Religious Family Rant
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29-11-2015, 03:39 AM (This post was last modified: 29-11-2015 05:29 AM by rosieisaposie.)
Religious Family Rant
This is pretty much just a rant, but insight would be helpful if you have experience with this:

I have the kind of family that is very ignorant of the world around them. My mother was a stay-at-home for 5 kids and has an mental disorder that makes her very unstable and unpredictable. Two of my brothers still live at home (26 and 21...). They just stay at home all the time.. the only people my mother sees are my siblings and my dad-and then whoever she sees on her daily walks. She hasn't held a job since I've known her, because of her 'fragile' emotional state.


They are so unaware of what a normal life is like and simply drown themselves in religion. Pretty much every stereo-typical opinion a religious person can have is held by my family. I moved across the country for an education, but also to get away from them--not that they know that. They also don't know I'm an atheist--probably won't tell them either. As much as I dislike them, their lives are kinda sad to me and I don't like making people suffer--plus, that would be inconvenient for me. In any sense, that is a last resort for me--if I told them it would basically end the relationship and be very ugly. I would do so if it were necessary, but it's not...YET.
I'm in contact with them for their benefit mostly, because honestly they have nothing to add to my life besides memories and strange forms of love that I can go without. I've created my own family and we're very happy and have a healthy relationship, but we're not married. That status doesn't matter to me, but having a religious family who thinks that you're religious too and you not being married to the person you're living with = a big problem. They've tried to set up wedding dates for us in the past... it's nuts.

And now I'm traveling back home in a few months to visit grandparents, and then them. I haven't seen them in 2 years, but I've talked with them every few weeks. They have no true sympathy for what my daily life is like (medical school) and don't really care to understand it, or so it has seemed for the last few years. I honestly can't relate to them, but I can't bring myself to cut ties (another of my family members was in this situation and they DID, so I've seen the damage it caused). I'm just apprehensive to see them again, because I KNOW it's going to get uncomfortable at some point about something. It's hard to talk with irrational people...They have no idea of who I am...and the way they live life is so fucking sad to me its sickening. I'd love to get professional counseling on how to deal with them and what I've been through at some point--I just haven't done so yet.
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29-11-2015, 04:08 AM
RE: Religious Family Rant
You get to pick your friends and lovers.

Your family - it's just a roll of the dice that you're stuck with.

In a perfect world, it'd be the other way around.

I find this further proof -- that if there WAS a "god" running the whole show - he'd have to be evil, or inept.

.......................

As far as how to put them off on trying to set a wedding date for you -- tell them you're waiting for Jesus to come back -- you want HIM to officiate the ceremony.

(sorry, a smile's all I got....)


Big Grin

.......................................

The difference between prayer and masturbation - is when a guy is through masturbating - he has something to show for his efforts.
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29-11-2015, 06:46 AM
RE: Religious Family Rant
(29-11-2015 03:39 AM)rosieisaposie Wrote:  This is pretty much just a rant, but insight would be helpful if you have experience with this:

I have the kind of family that is very ignorant of the world around them. My mother was a stay-at-home for 5 kids and has an mental disorder that makes her very unstable and unpredictable. Two of my brothers still live at home (26 and 21...). They just stay at home all the time.. the only people my mother sees are my siblings and my dad-and then whoever she sees on her daily walks. She hasn't held a job since I've known her, because of her 'fragile' emotional state.


They are so unaware of what a normal life is like and simply drown themselves in religion. Pretty much every stereo-typical opinion a religious person can have is held by my family. I moved across the country for an education, but also to get away from them--not that they know that. They also don't know I'm an atheist--probably won't tell them either. As much as I dislike them, their lives are kinda sad to me and I don't like making people suffer--plus, that would be inconvenient for me. In any sense, that is a last resort for me--if I told them it would basically end the relationship and be very ugly. I would do so if it were necessary, but it's not...YET.
I'm in contact with them for their benefit mostly, because honestly they have nothing to add to my life besides memories and strange forms of love that I can go without. I've created my own family and we're very happy and have a healthy relationship, but we're not married. That status doesn't matter to me, but having a religious family who thinks that you're religious too and you not being married to the person you're living with = a big problem. They've tried to set up wedding dates for us in the past... it's nuts.

