Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bad cop

Question. Bear with me, please.

It's argued that bitching loud and proud about how awful and manipulative and irritating the church is is the only way to break free of it. Taking off those chains isn't easy. It's a loud process. They push back so hard on your efforts to just be.

Then again, it could also be argued that doing so is, in fact, allowing the church to have some control over you still. They're in your head, you're playing into their hands re: what apostates do, etc.

I know what many, if not all of you, will say. But let's play around with that second idea. I think about it sometimes, wonder if ignoring it--if simply living my life without the church--is the best way to break free of it. Is it the most active, persuasive way to make it disappear? I see other people living this way, and they just seem so much happier and, y'know, freer. It doesn't touch them anymore.

Is it simply the process or is it more an individual thing?

I can't help but feel I'm allowing them to have power over me still. I'm wasting precious life allowing them to eat me from the insides. But it's easier to do that. It's much scarier to find and live a life you don't have.

Thoughts? I think both arguments have incredible merit.


  1. I don't think there is anything wrong with bitching about the church. I usually did not put my angriest moments and feelings into text but heavens knows plenty of people close to me heard about all of the evils of the church. It really does seem to be part of the process... I received good advice from other fellow apostates along the way not to allow my self to get stuck in the angry phase for too long because that is no way to live your life. I have tried hard to heed their advice but I still have days where I find myself yelling at the church, swearing at the church, and even crying.

    At some point your healing has to be more about than about the church because they are always going to do things worth being upset and angry over. There will always be some new tidbit or some new insult hurled at apostates... At some point we either have to quit listening all together or we have to develop pity for them.

    Anyway... Just my random thoughts.

  2. I think that a certain amount of bitching allows a person to really understand that yes, they are free--because in most circumstances, they would never have been able (or maybe not even wanted) to say such things while they were in the church. It's a feeling like, Hey, I'm really free, I can really criticize the things that I find wrong, I can so do without having to fret over my eternal salvation.

    I also think that being able to not think about the church even to complain about it--being completely unconcerned with it--having it never cross your mind again--is what I'm hoping for ultimately.

  3. There is no "right" way, m'dear. You just have to go through your own process, whatever that is. If it requires bitching and anger, so be it.

  4. The bitching helped/helps me get beyond it. But then, as CD says, there is no "right" way!

  5. Kiley: I have those days too. Had one about a month ago, had both Eric and I crying and visibly angry.

    I want to make it clear, I'm not vilifying the bitchers. I am one. I just get tired of it sometimes when I want to move on. I want to be as disconnected as some I know are. Life without the church sounds wonderful. It'd be nice to one day, despite still being surrounded with it, to be "whatev," you know?

  6. I say do whatever works for you, and no one else. Everybody's different. What makes one person feel better might make another person even more upset.

  7. Hmm...gathering my thoughts.

    I've said it before that leaving the church is like grieving. Everyone grieves differently and for a different amount of time. You do what you can to get over whatever you have to get over. I was in a "funk" about the church until I was done studying it. Although some things still really bother me, for the most part, I feel like I'm done with it.

    But, I talked about it a lot on my blog until I felt good with just letting it go (sort of..)

    I'm rambling and not making sense now.

    Basically, I see no problem with bitching about it until you don't feel the need to do so. I mean, not bitching about it when you want to in an attempt to try to be happy...almost reminds me of Mormonism. I say bitch all you want...until you don't want to or feel the need to. Plus, you don't strike me as unhappy.

  8. Erin: I completely agree. It's like a death x1000 because you are at risk of losing all the people, friends, family, EVERYTHING you have.

    And good point. Faked happiness isn't happiness, no matter the situation. I appreciate that you think I'm a happy person. I am.

    It's a matter of coming to a peace with how you deal with things.

  9. Bitching and being generally angry is a normal, healthy, and necessary part of the grief process. I think that the only way to truly get past the church is to go through a process of grief. But the form of that grieving period is going to be highly variable from one person to the next.

    I remember being told to expect to be angry and violent for about a year after losing faith. I was angry for about 4 months. For my husband, it was more like a year, with violent anger oscillating with depression.

    That said, I think it is possible to get stuck in the angry step of grieving, and that can be counterproductive. But it is a personal experience of where the line between "healthy" and "unhealthy" comes.

    So... yeah. I think it is a personality issue. Reaching the "acceptance" stage of grief is a process, and one that only you can experience.

