Do I tell my depressed mom I'm an atheist?
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05-06-2013, 10:44 PM
Question Do I tell my depressed mom I'm an atheist?
Hi there,
I was wondering if someone could give me an advice. I have a great life, an amazing husband, great carrier, friends, and family. I’m absolutely content and happy being an atheist. However, there’s a problem.
My mom is going through depression after she divorced my dad and unfortunately her dad died at about the same time. She was very close to him. So now she attends Bible study group and any conversation you have with her – everything comes back to God and how Jesus Christ told us to love each other and… you know the story.
I really don’t know if I should tell her about my views, because I think it will hurt her way too much and I can see that she really needs her beliefs because it makes it easier for her to cope with the depression. I’m happy to just carry on and not tell her, I actually always thought that would be the case with us. However she’s getting more aggressive with her beliefs, I think she starts suspect I’m an atheist. She pushes them onto me, she keeps telling me to pray for her and all that stuff and I keep quiet and nod, but it affects our relationships. She thinks that anyone who doesn’t believe in god is somehow evil and immoral.
A part of me wants to tell my mom and have a reasonable discussion about it, after all I’m a grown up person; I’ve put a lot of thoughts and research into it. I didn’t just woke up one day and decided not to believe in god anymore, just to make my mom’s life difficultBlush Funny enough I was brought up in a very liberal and educated environment, and was thought to question things and authority, never to be a blind follower.
On the other hand I don’t want to destroy her faith, because she is really depressed and constantly tell me that god saved her and I should praise him every day for still having a mother. Now that I wrote it, it makes mom sound like a crazy person, but I really think the degree of her delusion is so severe that there’s nothing I can do, but I feel really dishonest towards her and towards myself.
What do I do? Shall I carry on as it is to save my mom’s feelings and the rest of the sanity she’s got left or do I try to explain to her in the most loving way to stop harassing me with her bible?
Thank you very much for your helpSmile
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06-06-2013, 07:26 AM
RE: Do I tell my depressed mom I'm an atheist?
(05-06-2013 10:44 PM)Happy Wrote:  Hi there,
I was wondering if someone could give me an advice. I have a great life, an amazing husband, great carrier, friends, and family. I’m absolutely content and happy being an atheist. However, there’s a problem.
My mom is going through depression after she divorced my dad and unfortunately her dad died at about the same time. She was very close to him. So now she attends Bible study group and any conversation you have with her – everything comes back to God and how Jesus Christ told us to love each other and… you know the story.
I really don’t know if I should tell her about my views, because I think it will hurt her way too much and I can see that she really needs her beliefs because it makes it easier for her to cope with the depression. I’m happy to just carry on and not tell her, I actually always thought that would be the case with us. However she’s getting more aggressive with her beliefs, I think she starts suspect I’m an atheist. She pushes them onto me, she keeps telling me to pray for her and all that stuff and I keep quiet and nod, but it affects our relationships. She thinks that anyone who doesn’t believe in god is somehow evil and immoral.
A part of me wants to tell my mom and have a reasonable discussion about it, after all I’m a grown up person; I’ve put a lot of thoughts and research into it. I didn’t just woke up one day and decided not to believe in god anymore, just to make my mom’s life difficultBlush Funny enough I was brought up in a very liberal and educated environment, and was thought to question things and authority, never to be a blind follower.
On the other hand I don’t want to destroy her faith, because she is really depressed and constantly tell me that god saved her and I should praise him every day for still having a mother. Now that I wrote it, it makes mom sound like a crazy person, but I really think the degree of her delusion is so severe that there’s nothing I can do, but I feel really dishonest towards her and towards myself.
What do I do? Shall I carry on as it is to save my mom’s feelings and the rest of the sanity she’s got left or do I try to explain to her in the most loving way to stop harassing me with her bible?
Thank you very much for your helpSmile

Hi, Im in a similar situation. The main reason I havent tell my family I dont believe in "God" anymore is my mom, she is very sensitive and always worried about me, my brothers, her mom, sisters, etc.