And now I'm traveling back home in a few months to visit grandparents, and then them. I haven't seen them in 2 years, but I've talked with them every few weeks. They have no true sympathy for what my daily life is like (medical school) and don't really care to understand it, or so it has seemed for the last few years. I honestly can't relate to them, but I can't bring myself to cut ties (another of my family members was in this situation and they DID, so I've seen the damage it caused). I'm just apprehensive to see them again, because I KNOW it's going to get uncomfortable at some point about something. It's hard to talk with irrational people...They have no idea of who I am...and the way they live life is so fucking sad to me its sickening. I'd love to get professional counseling on how to deal with them and what I've been through at some point--I just haven't done so yet.

I also have a family where religion has been a dividing and at times dangerous force. Something that both sides have to accept at some point, if contact is going to continue, is that the other is not going to come around to their point of view. It sounds to me as if you and your family have not come to that point yet. (it's a fragile detente at the best of times) It's tough, especially when you are used to your parents being in charge, to shift the relationship to one between adults. They can't order you to do stuff anymore--but not every parent will give up the assumption of this power without a struggle.

I personally am dreading a visit, the first in a couple of years, to my father at the holidays. For a few years he had abided by my request not to bring up religion constantly, but now he's feeling bad physically because of some hip problems and that always makes the religiosity go up, and every fucking card and letter and email has a bunch of god crap in it. I am already having the anxiety dreams where he tries to kill me and my family. Sad

It sounds as if both you and your family have support structures in place. While it's painful to make a split, sometimes that's the best thing. This visit will probably give you more information that you can use to decide whether it's best to keep things at a safe distance or end them for a while.
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29-11-2015, 08:21 AM
RE: Religious Family Rant
That's rough. I'm sorry to hear it, but I know exactly what that feels like. I get the anxious dreams too...

The more time I spend thinking about it the more I feel like the relationship has nowhere to go but to the grave. It just feels like there is no good ending. All they have is religion--I'm not kidding, that's it. No hobbies, friends, events that they like to participate in--nothing. Just god. The more I try to be in relationship, the more of a lie it is. I'm walking down one fork in the road and they are on the other... living in a tiny box hiding from the world... and the farther I explore the world the farther behind that box becomes... and my neck is getting tired from looking back... Yet I'm still conflicted on how to handle it.
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29-11-2015, 09:28 AM
RE: Religious Family Rant
My former sibling turned uber-religious. And I do mean UBER-religious. He managed to treat my parents like shit over the whole thing. I will have nothing to do with him, period. My parents didn't like it much, but I couldn't stand the way he treated them and didn't care to watch. They are both gone now, and I'm much happier without him in my life.

You do not have to live your life according to someone else's standards.

You mileage may vary.

We have enough youth. How about looking for the Fountain of Smart?
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30-11-2015, 03:54 AM (This post was last modified: 30-11-2015 04:44 AM by rosieisaposie.)
RE: Religious Family Rant
(29-11-2015 09:28 AM)Thinkerbelle Wrote:  My former sibling turned uber-religious. And I do mean UBER-religious. He managed to treat my parents like shit over the whole thing. I will have nothing to do with him, period. My parents didn't like it much, but I couldn't stand the way he treated them and didn't care to watch. They are both gone now, and I'm much happier without him in my life.

You do not have to live your life according to someone else's standards.

You mileage may vary.


That's the thing, though. I'm torn between cutting loose of them or putting in the effort to be a good example of what an atheist can be. My family has never really known an atheist before... The only problem is that they have a pretty shitty life: really bad finances, lots of medical expenses and mental issues, they aren't very well educated and have little to no desire to further it, no close family friends, and absolutely NO way of changing their situation. Growing up, my parents couldn't give us much and life was struggle for us, but in their minds it was enough that 'they could give us god and teach us the lord's word'. So, telling them I'm atheist is akin to saying, "hey guys, you sucked at raising me and absolutely nothing you taught me was useful. you wasted your life's works on me"--which is technically true, but not at all useful for the situation IF I want to continue/try to have a relationship with them.

