How to deal with my friend's really religious mother?
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15-04-2017, 11:55 PM
How to deal with my friend's really religious mother?
Today I got together with my friend so she could help me work on my senior presentation, since she's a year older and already graduated high school. It was nice to spend some time with her, as we had not really been able to do that before. I have a somewhat difficult time leaving home due to my health issues, but lately I've been trying to branch out more to try and boost my endurance. I've known for quite some time that her family is religious, as I go to school with her younger brother, but the topic has never seriously come up. I would ask her how church was as a way to start small talk, and that'd be about it. She knows I'm an atheist and we have a mutual respect for each other so things go fine.

The "issue" I guess really starts when I met her mother today. She began to talk about how even though I have my health issues, I am made in the image of God, and how she would pray for my sick grandfather(along with the rest of my family) who I plan to visit over the summer before I start college. I thought to myself at the time that she probably hasn't been around people who have beliefs different from her own, and that this way just her way of being nice towards me. She was a very kind women, and could empathize with a lot of what I have gone through, I have no ill will towards her or my friends for being Christians. I stood there and politely nodded to what she said, occasionally responding with "Yes ma'am" or "I understand ma'am." The whole situation just made me uncomfortable.

I could see on my friend's face that she was uncomfortable by this too, because she understands my beliefs(or lack thereof) and I am thankful she didn't out me as an atheist to her mother, as I don't know how she will react. I still want to be able to friends with her children, and they all are just such nice people. I just don't know what to do if I continue to see her, should I eventually tell her or should I just sit quietly and nod my way through the whole conversation like I did today? I don't want to risk losing friends or make it sound as if I'm attacking anyone, and I know religious people, especially the very devout ones have a lot of misconceptions about atheists. I don't want my friend's mother to mistake me for one of those people, but I also don't want to have to pretend I'm something I'm not or to continue to be put in situations like this where I am uncomfortable.

Does anyone have any advice for me?

Sorry this is so long-winded.

It's alright to laugh at me, I've been laughing at myself for years.
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16-04-2017, 12:55 AM (This post was last modified: 16-04-2017 01:19 AM by JesseB.)
RE: How to deal with my friend's really religious mother?
(15-04-2017 11:55 PM)ScarletStormBreaker Wrote:  Today I got together with my friend so she could help me work on my senior presentation, since she's a year older and already graduated high school. It was nice to spend some time with her, as we had not really been able to do that before. I have a somewhat difficult time leaving home due to my health issues, but lately I've been trying to branch out more to try and boost my endurance. I've known for quite some time that her family is religious, as I go to school with her younger brother, but the topic has never seriously come up. I would ask her how church was as a way to start small talk, and that'd be about it. She knows I'm an atheist and we have a mutual respect for each other so things go fine.

The "issue" I guess really starts when I met her mother today. She began to talk about how even though I have my health issues, I am made in the image of God, and how she would pray for my sick grandfather(along with the rest of my family) who I plan to visit over the summer before I start college. I thought to myself at the time that she probably hasn't been around people who have beliefs different from her own, and that this way just her way of being nice towards me. She was a very kind women, and could empathize with a lot of what I have gone through, I have no ill will towards her or my friends for being Christians. I stood there and politely nodded to what she said, occasionally responding with "Yes ma'am" or "I understand ma'am." The whole situation just made me uncomfortable.

I could see on my friend's face that she was uncomfortable by this too, because she understands my beliefs(or lack thereof) and I am thankful she didn't out me as an atheist to her mother, as I don't know how she will react. I still want to be able to friends with her children, and they all are just such nice people. I just don't know what to do if I continue to see her, should I eventually tell her or should I just sit quietly and nod my way through the whole conversation like I did today? I don't want to risk losing friends or make it sound as if I'm attacking anyone, and I know religious people, especially the very devout ones have a lot of misconceptions about atheists. I don't want my friend's mother to mistake me for one of those people, but I also don't want to have to pretend I'm something I'm not or to continue to be put in situations like this where I am uncomfortable.

Does anyone have any advice for me?

Sorry this is so long-winded.

I am made in the image of God ---- UGH! So tired of this shit.

