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A Decision I've Made


Rosa Mystica
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Hi all,

 

Most of you know that I'm from an abusive family. Well, something happened to me a couple of weeks ago: I unofficially cut off contact with my manipulative parents. My mom called me, causing me to have a serious anxiety attack (the very sound of her voice unhinges me, as I've managed to develop ptsd due to the childhood trauma). I called her back, and told her that I did not want to talk to her or my father for an indefinite time period. I tried to get my boyfriend to reason with her (was w/ me at the time), but she just tried to justify her position to no end, and eventually hung up on him. I had been hoping to make the process "official" by writing a letter to my folks (something which I had not been ready to do then). Still, I can't change what happened.

 

Anyway, this drama has made me realize that for me, it would probably be best to just reveal that I'm ex-Catholic and have it done and over with. I suffered needlessly as a result of being unable to tell my parents that I don't want to talk to them. I've also been suffering needlessly as a result of keeping my deconversion a secret- by going to great lengths to pretend to be something I'm not. While I don't plan to tell them with in the next few days or anything, I've decided to tell them before I get engaged next year. It has become totally unfeasible to keep this to myself, and has messed me up emotionally. I can't do this anymore. In telling my folks, I'm hoping it'll be enough to make them disown me. I mean, why would they want to associate with an ex-Catholic, when to them, all non-Catholics are subhuman??? Doesn't make much sense to me.

 

So yes, I will be revealing it. I won't do it in person or anything like that (b/c it's not safe), but it has to come out. Only then can I be free from the game of "fake-believe" that I've been subjecting myself to for the past six months.

 

Any input is appreciated.

 

Rosa

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Good on you and good luck.

 

Coming from several abusive households I know what that kind of shit can do to people.

 

You have my support 100%

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Good on you and good luck.

 

Coming from several abusive households I know what that kind of shit can do to people.

 

You have my support 100%

 

Thank you. You have no idea how much that means to me.

 

It's been a very bumpy ride these past six months. But I've reached a point where I can't keep doing as I have been for too much longer. Especially since my folks will want to know why I'm not having a Catholic wedding when I get married in a couple of years (will probably be in 2008).

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Coming clean to family is tough, especially abusive family. Don't feel like you need to tell them anything you don't personally want to. Remember the saying: What they don't know, can't hurt me. I can completely understand not wanting to pretend, and I wouldn't, but I also told my fundamentalist father of my unbelief and he cut me off.

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Ick.

 

I assume they know where you live. And probably....where you work? And what your car looks like?

 

If you feel physically unsafe informing them about this decision in person, then you should be prepared to change some of your routines for a while.

 

Before you tell them, you might want to do a little re-con. Get their auto info. Make, Model, and License plate numbers. Keep these numbers with you. This way if you "think" they are following and watching you, you can either get peace of mind, or confirmation by having those license plate numbers.

 

If you can hold off informing them long enough to move to a new apartment, that would be great (especially if you could get a new job too! but that may not be realistic), but I understand if that is not feasible. Because they are going to come over after you tell them. And unless you are prepared to let them stand outside your door knocking and yelling for who knows how long (obviously you don't let dangerous people into your house....ESPECIALLY if they are family members!), it's better to be unlocatable.

 

If you can manage it, get a ride to work for a few weeks. That way "your" car is not in your workplace parking lot. Wait a sec.....doesn't your mother work at the same place or something? I can't remember. If that's the case, you really may want to get a new job before you tell your family (don't tell them where).

 

If you can swing it financially, grab whatever current home projects you are working on, and go stay at a motel near your workplace for a couple weeks (walk out the door with suitcase in hand right after you hang up after telling them). That way, even if your family camps out on your front stoop, figuring you have to come home "some time"....you really don't have such an obligation. You will be able to out wait them.

 

Why does so much of my blah blah center on avoidance of your family? Becuase absolutely nothing they have to say is going to change who you are, or how you feel. Nothing can be served by listening to them, or "letting them have a say" in your life. And you are safer away from them.

 

If they declare you missing? The police are not obligated to disclose your whereabouts. You can call the cops, set up a meeting, and tell them you have no wish to have any contact with your family, and that's that.

 

Ugh.

 

This would be easier if I knew your living, work, and personal routines and situations. Can you tell us?

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On a side note I will probubly get married in 08-09 too!

 

Raven, you are realy good at scaring the shit out of people. At least you would be if you didn't have a good point.

 

You do need to stay away from your family, and why do they need to know ANYTHING about you? I cut off contact from my mother last year and she still hasn't found me.

