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Pastor Dad Is Forcing Me To Get Married, I Am Depressed


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Your parents are tyrants. You can not win that game. They want to control you as a king controls a pawn, and their concepts of family honor are the concepts of feudalism.

 

Who the fuck do they think they are? You did not ask to be raised by them. You did not have a choice. You do not owe them your life just because they raised you. It is tragic that their love for you is conditional, but you will never be able to appease their bullying by submission.

 

How do you negotiate with a bully? You punch him in the mouth. Why? Because he does not respect you otherwise. Your parents have no respect for you, no trust in you. To them you are a liability, and ideally for them, you will simply bring them glory, and not the true friendship that family is supposed to offer. They love their reputation more than they love you.

 

You need to assert control. When they call, do not pick up the phone. They do not deserve it. You will call them when you are ready. When they guilt trip you, punish them for it. You will not negotiate with terrorists. Either they will treat you with the respect an adult human being deserves, or you will not interact with them. You may fear they may disown you or something, but the only chance you will have a normal relationship is if you break the current one, which is basically you with a yoke and them whipping you to plow their fields.

 

The reply to their letter should be "Dear parents, I love you and do want you to be happy, but please do not meddle in my affairs. Your preaching is hurting my reputation, and it would be nice if you would stop judging everybody as Jesus asked of us. If you want to have a relationship with your daughter then you will stop treating me like a piece of property. If you can not do that then we have nothing to discuss."

 

I have seen families like this from time to time, especially in the asian communities which are tightknit. You need to be able to admit that the situation is bad, and that you deserve to be treated better. You are not responsible for their emotional situation, so do not let them manipulate you by playing the victim.

 

My own parents have to take flak because I don't go to church, but that is not their fault or my fault, that is the fault of their shitty christian community that thinks they should be judged by my actions. Well, fuck them and their guilt trips. I will not spread the virus by trying to placate them. The bullying stops with me.

 

If you can not defy them, forever will they dominate your destiny!!

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marroncream,

 

No offense is meant to the other board members, but "Overcame Faith"'s response is really the only practical one here. The other members don't seem to understand the cultural differences, which is really the primary issue here. Christianity is a secondary concern here (I suspect your parents would act the same if they were Atheist or Buddhist Chinese). I would give his advise more weight.

 

I am in a similar situation. I have no desire to get married. My mom (being a conservative South Asian) is desperate to get me married and producing children; not for religious reasons, but for the cultural reasons. In fact she is even trying to hook me up with Hindu girls through the community. It's quite annoying. I also suspect she has written me out of her will. I've accepted that as a consequence. I don't plan on receiving any inheritance.

 

If "Overcame Faith"'s advice doesn't work. I think you should ask yourself if you are willing to give up your parents (and maybe family) for your boyfriend. My grandfather threw my Aunt out of the house when she married a non-Hindu. My mom was declared unclean when she married my western dad and banned from certain areas of her parent's house back in the old country. Whether your parents are that strict is unknown to me, but the cultural pull seems strong here.

 

Ultimately you may have to choose. So think about your choices, the possible consequences, and whether you are prepared to accept them. You're unfortunately in a no-win situation here, so you will have to do what you think is best.

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I just wonder how much impact the cultural difference has at this point. She's financially independent and living in another country. There is no legal way for her parents to do anything more unpleasant than disowning her. Her economic security is guaranteed - they can't disrupt it. At this point, the only damage they can do is emotional, and it looks like that's already all been done.

 

Maybe I'm missing something huge in the culture gap, but I have to wonder what it could be. What is there that is a real-world, practical threat to marroncream that her parents wield? To ask a commonly rhetorical question non-rhetorically, what can they possibly do to her that hasn't been done already?

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Dear all,

 

I've been reading all your posts over and over again to try to gain some strength and hammer it into my head that it's not my fault. I think Overcame Faith summarizes the situation best. The Chinese Christian community is like a very small, insular, incestuous club where everyone meddles in everyone's affairs and everyone's lives are everyone else's soap operas. Because my dad's the pastor, it makes him the main gossip target of the community, and when this community comprises of uneducated, super religious Chinese takeaway owners, it does not make for a very open-minded, discerning bunch. He's having a hard enough time with the church already, so I think my 'coming out' has added fuel to the fire.

 

The worst thing is, this is a reaction to me merely living with my boyfriend, not 'sleeping with him', if you know what I mean. The ironic thing is, I've lived with 2 guys for years during university, and now I still flat-share with several people, including my boyfriend. If they are so against me living with a man, why did they not force me to marry one of my flatmates? I was living with men just as I am living with men now (boyfriend plus 3 guys plus 2 girls). My mom has visited my flat when there were only me and 2 guys, she even cooked for them. How was she so sure one of them wasn't my boyfriend at the time?

