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Posted by: anon2828 ( )
Date: August 06, 2019 03:34PM

Lately, I've been trying to spur an upturn to my life. I struggle with identity issues, as in, not having a strong, foundational tether/identity to feel proud of. It messes with my self-perception, creating anxiety and other issues like low self-esteem, poor self-efficacy, dissociation and derealization. I can't function properly and other people notice, hurting my ability to form friendships and stuff. It harms my ability to focus and concentrate, making it hard to work in even the simplest of jobs. I come from a dysfunctional family. My parents gave me no skills to thrive in the world. On the worst occasions, sometimes I feel like I'm rotting away. I exist because that's what life was born to do.

I saw a counselor for a few months now, but he was a bad match for me and didn't put effort into our sessions. I'n seeing someone new now with a different counseling service and hoping she can help me.

The Mormon community was good for me through my teen years. I actively noticed which parts of the doctrine, talks, and behaviors went against my own beliefs and worldview, giving me a way to define myself. I didn't mind not fitting in perfectly because I was somehow still acceptable. But that changes in adulthood, where there is no place for different opinions; you are forced to become a cog in a wheel or you are forced out. I miss when I belonged because I had something to define myself against. I don't have the contrast anymore. It's not for me anymore, but I'm lost. Has anyone here been through something like this? Did you experience identity issues? How do you get past it? I have hobbies and do things I enjoy--including drinking those sinful lattes--but I have no overarching sense of purpose and identity.

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: August 06, 2019 03:45PM

in my life. Right now, I am doing well where my identity is concerned. I'm 62, though, and been through A LOT. Somehow I found my way out.

BUT I've also been in therapy for YEARS with the same therapist. It did take a while to find him, but I've been seeing him for over 20 years now. I only have to see him now and then these days. Oftentimes it has something to do with mormonism triggering me. I could not have survived without my therapist. I feel he saved my life--he gave me back my life. When everyone else gets tired of listening, some do listen--the therapists I mean.

My son used to say that it is like paying for a friend, but that isn't so and my son agrees now as he has been to my therapist. So keep going to your therapist. If you find they aren't helping, find another one. There are good ones out there--who will fit what you need.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/06/2019 03:46PM by cl2.

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Posted by: anon2828 ( )
Date: August 07, 2019 09:11PM

Thank you, cl2. I appreciate your insight and support.

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Posted by: macaRomney ( )
Date: August 06, 2019 03:54PM

"my parents gave me no skills to thrive in the world" most parents would be in that category. The best parents and the best families are the ones that can allow their offspring to experience all that life has to offer. Parents that can para- shoot their kids when they make mistakes. Unfortunately this is something that only the wealthy are able to do. Poor kids can't really afford to go to medical school, law school, they can't afford to flunk a class, they can't afford to take risks, to work in unpaid internships, to tramp all around Europe getting cultured. Does that mean they have bad parents?

We are born into our class, our color is assigned at birth, and there is a glass ceiling for everyone, except the ones who win the lottery, the beauty queens, the Disney princess.

To create your identity I would start by making some goals. Start working at your hobbies, Explore your surrounding community, look for things you enjoy.

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Posted by: LJ12 ( )
Date: August 07, 2019 09:29PM

Well, I would say that the mormon church contributes to wiping out your identity. The further and longer you are away from it the better it gets. How long have you been out or are you in the process? I felt utterly lost for the first year and then it got better. Then it was just the usual life process of finding myself, I was just a bit behind everyone else as by then I was in my early thirties, instead of early twenties when (I think) most people grapple with their identity/finding themselves.
The things that helped me were: getting a new job with new friends that came with it (replaced the mormons); learning to drive and having a car (originally this was good for leaving church abruptly) - both of these things gave me more control over my own life which I think is fundamental to this issue. And exercise helped a lot with anxiety and a tendency to be depressed.

More recently I went through this again but not to the same extent when my TBM brother and SIL were not very nice. I saw myself through THEIR eyes and I felt myself falling apart. This is why it’s so important to surround yourself with new people who are kind, supportive, friendly, normal (not mormons). They don’t have to know about what you’re going through but just to have normal interactions a lot helped me stay sane and get myself back. Then I got a therapist and was lucky for the first time to find the right one. I can’t tell you how much it is helping. I have to talk about my feelings otherwise I start to feel so bad I feel like I might go crazy, then I dissociate, especially when I’m triggered. And then I don’t feel like me. It’s amazing how quickly you can get better with the right support around you.

