Leaving Mormonism how long does it take to start feeling better?

notanymore Dec. 2012

I absolutely LOVE not being a Mormon and I am just ecstatic to know the truth and be 100% free. But the aftermath has been just depressing. It's been almost a year since learning the truth and leaving and life has gradually improved since first telling friends and family. But then Christmas came and it feels like I'm at square one again. The holidays were horrible dealing with family.

FIL is ignoring (shunning) us; he won't even be in the same room with my family or talk to us. And we ended up having to tell more family members about leaving TSCC. We found out that MIL is telling everyone that we "read anti-Mormon stuff" and we "tried to explain it to her but she just doesn't get it" (when we left we told her that it was church history and we even showed her the church approved books that we used).

I just hate the Mormon church; I can't believe that I ever bought into that crap. Dealing with the family during the holidays has left me so sad again like when I first left.

[ TSCC -this so called church]
[ FIL - father in law]

Re: the aftermath of leaving TSCC is just depressing...how long does it take to start feeling better?
I've been out over four years. It comes and goes, the anger. I can go a long time not thinking about anything Mormon related, but when I am in a situation, like visiting my tbm family, I get triggered. There have also been times where instead of being angry towards the church, I feel nothing but compassion towards all the poor people being duped by the church, and can appreciate and focus on the good aspects of the church ( not too many of those IMO).

It takes time to heal.

My life has been about a trillion times better since leaving the church, it feels good creating my own life and my own spirituality. :)

I hope one day to only feel compassion and to be completely forgiven.

Re: the aftermath of leaving TSCC is just depressing...how long does it take to start feeling better?
This is a tough thing, and it can take some time.

Many of us had an awful lot of relationships that had Mormonism as a large component. It's hard to adjust relationships with family, and others to acknowledge the reality that you're not on the team anymore. Healing those relationships will take time--at least for those who are willing to carry on with you. For many folks that just requires making religion a non-discussed subject, except in very benign ways.

Aside from that developing a life outside of Mormonism can take time. It takes time to shed that identity, and develop one that is less defined by your relationship to Mormonism. Getting more deeply involved causes, interests or hobbies, or connecting with like minded people can help. After all you at least have some extra time now that you're not in 3 hours of mind numbing Mormon meetings--make it count.

I even had a hard time seeking employment around the time that I left the church, because the previous few years of my life were consumed by Mormon stuff--mission, BYU etc. I didn't like who I had been just a year or two ago. How was I supposed to sell myself?

Since leaving in 2007, I've made some new friends, and don't have much to do with Mormonism in my work, and live outside Utah. I think once you have a day or two in which you're not thinking about Mormonism much (or even at all) during a day, it will be a sign that you are doing better.

The anger we experience is real, and genuine. It needs to work itself out. I believe that. But I'm also convinced that eventually we should try to move beyond it in our own way.

Exmormons have won freedom to think, feel and act as we choose. Living free is a challenge, but the rewards are also great.

Re: the aftermath of leaving TSCC is just depressing...how long does it take to start feeling better?
In my case, I made it a point to keep my self confidence and self respect cooking on HIGH!! I refused to fall into negativity such as hate and extreme anger. Those only hurt me. I didn't have the time or energy for that.

The only anger I ever had was at being treated unfairly whether it was the same kind of behavior at church, work, school. I learned quickly that people are the same everywhere. Only their faces change!

The best thing I have ever done is to let go of what I cannot control and be clear about what is about someone else and what is about me. Wow..what freedom!!

I realized I don't need a religion or a savior or leaders to govern my every move and lay down rules and define my role as a woman. I'm long past that kind of thing that works best with children when they are small. I'm an adult and I want to be treated as one.

I am also aware that some people thrive on a religion that defines their roles, gives them guidelines for living and a defined purpose to their life. That is one of the reasons, in my view, that there are so many religions in the world throughout history up to today. They still provide what people generally need: a social, cultural, ritual leadership that gives people a sense of living a life worth living.

