Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

This is for encouragement, ideas, and support for people going through a faith transition no matter where you hope to end up. This is also the place to laugh, cry, and love together.
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Linked
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Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Post by Linked » Mon Oct 24, 2022 10:45 am

Being a non-believer in a community of believers creates a constant worry that something bad is going to happen. Maybe partially rooted in the teachings that people who lose their belief are going to hell. But there are also countless possible social consequences that can be dreamt up. It's like living in constant dread waiting for the other shoe to drop. It's exhausting. Do you all feel this? What do you do about it?

Some worries:
- My kids will grow up to fear/look down on me/reject me
- My TBM wife will never be able to accept me
- My parents aren't proud of the man I have become
- My in-laws are trying to get my DW to divorce me
- My kid's friend's will reject them for my beliefs or for what they learn from me
- My bishop is going to make a public example about me
- My job gets affected
- My relationships with TBMs are hollow and unfulfilling
"I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order" - Kurt Vonnegut

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Culper Jr.
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Re: Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Post by Culper Jr. » Mon Oct 24, 2022 11:29 am

Linked wrote:
Mon Oct 24, 2022 10:45 am
It's like living in constant dread waiting for the other shoe to drop. It's exhausting.
yup! I got to the point that I couldn't deal with it and figured the consequences of resigning couldn't be worse than that dread.
Linked wrote:
Mon Oct 24, 2022 10:45 am
My kids will grow up to fear/look down on me/reject me
Linked wrote:
Mon Oct 24, 2022 10:45 am
My kid's friend's will reject them for my beliefs or for what they learn from me
I agreed with my wife to wait until my daughter was 18 to leave for these and other reasons. She ended up leaving too, but has not resigned yet.
Linked wrote:
Mon Oct 24, 2022 10:45 am
My TBM wife will never be able to accept me
This is my biggest challenge. It's touch and go. Sometimes, things are great and she seems accepting, like I no longer get side-eye when I drink coffee. I'm pretty much the same as before. Then, like last night, she launches into this spiritual interrogation. Ugh, I thought we were past this! It comes and goes.

I take for granted how relatively clean it was for me to leave. I don't have nearly the number of entanglements with the church as so many of you guys and it's still painful as hell, so my heart really goes out to you.

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sparky
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Re: Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Post by sparky » Mon Oct 24, 2022 11:58 am

Totally with you on the constant low-level (and sometimes cresting) feeling of dread. I have a mild Pavlovian anxiety reaction whenever I get a phone call from an unknown number for fear it's someone in the ward asking me to do something: burning bosom, quickened heart rate, sweaty palms. I always let it go to messages so I can calm down and figure out how to respond (or not).

My brain is really good at simulating worst case scenarios, but so far none of them have happened even as I've started taking steps back and turning things down. One thing that has kind of helped me is stepping back and analyzing what I'm actually afraid of and whether it's realistic or warranted. And then even if it is realistic, would it really be that horrible? More horrible than continued self betrayal?

For example, the fear of the bishop making a public example of you. What would that actually look like in reality? How likely is it to happen? And even if it did, could you handle the fallout?

In Stoicism there's this idea of negative visualization, where you intentionally imagine a worst case scenario, and then take the next step of figuring out how you might respond. You just do it for a minute or two. Then you open your eyes and, happy day, that thing hasn't actually happened, and if it does it won't be such a shock to your system cause you've already explored it.

Not sure if my ramblings here are helpful. We're all just trying to get by!

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Red Ryder
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Re: Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Post by Red Ryder » Mon Oct 24, 2022 1:09 pm

I think your internal dialogue is getting the best of you. I’m a total stranger and can alleviate all these concerns with the right words. Your internal dialogue can do the same. Here’s my attempt to over ride your church induced anxiety:

Some worries:
- My kids will grow up to fear/look down on me/reject me

Most likely your kids will grow up and realize you were a decent dad, provided everything for them until they had opportunities to build their own life. Most likely they Will think your just technologically out of touch, like old music, and wear dad clothes.

- My TBM wife will never be able to accept me.

She accepts you enough that she hasn’t left yet. So there’s that. If you were such a bad dude she would have already left.

- My parents aren't proud of the man I have become

Parents are obviously proud, but just want your life to mirror theirs. Same thing if you were voting democrat.

- My in-laws are trying to get my DW to divorce me

She’s still with you so their influence really sucks or your not that bad of a dude.

- My kid's friend's will reject them for my beliefs or for what they learn from me.

Perhaps, but most childhood friends come and go. Don’t worry what the 10 year old down the street thinks of you.

- My bishop is going to make a public example about me

Your bishop secretly masturbates, is tired and worn out from his job and his calling. Just ignore him.

