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Agnostic/Atheist Support Group

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NoDoormat posted 6/1/2014 10:43 AM

Been thinking about you today. Hope you are hanging in there, despite all you are going through right now.
I'm taking it one moment at a time.

I've been suicidal since Thursday, I think. I'm trying desperately to make the right choices that won't have bad consequences, so I'm letting my friends take care of me, and even my H, who's probably going to leave me, is doing whatever it takes to keep me safe. He told me last night that he knows I won't abuse it, so that if I get to a point where I need to, I can call him even. So I'm trying not to make people worry.

Ascendant posted 6/1/2014 11:13 AM


I think that part of making the right choices for you is not so much worrying about whether the outcome is 'bad', because 'bad' is too vaguely defined for my tastes.

You need to make the healthiest choices for you, regardless of subjective ideas like 'good' or 'bad'.

I know that you've said before that "it's too complicated" to implement a hard 180 due mainly to your madhatter status, but in my opinion we sell ourselves on ideas like 'it's too complicated' as a means of avoiding doing uncomfortable or painful choices, even when we know at heart they are the healthiest ones.

You're worried that your husband will divorce you due to your withholding of info from him for so long...and he may; that's his call, and it's a consequence of your actions.

However, none of that means that he gets to eat cake.

All this meeting in person to end it, going 'off the grid' for a month (Sidebar: what-the-actual-fuck?), still maintaining contact with his EA AP, etc., it's all substance for you to decide that he's not someone you want in your life, either.

You can both be broken, and either one of you can decide that the other's affair was a dealbreaker at any moment. You seem remorseful and want to reconcile; he seems like he's dealing with the hurt by having an EA and choosing to not be remorseful. He may not have it in him to do the real work of reconciling...many people have revenge affairs expecting to be fair-and-square and just move on, but the feelings associated with betrayal simply don't function that way. Each person's hurt needs to be addressed, and it doesn't sound like he's interested in that process at all.

You said it yourself that "you won't be married to a man that has a girlfriend". Stand by that. Be firm.

Rebreather posted 6/3/2014 17:06 PM

I am just going to say hi, because I have not posted in this particular forum before and did not quite realize there were other Pastafarians around.

Nodoormat, dig those fingernails in and keep hanging on.

Jrazz posted 6/3/2014 17:37 PM

Hi rebreather! I'm totally offended by your comment as someone who takes Festivus VERY seriously.

Ascendant posted 6/4/2014 09:54 AM

Festivus for the restivus?

Rebreather posted 6/4/2014 14:19 PM

I will ready the Festivus pole!

When shall the Airing of Grievances begin?

nowiknow23 posted 6/4/2014 14:43 PM

Ya'll are about 6 months too early for the Airing of the Grievances.

Rebreather - always good to "meet" a fellow Pastafarian.

HerrTrubheit posted 6/5/2014 12:30 PM

Flipping through the local listings for an IC, noticed the Psychology Today search had many filter options, one of which was religion. All the standard flavors of theism to choose from, and then "other."

"Other," ya know, could mean anything from Wicca to Animist to, I dunno, Stormfront Norse Mythos (though I don't think militant white supremacists generally choose marriage counseling as a career). There's no "none" checkbox.

This is a problem.

I am naturally a bit combative when it comes to issues of science and religion. To me, psychotherapy is a science, however poorly understood it is at this point. Ain't no place for dogma. Makes me flare my nostrils, bare my teeth, etc. I can't have that kind of a relationship with a person I hire to guide me through the chasm. If I smell even a whiff of an assumption of a "higher power" in the room, I'm going to spend my time (and money) trying to destroy the therapist's convictions rather than reassemble my own. Unhealthy. And sad, because I know the therapist really does have my healing at heart. But it's something I can't get past.

I'm not a strident atheist, FWIW. I get along with most everyone, so long as they do no harm. But when it comes to fixin' what needs fixin' between my ears, I don't want help from someone who believes in, essentially, magic.

So... I'm assuming that this has been an issue for many, and pardon me if it's already been answered (yes, I have sinned, breaking the cardinal rule of web fora... i didn't read the whole thread before posting), but how did y'all cope with being a minority freethinker in a very silly world when it came to finding a counselor whose counsel you could believe?