Re: the aftermath of leaving TSCC is just depressing...how long does it take to start feeling better?
I've posted this before but it bears repeating. I had the good fortune of dumping the TSCC right after graduating from YBU, which was in 1973. I now have nearly an entire adult, working life as an exmo which gives one a certain amount of clarity about the benefits of leaving. It was difficult the first few years I was out dealing with my very large, TBM family and the issues of having been stigmitized in my community (not Utah) as "that mormon lawyer." The anger persisted for a number of years. When I left there was no internet and no way to communicate effectively with other exmos so it was a fairly isolated existence. All of that said: when I look back on my life and the freedom I have enjoyed; the freed up time; the money I have saved; the never mo friends I have acquired and most importantly the moism free, well adjusted, happy, successful children that came out of our home it is apparent that the pain and disruption of those first few years was worth it many times over. Persist in making nomo friends and taking up activities that you have always wanted to do. Be firm with your family and set boundaries. Be ready to defend with pertinent information if they attack you for leaving. Get your kids free of moism and reprogram them as young as possible. Revel in the freedom that you get when you leave. Pay as little attention as possible to all things LDS. When it really gets you down come here as often as needed to let us help you along. If you do the foregoing after a few years the pain and depression fades and you realize how much better your life has become being free of the nonsense of tscc. It's a great journey.

Re: the aftermath of leaving TSCC is just depressing...how long does it take to start feeling better?
Two things you can't do anything about,,yesterday and tomorrow. Take each day as a blessing and walk a new path,, your own. What other think don't matter,,it is what you think of yourself. Good luck,,

bob...not registered
Same experience here.

But when a life is built around a church, it takes years to build a new life. I felt like I had to reconstruct my foundation, and that took 2.5-3 years. Then, it has take from then til now to be maybe 90% over it.

I still have some good memories of the way I felt with family then versus now, but it makes me mad that those good feelings were based on a lie.

Coming here is a sign that I'm probably not done yet. Reality is, mormonism will always be a part of me, even if I disagree and don't practice.

Re: time
3 years is longer than I hoped to hear but probably very realistic. Have things gotten better with your family over that time?

Re: the aftermath of leaving TSCC is just depressing...how long does it take to start feeling better?
Thank you. this gives me hope. My extreme TBM MIL's very 1st accusations to me were that now my children won't turn out well since we are no longer Mormon. I love hearing ex-mo parents share stories about how well their children are doing after leaving TSCC. Not that I think you need Mormonism to raise well-adjusted successful children; its just "the brainwashing runs deep."

Re: the aftermath of leaving TSCC is just depressing...how long does it take to start feeling better?
I keep telling myself this but it's hard when your in the same room with 12 TBM family members and they all think that you are evil, have been led astray by Satan, and most of them won't even have a conversation with you. But as I type it out it sounds very ridiculous & funny.

Re: the aftermath of leaving TSCC is just depressing...how long does it take to start feeling better?
My brother's children were raised largely without religion and have done quite well. They are both educated, responsible, hard-working, caring adults.
Re: the aftermath of leaving TSCC is just depressing...how long does it take to start feeling better?
The holidays have been difficult for me this year as well.

No one even behaved poorly - it just got to me much I don't fit in with the rest of my TBM family.

Re: the aftermath of leaving TSCC is just depressing...how long does it take to start feeling better?
So, should I just expect that it will always be difficult with TBM relatives during the holidays?

After this Christmas we have already decided that next Christmas we will be on vacation far away from the shunning and stress of seeing TBM relatives.

Re: the aftermath of leaving TSCC is just depressing...how long does it take to start feeling better?
I have no idea - I told my wife last summer - about 1 1/2 years ago. It seems like some times are better than others.

Re: the aftermath of leaving TSCC is just depressing...how long does it take to start feeling better?
This is exactly the topic I've been discussing with my ex-mo friend.

How do we reconcile our lives with our past. It can be very difficult.

This Holiday season my wife's TBM bro has been living with us during a major family crisis of his. He just keeps praying and praying and getting blessings and offering blessings and reading the standard works and praying. And if anything good happens it because of all the praying he did.