1. In my experience people like your friend are rare. She is cool. Hang on to her.

2. As for her mom... I'd prolly ignore it (I don't recommend this it's what I would do though knowing its a bad idea), I'd let her say whatever mindless bullshit she wants to target me with, smile and nod and think horrible things about her. I might even flip her off behind her back. And.... eventually.... I'll get sick of it politely tell her to go fuck herself (If she were a client or someone who knows my real family I won't swear, anyone else I'll be pretty brutal to if they push me far enough). Like I said I don't recommend this, in fact I don't think there's an easy answer for you. Perhaps however your analysis of my experiences can open some door for you I've not yet seen. That's why I offer it.

3. You can try to be open. I've been far more open in recent years (I mean I never mention it near my family however.... They have guns....and would likely really kill me if I made them mad enough) Being more open doesn't stop people from beating you over the fucking head with a bible I'm afraid. That just is what Christians do and it isn't likely to change. Like I said your friend is rare, she is cool. Fucking never let that go.

Granted I'm having a bad day and hate everyone right now.... so before I say anything too mean about Christians (or anyone else) I"m gonna bow out. Best of luck and welcome!

Edit^ Just because



DLJ Wrote:And, yes, the principle of freedom of expression works both ways... if someone starts shit, better shit is the best counter-argument.
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16-04-2017, 12:57 AM
RE: How to deal with my friend's really religious mother?
Oh and if you need I'm always down to chat. We all gotta be there for each other I think.

DLJ Wrote:And, yes, the principle of freedom of expression works both ways... if someone starts shit, better shit is the best counter-argument.
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16-04-2017, 01:01 AM
RE: How to deal with my friend's really religious mother?
(16-04-2017 12:57 AM)JesseB Wrote:  Oh and if you need I'm always down to chat. We all gotta be there for each other I think.
Thank you for the advice, especially considering you had a bad day. It is really appreciated. I'm here if you need anything too, it's always best to have some sort of support system when shit hits the fan.

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16-04-2017, 01:05 AM
RE: How to deal with my friend's really religious mother?
Thanks but it's prolly best I don't talk about my problems with anyone. I know better than to do that. I might unplug for a while and work on burring it deep where this shit belongs.

DLJ Wrote:And, yes, the principle of freedom of expression works both ways... if someone starts shit, better shit is the best counter-argument.
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16-04-2017, 01:09 AM
RE: How to deal with my friend's really religious mother?
OH and um. there's a support and personal something thread above this one... I recommend moving this there and posting issues like this there. If you post this stuff here you are liable to get Theist saying some shit things to you. You don't deserve that, and you don't need that. I mean after all that's the fucking problem to begin with

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Ask mom she can help you with that. Or any of the mods.

DLJ Wrote:And, yes, the principle of freedom of expression works both ways... if someone starts shit, better shit is the best counter-argument.
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16-04-2017, 01:12 AM
RE: How to deal with my friend's really religious mother?
(16-04-2017 01:09 AM)JesseB Wrote:  OH and um. there's a support and personal something thread above this one... I recommend moving this there and posting issues like this there. If you post this stuff here you are liable to get Theist saying some shit things to you. You don't deserve that, and you don't need that. I mean after all that's the fucking problem to begin with

Wink

Ask mom she can help you with that. Or any of the mods.

Hahaha, I'm used to stupid bullshit from theists. I used to wonder if the Christian club at my school thought I was the fucking Anti-Christ, they hated me so much. My mother was actually afraid they'd beat me up. I had to help her calm down.

It's alright to laugh at me, I've been laughing at myself for years.
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16-04-2017, 01:13 AM
RE: How to deal with my friend's really religious mother?
(16-04-2017 01:12 AM)ScarletStormBreaker Wrote:  
(16-04-2017 01:09 AM)JesseB Wrote:  OH and um. there's a support and personal something thread above this one... I recommend moving this there and posting issues like this there. If you post this stuff here you are liable to get Theist saying some shit things to you. You don't deserve that, and you don't need that. I mean after all that's the fucking problem to begin with

Wink

Ask mom she can help you with that. Or any of the mods.

Hahaha, I'm used to stupid bullshit from theists. I used to wonder if the Christian club at my school thought I was the fucking Anti-Christ, they hated me so much. My mother was actually afraid they'd beat me up. I had to help her calm down.

