Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"

tilliegilman Apr. 2013

I'm thinking about this because one of my tbm [mormon] childhood friends posted online that no matter how hard he tries, he always feels he's falling short. I remember that feeling. It stayed with me for years after I left the church. It took a while to accept that I'm OK just doing my best. Is this a common experience?

I feel bad for my friend. I'd like to tell him not to be so tough on himself, that he's doing fine. I don't know if it would matter, though.

Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
I think it's not only common, it's almost required.
It's pathetic.
It took me a long time to get over that and realize I was just fine the way I am.

Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"

this "never good enough" issue has been the hardest for me to get over
I'm incredibly hard on myself and find it almost impossible to look at "me" and think I'm ok. I've been out for 4 years and that issue has stuck with me the most. I'm just soosooooooosososooo glad I got my kids out young. I never want them living with these thoughts like I do.

Stray Mutt
All the time.
And my father did his sacred part to make me feel unworthy.

I think Mormonism can either give you an inflated ego (God's chosen, destined for godhood, the only ones who have the truth, etc.) or make you feel like a failure. Often both. Simultaneously. No wonder there are so many narcissists in Mormonism, with the classic pop definition of narcissism being, "I'm the piece of sh!t the universe revolves around."

Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
Oh, absolutely. I went inactive long before I discovered the truth about the Church and left it officially.

I had a job working for the Church and no matter how hard I tried, I was never good enough.

As my job was coming to an end, I actually stopped and said to myself, "Gee, I've been a member of this church for 30 years and during that entire time, I've never felt very good about myself."

"Why on earth am I doing that to myself? You know what? I shouldn't do that myself. I should just leave," and so I did.

I walked away and never looked back. My self-esteem began to heal immediately. I guess just having the courage to leave starts that process and makes you feel good about yourself, because you've taken back the control of your own life.

Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
As a YM, All.The.Freakin.Time.
Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"

Its Korihor
Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
I almost feel I need to completely leave the valley to get beyond that part of my life. Lets face it if the church doctrine and your own shame is not doing it to you...the other members are. Mormons are the quickest to watch for any wrong and cast judgement. This in turn adds to their feelings of heavenly superiority to all the heathens.lol

Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
1. Normal people naturally feel that they can't measure up in Mo-ism. It's designed that way, to keep you in subjugation.

2. Egotistical people thrive on it because it gives them a system to show off in.

3. Dishonest people just work the system, put on a show and use it for personal gain.

Joseph Smith was type 2 and 3. He preyed upon type 1. It still works the same way.

Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
Every. Single. Day. Of. My. Life.

And still fighting the guilt and feeling of not being good enough nearly 5 years after leaving. It sucks.

Re: All the time.
Yes, and it's usually the genuinely nice people that feel like crap...where the cruel, meanspirited ones fancy themselves to be gods-in-the-making.
Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
Yes. This was the core of the reason I left the church. I spent most of my life in the church and miserable precisely because no matter how crazy I made myself trying to be perfect, I was never even in the ballpark of "good enough." In my earlier life, I was miserable enough that I went to counseling and tried medication to help me with the depression that resulted from constant self-loathing. Didn't help me much.

At one point in my 30s I finally hit rock bottom in terms of my self-hatred. The anger I had stuffed inside all those years just came busting out of me. It was the middle of the night and I couldn't sleep. I had this weird thing where I felt "contaminated" I was so hopelessly imperfect. I had the urge to throw up, thinking maybe that would make me feel better and make me feel less of this "contamination" (can't really describe why, but I did have a bit of an eating disorder problem during adolescence - resolved once I got through the teen years - and throwing up had provided both decontamination from "bad" foods and a strange stress relief). Stuck my finger down my throat and was out of practice enough it didn't work. It was the middle of the night and I went out in the back yard with a baseball bat and began to beat the stuffing out of an old mattress we had set out there to be loaded into the truck for disposal. I hit that thing over and over as hard as I could until it was in shreds and there were bits of it all over the ground. At that point, I wasn't sure if I was mad at myself, the church, or God, but I do remember falling on the ground exhausted after doing all that and begging God not to hate me anymore even though I was acknowledging I would never be "good enough." I laid on the ground saying that over and over and finally was exhausted enough I went in and fell asleep.

