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Religion Taking Away My Family


Seth2013
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I'm new here, and a little shy to post. But I just have to say, I'm really bleeding... I don't even know where to begin. Been a christain for almost 20 years, got born again at age 14. I had the thought when I was really young that I was transgender, but pushed it down when i thought about how i could lose my mom. I ended up becoming what some would see as the "perfect" christain, but underneath all that I was trying really hard to not be "gay" I tried for 10 years to change my sexuality, and to fit the female role. This was all very traumatic for me. I remember fights with my mom about clothes, girls...She would even follow me with her eyes to make sure i didn't have reason to feel guilty about anything regarding queerlike, once she even told me she knew i was struggling with "homosexulaity" because I "walked iwth a stick up my butt". And how was a girl suppose to act? it never clicked, but i kept trying and trying and trying.... I even went to her with my attraction to women. Specifically remember one day going to her sobbing in tears because i couldn't change myself sexuality, i was so young maybe 19. She told me to just keep believing.

Try harder....i was going to keep trying no matter what!!!! I got involved in an ex-lesbian email group, learned from the first few years involved that ex-gays had no answers, that they eventually ended up leaving to the gay "lifestyle". It wouldn't be christain psychology, or any group that was going to help me. I was going to have to get these answer from God Himself. For six years, i kept quiet about my sexuality, didn't tell a soul. I was diligent with my pentocostal church. Going three times a week. Would pray anywhere between 20 to 40 hours a week, for at least 6 years.  During this time my family (mom, dad and brother) were center... I pushed people out because of fear of them finding out about my sexuality, especially females in fear that they would be attracted to me and i would "fall" into another lesbian relationship.

I needed God to change me. I knew that if he didn't answer my prayers that i would go to hell. At times I'd wake up with dreams about hell, then stay up praying all night. Not just so i wouldnt "fall away" but I was un-nerved with this idea about hell.

The christains I knew at church were happy with their lifestyle, being....separatist. Or at least it seemed that way, always condemning gays and then having hate in their hearts for anyone different than them. This never set right with me.

 

I just wanted to be a worthwhile human being..... :(

 

But I was a part of a family that was full of separatist and religious snobs. My mom grew up with a dad as a bible teacher, he was very abusive: physically and emotionally. And yet at age 60, his kids still were dying for his approval. My mom sang the same old song every day, about the end of the world, sexual purity and being separate from the world. Separation was the word, dying to self and purity from the world. These songs were sung in the more extreme way imaginable. But although they condemn homoseuxlity, they never sought God like I did. It was all about this "christain" image, being separate from teh world...

I prayed 3 or 4 hours a day, locking my self away down in my parents basement, it was a separate apartment like place. I wanted to get married. I wanted a future, a life....The more i prayed the more the church started to look evil.

 

I ended up moving to Tulsa oklahoma to go to Oral Roberts University. I was excited about God, my prayer life and finding answers hopefully about how to change my sexuality. But it wasn't just my sexuality that was a problem to the church but my gender. I had tried so hard for so many years to tackle being "female". I finally was able to pull off "pretty",,, But it still wasn't me. I got praises from some, especially my mom. It was what she wanted this "feminine" godly daughter, that was set apart for the lord. Some girls on my floor were a little more perceptive... Telling me to be more femine... I wasn't one of them and they picked up on that difference. I was so angry, i was trying and still wasn't recieved.

I decided to write my senior paper on the chruch's response concerning homosexuality. Sadly... That type of paper could of never be written at ORU. I failed the class twice, the teacher was rude. saying that i should get my act together. Never giving any constructive criticism.

Finally I couldn't keep this a secret anymore. I can't describe the closet, its so suffocating. So I told my buddy but i said i was "ex-gay". It felt like air came into my lungs, we stayed up all night talking on the phone. He said, "You are better off not telling anyone." I didn't understand what was to be ashamed of. Why this university and even teh church in general wouldn't talk about such manners but only to condemn. I told my roomate, she responded the same way...

