Any tips on dealing with family?
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16-08-2016, 11:45 AM
Any tips on dealing with family?
So in my intro thread I said my family doesn't know I'm atheist, but some things have happened the last few days that tells me things are about to come to a head. My parents called me and actually wanted specifics on where I was going to church and all that, and I had to weave around it. I'm pretty sure it's only going to ramp up and honestly I don't know if I should just keep the charade going as long as possible or just come clean and deal with it. They are older and very set in their ways, so I want to upset them as little as possible.

But honestly this is taking a very stressful toll on me. I'm not the strongest willed person and due to the upbringing I've had, when my parents start in on me, I tend to revert back to a little boy doing what I'm told. But I'm 40 and tired of doing that, so I have to stand up for myself. I hate what this religious shit has done to me.

I'm a realist so I know there is likley no solution that doesn't involve some pain, and I'm starting to accept that in some way this isn't going to go well, but I can't sit around worried about this anymore. I (hopefully) have a lot of life left and I'm not going to live it scared about what my family thinks.
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16-08-2016, 11:57 AM (This post was last modified: 16-08-2016 12:28 PM by Mr. Boston.)
RE: Any tips on dealing with family?
I think you pretty much have to be straight with them about it. They will decide how big a problem it is for them. I realized I was an atheist at about age 12 or 13. I didn't formally "come out" to my mother until I was 26 and planning my wedding - there was just no way to discuss the fact that we wanted a secular ceremony without having to explain why, lol. I never formally brought up my atheism with her prior to that, not because I was afraid of what she would think but because religion really just wasn't an element of our relationship. She was a Methodist minister at the time (since retired) but she knew I wasn't a regular church goer and seemed comfortable with that. It wasn't until my wife-to-be and I asked her to perform our wedding ceremony, but not mention god and Jesus, that the whole thing came to a head. We thought we could skirt the topic and frame it in the light that my wife's family is Jewish on one side and Catholic on the other and with our family being a smattering of assorted Christian denominations we thought it best to just make it a secular ceremony focused on our own commitment to each other as husband and wife. It worked for awhile until she started pushing me about why I wouldn't have just general non-denominational references to an un-named higher power. That's when I had to be frank with her that I wasn't going to base my wedding on any kind of supernatural realm I didn't believe in. She got over it in time and now my ethnically-Jewish quasi-deist wife and un-baptized kids are a HUGE part of my mom's life and make her very happy.

Things tend to work out - or they don't. And that's okay too.
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17-08-2016, 12:48 AM
RE: Any tips on dealing with family?
Resident Evil,

IMHO we have to make our own way in life and form our own beliefs. Good parents facilitate that.

Having your own beliefs does not have to mean confrontation, although it happens all too often, especially over politics and religion. I hope it works out for you, even if it takes some time to settle down.

Good thoughts,

D.
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17-08-2016, 02:38 AM
RE: Any tips on dealing with family?
You cannot control their feelings. Most of the time, we cannot even control our own feelings.

Most of the time we can only control our behavior. Be decent, be civil, and be honest. If they insist on a break, that is on their shoulders. But don't burn bridges.
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17-08-2016, 03:40 PM
RE: Any tips on dealing with family?
You're 40. They don't really get a say any more. How they react is largely up to them, though you might be able to help things along by keeping your head if they lose theirs.

Next time they ask just tell them that you don't go to church. When they ask tell them that you know longer believe. Avoid the A-word. Nothing wrong with being an atheist but to certain fundamentalist mindsets you might as well be humping a goat. Avoid getting drawn into an argument about the how and why. That's best dealt with when the initial shock has passed.

---
Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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17-08-2016, 03:54 PM
RE: Any tips on dealing with family?
(17-08-2016 03:40 PM)Paleophyte Wrote:  Avoid the A-word. Nothing wrong with being an atheist but to certain fundamentalist mindsets you might as well be humping a goat.

This is a great point. I live down here in Texas, albeit a little more liberal of a spot, but still overrun with believers. When the topic does come up -- not often, mind you -- I simply say "I'm not a believer" or "I have no faith", and it's not failed yet to keep the conversation civil if not even friendly.

I don't know why, but "atheist" sure gets their hackles up.
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19-08-2016, 01:11 PM
RE: Any tips on dealing with family?
I would just say "I stopped going to church years ago" and then essentially refuse to discuss it further. In fact, if they got aggressive about it I would either quietly hang up on them, or if visiting them in person would cut the visit short and go home.

At age 40 and independent, you need not take flak from anyone, including other family members. Hiding your true self will not make you feel any better; it will simply increase your stress and taint your happiness.
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25-08-2016, 01:03 PM
RE: Any tips on dealing with family?
Thanks for the replies guys, I will keep these in mind. I will no doubt be seeing them within the next month.
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25-08-2016, 01:07 PM
RE: Any tips on dealing with family?
You could tell them you've become a Jehovah's Witness --- and after they're good and upset --- tell them you're joking - you're really an atheist....


They'll be so relieved, they'll think being an atheist isn't so bad................


Wink

.......................................

The difference between prayer and masturbation - is when a guy is through masturbating - he has something to show for his efforts.
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25-08-2016, 01:10 PM
RE: Any tips on dealing with family?
(25-08-2016 01:07 PM)onlinebiker Wrote:  You could tell them you've become a Jehovah's Witness --- and after they're good and upset --- tell them you're joking - you're really an atheist....


They'll be so relieved, they'll think being an atheist isn't so bad................


Wink

My wife joked that I should tell them I'm gay and a Democrat. Then when they get all upset say "Nah just kidding, but seriously, I don't believe in your god".
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