  10. Thanks, Kate. That pretty much sums it up. I don't want it to be counterproductive, and sometimes I wonder if it is--and if we've any right for it, given how relatively calm and uneventful our leaving has far.

    It's definitely a personality thing in my case. In every case.

  11. I think it depends on how much you have invested of your life in the church. If you were just doing the mormon thing because you were raised that way and you find yourself at BYU, single about to graduate and realize you never really bought into it in the first place, it would be easy to leave and just move on with your life. Especially if you build a life around things and people that aren't LDS.

    If you fully believed in it and gave your life to it, well it's going to take a period of adjustment, even a mourning period, to be able to move on without it touching you. You deserve to be angry and yell out that you are angry. But eventually, I think the healthy thing to do is to let it go.

    The most difficult thing for me is not being sure where to go if I leave. It was easy when I was inactive before I got married, I didn't really even realize at the time how much happier I was in some ways. Now that I am fully entrenched in mormon society and my kids are old enough that my loss of testimony really hurts them, it's difficult to move forward or completely lose the anger.

  12. I'm actually on the side of #2.

    That being said, some bitching is DEF important. AS LONG AS it's helping you get to #2, which is getting the fuck along with your life. (That's a general "world" you, not YOU specifically!)

    Because it's sweet here on the other side, which you don't give two fucks what's going on in THE CHURCH. Keep in mind, though, I got out 8 years ago, so I've had plenty of time to bitch as needed.

    So, ultimately, my answer is that it's an individual thing.

    It DOES get easier to forget about the mo-mos eventually!


  13. I've thought about this and agree that both points are valid, but I also don't think you have to fully commit yourself to one or the other. I've gone through periods where I get really sick of hearing all the bitching about the church. It gets old being in a pissy mood after a while and I do feel like the church still has its claws in me, so I stop reading the history books, the blogs, etc. For a while I don't think about it at all. Then something happens or I just feel the need to vent and hear others vent, and I dive right back in. In those moments the bitching is very cathartic and liberating. Obviously, my needs and/or tolerance have everything to do with my state of being at the moment and nothing to do with whether expressing anger and frustration is right or wrong in and of itself. I think you just have to be okay going through the cycle. It seems to happen with other areas of life too (politics, work, etc.) so I don't expect this part will ever become perfect. Part of what we all gave up was the need for perfection, right? I'm okay swinging back and forth a bit as long as it makes me feel better overall.

    P.S. My captcha was "fauted". Suddenly I feel the need to apologize.

  14. Lots of others said this, but I agree... Its YOUR process. If you gotta get really angry, go for it. And when you don't need to, don't.

    For me, I'm angry. But getting less so each day... I imagine there will come a time when I am no longer angry, and I just live my life without the church.

  15. If I may be so bold. As much as it is an individual process, it is also a group process. All of the other people in you life have an effect on your transition. Also, the way that the local unit of the church handles your absence changes your exit. There will always be the permanent damage that was worked into you, but a gentle let down by the ones you love can make a huge difference in your healing time.

  16. I have my angry days, like I said. They come especially when I'm speaking with a certain-somebody who says stupid shit like it's gospel (ha!) and I want to tear my hair out.

    But I don't want to be here forever. I'd like to just be able to live my life, post it on facebook, tell my family about it, and have it be "whatev"...for me.

    Like Banonky said (welcome!) there's always going to be something, but I'd like it to just come to a fucking end already. I don't want to be one of those people who, twenty years later, are still bitching angry about it. I don't want the church to have that kind of power over me. Life is too goddamn short.

    Making fun of it is one thing. Talking about it is, I don't know. Where do you draw the line? Is it even possible to just forget about it? Family and even the few friends who may stick around will bring it back. It does depend on who they are and if they respect you.

    It's a bit like politics, I guess. You can be the only liberal in the family and be "whatev" but if a neo-con family member says something incinerating, you'll explode and vent and bitch.

  17. Wave: Yes. I don't think you have to commit yourself to one or the other, either. You have your days, you don't have your days. Eventually, I hope, it comes to a natural end.

    Winnie: I agree. it does have something to do with the amount of investment you put into it. I put an immense amount into it--it didn't always work (hell it rarely worked), but dammit I tried my best.

    And Michelle, I appreciate that. Precisely what I'm hoping for.

    Jen: That's my hope too.