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You have my support honey, I wish you the best. I have cut off contact with my biological father, and I did it when I was really young, 10 years old. I imagine that it can't be easy cutting off from both parents. I just couldn't imagine doing that, you definitely are strong for doing what's best for you. You shouldn't have to put up with abusive shit, not even from family. Frankly family can be anyone you choose to surround yourself with, even friends, hope that you can find positive people who will treat you with respect and kindness.

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My husband cut off contact with his biological mother after an insensitive comment (actially more boneheaded) that she made about my pregnancy. Even though he was physically and financially independent of her, it was still pretty tough. Good luck honey!!

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Good luck, Rosa! I know you've got a horrible situation to put up with and I hope you find relief from it some day.

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Hi Raven,

 

Unfortunately, it's not that simple. I'm a homeowner, and I work in the same building as my mother. I just bought my place, and it's not exactly feasible to sell right now. Also, I am planning to get a different job, but this will take at least a year and a half to do (I won't be employable elsewhere until I get more formalized job training). I don't own a car, so no worries there.

 

When I reveal the secret, I may stay with my bf for a couple of days. They don't know where he lives, and I will probably be safer there than in my own home.

 

I agree with what you're saying, Raven. But it takes time to totally restructure one's life in certain areas (in my case, it's a matter of years). And I can't put my life on hold for them for that long. I don't think I should have to have no life just b/c my dad's an abusive ass. Besides, I have no idea what exactly will happen when I tell them. Much of the fear stems from the fact that my folks are unpredictable.

 

Thanks for the advice. I'll think of something I can do in the short term. Btw, I'm not planning to reveal the secret b/c they have the "right" to know or what have you. I've made this decision b/c it is *extremely* inconvenient for me to pretend I'm still Catholic. The impact it's having on my life is detrimental, and I simply cannot keep on like this b/c it just doesn't work anymore.

 

Rosa

Ick.

 

I assume they know where you live. And probably....where you work? And what your car looks like?

 

If you feel physically unsafe informing them about this decision in person, then you should be prepared to change some of your routines for a while.

 

Before you tell them, you might want to do a little re-con. Get their auto info. Make, Model, and License plate numbers. Keep these numbers with you. This way if you "think" they are following and watching you, you can either get peace of mind, or confirmation by having those license plate numbers.

 

If you can hold off informing them long enough to move to a new apartment, that would be great (especially if you could get a new job too! but that may not be realistic), but I understand if that is not feasible. Because they are going to come over after you tell them. And unless you are prepared to let them stand outside your door knocking and yelling for who knows how long (obviously you don't let dangerous people into your house....ESPECIALLY if they are family members!), it's better to be unlocatable.

 

If you can manage it, get a ride to work for a few weeks. That way "your" car is not in your workplace parking lot. Wait a sec.....doesn't your mother work at the same place or something? I can't remember. If that's the case, you really may want to get a new job before you tell your family (don't tell them where).

 

If you can swing it financially, grab whatever current home projects you are working on, and go stay at a motel near your workplace for a couple weeks (walk out the door with suitcase in hand right after you hang up after telling them). That way, even if your family camps out on your front stoop, figuring you have to come home "some time"....you really don't have such an obligation. You will be able to out wait them.

 

Why does so much of my blah blah center on avoidance of your family? Becuase absolutely nothing they have to say is going to change who you are, or how you feel. Nothing can be served by listening to them, or "letting them have a say" in your life. And you are safer away from them.

 

If they declare you missing? The police are not obligated to disclose your whereabouts. You can call the cops, set up a meeting, and tell them you have no wish to have any contact with your family, and that's that.

 

Ugh.

 

This would be easier if I knew your living, work, and personal routines and situations. Can you tell us?

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When I reveal the secret, I may stay with my bf for a couple of days. They don't know where he lives, and I will probably be safer there than in my own home.

 

If you can swing it, stay with him at least a week if you can. I'd feel a little better for you.

 

It's almost a shame you don't live in an apartment building. The manager can shoo loiterers off the property.

 

Are you on good terms with a next door neighbor yet? They could keep an eye on who comes to your house and how often while you are staying with bf for a few days.

 

Yeah....the work situation is a toughie. Is there any flexibility in your lunch hour? While you and your mom are in the same building, do you both work for the same company?

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Rosa, have you considered a restraining order against your family? Just a thought. If you feel there's some risk involved, I would definitely get in touch with the police and explain the situation.

 

Anyway, good luck and I wish you the best.

