Again, I’m no therapist, simply explaining what I’ve seen dozens of times over from a sample of exmormons and ex-Jehova’s Witnesses on reddit and elsewhere. If you are having issues coping and moving on see a trained professional.
Step 2- Anger
This is the phase most often associated with exmormons. An important thing to remember is that this is a normal phase of grieving for any loss. A father dies, a child is lost, there is a normal period of “WHY!!” that occurs. This phase of grieving for exmormons may take longer than other types of grieving, but it is not a small amount of loss. Further family members constantly reminding one of the religion, or forcing one to live certain ways can lengthen the anger process.
Characterized by You feel anger, sometimes at your family for not realizing the issues of the church, sometimes your younger self, for falling for it. Sometimes at the leaders of teh church for “not being honest”. Sometimes at Joseph Smith Jr. for setting the entire thing up. Other moments are reeling feelings of foolishness or of an emptiness of life and purpose that fuel rage.
Most common symptoms Long examinations of the church’s history or current dealings that are corrupt. Finding details and talking about them. Looking for a fight with family members and friends. A feeling of a chip on one’s shoulder that is really quite hollow. A need to check and recheck one’s beliefs. A total loss of trust with the church system and individuals that may branch into other systems.
Typical phrases in conjunction with this phase
The “so-called” church
It’s a cult
I can’t trust them, why should you?
You are angry and proud
Intellectuals fight the church
Why do you spend so much time fighting an organization that does such good in the world
If I were to leave, I wouldn’t try to tear down other people’s faiths like you
How to move on
First and foremost, realize this is normal. There’s going to be a period where this happens. Second, realize that it will end. The steam will pour out. The anger will die down. You will live again without the feeling of “fight”.
One of the pathways people have found to peace is to realize how many other systems are similar in the way they alter their histories or manipulate participants. You are not alone. Being fooled into such devotion is more the rule than the exception.
Another is to allow the feeling of release to come into your life. You may have been asleep before, but now you are awake. Embrace that feeling and start living your life.
A big help to moving on many have mentioned is to move. Get a new address (Especially outside of Utah) where people don’t have your identity completely tied to the organization.
Finally, whatever route you take it seems everyone eventually finds a passion that fills up the space. As the anger subsides and the depression passes (We’ll talk more about that later) you’ll find another life goal that fills in the time and effort. Live it, love it and let it come in.