Then... I told amy, who is now my wife. She was intriguied. We ended up falling in love. Surprisingly I didn't feel guilty. I knew I had to follow my consious. This had to of been God answering my prayers for the last ten years. This was when I started to get uprooted from the church. But like i said it felt like God was telling me teh church was evil... I still feel such ways. We had RAs come and correct us. Then we had people come and prophesy against us. Friends dropped out of our life! We moved out and went to OSU.

That next couple years were traumatic for us (we have now been married 8 years), there would be screaming, i'm talking about complete break downs, where you scream and scream and scream. Amy's didn't endure the discrimination from her family, who wanted to always come around and prophesy against us. So she broke off the relationship with them, for her own sanity. It was horrible... And we didn't know how to fit in at our state university that we transferred to. I went on to Gaychristainnetwork during that time. Some of the people I talked to on there during the time are actually still on my facebook, this was 6 or 7 years ago. But it was an aqward fit, they told me to go to church....My religious abuse was never really validated with them.

Somehow, i have not been able to go back to church.  But my spirituality and deep personal relationship with God never stopped. The idea of chruch, brought a panic feel. Some of the people on that network verbally attacked me for not wanting to go to church. I was...terrified of church, even if it was gay friendly. I think i just havn't wanted to get back into somehting so unhealthy. But i have felt so alone, no community and not really knowing how to re-enter the world at such an age. Not to mention. Oklahoma....there were those christains that were not open to Amy and us all over the place. It took a while for us to accept our relationship and then come out of the closet. There were gays aroudn us it turned out. But we felt the world was evil. Us against the world.

Came out to my parents. Who at first dis-owned me, then decided that they would agree to disagree.My mom was worried about me becoming like my uncle mark who is gay and mentally ill. She went off the deep end, but came back. But the relationship always felt enstrange.

Wife and I ended up moving to San Fransico, where i did my internship with homeless youth. During this time I got to know the transgender population. This blew me away! I remember grinding my teeth at them because their stroy sounded just like mine. I was so afraid to be transgender becuase i knew that would mean.... I would really lose my mom. Who was my best friend. I brought up the subject to my mom. "What do you think of it?" I asked her after telling her about intersex and testostrone and all the gender variations. Her response was, "You know what is right."

That was as critical thinking as she got.... I didn't come to terms with being transgender. I ended up graduating with a BA in social work and working in the field for about 5 months. The economy got so bad that my hours got cut. Was talking to my mom who suggested coming and working with her at her butcher shop. Amy and I prayed about it, and we had peace. We ended up buying a house 10 minutes away from my parents (we still live in that house).

My little dog didn't know what to think of my mom at first. But I ended up bringing him to the meat shop with me every day. He would be underneath my work station as I wrapped meat. I got paid good wage. I felt like i was getting my family back. I was in denial about so much.... My only friend at work was my dog. He would give me kisses during lunch time. Glen Beck was aired around the clock, if not talked about consistently. But there was something on the inside of me that didn't register Glen. Seemed like an asshole... The whole place looked and smelled like fox news. I no longer trusted my mom to go to her for news converage.

It kind of weird... me, this out lesbian working with a bunch of religious bigots. But they kept quiet about queer issues out of respect. the atmosphere felt toxic.... Every day I didn't know who from my past would show up. Old christain friends, pastors or friends. This town represented so much of "ex-gay" self.

My mom, dad and brother couldn't deny a change in me. I was a better person than I was in my fundlemental years. They even mentioned such to me. But then disregarded such as me "growing up".... That has to be one of the hardest things for a fundie to recieve Being gay and successful.