So, when all this went down, I had to hide the French-Press, the coffee, the beer, the Patron. I've had to keep my thoughts to myself while he runs around saying how wonderful and true the church is, and spouting cliche Mormonisms all day long.

It's caused me to go back to my programming a little. Which, makes me feel bad about myself because I'm not in line with my programming. That sh*t runs deep.

I remember in college a health-class of some sort, my professor spent a class discussing how it is difficult for people to be happy, if they go against their own morals/values. Whatever those morals and values may be.

With our deep-life-long-programming in Mormonism/Kolobianism, its no wonder how it can be very difficult to reconcile our lives and happiness. Not to mention that we are not very well accepted in our sub-culture societies after coming out of the heretic closet.

Yep, I feel your pain. And, I'm trying to deal with it myself.

But, I'm loving my understanding, my new found self, my perspective. My knowledge of church history. I love my freedom and being my own self. I have hard days, the truth isn't easy, but, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Good luck!

bob...not registered
Re: time
Better...my immediate family (wife/kids) all left the church over the next 8 years. My parents and siblings are all out except 1 sister who is half out.

My grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are genuinely good people. My grandmother is the most disturbed. The others think we've made a bad choice, but agree that it is our choice to make. Even those who really think we are dumb have had the courtesy to go silent and get on with their lives.

Meanwhile, I have a different social structure now with different friends. We have some LDS friends, but we're pretty careful to avoid (shun...lol) the zealots. We are friends with some very TBM people, but we've just made our position clear, and if they get pushy about church we tell them the conversation isn't welcome.

I have yet to have anyone ask me for any details about why we think the church is not true. I've been prepared with answers for many years, but I think people are very scared to ask me. I own businesses and can be pretty persuasive, and frankly, I bring a lot of clarity to any conversation. My experience is that religion lives in a very fuzzy place, and it breaks down easily when viewed through a lens of facts. People don't actually want to know the facts if they want to live in the fuzzy place. Result: conversations don't happen, and my wife and kids and me can all be friends with LDS and non-LDS without drinking out of one another's cups. :).

I think the first 3 years were a time when I shined a light on things in order to get clarity. What I found made me angry, as every church thing the light touched simply dissolved. As a result, I needed to move the light on to things that could bear scrutiny, and found that there are plenty of "real" things that are extremely satisfying in the world.

The first 18 months was the hardest. The 2nd 18 months was progressively easier, as I became accustomed to the process of discovering reality. A bit hard to explain, but that's it in a nutshell. I suppose the first 18 months would have been easier had I not been so devout to start with.

Carol Y.
I noticed a big improvement in my mental health at about the two year mark.

Re: time
Did it take some time to be friends with TBM's? Right now I am avoiding those friendships because I can't deal with the judgment and criticism. I do hope that over time it won't matter to me if my friends are Mormon or not, but right now I just can't deal with it.

bob...not registered
Re: time
In my case this was a confidence thing more than a time thing. I do remember a discussion with a Tim where we tried to have an honest discussion, but it devolved. I was trying to discuss the church on his terms, and that didn't work. The issue was that I didn't have enough experience outside the church to be confident or mature in my own views. I did avoid these relationships for a time.

After I had worked in a company as a non-mo, been to parties as a non-mo, bought a car, hired people, negotiated business, watched movies, drank wine, had sex, been to the beach, etc...all as a non-mo, the world looked different to me. I cared far less about what small-minded people thought about me or the deeply rooted principles that govern(ed) my life.

For example, "don't you want your kids to be married in the temple?" that's a tbm question. My answer: "I don't care where they get married. I want them to be happy."

I believe that is the answer that allows me to be friends with members. They can't honestly argue, and preaching as a response to my answer is petty, no?

Takes time. Requires effort. Well worth it.

Re: the aftermath of leaving TSCC is just depressing...how long does it take to start feeling better?
Sing this song................it helps!