I've got this fanciful idea of them eventually coming around to the idea, but I've honestly never really known them to be logical or rational... a much more realistic outcome is probably them constantly--and I mean, LITERALLY constantly-- being in fear for my 'soul'... I just hate the thought of them wasting the last years of their lives worrying about something so ridiculous. It almost feels merciful to keep them in the dark... not to mention the prospect of having them preach at me for years to come!

I'm just trying to be a nice person to them, but they are very irrational people and I'm very anxious about how their reactions are going to impact my life. I don't want to hurt them, but I don't want to put up with them either... My sister DID cut them out and I've seen what the damage looks like. They've never been given the chance to change and have a relationship with an atheist child. I just don't think it's fair of me to be a repeat heartache and drop off the planet... but I also don't have much hope for it to work out well. It would probably just end up ugly...I keep asking myself if it's worth a shot.. (1) be another daughter they don't talk to and have horrible fears for or (2) they magically stop being so fundamentalist at least when it comes to me (sounds about as probable as parting the red sea to me... ).

I don't like who they are! So closed minded and unaccepting of so much in the world. But what if I could help them change? Even just a little? Is that worth the theoretical turmoil I might put them through...?
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30-11-2015, 08:45 AM (This post was last modified: 30-11-2015 02:17 PM by Iñigo.)
RE: Religious Family Rant
I am really sorry your family situation is like this. First off, congratulations to you for breaking away from the close minded narrow world of your parents and developing a loving healthy family, and pursuing your education, and embracing critical thinking and reason, while still loving your parents. Unfortunately, this love is in conflict with who you are. Sometimes, we have to make compromises for our families. It is clear that you don't want to hurt your parents, and if that is a really strong force, it seems that the compromise for the moment is to remain closeted.

I hear you on being a good role model atheist and maybe imparting some change in them. I don't think that as a student in medical school and away from them, you have the time or emotional energy to truly do it (and you know it is going to be emotionally draining). Maybe just for your own conscience you can put it in your mind as something for the future.
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30-11-2015, 10:55 AM
RE: Religious Family Rant
It is possible to keep them at a distance without 'outing' yourself and traumatizing them, and possibly you too. You have to make up your mind and be really focused on keeping it light and not getting hung up on your obvious differences.
It won't be easy to do. From your description of them it is the option that seems best.
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30-11-2015, 12:03 PM
RE: Religious Family Rant
(29-11-2015 03:39 AM)rosieisaposie Wrote:  This is pretty much just a rant, but insight would be helpful if you have experience with this:

I have the kind of family that is very ignorant of the world around them. My mother was a stay-at-home for 5 kids and has an mental disorder that makes her very unstable and unpredictable. Two of my brothers still live at home (26 and 21...). They just stay at home all the time.. the only people my mother sees are my siblings and my dad-and then whoever she sees on her daily walks. She hasn't held a job since I've known her, because of her 'fragile' emotional state.


They are so unaware of what a normal life is like and simply drown themselves in religion. Pretty much every stereo-typical opinion a religious person can have is held by my family. I moved across the country for an education, but also to get away from them--not that they know that. They also don't know I'm an atheist--probably won't tell them either. As much as I dislike them, their lives are kinda sad to me and I don't like making people suffer--plus, that would be inconvenient for me. In any sense, that is a last resort for me--if I told them it would basically end the relationship and be very ugly. I would do so if it were necessary, but it's not...YET.
I'm in contact with them for their benefit mostly, because honestly they have nothing to add to my life besides memories and strange forms of love that I can go without. I've created my own family and we're very happy and have a healthy relationship, but we're not married. That status doesn't matter to me, but having a religious family who thinks that you're religious too and you not being married to the person you're living with = a big problem. They've tried to set up wedding dates for us in the past... it's nuts.

