Came out to most of my family this weekend
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23-06-2014, 04:26 AM
RE: Came out to most of my family this weekend
Congrats. I would say that took a measure of bravery that I lack at the moment. I recently had a family reunion and I couldn't imagine telling any of them I was atheist but when many bowed their heads for grace I did see about 6 others who didn't, heads held high, eyes open.

I smiled when I saw that.

When I was much younger I would imagine that I would be the only one who could warn them of a ninja attack. I was their silent protector.

To the aunt that cried I would ask her "Are you crying because you think your god will harm me in some way ? A battered woman in an abusive relationship is also afraid that the man she loves may also hurt the ones she loves. That's why you're crying. Some of us are brave enough to not live our lives in fear of what a god might do to us. When you let go of it, your life becomes so much happier. You should try it."

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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23-06-2014, 07:26 PM
RE: Came out to most of my family this weekend
It is interesting to learn people's reactions to this! Since this post, I have spoken with by best friend, and emailed another family member. The friend reacted with uncomfortable silence and that worried me, but I told her I'd send her a link to a blog I wrote about it, and after reading it, she messaged me back saying it made a lot of sense and that the reason she stopped going to church was because so many Christians she knew were hypocritical assholes. The family member told me she didn't understand but still loves me. She's one of those extroverted types who knows 5,342,983 people and sees someone she knows everywhere she goes. Those people are a diverse group, so she is used to dealing with differences.

I also asked the family members I mentioned above to read my blog post if they wished to do so. I sent them a group e-mail with the link, and I send a private message to the crying aunt telling her I didn't intend to hurt her and that I hoped reading the blog would help her understand. So far, I haven't heard back from anyone. They tend to take forever to reply to emails anyway, and the blog is long as shit, so I'm not especially concerned that they haven't responded yet.

If anyone wants to read the blog, here is the link. It's anonymous for now, because there are people I won't tell. I'm planning to share it with a select group of friends on facebook, and I expect to lose some, but screw them! A lot of them are just friends of friends, or people I knew in high school but haven't had face to face contact with in ages. If it helps anyone who is struggling with their own faith, or helps anyone realize atheists aren't evil baby eating Satan worshipers, I'm fine with the fallout. I warned you, it takes forever to read because I had a lot to say. I've been called a lot of things, but never succinct! Y'all are welcome to share the blog, or parts of it if you wish.

http://ownedthelableatheist.blogspot.com/
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24-06-2014, 03:00 PM
RE: Came out to most of my family this weekend
I'm amazed you're going to such lengths to come out! The only people I really care to mention it to are my grown children. My wife knows (and has for over 2 years) and she still doesn't deal with it well.

Her problem is that she's sort-of like your mother. She knows there are things that don't make sense in the Bible. She's had her own doubts. But she doesn't want to have those doubts, and so my affirmation that the doubts are actually correct upsets her.

It's way past time my kids know, but dealing with my wife's fear (and the fact that she's clinically depressed and has been possibly suicidal in the past) really prevents me from taking it any further. I would hope that freedom from religion would help her with her depression, but I really don't know whether it would do that, or if it would just give her an excuse to actually take her own life.

Oh, and in her depression, she feels guilty for me "losing my faith."

Anyway, it sounds to me like you've set yourself up to have a much easier future when dealing with people. Good job!
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24-06-2014, 03:09 PM
RE: Came out to most of my family this weekend
(23-06-2014 07:26 PM)beeglez Wrote:  It is interesting to learn people's reactions to this! Since this post, I have spoken with by best friend, and emailed another family member. The friend reacted with uncomfortable silence and that worried me, but I told her I'd send her a link to a blog I wrote about it, and after reading it, she messaged me back saying it made a lot of sense and that the reason she stopped going to church was because so many Christians she knew were hypocritical assholes. The family member told me she didn't understand but still loves me. She's one of those extroverted types who knows 5,342,983 people and sees someone she knows everywhere she goes. Those people are a diverse group, so she is used to dealing with differences.

I also asked the family members I mentioned above to read my blog post if they wished to do so. I sent them a group e-mail with the link, and I send a private message to the crying aunt telling her I didn't intend to hurt her and that I hoped reading the blog would help her understand. So far, I haven't heard back from anyone. They tend to take forever to reply to emails anyway, and the blog is long as shit, so I'm not especially concerned that they haven't responded yet.

