Jump to content

I Feel Bad For My Mother


StriveForTolerance
 Share

Recommended Posts

My thirteen-year-old brother just told me that he has now told our mother that he is atheist. This adds to the fact that I, several months ago, informed her I no longer believed in the bible; I am now a deist, but wavering back into atheism. I go back and forth a lot - I'm fifteen and haven't quite made up my mind on a lot of issues.

 

I feel awful for her - she puts a lot of herself into Christianity and the bible, and even though I know it's all a fantasy, she really believes we may go to hell.

 

I also know she's going to blame herself for the way she raised us, but personally I think she did everything possible to keep us Xtian (though no, I do not blame her for that; she REALLY believes it).

 

I don't want her to suffer over this, but I could never go back to Xtianity.

 

Anyway. Thanks for reading. If you have any advice, I'd love to hear it, but I don't think there's a good way out of this situation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're right, there's no good way out of the situation. She will continue feeling badly about it on and off for the rest of her life.

 

BUT, the pain will fade for her (and the two of you) as the situation becomes the new normal. It's like when someone dies. It will always make you a little sad, but pretty soon, if you're a healthy person, your life will not permanently revolve around that sadness.

 

My mother is the same way, and I was killing myself over making her suffer until I realized that I couldn't be responsible for creating another person's happiness. Be there for your brother, and don't turn family conversations about beliefs into a debate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super Moderator

I know how that situation can be in some families. Unfortunately, you don't have any control how someone else chooses to react to people who have a different opinion than they do. They get over it eventually.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now is the time for both of you to show that your mature enough to live well and treat people with dignity and respect WITHOUT the xian babble.

 

If you step out of line it will be brought up that you "don't know how to act" without "god". Prove the fundies wrong. :grin: Good Luck

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've come from a similar situation, leaving the faith after attending bible college. A couple of things that have helped my conversations with my family, whom I love a great deal.

 

Remind your mom that you love her. That her life lessons that she's taught you will stay with you your whole life. Remind her that you're still you, with the morality and the love that she instilled in you. (If she's a fundy, she may need to be reminded of this).

 

Say "I love you" a lot. You can't ever say that too much.

 

Remind her of another family member that doesn't believe the way she does - or perhaps a family friend. I was able to use an Aunt that is very strong LDS (and therefore hellbound in moms eyes). "Aunt Betty doesn't believe in Jesus, and yet you have a great relationship with her. I know that we can have a great relationship too."

 

Finally I'd advise that if things get loud (or too emotional) tell her "I love you too much to have this conversation in anger. Let's continue it after we've both had time to process things." And then physically leave the room.

 

Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You feel awful for your mother because you obviously genuinely love her. I agree with Puddinhead, vocalize your love for her as often as you can. Remember, she is unable to see the truth as you and your brother have because of her faith. But don't look down on her for this. As you have pointed out, she really believes it all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest ephymeris

That reaction is the reason I've been avoiding telling my mom. I don't think there's a way we can assuage our moms' guilt, just love them through it and give them her time I guess. Good luck with your mom. I'm hoping to start going down this road when I go home for Christmas and see my mom face to face if I can muster the courage...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest riverrunner

my dear sweet mother thinks I will be tortured forever in her fantasy world of heaven and hell. I don't feel sorry for her I am angry and I pity her. we need to stop coddling these people be they our mothers or not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't feel sorry for my mother. She chooses her vindictive, evil god over me. To "hell" with her.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You know what happened to me recently? One early morning I was walking with my mother to the bus stop, and while I was telling her I want to join my college's Humanist Club she admitted that she doesn't think she believes in god because of a death in the family over seven years ago.Strangely she finally told me a few weeks ago that she felt the same way that I did of my uncle's death on that cold morning last month. I was quite shocked as she had switched to a Pentecostal church from our little Baptist church at the time of my uncle's painful death from liver cancer. I had already been toying with atheism since 2001, but I didn't come out to my mother until my uncle's death in 2003. She was quite angry and smacked me on the shoulder ( I moved to protect my face) as she had been very angry at the time. If she had told me that she was contemplating her religious beliefs at the time ( due to my uncle's death from cancer) there would have been less turmoil between us.

 

Perhaps your mother might actually change her mind if she's willing to listen to your arguments, or ask her if she has doubts of her own.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You know what happened to me recently? One early morning I was walking with my mother to the bus stop, and while I was telling her I want to join my college's Humanist Club she admitted that she doesn't think she believes in god because of a death in the family over seven years ago.Strangely she finally told me a few weeks ago that she felt the same way that I did of my uncle's death on that cold morning last month. I was quite shocked as she had switched to a Pentecostal church from our little Baptist church at the time of my uncle's painful death from liver cancer. I had already been toying with atheism since 2001, but I didn't come out to my mother until my uncle's death in 2003. She was quite angry and smacked me on the shoulder ( I moved to protect my face) as she had been very angry at the time. If she had told me that she was contemplating her religious beliefs at the time ( due to my uncle's death from cancer) there would have been less turmoil between us.

 

Perhaps your mother might actually change her mind if she's willing to listen to your arguments, or ask her if she has doubts of her own.

 

The change to a more extreme church (Pentecostal) sounds like an attempt to batten down the hatches against the storm inside her against her faith.

