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Guest The_Real_Enigma

Overcoming my bitterness towards members of the church

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Guest The_Real_Enigma

Quick info about me: I am not your typical guy; I don't care about sports teams, cars, the latest bands or the super bowl. Growing up I was shy, quiet and gentle, I was bullied verbally as well as physically by my peers in the church, (one of whom was the bishop’s son), clear into my adulthood when I joined the army and left home for good.

My Problem: I am bitter, disdainful and very, very mistrustful of members of the church and I will admit hostile to some degree. I attend a singles ward right now but I distance myself from all of them because I am unable to bring myself to trust any of them. True none of them have done anything to me, yet, but I have also not given them the chance to. (Note: none of this has affected my testimony of the gospel or prevented me from attending church.)

I have changed some of my attitudes and am now trying to actually be social in the ward with the hopes of actually getting to meet some nice people and even find someone to marry. My greatest stumbling block right now is my continuing mistrust of the people in my ward. Before anyone suggests it let me say that yes I have prayed and made a personal to forgive those in my past but as a rule I do not trust my peers in the church as far as I could kick them.

I have been a virtual recluse since I was 11 years old. I was tired of being an outcast and decided to cut myself off from human interaction whenever I could. Now after years of hating my peers in the church I want to change but don't know what steps to take.

That is why I am writing this is in the hope of some positive advice on how to ease myself into getting to know people.

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My personal experience is that:

I stopped hating people when I stopped hating myself.

I started forgiving people when I started forgiving myself.

I started seeing people differently when I started seeing myself different.

I started caring for people when I started caring for myself.

And I can assure you that when you use phrases such as "I am not your typical guy," "I am bitter, disdainful and very, very mistrustful...[it doesn't matter who]," "My greatest stumbling block right now is my continuing mistrust of the people...[it still doesn't matter who]," "I was tired of being an outcast and decided to cut myself off from human interaction whenever I could." you are purposefully giving yourself an excuse to cut yourself off and isolate yourself from the world. So you ask for advice, well, I can give you some from a recovered loner and loather: All that hatred, distrust and lack of forgiving is because you refuse to do that to yourself. Until you forgive yourself, start to like yourself, start to trust yourself, you will not have the same feelings or motivation to do the same for others. No matter how much you want to.

Look, I've been there. I had a distrust for all people since I was very, very young. I was a loner and wanted nothing to do with people and was so afraid of feeling, I blocked it all out. It was not until I took care of what was eating me up inside did I break out and live a little. And that took counseling with a professional and a willingness to go through the pain and hurt of reliving it all again, getting it all out, and learning skills to cope. It is not an overnight process. And it will not start until you take the first step and talk to someone about it. And I mean be totally, 100% open. And no it's not fun, but it's worth it.

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I grew up in a ward where I was the only active boy, a bit of a nerd, and about 12 clickish cheerleader types. Believe me, I know your pain. But, I realized it was me who was allowing them to get me down and not have fun, so I found my own place in the world and 20+ years later, I am very happy with my life.

Life gets better, and you will find those in the church who lift you up, but you need to remember that you determine your own attitude, and they have no power over your feelings.

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Guest Alana

I like that the reason you're posting this is because you want some positive advice on how to make it easier. I really respect it when people realize that there is room for improvement in their life, an area that they can grow as an individual, and then start the long and hard process of going for it.

When I was 12 my family (me, my dad, and new additions of step mom, sister, and new little baby) moved from where I'd grown up at. I was new to the church, new to having siblings and went from California to Missouri. Then, less than 2 years later, we moved again, then again, and again, and again.

We did a lot of moving. Often times it was back and forth between areas and states that we had been before. It was fairly hard for me at first because I was pretty socially awkward, most of the time I just didn't want anyone to talk to or notice me, was very shy and came off as a little weird. As we moved I noticed something interesting. At one school I would instantly be very popular. Then next school a complete social shut out/nerd. I could move back to the same school a year later and be treated totally different. This was true for schools, wards and neighborhood kids. It was weird.

So, my first though for YOU is that perhaps acknowledging that those punks that were snots to you growing up, that was THEM being that way. That doesn't mean it's how it is now in that same ward, or in church in general, or that area. It was those kids being that way. Perhaps me pointing this out first is my being a little defensive of church members, my being eager to point out that just because those church members were mean, it doesn't mean all church members are that way. But really, because that happened then, at that time, doesn't mean it will continue now. Yes, certain characteristics can attract bullies. If we see ourselves as victims we're more likely to be treated as victims, but just because that was how it was then, that doesn't mean it has to be that way now, not at all.