When I woke up the next day I felt completely different. I had never felt it before, but I was infused with this incredible sense of self-acceptance. When I think of that morning, the image of a butterfly coming out of the chrysalis, wet wings shining in the sun as they stretch for the first time, always pops into my mind. It was as if a switch had been flipped in my brain -- there was no doubt that God did not put those feelings of hatred for myself inside of me, there was no doubt that I was actually okay the way I was, and there was no doubt that the poison of the "gospel....the supposed one true way to happiness" was what I needed to cut out of my life in order to survive the rest of it in any kind of meaningful and happy way. I walked away from being LDS and never looked back and have never had any more problems with depression since then (other than short-term situational stuff...normal grief reactions to the loss of loved ones, etc.) It's been more than 10 years now. I needed to accept myself as being human and as being enough. Once I quit inviting the church to constantly yap in my ear about how I was garbage, I was able to accept myself and my life became enormously different and improved. At that early point, I didn't even care if "the church was actually true or not," though I had always felt strangely like if it were true the church itself would not have to tell so many rationalizing lies and I suspected it was "not actually true." Later I found my "intellectual proof" that the church's foundation is nothing but lies but that didn't really affect me too much since I was already "not a mormon anymore" in my own eyes and so the intellectual proof was just a little icing on the cake.

So, yes, I never felt good enough and that is the most important reason, for me, out of many reasons that I am not a mormon anymore. It feels good not to be "broken!"

Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
Mormons teach that no matter how good you are you can never measure up. We're all "unprofitable servants".
Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
Thank you for sharing your life experience here.

Somehow, I feel a vicarious sense of relief and catharsis by reading your post.

Thank you, truly.

Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
That was excellent, unbroken.

Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
I was listening to the amazing dichotomy in the Conference talks (yes, just for kicks).

One person would chastise for slacking on whatever and talk about eternal damnation while another would say "But you are DAUGHTERS of an Eternal being who loves you! Isn't that amazing? You are so special."

It's called a break in the brain... being told two things that are almost polar opposites.

I still struggle with feeling like I "Should be" a certain way. I took a Biology test (quiz) last night and missed half the questions, not because I didn't know them, but because my stress level sky-rocketed at the thought of being judged and wrong. (And I haven't taken a REAL test in about 10 years.) Just the thought of not being perfect scared me so bad to cause so much stress, that I didn't do what I could have. This was a common problem with me, and why I've struggled with believing I am intelligent. However, I know I am, I am constantly seeking to learn, and can hold a decent conversation, and have great ambitions to get my Masters... but there is still that ingrained dichotomy ever demanding perfection VS fallibility and the ability to acknowledge and overcome my weaknesses. For year being told you are never enough with a god, is very detrimental.

I guess it's okay, god will do the part I can't. (Those of you who know, know this was sarcastic.)

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/09/2013 11:55AM by intjsegry.

Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
That is quite a story.

You might call it exmo faith-promoting!

It is completely possible for a person to recover their own center in one fell swoop like you did.

A similar thing happened to me about Christianity. I am not suggesting my experience was anything to anyone but me. About twenty years after leaving the church and quite out of the blue, not having been discussing it or anything, I woke up one morning and looked at the crucifix I hung where I could see it from bed and instead of being uplifted, I was repulsed.

For no reason I can think of, I woke with a new paradigm. These are exactly my thoughts, "What am I doing deriving some pleasure from a figure of a corpse who was tortured to death?"

Suddenly I felt sick to my stomach thinking about communion.

"I have been practicing symbolic cannibalism to become more like the victim of this atrocity. AM I FULL ON CRAZY?"

