Just words, but they can wound deeply
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02-03-2016, 11:57 AM
RE: Just words, but they can wound deeply
(02-03-2016 10:33 AM)lamar.ethington Wrote:  My mother is a strange case, because she left the religion she grew up with as well. She even became an atheist for a while, but then she fell in with a new age group that had many similarities with her old religion though she doesn't see those similarities. She is now convinced that she is developing a personal relationship with the true God through some kind of magical connection to what she calls her guru.

Even though her childhood indoctrination wasn't effective in keeping her bound to the faith of her parents, perhaps it made it difficult for her to live without the idea of some kind of supernatural element to her life. Of course I have no way of knowing the inner workings of her mind. Her new religion seems baffling to me. They have her convinced they have no interest in money or material things, and yet they are constantly getting her to pay them for something. It's doubly baffling because they are selling the idea that they can teach you to basically learn magic powers that will let you bend the universe to your will such that you will always have everything you need or want etc, but for some reason, they (those who would teach these powers to her) still need her money.

I like to remind myself that in a mind that can hold such baffling contradictions loving someone and wishing them harm probably doesn't even seem strange.

Did she join this new religion before or after you first told her that you were an atheist?

[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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02-03-2016, 12:00 PM
RE: Just words, but they can wound deeply
Been there! Pretty sure my father would cheerfully see me get run over by a truck and die, if before I breathed my last, I turned to Jeebus. Although of course he would prefer that god taught me a gentler "lesson."

One of the problems with believers is the fact that they spend a lot of time listening to stories in which bad stuff happens, but it's all "part of god's plan," and what does a little suffering on earth matter if you'll be together in heaven for eternity? And of course the crisis/revelation/life turnaround (so the bad stuff was worth it) is a trope in lots of other kinds of fiction and in everybody's thinking. It's normal to look at your own life and see some positives that have come out of terrible circumstances. It is also normal to wish that bad things will happen to people we don't like or to people who have hurt us. But it's despicable to communicate those fantasies the way your mom did.

I wouldn't be surprised if your mom felt your atheism to be a reflection of her parenting, and that that makes her angry at both herself and you. I don't think it's hatred, although it's maddeningly fuzzy-minded, bad judgment ever to say it to your child. Speaking from personal experience: I also wouldn't expect her to be able to keep her promise; when she is extra stressed and feeling under appreciated, the venom can come out again, so be ready.

Your mother could be lashing out if she feels that you don't respect her religious choices. You seem to find them suspect (I'd agree with you), and it's often difficult to keep your feelings secret from a person who's known you all of your life.

Detente may be the best way to deal: she keeps her revenge fantasies to herself, you keep your perceptions that she's allowing herself to be conned out of her money to yourself.
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02-03-2016, 12:17 PM
RE: Just words, but they can wound deeply
You can choose your friends but you can't choose your family.

You can, however, ignore them.

At some point you need to ask yourself if they prefer their fantasies to reality. The answer will tell you how far you need to distance yourself from them.

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
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02-03-2016, 12:30 PM
RE: Just words, but they can wound deeply
As evolved, emotionally charged, social primates it's easy to be hurt by those closest to us. Even though what your mother said was painstakingly horrible, she is a victim (as I think someone else mentioned) of her own indoctrination and she is probably operating from a platform of concern, although I can't confirm that. Her words may have been dripping with malice but she is only regurgitating the way she knows to bring one back into the fold: fear mongering. If she can get you to fear the consequences of your actions you may turn back.

This has been one way I have gotten through the rejection of family, friends; the hatred spewed at me, etc. I put myself in their shoes and at least try to empathize with their position. This doesn't make me "soft" on their stance but at least allows me to approach any discussion with a firm grasp on reason while keeping hyperbolic emotion to a minimum. Furthermore when their side is understood, you can build arguments by your words and actions to dismantle their prejudices and stereotypes towards nonbelievers. Sometimes you'll be able to plant seeds. Other times you'll be thrown out onto the street and you'll have to write some people off as a loss because they just can't deal with the situation in a humane manner.

Hopefully you can find other communities that will help you as well. There are meet-up groups etc that could be a good start. This forum doesn't hurt either, but use it as a building ground to move forward in your life.

All the best to you! Smile

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02-03-2016, 12:44 PM
RE: Just words, but they can wound deeply
I understand your pain. I think much of it may be entwined in a betrayal of sorts. When we love our parents we think of them as our safe place guardians and it's hard to realize or accept that some of their loyalties belong to someone or something else. It's a terrible awakening to have it thrown in our faces.

I'm sorry she said those hurtful things and you may or may not ever quite get past them. Don't beat yourself up over it. Trust can not be manufactured and once broken or betrayed it's very fragile for a long time when rebuilding.

That being said, the religious have an agenda, get to heaven and drag everyone you can with you. This is exactly why I do not want to consider a mate who's religious. It might work for some but I want someone who's agenda is in line with mine, a respect for my thoughts and wishes and not some imaginary deity. I have no trust for the religious. Your mother is under that spell and even though she loves you, her world and perceptions are skewed with that agenda, ever present and guiding. You can try to separate the person from her deeds when they are not directed at your atheism. It will help you to reciprocate her love, while keeping in mind her religious disability.

My biggest point is to not carry the grief around and feed it. At some future point she may put aside her beliefs and come to terms with the reality or she may jump in it feet first. You just don't know. Until she makes your life a misery, in which you feel you must distance yourself from her, take her at face value, she a person first, a mom second, she has faults and makes mistakes. Maybe it will ease your mind.

I hope it goes well for you. Welcome to the fo. Smile

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02-03-2016, 01:08 PM
RE: Just words, but they can wound deeply
It's a bummer your mom has these tough feelings. If it were me I'd close off any conversation on the topic of atheism, or religion, should such a topic arise with her or others.

Ironically enough, even as an atheist I get a lot of use out of the Serenity Prayer -- save your strength for changing the things you can change, make your peace with the things you cannot change, and practice insightful thinking in order to correctly assess which is which.

My best wishes for your wife.
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