Back-slider phobia is an intense and debilitating fear of coming into face to face contact with someone who slid back out the prison doors of a religious system.
Symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Avoiding areas where the back-slider may show up; If you do come into close contact with a backslider, you may experience unlcear thinking, anxiety, sweating, churning of the stomach, difficulty breathing, and an intense urge to run. Being alone intensifies your symptoms
- Persistant images of the back-slider and an obsession of what you would say and how you would act in the case of an unfortunate encounter
- Secretly scanning their social media sites for evidence of the corruption their new found freedom has caused them
- Unrealistic fears of being poisoned or destroyed by the back slider
- Avoiding any sincere and honest conversation with them unless you feel sure it is only to get them back into the prison
- An addiction to conversations with others about the imagined pitiful condtion of the back slider
- Superstitious beliefs that any misfortune befalling the backslider is God’s punishment for their escape
- Secret and hidden desires to be a brave and genuine, free-flying backslider
- Feeling powerlessness believing that the backslider will overcome you and lead to you to your destruction
- Fear that intimate conversation with a backslider will stir up all those unanswered questions that you put on a back-burner years ago and left there
- Resentment and even hatred towards the backslider due to personal abandonment issues
Things you can do to overcome the Back-slider Phobia
- Exposure: As with any phobia, you need short periods of exposure. Start by just looking at a picture of them. Notice what comes up. Is it sadness, fear, hatred, anger? Acknowledge those feelings and realize that they are about you and not the back-slider. Gradually work up to exposure, perhaps in a gathering with your safe people. Consistent exposure is pertinent. Try and be in their presence for a few minutes, extending it to longer and longer periods of time, until that uncomfortable, stress-filled feeling over their presence begins to dissipate and you can once again see them as just a human being like you.
- Own your fears: Realize that your fears over the backslider are rooted in your own insecurities about the prison house you are stuck in and not about where the person you once loved and “fellowshiped” with is or what they are doing today.
- Give Yourself a Reality Check: Start acknowledging the misfortunes in your own life as part of life and not God’s punishments or tests of your faithfulness.
- Think Positively: Develop a healthier view of a loving God rather than focusing on a wrathful God. Try and see the good in the backslider instead of looking for evidence of bad.
- Get in Touch with Yourself: Explore your own insecurities of abandonment- consider seeing a therapist and definitely do some inner child work.
- Create Healthy Boundaries: Realize that the backslider is exactly where they need to be in their own personal journey and it is not your job to judge them or pray them back to the prison house. They made a choice and so did you.
- Redirect Your Hatred and Resentment: Make a list of all the things you would change about that person to make them acceptable to you. Next, close your eyes and see those things you would change about them in your own self. Remember how we react to others simply mirrors something that we see in ourselves.
- Exercise Emotional Intelligence: Try and see things from the backsliders point of view. Understand that they hurt, cry, feel angry and agitated sometimes, they love, feel passion and want to be happy and feel good just like YOU!
- Take Responsibility for Your Part: Make a list of the reasons you believe the backslider left the prison house. Did you encourage any of those reasons? Did you play a part in pushing them further away?
- Challenge the Reality of Your Fear: Realize that you have these fears for a reason. Where did they come from? Are they legitimate fears? How so? You have been made to believe that backsliders are bad people and that they are dangerous and need to be avoided. Challenge this mentality as it really has nothing to do with the love of God as it does with the agendas of the religious affiliation.
Remember that fear is the lowest vibrational emotion that exists.
Irrational fears keep you from the love of God, but perfect love casts out fear.
God does not want us to fear but to love.
God does not want us to judge but to accept.
God does not want us to control but to set people free!