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Jesus Wrecks Family


Ellwood
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Yesterday, Easter, was my one year anniversary of coming out as a 56 year old atheist to family and community after a lifetime of christian belief, service, leadership, etc, etc.  For the most part it has gone well with everyone except my wife.   She suffers from mental illness for which she does seek decent medical attention and she does know the value of good psychiatric care - not just prayer, thank goodness.

 

 

Frankly right now I am extremely angry with religion and what it has done to my relationship with my wife.   I am a respected(to most), hard working father of 3, grandfather of 2, with a marriage of 35 years.   When she learned of my deconversion she became an extremely active christian.   Added more bible studies, fish sticker on car, ordered books, music, on and on.   This was not the case when I was the main christian in the home.   

 

 

Now I am looked upon by her as some broken guy who needs help.   When she mentions men at our old church they are wonderful, turned out so well, did such a great job, blah, blah, blah.  Me?    Who knows what she is saying.   I spend my days at my job of 30 years, or caring for my grandchildren, spending time with her(when she is not at christian stuff), I kayak, sail, read, bike, etc.   I don't drink, smoke or chew - or go with girls who do.   I don't even know how to go to a bar and order a beer.  I wish I did!

 

 

We had a couple visit us over this weekend who are long time christian friends.  They have handled my change extremely well.   But my wife began the silent and semi-angry treatment Saturday night when she saw the kayaks on the car roof ready for me to use Sunday morning instead of going to church.  This continued all through Sunday, with her so unaware that this behavior proves my point that there is no supernatural wizard guiding any christian's behavior.  

 

 

I told the visiting husband right out in a concise and short rant that religion is evil, simply evil for the way it splits marriages, families, communities, countries.   Evil!  Simply evil.   With my passion and obvious evidence that he saw me dealing with, he could only agree.   But, of course, he will never look for himself at what this evidence demonstrates about his religion of myths and immoral life instructions.  From time to time I have some non-believing friends tell me that religion helps some folks deal with life and has some benefits.   I do counter right back at them with how that has worked out for me.   Bull!

 

 

So this morning I get a text message from my wife saying that she may have to check herself into a mental health facility because she is having difficulty dealing with the 1 year anniversary of my deconversion.  She has an appointment with her doctor.   I do believe she may be in actual need of medical attention.   I am so tired and angry about this.   When will it end?   When will anyone else in my life look at the evidence and realize I am not off my rocker!   I have not answered her text message.   I just don't even know what to say.   

 

 

What would I really like to say?   RELIGION IS EVIL!!!!!   I AM NOT!  MAKE YOUR CHOICE!

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Sometimes I wish there was a treatment that would make people not afraid to doubt their own religion or think critically about it. It seems there is no treatment your wife can receive that will solve all of her problems. Actually doubting her religion, thinking critically about it, and accepting that your reasons for not being a Christian anymore are valid, as well as receiving any treatments she needs would solve just about every problem she has.

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I'm sorry Ellwood.  I doubt anybody outside of a marriage counselor, mental health professional, or something of that sort can give an adequate answer or solution to your problems.

 

In my mind, only a heart to heart talk...or a series of heart to heart talks can alleviate tension like this.  Understanding each other as much as possible.  Can she understand WHY you don't believe?  I know you understand WHY she believes.  You have been there!  But can she just accept your mind, and your heart and try to understand why you don't believe?  Until she can understand it...I don't think she will accept it.  Either that, or she can understand it, but is either too afraid to admit she understand, or too afraid to accept it.  You know, Christianity rapes the mind and leaves you in fear and all.

 

I think the solution to most relationship issues is talking.  Opening up and showing your raw self, your raw opinions, and your raw feelings.  And learning your partners responses to those, as well as their rawness. 

 

But like I said, this may be better left to professionals.  Good luck.  I hope things work out.

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I wish I could offer you some advice that would be able to fix your relationship with your wife but I can't because I'm not in your shoes. Nor have I experienced anything like your situation when I finally came out to my wife. All she said was that she'd been expecting this for some time based on the various books I'd begun reading and the way the crap was hitting the fan with our family and nothing was easing no matter how much praying we both did, along, of course with our own attempts to fix the problems. All she said was she hoped I wouldn't become one of those 'obnoxious atheist evangelists going around telling theists how stupid they were'. And we both laughed at that.

 

Anyway, regarding you - I think a few others around here told other people going through the same firestorm you're in that maybe if you can simply stay the same, loving husband to her, not changing any of your behavior except for the not going to church which is your right, maybe after time she'll see that her concerns were unfounded. I dunno but I hope this is the way for you.

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Man, that's rough.  I wish I could offer some advice, but I cannot.  Just empathy.  I know where you're coming from about the evil aspect of religion and how it divides family and even churches for that matter.  Nobody can agree but we must all agree that there is a sky daddy up there who loves us so much. 

 

Life happens with or without religion.  It's completely unnecessary to believe in it. 

