Defence mechanisms are activated in relation to them
Feelings of the futility of suffering, the brevity of life, one's fundamental abandonment, etc . One assumption is that we all need to deal with these feelings one way or another, they are simply overpowering. Religion as a way to escape or gain some distance from such feelings and questions. Anxiety can be moderated or kept away using different coping strategies. These serve the same purpose, but involve a greater or lesser restriction on the functioning of the individual. Religion has been perceived by many writers (Freud et al.) to be – even, or exclusively this – a framework of such coping strategies. However, religious and spiritual teachings and interpretive traditions are very different from each other. An underlying hypothesis for this study is that different thought systems or frameworks within the religious-spiritual sphere entail different great limitations on the individual's ability to function, in that they actually activate or sanction different coping strategies. One way to investigate this may be to ask followers of different teachings how they experience and answer the eternal questions.
However, there is no simple one-to-one relationship that is assumed to exist between the answers given and which coping strategies the individual uses. An underlying hypothesis for this study, however, is that parallels that can be demonstrated (according to the principle of "guilt by association" tell something about a pressure or a tension field that the individual in question has to live under and try to navigate. At the group level, this will also distinguish the followers of different teachings from each other. The hypothesis is further that the pressure exerted by the thought system will be noticeable both in them and before their encounter with the current thought system has a relatively mature and stable psyche – which in this context is that they are able to use preferably higher or more mature coping strategies – as well as in those who before have a more unstable psyche and have to rely on lower-level defense mechanisms. This will be noticeable at the group level.
That you should have chosen your own parents, and/or that you call difficult life experiences "disguised love" (based on the notion that all experiences aim to develop us towards perfection), has obvious similarities to the reactions you find also in, for example, abused partners and neglected children who want to blame themselves. We are prepared within us to be able to retreat to more basic levels of consciousness, and to be able to activate defense mechanisms (introjection, identification with aggressor, "freeze", etc.) in order to fend off or moderate painful or anguished experiences. Is it likely that an individual can live with a world of imagination, a cognitive material, which in many paragraphs could be a "verbalization" of very primitive defenses, without curtailing the individual's life experience and cognitive ability? Behind the hypothesis of this study lies the assumption that such a distinction is hardly possible to make/maintain.