I've been called the anti christ before I think.... Fuck that's like a badge of honor for me. I'm a soulless bastard haha

But really, when you are looking for support, you don't deserve to be harassed. I don't want that for you... K Used to it or not, I don't want that for you.

DLJ Wrote:And, yes, the principle of freedom of expression works both ways... if someone starts shit, better shit is the best counter-argument.
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16-04-2017, 05:23 AM
RE: How to deal with my friend's really religious mother?
It sounds as though your friend's mother is not good in situations that make her uncomfortable, and it seems that for whatever reason, she was uncomfortable interacting with you. I agree with your guess that she was most likely trying to express some sort of good will/welcome towards you, albeit in a completely misguided, awkward, and off-putting way.

I think that if you don't reveal your atheism to her, over time you will get much less, not more, religious talk from her, as she gets to know you. However, if she thinks of you as a project (atheist, her kid's friend, a nice accomplishment for her to point to on Judgment Day) you may be in for a heap of god talk.

Well done for keeping your composure in that situation.
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16-04-2017, 08:21 AM
RE: How to deal with my friend's really religious mother?
(15-04-2017 11:55 PM)ScarletStormBreaker Wrote:  I just don't know what to do if I continue to see her, should I eventually tell her or should I just sit quietly and nod my way through the whole conversation like I did today?
From an old geezer who was 18 once too, and remembers it well ... if I don't miss my guess, in an effort to be seen as honest and forthright (and perhaps to fulfill your own self image of what you think it means to be that) you have a tendency to feel obligated to provide more information that is strictly necessary.

Also, you're just entering adulthood and are used to deferring automatically to "adults". Except that, "now you are one!".

It is NOT dishonest to avoid revealing ANYTHING about yourself that you don't wish to reveal or which you believe is not the other person's business or that you think they probably can't handle like an adult. NONE of your discomfort in this situation should come from feeling dishonest or fraudulent or misleading.

In fact, it's PRUDENT to be very selective who you are open with. You can be withheld without being rude or dishonest (though at first you may feel you're being rude or dishonest).

It is NONE of this woman's business what your religious / metaphysical / philosophical beliefs are. She may have actual prurient interest or simple curiosity about it (most likely the former) but that doesn't MAKE it her business. You can -- and should -- hold your personal beliefs AS personal and private. If someone like that really presses you, you can just smile in as relaxed and non-threatening a way as you can manage, and say that you don't care to discuss your personal beliefs. An actual adult will back right off from that. The most they might do is bloviate about how they will pray for you or something and you can just smile and thank them and move on as if the subject is closed (and it IS because YOU closed it). You do NOT owe her an explanation of ANY kind -- either for your beliefs or your lack of desire to reveal them. If she accuses you of being a reprobate or unbeliever, you can just smile and say she might be wrong about that, and should not assume anything, and then continue to steadfastly change the subject. If she won't let it go (in the fairly unlikely event that a veritable maelstrom of craziness is buzzing in between her ears) the just say honestly that this is uncomfortable and you are removing yourself from the situation, and then do so -- up to and including leaving if you have no good alternatives. ALL of this is ENTIRELY within your rights as a newly-minted adult. In truth, it would be within your rights as an adolescent, too.

If you were a more confrontational, devil-may-care type, you could deliberately screw with such a person, but that would probably not be your style, I'm guessing (it wasn't mine in those days and is only beginning to be now in my 60s).

Think about WHY you are uncomfortable about this; if, as I suspect, it is because you feel pressure to be open with someone who hasn't earned your trust but you feel you are being forced to be open, recognize that she has no BASIS to force you and without YOUR permission and assent, she CAN'T force you.

All she can do is threaten you with her own disapproval and guess what? She's not your mother, or anyone you're even committed to, and if she's going to be impertinent and perhaps even toxic, you have every right to remove yourself from her. She is POWERLESS to make you reveal anything you don't want to and has NO moral right to do so.

I wish that someone had explained this seemingly obvious stuff to MY 18 year old self but no one did and I was such an eager-pleaser that it never occurred to me until MUCH later in life.

Start owning your personal life and the privileges that go with it. Share your thoughts selectively with those who have earned the right to have them shared.
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