Finding Support When Leaving Christianity

lonely-guyThere are horror stories galore on the internet about the pain, anger, rejection, guilt, grief, loneliness, sadness, anxiety, relational issues … experienced by those who want to or have left their faith.

A husband and wife may find themselves unexpectedly on opposite sides of the faith divide, struggling with what to tell their children. A college student may hide her doubts at home for fear of being cut off emotionally or financially, and then feel like she is living a lie.

Many have been so pushed down they have sought therapy in hopes of putting their lives back together. But for some, this has led to even more suffering. The reason? They chose the wrong therapist.

This is why, when I came across this article, I felt it needed to be shared.

When Your Therapist Tries to Save Your Soul

There is nothing shameful about seeking help when things seem out of control. On the contrary, therapy has, quite literally, saved lives. But when it comes to religious counseling, it’s vitally important to talk with someone who understands the unique challenges you face.

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12 thoughts on “Finding Support When Leaving Christianity

    • The original interview was about the creations of a secular therapy network responding to anecdotal experiences about people who were leaving their faith and seeking counselling for some of the problems they encountered only to face therapists who tried to use religious belief to ‘help’ them return to the fold. The local atheist might not be the best person for this job.

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  1. Why should it be so difficult, even painful, to give up one’s faith? My moderately Christian families (prayers before meals and going to bed, Sunday School Bible reading, very occasional church-going), taught me the biblical stories, and I believed them automatically. How can a kid, normally unaware of other possiblities, not accept them? Later on, nobody ever advised me to stop believing, but I started to question that strange matter on my own when I was about 14.
    I cannot explain why it took me just a short time to convince myself of the sheer fantasy of those tales, made up by men, and that there was nothing mysterious associated with them. So those narratives went out of my thoughtss, as smoothly as they had entered, through the front door.
    This childhood brainwashing of mine may have been rather mild, but I insist that the conviction I constructed myself was the best – and possible the only – way to get rid of silly belief systems. I think unbelievers find it useless to evangelize.
    By the way, can a religious belief system be sensible?

    … I am amused by a typo corrected just in time: Sinday instead of Sunday…

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  2. Indeed Nan, I was luckier than many others. Still. my question remains: why should a change of mind be sooo traumatic?
    I had once supported the measures of a certain country because they were in agreement with my ideas on the subject. But newspaper editorials and people’s opinions convinced me that I was politically mistaken.
    I’m afraid this is on another level than the intention of your post, thanks for bearing with me; I just want to say that I found it easy to “disbelieve” those governors.
    Have a nice week!

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    • There’s a lot more to it for many people than simply believing or not believing… especially when one’s community is entirely enmeshed with a particular faith. Leaving the belief is to then leave family and friends and everything one knows… not an easy transition by any stretch of the imagination and one often fraught with all kinds of deeply personal and deeply negative connotations.

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      • In Carmen’s little town in Nova Scotia, for example, the church – located directly across the street from her home – was the hub of much of the village’s communal activity. To avoid that church would involve extricating yourself from the entire social scene of her community. Somehow, she has managed to remain an atheist and still remain deeply involved with those of her community who are religious, but that, I’m sure, has to do with her incredible personality.

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  3. Hello Nan. Thanks for advising people who are struggling to seek therapy. Regardless of the issues that are tormenting you, if you need help to deal with it, you shouldn’t feel in any way bad about seeking out therapy. There are many different types and levels of help out there. I am often taken aback by the negative way seeking help is looked at. It is a gift, not a sin or crime. It should never be held against anyone that they went for help for a problem. I freely admit I was in therapy in my teens for issues of my childhood. That never prevented me from holding one of the highest military clearances and it never stopped me from working at some of the most sensitive sites. Over the last few years I needed help again dealing with something beyond my own ablility to handle alone. I was lucky to have a few great friends who stepped in and helped me deal with these things. One became so close to me he became my brother. So thanks again, please keep letting people know seeking help is not a weakness, it shows a strength and the knowledge you do need help. Hugs

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    • Ya’ know, Scottie, if I took a survey I bet nearly everyone who visits this blog would admit to being in therapy at one time or another. I know I have been.

      The primary reason behind this posting is to caution those who need help de-converting to always seek out a non-religious therapist lest they get sucked back into the guilt and shame so common to Christianity.

      I appreciate you sharing your experiences.

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      • Yes there is a stigma even today, very sad. I doubt such actions could have been used against him so severely today, but in politics who knows? I was lucky, my abusers did not want me to have treatment of course, but the school system got involved and insisted, and it was then court ordered. I never suffered from the stigma of getting help but then I was not in the public eye. I was not famous. I can only hope things have changed and people can seek the help they need with out fear of horrific reprisals or losing all they hold dear. Thanks for your comment, I got to look up someone I had not known before. Be well and hugs.

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