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How Much Safe Distance Is There Between You And Them?


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I'd say the best way to mitigate the problem of having fundy family members on your case is to keep a few hundred miles or more between you and them.

 

Oh, and here's an open ended question (because I ran out of room): the Jesus thing aside, how interested are they in your life? Are they constantly calling, visiting, being involved? Or do you go months or years with little more than a sporadic, oblique phone call? Somewhere in the middle?

 

And vice versa: how much of your life in general do you reveal? Do you try to remain a distant mystery to them (and does that have to do with the Jesus shit)? Or do you go out of your way to be as involved with your family as possible?

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lol, you love doing more of a "survey" type of deal than a poll, huh? :P

 

I ain't fillin' all that shit out because these polls never work for me, but every single person that I'm related to, as far as I know of, is still a Christian. I am the only one who got out. Most of them probably don't know. I hardly seem them and I could care less if they know or don't know. I told my sister about 7 years ago when she asked. She was disappointed, and I'm sure she called my mom up and told her that same day. My family has basically left me alone over the issue, and then it came up recently. I have a thread about it that tells the whole story. I live the next street down from my parents, and my sister and her family live close by, but I only see them (sis' family) a few times a year. Things are alright with my parents, though. I've just made it known to my sister/mom that I never want to talk about it with them again because it will only result in hurt feelings on their part and I have absolutely no intention of ever returning. They seem to have accepted that.

 

I don't tell them much about my life because I just feel like we're in different dimensions. I'll talk about really basic, mundane stuff, but that's it.

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I don't tell them much about my life because I just feel like we're in different dimensions. I'll talk about really basic, mundane stuff, but that's it.

 

 

I am going to borrow this quote, AKR, because it perfectly describes my relationship with the rest of my family. I have one brother who said he was a Christian. He has never mentioned anything about it since. He is sort of a Republican activist type and I don't care for that either. He lives far away so we don't really have any relationship anyway.

 

I love my parents, my mother phones me about twice a month. I haven't spoken to my father in probably a year. I had to write my mother once and ask her to not discuss religion with me. She kept sending me Christian reading material in the mail and I finally asked her to stop it after about 10 years. As I said, I love them, they did a lot for me by putting me through college, but Baptist fundamentalism is such an important part of their lives. Their life revolves around the church, but I don't want to hear about it. My father is a deacon and I hate to think of him going to lapsed member's houses and trying to talk (or threaten) them into returning to the church. It is so unlike he used to be when he was in the Air Force. Then he didn't much care and didn't have time to be involved in it but he just made sure we all went every Sunday. I can't relate to their lifestyle and the state of mind that enables them to believe this stuff.

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None of the above. I was the only 'true' Christian. [ 1 ] ** [6.67%]

Lucky me!

So how did they react?

They were kinda relieved,that I stopped going to those weird people on Saturdays.

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One of my cousins is an atheist and another one stopped going to church after his father died after a horrific bout with bone cancer. The rest of my family are died in the wool xians.

 

Unlike a lot of members here, however, my family doesn't bug me about my atheism. Last summer when visiting I had a talk with my mom about it. I was only willing to do so because I pity her that she has fears that I will someday go to hell. The convo didn't really help her but I felt no pressure from her to try and convince me I was wrong. There are two reasons for this, first, I'm better at expressing myself than she is so she was probably intimidated by my knowledge on the subject. Primarily though, she is just not the kind of person who would reject her son for this type of decision. She respects my decisions even if she can't understand them and she and my family are generally very tolerant people.

 

My grandfather, before he died, tried to coax me into returning to church. I wrote him a letter explaining why I would not and he let it go. I'm sure the letter was passed around my family members and that they pray for me due to this but none of them have ever raised the issue with me.

 

The bottom line is that my family are all "true" believers, but that it is more of a cultural belief with them. They don't bury themselves in it the way I did. This is what separates me from them and it is why I deconverted and they never will. They can compartmentalize their beliefs whereas I can't.

