I've found that there seems to be some connection between trauma in one's life and then turning to some sort of superstition.  It doesn't have to be sexual assault, it can be abuse or any other trauma, but it seems that there is this concept of bad luck.  Either the person thinking they are bad luck, or they are worried that doing something will be bad luck and they will get hurt/injured/assaulted, etc.

 

Then it seems that the supersitious people they turn to, encourage that sort of thinking.  They say "oh you must have willed this to happen" or "it's karma" or "you caused it through the law of attraction" or some other woo.

 

So it ends up being a vicious cycle that the person struggles to get out of.

 

It's happened to me, and to other people I know.  Seems to be a lot of victim blaming/ victim shaming. 

 

I was wondering if any of you have encountered this, and if there was any article about the psychology of it.  I'd like to learn more about how it works, and how to stop the negative irrational thought patterns.

 

Now that I'm an atheist I know I'm not causing anything, and as a feminist I have support that I didn't cause anything, but as someone who's had bad experiences there is this psychological attachment to this irrational thinking and I'd like to learn how to stop doing that.

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In my case the bad experiences killed 'my religion' rather than the other way around.
Indeed if cause and effect were relevant to humans, religion would certainly not exist as statistically speaking, praying causes no effect. Credulous and/or young humans believe whatever they're told to believe by their superiors. Since the advent of patriarchy and religion, we have been selectively breeding for obedience in our society. Humanity has turned itself into a Mendelian experiment. "How can we modify the species to the point where we no longer are what we were." A truly patriarchal quest.

Indeed if cause and effect were relevant to humans ...

How is it not relevant?  We're affected by it.  We just suck at analyzing its effects.

 

"How can we modify the species to the point where we no longer are what we were." A truly patriarchal quest.

How is eugenics necessarily patriarchal?  'Splain please.

thank you for sharing this.

I still feel so powerless in my s*xist society that does not deal with my abuse issues.

How many times have I heard things like you describe applied to my own condition/situation?

OMG.

"You were so pretty. you were so nice...how could he help himself?" Now I dress in shapeless clothing. I still get scared when I want to wear jewelry.

I know deep down it's not my fault that I get/got abused.

But I've been brainwashed so much.

Even women have hurt me, verbally, saying overtly or covertly that "there must have been something you did to cause it."

When my aunt died, she did not let me grieve.

In fact, she let me believe that I caused it---her cancer was from being "stressed" with raising a child.

Today I know she brought that on herself, if that is true. She never had to raise me!

or that cancer was just *biological*, not from some supernatural thing.

ty so much.

Jencarlene

I'm glad it was helpful, Jencarlene.  I know, sometimes the blaming from women can seem to hurt even more, it's like a betrayal.  I've had women tell me "well if you weren't so flirtatious" when they were flirtatious, too.  And I wasn't flirtatious with the attacker, I'd made it clear that I only wanted friendship from him.  I hate it when people think that if you're ever flirtatious, or if you're ever sexual, then they think you have to be sexual with them, too.  

 

I totally hear you on changing styles afterwards.  I know I shouldn't have to do it.  I know I should still feel free to wear what I want.  But I just don't want to send out any signals of sexiness anymore because I don't want the unwanted attention that makes me fear unwanted advances.  And quite frankly, I'm not ready for a sexual relationship until I've worked through all these issues.

 

I'm really sorry about what your aunt said to you.  That is beyond wrong and obnoxious.  I'm glad you know that you did not cause her cancer and you did not cause her to raise you.  You have a right to grieve if you want to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Jencarlene,

I know from experience that it can take a long time for a logical understanding like "It's not my fault" to move from a head understanding to a heart feeling, if you follow what I'm saying.  I survived years of childhood abuse and it's taken years of therapy to be comfortable in my own skin.  I am so sorry that you have had to live with these nasty people.  I hope you have found support.  I hope you will seek out some help.  You are worth it.

For what it's worth I think a woman should be able to walk down the street naked and still be safe.  Until that is true, we as a society have a long way to go.

All the best,

Gaylene

Which is why I love nude beaches. NOT topless beaches, those are ridiculous and are meant for sheer objectification of women. No nude beaches are a fantastic equaliser. Often they are frequented by older liberal people, few bodybuilders, NO religious people, some hedonists, some naturalists. People aren't particularly prone to striking up conversations with naked people so they're usually a peaceful environment. More experience with nudity demystifies the human body and allows us to better appreciate the diversity of the human forms, in size, colour, and age. Humans of different appearances in this context are neither ugly nor beautiful, nor disgusting, nor appealing, they just are, as they are, WYSIWYG.

Back when I was a treeplanter, we had coed bathrooms and showers. The showers were undivided, no stalls. Once we are all in the same boat, with the same degree of exposure, it is very hard to reek havoc. Communal nudity is amazingly NON sexual, and tremendously freeing, free of social status, income, religion, free... I also used to be a masseuse at an outdoor nudist retreat, a family retreat, by a river, with children and butterflies fluttering everywhere. Great place.

 

Nudists also self-police, though--it's often families, and if someone is spending too much time with a child or doing something they don't approve of, that person gets voted off the island, so to speak.

