Unexpected Mormon trauma

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Fifi de la Vergne
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Unexpected Mormon trauma

Post by Fifi de la Vergne » Fri Jun 11, 2021 7:58 am

Red Ryder's post on Ordinary Mormon Trauma really resonated with me and I'll be thinking about it for a good long while. I started to reply with another example of my own Mormon trauma, but I was afraid it was too far off-topic so I started this thread.

It's the end of our university's school year and time for our annual goal-setting and performance review. We had a presentation on SMART goals yesterday and I had to turn off my camera because I found myself in tears. I HATE goals and goal-setting and this time every year I find myself in a deep rut spinning my mental wheels and violently resenting being forced to set them and share them. We're having an in-person staff retreat next week and the subject is (you guessed it) goals. I'm seriously toying with the idea of calling in sick to get out of it; I honestly don't know how I'll get through the day.

It has long puzzled me why this is so difficult and so emotional for me -- even to me it seems extreme. Yesterday I had a big "AHA!" moment when I realized that it goes back to my mission in France, when every week I would sit down with my companion and we would set goals that we both KNEW we were never going to reach: about how many new contacts we'd make, how many discussions we'd teach, etc. I was so discouraged and really beat myself up over it, because we were constantly told that if we weren't meeting our goals it was because we weren't working hard enough, weren't faithful enough, or weren't worthy. I hated and dreaded the whole process.

Dredging up those memories and linking it to my dread about setting goals in a professional setting was revelatory, but now I'm not sure what to do next. The insight hasn't magically made me feel any better about the process. I just want to avoid, avoid, avoid. That's not really an option, and I've got to come up with some goals by June 30th.

This is one I've never heard anyone talk about before; is it just me??
Joy is the emotional expression of the courageous Yes to one's own true being.

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blazerb
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Re: Unexpected Mormon trauma

Post by blazerb » Fri Jun 11, 2021 9:37 am

Fifi de la Vergne wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 7:58 am
Red Ryder's post on Ordinary Mormon Trauma really resonated with me and I'll be thinking about it for a good long while. I started to reply with another example of my own Mormon trauma, but I was afraid it was too far off-topic so I started this thread.

It's the end of our university's school year and time for our annual goal-setting and performance review. We had a presentation on SMART goals yesterday and I had to turn off my camera because I found myself in tears. I HATE goals and goal-setting and this time every year I find myself in a deep rut spinning my mental wheels and violently resenting being forced to set them and share them. We're having an in-person staff retreat next week and the subject is (you guessed it) goals. I'm seriously toying with the idea of calling in sick to get out of it; I honestly don't know how I'll get through the day.

It has long puzzled me why this is so difficult and so emotional for me -- even to me it seems extreme. Yesterday I had a big "AHA!" moment when I realized that it goes back to my mission in France, when every week I would sit down with my companion and we would set goals that we both KNEW we were never going to reach: about how many new contacts we'd make, how many discussions we'd teach, etc. I was so discouraged and really beat myself up over it, because we were constantly told that if we weren't meeting our goals it was because we weren't working hard enough, weren't faithful enough, or weren't worthy. I hated and dreaded the whole process.

Dredging up those memories and linking it to my dread about setting goals in a professional setting was revelatory, but now I'm not sure what to do next. The insight hasn't magically made me feel any better about the process. I just want to avoid, avoid, avoid. That's not really an option, and I've got to come up with some goals by June 30th.

This is one I've never heard anyone talk about before; is it just me??
I was a new missionary and talked my companion into going along with our zone with some completely impossible goals for the upcoming month. After the month was up, we got a visit from the MP who berated us for not meeting the goal or even coming close. It was miserable.

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Red Ryder
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Re: Unexpected Mormon trauma

Post by Red Ryder » Fri Jun 11, 2021 10:00 am

Fifi, I too struggle with setting goals.

I have to do something similar for work for myself and my department. I’ve pulled in my staff and we’ve had a few brainstorming sessions to root out reasonable goals.

I always start with the mundane stuff that has to be done, that everyone already does, etc. We come to the conclusion that these items already get done so we set some goals around these and know we can meet them.