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I was also about to mention a restraining order. I know of more than one person that got one against a psycho religious mother. In her eyes you will always be a 6 year old, who privacy she can evade and life she can control. When my mother went psycho I threatened her with a restraining order. It hasn't come to that though.....yet. But I'm still having to do a little dance with her. She must have left 20 messages on my machine this week concerning something totally arbitrary. She hasn't crossed my line to the point that I'd take legal action though. I would reserve that for becoming violent and/or stalking. And since she likes to spy on boyfriends and get in fist fights with her sister, I'm keeping my eyes open. Although she did threaten me with God's wrath. Telling me that she was ,"his child", and, "I'd better be careful", "you don't know my God". Sorry, I'm not trying to scare you.

 

Anyways, I will say that after I told my parents a huge cloud of depression came off me. I don't quite understand it. But I've come to believe that there really is power in the truth, somehow..Oh, and after you tell your mother she may become extremely sweet to you. But it's a farce, remember. She depends on her kids for your identity and the image she presents to the world. All controlling mothers do. Without you she's... nothing.

 

Whatever you decide to do, don't allow her to abuse you physically or mentally. You live in America, not Iraq and there are legal protections created just for this kind of situation. One of the best, first things you can do as an out-of-closet ex-christian is actually do something for yourself after having been brainwashed to be a doormat. Especially to your parents.

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Invest in a no trespassing sign and then call the cops when she comes onto you property. Of course you will have to tell her that she is no longer welcome first, but that should get the point across.

 

If they keep calling you after that simply ignore the phone calls and wait for your answering machine to pick it up. Then you have evidance of harassment and can easily get a restraining order.

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Raven,

 

That shouldn't be a problem. I could stay with him for over a month if I really had to, I'm sure (or move in with him, if it came down to extremes).

 

I'm on excellent terms with my neighbours, actually. One of them intends to begin training for the police force. I've heard that a police officer can actually arrest someone while off duty. Hopefully, that's true.

 

As for my work situation, it is actually extremely rare for me to bump into my mother. Still, she has been using the e-mail system to send harrassing mail to me (I've since told her to stop, and will be blocking all of her e-mail accounts from that address).

 

For those who suggested a restraining order: I thought you could only get one after the perpetrator has committed an assault or something like that. Didn't know you could get one without at least a threat on the perp's part. If he tries to hurt or threaten me again, I certainly will get a restraining order against him.

 

Thanks, everyone. Just gotta keep reminding myself that I have the upper hand in all of this.

 

Rosa

 

 

If you can swing it, stay with him at least a week if you can. I'd feel a little better for you.

 

It's almost a shame you don't live in an apartment building. The manager can shoo loiterers off the property.

 

Are you on good terms with a next door neighbor yet? They could keep an eye on who comes to your house and how often while you are staying with bf for a few days.

 

Yeah....the work situation is a toughie. Is there any flexibility in your lunch hour? While you and your mom are in the same building, do you both work for the same company?

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Hi there,

 

I think the best you can do is to tell them and to cut them off at the same time.

 

As an abused child, if you tell them you are no longer catholic and then THEY cut you off, you will be hurt as hell. But if it is YOU cutting them off, then you will feel empowered, and there will be nothing--emotional at least--that they can do to you.

 

Most of these attachments are mental. If you can say "good-bye" to them in your mind, and be totally convinced that you don't want them in your life anymore, then they can't emotionally abuse you anymore, because really, in your mind, they're dead.

 

I cut my mother off. I said good-bye to her on the phone. I said, "I only call you because I feel sorry for you, mother. None of your children call you because you are nasty, but I won't take your trash anymore. If I call you just to hear you say mean things to me, then, what's the point?"

 

I hung up right after and I haven't heard from her in four years. In my mind, she is dead. I have a mental image of her grave, and I know she can't bother me from there.

 

You are in a completely different situation--I know. But if you can take away the power to hurt you that they have, you'll move a step forward. It may take you years, but it can be done. Especially now that you know "god" won't punish you for it.

 

All the best!

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Hi Lorena,

 

The cutting off part has already been done...informally. I told my mom to stop calling me, and that I did not wish to speak to her or my dad for an indefinite time period. Trouble is, I think that she has tried to e-mail me again (saw a couple of items in my deleted items folder which I *strongly* suspect were from her). Since she will likely not respect me, I now have to muster up the strength to write a letter telling my folks to stay away, and also to keep the trust fund money that was to be released to me when I turned 25 (i.e. at the end of this year). I don't want any financial handouts or anything else from them, and so I need to formalize the process. Plus, I will be changing my number (though there's still the trouble of her having access to other staff info- we have a shared computer network where I work).

 

(*Deep sigh*) I think I will have to tell my supervisor what's been going on with her. Maybe there's something he can do for me. I just hope that nothing I tell him will get back to my mother.

 

Thanks for the support,

Rosa

Hi there,

 

I think the best you can do is to tell them and to cut them off at the same time.