An other thing that helped me was that finally, even though it was really hard and uncomfortable for me, I started talking to people I didn't know when I would move to a new area and start a new school. I didn't wait for people to approach me and offer help or to be my friend, because often it wouldn't happen. But if I took the initiative, I made some really great friends, who otherwise wouldn't have approached me because they were too busy with their own issues of shyness and insecurities. SO, something that might help you is try to be friendly. When it doesn't work out, try to be thick skinned and not take it personally. It doesn't always work out. I've said so many STUPID things and felt so stupid in social circumstances and let it keep me up at night, replaying through my head, when really none of that mattered. What does matter is the few times when you do connect with people. When I was first trying to be more outgoing, it was very very hard. One thing I would do in teh beginning to get me over the hurdle of first contact was pretend to be someone who was really socially smooth. How would they act? Ok, I'll try that, like a roll in a play. I would pretend that I was smooth and social, and that would get me to talk to people and see that it wasn't so bad. I'm not saying pretend to be someone who you aren't (ok, maybe a little) as much as figure out for you what would make that initial contact easier, and then go for it.

I'm not sure if you have any of the same awkwardness's that I have. Hopefully you don't:P But, these were my experiences and what I did to try and connect with people more and make friends who I could trust and enjoy. There were a lot negative things that happened, but the more I focused on them, the more down I got, and what's the point of that?

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You are lucky I only have a couple of minutes

I didn't grow up in the church, when I moved into our current Ward, I felt like I didn't fit in, I told the Bishop, he told me I was nuts he would see me talking with people etc. When I looked from his perspective I realized it was me keeping me from seeing that I did actually have connections.

In the Military if you had one bad Officer did that cause you to hate all officers?

These people are not your tormentors. Nor does being LDS mean that members do not comprise bullies, unkind people, and all the rest that society has helped create. Nor does it mean that they all are either.

I have anxiety attacks, ,I can't handle being in groups for too long, I hate sports, don't hunt, fish or work on cars. I have very little in common with many men. I read, study military history, write and model Railroad.

But I still find companionship etc in interacting with others, each of us is different, we just have to take things one step at a time day after day. I don't trust others completely until it's earned. But I have learned to assume that most offense is not on purpose and to let it go. And to provide a chance for others to show trust so that I then know.

Hope it helps, keep trying

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It sounds like you may need some healing from the past. The Atonement can help lift those burdens in your life. You may need to ask the Lord for help in forgiving others, yourself, trusting others, trusting yourself, etc... I know that the Lord will help you through this if you have an open heart.

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I attend Church to worship and learn, not for the social requirements. When my work is done, I go home. How much time you spend frolicking and gossiping in the hallways is not a temple recommend question.

However, socializing and fellowshipping is an integral part of worship services. So "frolicking" may be a bit harsh of a work to use.

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We have a ward full of brats that don't treat each other well nor do they act in a Christ like manner...oh, and the main culprit...AKA...the ring leader is the YM President's son. Our Bishop? Asleep at the wheel.

Boy, the stunts I pulled when I was in YM and my old man was in the Bishopric. Ah, the memories, tearing it up, and getting torn up by my old man; the cost of doing business (hold the rod was a social injustice in those days).

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Pain?

Have you never experienced the pain of being awkward and out of sorts that you were teased for being that guy who blew it every time he talked to a girl, was dissed by the said girl everytime he tried to talk to her and was excessively teased if she was anywhere near "cute?"

If not, you missed out on a childhood "pain."

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Have you never experienced the pain of being awkward and out of sorts that you were teased for being that guy who blew it every time he talked to a girl, was dissed by the said girl everytime he tried to talk to her and was excessively teased if she was anywhere near "cute?"

If not, you missed out on a childhood "pain."

Oh, sure. But if it's just me with twelve cheerleaders--I'd have liked those odds in spite of my nerdiness. ;)

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Our ward is so bad that many of the decent kids (mine included) refuse to invite friends to activities. Frankly, my wife (Stake YW's Presidency) and I ( EQP) don't feel comfortable inviting investigators to our Ward.

Wow!

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Guest The_Real_Enigma

You are lucky I only have a couple of minutes

I didn't grow up in the church, when I moved into our current Ward, I felt like I didn't fit in, I told the Bishop, he told me I was nuts he would see me talking with people etc. When I looked from his perspective I realized it was me keeping me from seeing that I did actually have connections.

In the Military if you had one bad Officer did that cause you to hate all officers?

These people are not your tormentors. Nor does being LDS mean that members do not comprise bullies, unkind people, and all the rest that society has helped create. Nor does it mean that they all are either.

I have anxiety attacks, ,I can't handle being in groups for too long, I hate sports, don't hunt, fish or work on cars. I have very little in common with many men. I read, study military history, write and model Railroad.

But I still find companionship etc in interacting with others, each of us is different, we just have to take things one step at a time day after day. I don't trust others completely until it's earned. But I have learned to assume that most offense is not on purpose and to let it go. And to provide a chance for others to show trust so that I then know.