Then we talk about the things we all want to do but find we don’t have enough time or resources. We sort these and prioritize and then ask if we can realistically do some of those. We take a risk approach and put down the 2-3 we know we can do if we prioritize and focus. This becomes our theme for the year and aligns with our corporate strategy.

Then we discuss the absolute not going to happen ideas that if asked we can explain why they are not our goals. We document those and keep the information to ourselves.

This prepares us to be armed with reasonable goals and justification for the unreasonable.

I’ve thought about this process in my personal ideas and have decided to be honest with myself. That project around the house that I keep putting off, well it just isn’t going to happen and I know that. So I’ve stopped trying to convince myself it will and putting it off. It’s cleared some mind space and allowed me to focus on something else I know I need/want to do.

You can do the same with your goals. Start with what you already accomplish. Think about your dream items yo want to really do. Is it reasonable to think you can improve a process or accomplish something. Yes, then write it down.

It requires you to be honest with yourself and circumstance.

In the mission field, the missionaries couldn’t be honest and make realistic goals. Thus we all learned to lie and fudge the numbers to meet the bad goals. Or if we didn’t we got berated and guilted into working harder and still failed.

You as a missionary didn’t fail. The system failed you. You can turn that thinking around in your personal life by accepting that the missionary program was indoctrinating you into the church obedience machine.

Be happy and find joy in your work. Even if it means you have to stretch and grow to set goals.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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alas
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Re: Unexpected Mormon trauma

Post by alas » Fri Jun 11, 2021 11:51 am

The way the church pushes “goal setting” by demanding totally unrealistic goals, them shaming and berating anyone not reaching those impossible goals is abuse. So, treat yourself like someone who lived in an abusive situation, because you are. You are being triggered. When you cannot avoid the trigger, you need to be extra gentle with yourself both before and after. So, plan ahead, both for the stress of being triggered, and what your goals would be. What kinds of things do you need when stress is supper high? What support do you need from spouse, coworkers, etc. For example, have a stash of chocolate in your drawer at work. Have half the day off. Plan a nice lunch with a friend. Have a voodoo doll of the boss (kidding, I think) But recognizing that you survived an abusive situation and that the current situation is a trigger is half the battle.

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Fifi de la Vergne
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Re: Unexpected Mormon trauma

Post by Fifi de la Vergne » Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:15 pm

blazerb wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 9:37 am
I was a new missionary and talked my companion into going along with our zone with some completely impossible goals for the upcoming month. After the month was up, we got a visit from the MP who berated us for not meeting the goal or even coming close. It was miserable.
My heart hurts for the idealistic, starry-eyed missionaries (you and me, blazerb) who got beaten down by mission politics and the non-materialization of the miracles we had believed in.
Joy is the emotional expression of the courageous Yes to one's own true being.

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Fifi de la Vergne
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Re: Unexpected Mormon trauma

Post by Fifi de la Vergne » Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:21 pm

Red Ryder wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 10:00 am
Fifi, I too struggle with setting goals.

I have to do something similar for work for myself and my department. I’ve pulled in my staff and we’ve had a few brainstorming sessions to root out reasonable goals.

I always start with the mundane stuff that has to be done, that everyone already does, etc. We come to the conclusion that these items already get done so we set some goals around these and know we can meet them.

Then we talk about the things we all want to do but find we don’t have enough time or resources. We sort these and prioritize and then ask if we can realistically do some of those. We take a risk approach and put down the 2-3 we know we can do if we prioritize and focus. This becomes our theme for the year and aligns with our corporate strategy.

Then we discuss the absolute not going to happen ideas that if asked we can explain why they are not our goals. We document those and keep the information to ourselves.

This prepares us to be armed with reasonable goals and justification for the unreasonable.

I’ve thought about this process in my personal ideas and have decided to be honest with myself. That project around the house that I keep putting off, well it just isn’t going to happen and I know that. So I’ve stopped trying to convince myself it will and putting it off. It’s cleared some mind space and allowed me to focus on something else I know I need/want to do.

You can do the same with your goals. Start with what you already accomplish. Think about your dream items yo want to really do. Is it reasonable to think you can improve a process or accomplish something. Yes, then write it down.

It requires you to be honest with yourself and circumstance.

In the mission field, the missionaries couldn’t be honest and make realistic goals. Thus we all learned to lie and fudge the numbers to meet the bad goals. Or if we didn’t we got berated and guilted into working harder and still failed.