I'm trying to find words to describe how it still hurts when they "pretend to accept" only becuase they want to convert me. I felt it... but pushed it under teh rug. My wife would always be vocal. She didn't trust them. But didn't really trust regardless.. After a year of working there I got a job, a permant fulltime job in social work, good pay and benefits. It was and still is an overnight job, where i was able to do a lot of self reflection and writting. I began to write like a mad man. finally i had a way to expression so much in-regards to my queer-identity. I wrote a lot! Finally came a charactor that was a transman, then came a point where i had to ask my self the question i had been avoiding all my life. "Am I transgender?" It wasn't a clear answer, i had to work out a lot of gender shame. I kept getting worried about my mom. Would i lose my job. Then I realized i had to answer the question for me, not them. I had to go back and re-make this decision as though I had never had my mom hovering over me. So i went and did soul searching, and then it was black and white. I was a dude, who grew up in  a woman's body.

 

Somehow that realization effected my fundlmental believes... I stopped believing in hell and the bible. Became a universalist/unitarian. And even quit working at the butch shop (cuz i was working there part-time). Something about validating myself made me feel freer. Accepting my sexuality was about me being able to be with the one i loved. But me accepting my gender was so much more, it was about finally feeling comfortable with myself, about finally being me- this has been mind-altering for me. I spent a whole year pondering and researching what this means and would mean. I went and saw a therapist and a doctor and within a month or so I was on hormone therapty replacement (testostrone), it has almost been 5 months now.

 

Now comes the gruesome part.... I told my parents and my brother. And this time, the coming out feels different. My brother sent me a letter, the last he would send saying he would never call me Seth, ending the relationship. My dad, said that God told him to let me go, he called me the prodigical son, that he could not go to the pig pen with me, he would be where i left him. My mom's letter was the worst. She said God said that their letters would be like the instruments that are put on a dead heart to bring a person back to life. She went on and on about how i was going to die. How i was just like her uncle mark, that i was going to die alone. And get out of my pig pen.... She could not be apart of my life. she also told my wife (who is yes legally) to run for her life, that we would never be married.

 

All of this felt like such a huge betrayl, not just with my gender but sexuality. She had not moved at all. She was still tellling me teh same thing. TRY HARDER! I'm 33 years old, i have tried hard enough to be someone else. Now I'm bleeding internally all over the place. She been saying trying harder since i was 15. She still wants me to get divorced, she has been pretending the whole time. Now i can never trust a christian again, all smiles and wanting me to get divorced and be someone i'm not, even if it ment me killing myself. This is where my heart bleeds.... All she wants is that feminine girl that she has to have that I am not. In her letters she would go out of her way to say "godly daughter" or save your "feminine body". There was a week where i felt such greif that I thought about you-tubing how to kill myself. Not only did i lose my church, university, friends, the world but now i was losing my family....Such loneliness.

But i looked at a picture of my wife, and knew i needed to go on, i looked down and saw my little dog, he needed me also. Such a little guy. I would talk to him about teh meat shop and my mom, felt like he understood... He was there, and never was completely open to them.

 

I came out at work and via fb. I had a lot of support. Everyone was asking me about my family. And they would all say how my parents would come around. This felt teh same way as "go back to chruch". There is too much hurt to go back.

 

Before i came out i had a dream. I saw my dad at him shop. He got close and i moved away. He said, "Our disapproval has been a sword to our relationship. I didn't realize it at the time that i would be losing a friend." I moved away but still in his presence said, "Those could be just words. I dont trust you, to not do it again." he said, "im changing, even your mom is questioning." But teh damage had been done, i couldn't see them that way even if they changed.

 

I am so angry at times. Not having a marriage recognized, having to re-establish my gender this far in life. Some days is better than others, and I have been creating more meaningful connections than i did have prio to coming out or getting on testostrone. But I don't trust people. This is my biggest issue. To me in my mind, sometimes i still seem fundlmental. I enven have dreams where i'm at church, like its stuck in my subconsious. I still pray to Jesus and God, but i no longer see him as  a fundlmentalist. He is queerlike, gender variant, giving me choices, fighting for my rights. He is not bible God, that guy is creepy. He still seems paranoid, not as much though.

 

I don't trust  Christains.... But I never learned how to function socially in the world apart from being a chrisatin. I don't want gay chrisain friends because they still have that shame.... the people i feel most comfortable around are atheists. They are real, geniuine and validate this pain I'm talking about. religious abuse..... I feel like I have had limbs blown off. I want this to be acknowledged as real pain.  I'm just glad i never killed myself and that i have Amy and my little dog, a profession i love.