- My job gets affected

Find a new one. In another state if you really want some distance from the church.

- My relationships with TBMs are hollow and unfulfilling

They always have been and always will be regardless of your participation in the cult. Just move to prove my point.

The point I’m trying to make is that you have to get out of your own head. It took me 15+ years to do this so I know it’s not easy. You have to stop caring what Mormonism will do to your life. It has no power over you. Now raise your arms over your head, and while slowly lowering them, repeat after me:

The church has no power over me!
The church has no power over me!
The church has no power over me!

Now bow your head and say “What should I do this weekend?”
“It always devolves to Pantaloons. Always.” ~ Fluffy

“I switched baristas” ~ Lady Gaga

“Those who do not move do not notice their chains.” ~Rosa Luxemburg

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Linked
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Re: Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Post by Linked » Mon Oct 24, 2022 2:06 pm

Culper Jr. wrote:
Mon Oct 24, 2022 11:29 am
Linked wrote:
Mon Oct 24, 2022 10:45 am
It's like living in constant dread waiting for the other shoe to drop. It's exhausting.
yup! I got to the point that I couldn't deal with it and figured the consequences of resigning couldn't be worse than that dread.
Linked wrote:
Mon Oct 24, 2022 10:45 am
My kids will grow up to fear/look down on me/reject me
Linked wrote:
Mon Oct 24, 2022 10:45 am
My kid's friend's will reject them for my beliefs or for what they learn from me
I agreed with my wife to wait until my daughter was 18 to leave for these and other reasons. She ended up leaving too, but has not resigned yet.
Linked wrote:
Mon Oct 24, 2022 10:45 am
My TBM wife will never be able to accept me
This is my biggest challenge. It's touch and go. Sometimes, things are great and she seems accepting, like I no longer get side-eye when I drink coffee. I'm pretty much the same as before. Then, like last night, she launches into this spiritual interrogation. Ugh, I thought we were past this! It comes and goes.

I take for granted how relatively clean it was for me to leave. I don't have nearly the number of entanglements with the church as so many of you guys and it's still painful as hell, so my heart really goes out to you.
Thanks for sharing your experiences, I appreciate the affirmation that I'm not alone in this. How are things going with your DW and daughter with daughter leaving too?
"I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order" - Kurt Vonnegut

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Linked
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Re: Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Post by Linked » Mon Oct 24, 2022 2:10 pm

sparky wrote:
Mon Oct 24, 2022 11:58 am
Totally with you on the constant low-level (and sometimes cresting) feeling of dread. I have a mild Pavlovian anxiety reaction whenever I get a phone call from an unknown number for fear it's someone in the ward asking me to do something: burning bosom, quickened heart rate, sweaty palms. I always let it go to messages so I can calm down and figure out how to respond (or not).

My brain is really good at simulating worst case scenarios, but so far none of them have happened even as I've started taking steps back and turning things down. One thing that has kind of helped me is stepping back and analyzing what I'm actually afraid of and whether it's realistic or warranted. And then even if it is realistic, would it really be that horrible? More horrible than continued self betrayal?

For example, the fear of the bishop making a public example of you. What would that actually look like in reality? How likely is it to happen? And even if it did, could you handle the fallout?

In Stoicism there's this idea of negative visualization, where you intentionally imagine a worst case scenario, and then take the next step of figuring out how you might respond. You just do it for a minute or two. Then you open your eyes and, happy day, that thing hasn't actually happened, and if it does it won't be such a shock to your system cause you've already explored it.

Not sure if my ramblings here are helpful. We're all just trying to get by!
Your comments are greatly appreciated sparky! Thanks for responding. I'm with you, I am constantly coming up with scenarios and then freaking out even though they almost never come about.

I really like your advice about taking a step back and considering each fear. I'll try that for a week each morning, just run through a handful of scenarios too their end. It feels like the well is never ending, but maybe after naming the fears for a while they will run out.
"I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order" - Kurt Vonnegut

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Linked
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Re: Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Post by Linked » Mon Oct 24, 2022 2:12 pm

Red Ryder wrote:
Mon Oct 24, 2022 1:09 pm
I think your internal dialogue is getting the best of you.
Oh, for sure. But mixed in are enough realistic fears and experienced issues that I struggle to shut it off. Thanks for the great examples for working thru these worries. I'll give that a go.
"I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order" - Kurt Vonnegut

stuck
Posts: 230
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Re: Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Post by stuck » Tue Oct 25, 2022 11:57 am

Linked wrote:
Mon Oct 24, 2022 10:45 am
Being a non-believer in a community of believers creates a constant worry that something bad is going to happen. Maybe partially rooted in the teachings that people who lose their belief are going to hell. But there are also countless possible social consequences that can be dreamt up. It's like living in constant dread waiting for the other shoe to drop. It's exhausting. Do you all feel this? What do you do about it?

