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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Simon, the words "Strong people try to control themselves, weak people try to control others" stirred two images.

The first was of people seeking safety, which most human beings do. It was with this image in my mind that I replied. The need I had identified was a need for safety in an unsafe world.

The second image became clear hours later. It was of a philosophically-inclined person congratulating himself for not seeking safety in the turmoil of politics.

Explaining one of those images, I'm not sure which one, will require an essay.

Justifying "self-control is the highest form of strength" would require me to say that during twelve years in Catholic schools I heard the words self-control often. Nuns and priests described it as being necessary to resist temptation.

In quitting Catholicism I read of other world religions, and some Asian religions spoke of the necessity to give up desire. A person without desire for wealth or power might seem strong, but I was young and with things I wanted to do. I wasn't ready to give up desire.

Regarding "...we can never truly control another person,...."

Decades in politics persuaded me that some people actively seek to be controlled and others will accept control when it's imposed.

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

"Decades in politics persuaded me that some people actively seek to be controlled and others will accept control when it's imposed."  -

Good point.  The issue of control over one's environment is actually fundamental to people's wellbeing, and if it goes wrong - if someone does not have a healthy sense of control over their environment - then the consequences can be serious. 

Yes! The consequences of a lack of control over the environment can be serious. Perhaps a heart attack.

The first time I was a club president I didn't delegate the work and burned out. It wasn't pleasant, but I had liked the ease with which I met people and set out to learn how to delegate. Presiding became fun.

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.

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