And that is another thing i work iwth mentally ill. My mom thinks im going to be mentally ill because of my gender or seuxality. But I have know over 100 mentally ill people (in comparison to her 1) and there are not that many gay or trans clients, BUT I have not met one that wasn't reliigious!!! I'm talking about bibles on the night stand, Jesus this and God that. Sounds like her... I thought they were demon possessed at first, but then now i see them as living through trauma.

 

My uncle, must of been a strong man to have never killed himself after growing up gay in the 60s with a religious family like we had. I think that is all i had to say for now. I just want healthy relationships and a family. We are trying for a little one, and i don't ever want to hurt my kids like my mom hurt me.

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After reading the above post I have no choice but to acknowledge the tension and pain and grief being expressed. I really can't respond other than that, but I feel I must respond if only to say that.

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I know this will be very hard to understand or even agree with however I gotta say it anyway - you MUST get away from that family. They are toxic! Everything you described regarding their behavior towards you screams this out. You will never find true happiness or self fulfillment until you tear off the psychologically damaging chains they've wrapped around you. And I'm not giving you advice that I wouldn't and haven't actually done myself in the past. Once I did it, as painful as it was at the time, I was truly free and as time passed and I found new family (friends, people I correspond with here and elsewhere) I've discovered that the word 'family' is highly overrated for some. And family can and does includes others not necessarily of the same blood line.

 

Hope this has helped a bit.

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Seth, Welcome!  I wish I had some sage words to offer but I can't pretend to know what you are going through.  After reading that post I'm hurting for you and hoping that you hang in there and soldier on.  I'm glad that you have Amy and your dog, I hope you are able to start building a life that you can enjoy.

 

Deconversion can be a long road and it sounds like you are on that path and I wish you all the best.  Know that while your situation is unique, you most certainly are not alone.

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Jeez. I think I'm with Raoul--you come first, and if they change their minds, great. If they don't, at least now you know who you are and are with people who accept you.

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Welcome to ex-C, Seth!

 

What a heartbreaking story. I agree with the others that you need to surround yourself with people who are going to accept you unconditionally as you go through this transition in your life.  Maybe your parents will come around as time goes by, but maybe not.  I think everyone hopes that their family would be a loving source of comfort and refuge in times of trouble.  Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way.  However, when you and Amy have your own family, you can start a new culture of love and acceptance.  I have no doubt that you will be able to show your children that kind of love, despite your parents' horrible behavior.

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Welcome, Seth.  You are the bigger person here.  Set healthy boundaries, and get toxic people out of your life.  You've suffered under religious bigotry for too long.  There are plenty of people who will accept you for who you are.

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Welcome to the site.

 

I'm sorry you've had such a horrible family and endured so many years of brainwashing.

 

Christianity is founded on the premise that none of us are okay. We all need to change to be good enough and accepted into the church, not just you. All I can say is don't listen to them. Distance yourself from the insanity and be yourself. You are fine, the others are broken. There are people who will accept the real you and love you unconditionally without the constraints of false religion and the bigotry and hatred it breeds.

 

All the best to you!

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Thanks for all your guys response. I needed to hear that they have done wrong and that they shouldn't be in my life. I get a lot of responses, even from queerlike people saying that maybe my parents will come around. I don't want them too, at all. But like i said above they ended the relationship, in the name of God.

 

Amy and I decided recently that our family will come first, and not God. He would not have that kind of power in our life. Sometimes it feels like he destroys relationship. I told him i really don't want him controlling stuff like that... I don't know if i'm seeing things right... An example is I won't have peace around someone and then they end up hurting me.

 

You guys say that people will love me for me again. Sounds good, but its hard to believe. Have any of you guys felt like the world was evil and against you, even after leaving the church, even years after? (i've never talked so bluntly about this except to my wife). Like i will get opportunities every blue moon.... and I will worry that they will be evil and hurt me. I hope this is cause of brainwashing and that the world isn't this evil. I feel totally alone with these feelings.

