Love/Hate thing about arguing with my grandmother
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02-12-2012, 02:54 PM (This post was last modified: 02-12-2012 02:57 PM by Percepticon.)
Love/Hate thing about arguing with my grandmother
I'm not at all close to my paternal grandmother but somehow feel obliged to make an effort to retain some small semblance of a relationship with her. She's in her 80's, lives alone in rural Indiana but has 5 sons, 4 of whom live close enough to her, has been a Southern Baptist since before she was conceived...aside from her overall ignorance and the crazy-stupid ideas she has, she's a good person in general.

Where our communication goes, the pattern seems to be this: I write a letter consisting of neutral topics that we might both enjoy. She sends a letter barely acknowledging my letter, and talking about how my sexuality and my choice of (non)religion is wrong, and what I should do about it. I reply, politely yet firmly explaining that this is who I am, she is who she is, we'll always disagree on this, so instead of discussing these things, let's talk about other things we can both enjoy discussing, which are plentiful. She doesn't reply. After awhile, I start over, writing a letter that doesn't include the hot-button issues. My last letter, several months ago, was a response to her letter, and in it this time I did very plainly but politely ask her to stop sending me messages about changing my sexuality and (non)religion, and invited her again to topics of mutual enjoyment. No response.

About a month ago, I wrote again. I updated her on what's new at work, how my cat-kids are, Sandy and the devastation and the heartwarming ways everyone is helping everyone else, my mom's new job and how happy I am for her, how I hate the earlier nightfall and would be out looking at the stars more often if I lived in a rural area...ya' know, just talking....

So we'll see what, if anything, comes back. I think my last letter (from months ago) was unmistakably clear in saying, "please, stop this" so that if again she continues on with it, any further effort on my part would constitute insanity, "doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting a different result."

And yet, there's a part of me that also wants her to write another oppositional letter, so I can refute her again. More insanity. I refuse to speak to her by phone most of the time because I get annoyed the moment she brings up religion & end up wanting to hang up anyway. That actually was initiated before I was an atheist, when I called her in 2009 to say Happy Thanksgiving and she asked if I'd changed my mind about liking girls (as if it were so simple!). "No ma'am," I replied. "Well, when you're about to die, you'll wish you had."

Christmas is coming, which means I'll probably get a Christmas card from her sometime just before or just after the New Year. It's sick that I simultaneously anticipate and dread her letter.

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02-12-2012, 04:10 PM
RE: Love/Hate thing about arguing with my grandmother
Well, it's hard to blame someone who's been so indoctrinated, but it's rather sad that she won't drop the issue of irreligion. A family member should care more about your well-being in the present, rather than whatever they think a soul is.

-summum ius, summa iniuria.-M. T. Cicero
-I will show you fear in a handful of dust.-T.S. Eliot
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ἡ φύσις οὐδὲν ποιεῖ ἅλματα

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02-12-2012, 04:23 PM
RE: Love/Hate thing about arguing with my grandmother
Yeah, it's funny how often she'd dive into her agenda without even a "hello, how are you?"

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02-12-2012, 05:03 PM
Love/Hate thing about arguing with my grandmother
Sorry to hear about that. Can't believe how Christianity can do that to people. I went to therapy about some of this. My therapist said to set ground rules with my mom. No talking about politics, sex or religion.
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02-12-2012, 05:13 PM
RE: Love/Hate thing about arguing with my grandmother
Actually, I'm not even sure if it's just Xianity, it's sometimes just a generational and/or age thing. It's difficult for a lot of people, esp, in their seventies and eighties to accept the world of today. And maybe they shouldn't have to. Plus, some people just love telling others how to be and how to live their lives. And you have them in all ages, walks of lives and religious persuasions, unfortunately.

I say let it slide and don't let it bother you. Water off a duck's back. If I paid attention to all the stupid things people said... there wouldn't be enough booze in the world...

I must admit this bit "she asked if I'd changed my mind about liking girls (as if it were so simple!). "No ma'am," I replied. "Well, when you're about to die, you'll wish you had." made me giggle Smile

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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02-12-2012, 05:26 PM
RE: Love/Hate thing about arguing with my grandmother
[Image: dead-horse.gif]

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
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03-12-2012, 01:23 PM (This post was last modified: 03-12-2012 01:35 PM by cconti.)
RE: Love/Hate thing about arguing with my grandmother
I am very sorry to hear that. I am always sorry when honest, decent people want to do the right thing and other people, whom should know better, make it a painful experience for them.


in your case, it sounds like you would like to keep your relationship with your Grandma. I say that because the easiest thing to do would be to send her one last letter that pretty much told her how hard you have worked at being decent and a loving granson/daughter, that you love her, but that she isn't going to receive anymore letters from you until she writes to you herself without mentioning religion or sexuality or sin in general.


As it is, it may be time for you to either keep writing and simply disregard her responses (I would find it hard to do without raising my blood pressure each time), or send her one last missive explaining the aforementioned and then just sit back and if she writes (and she is civil) great; if not, you just have to come to terms with the fact you no longer have a grandmother (one could argue you never really did) and go on with your life.


At 80, she is not going to be around much more, and it sure would be nice if before she goes she made a conciliatory gesture, but something tells me the odds of that are slim and this is stressful enough for you to seek the counsel of perfect strangers, which means that it is important to you and that it hurts. The natural response to doing something hurtful is to stop doing it.


I know it can be upsetting and that you'll likely regret it a bit once she is gone, but you have to remember that she is the one being unreasonable and rude here, not you.


You are the one with the offering of love, you are the one taking the time to write (I assume actual letters, not emails), you are the one making an effort. She is sitting there, doing nothing, thinking of you only in the most despicable terms, yet you are the one suffering because of it.


It is simply not fair and you should stop doing it. I think it's time to tell her you have had enough, that there is no excuse for what she is doing and that unless she behaves with a modicum of civility (it would be nice if she could sprinkle some familial love with it) you'll no longer make the effort to correspond with her.


Some may think it harsh, but I think her behavior is way out of line.


In fact, you may want to end the letter with a quote from John 8:1 - 11:


"He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."


Let's see if the book she apparently treasures more than her own kin can teach her a lesson in humility.
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22-12-2012, 02:02 PM
RE: Love/Hate thing about arguing with my grandmother
A letter came from my grandmother today. It was much shorter than the ones in which she discusses religion. She didn't talk about God, faith, the bible, or religion at all. Shocking

She talked about the weather (there's always the weather, right?) and the work she needed to do and that people were expecting earthquakes on 12-21-12, and how they live on a fault line so she wasn't sure. She wrote it on the 18th and didn't mention Christmas at all. I'm guessing she thinks atheists don't celebrate Christmas.

I actually feel a little sorry for her, reading this letter. Maybe religion is the only exciting thing in her life, and she feels at a loss not talking about it. When I write back I'll ask her some questions to maybe draw her out a little, engage her some.

Anyway, that's the update.

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