Worst way to find out
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24-08-2015, 12:44 PM
Worst way to find out
I come from a pretty fundamentalist family. I was even a bit fundamentalist myself in my late teens. Eventually I became an atheist, a long and sometimes difficult process. I've been a nonbeliever for several years, but I never told my parents. I live far from them, I've only seen them once in the nearly 5 years, but we still talk regularly on the phone. It just always seemed like a bad time to break it to them, there was either too much going on with me or with them. I do some work for their company sometimes, it helps pay the bills while I go back to school, so the possibility of losing some financial support was also a reason to not strain our relationship, on top of other life stresses. I know they care about me, but I've read enough horror stories to know there's always that possibility they'll cut me off from their lives.

So I thought I was going to have a heart attack when my mother emailed last night. Apparently they somehow found my twitter account. I joined twitter a month ago or so, and really only use it to vent about religion. It was another way to connect with other atheists, only it's twitter so obviously it's just nonsense most of the time. My parents are in their mid-60s, and they don't even understand twitter. So already they think I'm trashing them behind their back, that anything negative I've ever had to say about any of their beliefs is somehow ridiculing them specifically. I can't imagine a worst way for them to find out I'm an atheist than randomly scrolling my twitter page. I don't even like twitter!

The timing is also horrible. I'm already stressed with school issues as the new term starts that I've been having panic attacks for the first time in my life. And they're essentially homeless, they sold their house and are living with my grandparents as they look for a new place, and are struggling to keep up with work through the chaos. There's so much going on in both our personal lives it's insane. Suddenly all those old times I thought it was a bad time seems like an amazing time compared to now.

Now I'm just doing damage repair. My emails are me struggling to juggle both defending myself and not seem like attacking them, explaining my views while being aware of their feelings, being open to discussion but shutting down guilt trips, and trying to be reasonable and clear despite the flood of emotions on both sides. It's a goddamn nightmare. As a skeptic there's also plenty of other issues I've commented on besides religion they're upset over, it's out of control.

And the worst part is I know this is just the beginning. Now comes all the arguing, fighting, crying, "I'll pray for you"s, misunderstandings, bible verses and apologetics, and attempting to bring me back into the fold. It's already started. I've already had to explain the difference between atheist and agnostic, I've already gotten a bunch of "truth" and "spiritual" talk, about "being hurt" by Christians, sin and creator platitudes, and messages ending with "my soul belongs to God through Jesus Christ". So much fun.

The good news is they don't seem like they're going to cut me off completely. Yet. And at least it's out now, I guess.

I'm already tired of banging my head against the wall arguing against creationists and Christians online, I so do not have the energy to do it with family right now.

I just needed to rant. And obviously can't use twitter!
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24-08-2015, 12:50 PM
RE: Worst way to find out
Hug

Many of our members can relate to this.

I got outed by a family member who spread it around..by the time it got back to me I was worshiping the devil. Tongue

Welcome to our community.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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24-08-2015, 12:53 PM
RE: Worst way to find out
Hug
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24-08-2015, 12:58 PM
RE: Worst way to find out
(24-08-2015 12:50 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  Hug

Many of our members can relate to this.

I got outed by a family member who spread it around..by the time it got back to me I was worshiping the devil. Tongue

Welcome to our community.

Thank you very much.

Yeah I'm often one who gives support to other former Christians in religious families, so it's a little weird being the one who deal with my own family. I'm sure it's just a matter of time before the rest of my religious family founds out, but I mostly only have a relationship with my parents so that doesn't bother me. I've never been the model good little Christian either, so it's probably not even a surprise to my more conservative family members, hehe.
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24-08-2015, 01:17 PM
RE: Worst way to find out
I don't know that there is ever a good time for fundamentalists parents to learn you are an atheists, especially if they learn about it through a twitter account that you vented on with impunity. I am sorry you are now in this position. Things will eventually calm down. You can try reaffirming your parents, that you are still the same person and that you still love them even if you don't share the same beliefs. If they keep coming at you with religion, then you will have to tell them that there are some boundaries that they can not cross and state what they are and that otherwise you are willing to have a relationship with them. Are they paying for your school? Would they use that to black mail you?
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24-08-2015, 01:39 PM
RE: Worst way to find out
(24-08-2015 01:17 PM)Iñigo Wrote:  I don't know that there is ever a good time for fundamentalists parents to learn you are an atheists, especially if they learn about it through a twitter account that you vented on with impunity. I am sorry you are now in this position. Things will eventually calm down. You can try reaffirming your parents, that you are still the same person and that you still love them even if you don't share the same beliefs. If they keep coming at you with religion, then you will have to tell them that there are some boundaries that they can not cross and state what they are and that otherwise you are willing to have a relationship with them. Are they paying for your school? Would they use that to black mail you?

Yeah, I had even written a well worded letter that tried to give it to them as softly as possible, never sent it. But this was about as blunt as I could imagine. I definitely did say that right away, that I knew it was new information to them but I'm still the same son they knew yesterday and I try to end every email saying I love them. I also told them I was willing to discuss things, but I wasn't interesting in being saved and I wouldn't let them flood me with Christian stuff if they didn't give me the chance to counter it. It's a hard place to draw the line when it's my parents, they're going to flavor their speech in Christian lingo without trying to preach, and I can't just snap back at all their little hints. No, I'm actually overseas now so school costs aren't an issue, luckily. I don't think they would anyways, but I'll find out if they don't pay me what they owe for work I've done for them.
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25-08-2015, 08:13 AM
RE: Worst way to find out
Maybe you can try training your parents to not flavor their speech with christian lingo. For example if your mom says: it's a beautiful day here that the lord has given us." You say "or maybe it was satan." Mom says: "the lord works in mysterious ways"... and you say "so does satan". Dad says "we are just so blessed to have a nice home"... you say "or it could be satan trying to fool you with earthly pleasures". You get the drift.
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25-08-2015, 08:40 AM
RE: Worst way to find out
There's no shame being an atheist. Plenty of shame being a Christian. Remind them of things like St Bartholomew's day, witch burnings etc.

Or the Popes having royals murdered all over Europe to suit their needs. Christian history is a bloodbath.

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
Banjo.
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25-08-2015, 08:50 AM
RE: Worst way to find out
I think a lot of people here can empathize with your outing. Seth even did a show on TTA about being outed unexpectedly a while back. I have been slowly but surely coming out myself. First to my wife and then my mother and few very close friends.

However, my mom outed me to the rest of my family.

I have since encountered the typical cries and pleas that most others have as well but only a few people have been downright rude. It may be my approach too. With each person I tell, I have preceded the subject with "I have wanted to tell you this for a long time but have been scared shitless regarding the possibility of losing you as a friend and I don't want that to happen..." To my surprise most have let me know that they were very disappointed and even disheartened but would never consider leaving me behind in the friendship camp. I will admit that regular conversation has seemed to trail with those people though. They aren't as eager to see how my day is going anymore. Go figure.

Regardless, it is a scary place to be in. It is our nature to desire to be accepted. The fear of losing that can be extremely painful and psychologically dismantling but there are ways to get through it with communities that accept you the way you are!

I wish you the best...

**Crickets** -- God
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25-08-2015, 09:01 AM
RE: Worst way to find out
Welcome Hug

I found this place after nearly outing myself on Facebook through a rant. That took some serious damage control.

I don't envy your position one bit. Sorry it's tough right now. Pull up a chair and stay a while - you'll probably find you can relate to quite a few of us here.

"If there's a single thing that life teaches us, it's that wishing doesn't make it so." - Lev Grossman
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