I was approached by a Christian proselytizer this evening as I made my way to my car in my very own driveway. A car slowed down and a young woman got out of the passenger seat with flyers in her hand and invited me to her church. If she had been looking for yard work or trying to sell me a newspaper subscription, I would have simply said 'no thank you'. I was enraged instead. I held my hands up, as in 'keep your distance' and I said nastily, "Oh, no. We don't need religion cooties. Now GO AWAY!!" And I got in my car and slammed shut the door. I was shaking all the way to the grocery store. How dare someone approach me in my driveway with a load of toxic manure!!

Now I don't know what to think of my reaction. Firstly, my children were with me and my response to the young woman was completely out of character. My children are not used to seeing me be mean or rude to anyone. One of my daughters said, "Mommy, I think you were a little bit mean." The other one, who has some little Christian playmates, looked very uncomfortable. What my children don't know in ugly detail is how I was made to fear constantly as a little girl. I was psychologically abused with constant messages of a god who loved me and would also turn his back on me and allow me to be tormented for eternity simply because he created me imperfectly. My every hope and ambition was met with tales of impending armageddon until everything was meaningless and I was afraid to do or want ANYTHING lest I be killed by a vengeful god for wanting. They don't know that my mother tried to have me exorcised for having panic attacks that were caused by the abuse in my family of origin and by her religious nonsense and that I had to get up and throw those idiots out of my house when I was so distraught that I barely had the energy to keep living. They don't know how even as an adult, I was stalked and threatened by my own religiously insane mother and that that is one of the main reasons I have disowned her and can no longer have contact with my family of origin.

I have PTSD and a dissociative disorder from being raised in that garbage. My therapist is on vacation and I have been having problems due to the time of year. Just yesterday as I was driving down the street, I saw something in a neighbor's driveway which I took to be a person in a black robe in my peripheral vision when it was really just a very ordinary thing. And tonight I was triggered by seeing Halloween candy displays in the grocery store. The problems are starting and the fear of punishment is back. I don't understand how this can be, but it is. I know logically that I have as much to fear from this imagined god as I do from Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and the tooth fairy, but... I still don't feel good. I'm trying to drown the fear with wine right now, but I know that does not really answer anything. It is a temporary lie and not much different from my experience of god, religion and toxic psychiatric drugs in some ways. I feel like I need help right now and I don't know where to go. My fellow atheists are the only people who could possibly understand where I am right now. Please, if there is anyone out there who understands me, please make yourself known. Right now I am trying to hold on to the strength that is obviously mine. Many would not have the strength to speak as I did to a proselytizer. Or the strength to throw a pastor out of her house as I did when my mother tried to have me exorcised. I am trying to hold on to my strength. Can anyone out there help me? I don't know where else to go.

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I'd like to help you feel better but I'm not sure what to say. At one time in my life I was mentally tormented with the fear of going to hell but somehow I got past it. That was 30 years ago and it never returned and I am enormously greatful for that.

I hope you feel stronger tomorrow and are able to get some good sleep tonight.
Thank you, Linda. Knowing that you were once tormented and are not any longer is a very helpful thing for me. I am glad you got over that and I'm glad you showed up here to share that with me. It gives me hope that one day I might be over it, too. I already feel better these days than I used to, so you remind me that it can get even better from here.
I don't think it's god you fear as much as his human helpers, their social pressures and your intolerant family. My advice to you is to work hard for an atheist cause and learn how to legally fight these people and their institutions. We desperately need people to document how much money religion takes in that it doesn't pay taxes on and on how their robbing us blind.

Hang in there - we need you.
You reacted out of surprise and a bit irrationally based on being caught off guard. I think its natural. The gracious thing to do would be to find the people who came to your door, offer an apology. If that's not possible, tell your kids that what you did was wrong, and you should have been kinder. That's probably the most important thing you should do.

Then just think about how you would respond now, given what has happened. It was an opportunity to show grace, poise, and help some people see how futile and dangerous religion really is. Nothing bothers Christians more than seeing Atheists act kindly and gracefully. Their worldview insists that Atheists are evil to the core. For me, the greatest pull away from the church was exactly this.

Best of luck...and avoid alcohol. It actually makes it worse. Best thing to do when you are feeling weak or depressed is exercise, veggies and healthy food. Take care of your body when its sick...don't poison it with alcohol!
I don't think Lyn reacted irrationally at all. After being traumatised by these mosters I think her reaction was perfectly rational.

And, after all, those people were trespassing. Moreover, they are so irrational that they need a bit of a shock to wake them up.

I hate them and enjoy putting them in their place for makeing my life a misery for so long.

So good for you , Lyn!
I love your suggestions, Eric Stone. I love them very much. Thank you for commenting. (Actually, I do have a good victory under my belt. I took a church into court to stop them from using a variance to come into my neighborhood and ivalidate our deed restrictions with the blessing of the county commission. I took the county to task and let them know in no uncertain terms that they had overstepped their bounds and had no legal right to give anyone the permission to do that to us and that it would NOT be tolerated. I won on appeal.)

Thank you for your comment, Ryan. Actually, I think they are the ones who should apologize to me for their unwillingness to mind their own business. And if they insist on accosting people on private property when they have not been invited, perhaps they should get used to being unwelcome.
Good for you and I agree.
A preliminary step might be to put a "No Solicitors" sign in front of your house somewhere.

I think the most important thing to remember first is that they have no right to set foot on your property. Their audacity to trespass may come from their imaginary means of support, but they still have to obey the law. If they do it again, call the police. If the police refuse to come, sue.

I'm not a psychologist, but I think you need to take out this grief in some constructive way, if that means writing a blog or joining the FFRF or maybe ACLU or Amnesty International or some group that deals with protecting people from abuse it may help you out.

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