 

As an abused child, if you tell them you are no longer catholic and then THEY cut you off, you will be hurt as hell. But if it is YOU cutting them off, then you will feel empowered, and there will be nothing--emotional at least--that they can do to you.

 

Most of these attachments are mental. If you can say "good-bye" to them in your mind, and be totally convinced that you don't want them in your life anymore, then they can't emotionally abuse you anymore, because really, in your mind, they're dead.

 

I cut my mother off. I said good-bye to her on the phone. I said, "I only call you because I feel sorry for you, mother. None of your children call you because you are nasty, but I won't take your trash anymore. If I call you just to hear you say mean things to me, then, what's the point?"

 

I hang up right after and I haven't heard from her in four years. In my mind, she is dead. I have a mental image of her grave, and I know she can't bother me from there.

 

You are in a completely different situation--I know. But if you can take away the power to hurt you that they have, you'll move a step forward. It may take you years, but it can be done. Especially now that you know "god" won't punish you for it.

 

All the best!

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If she's harassing you through work email, seriously save it, back that up and take it to others at the work place, particularly whoever the IT manager is, or whoever can implement disciplinary action.

 

And Document Everything. Don't just delete it, just catch it and save it. If nothing else it is evidence for the internal guys/police.

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When I was trying to decide whether or not I should cut off my abusive family, there was a really useful couple of books I read that were helpful for me. One was "Toxic Parents" by Susan Forward, and another was "Divorcing a Parent" by Beverly Engel. Both had ideas on how to confront parents safely, and suggestions for how to detach from them emotionally too.

 

I have a few other suggestions too.

 

It's okay to write a formal letter; it might be useful to do so. In said letter, you can simply let them know that you do not want to have any contact with them, you are no longer a Catholic, and if they attempt to contact you, you will not hesitate to call the police.

 

Before sending it, contact an attorney or the local authorities and let them know that you are doing this, and that you believe that your family may retaliate. In addition, talk to your supervisor at work, and let him or her know what the situation is, and that you expect to receive harassing emails from your mother, that your father may show up and become violent, and that you need their help and support.

 

When you send the letter, CC it to BF and attorney (or cops), so that there is a record of it with multiple people - and let your parents know that you have done this. That way, they will know that you have told other people of their antics, and that others are watching your back too.

 

After that, document everything. Keep harassing emails - CC them to your supervisor, BF, attorney, and perhaps your own private account too, so that multiple people have a record of your parents' antics. Keep a notebook with you, too, and if you see them following you or they show up at work, make a record of it: date/time, what happened, who you saw, etc. Print out hard copies and distribute them to your safety net.

 

If you are a homeowner and can afford it, I'd also change the locks and install a security system. Security systems aren't cheap - around here they start at about $1500 - but homeowner's insurance companies love them, and if you can afford it it's a good warning system - both for you and for your neighbors.

 

If you can't afford a security system, you can still do things like hang a string of aluminum cans from the doorknobs on front/back doors, sew those little Xmas jingle bells to the screens on your windows, and so on. If your parents show up, either go on lockdown and call the cops, or get the hell out, whichever is safer.

 

I'm glad to see you've enlisted the help of your neighbors too. Keep in contact with them and let them know what's going on, especially the one in training to be a cop. Have them call the cops if your family shows up.

 

Last but not least, get a therapist. ;) Separating from a potentially violent, abusive family is going to take an emotional toll; it would even if there wasn't a real risk of danger from them.

 

I'd be curious to find out if the company that you and your mother work for has an anti-harassment policy, and what they would think about it if they found out one employee was harassing another via company email. It might be worth asking your supervisor about.

 

In any case, regardless of what advice you take, just STAY SAFE and STAY SANE. Keep breathing, hang in there, and good luck. And bravo for having the courage to not only survive your psycho abusive family, but to be able to tell them to fuck off as well.

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To add to what gwenmead said, keep us updated! This is extremely important since we are a part of your safety net too! (And I like juicy gossip :HaHa: )

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*Hugs*

 

As for my work situation, it is actually extremely rare for me to bump into my mother. Still, she has been using the e-mail system to send harrassing mail to me (I've since told her to stop, and will be blocking all of her e-mail accounts from that address).

 

If your mother is abusing her company e-mail privileges to harass you, you should report that to someone, especially if she's threatening you in them. Even if it's something as "harmless" as religious chain letters, those count as spam and would be a violation of most corporate e-mail policies. You should talk to your supervisor about it, and make sure to have some of them saved so they realize it's a pattern of abusive behavior.

 

I wish you the best of luck. And definitely keep us updated.

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