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Please talk sense into me
#1

Please talk sense into me
So those of you who've known me for a while (old forum, got me on FB, etc) probably know I used to be all into witchcraft and all that but also part of that was, which I have not told people, I used to be Asatru. Basically the believe in the old Germanic gods. 

Anyway, part of that is all about spirits etc. Obviously I don't believe in it anymore. None of it actually makes sense and there is no science supporting anything of it. 
However, once in a while I have the big "yea but what if". You know like ex-christians have that sometimes about hell, I have that about the spirits etc.
It's scary and I don't like it and I can't shake it either, so I need somebody to talk some sense into me because right now, it's not my brain, it's my emotions... 
And yea obviously that happens around Halloween for obvious reasons but it also happens other times of the years sometimes... 

Confused
2+2=4
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#2

Please talk sense into me
"signs" suck but they aren't real, I'd say pattern seeking in an evolved brain... not one that was designed
First I told my imaginary friend about Jesus, then I told Jesus about my imaginary friend.
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#3

Please talk sense into me
I assume you understand and acknowledge that this is irrational and disordered thinking.

I understand that you cannot simply "turn it off" by force of will, at least not in the moment.

Have you been evaluated for obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or similar? Some cognitive behavior therapy and/or medication might be helpful for you. It would be good to at least rule such things out.

Beyond that, while I was not particularly vulnerable to such fears or learned helplessness, it did take some time and effort to pry religious ideation and thought-habits out of my brain (along with an industrial-strength crowbar). So I can testify that it does get better, but takes time and focused effort. The only long-term antidote to disordered or toxic thought processes is lots of orderly and non-toxic thinking.

In my case the journey from full-fledged fundamentalist Christian to atheist took about 15 years, all told, from roughly the mid 1990s to about 2010. Although it was substantially complete by early 2007.

So be patient with yourself and with the inevitable speed bumps and occasional episodes of "falling off the wagon". It is not unlike the process of grief and loss, where you think you have finally "moved on" and then suddenly are reduced to a puddle of tears by some innocuous trigger. This is known as the "grief spiral", it is not a linear process. I think the process of shedding religious ideation is very similar -- not least because it partly represents a loss process in and of itself (loss of community / perceived safety / settled framework for thought), but also because it takes time to form and strengthen new habits.

At times like this, surround yourself with people, experiences, books, etc., that reinforce rational, supportable ideation and beliefs; but also be patient with yourself and with the process and allow yourself to stumble once in awhile. After all, you are only human.

Reaching out like you are right now is one way to do that; I hope my post has been at least a little helpful and encouraging.

(I am not saying BTW that it will take YOU 15 years to sort this out; everyone is different, and I would say the worst of my fears and disorientation were gone in a much shorter time frame, probably really the first couple of years, anyway; you seem like you're more easy to shame / guilt / frighten than I randomly happened to be, so it could take a little more time, but it WILL yield and if you get stuck there are people who can help you get un-stuck).
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#4

Please talk sense into me
Ok, ill bite.

Why did you believe in this stuff? How exactly did you come into contact with this?
cetero censeo religionem esse delendam 
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#5

Please talk sense into me
@Schrodinger's Outlaw I agree fully. Funny thing is, I know that in these moments as well. but for some weird reason my brain just stops being reasonable...

@mordant Wow 15 years. For me it's been 10 so far and these "episodes" occur less and less frequent. And while I have some mental health "issues" this stuff isn't part of it and never has been. It is toxic though, you are very right. Just it's been so ingrained in me... that image with "falling off the wagon" really actually fits. It's almost like a relapse into an addiction I feel. Right now it came up as i stumbled over this video on youtube of some people staying in a "haunted" hotel. Where everything they freaked out about, I can absolutely give you a rational explanation. But I was just wondering how I'd feel in a place like that. And while I wouldn't want to go somewhere that is supposedly haunted, I feel it would make me feel very uneasy and my nerves would probably play tricks on me like crazy...

@Deesse23 Not sure what's there to bite? But to answer your questions. I didn't decide to believe in it at some point or consciously made it a thing. I just grew up with some of the core beliefs around magic and spirits and energies, etc and it grew into more, gods came into play, etc etc. I left all that in my mid 20s, around the time I joined the old forum, which helped me a lot with the last bits of bs that I had believed in. So in times like today, I like to come back to these same people to knock some sense back into me.
2+2=4
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#6

Please talk sense into me
Not going to knock you Smile
The sense is already there, along with some old feels. There is a comfort in the circularity of feels. Our brains latch onto that.
Keep talking it through, breaking it down for yourself. Nothing we can say will do this for you, but I am happy to cheer you on in the pursuit of clarity.
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#7

Please talk sense into me
I’d see it maybe as a reaction to all of the changes that are happening with you right now with your career, education, and transition.  Even positive change is stressful, and your brain may be trying to reach for various avenues that have provided a feeling of calm and stability in the past.  

If that suggestion rings true, just acknowledging it to yourself and thinking “I can handle this without religion or spirits” may help the thoughts subside.
god, ugh
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#8

Please talk sense into me
Rob, bro, just give in and accept the truth. Supernatural forces do exist and they are at work and they are in control of, well, everything. You can try to fight it but you know it's true. (troll/)
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#9

Please talk sense into me
Yabbut what if leprechauns are real? Gotta check for that pot of gold at the end of every rainbow, then.
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#10

Please talk sense into me
Had to look that one up.: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Asatru

Not quite sure what to say.