 

I 'came out' so that I could try to improve my relationship with them, not so they can demand (I'm quoting them) that I get married before September 2010. Why September? Because a close church friend's family is moving to my city and my dad's petrified that he'll find out. There can be no other explanation for September 2010. I've met up (forced to) with his various pastor acquaintances over the years and no one's ever found out the shenanigans I've been up to. Last time, I reluctantly agreed to go to one pastor's house for lunch. (I know, it seems like I have no control over my life, but please refer to Overcame Faith's post on Asian parents). They cooked for me, we talked. After lunch, he sneakily put on some gospel music and got a church pamphlet out. I told him I don't go to church. How insulting that they think they could tempt me to church with food. I'm thinking, I've been announcing here and there to all the pastors he throws my way that I do not go to church, how much more can I ruin his reputation? It must be somewhat tainted already, that the pastor's daughter rejects church. It also pisses me off that he thinks I'm the local HQ to send his congregation to whenever they're in town, that I'll happily go meet up with total strangers just because they're Chinese Christians and I'm the pastor's daughter. We may look the same and come from the same background, but we cannot be further apart. I have nothing in common with these people.

 

I don't know, I've constantly been on the verge of tears for the past two days. I'll probably summarize all these posts into the email I will be sending them. If I wait too long, they might call me. If I don't wait long enough, they might think it was easy for me. They have no idea. I need help. I want to cry. My sister won't even talk to me. I wrote her a short email saying 'you didn't say a word during my redundancy (I was fine in the end, but it was hell for a month), you're not saying a word now. It's nice to feel all alone in this family'. She still hasn't replied after 2 days. She's just as brainwashed as my parents are. She's probably afraid to be a sympathizer and be tainted with my sin. She is also pretty jealous that I'm happy with my boyfriend, because she can't find one at her church where girls outnumber guys by I don't know, 50 to 1? It's also pretty pathetic that when Christian women grow older and older and still can't find a man in their impossibly narrow social circle, they resort to saying that they've been 'chosen for singleness' and 'Jesus is my other half' and they're special.

 

I'm rambling now, but anyway.

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I just wonder how much impact the cultural difference has at this point. She's financially independent and living in another country. There is no legal way for her parents to do anything more unpleasant than disowning her. Her economic security is guaranteed - they can't disrupt it. At this point, the only damage they can do is emotional, and it looks like that's already all been done.

 

Maybe I'm missing something huge in the culture gap, but I have to wonder what it could be. What is there that is a real-world, practical threat to marroncream that her parents wield? To ask a commonly rhetorical question non-rhetorically, what can they possibly do to her that hasn't been done already?

 

I believe that she's living in another Asian country near her home country.

 

Depending on where she is and how traditional her boss and coworkers are, if her parents come to her place of employment and denounce her as a rebellious daughter, her reputation at work could suffer greatly to the point where she's all but driven out. I don't think that should change her overall ability to find and hold a job though- but I also think that a lot of people are underestimating the cultural differences.

 

But to me, it's reached a point where it's not a choice between the parents and the boyfriend, but a choice between the parents and her own self-respect and personal integrity. When I fell in the trap of thinking that I could keep making my parents happy, it was through a series of choices where it seemed like family should be more important (like that my parents were more important than an atheist boyfriend I wasn't planning on spending much longer with anyway). I failed to see that the other side of the equation wasn't a boyfriend or an activity or what I read or listened to, but my own identity as a person.

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Do "cultural differences" excuse Islamic terrorism?

 

Divorce yourself from that twisted family and culture of Asian Christianity (that doesn't even sound right to begin with) and disappear. No contact, ever. They don't deserve the slightest consideration at this point. You are in a battle for your very survival, not to mention your peace and dignity.

 

It's either that or be their slave forever. You are a victim of abuse whether you realize it or not. It's up to you whether you allow people to bully and threaten you or not. Sorry, but it's the truth.

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It appears to be all about your Dad, and that your Mom is just playing along because she is just as much under his, and the "tiny communities'" control as your sister. It definitely sounds like a real cultural and psychological cluster fuck. I think your Dad cares more about himself and his pride, and is extremely domineering. To me, and it sounds as if they were very harsh on you when you were younger, mine were too, its really hard to heal from. The way I got through it was to get angry, I could not be scared anymore, for my own well being I had to say enough was enough. I don't talk to them, or have anything to do with them, and just because they are my parents does not mean I have to listen to what they tell me, if I did that I probably would have ended my life. A counselor even said that just because they are my parents that I am not obligated to love them because of what they did.