Some worries:
- My kids will grow up to fear/look down on me/reject me
- My TBM wife will never be able to accept me
- My parents aren't proud of the man I have become
- My in-laws are trying to get my DW to divorce me
- My kid's friend's will reject them for my beliefs or for what they learn from me
- My bishop is going to make a public example about me
- My job gets affected
- My relationships with TBMs are hollow and unfulfilling
Yeah those are valid concerns but like RR said alot of it hasn't materialized which is good. I think you can also think of the opposite outcome also such as:
My kids will grow up to fear/look down on me/reject me: They more likely will grow up to admire, respect and love you. Why? Truth is on our side and the younger generations are less likely to remain committed members. Besides more and more people are leaving or going inactive so it's becoming more normal.

My TBM wife will never be able to accept me: You're a great father and husband. Besides you have both respected each other's beliefs which is why you both are ok with attending church only half the time.

My parents aren't proud of the man I have become: Your parents will see you as the good person you are despite your change in beliefs.

My in-laws are trying to get my DW to divorce me: Have they tried this in the past? If not then I would hope that like your parents, they will see the good person and husband you are despite your beliefs.

My kid's friend's will reject them for my beliefs or for what they learn from me: This might be true for some, but there are probably others whose parents are in the same boat as you and so that won't be a factor.

My bishop is going to make a public example of me: This could happen if he is an insensitive person, but I would think that most would recognize that something like that should remain confidential.

My job gets affected: If this is a real possibility then maybe making a move out of state or changing jobs might be a good idea.

My relationships with tbms are hollow and unfulfilling: Well this might be the case if all there is to talk about is religion. But perhaps you could find other things that you have in common with them that could be focused on. Easier said than done especially if they don't want to be friends with you because of your status in the church.

It takes patience to be in an unbeliever at home and at church right? Well best of luck to us all

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Hagoth
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Re: Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Post by Hagoth » Mon Oct 31, 2022 6:53 am

Here's the actual scenario that I have observed.

We'll be going along just fine and then there will be some manipulative conference talk that will guilt my wife into feeling like she hasn't been vigilant enough against Satan's buffetings and his efforts to destroy her family. She is made to feel that, because she has been a failure at trying to keep her family faithful. By tolerating her family's individuality she has begun a gradual slide down that slippery slope of tolerance from whence no man or woman returneth. These kinds of talks make her feel like she's all alone in the good fight, without the support of a worthy priesthood holder in the home, and she feels foolish for letting herself get into this trap. For some reason this seems to follow a once-every-six-months cycle that peaks in April and October. Fortunately, every time they cry wolf it desensitizes her just a little bit more and she gradually realizes the sky isn't falling, at least for the next five months.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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nibbler
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Re: Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Post by nibbler » Mon Oct 31, 2022 7:36 am

It used to be a larger concern but the concern is practically nonexistent these days.
Linked wrote:
Mon Oct 24, 2022 10:45 am
Maybe partially rooted in the teachings that people who lose their belief are going to hell.
It takes time for a lifetime of conditioning to be broken. It's hard to do when you're used to feeling like having a little self-confidence is a sin.

The "what if I'm wrong?" game didn't last too long for me. I figured that I've been wrong about everything so far. A part of it is growing comfortable with the idea of being wrong and growing comfortable with the idea that god is okay with me being wrong. After all, even according to LDS teachings we can't be perfect. God expects us to be wrong about things. It comes with the territory.
Linked wrote:
Mon Oct 24, 2022 10:45 am
But there are also countless possible social consequences that can be dreamt up.
That was a whole other level of a lifetime of conditioning that was harder to break, people pleasing. Doing something because of worry about what others would think of me. Personal happiness came a distant second to making others happy.

I'm not sure what did it for me, perhaps it's still not done, but a part of it was bowing out of the competition and another part of it was telling myself that if a community would reject the real me, why am I fighting so hard to be a part of it? Why not move on to a place where I'll be accepted? I had framed it as me being worthy of the community my entire life, now it was time to finally ask whether the community was worthy of me.

It sounds harsh and it sounds arrogant but I'd say there's a balance in the middle. As an orthodox believer I was at one extreme, constantly seeking acceptance by the tribe, but the other extreme also isn't healthy, considering people beneath me. There's a balance and the margins are wide. I'm just saying that it was more of an awakening that there's more to the puzzle than the one-sided relationships that had been presented to me as the ideal.
We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
– Anais Nin

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