So what is a person to do, who for whatever reason, does not have an escape from pathological religion? When I talk about pathological religion- well to me there are two sorts of religion. One sort is the normal kind where the person is still able to function in reality. The second sort is the kind that is extreme and usually involves psychological disturbances and the potential for injuries and violence. The typical relief for the oppressed person is to leave the home or to leave the environment. But what about instances where that is not possible.
I know that my a-mum is extreme about religion. I didn't really realize that when I was younger. We were in a very fundamentalist sheltered environment where I thought my a-parents behavior was actually normal. How would I really know any different, since we kids weren't able to get out "into the real world." So I thought my a-mum spending four hours a day, every day, at the church, was normal behavior. And then slowly it was dawning on me that something wasn't right. There were suggestions by other people around me that I was living in an very weird, or abusive environment or questions from school councelors and doctors about the type of environment I was living in. Even though the constant religious oppression was intolerable, I had nowhere to go, and no real understanding that the envioronment was abnormal, abusive and toxic. After all, we were following the Bible. And the Bible never leads us astray.
So once I became grown and had experienced much more of living, I could easily see that my mum wasn't right. Her religion was so much more than a belief. It was an all-encompassing obsession. And I could see her fury any time that her beliefs would be challenged or I would "rebel" even in very miniscule ways. And there was always fear, still is fear, of doing or saying anything that would put her on the defensive mode where she felt her beliefs being challenged or her child "rebelling."
Religion for my a-mum has not been sweetness and light. Rather it is a controlling force over her that, thus far, has been impossible to penetrate. It is like it's own entity dwelling inside her. Here she has a wonderful native daughter, who she has never been able to allow to spread her wings, for fear of anything conflicting with her firmly established beliefs. In spite of having a native daughter (myself, whom she dearly loves), she has not yet learned the beauty of her daughter's heritage and culture. She has not developed any clear understanding of what being a native person is all about.....that a person is not a savage beast just because they don't follow the Christian belief system or white british culture. That in many ways, the indigenous people of hundreds of years ago were more spiritually evolved than modern Christians are today. Or that somebody wearing a mini skirt or a tattoo just might have a better heart than somebody with a skirt down to their ankles and high necked shirt. Or that somebody who doesn't go to church might be a greater force for good in the world than somebody who does attend. She has never learned the concepts of right and wrong outside the warped viewing lense of religion.
What I have learned in dealing with a-mum, since living apart from her is unfortunately not an option due to financial reasons, is that I cannot push religious buttons or have religious conversations. It was not many days ago that she was screaming at me furiously for I had said matter-of-factly that I would not like to go to heaven with Jesus.