Saturday, February 1, 2014

I Am Not Responsible For Your Hurt Feelings

For those of us who have left the church, we know there are people who do not approve.  They will try to guilt you back by saying things like, "We are so disappointed in you."

I had one family member actually say to me, "You used to be my hero."  The only thing that changed... I no longer attend church.

When my father left the church years ago, it nearly killed his parents.  They expressed so much anguish and sadness over their fallen son.  They urged us, as his children, to do anything we could to set an example so that he would come back.  They were heartbroken.

If our LDS family and friends have hurt feelings over our leaving the church, that is their problem.  It is not your duty to conform to their superstitions so that they can feel better about themselves.  You can love them and be there for them.  But you do not have to conform so that they can feel better.

If they have hurt feelings or a lowered opinion of you, simply because you no longer believe as they do, that's just too darn bad!  Yes, they believe in the church; they believe you have turned your back on truth; they are concerned for your eternal well being; they have good intentions by trying to get you back.

BUT it's your life.  Your choice.  They can respect that.  The LDS gospel is supposed to be all about free agency.  Those who choose not to follow it are simply taking advantage of that right (the right guaranteed by the Constitution, NOT the church).

You do not have to feel bad that they are disappointed in you.  If they are disappointed, it is because they choose to judge your worth against their expectations of you.  LDS life is all about living up to endless demands and expectations.  Well, it's okay for you to make your own decisions.  It's okay to disappoint them.  You only get one life and you can either spend it living up to someone else's expectations, or you can live it on your own terms.

I too have struggled with the fear of what other people think.  But I have slowly come to realize that the only thing that really matters, in terms of my life, is what I think.  What they think doesn't matter.  Let me say that again.

What they think doesn't matter.  It has no bearing upon your life unless you let it.

They can judge and gossip; but they CAN'T blame you for their hurt feelings.

Take charge of your own life and make it a good one!


Heather said...

Another great post.

I'm still trying to get to the point where I stop thinking of what others think of me- or trying to make everyone happy when I'm miserable.

You're right- its not my fault for their hurt feelings.

Mormon411 said...

I am too, Heather. I feel that a big part of the Mormon programming is that fear of what people think. But if they are hurt or offended because we stopped believing, then it was their choice. We didn't do anything to them.

It's a hard process to undertake. Saying it and doing it are so different. I am getting there. I have realized that their opinion of me does not matter. It does not affect me. Doesn't make it any easier to do, but it's a good place to start.

I have refused to say prayers when asked by TBM family. I have declined the invitation to join in a priesthood blessing. I don't take the sacrament on the rare occasions I find myself at church. In the past, I would have been terrified to refuse to do these things with everyone watching. So I am getting there.

I hope you're not miserable, Heather. Of course, we all have our down times. Just keep your chin up and find those reasons to be positive. They are always there if you look for them.

Heather said...

I'm not miserable... I've had to make a very hard decision this past week. I am closing my little shop. =( Your post hit home to me- not in a mormon sense but I feel like I am hurting my customers or letting them down. Its been rough.

BUT- life is about reinventing all of the time. I'll take a break and focus on my family/house/mom responsibilities and then I'll see what happens.

Leaving Mormonism was the hardest thing I've ever gone thru, and this new development is pretty hard too. I'm looking forward to some time off. =)

Mormon411 said...


I'm sorry to hear that you're closing the coffee shop. I never did make it in to get a drink. :-( Whatever your reason is, I'm sure it's for the best. I'm sure there will be lots of great opportunities for you in the future.