 

IOW, xianity was much worse for me than it is for them.

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For "List all your family members who are still caught up in what you left behind," I voted "other," because so far as I know all my living relatives are Christians of some stripe or other. I didn't find an option for that. As for "How did they react," I'm not sure if my 90-year-old grandfather ever found out that I left the horse and buggy church or not. Nor do I know if all my aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. know that I have left Christianity altogether. My grandparents were no longer alive. My immediate family reacted horribly. One aunt and uncle turned sufficiently cold for me to decide not to share it with the others. I don't know what other family members shared with whom.

 

For "How much did you shut them out" I voted "I told them to fuck off and die. They're dead to me." But they are the kind that don't stay dead. They kept sending me letters and gifts in the mail. I started returning stuff. Even that didn't work.

 

It was only a few times a year. After more than two years, just this past Christmas, the person I was closest to and I had our first decent conversation on the telephone. Healing has taken place on both sides. Family dynamics are also changing due to other things so I don't know where things are going.

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So it's pretty much just my mother. My dad died but he was not a devout Christian like my mom is but tried. My brother is agnostic, I guess, he definitely isn't Christian. I have one grandmother left (my dad's mother)and she would rather stick a fork in her eye than step into a church even though she grew up Catholic and raised my dad Catholic until he was about 12 or so, I am guessing. I know they just stopped going before he was an adult. I did not know they were catholic until after my dad died. My mom tried to get my grandma to accept Jesus. My grandma and I are not close, however. We rarely talk. I write her every once in a blue moon to say hi. My mom thinks if I can keep in contact with her I would inherent her money but I really could care less about her money, we're doing just fine. She is worth a couple million at least but with the recent economy that may have dropped half as much. Knowing her siblings that are still alive but not in the will may steal it and destroy it like they did with her brother Leo's estate. It had to be split evenly since there was no will to be found but my grandma swears there was a will, that she had seen it and was named as executor. It's not fun to see a bunch of Polaks arguing. I have seen my fair share, don't wish to get in the middle of that.

So my dh's family is mostly very liberal, his mom says she is Christian but she doesn't go to church or try to convert everyone like my mom. His dad... well he just likes to drink. His uncles, aunts and cousins on his dad's side are all hippy-ish and hate religion, hate government, hate corporate America, hate violence which there is nothing wrong with any of that but some of them seem to still be stuck in the 60's. Two of his uncle's still have long hair, wear tie dyed shirts and one sells hemp products and ties himself to subs(back in the day, LOL!) while the other is living on the streets as a"protest" and writing. He is like 2 credits away from getting his Ph.D and he's choosing to be homeless. I don't get them... Ok enough about the family, LOL! I am just thankful to be in Asia for now.

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Guest ephymeris
I'd say the best way to mitigate the problem of having fundy family members on your case is to keep a few hundred miles or more between you and them.

 

Oh, and here's an open ended question (because I ran out of room): the Jesus thing aside, how interested are they in your life? Are they constantly calling, visiting, being involved? Or do you go months or years with little more than a sporadic, oblique phone call? Somewhere in the middle?

 

And vice versa: how much of your life in general do you reveal? Do you try to remain a distant mystery to them (and does that have to do with the Jesus shit)? Or do you go out of your way to be as involved with your family as possible?

I only talk to my Dad on Fathers day and Christmas. I was really close with my Mom. She used to call me almost daily but now she calls me once every week or two to say hi. Earlier this year, a deadly combination occurred between me and my mom. Number one, I told her Sarah Palin was a cunt and I was voting for Obama AND she found I had lots of atheist/agnostic "friends" on myspace. She demanded to know what was going on with my beliefs and I tried to tell her gently. She freaked. She cried, ranted, and yelled and told me she raised me to be a conservative christian and since I wasn't I was a bigger disappointment and failure to her than my brother (that's saying a lot) and that ignorance was bliss, she wished she didn't know these things about me, blah. After the freaking, a month later, she wanted me to explain myself but I walled myself off to her and told her I didn't feel comfortable with telling her anything about me.

