Being a closeted atheist makes me feel so paranoid around my parents
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17-04-2015, 11:47 AM
RE: Being a closeted atheist makes me feel so paranoid around my parents
No one can ultimately tell you how to deal with this. Only you know your parents as well as you do.

I will say that if they have treated you well, meaning not flipping out over other things, and you have kept your nose clean for the most part as they raised you, and you have good communication skills, you could approach it this way, sit them down, start the conversation with "I love you no matter what, you know I have been a good kid, but I am now an atheist". They may not accept it at first, but after that every time they bring it up if they do, just keep repeating that you are still the same person, you just have changed your mind on claims of gods.

But that is still a risk if you have been raised in a deeply religious family you might simply just bite the bullet, go knowing you don't live with them under their rules.

My younger sister and I are atheists, but when I first met her as an adult, because we were both adopted to different families, when I finally found her, she was still a believer. That was in 96 when we first met. We only talked a few times and back then because of her belief and my atheism we didn't talk that much and went silent up until about 3 years ago, when I got a call from my older sister that my younger sister wanted to talk to me.

My younger sister caught a shitstorm from our biological family, they didn't disown her, but they did constantly talk behind her back and treated her as suspect. Not so much now because they've gotten used to her. But it was bad for her for a while because she had no one but her husband to talk to.

I on the other hand when first told my adoptive mom I was an atheist, she treated it like a phase and thought I would grow out of it. She now knows that won't happen, she is still Catholic, but doesn't go ape shit if I talk to her about it. She's actually a great listener.

But again, only you can gauge how your family may react. I will say this, no matter what you decide to do, nobody has a right to suck the emotional life out of you are verbally abuse you. I don't merely mean getting offended occasionally, my mom and I raise our voices to each other all the time, but the difference is we never stay angry an we love each other deeply. It is a cost benefit issue and it is up to you what you are willing to live with, but like I said, only you can decide that.

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17-04-2015, 08:13 PM
RE: Being a closeted atheist makes me feel so paranoid around my parents
Your parents aren't as dumb as you might think. I'm sure they've picked up on your lack of interest in going to church. When they ask you what you'd like to do, why over think it? It may be a genuine question that they'd like to do something with you but aren't sure what you'd enjoy doing. Stop worrying about hurting your parents, they've been around the block a few times and I'm sure they'll survive what you wish to tell them. They may even wonder why you haven't told them. Going to church is more of a social aspect than what's being read from the pulpit. You have to put up with one to get the other. And maybe that's all they've been doing.
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19-04-2015, 04:41 PM (This post was last modified: 19-04-2015 04:52 PM by cactus.)
RE: Being a closeted atheist makes me feel so paranoid around my parents
I asked my dad what he wanted to do today, and he was like "Oh, whatever you want." I acted preoccupied and stayed silent until he said "Well, we usually go to the church service at 9:00," and I immediately put on my "whatever, that's cool with me" face and was like "Well there you go. That's what we'll do then."

So yeah, there was an infant baptism, and the pastor walked up and down the aisles holding the baby talking about how he was dedicating the baby to the church. Ugh, total creepage right there. I couldn't even look at the pastor as he was walking past me holding that baby. It made me so uncomfortable that I couldn't keep my legs from involuntarily twitching.

Other than that, it was pretty boring, and slightly offensive. The pastor gave a whole sermon that was like "It's okay to have doubts. God doesn't expect you to not have doubts... but he does expect you to seek faith in him at all costs, and keep reading the Bible as much as possible, especially as interpreted by your peers and other Christian apologists who will help push those pesky little doubts into the back of your mind where they belong." Facepalm

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19-04-2015, 09:05 PM
RE: Being a closeted atheist makes me feel so paranoid around my parents
I'm in the same kind of situation with my own family. I've kept my head low for years about this particular subject because I know exactly how they'll react and I want to either delay that blow up from happening, or just keep it to myself and avoid it altogether. Maybe your parents are different; it sounds like your dad may be more open than you thought. I think I would just keep the peace for as long as possible, but that's just my approach to dealing with this kind of situation. You know your family much better than any of us Smile