Pass posted 6/5/2014 13:00 PM

I was lucky, Trubheit. My shrink makes no mention of magical beings at all. He has told me that he wouldn't be seeing any patients on the week Passover, so obviously has some sort of belief - or at least an observance - but I made sure to mention in my very first session that I'm a "fire-breathing atheist".

When I tell people that, one of two things happens:

1. They see it as me shutting down all talk about magic.
2. They see it as a challenge to convert the heathen.

My shrink seems to have taken Door #1, and Yea, it was good.

I think this is an important boundary to establish with your counsellor before you start with them. Assure them that you are not feeling empty due to a lack of magic, but you want help with your busted-up brain, and then just ask them point-blank if they can work with that.

sisoon posted 6/5/2014 17:53 PM

Oh, HerrTribheit, you look at psychotherapy and don't see dogma? How exactly do you do that?

Passover is the most widely observed holiday by Jews. Even my atheist FIL (a wonderful man, may he RIP) held a Seder every year, and my atheist son attends when possible.

Much of the Seder is about 'what God did for me', but it's also very much about freedom and not oppressing other people. (The Seder deals with events that predate the conquest of Canaan ... but I think the archaeological record pretty much says the invasion never happened anyway.)

LosferWords posted 6/5/2014 18:50 PM

HerrTrubheit - I had really good luck finding a therapist listed as "other". She let me go at my own pace as far as any type of spirituality or religious conversation is concerned, in fact I was able to openly vent about some of my own feelings about my own religious upbringing. I think a really good therapist will honor your boundaries for discussion, spiritually, personally, or otherwise. If they can't, won't, or don't, there is always the option of finding a new therapist. Many of these therapists are also willing to talk to you on the phone or via email, in case you wanted to clear that issue up ahead of time before even going in there. Might be a good idea.

Best of luck!

Love the Afghan Whigs tag line, by the way.

HerrTrubheit posted 6/5/2014 19:31 PM

you look at psychotherapy and don't see dogma? How exactly do you do that?

Conceded. And lulz. Any scientific community has its dogmatic element, and the younger the discipline the more fractious it is.

I'm looking for a person who approaches the fledgling science as an art, like cooking. Sure there's now a thriving food science industry, but I'd rather get my glutamates thru a little bit of chefing than from some ADM/Monsanto/Ajinmoto chimerical monstrosity.

Love the Afghan Whigs tag line, by the way.

Loved that song for years before I came to understand it. Recently. I'd have preferred to never know.

MrSorry posted 6/6/2014 17:17 PM

SisterMilkshake, I'm currently reading "Not Just Friends," and "Boundaries" by Anne Katherine. Both seem to be good so far.

nekorb, I will have to check out "Rebuilding." Does anyone else have recommendations for non-religious books?

I don't necessarily have a problem with religion, I see a religious therapist, and while he will occasionally quote a bible verse to me, he knows how I believe and steers clear of it.

What I am trying to avoid are books that define my faults and choices as part of god's plan. I want nothing to do with that and I feel as though it's a round about way of absolving my responsibility for what I've done.

I appreciate all the replies.

sisoon posted 6/6/2014 17:30 PM Sure there's now a thriving food science industry, but I'd rather get my glutamates thru a little bit of chefing than from some ADM/Monsanto/Ajinmoto chimerical monstrosity.

Agreed, HerrTrubheit, agreed. (And I spelled your name right today, too....)

veronique12 posted 6/6/2014 19:14 PM

Neither my MC nor my IC have ever brought up religion or spirituality. I guess they know enough to let their clients take the lead on that. Actually, early on, my MC suggested I sage my house to cleanse it of OW stank. My sharply raised eyebrow was enough for him to never bring that up again. :)

Ascendant posted 6/7/2014 10:16 AM

I had a similar experience early on in IC as well. I was throwing some very judgmental labels around (regarding whom, I don't recall) and the IC said something to the effect of, "Is it really our job to judge others, though?"

I, honestly confused, raised a quizzical eyebrow at her until she casually half-pointed to the sky and said, "Isn't that God's job?". I didn't know what to say in the moment, I was really kind of taken back...not offended, just surprised that it had taken that direction.

