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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I very much like this empathetic approach, and it has been effective for me. The role playing mellows out the guilt, and often actually becomes real enough one day to help someone else.

Yes.  Very good question. 

Perhaps it would help you to mull it over from time to time :)

I like that idea.

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.

I see this sort of thing a lot and not just in abusive relationships--though they are definitely the most extreme example.

There are people out there who get off on goading others and enjoying the reaction when they finally snap back.  (Or sometimes it's a more passive aggressive thing, they want to paint you as the bad guy.) 

They apologize, you make up, renew the friendship. And they just do it again. A much smaller version of the same mess you were in.  But the similarity is they are using their apologetic manner to simply snare you back to where they can pull the same shit again.

Forgiveness to me comes about when people actually mend their ways, not just using an apology to suck you back into the same situation as before.  I've lost a few "friends" because of this, but I am better off for it.  And you lost a "husband" because of it... and you are better off for it.

Thanks for this Steve, very well put as usual.  I'm plagued by one of these pricks at the moment. 

These people are nearly always weak, and if they're not actual cowards, then I consider this behaviour weak in itself.  It's weak not to deal with your own crap.  Strong people don't cause problems in this way. 

This also partly explains the macho mentality, specifically the part that tries to hide weaknesses by seeming strong in some other way. Like when an animal fluffs up its fur to appear larger. This is especially true in the animal kingdom wrt male behavior. But humans in particular can learn to amplify, or diminish such posturings, and behavior.

If you have to prove it - then you're not it. 

Strong people try to control themselves, weak people try to control others. 

Simon, I agree. Will you venture to identify the underlying need(s)?

I will if you will.

@Tom - I really am not sure.  I can't see a direct simple causal link.  But then, life's complicated sometimes.  The two just seem to go together, and if it's not weakness as such, then it's fecklessness - being too pathetic to hold down responsibilities and make a decent job of your life even though others depend on you. 

I do believe that "self-control is the highest form of strength", but I am unable to justify this fully. 

I certainly think that we can never truly control another person, we can only truly control ourselves. 

The function of "control" is one of the jobs of the ego, and the ego can become unbalanced and out of control (ironically), looking for solutions to discomfort in the wrong places. 

It takes courage to control ourselves - to accept vulnerability, pain, and responsibility for our actions - but any coward can control other people if they've got a mind to.  It's really a very easy thing to do, if you haven't got a life. 

There seem to be a lot of men around who had over-controlling fathers, and these men are often troubled with distressing rape and murder fantasies, and they have been known to act on these.  (This isn't me I'm talking about - thank God.)  ;-)  They think "control" is how to be a man, when they are just pussies. 

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.


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