I don't need to be naked, though, I'd just like to go backpacking through Europe or travel alone in Japan without giving my mom a coronary. It was bad enough for her when I first went to college, I'd hate to see how she'd react if I lived out of a tent or at a hostel for weeks. There is an understanding, though, that I cannot do the things men can do, especially in this world--not because I'm not strong enough, but because of what I am. I'm female. I can never fall asleep next to the Great Pyramids at Giza and be safe. I can't go camping alone for weeks at a time. I can't go grocery shopping alone once it's dark. And if I did, and something bad happened, I know it would be blamed on me. I had my PURSE stolen and it was blamed fully on me, not the thief, by even the cops. I can't go to parties anymore, My purse always has to be on me and I have to carry a lot of stuff--and my wardrobe never has pockets, they don't make women's clothes with pockets.

 Being blamed is bad, but KNOWING that if you do something wrong, you'll get the "well you shouldn't have been so stupid" or "well you were just asking for it" lines, really cuts women into their corners and houses.

One woman began documenting her daily outfits, for the purpose of telling if she was "asking for it" that day, and recording the catcalls she gets along with it. Some of the worst ones were when she had her child with her. If she would have snarked back, or "mouthed off" as the assholes going "Lemme see dem titties!", she would be branded as a bitch. a bitch. Such a horrible woman, standing up for herself like that--seriously, there is no allowance of loudness in male society. I've been told that I'm a bitch multiple times and I've just learned to OWN IT, it's the only way to continue to be yourself--embrace the 'bitch' label. Soon, the only choices a male will have is to date the bitch that speaks her mind when she very well pleases.

Yes, being a woman has a huge effect on travel plans. I've travelled with others, but I travel best alone. I like to dive into any new experience with "purity" and not have a side opinion near me (just like preferring going to movies alone). I've lived in South Africa and South America, and have been in situations where my life was in danger. But I've yet to see any Arab or middle Eastern Country. Geographically speaking, I would love to visit all the 'stan' countries and North Africa, but I don't think I could do them alone. However, with my complexion and physiognomy, I can easily pass for someone from those regions, but I'd still have to obey all those religious dictates, that would ruin it for me :(  I would never feel safe, that is for sure. I also usually do not travel for tourism but for study or work or volunteer, I've practically never stayed in a hotel, I always hostel/camp/servas/couchsurf. Maybe if knew some of those languages (I speak Spanish fluently so South America causes me zero anxiety) I would feel differently? But then again, I also don't care to visit India for reasons of patriarchal extremism. I definitely feel the risk of being a woman on these issues.

I think another reason people turn to religion/woo after any kind of trauma is that they have a huge psychological need for empathy and compassion, especially if they are dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which can make even strong logical people withdraw and easily feel intimidated (If you're not familiar with this phenomenon, think of veterans returning from war.  They could be very brave but after they've been traumatized they may jump at a noise because part of their brain still thinks they're on the battlefield.)

 

Unfortunately many people who are empathetic (or seem to be) are into some kind of woo.  And since the traumatized person is in a vulnerable state, they may completely forgo their logic and believe what the person is telling them. 

 

I hope I'm not coming across as stereotyping, but the atheists I know in real life seem to value logic over emotion.  While this is a necessity in the refutation of religion and other false beliefs, it doesn't offer the emotional support that a person going through a fragile time might need.  I've definitely met some compassionate and empathetic atheists here on atheist nexus which I think is great.

 

Another problem is the structured support systems themselves for people dealing with trauma tend to have a focus on religion or spirituality.  This happens at support groups, workshops at mental health facilities, and any kind of 12-step group like Alateen.  Some of these groups try to claim they're not religious, they're "spiritual" but it's still woo that they're promoting.  And they seem to discriminate against non-theists, so what I've seen happen is that people either forgo the treatment or they finally cave-in and sacrifice their non-beliefs in order to get help and consequently get indoctrinated while they are there.

With regards to trends in empathy, I think you're nearly on the dot. I often wonder about empathy... In some regards I lack it, yet, in other regards I am 100x more empathy driven than others, might it be that because I'm over empathetic that I overcompensate? I find suffering and hatred unbearable. BUT decisions made at those moments are knee jerk reactions and do not help in reducing the incidence of pain and hatred in the future, whether it's gun laws or drunk driving laws or any other socially orientated laws that were instigated under lobby pressures from terribly sad mothers. Cancer's Pink Ribbon campaign is another such which places emotion above prevention. I see empathy as a very double edged sword, and especially inefficient for governance.

I think our society is so obsessed with being "happy" that we forget that happiness is a subjective sentiment, it only exists as a contrast to unhappiness. And the more we reduce the moments of unhappiness, the harder it is to grasp at any sense of happiness. I think unhappiness  is an acceptable emotion, a necessary emotion. We should not religion it away, or AA it away, or pharma it away. Happiness and unhappiness are simply subjective assessments of existence. Each of us fights for what seems our priorities, or does not fight, because life is short and pleasure is very satisfying emotion.

Sorry, I'm rambling... empathy... A big long silent hug can be the most intimate fulfilling uplifting healing pacifying action one can receive/give.

Yeah, I've actually found a few different groups here on the nexus that are empathetic, and that rocks!

 

 

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