What I decided is to just wait and be patient, she will notice it bit a bit (I hope) just as a couple of friends of mine have actually asked me if I believe in god. She probably already knows and is in denial, but if she ever asks, I would just say it "no, I dont believe God exists". I think it will hurt her more if I lie about it and she knows is not true (Im a terrible liar...).

Anyway, in your case it may be worth to wait a little while. My brother was driven to a protestant church by a friend and at first he was all god over here, god over there, (he became very, very, very religious). Months later he was more "normal" (much less obsessed) about it.

if your faith can move mountains it should be able to withstand criticism
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06-06-2013, 07:40 AM
RE: Do I tell my depressed mom I'm an atheist?
if it were me....I would work on just pushing back a bit and establishing a boundary. It would require a heart to heart talk, but I'm not sure she is in a position that could hear 'I'm an atheist' yet.

Maybe something along the lines of "Mom you are happy in your beliefs and I'm happy with mine. Stop pushing me to do things your way."


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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06-06-2013, 07:50 AM
RE: Do I tell my depressed mom I'm an atheist?
(06-06-2013 07:40 AM)Bows and Arrows Wrote:  if it were me....I would work on just pushing back a bit and establishing a boundary. It would require a heart to heart talk, but I'm not sure she is in a position that could hear 'I'm an atheist' yet.

Maybe something along the lines of "Mom you are happy in your beliefs and I'm happy with mine. Stop pushing me to do things your way."

I have to agree with Bows and Arrows. I think you could push back in a way that wouldn't be offensive but could also set boundaries.

Not sure if I would say "stop pushing me to do things your way" though.
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06-06-2013, 07:51 AM
RE: Do I tell my depressed mom I'm an atheist?
Allow her time to grieve both the death and the death of the marriage.

She won't be able to process your news with any degree of clarity while she is in the state she's in. She thinks religion is helping her cope, and perhaps it is.

Stand up for your personal boundaries but now may not be the best time for a talk like that. If she feels religion is all she has keeping her together and you blast that, she is bound to become defensive not understanding of your lack of belief.

Good luck, hope things get better soon.

I’m not anti-social. I’m pro-solitude. ~Author Unknown
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06-06-2013, 08:24 AM
RE: Do I tell my depressed mom I'm an atheist?
What Angie said.
Think of a kind way to say "You know, I just am not interested in getting into all that right now. I think we should concentrate on how we can make you feel a little better. I'm mostly concerned about you right now".

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Sent by Jebus to put the stud back in Bible Study. "I believe Mr. Peanut is the Messiah" -- onlinebiker
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06-06-2013, 10:14 AM
RE: Do I tell my depressed mom I'm an atheist?
(05-06-2013 10:44 PM)Happy Wrote:  Hi there,
I was wondering if someone could give me an advice. I have a great life, an amazing husband, great carrier, friends, and family. I’m absolutely content and happy being an atheist. However, there’s a problem.
My mom is going through depression after she divorced my dad and unfortunately her dad died at about the same time. She was very close to him. So now she attends Bible study group and any conversation you have with her – everything comes back to God and how Jesus Christ told us to love each other and… you know the story.
I really don’t know if I should tell her about my views, because I think it will hurt her way too much and I can see that she really needs her beliefs because it makes it easier for her to cope with the depression. I’m happy to just carry on and not tell her, I actually always thought that would be the case with us. However she’s getting more aggressive with her beliefs, I think she starts suspect I’m an atheist. She pushes them onto me, she keeps telling me to pray for her and all that stuff and I keep quiet and nod, but it affects our relationships. She thinks that anyone who doesn’t believe in god is somehow evil and immoral.
A part of me wants to tell my mom and have a reasonable discussion about it, after all I’m a grown up person; I’ve put a lot of thoughts and research into it. I didn’t just woke up one day and decided not to believe in god anymore, just to make my mom’s life difficultBlush Funny enough I was brought up in a very liberal and educated environment, and was thought to question things and authority, never to be a blind follower.
On the other hand I don’t want to destroy her faith, because she is really depressed and constantly tell me that god saved her and I should praise him every day for still having a mother. Now that I wrote it, it makes mom sound like a crazy person, but I really think the degree of her delusion is so severe that there’s nothing I can do, but I feel really dishonest towards her and towards myself.
What do I do? Shall I carry on as it is to save my mom’s feelings and the rest of the sanity she’s got left or do I try to explain to her in the most loving way to stop harassing me with her bible?
Thank you very much for your helpSmile