If anyone wants to read the blog, here is the link. It's anonymous for now, because there are people I won't tell. I'm planning to share it with a select group of friends on facebook, and I expect to lose some, but screw them! A lot of them are just friends of friends, or people I knew in high school but haven't had face to face contact with in ages. If it helps anyone who is struggling with their own faith, or helps anyone realize atheists aren't evil baby eating Satan worshipers, I'm fine with the fallout. I warned you, it takes forever to read because I had a lot to say. I've been called a lot of things, but never succinct! Y'all are welcome to share the blog, or parts of it if you wish.

http://ownedthelableatheist.blogspot.com/

Beeglez,
You write well. I enjoyed reading your blog. You were forthright without being condescending or rude.
I have long given up expecting my family to understand why I am an atheist, settling instead for the easier goal of getting them to understand that I am an atheist.
Regards,

Doc
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24-06-2014, 03:11 PM
RE: Came out to most of my family this weekend
(23-06-2014 07:26 PM)beeglez Wrote:  It is interesting to learn people's reactions to this! Since this post, I have spoken with by best friend, and emailed another family member. The friend reacted with uncomfortable silence and that worried me, but I told her I'd send her a link to a blog I wrote about it, and after reading it, she messaged me back saying it made a lot of sense and that the reason she stopped going to church was because so many Christians she knew were hypocritical assholes. The family member told me she didn't understand but still loves me. She's one of those extroverted types who knows 5,342,983 people and sees someone she knows everywhere she goes. Those people are a diverse group, so she is used to dealing with differences.

I also asked the family members I mentioned above to read my blog post if they wished to do so. I sent them a group e-mail with the link, and I send a private message to the crying aunt telling her I didn't intend to hurt her and that I hoped reading the blog would help her understand. So far, I haven't heard back from anyone. They tend to take forever to reply to emails anyway, and the blog is long as shit, so I'm not especially concerned that they haven't responded yet.

If anyone wants to read the blog, here is the link. It's anonymous for now, because there are people I won't tell. I'm planning to share it with a select group of friends on facebook, and I expect to lose some, but screw them! A lot of them are just friends of friends, or people I knew in high school but haven't had face to face contact with in ages. If it helps anyone who is struggling with their own faith, or helps anyone realize atheists aren't evil baby eating Satan worshipers, I'm fine with the fallout. I warned you, it takes forever to read because I had a lot to say. I've been called a lot of things, but never succinct! Y'all are welcome to share the blog, or parts of it if you wish.

http://ownedthelableatheist.blogspot.com/

Thanks for the link, I'll have to check it out later. Smile


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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24-06-2014, 04:10 PM
RE: Came out to most of my family this weekend
(22-06-2014 02:49 PM)beeglez Wrote:  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.
Congratulations! I'm glad to hear it seems to have gone well on the whole. The ones with the stronger reactions will hopefully adjust with some time.

I am not accountable to any God. I am accountable to myself - and not because I think I am God as some theists would try to assert - but because, no matter what actions I take, thoughts I think, or words I utter, I have to be able to live with myself.
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24-06-2014, 06:04 PM
RE: Came out to most of my family this weekend
(24-06-2014 03:00 PM)MisterTwo Wrote:  It's way past time my kids know, but dealing with my wife's fear (and the fact that she's clinically depressed and has been possibly suicidal in the past) really prevents me from taking it any further. I would hope that freedom from religion would help her with her depression, but I really don't know whether it would do that, or if it would just give her an excuse to actually take her own life.

Oh, and in her depression, she feels guilty for me "losing my faith."

I know that feeling. My dad has depression, a history of suicidal thoughts (though no action), and has a chronic illness which will likely kill him in the next couple of years. He is devoutly religious and will absolutely feel it is his fault that I'm doomed to eternal damnation. There is no way I'm going to tell him. I told other people in part because I don't want to lie and cover my tracks if I go to atheist related events. I am hoping I can manage to keep it from him in the time he has left. I trust my family not to tell him. If he finds out through the grapevine, then he just finds out, but I hope to prevent that.
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24-06-2014, 06:07 PM
RE: Came out to most of my family this weekend
[/quote]

Beeglez,
You write well. I enjoyed reading your blog. You were forthright without being condescending or rude.
I have long given up expecting my family to understand why I am an atheist, settling instead for the easier goal of getting them to understand that I am an atheist.
Regards,

Doc
[/quote]

Thank you! I really enjoy writing. Speaking about heavy topics is difficult, especially if I'm put on the spot. I tend to fumble my words, and not express what I'd hoped to express. Writing is much easier.
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