 

You already have an idea of what you want, and how you want to live you life, its a time to put those desires into overdrive and say enough is enough, say i'm not going to put up with this shit anymore because it is driving me to the brink.

 

Be strong, be independent, be whoever you damn well please, its your life. Fuck the people who try to tell you different. :sing:

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I have to agree with Florduh. At this point "Asian culture" is becoming another ball-and-chain that they're relying on to control you. I'm Irish, but I'll be goddamned if I ever take part in a catholic mass. Nothing bad has happened to me for rejecting that part of my culture. Furthermore, there are other parts of your culture you can hold onto if they make you happy. Culture is not an all-or-nothing deal, no matter how much it's traditionally thought of as being such. Pick and choose the parts of your culture that you want to follow and follow them. Take Chinese Christianity and dump it in the trash, though, because Christianity of all kinds is precisely that - garbage.

 

If your father's reputation is ruined, what can happen to you? If you live in a European country (generally more progressive) and are financially independent, there is nothing he or anybody else can do to hurt you because of it. Let his reputation crumble. Frankly, he deserves the suffering for how he's making you suffer. If it were me in your position, I'd go out of my way to actively destroy that reputation and then gloat and laugh in his face about it as revenge, but again, I do tend to be a bit brash about this stuff at times.

 

But seriously, you are safe in cutting them off. At the very least just cut them off for a little while (don't tell them it isn't permanent - let them freak and panic and realize their wrongdoing) to buy yourself some time to think and cool down.

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Your parents seem extraordinarily upset that everyone will find out about your 'shenanigans'.

 

Why not threaten your parents with exposing your shenanigans to their congregation? Write an email explaining your hedonistic lifestyle (I am being very sarcastic using the word hedonistic) and email it, not to your parents, but to another person in the church.

 

Then you'll be 'out' publically, and the damage will already have been done. Your parents won't be able to say "OMG, if everyone finds out, our reputation is RUINED!" because, guess what? It's already been ruined. Without their precious reputations to guilt you with, they will lose status, and power over you, because you've basically hastened their worst nightmare.

 

If their reputations are so precious, you have a massive amount of power, my friend. Use it wisely, and for your own advantage. Cease contact for a while, and if they start their abusive behaviour, send the email to members of the congregation, and undermine your father's power.

 

I wouldn't warn them that you are doing this. I would simply do it and let them deal with the consequences.

 

Make your own mind up based on what I've suggested. I'm just throwing it out there. It might not feel like the right course of action, but then, it's your life, and you know what would be best. :)

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Why not threaten your parents with exposing your shenanigans to their congregation? Write an email explaining your hedonistic lifestyle (I am being very sarcastic using the word hedonistic) and email it, not to your parents, but to another person in the church.

^^^ I like this approach; but I would do rather than threaten-to-do. Personally, I would wait for a third party to e-mail a church-related query your way, or send you godspam, and then do something like this:

 

*reply all* "I am no longer a Christian. Please remove me from your e-mail list." *send*

Repeat as necessary, using spam filters to block senders if they get too annoying. Keep sending the same message over and over again, like a broken record. If you get an even slightly threatening response, or if they keep spamming you, send a complaint and a copy of the offending message to "abuse@(name of sender's Internet provider)".

 

I wouldn't warn them that you are doing this. I would simply do it and let them deal with the consequences.

Seconded. Never, ever telegraph your moves. Whatever you decide to do, plan carefully; then make your move, and refuse to discuss it with them. When someone is trying to interfere with your life, you do not owe them any explanation whatsoever.

 

And if they harass you in any way whatsoever, cut off all contact, even through third parties. Call the police and get a restraining order, if necessary.

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The big mistake here was trying to be honest with people who are affected with the Christmindvirus. You cannot reason with people affected by Christmindvirus. The reality is you are living with your BF out of convenience and there is nothing wrong with that. Your family, under the influence of Christmindvirus, are incapable of seeing this no matter what you do. In their eyes, your are commiting a sin and no logic or reasoning will change this vision because it was never based on reason to begin with.

 

 

The solution if I were you would just to simply "not and say you did." Your parent's can't prove you are or are not living together. Just lie to them and be smart about covering your trails.

 

The thing you must understand is that when it comes to Fundamentalist Mindviruses you should never, never, NEVER feel bad about lying to them out of convenience when it comes to issues where they are unable to see through their blind pressupositions. They aren't capable of comprehending the truth as you tell it to them, so it makes no difference if you are living honestly by their standards or not. I know you want to be honest with them but the reality is when it comes to fundy nonlogic you really can't.