As I dressed, additional thoughts came in, like,

"No wonder our society is so violent and fucked up. Our most popular religion teaches a wrong can be fixed by another wrong."


"Hurting someone can pay for sins"

I knew that day I was completely done with all brainwashing that had me wasting my life compensating for Adam's fall, or Noah's incest, or whatever crap.

Since then I have been free to enjoy religion for the beauty and the mythology, for its role in preserving (albeit doctoring) history...most importantly, I have learned that human beings are not evil naturally and have to be saved, rather we are good naturally and need to preserve that.


Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
I was born with low self esteem, TSCC surely didn't help. If you have anything less than a used car salesman personality, TSCC f@cks with your mind and makes you feel like dirt.
Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
Yes, and it took a long time to get over. In fact, I still feel like I'm not good enough sometimes. Also, it's very easy for members of my family to make me feel like that, because my mind was trained by Mormonism for so long.

I find it's hard to take pride in my accomplishments, because there's always someone who did more or did it better. I can actually hear the voices in my head of people I knew in the Church or in my family diminishing my accomplishments -- or praising me for Mormon non-accomplishments. That's almost as bad, because I tend to diminish my own accomplishments if they have some connection with my Mormon history. For example, I'm now able to have positive memories of my mission in Ireland without having thoughts of some Mormon in my family taunting me by saying "See? It really was the best two years of your life." No, it wasn't. But it was a great experience, even though I don't approve of the things I was doing. It took many, many years to get to that place. For the first five years, I was unable to even think about it at all.

For the voice in my head that says "Yeah, but this guy did what you've done way better than you." I have to say "F*ck you." Who beats people down like that anyway? Mormonism is terribly destructive.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/09/2013 12:02PM by Makurosu.

Re: Was this a question or a statement? 

Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"

Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
I agree that when you consider where you were in life as a TBM ------ Mormonism made you feel "never good enough".

However, as TR holding tbms you easily forget where you are in life and consider that you are one of less that .5% of the World who God has Chosen to accept his True Church and less that .2% who are active! This comparing yourself to others is where Mormonism gets its Prideful, Conceded, Narsistic leaders and members! They pay their tithing but get it back in their Pride of being so much smarter and better than others attitude!

Without this Pride among TBMs they would never be able to get Bishops or SPs!

anon for this one
No. I took full responsibility for the way I felt...
i never let anyone or the church make me feel not good enough.
Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
I am like Tupperwhere - I've always had self esteem (or assertiveness) issues. Since resigining in Jan I have felt better, but many, many issues remain. Every time, I mean every freaking time, I stand up for myself I can't sleep well for days, because I "probably offendend someone" and didn't turn the other cheek or go the extra mile. Gives me lots of tools to keep myself down. I can even sit here and write it and recognize it but can't change the emotions inside. So, YES TSCC definitely stacked up my "never good enough" issues.

Reading this thread is very heartening for me.

Stray Mutt

Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
Absolutely it did. "Be ye therefore perfect."

The Gap
There is a void between what the leadership suggests, how it is interpreted by writes, teachers, local authorities and individuals and what a person can actually do.

For example: a speaker during this GC made a list of what constitutes a happy couple. He mentioned things like going to bed at the same time, making sure that every dinner is had together as a family and that all electronics must be turned off, etc.

Good meaning mormons will read as a a new "list" required if you want to have a successful marriage, and by implication, a description of what makes marriages fail.

Soon wives are stressing out that the husband goes to bed 45 after her and she begin to identify this as the cause of their unhappiness, because after all, she was given a guarantee from The Lord himself at GC.

The members fall into this gulf and this is the basis of the mormon religion. The huge divide between the gospel and human capacity versus the implied, opinionated, mostly demanded never ending list of to do things to get into heaven.