I also totally understand the uncomfortable feeling at church. When I was a believer, it was fun and joyful, but now I feel very uncomfortable at church services (at least the ones I go to with my parents) for the same reasons you listed. I find myself rolling my eyes all the time and looking around at all the people focusing so intently on everything the pastor says, even when what he says is complete and blatant BS. But then I look at my mother and remember why I'm there. I suffer through offensive, misinformed sermons because going to church is what she likes to do and she's so happy when I spend time with her at church.

Best of luck with your situation Smile

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19-04-2015, 09:34 PM
RE: Being a closeted atheist makes me feel so paranoid around my parents
Makes me paranoid, too. I have a cross in my room that my mom hung on the wall - I'm afraid to take it down and her question it. There's a bible on my nightstand. In my car there is a cross with a bible verse on it clipped to my passenger visor holding my proof of insurance, again mom put it in my car.

I had to stop myself from saying, "really. Let's watch seething else" two days ago when dad was channel surfing and stopped for a bit on Joel Osteen preaching. I don't like to go out to eat with them because they insist that we pray before the meal with heads bowed.

I was talking to my grandfather yesterday about how I wanted to take a trip to the Smokies and just relax a bit. His response "well, if you'll just set aside some more time to read your bible you'll find that peace you're looking for." I just responded, "what I'm trying to say is I need some fresh air. I spend all night in a hospital."

And the constant "you need to find a church home and make some friends. That's where you find good people." So I just say - "I work most weekend, and I'm on night shift. Not exactly favorable to getting involved in a church right now.

Or my mom saying "I just don't understand why you feel like you need to have friends. You wouldn't feel lonely of you had god at the center of your life." Well mom, not like I have a husband anymore for companionship.

It's definitely frustrating. I field religious conversation multiple times in daily conversations with my family. It's not wise for me to come out of the closet right now when I depend on my parents' help with my son. I also don't want to upset my elderly grandparents and cause them grief and strain out relationship in their final years. I don't say anything like "have a blessed day," or "I'll pray about it," or "gods so great - listen to this positive whatever" to keep up a facade, I just nod my head, say what I have to and try to change the conversation.

"If there's a single thing that life teaches us, it's that wishing doesn't make it so." - Lev Grossman
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20-04-2015, 07:25 AM
RE: Being a closeted atheist makes me feel so paranoid around my parents
cactus- Its sounds (from what you post), that your parents could handle the news, yes it would be uncomfortable for awhile, but they would see that they raised you right. I wouldnt go for the word 'atheist' but maybe humanist or something more pallatable. And plan something for the next Sunday, maybe make it a situation where you take turns, one visit you go to church with them, the next visit you go someplace else (museum, day at the beach, movies). Answer the question they ask-- honestly.
Do you want o go to church? No, Id rather not. I was hoping we could go ___.

Do you still believe?- I had doubts for a really long time, and right now I don't see any evidence. When I find some definate proof, I will rethink my position.

Will you talk to ___? read this pamphlet? study this? have you heard? you just need___. thanks, I know you mean well, but I'm good with where I'm at. I am hoping you can accept that I have my own thoughts about religion and even though we think differently, that I love you just the same.

I know its a shock, but you raised me to think critically and with good morals and ethics. I am happy and healthy. It will be ok. really.

I find rehearsal of possible ways the conversation will go helps me. I get tongue tied when put on the spot. I need to walk thru the words a few times - it gives me confidence, calms my nerves, and when they finally come out of my mouth they sound much better, more calm, thought out and seem to bring the stress level down in the other person.

nurse-- I would tell my mom a soda exploded in the car and you had to toss all that shit out because it got soaked and sticky. Or it keeps falling an is going to cause an accident, you need some boundaries. your room, your car is your personal space. Back her the fuck off.

"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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