly aware of the power games inherent in mormonism, and they (regular society too!) will tell you that by belonging, you will share in that status or esteem, but that is a lie.
"The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you but yourself." Is not even true. No one "likes" you more for conforming, there is just less about you to object to.

It did take getting married for me to get to the place of implementing this in my life. I do need ONE person to be the rock in my life. My safety. He likes me just exactly as weird and nonconforming as I am. Everybody else can develop a taste for me or go kick rocks.

But I should add I am an INTJ weighted far away from the F. Others may have more need to fit in, but I did feel it so keenly when I was on the way out. Yet I couldn't stand what they wanted from me in order to be "acceptable". The price was too high.

I apologize, I couldn't get through the Shatner-esque nature of the OP...

"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org"