 

Now I do the "distant mystery" option. I live 10 hours away and now our relationship is really superficial. We don't talk about anything important and I don't give her any reason to think I'm anything but what her perception of me is. She doesn't really want to know me so she doesn't deserve the truth from me. This is working but we're trying to have a baby and I worry that these things will come up again if we ever do have a kid because it's going to be obvious we're trying to raise a kid in a religiously neutral home. My in-laws are still very christian and much more involved in my life than my parents so I'm concerned with that. Luckily, I'm going to let my husband handle his parents and me handle mine and we'll just see what happens.

 

My brother also complicates things because he has been a serious drug addict and now he nearly died and is post traumatic brain injury due to being a passenger in a MVA connected with drug use. My parents sent him to a "christian" drug rehab which really didn't do much but stuff my brother with annoying dogma and didn't change his behavior much. He still drinks, does the occasional drugs, is financially dependent on my parents, decided to get his girlfriend pregnant on purpose in the middle of all this, and is a general train wreck but that boy love the lard. We hardly ever communicate with each other but his religious zeal just complicates my family dynamic further.

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I only have 2 Christian relatives - an aunt who lives quite near, and her son, who lives a few hours drive away. I don't see either of them very often.

 

It's not a problem at all, but it's kind of sad. My cousin is 20 years older than me, but we grew a lot closer after I became a Christian, because he was the only person in my family I could talk to about it (before I dared tell my parents about my conversion). We've talked about lots of stuff, he bought me a Christian book for my birthday this year, and it's been really nice to have that connection with someone in my family. So it's a shame that I'm having to break that.

 

He doesn't know the full extent of it (and his mum knows nothing, unless he's said something), but I talked to him a couple of months ago and said I was having a lot of doubts and wasn't really sure where I was with God, and he was fine with that, and said doubts and questioning are normal. I'm sure he'll be kind of upset when he finds out I've totally lost my faith, but I don't think it'll be that big a deal.

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I've told my parents, but not my fundy relatives. I do my best not to discuss religion or politics with them at all during family gatherings. I really only see them once or twice a year anyway.

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My parents are Christian, not fundy I am in the closet on this issue for good reasons the people that would make a bigger issue besides all the tears and stuff what would happen with my parents are my aunt and uncle who are fundies.

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I'm surrounded by Fundamgelicals here where I live, but most of my relatives are Fundamgelicals and even though we live at least 2 hours apart, they drive me insane via phone. I haven't come out to them yet though and I know if I do, I will catch hell from them. I saw what they did to my great uncle who was an atheist and it was not pretty. :( They've always expected me to believe as they do and IF I show anything different from them, I get a modern day Inquisition. Seriously! My mother calls up and the first thing out of her mouth is her religious beliefs and it doesn't stop! Batshit crazy is an understatement. I know of Xians who think my relatives are delusional! That is pretty bad. Here I am, an only child, and I can't go to my mother for advice or anything, not even my worst troubles. It's sad really. :(

 

They drove one of my step-cousins to suicide, trying to make him convert under the promise that all his back pain (after three surgeries) would go away if he turned his life over to God. What happened was that he shot himself in the head and even when he was declared brain dead and the drs wanted to disconnect life support, they were STILL trying to get him to convert! It is INSANE! I've lost too many relatives to suicide due to religious ideology and dogma. :(

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I'm surrounded by Fundamgelicals here where I live, but most of my relatives are Fundamgelicals and even though we live at least 2 hours apart, they drive me insane via phone. I haven't come out to them yet though and I know if I do, I will catch hell from them. I saw what they did to my great uncle who was an atheist and it was not pretty. :( They've always expected me to believe as they do and IF I show anything different from them, I get a modern day Inquisition. Seriously! My mother calls up and the first thing out of her mouth is her religious beliefs and it doesn't stop! Batshit crazy is an understatement. I know of Xians who think my relatives are delusional! That is pretty bad. Here I am, an only child, and I can't go to my mother for advice or anything, not even my worst troubles. It's sad really. :(