Hope it helps, keep trying

Wow, your a lot like me, I don't do railroads, I do FPS and other computer games but ya, I don't hunt or do those other things either:D

My dad loves the O Guage trains, a year ago I bought him a top of the line transformer for his trains cause I knew he would never be able to bring himself to spend the money.

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Guest The_Real_Enigma

Our ward is so bad that many of the decent kids (mine included) refuse to invite friends to activities. Frankly, my wife (Stake YW's Presidency) and I ( EQP) don't feel comfortable inviting investigators to our Ward.

I had the same problem growing up, I had a friend, (if you could call him that, looking back he wasn't much of a friend) and he came to an activity once, oh man was that a bad move. What was worse is his church was really anti-mormon.

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Wow, your a lot like me, I don't do railroads, I do FPS and other computer games but ya, I don't hunt or do those other things either:D

My dad loves the O Guage trains, a year ago I bought him a top of the line transformer for his trains cause I knew he would never be able to bring himself to spend the money.

If you are a lot like me then you have my sympathy :)

I don't do the computer games much anymore, no time.

It was nice what you did for your Dad. My wife and I do HO which is 1/2 O scale.

One problem with us humans is this for example.

Someone who is trying to overcome sin, lose weight or reduce debt is forced to think about those things in order to try and solve the problem which makes it harder to overcome because they have to keep it in their minds all the time.

The solutions are to give your sin to the Lord and instead of trying to not do something change it to doing something. When they have the urge to commit the sin have a replacement plan ready. Don't diet, create a healthy eating lifestyle. Don't scrimp and do without create a healthy financial lifestyle.

You have, from what you have typed, very real and valid issues. The more you ponder them and guard against them the more you unknowingly judge others based on that criteria. Being human you will most likely hyper focus on any event that conforms to your deepest concerns and likely cause an overreaction. When we fear hurt it is natural to "attack" first even in our own mind to ward of further hurt.

One suggestion I have found helpful is a book The 7 habits of highly effective families. There is also the same title but effective people and a newer one the 8th habit. They are all by Steven R Covey, they are not written for church members but he is one and it ties in very well with doctrine.

You may have every right to have bitterness toward those who hurt you in the past, but consider if you carry this to the new members you are in contact with you punish them for the behavior of others! You are also allowing those who wronged you to continue to have power over you by not letting go. Last you deny yourself the love and spirit of the many many wonderful members who strive to live as God would have us live.

Last comment.

I notice that your profile picture is very dark ( at least on my computer) I believe you have on wrap around sun glasses but the rest looks like a black mask, I see no facial features at all. If it is not just my computer and that is your pic, considering your thread you might want to sit and think on why that pic?

Don't give up on the Lord, the Ward or yourself, it might not always be easy but I testify it is worth the journey. Don't give up on the people in this forum either, I've never met any of them but I can tell you many are kind, loving and will try to help.

See you were not so lucky this round, I had more time to babble

Edited by LDSVALLEY

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Today in Relief Society we talked about service to others and how helping others builds up the gift of the Holy Spirit. Maybe instead of ruminating on how people are so awful and shutting yourself off with scary photos of yourself, try opening your heart and do something nice for someone. Who knows? Maybe your heart will lighten and you'll figure out a more gentle and forgiving way to live.

It was Brigham Young who said, "He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."

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Guest The_Real_Enigma

If you are a lot like me then you have my sympathy :)

I notice that your profile picture is very dark ( at least on my computer) I believe you have on wrap around sun glasses but the rest looks like a black mask, I see no facial features at all. If it is not just my computer and that is your pic, considering your thread you might want to sit and think on why that pic?

In the picture I am wearing a black balaclava with sunglasses, the reason is threefold, since I call myself the Real Enigma I think it's funny to hide my face since the definition of enigma is, mystery.

The second reason is I do not want people to know what I look like, I am, as have said in my profile, a soldier.

Like it or not we are at war, the internet is a both a wondrous and dangerous place. Any one on this forum could be a terrorist, a terrorist sympathizer and or someone who is out to get soldiers. (Nothing personal, it's just an occupational hazard of being a warrior of freedom.)

The third reason is: I'm fat and ugly. Okay not fat enough to not be allowed in the army and ugly is probably only in my mind.

True I have seen people who look worse than me but...call it an unresolved issue. I guess it's easier for me to believe negative things about myself than positive, I don't really know why.

I had a childhood friend who thought she was ugly, in reality she's beautiful, so it is what it is.

Bottom line: People don't need to know what I look like!-_-

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I remember really disliking going to YWs. I got along better with some of the leaders than the girls my own age. I was shy and bookish and into RPGs that were considered "Satanic" while the other girls were all cheerleaders. I kid you not. I spent much of girls' camp in the summer hanging out with friends from other wards. My family wasn't particularly rich, but our ward encompassed a rich neighborhood. I preferred the more humble girls.

Looking back... I have to say that probably most of my bad attitude with the rest of the girls was ME. I wasn't being friendly enough, I was judging them.

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