 

The world wasn't the ones rejecting me when i came out, some clapped and celebrated. While others just didn't care.....they just didn't give a flying rip.... Made me feel like my mind twisted things around all these years telling me that coming out trans was the most scary thing ever when it totally wasn't. Leaving the church was and i'm still dealing with these scares.

 

SO for such a sob story... It feels good you guys validating.

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Welcome Seth. There are no words to communicate how wrong your family's action has been. They would rather believe the arbitrary morals of a deity from the Bronze Age for which there is not a shred of evidence pointing to his existence over the years of genetic and psychological research on the subject of transgender identity formation. People suck sometimes, bro.

 

I believe you'll find this to be a welcoming community to you, even if you still have questions about god. I hope you'll explore some of the different resources available on the website and look at the research based in FACT over religious documents based in FAITH.

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You guys say that people will love me for me again. Sounds good, but its hard to believe. Have any of you guys felt like the world was evil and against you, even after leaving the church, even years after? (i've never talked so bluntly about this except to my wife). Like i will get opportunities every blue moon.... and I will worry that they will be evil and hurt me. I hope this is cause of brainwashing and that the world isn't this evil. I feel totally alone with these feelings.

 

The world wasn't the ones rejecting me when i came out, some clapped and celebrated. While others just didn't care.....they just didn't give a flying rip.... Made me feel like my mind twisted things around all these years telling me that coming out trans was the most scary thing ever when it totally wasn't. Leaving the church was and i'm still dealing with these scares.

The world is a funny place and the people it is filled with offer so many environments and friendships that you have to have "faith", so to speak, in the now and not try to be a mind reader and predict the future. Holding yourself back out of fear about someone hurting you is LEGITIMATE concern. My God, look what you have endured over the years! I can only imagine how odd it seemed to come in to an environment where folks actually supported your decision and also to realize that some really just didn't care either way about things.

 

I find it a relief that the majority of the world doesn't give a flying hoozah about what I do with my life. It takes the pressure off, and it makes me quit trying to predict what is going to happen. I remind myself every time I go out in public with zombie stuff on (yes, I cosplay!), or when hanging out with folks of my interest, or I am standing up and voicing my opinion on something that is important to me, that half the time, folks don't care.

 

As far as people loving you again, I am assuming you are referring to your family and community back home. I really can't give you any advice on that. Humanity is a prejudiced little mob at times, and if you move into a community that has been as sheltered as you portray it, I would think change cannot be effected by one person, it will take many to turn that environment around. People who remain willfully ignorant in order to feel justified in their views are rarely worth the hurt and disappointment. If it is a matter of your feeling YOU should be able to do more to bring them around, that is brainwashed programming of seeking approval that you have already sought, and quite honestly at that. You have pulled your share in the relationship, it is time to move forward.

 

I am unsure what your views on God are. If you are questioning, or whether you believe but think the doctrine is wrong. Either way, I wish you luck in that journey, and please check out the many topics that have posted over the years. Lots of gold can be found in the pain and learning experiences in these postings.

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I can totally relate to that "constant bleeding" feeling when you lose your family. It's a hell of a loss that I don't wish on anybody. 

 

I'm transgender too. I'm genderqueer. I'm OK with my body being female, but I really act and work a lot like a man. I went through the same shit growing up being crammed in pink dresses and constantly being told to act like a little lady. I wanted Transformers, GI Joe, and to play soccer. I was given stuffed animals, tea sets, and baby dolls. "Try harder" was the mantra growing up for me too. 

 

 

I remember as a kid begging God for help. To turn me into what my parents wanted. Either make me a boy, or make me a "real" girl. 

 

The boys didn't want to play with me because I was a girl. The girls didn't want me around because I was too much like a boy. I still get shades of that as an adult sometimes. It sucks. 