Let's say your mom had a tooth ache and she decided to take heroine for it instead of seeing a dentist. You know she has an infection that could kill her and you know that the heroine she's taking will only mask the problem, while the tooth decay rages on in her head, getting more and more dangerous as the days go by, thereby bringing her closer and closer to dying from an infection that could be cured with a round of antibiotic and a half hour in a dentist's chair.

Do you just smile and nod when she ingests heroine? Or do you counsel her to see a dentist?

Depression is a serious problem that can have serious affects on a person's health. Including shortening of lifespan by way of either suicide or other biological issues.

Your mom needs to see a therapist, not a priest. Of course, you can't help her at this point by telling her you're an atheist but you can encourage her to seek therapy. And if she's willing to take therapy and eventually becomes more rational, then would be a good time to share that you're an atheist.

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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06-06-2013, 10:34 AM
RE: Do I tell my depressed mom I'm an atheist?
What Anjele said too.

Honestly, I wouldn't bring up your nonbelief.

I would say exactly what Bucky said too...

"Let's not talk about that, lets see what we can do to get you some help. I think you're sad and depressed and who wouldn't be? Maybe it's time to see a doctor who might help."

My own experience with religion and mourning...I think that people don't mean to do harm, in general, but the subtle and not so subtle reminders are often bad.

My mother in law went through that when my father in law died. She asked people nicely not to mention fil. If she needed to talk about him..she'd bring it up.

But the church people wouldn't respect that. They wanted to "help" her. They insisted upon "helping" her. Each time she saw one of them, they'd mention her loss.


Anyway hope you come back and let us know how things are going for your mom.
Hug

The sun rises in the West and the bird shits on the coffeetable.


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06-06-2013, 11:19 AM
 
RE: Do I tell my depressed mom I'm an atheist?
In my opinion, there is nothing about being an atheist that requires you to "stand up" for your beliefs. It's not like you're going to go to hell if you deny atheism.

So, you don't need to tell her anything about how you believe, because presumably, you don't believe anything. Atheism is not a cause--it's just a lack of belief. You could go to church all day long and pretend to be a Christian, that doesn't mean you're not an atheist.

But on the other hand, you don't have to be assaulted by someone who's intruding their religion into every conversation you have. Just tell her plainly that you don't want to talk about religion. If it causes discontent, then give the relationship some breathing room for awhile. Because you said she divorced your Dad. I don't know how bad the situation was, but whatever, she did the act. Her depression is her own.

Just be yourself. Don't try to change to meet someone's depression or you'll end up down the vortex with them--believe me, I know. I've sucked enough people into mine.
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06-06-2013, 12:26 PM
RE: Do I tell my depressed mom I'm an atheist?
(06-06-2013 11:19 AM)Egor Wrote:  In my opinion, there is nothing about being an atheist that requires you to "stand up" for your beliefs. It's not like you're going to go to hell if you deny atheism.

So, you don't need to tell her anything about how you believe, because presumably, you don't believe anything. Atheism is not a cause--it's just a lack of belief. You could go to church all day long and pretend to be a Christian, that doesn't mean you're not an atheist.

You're only half-right here. She's not standing up for a belief. She is standing up for her integrity. Don't trivialize this problem. I suspect that many of us have been there. Anyway, I agree. She shouldn't tell her -- yet.

"That's not the proof I want."
"You'll have such proof as exists. You are the only one responsible for your own wants."
- Isaac Asimov, I, Robot
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