Count your blessings that you’re out of there,
You no longer wear their underwear;
You now see the real Joe and the scam he tried,
A miserable child molesting cheat who should run and hide.
Count your blessings!
You are out of there!
You no longer need to wear their underwear!

Sorry! I think holidays, weddings, and funerals are almost always troublesome for exmos.
I'm over the holiday problem. I avoid family reunions, baby blessings, and weddings. But deaths and funerals are still more difficult for me as an exmo than they'd be if everyone in the family were on the same page.

Hopefully, you'll feel better a couple of months into the new year and next holiday season will be better. Still, it won't likely be a breeze just easier than this year. Everything tends to get easier with time and practice.

Truth be told
the holidays are just difficult--and I find them more so as I get older. The ghosts of Christmas past come to haunt me. The roller coaster of emotions of good and bad just kept hitting me in waves.

This year was particularly bad as my mother died 4 years ago and my sisters have always had drama at the holidays (as did our mother). It started before TG with my long-time inactive sister--and then my daughter started preaching--and then my older sister got involved (I haven't spoken to her for 7 years)--and then my son and his girlfriend. Then my boyfriend came to a job interview and stayed for Christmas with my ex here.

I've never had this much drama at the holidays in my entire life. I made the statement to my boyfriend on Christmas Eve--HOW DID MY LIFE GET TO THIS POINT?!?!?

And then Christmas day came and went and all is "well?" I'm speaking to both sisters for the first time in 7 years. There will always be family drama.

For me--finally realizing that the lds church was bull was one of the best days of my life. I no longer had to question why my ex is gay. It was one of the best days of clarity I've ever had. I sometimes buy into the "if only I went back, then my life would calm down"--my daughter would like to think that, but then I remember--the reason I found myself a single mom of 10 year old twins with financial ruin and working 2 jobs was because of the lds church. My life may not be perfect, but . . . it sure is a hell of a lot better than when I was trying to make sense of 'gay' and what had happened to my life because THEY HAD NO ANSWERS.

Re: the aftermath of leaving TSCC is just depressing...how long does it take to start feeling better?
I found that the "annversary" dates...Xmas, birthdays, etc are hardest at first.Your family now has a change in your routine. This is a great time to make new memories and new rituals.Does the hurt ever go away? It will get easier, but yah, of course the hurt feelings are going to be there. This is why we call this recovery....recovery and deprogramming. It goes hand in hand. I know for me, that there did come a day when I was finally able to let it all "go" and I felt like 1,000 lbs was lifted off of me. I spent 2 years in counseling, and it helped sooo much. Just to be able to vent was amazing, and I had lots of venting to do. It will happen for you too...when you are ready. You won't ever forget what happened to you, but after a while you will be able to do as I do now...I feel sorry for the TBMs cause they havent been able to see TSCC for what it really is...a lie. In the meantime, all of us here at rfm are here to support and help each other. The reason you are so depressed is because tscc gave you that feeling of being accepted...everyone wants to be accepted, thats just part of being a human being. With todays dysfunctional families, TSCC is selling everyone a "perfect" family. There is NO perfect family, and when each of us realises that, that is when depression sets in. Because TSCC gives everyone a totally unrealistic and UNatainable "goal". Look at the rates of depression amonst Mormons? That should be a red flag right there. You're gonna be okay, I promise. :) hugs.

for me-therapy was key!
I found an exmo therapist in Logan, Utah, and have been to him on and off for 13 to 14 years (I had more than just mormonism to deal with). I didn't know he was exmo at the time. He has been invaluable.

Re: the aftermath of leaving TSCC is just depressing...how long does it take to start feeling better?
Also, go to the library and check out that book by Marth Beck called 'Leaving the Saints' It really helped me, also 'Church of Lies' by Flora Jessop. I found I was hungry...hungry for knowledge and any cult type info and books that I could get my hands on. It helped me. :)

Re: the aftermath of leaving TSCC is just depressing...how long does it take to start feeling better?
Each bad choice your kids make will be held up as an example of evidence that the church is true. I would silently keep track of the kids on both sides as they grow into adulthood. Your kids will likely be happier because you won't have a long list of expectations for them to achieve.