And now I'm traveling back home in a few months to visit grandparents, and then them. I haven't seen them in 2 years, but I've talked with them every few weeks. They have no true sympathy for what my daily life is like (medical school) and don't really care to understand it, or so it has seemed for the last few years. I honestly can't relate to them, but I can't bring myself to cut ties (another of my family members was in this situation and they DID, so I've seen the damage it caused). I'm just apprehensive to see them again, because I KNOW it's going to get uncomfortable at some point about something. It's hard to talk with irrational people...They have no idea of who I am...and the way they live life is so fucking sad to me its sickening. I'd love to get professional counseling on how to deal with them and what I've been through at some point--I just haven't done so yet.

My family isn't super religious, but my wife's is. And we have had to deal with similar sorts of conundrums when it comes to how much (or how little) we interact with them or let them into our lives (including my son's).

The way I see it, a relationship is a 2-way street, even with mom and dad and siblings. If all that matters to them is a narrow subset of your life (that isn't important to you), then you've very little common ground. If they don't want to know about the things that are important to you, then you have very little common ground. If you don't want to know about the things (religious) that are important to them, then you have very little common ground.

It has been an eye-opening experience dealing with my in-laws because of how they interact with their kids. One would think that your parents would want to know about you and what you're doing and be there for you, but my mother-in-law is the exact opposite. She seems to expect her kids to be there to support her emotionally and to call her and ask her what is going on in her life. And don't even dare to suggest she could call (that's not a likely possibility at this point because of a recent transgression, but that is a different story).

http://www.bustle.com/articles/112474-5-...ic-parents

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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03-12-2015, 04:21 AM (This post was last modified: 03-12-2015 08:20 AM by rosieisaposie.)
RE: Religious Family Rant
I keep thinking about the pros and cons.

When I go back there, the only thing I'm very certain of is that I will be questioned heavily on why we aren't getting married, or why we don't want to talk about a wedding. First of all, as it stands we plan on eloping in a few years and all of our reasons are secular ideas and are specialized toward our personal view on marriage, so they have absolutely nothing to do with 'getting right with god' or 'following his laws'. If I were to explain our reasoning to them, it will eventually lead to them asking why god's laws don't mean anything to us.... I can't think of any explanation that isn't "well, that's because we're atheists, mom, so we think that's all a crock of shit". Not to mention the whole eloping thing will probably hurt them, but they are so freaking religious that there is NO WAY I could plan a wedding involving them and be happy with how it turned out or without them finding out about our atheism anyway. That's just another line of issues. The thing is, from my mother's standpoint we're 'close friends' (it's a little deluded and hard to get into), but she has no idea of how far I keep her from my real life and opinions.

If I had parents that knew what social boundaries were than I wouldn't have this issue, but they have an extensive track record of asking slightly inappropriate questions that most people don't really want the answers to...and reacting irrationally when the answer isn't in line with their moral compass (or whatever they think). Basically, they'll ask the deep, personal questions that most people don't feel comfortable asking/answering, and then get offended by your answer after they've pushed you into answering.

I feel like this is a no win situation. I have a rough draft of a coming out letter to them just in case the situation comes to that point. I'm having a hard time thinking of how to avoid it though--it feels inevitable based on how I've known them to behave. If I do come out, then I'd like to do it in the comfort of my own home (which I feel is more respectful to them anyway) and I'd prefer to do so BEFORE I go see them that way things have the potential to calm down or I can at least plan to avoid them while I'm in town.

Again, pros and cons...


It's getting to the point where even the hope of having a somewhat normal relationship with my family (OR officially cutting them out of my life ) is outweighing the importance of protecting them from psychological trauma. I shouldn't have to baby them. That's the thing, if they disown me, sure, I'll be hurt and it'll suck, but at least I would have been brave enough and considerate enough to have given them a chance to have a relationship, right? Or at the very least, discovered what total shits they certainly may be and my life will be better off without them. I just hate the idea of placating them until their dead. They are my parents and I'd like to be able to honest with them.


It goes beyond that desire though... I have things to consider later in life too...
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