I'm wondering something...

So for those of you who have previously believed (I mean really believed) in God, how long does the guilt last after you no longer do? You know what I mean right? That guilt feeling that the decisions you are making are suddenly "against God's will..."

I have an example in my own life that I'm willing to share as a jumping off point but don't let this derail the thread into something else...I want to know about "GUILT" specifically...there are TONS of other examples but this one is perhaps the one that's driving me nuts the most...

My example: I got a divorce. I left my marriage that was already broken. I'm moving on with my life...

I have a lot of internal thoughts about things like, "God hates divorce..." or "If he decides he wants to reconcile it is God's will to do so." or "marriage is a commitment before God."

These guilty feelings have not prevented me from starting a new life. I am attending a support group, and I'm taking really really good care of myself for a change instead of catering to the needs of a person who does not respect me. Now that he sees how well I'm doing by myself I can see that HIS abusive tactics are changing and he's trying to reel me in to go back to him. I'm not stupid. If I were stupid enough to go back to his ass he would be "nice" for about a week until the next abusive go-around. So NO I'm not going back to my ex-husband. But I feel guilty because of the internal conflict that I've recently figured out goes back to my former views on marriage, commitment, and how the Bible says that if a spouse wants to reconcile you should do so...when research clearly indicates that an abusive person doesn't change overnight if ever at all unless there is professional and intense intervention. So I'm choosing between the research, vs. the Bible...the research wins. But my guilty conscience is driving me fucking NUTS!!! Those crazy voices inside my head are not going away and I want it to just STOP already!! It's frustrating!!!!! Not to mention confusing.

I think I'm doing everything right to be able to move on. My heart has moved on and I am no longer the same person I was when I was married to him. But the guilt I have towards "God" for becoming a divorcee is driving me fucking crazy. 

When does it get better? How long? 

Make it stop please!!!! I wish somebody could.

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Allow my inner Machiavelli a few words: Controlling others is more fun than controlling myself. It's even exciting, but it requires attention.

I find this statement profoundly frightening.  Want to be a tyrant, much?

SteveinCO, I'm talking about people who seek control or who accept control when it's imposed.

Such people show fear responses when their leaders abandon them.

Tyrannizing has a downside: the almost constant effort it requires.

I do know that controlling yourself is a source of strength, and someone who controls themselves is a source of strength for other people.  Like a well-disciplined army, or a cohesive community.  An ill-disciplined person is like a divided country - ineffective and self-destructive. 

[I haven't read your post yet.] 

Simon, if your own experience told you all that, please consider describing that experience. If another person told you, please consider identifying that person.

What I'm saying is that you won't become a monster if you examine those beliefs and change them.

@Tom - I think the real point is not to be pulled around by attachments and desires, and not to fail in courage.  These are surely the sources of strength that self-control makes possible. 

Okay, you will remain mysterious.

the real point is not to be pulled around by attachments and desires

This makes sense, as long as it's not an overly-generalizing axiom. We're discussing jealousy in another thread, and my paraphrase of the axiom is something like "learn to detect your own jealousy early, and suppress it or replace it with some kind of positive cognition". The courage there is in trusting a loved one that you're afraid to lose.

Hope that helps y'all solve a mystery.

It takes strength - self-control - to resist doing the bad things we shouldn't do, and perhaps, to do the good things we should do.  Self-control IS a form of strength. 

Simon, ditto the above. If your own experience told you that, please consider describing that experience. If another person told you, please consider identifying that person.

Here too I'm saying that you won't become a monster if you examine those beliefs and change them.

@Tom - thank you for asking for an explanation. 

I'm just guessing at a plausible justification for saying "strong people try to control themselves, weak people try to control others".  I haven't had any specific incidents in mind. 

I don't think the "divided country" metaphor is good enough.  

Self-control is one of an interconnected suite of behaviours which are necessary in order to do the right thing, all of which require strength.  - humility; clear observation; admitting vulnerability and faults; self-discipline; facing up to difficult feelings; effort; etc.  

Over-controlling of others, on the other hand, is different.  People who are not able to do all the things which go along with self-control often turn to trying to control others instead, in an attempt to achieve the same result: happiness. 

We also tend to imagine that we can control the outcome of our little schemes and plans, when we cannot control results.  We can only control our actions. 

There are other various ways in which our desire for control may manifest itself symbolically in areas other than the directly relevant, practical one.  [i.e. the proper one.] 

All of these types of control are different states of the same system: the "control" function of the ego. 

If we think about it, we are only truly capable of controlling ourselves.  We cannot truly control others, and we cannot truly control the results of our actions. 

So any attempt to exercise control over anything other than ourselves, is ineffectual and a trap, and thereby renders us weak. 

We need to feel we have some control over our environment, otherwise we feel stressed. 

How much control we need to exercise in a certain situation, will vary on a case by case basis.  Sometimes we need to act in a bold and decisive manner, and other times, just let things unfold.  Certainly, it would seem that "less is more", considering the unpredictable train of events which we inevitably trigger every time we act. 

I think the "divided country" is good too:   a person with self-control is like a united, well-disciplined army.  Someone with poor self-control is like a lazy, disorganized army.  Someone who tries to control others is just trying to control the wrong thing.  - unless they're a manager or something. 

From reading "Sane New World - taming the mind" by Ruby Wax, it seems that mindfulness meditation training produces good results in the area of "self-control".  Briefly, here are some of the benefits, as given in the book: 

Connection to feelings, self-control, counteracting high anxiety, quietening the mind, regulating emotions, regulating thoughts, curbing addictive behaviour, curbing OCD, a quicker brain, inner strength, increased ability to respond to difficult life events in a positive way, more connections throughout the brain... the list goes on and on. 

I was supposed to start mindfulness meditation training last week, but I forgot, which speaks volumes. 

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