Came out to most of my family this weekend
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22-06-2014, 02:49 PM
Came out to most of my family this weekend
Until last night, the only person in my family who knew I was an atheist was my devoutly religious sister. She was loving, supportive, and non-judgmental. Exactly as I expected.

The rest of my family was a mixed bag. I had predicted how they would react, and was somewhat accurate.

My mother- I told her alone last night. I expected tears and concern, but not rejection. That was pretty much what I got, minus the tears. She asked where I thought the Earth came from, if not God, and what I though happened when you die. I don't think she fully grasps what it means to be an atheist, because she kept saying "but you won't go to Heaven if you aren't saved". She is worried about my soul, but still loves me. She did tell me that she didn't understand why there was such violence in the Bible, which surprised me. I have never know her to question anything about religion

I told the rest of them over lunch at a restaurant today. I was hoping to do it at home with more privacy, but it has been a busy weekend, one of the rare times we are all together, and lunch was the one and only opportunity I had this weekend

My mom's boyfriend - I didn't expect a big reaction one way or the other. He never said a word, but hugged me as usual when it was time to leave. I think he is surprised, but ultimately, I don't think he cares.

My eldest aunt - I expected her to be calm but curious. I was spot on. She is highly educated and intelligent, and I knew she would want to understand. She had to leave right after lunch, but told me she definitely wanted to talk more about it and understand how someone could not believe in a deity. She is the only one who has shown any interest in discussing it.

My uncle - he's the jokester of the family, not overly religious himself, and probably questioning as well. I didn't think he'd have a real reaction, and he didn't. He did laugh and say "it took THAT long?" when I told him I'd only recently seriously questioned. Yet, when I clarified that I didn't believe in god at all, he said he was surprised I took it that far. Then we went to survey some family property, and he didn't mention it again.

My mom's younger sister - She's a free spirit, and I thought she wouldn't consider it a big deal. I thought she'd be surprised, and maybe have some questions. What she did was cry, and not say a word to me about it. That was shocking and very uncomfortable. I wasn't prepared for it. I tried to tell her I wasn't trying to hurt her, but she wouldn't talk to me. She just cried. When we were ready to leave, she got up and walked away, but she went with my uncle and me to survey property and in the car, talked to me as if nothing had happened. Neither of us mentioned it again.

My cousin and her husband (daughter of the free spirit aunt). I thought she would be upset and angry, and though she didn't say it, I think she was. She did say it was my business and not up to her, but I think she was mad that I made her mom cry. Her husband looked at me like a deer in the headlights and didn't discuss it. I don't know him terribly well, and had no idea what to expect.

My mom's youngest sister - She in only 10 years older than I, and was always the 'cool' aunt. She was a teenager when I was a kid. She's sensitive, deeply caring, and emotional, and I thought she would be upset (worried about me upset, not angry upset). I expected her to cry, but instead she was also a bit curious, and very calm and accepting. She asked a couple of questions, and told me she thought people should be accepting of differences.
Both she and my oldest aunt thanked me for telling them.

It was emotionally exhausting, but I'm glad I did it. Now, I won't have to tiptoe around and avoid discussing atheist related activities or talking about friends from meetup.
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22-06-2014, 03:10 PM
RE: Came out to most of my family this weekend
Good on'ya!

Coming from and living in cultures where this is never really "a thing", it still amazes me that anyone has to come out.

Thanks for sharing the experience.

Let us know if there is any delayed fall-out.

Thumbsup

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22-06-2014, 03:18 PM
RE: Came out to most of my family this weekend
Yeah, it can be a big deal in the US, especially in the South where I'm from. People lose jobs, friends, and family. The aunt who was curious and wanted to talk about it told me she didn't know anyone who was an atheist. I pointed out that she probably did and just didn't know it!
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22-06-2014, 03:45 PM (This post was last modified: 22-06-2014 03:48 PM by kim.)
RE: Came out to most of my family this weekend
That is very cool! Thumbsup

Sounds as if they took it pretty well. Don't worry about your aunt crying... maybe she's just an emotional person. Or maybe she's not quite as free spirited as you may have thought. Shy Either way, she will have to deal with her emotions for herself.

It's interesting for you to know your Mom finds the violence in the bible questionable but it isn't all that surprising. She is a human being and sometimes, we can forget this about our Moms and Dads. It's also probably a good feeling for her that she can be honest with you. You two seem to have a good relationship and it's possible this "new" information can become a greater part of that.

Do keep us updated and as always, feel free to *vent if necessary.

*There's always the possibility of that unforeseen frustration once the cat is out of the bag. Wink

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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22-06-2014, 03:57 PM
RE: Came out to most of my family this weekend
[Image: tumblr_m6h84mAoMS1rwcc6bo1_500.gif#high%...%20500x270]



Well done! And you read your family well.


I would expect some push back from a few members, namely the ones who were crying over it. Its going to take awhile for them to get their heads wrapped around it. But they sound like nice enough folks to not banish you even after they get a chance to question you.


do you feel like a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders now?


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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22-06-2014, 05:36 PM
RE: Came out to most of my family this weekend
Code:
do you feel like a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders now?
[/quote]

I definitely feel as if a weight has been lifted!   If I do get any push back, I think it will be from the cousin.    She said it was none of her business, but her face looked like it might have looked if I'd said "Just wanted to let you guys know, I have found I like pulling the heads off puppies"   :D
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22-06-2014, 05:44 PM
RE: Came out to most of my family this weekend
Congrats! Thumbsup

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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22-06-2014, 06:22 PM
RE: Came out to most of my family this weekend
Glad to hear it! Thumbsup

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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22-06-2014, 07:58 PM
RE: Came out to most of my family this weekend
Thread moved from the Personal Issues and Support section (after checking with the author (who is now a TTA Certified Expert in "Family Management" and can offer support for appropriate consulting fees)). Wink

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23-06-2014, 04:20 AM
RE: Came out to most of my family this weekend
It's so nice to clear the air, isn't it? Smile I hope everything stays relatively stable for ya. I know how southerners can be Wink

Atheism is the only way to truly be free from sin.
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