Synchronicity working as usual. Yesterday I have started listening to my audio book Four Agreements. Heard about it long time ago, finally got it few days ago, because I have found out that the Czech version of the audio book is read by my favourite actor Jaroslav Dusek (definitely an old soul and some sort of kindred spirit) who has also created some other projects related to it. And I always read English stuff in original, but I had to get this in Czech just because he reads it.
Well, basically part of what is said there, is that we have a large amount of agreements with ourself, with others etc. Most of them are agreed to unconsciously. In Michael speak, lot of them come under Imprinting, but others don't and can be created consciously.
So if you were imprinted ("signed" and internal agreement) that you deserve to suffer, then you are acting according to that agreement. From what I can tell, most people have been more or less imprinted this way, although the strength of that imprinting/agreement differs, and also what differs is whether/how much that agreement/imprinting has been reinforced during the life.
You mention religion. Think just for a typical example about someone growing up under Christianity influence. I mean what can you glean from being told, as a child, that you are basically a sinner by nature. And if you think that this does not influence you if you did not grow up in Christian home, think again. It's pervasive. Nonetheless, it's only one of many ways we are being made to feel like s%#@ from the second we are born. Average parent also does a fair bit in this, no matter how unintentionally, unless they use very conscious methods of parenting, but even then, as humans, they will at times make their kids feel like crap in some way. And as if that was not enough, unless we are consciously working on ourselves, we of course pass such emotional poisonings on, making other people feel bad. We even do this if we work on ourselves, but in general, less then when acting completely out of unconscious programs.
Agreements tend to be self-reinforcing. What we have agreed to/believe, attracts more of the same, which then reinforces that agreement further as an experience.
Reasons for such imprinting can be numerous and I cannot think of a generalisation here. Some people may have for example grown up in a Baby Soul culture with a lot of "shoulds" and strict norms of behaviour. Imagine that there is something they need to go against in that culture. Not at all because they are much of a rebel, but imagine that the "rules" are impossible to obey for some reason. Now imagine that this going against those rules has some negative consequences (as it would have more or less). Through subtle or less subtle imprinting, messages would be incoming that the person basically deserves to suffer. Of course the person does not HAVE to accept it, but it is rather difficult not to, if the influence is very strong.
Or you happen to be born into an abusive family. Throughout your formative years, your life will be suffering. It would be pretty much impossible to grow up without self-worth issues. And if you feel worthless, you don't believe you deserve better. This shines from you unmistakably. If you ever met a person who feels worthless, I am certain you were able to tell. And if you had to interact with them, you might have even mistreat them yourself or find it very hard not to. Not by far soon into the relationship, but eventually it is difficult not to reflect their own belief. Or at least this has been my experience.
As for expressing strange thoughts, best thing in my experience is to acknowledge to myself that i have them. So what. They are just weird thoughts. Nothing else. They cannot do anything. Acknowledge them. In my experience, they tend to go away when you do, and they stay the more you refuse them and deny them. I don't think you have to understand them. Just acknowledge they are there and that it's okay and you are okay.