Watch carefully for how your kids are treated at family gatherings. We went to a wedding in Idaho in October for the daughter of some dear friends. It was a garden wedding, not in the temple, but nearly everyone in attendance was TBM. One of the little boys was playing with my son and talking about getting baptized. My son, who was several months past his baptism date told the other boy that he wasn't getting baptized. The boy asked why, and my son told him it's because Joseph Smith is a liar.

One of the cousins, a teenage boy overheard this conversation and started asking my 12 year old about it. My son, of course just told him everything he knew. It really upset the boy, who had already been having doubts. Of course, my 12 year old son was the bad guy in all of this.

So, be wary and watchful. If your kids are always the scapegoat, I'd stop taking them around. It's one thing for you and your husband to endure the crappy behavior, but kids don't need that.

Re: the aftermath of leaving TSCC is just depressing...how long does it take to start feeling better?
Why hide it? We have never hidden our Keurig, nor the wine in our fridge, not even when we hosted the ward adult Christmas party this year. I took a huge step this Christmas. I have refrained from posting about things like, "Oh boy, did my espresso hit the spot this morning!" on Facebook. We got an espresso machine for Christmas that had a hilarious picture in the instructions of a baby crawling on the front of the machine where the hot stuff comes out. There was a circle around the picture with a line through it. The picture cracked me up so much that I just had to share it on Facebook. It felt ver liberating. One step at a time, on the way out.

A therapist once told me to that when making a major life change I should think in terms of "reconfiguring my life"
That reconfiguration needs to be done in a planned way because it doesn't simply happen automatically.

Your major life change was leaving the Mormon cult. That is a huge change in your life. But without thinking carefully about the situation you took the wrong approach to the Holidays by spending the time with family cult members.

I once read this succinct bit of wisdom -- "The difference between friends and family is that we get to choose our friends." Now that you have exited the Cult, would you consciously choose to be friends with Cult members? Hell no, they are the LAST people that you want to spend time with. You need to face the cold hard fact that when you left the Mormon Cult then you also left your family. That is due to the way that they treat apostates. The Mormons don't want to associate with ex-Mormons because they are afraid that they might learn something that would challenge their testimonies.

An important part of re-configuring your life is to find new friends -- preferably people who are nevermos. Then you won't be tempted to talk about the Cult with them. You want to just forget about the cult and move forward in life. It doesn't do much good to rehash old history. You should be trying to live in the "here and now" and not dwelling on past problems with the cult.

Hopefully by Christmas 2013 you will have new nevermo friends and you will spend the holidays with them.

Exmo Mom
Re: A therapist once told me to that when making a major life change I should think in terms of "reconfiguring my life"
I have discovered that it`s important to get out and do new things, as a way to manage the pain and suffering of leaving TSCC. I originally thought at some point my TBM family would magically come around, and I`d start to feel better, but they haven`t at all - still treat us the same, poor way - and I kept feeling worse and worse, so I`ve only recently learned to take active steps and not feel guilty about doing new things my way, without them.

For example, I used to try to fit in holidays with both them (TBMs) plus my Nevermo friends, but it was always a struggle to do both and difficult to manage because they like to control everything and it was not feasible to usually do both. I sometimes also felt guilty about not doing the usual things I used to do with just them (TBMs).

But I now completely plan my holidays and activities for myself and my immediate family. They are in a bit of shock because I`ve not tried to include them anymore, after 10 years of trying to, realizing that they were not in the least accommodating of us, and also quite unkind to us exmo-apostates.

So now, I think what is about to happen is they are going to, or perhaps already have, started feeling some of the sadness and pain I`ve gone through the past 10 years. Maybe, just maybe, that will make them think about being more inclusive. But if it doesn`t, I have my new life without them and don`t have to feel so alone.

Re: for me-therapy was key!
Is that David Christian? I heard his Mormon Stories podcast. Seemed like a great guy.

"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org"