Journal the answer to the following: what do I really, truly WANT? (Anything and everything with no shame) What is making me angry?

Start doing stuff you like, or experiment. Stop doing stuff you hate and being with people you don’t like.
You can be whoever you want to be. You are still here, but you’ve been traumatised it sounds like. You will get better.

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Posted by: LJ12 ( )
Date: August 07, 2019 09:34PM

Oh, and it was difficult losing a religion that made decision making so easy and also gave a reason for everything. It maps out your thinking and your life for you. It’s actually normal to not know. It just doesn’t feel normal when you’re an ex mormon. An identity crisis feels worse. Most people don’t know why they’re here or what they’re gonna do, it just takes time to decide what you want. And post mormonism it might take longer. But you can do whatever you want. Take time to enjoy life and you will discover your own values and purpose.
I know what it’s like to feel as you do. I don’t have a supportive family and I’m under a lot of stress with work. It’s lonely and I’m prone to anxiety attacks and not being able to talk when I’m with friends. What has helped is to keep doing stuff anyway. The right people still like me, especially when I briefly mention a couple of things I’m dealing with. And I take one day at a time because I’ve been through it before and things always get better if I force myself to just do my best. I also do a lot of journal writing. Anything creative to get to what I’m really feeling helps me normalise gradually.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/07/2019 09:38PM by lj12.

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Posted by: moremany ( )
Date: August 08, 2019 08:33PM

It's weird. Strange. Backwards.

Be NICE to the children (because they might become "one of us") but NOT SO NICE, or even mean or ignorant or indifferent to adults (that DON'T become one of us).

If MORMONISM practiced what it preached some of it's falsities might become truths.

P.S. Keep searching and exploring, and optimistic, and you'll continually be awakened, surprised, enlightened and joyed by what you think, expect, feel, say and experience.

Every day is a new day.
I bet you knew that.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/08/2019 08:37PM by moremany.

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Posted by: Dr. No ( )
Date: August 09, 2019 01:09PM

We are neurobiologically "wired" in youth to find a "tribe" to call our own - some propose this characteristic is a consequence of millennia of genetic selection/evolutionary psychobiology. It is a strong impulse, easily exploited; consider the case of the missionary.

Finding a "tribe" to belong to and be a part of seems a necessary stage of development that must be passed through before reaching a place where one no longer needs any tribe at all.

So it sounds like you are right on track.

Humans also artificially impose straight lines on a wiggly, wiggly world to create order and try and make sense of the the thing (consider lines of latitude and longitude - which do not actually exist). One of these ways is in the world of ideas, and one of these areas is in a field where certain characteristics are grouped into bins and designated as characteristics of personality: it can be a little helpful to find out what "bin" I fit into, because it can give an individual a sense that one is not all alone. Otherwise a thinker (clearly you are) can feel pretty odd-person-out-ish.

I took a short fun free bin-sorting quiz (based in England)
and though it took only five minutes, answered completely honestly (and not with the way I was taught I SHOULD answer) was uncanny in the accuracy of what my characteristics are, and which "group." (It operates on the basis that if you are shown the grill of a '67 Ford Mustang, you can "fill in" the rest of the car and know a great deal about it already). If not useful it may be fun.

It's uncomfortable, but temporary, and you're right on track.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: August 09, 2019 01:22PM

I think that one's identity is forged by making personal choices, which include sometimes bold choices. The Mormon church makes a lot of choices *for* members -- what you drink, what you wear, how you spend your time and money. It can be a tough transition to make up your own mind about things, but that is where you find your power.

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: August 09, 2019 02:07PM

Yes, I do know what you are experiencing. “If I’m not Mormon, what am I?” is probably a question that keeps many BICs in the church even with varying degrees of non-belief. You are one of the strong ones that could get out. Trust me, that’s foundation enough to clarify post-Mormon issues of identity.

Some advice, if I may: pay close attention to what you actually think, actually feel, actually believe and disbelieve. Pay close attention to what you actually find beautiful and good, ugly and bad. Much of who you are resides in that “actually”.

There are all kinds of “scripts” running through you, by no means all written by mormonism, that will get in the way. No worries. There is also a “you”, too. Yes, perhaps buried deep under other people’s “scripts” for you, but it’s there. Paying attention to what attracts and repels you, what you love and hate, will help the unburying process.

I believe that we reveal ourselves, and are revealed to ourselves, via our aesthetic proclivities.

Good luck.

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