 

P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The change to a more extreme church (Pentecostal) sounds like an attempt to batten down the hatches against the storm inside her against her faith.P

 

 

Luckily she quit that church after she discovered that the pastor was purposely allowing some pedophilic guys in his congregation to come during the family sermons as he thought they would be too busy repenting to Gawd to hurt a child during a service. She felt uncomfortable as being someone who is wheelchair bound she was concerned about her safety as well as her disability would have made her an easy target. Also as the kids were quite sheltered and naive at this church she had a feeling that to mix perverts with these kids would create a horrible situation as they wouldn't know that they were being victimized as they were so sheltered. Now I know that her decision to quit the Pentecostal church wasn't just because she felt uncomfortable about the perverts, but also due to her own conflicts with Christianity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That sounds similar to what happened between me and my mother.

 

I sat her down very calmly and explained that I couldn't accept the truth claims of Christianity. She cried for a little bit, bitched at me for a few days, and hasn't mentioned it for over three years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've found in coming out so far that asking the Christian if they have doubts of their own, they admit it and begin to understand. They may still hold out hope that you're return to god, but they at least understand what you're feeling. If they don't, then they're lying to themselves. Just show your mom that you're still the son she raised and that you love her. I think that, as someone else mentioned, it will become the new normal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My mom is about the have that same experience. She's coming to visit over christmas (or as I now refere to it Toys and Santa Day) and wants to "talk". I love her, and I know she believes it with her whole heart. She's a sweet woman who doesn't really hate anyone, but has a lot of personal hang ups that christianity preys upon. It makes her feel safe, so it's easy for her to stick her head in the sand and ignore all the really horrible things christianity teaches.

 

As much as I care about her, I look after my own needs first. I think caring for others is a good thing, a noble thing, but it is so freeing not to have that fundy voice in my head telling me how bad I am for thinking about myself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

My thirteen-year-old brother just told me that he has now told our mother that he is atheist. This adds to the fact that I, several months ago, informed her I no longer believed in the bible; I am now a deist, but wavering back into atheism. I go back and forth a lot - I'm fifteen and haven't quite made up my mind on a lot of issues.

 

I feel awful for her - she puts a lot of herself into Christianity and the bible, and even though I know it's all a fantasy, she really believes we may go to hell.

 

I also know she's going to blame herself for the way she raised us, but personally I think she did everything possible to keep us Xtian (though no, I do not blame her for that; she REALLY believes it).

 

I don't want her to suffer over this, but I could never go back to Xtianity.

 

Anyway. Thanks for reading. If you have any advice, I'd love to hear it, but I don't think there's a good way out of this situation.

 

I understand where you're coming from. That's why I want to keep my quitting Christianity a secret. Otherwise, there would probably be a lot of tears and fears and prayers on my behalf... and you're right, I don't see a good way out either... they just will worry no matter what...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It wasn't until I was well into my 20's that my mom figured it out.

 

I fortunately never had "the talk" about it. She asked me if I was going to church with her when I visting and I said no. The point was doubly effective because it was the Midnight Christmas Eve service which always annoyed me as a kid. I got to stay up to go to church. Yay staying up; BOO going to church.

 

It hurt her. Religion has become something we just don't talk about. Consequently, it seems to have created a rift between us cause we don't talk about it.

 

Eventually, your mom will adjust and so will you. Since you said you are questioning, maybe a way to keep the channels open would be to simply discuss your questioning with her. It could be important to let her know you are rejecting the religion and not her. People sometimes think if you reject something that is important to them, then you are rejecting them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fortunately for the society I live in here it's not so important whether you are a Christian or not as it is in the US. If I tell my colleagues I'm an agnostic atheist noone will bat an eyelid. Probably most of them are too. It's just not an issue in this society. It's also not an issue for most of my family (mother, grandparents) who are also atheists.

 

However it's an issue for my father and his wife who are fundamentalist Christians. They already bug me a lot for not attending Church for 10 years. I don't want to imagine what it would be like if I told them I don't even believe now. I will have to lie to them the next time they ask me if I still believe. It sucks. I wish I could be honest with them, but I know what the consequences would be (even more bugging, they would send me all kinds of apologetic books, CDs and articles, they would be crushed too), so I decided it's better for everybody's peace of mind if I keep it a secret from them and I lie to them the next time they ask (even if I hate to lie). 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My mom screamed and kicked me out of the house when she found out I was pagan. She yelled at me for months, then it got to a "let's just not talk about it" phase. Finally, she saw that all I was doing was an Earth-based spirituality, and not gutting cats. Now it's safe to mention I practice Vodou with her - though I've always talked more in-depth about my religious studies with my dad, since he's more open-minded, and never freaked out about it.

 

The pattern of initial freak-out / silence / acceptance seems to be the norm for most people. Sometimes it's grudging acceptance, sometimes more open. Everyone's experience is different, and there are certainly people who are shunned, who are outside of this pattern.

 

I'll just echo that you are not responsible for how others feel. They will feel how they feel. I didn't make my mom smack the shit out of me, call me a satanist, and kick me out - nor did I make her realize my beliefs are essentially harmless. She did every bit of that on her own. Sure, I tried to convince her that I wasn't evil and wasn't being sucked into a satanic rape cult, but that really did no good. Only after a period of silence, did she, out of the blue, ask "is what you...believe...is it anything like Native American spirituality?" When I said yes, there are many similarities, she relaxed, and became more open and relaxed about it. I can claim no part in her coming to that point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.