 

The irony of this? I grew up in an atheist/agnostic family. I was the Christian. My family was just plain toxic and those horrible gender binaries were heavily a part of the secular world too. I turned to God because I just wanted SOMEONE to accept and love me for who I was as a person. 

 

 

You're doing the right thing being yourself though. You have your wife and dog. THEY are truly your family. Your pain and fear will NOT last forever. Transitioning takes a lot out of you and it's a long process. A lot of my transsexual friends needed time away from people just to take care of themselves for a while and deal with their changing bodies. I had to do that too, though not to the extent others have needed. Hell, I'm still in therapy for it! Getting married really shook loose a few issues I still got to deal with. 

 

Anyway, I'm rambling. I just want you to know that you are really completely normal. Your story is very familiar here. You've gone through a hell of a trauma. You're not GOING to be able to stretch out and be yourself completely yet for a while. You've got to heal up some first. If you're not ready to step out and trust yet, that's O.K. Take your time. 

 

You're an admirably strong and a good man, Seth. Welcome to our forums!

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zomberina,

Thanks you for your kind response. I wanted to clearify where i hope to find love and a sense of community again. NOT in my family i originated from. Not in church. Not with people that are toxic. Like the dream i talked about above, even the idea of them "changing" leaves me feeling panick, because i think it is .....well i just don't trust them. I want to move on. Make friends who become like family. The hard part is, having that separatist background. Also another thing is... I don't drink. In my mind i see world as conditional based on that. I wonder if this is just in my head, i know that some non christains don't care if i don't drink. My mom use to be an alcholic when i was growing up (that something i didn't tie in) up until i was 14, same year i got saved. Its been a turn off ever since.... But i don't judge people that drink.

 

I don't want them, my family, back in my life. I noticed a general assumption people have about me, in that I am waiting for them to come around, wanting them around. I'm still grieving though, because they have been the closest people to me. dry.png But ugh... stay away! Here is a you-tube video of a letter i wrote to them, it explains my feelings rather well.

 and the second part

 

You were sure right about being surprised coming out and the environment i'm in being supportive (I'm basically thinking of my work environment), I remember the panick attacks before telling my boss. And he just didn't care.... He said i could come to work with studs on my face and he wouldnt care. I could worship satan! He said that could be drawing the line. My boss is an atheist. I love atheists and lately been perfering them as friends or what nots! I still believe in a personal God, just not "Bible God" he is creepy... My wife wants to throw out all our bibles.

thanks again, you seem like a real kind lady,

Seth

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Kurari,

I liked you calling my experience trauma, because that is how i feel. And how Its going to take awhile until i'm ready to step out and trust. Its not all going to happen over night and thats ok.

i like the idea of healing up some first before relationships. Thanks :) -Seth

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Seth! Welcome to the family :)

 

You've had a rough time. But you've also come to the right place.

 

I'm a lifelong atheist living in a very conservative area, and I don't trust Christians either, which is why I'm here. I've found some great friends. Hopefully you can be one of them.

 

And yes. Glen Beck IS an asshole. ;-)

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I'm not going to pretend to know what you are going through because I have never been there, but you have my deepest sympathies. You are doing the right thing cutting these people out of your life, there comes a point when you need to move on. You deserve better, and you deserve to be surrounded by people who care for who you are as a human being. It sounds like you have found a good group of people who value you :)

 

You are a strong man, and I am glad you have found the strength to be who you are instead of continuing to pretend to be who your parents want you to be.

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Read your story, it broke my heart. I don't struggle with the same things you do, but I can certainly relate to not fitting in at church despite trying your hardest. I'm also familiar with that whole Oral Roberts culture, a church I grew up in in Texas was heavily influenced by those folks. I was always treated like an outcast because God didn't heal my disability. I can't imagine being gay or transgender in that environment, those folks treated that like being a murderer or something. Hell, it took me a long time to get over the crap my head was filled with as a child/teenager regarding LGBT folks. 

 

Brother, I hope things get better for you soon. It sounds like you've made your own family who loves you and accepts you for who you are. Welcome. *hugs* 

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