You as a missionary didn’t fail. The system failed you. You can turn that thinking around in your personal life by accepting that the missionary program was indoctrinating you into the church obedience machine.

Be happy and find joy in your work. Even if it means you have to stretch and grow to set goals.
This is so validating; I really appreciate you taking the time to write it out.

I do have objectives (it's easier if I don't call them the "g" word), but it's very triggering to fill out the damn form in our HR portal and then fill in the metrics that will determine success or not. It reminds me way too much of those yellow forms we had to fill out -- anyone else remember those?
Joy is the emotional expression of the courageous Yes to one's own true being.

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Fifi de la Vergne
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Re: Unexpected Mormon trauma

Post by Fifi de la Vergne » Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:26 pm

alas wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 11:51 am
The way the church pushes “goal setting” by demanding totally unrealistic goals, them shaming and berating anyone not reaching those impossible goals is abuse. So, treat yourself like someone who lived in an abusive situation, because you are. You are being triggered. When you cannot avoid the trigger, you need to be extra gentle with yourself both before and after. So, plan ahead, both for the stress of being triggered, and what your goals would be. What kinds of things do you need when stress is supper high? What support do you need from spouse, coworkers, etc. For example, have a stash of chocolate in your drawer at work. Have half the day off. Plan a nice lunch with a friend. Have a voodoo doll of the boss (kidding, I think) But recognizing that you survived an abusive situation and that the current situation is a trigger is half the battle.
I always appreciate your wisdom, alas.

I'm seriously considering laying hands on some marijuana in advance of this retreat. The last thing I want to do is get all emotional in front of my co-workers -- and isn't that supposed to take the edge off? (I'm not really joking, although truthfully I'm probably not brave enough to do something like that).
Joy is the emotional expression of the courageous Yes to one's own true being.

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wtfluff
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Re: Unexpected Mormon trauma

Post by wtfluff » Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:57 pm

I kind of hate "goal-setting" too. I don't know if MORmON programming caused my hate, or if it's just me.

For instance: The whole "New Year's Resolutions" thing drives me nuts. If I'm going to do something, why do I have to wait until an arbitrary calendar day to "set a goal" to do that thing? I just take the old advice from Nike.

Dunno if those fluffy thoughts are relative to the thread or not...
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

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Mackman
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Re: Unexpected Mormon trauma

Post by Mackman » Sat Jun 12, 2021 9:58 am

I would call in sick with some terrible unknown disease!!

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nibbler
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Re: Unexpected Mormon trauma

Post by nibbler » Sat Jun 12, 2021 10:04 am

I can really empathize with the trauma you've felt that came from church goal setting.

I can echo what others have said about missions. Missions are all about goal setting and missionaries receive far too many messages that their self worth is tied to their ability to meet said goals.

There's no shortage of goals at church even for non-missionaries. Goals that no one agreed to but everyone believes they're held accountable to them. Stake presidents that issue goals to everyone in the stake. The ward mission goals that each ward has to come up with each year. Quorum goals, goals to have families set their own goals, even the new youth program is all about goals. Goals, goals, goals, goals.

When "ministers" show up to our doors because some president or other in the church hierarchy has asked them to check whether their assigned families are dutifully achieving the goals that have been imposed on them, remember... "Not my circus, not my monkeys."

I think it comes down to the judging and the measuring. I get enough of those in the professional world and I certainly don't want to see them in what is supposed to be my spiritual world, my refuge from mammon. But the church is a corporation with corporate minded people placed into "ecclesiastical" positions. All they know is outperforming last quarter, the eternal quest for more. More blessings. More baptisms. More faith. More power. A percentage point closer to their impossible goal of attaining perfection. It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.

My "goal" is to relax and try to enjoy life a little.
We see things not as they are, but as we are ourselves. - H.M. Tomlinson

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nibbler
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Re: Unexpected Mormon trauma

Post by nibbler » Sat Jun 12, 2021 10:06 am

I'd add that all this fixation on goals at church subconsciously convinces us that we're not good enough the way we are. As a survivor of church induced scrupulosity, nuts to that notion.
We see things not as they are, but as we are ourselves. - H.M. Tomlinson

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