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ClaraOlive:

But to me, it's reached a point where it's not a choice between the parents and the boyfriend, but a choice between the parents and her own self-respect and personal integrity. When I fell in the trap of thinking that I could keep making my parents happy, it was through a series of choices where it seemed like family should be more important (like that my parents were more important than an atheist boyfriend I wasn't planning on spending much longer with anyway). I failed to see that the other side of the equation wasn't a boyfriend or an activity or what I read or listened to, but my own identity as a person.

 

I think that's a solid point. It's too bad that life has to be this complicated at times. It's like one's life is being held hostage. I doubt that pastor dad is going to be dismissed because of a fully grown up adult daughter might be living with her boyfriend. I could see this as a problem if Marron was sixteen or something, but I think this fear is being used for leverage.

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I think apostate has said something that I have to admit is right, it took me so much courage and so much nerve to even tell them about me living with my boyfriend, thinking that once it's out they might be angry but will have to deal with it in the way of 'oh well, she's the black sheep on the family', but it really doesn't work like that. They are so irrationally outraged about something that, when you think about properly, I have been doing for the past few years right in front of their faces, that they don't see what they're actually angry about. I've lived with men before, I'm living with men now. They are called flatmates. I don't just live with my boyfriend in our own flat, I live in some sort of communal house! It is just so sad that my parents have 5 degrees between them and have had high-flying jobs before, but all this life experience doesn't seem to have given them any wisdom. Whenever I'm visiting them and I try to refuse to go to church (I finally succeeded last time I visited, but it was accompanied by lots of tears and screaming), my dad says 'Billy Graham's daughter was a drug addict prostitute, but she came around. God has a plan'. If god really has such a plan, why is he so outraged? It must be part of his plan, it must be one of the life tests that god is putting my dad through.

 

I think outing him in public is too vindictive, I'm scared enough of him as it is. Besides, I don't actually have contact with any of his congregation, I don't know which Reverend's which, and I don't get any god newsletters or anything. I am so cut off from the Chinese church community save for a few people he throws my way now and then. There really isn't a reason for him to believe that I will ruin his life. I know he's just going to say I've always been selfish and why can't I do this for him, make my boyfriend move out. If I really can't live without him, why not marry him? Those are not even questions.

 

 

I was reading a book on intuition when I was trying to work out whether to tell my parents. The stronger inclination was to say yes. I don't know if I trust my intuition anymore. I have a problem with honesty, in that I'm really too honest sometimes. I just can't lie. I think I'm just going insane inside, but I tell myself this has to pass one day. I was just trying to get close to my parents, they are pushing me further and further away. As much as I love them, they are causing me too much distress and I really can't handle all the emotional blackmail. Everytime I object to something church related, my mom goes 'are you rejecting us as parents?', so on and so forth. It's horrible. I can't believe my parents are doing this to me. At the same time, they probably can't believe I'm doing this to them.

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marroncream,

What would actually happen if you refused to get married and your dad's friend "outed" you to his church?

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Did you ever see the movie American Beauty? You need to reach a state with them where you can say 'You don't get to tell me what to do ever again.' That does not mean you are rejecting them, it means you have finally grown up and matured.

 

It doesn't have to be the end, they may regret pushing you away and soften their stances, but only if you show them you won't be pushed around by their guilt trips.

 

When your mom says that, tell her 'You've already rejected me as a daughter because you do not respect my freewill.'

 

Do not feel bad about the whole situation...you are not the first person to have this sort of conflict with their family. It happens all the time for various reasons, when parents can't let go and accept their children are no longer under their oversight. You did nothing to deserve this. If you love them you must be willing to push them away and believe that they will miss you, and in the future you might be able to reforge a relationship as adults.

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I know he's just going to say I've always been selfish and why can't I do this for him, make my boyfriend move out.

 

The answer to that question is "Because I don't want to. And because, now, I do what --I-- want, not what --you-- want. And if you don't like it...well I can send you some kleenex."

 

 

I was reading a book on intuition when I was trying to work out whether to tell my parents. The stronger inclination was to say yes. I don't know if I trust my intuition anymore. I have a problem with honesty, in that I'm really too honest sometimes. I just can't lie. I think I'm just going insane inside, but I tell myself this has to pass one day. I was just trying to get close to my parents, they are pushing me further and further away. As much as I love them, they are causing me too much distress and I really can't handle all the emotional blackmail. Everytime I object to something church related, my mom goes 'are you rejecting us as parents?', so on and so forth. It's horrible. I can't believe my parents are doing this to me. At the same time, they probably can't believe I'm doing this to them.