I just made sure that I opened the next session with the information that we are both atheists, and never had any problems since.

DixieD posted 6/7/2014 11:48 AM

I've been skimming this thread off/on for a while but haven't posted in here before, but a lot the people I relate to the most on SI are in here.

I missed this till now. Althea wrote:

but WH and I are struggling a bit with the idea if spirituality without religion. We are both agnostic-ish. I guess I keep thinking that if I find the "right" religion for me, I could be a believer. Still, the most spiritual experiences of my life have been in nature (e.g, hiking through the Sierras, or sitting silently in an open field). That feeling of being centered and part of something bigger at the same time. I don't think religion has a the monopoly on goodness or morality and believe myself to be a moral and good person in the absence of religion.

This has been good enough for me for a long time; but lately as I am in recovery from shame and a highly dysfunctional past, I am questioning again this idea of spirituality without religion. It is a required step in healing for various recovery programs, and I understand the necessity of believing and putting your faith in something other than yourself, I'm just not sure how.
Is anyone else struggling with or working successfully through this?

I can definitely relate to that. I remember after dday wanting to find a more spiritual path of some kind for some reason. My husband wanted it even more so than I did. We spent a lot more time in nature because of that and that's been great. But I remember that feeling of wanting to look for something more.

I've been bothered by something more and more lately and figured you guys would understand. I've posted that we've attended Retrouvaille and it helped me with identifying feelings etc. I needed that. But other things such as the idea of forgiveness as portrayed in the bible -- yeah forget that. Couples will tell their stories and there is often one spouse who had an affair and the BS says they forgave them instantly. Ok, whatever floats your boat. Not the way it works for me. (Side note: I really liked Claudia Black's take on forgiveness and the mention of cheap forgiveness. Helped me a lot). Maybe it's simply because I don't have a religious upbringing to fall back on that I can't belief it's possible.

I do enjoy other aspects of Retrouvaille too. We've met some really nice couples, who want us more involved, and is nice being around people who have been through the war and are focusing on the marriages, but I sometimes feel like a fraud. There are references to the Bible (basic stuff) and I don't know the stories/teachings behind it. I feel like I'm keeping a secret that I'm not Catholic, let alone of no faith whatsoever. I don't think they will necessarily would look down upon me (not openly anyway), and I really don't think it's really a secret because I don't join into any religious discussions etc. It's just that I don't really want to discuss it. It's my business. I'm not looking to be converted or think that they have the answers. There can be a lot of rugsweeping in the name of God IMO. It just feels off to me some times that this was started by the church, so why am I there? And am I being dishonest to continue to be there?

Religion caused a lot of problems in my family. Ok, the fanatical family members tied to the religion caused the problems but it makes it hard for me to embrace it. You were either in it or you weren't. There was little middle ground. I respected the choices of those who were in it, I just knew it wasn't going to be me.

But at the same time I think it must be nice to have some faith in 'something' that brings you whatever…..maybe some peace or 'something'… I think Althea was eluding to. Sometimes I think I'd like that for myself and maybe looking into something really broad like (….name withheld). But I always hesitate to go down any path because at the core I'm not a believer so it wouldn't be right.

I'm just finishing up a book on narcissism and it talks about the generations who have moved away from religion into spirituality and being their own higher power and the possible downfall of that. Maybe that's been my problem because I have overwhelming issue with authority.

[This message edited by DixieD at 11:55 AM, June 7th (Saturday)]

DixieD posted 6/7/2014 11:50 AM


tigereyes posted 6/8/2014 16:13 PM

I am tired of people telling me things will get better if I will just pray and give my life to god. Really? SO that will make my husband's affairs disappear and turn him into someone that he isn't? I can have a best friend again, not some woman who hides behind her church activities so nobody will know what a whore she really is? My kids lives won't be completely upended anymore? And if all that is true does it come on the backs of the starving children around the world because I'm not sure I'm worth all that.

I wish I could get people to just accept, I don't believe. That has had no bearing on my husband being a dirtbag. And I don't think Jesus is going to be in court to ensure I get maximum spousal support.

Ascendant posted 6/8/2014 17:23 PM


I feel ya.

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