Leaving Religion: Where Does Anger Go?

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It’s been about seven years since I’ve stopped being a Christian. In all that time, I still get angry at things that evoke my former faith. Maybe it’s a sign offering the empty promise of the love of Jesus, or maybe it’s a Seventh Day Adventist protesting what day of the week other churches meet. The end result is that I react without thinking to my environment.

Changing this behavior isn’t easy without support. It’s one of the ways that cults and cult-like organizations keep control over their members. Stop obeying, and be alone. That is a threat which lingers in my mind.

And yeah, it’s hard to find people who are willing to put up with the repetitive conversations needed to purge the trauma of indoctrination. Losing faith affects different people differently. There are times when I need to rage at the ludicrous idea that a deity can sacrifice itself to itself over something it could have just forgiven in the first place. And there are times when I can casually let the idea slide without much notice or frustration.

Moreover, the search for support is complicated by other things. There are people out there who deny it’s a real problem to have. There are people who are going to just disagree with one’s decision to abandon faith in its entirety. There are even going to be people who take things to an unhealthy extreme when people talk about losing their faith or leaving religion.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a support network.

It might not be consistent, but I can say there are people I’ve met virtually and in person who have been willing to put up with my nonsense when I get angry about what’s in the past. They are a reminder that it’s not crazy to think the Emperor has no clothes. That yeah, sometimes one has to get the anger out before it festers and starts wrecking things.

Sometimes the anger can seem petty or poorly placed. That’s okay, because that’s what support networks are for. They help get a person’s head back on straight and ready to deal with whatever comes next. And it makes people feel less isolated.

Where does my anger go? I try to dissipate it, to share it, and to be rid of it. The burden is lighter with many hands sharing in it.

10 thoughts on “Leaving Religion: Where Does Anger Go?

  1. I can’t agree more. I used to have a bad temper and struggled mightily to let go of it. I remember having an old Ford van in which I blew the motor. Some friends helped me pull the engine out and get it rebuilt, then helped me reinstall it. When we fired it up for the first time, the automatic transmission blew up. I remember the dead silence in the garage as everyone turned toward me anxiously. I took a deep breath and said, “I guess it is time for lunch.” I had let go of my usual pattern, threw no temper tantrum, didn’t beat the van with a 2×4 and it felt wonderful. I felt in command of my life for the first time. I also changed in the estimates of my friends … for the better.

    As always, I wish you the best on your journey.

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  2. I know you aren’t a fan of Facebook, however I’m part of a private support group on FB of a couple hundred deconverts and they are *awesome.* They really get how difficult it is emotionally, cognitively and socially to recover from religion. If you are interested let me know and I can probably get you in (I’m making it seem like this exclusive club, but privacy is super important to the group). I think everyone in the group would understand even if you had to create a undercover persona (though no one else can see you are part of the group other than people in the group). If you are not interested I am not offended in the least and you can just ignore but wanted to let you know as it’s really helped me process a lot of shit.

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  3. I don’t usually get angry. But I do notice when people who say that they are Christian, are acting in very unChristian ways. Come to think of it, the kind of shunning that you hint at is already unChristian.

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    • Is it, though? I think as “liberals” and apostates we tend to focus on the liberal side of the Jesus story while ignoring how outright nasty “Gentle Jesus Meek and Mild” really is. (Not disagreeing with you, but the “Liberal Jesus” trope bugs me a bit 🙂

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  4. It really is hard sometimes for us that have never been angry at the religion itself. I never felt any love of Jesus etc. Never felt threatened of hell. Although I was brought up going to church and singing in choir etc. I just get mad at the influence it has over others and the country. I get angry at the mega churches and the $$$.
    And I get angry at the fact that religion has left so many with anger and pain …. that they can’t rid themselves of this anger.

    Religion creates all kinds of different anger.

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  5. I wasn’t raised in a religious household so have never experienced kind of anger myself. My husband, however, who left Catholicism nearly 4 decades ago, still rages against it. I don’t consider him an angry person but I do consider him to be far less tolerant of religious beliefs than I am. This just to say that I think there are many, many, people who have gone through what you’re going through and you needn’t apologize in any way for your inability to let go of the past and happily and silently move on.

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  6. I understand where you’re coming from, although in my case it’s not religion. Being neurodivergent, I do at times feel my blood boil when I look back at how my experiences have been (and at times still are) invalidated by non-autistic folk. And yes, sharing the hurt and frustrations does indeed lighten the load.

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