 

Going on what ClaraOlive said about reputation, they just gave you another weapon to use against them. They are obviously afraid of you rejecting them, so threaten to do exactly that. "I'm not rejecting you as parents, but if you keep up the stupid Jesus shit, I will, and you'll be lucky to get a postcard from me around christmas time. STOP THE JESUS SHIT. NOW. IT'S NOT A REQUEST."

 

And I also think you need to sit down and have a good, long, in-depth look at what you're afraid will happen to you. From reading your posts I get the impression that it's a nebulous, abstract fear of "bad things" resulting from your taking a hardline stance against your parents. Considering that you have numerous legal protections available to you, as well as the ability to change your locks, change your phone number, and otherwise physically prevent contact, you should apply some serious rigor to analyzing the real-world outcomes of the situation. Once you have a clear idea of exactly what could or could not happen, along with exactly how and how severely it would impact you physically, mentally, and economically, you'll be more prepared to deal with your parents and, assuming you share the information with us, we'll be better able to help you.

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I actually came across an Asian woman a few weeks back. I was at a public swimming pool. I'd had enough swimming and got dressed and sat by the pool while my kids swam. An Asian woman started talking to me. Immediately started saying how she'd split up with her husband a year earlier. They were from China and had come to New Zealand together. She hadn't told her mother back home they had split. She still had her mother believing they were still together. He mother would want to talk to him on the phone and she would have to make up excuses why he couldn't come to the phone. I don't know if she was a Christian, but it just illustrated to me what seemed to be a cultural thing, that you always went along with the traditions and you honor your parents as much as you can and try to please them. But to think this woman would put on such a charade just to avoid her mother's wrath. And her mother was in China! She was in New Zelaand! I mean, wow! How can you let your parents hold that sort of control over you? You need to cut the strings before you find yourself in an even worse situation than you are now.

 

I come from a childhood where I had a domineering mother. I never realised she was domineering until later in life. But you often don't realise things until later. I realised later in my teens that I needed to cut the strings because her domineering attitude was having a negative impact on my self-esteem and my social life. Even later on in my 20s she was still trying to control me. We had a lot of conflict, but I had to make her realise that I was an adult. I was able to run my own life. I did not need her to control me or tell me what to do. She didn't like the fact that I rebelled against her. But she got used to it. Now she knows she can never get away with it anymore and our relationship is a lot better.

 

I was also married to a woman who had an extremely domineering father. She was scared of defying him. Her whole family was. He made unreasonable demands when it came to our wedding, but I bit my tongue. But after we were married, I stood up to him any time he tried to dominate us. He tried to dominate me! He was a huge guy. About 6 foof 4 and probably close to 300 pounds in weight. But he really did try to dominate us. I stood up to him, face to face on several ocassions. One occassion we were living with them termporarily and he really tried it on. I had a back up plan to leave if he tried it on. So I told him. "We're out of here. Bye bye!" and we started to pack our stuff. He backed right down. He tucked his tail between his legs and went to his wife all upset that we were leaving. He couldn't deal with being stood up to like that. He couldn't deal with not being in control. Next thing he was there trying to put things right with us. Some times you just have to stand up to bullies. Your parents are bullies. You need to stand up to them too. Chances are, like my ex-father-in-law, they will back right down and start to treat you with respect after that. I did get my FIL's respect . In fact I heard through the grapevine, some time after that event, that he'd said "The more I get to know Richard, the more I like him".

 

I've found that bullies will respect you if you stand up to them. Try it.

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I just realised that he said in his letter he wants me to marry before September not because some pastor is moving to town, but because that's when this couple are moving back to his town after having lived together 'sinfully' in another country, and he is forcing them to confess this in front of the whole congregation before they are allowed to marry, and if his own daughter is doing the same, he can't hypocritically tell this other couple to confess. This is purely for his personal warped agenda. I can't believe it. The poor couple.

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The difference between you and this couple is that they are Christians and you are not. This means that you do not submit to the authority of the Bible, Biblical rules, Christian norms, and his authority as a clergyman. If you were a Christian, then perhaps he might legitimately expect you to honor certain restrictions. But you are not. I don't think that they really are taking seriously the fact that you live by a different guiding light. They are not accepting the fact that you are not a Christian.

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I ceased all contact with my mother for about five years becuase she would not stop trying to run my life and preach religion to me.

 

She was very glad when I finally contacted her again and has never tried to run my life again and has not tried to preach to me any more.

 

She just rabbits on a bit about church doings. When she does this, I pretend I haven't heard and change the topic.

 

I found this was a highly affective strategy. I didn't argue with her, just didn't get in contact. Changed my phone number to a silent number. You just need to adapt the way you do it to your circumstances.

 

Best of luck with this.

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