Hmm Consider Thumbsdown Panic
Being told you're delusional does not necessarily mean you're mental. 
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#11

Please talk sense into me
@julep Actually that makes a lot of sense! I didn't think of that. Thank you!


(11-03-2019, 01:53 AM)brewerb Wrote: Had to look that one up.: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Asatru

Not quite sure what to say.

Hmm Consider Thumbsdown Panic

I suppose the thumbs-down comes mostly from part about racist implications. Which I can understand. It is also why I got very mad at some point because for me this connection never occurred until much later, when I started working in social media and saw that going on quite a lot. Just thought I'd like to address that because I am definitely not a racist and do not want to be put in that bucket.
2+2=4
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#12

Please talk sense into me
[Image: twocents640.jpg?ve=1&tl=1?ve=1&tl=1]
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#13

Please talk sense into me
I'd suggest the same treatment that we reccommend for deconverted Christians that are still having worries about hell/devils/etc. from their past. Aside from just giving it time to fade. Next time you get troubled by the possibility that "the spirits" might get grumpy with you just start wondering what might happen if the merfolk got pissed at you too. Or something equally ridiculous. Really give it some good hard thought about the consequences of Huitzilopochtli going apeshit at you.

[Image: Huitzilopochtli_V.png]

I mean aside from choking on your own uvula while trying to pronounce his name and afflicting you with terrible fashion sense.

The point is to make it similar but patently ridiculous. It'll give you a laugh to help take the edge off the immediate jitters and generates an emotional response that helps deaden the programming by using a very similar trigger to produce precisely the opposite effect.
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#14

Please talk sense into me
(11-02-2019, 10:07 PM)leerob Wrote: @mordant Wow 15 years. For me it's been 10 so far and these "episodes" occur less and less frequent. And while I have some mental health "issues" this stuff isn't part of it and never has been. It is toxic though, you are very right. Just it's been so ingrained in me... that image with "falling off the wagon" really actually fits. It's almost like a relapse into an addiction I feel. Right now it came up as i stumbled over this video on youtube of some people staying in a "haunted" hotel. Where everything they freaked out about, I can absolutely give you a rational explanation. But I was just wondering how I'd feel in a place like that. And while I wouldn't want to go somewhere that is supposedly haunted, I feel it would make me feel very uneasy and my nerves would probably play tricks on me like crazy...

It sounds like you're on a good, healthy trajectory!

Back when I was part of Christian fundamentalism, I noted that there were a subset of people in that world who became obsessed, even contrary to official dogma, with the fear of hell, evil spirits, loss of "salvation" and the like. These people were always answering altar calls "just in case", lived in constant fear of "backsliding", and just generally didn't get the message that they were supposed to be blithely absolved of their sins and even their "sin nature". They also had a tendency to elevate the "shadow" aspect of the religion (Satan) to a place of greater respect than the deity itself.

Later, when I deconverted, I noticed the same people suffering over fears and doubts about leaving the faith, rather than enjoying any of the benefits. And I mean REALLY suffering, in palpable agony.

I may well be wrong, but it could be that what religion meant to you more strongly than to some folks, was to act as a sort of totem against "evil", "spirits", "evil spirits", etc. I think religion is generally designed with this subtext of threat to help keep the sheeple in line, but it isn't intended to be debilitating. But for some of us, it can be, and then it's not mere subtext anymore. To me, and arguably to most people, that religion protects you from unwanted outcomes was seen as a benefit, to be embraced and enjoyed. And if by dumb luck your life went fairly well, you could congratulate yourself for your wisdom in choosing the right religion.

But for some, the realization of the threat becomes primarily more a fear. I have associated this at least in part with "what if" tendencies of thought ... what one could term "negative hypotheticals". My stepson is prone to this, despite never having been religious, and I can only imagine what would have happened to him if religion had poured gasoline on this tendency.

So one thing that may help is to explicitly pose to yourself positive hypotheticals: what if more people were free of religious ideation? What if I were more free of it? What if I am enjoying more and more freedom from it? What if one day it would have no residual hold on me? ... and focus on those kinds of thoughts. What if the world is not demon-haunted and not primarily a scary place, but a place where, through reason and science, we can have a decent measure of control over how our life goes? What if, when things don't go well, it's not personal or some kind of punishment?

In some cases it probably just comes down to this: what if I'm as good and worthy as the next person, and life "owes" me neither ease nor misery?

I'm probably wide of the mark for what's troubling you specifically, but what I'm trying to get at is that we all have to sort our thinking out apart from old tropes, in the plain light of day, and train ourselves to see it more objectively and less magically. It's a process, which you seem to be well on the way with, which is fantastic.
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#15

Please talk sense into me
Hey Rob... I've never had any issues like that, having been a lifelong atheist, so I can't help you much with this
bizarre occurrence. Sorry mate. I'm guessing that you'll just have to ride it out, but please know that I'm
thinking of you.
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
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#16

Please talk sense into me
Thank you all for the kind messages!! I feel like @Paleophyte got me there just now. It gave me a chuckle, thinking of some angry Irish fairies coming after me.
Thank you for all the support!
2+2=4
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#17

Please talk sense into me
(11-03-2019, 05:37 AM)Paleophyte Wrote: I mean aside from choking on your own uvula while trying to pronounce his name and afflicting you with terrible fashion sense.

Terrible fashion sense? I quite like it. Big Grin
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