 

They drove one of my step-cousins to suicide, trying to make him convert under the promise that all his back pain (after three surgeries) would go away if he turned his life over to God. What happened was that he shot himself in the head and even when he was declared brain dead and the drs wanted to disconnect life support, they were STILL trying to get him to convert! It is INSANE! I've lost too many relatives to suicide due to religious ideology and dogma. :(

 

 

Wow, that is really fucked up. I'm sorry to hear that. I hate seeing people do things like that, especially because of such nonsensical beliefs.

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I almost went mad for two years because of my stalking father!

I'm not sure if it has to do with his fundi believes, but I know for sure that no one did something against the stalking,

although I had a paper from a doctor saying I suffer ptsd.

 

now, I'm back to "normal" life, having my own flat for the first time of my life, a new adress and feeling safe...

 

but I will never forget these two years were nobody did something...

"friends", family, police, doctors, therapists - nobody dared to stand up against my father, and they even dared to lock me up..

 

I still miss the words to express what happened - how I see the world and people today - it just run to deep

and yes, it's hard to hold on

- evil fuckers

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It's pretty scary knowing people putting their "god" before the human rights declaration!!!

I'm really scared - and I don't think I'm paranoid.

It's ok to be afraid of people like my father and every other fundamentalist!

 

I'm really happy to finally feel good about being proud...

I still believe there are not many like you guys and me - glad to meet you :)

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Guest QuidEstCaritas?
I almost went mad for two years because of my stalking father!

I'm not sure if it has to do with his fundi believes, but I know for sure that no one did something against the stalking,

although I had a paper from a doctor saying I suffer ptsd.

 

now, I'm back to "normal" life, having my own flat for the first time of my life, a new adress and feeling safe...

 

but I will never forget these two years were nobody did something...

"friends", family, police, doctors, therapists - nobody dared to stand up against my father, and they even dared to lock me up..

 

I still miss the words to express what happened - how I see the world and people today - it just run to deep

and yes, it's hard to hold on

- evil fuckers

 

 

If I were you I wouldn't forget it either. That's a good lesson in human nature and you should remember that lesson (IMO). Experience is a valid form of knowledge, always remember that. Your own understandings of your own experience are valid and nobody can truly tell you otherwise.

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I'm surrounded by Fundamgelicals here where I live, but most of my relatives are Fundamgelicals and even though we live at least 2 hours apart, they drive me insane via phone. I haven't come out to them yet though and I know if I do, I will catch hell from them. I saw what they did to my great uncle who was an atheist and it was not pretty. :( They've always expected me to believe as they do and IF I show anything different from them, I get a modern day Inquisition. Seriously! My mother calls up and the first thing out of her mouth is her religious beliefs and it doesn't stop! Batshit crazy is an understatement. I know of Xians who think my relatives are delusional! That is pretty bad. Here I am, an only child, and I can't go to my mother for advice or anything, not even my worst troubles. It's sad really. :(

 

They drove one of my step-cousins to suicide, trying to make him convert under the promise that all his back pain (after three surgeries) would go away if he turned his life over to God. What happened was that he shot himself in the head and even when he was declared brain dead and the drs wanted to disconnect life support, they were STILL trying to get him to convert! It is INSANE! I've lost too many relatives to suicide due to religious ideology and dogma. :(

 

 

Wow, that is really fucked up. I'm sorry to hear that. I hate seeing people do things like that, especially because of such nonsensical beliefs.

 

Yes it is. Why do you think I try to avoid them as much as possible?

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Haven't told anyone yet, and I'm really not looking forward with the conversation with my wife when I'm confident enough in my non-belief to broach it with her.

 

I kind of think my dad is in the closet, though, he and my mom recently left the evangelical church for the United and they're not die-hard about anything religious like they used to be. When I talk with my dad, though, I get the sense he's trying to figure out how much I've changed, because he can tell something's different.

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