This gap destroys self esteem, it destroys happiness, it eats our time, our energy, our money, it reshapes our marriages, it taints how we view the world around us- (our neighbors don't have FHE, that is why their son is doing pot!). it confuses life and ultimately leaves members broken and at the mercy or leaders that like to pontificate, uninspired, on more and more things that we should be doing. The advice is sometimes vague and it is left at the mercy of the crowd to make the list for the members.

Sometimes it is direct and comes from quivering lips that imply that it came from The Lord be this, be that, do these 10 things everyday and you will be happy, read 5 minutes and you will never have problems, pay your tithe and you will never lack money.

This makes mormons into a bunch of children that cannot function without approval and that are never good enough. When we leave, we inadvertently crawl out of this hole. Some of us feel liberated, self aware. Others feel lost and without direction. Most of feel anger that we were kept in that hole for so long and that we did not recognize it sooner.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/09/2013 01:09PM by kori.

Stray Mutt
The point of most religion is that you're not good enough.
Religion says we need to change. Why? Because our natural selves lack something. If we didn't lack anything, if we were inherently good enough, then religion would lose one of its main reasons for existing. They're in the people fixing business. (And the social glue business and, in the best cases, the helping-the-needy business.) If we're not broken then...

Mormonism is one of the religions that takes it to extremes.

All the time
Try being gay and Mormon.
Re: All the time
try being brown and mormon.
I never knew Hispanic Mormons who killed themselves
Do Latino Mormons throw their kids out for being Hispanic?
Re: I never knew Hispanic Mormons who killed themselves
I once held a calling as a sacrament meeting interpreter...we had a ton of Hispanics in our ward, but not enough to create a separate Spanish-speaking ward.

Anyway, my experience hanging out with the Hispanic Mormons seemed to indicate that they weren't as weird and culty as other TBMs. Sure, they sent their children off on missions, and followed the rules...but there was more of a mainstream Christianity feel to it. I loved being around them.

Another nice thing I noticed...a few of them refused to get sealed in the temple because they wanted to include their whole family at their weddings.

I may be wrong about this, but I think that if anything makes the church go more mainstream, it will be its growing Hispanic population.

Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
I felt super awful for most of my childhood. I was a GOOD kid, but I really internalized some Mormony self hatred, Miracle of Forgiveness style. On my mission, it hardened even more because I was not successful, despite promised blessings. I was also unable to heal the sick, as I was promised. This, too, was my fault. I am just now beginning to tell myself I was OK all along. Now I'm just pissed!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/09/2013 01:34PM by almostthere.

Re: I never knew Hispanic Mormons who killed themselves
not if our skin turns white.

Re: I never knew Hispanic Mormons who killed themselves
they may have thrown you out and cursed you. We come pre-cursed and if we have black blood we are thrown out of the big house. Its not any better, or worse, but we stand out.

Re: The Gap
Great point about how members will make doctrine out of suggestions.

Our mission president was driving a member of the Q70 around, rocking out to the Tabernacle Choir. I'm guessing out of sheer annoyance of having to listen to hymns everywhere he went, the GA remarked that there are times where even the church choir is not appropriate.

So, of course our mission president passed this on to us as direction from the Lord through a GA.

How can you ever feel you are "good enough" if even casual comments by the Lord's annointed are cannonized in the minds of members? How can you ever feel you are "good enough" if the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is not always appropriate?

Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
I was a convert. Never had any problems in my life with not feeling good enough. After I converted, I felt that way almost constantly. Frankly, it was extremely depressing. Once I started to research my way out and realized I didn't give a crap about any of it, I no longer felt that way and felt quite happy.

Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
Wow, thanks for sharing that. I left emotionally first, then intellectually, too. I just couldn't be that miserable anymore.

Re: Did Mormonism make you feel "never good enough?"
That's basically exactly why I felt the way I did about stuff. For a really long time I literally had the "I'm the most fantastic little piece of @#$%& that sucks at everything that the world revolves around." Even after my family left the Mormon church, it took a huge reality check to rid myself of that mentality.

"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org"