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Sorry that you're having to deal with a lot of awful fallout, but you're in good company.

 

I hope things get better for you. Division created by religion is one of the worst, most damaging and painful types of turmoil to experience.

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Yesterday, Easter, was my one year anniversary of coming out as a 56 year old atheist to family and community after a lifetime of christian belief, service, leadership, etc, etc.  For the most part it has gone well with everyone except my wife.   She suffers from mental illness for which she does seek decent medical attention and she does know the value of good psychiatric care - not just prayer, thank goodness.

 

 

Frankly right now I am extremely angry with religion and what it has done to my relationship with my wife.   I am a respected(to most), hard working father of 3, grandfather of 2, with a marriage of 35 years.   When she learned of my deconversion she became an extremely active christian.   Added more bible studies, fish sticker on car, ordered books, music, on and on.   This was not the case when I was the main christian in the home.   

 

 

Now I am looked upon by her as some broken guy who needs help.   When she mentions men at our old church they are wonderful, turned out so well, did such a great job, blah, blah, blah.  Me?    Who knows what she is saying.   I spend my days at my job of 30 years, or caring for my grandchildren, spending time with her(when she is not at christian stuff), I kayak, sail, read, bike, etc.   I don't drink, smoke or chew - or go with girls who do.   I don't even know how to go to a bar and order a beer.  I wish I did!

 

 

We had a couple visit us over this weekend who are long time christian friends.  They have handled my change extremely well.   But my wife began the silent and semi-angry treatment Saturday night when she saw the kayaks on the car roof ready for me to use Sunday morning instead of going to church.  This continued all through Sunday, with her so unaware that this behavior proves my point that there is no supernatural wizard guiding any christian's behavior.  

 

 

I told the visiting husband right out in a concise and short rant that religion is evil, simply evil for the way it splits marriages, families, communities, countries.   Evil!  Simply evil.   With my passion and obvious evidence that he saw me dealing with, he could only agree.   But, of course, he will never look for himself at what this evidence demonstrates about his religion of myths and immoral life instructions.  From time to time I have some non-believing friends tell me that religion helps some folks deal with life and has some benefits.   I do counter right back at them with how that has worked out for me.   Bull!

 

 

So this morning I get a text message from my wife saying that she may have to check herself into a mental health facility because she is having difficulty dealing with the 1 year anniversary of my deconversion.  She has an appointment with her doctor.   I do believe she may be in actual need of medical attention.   I am so tired and angry about this.   When will it end?   When will anyone else in my life look at the evidence and realize I am not off my rocker!   I have not answered her text message.   I just don't even know what to say.   

 

 

What would I really like to say?   RELIGION IS EVIL!!!!!   I AM NOT!  MAKE YOUR CHOICE!

 

I dealt with a wife that was frequently in and out of mental rehab places. I feel your pain. I only made it 10 years before her crazymaking made me file for divorce. The bad times outweighed the good times for most of the time we were married. Christianity wasn't the cause of our problems but we were both Christians and "knowing that God didn't really approve of divorce" didn't help. And what would the people at church think of us? But I needed to do it to remain sane myself.

 

It's good to see you doing what you want instead of going to church. It's also good to see that you have the cojones to be true to yourself regarding religion. How many of the faithful strong Christian church-going men know deep down that Christianity is bullshit but keep up appearances to the detriment of their mental health?

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Thanks for all the comments and suggestions so far.   

I have concluded one thing for sure.   I am no longer hanging around for Christmas and Easter.   One thing I have started focusing on is protecting myself and not putting myself in abusive situations.   Christmas was hell and now Easter was not so great.   I personally was on the way to enjoying both holidays until wife had difficulty dealing with them.   On second thought perhaps I should suggest she go away for those holidays.   My kids prefer me around more than her.

 

I have told her during the fall out from our Christmas mess that if she wants the marriage to continue then she must accept me as I am with NO reservations.  And secondly she had to stop the campaign waged via email, text messages, prayer chains, etc. to reconvert me.   Not going to happen.   This was all said in a "professionally" guided setting with family.

 

The tough part for me is, yes, I am keeping this marriage together through all this but as you can imagine it is not able to continue like this.

 

You guys with a wife who understands or even agrees completely are very fortunate.   I know my wife will not even begin to examine anything.   She is afraid it would kill her faith.   She starts with the presupposition that no matter what evidence you view, Christianity is the truth.  So I know she will not even be checking out this website.   She is unable to hold a calm adult discussion on this topic and hear me out.   She goes into a clinical panic attack almost immediately.
 

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Sorry to hear about all your problems, brother. This weekend was pretty rough for me too. I am lucky enough that my wife is very understanding about my lack of faith, and even willing to discuss it once in a while without expecting to convert me back or anything. It must be rough for you and your wife, you and your family have my sympathy. Here's to hoping things get better between you and your wife. 

 

 

 I don't even know how to go to a bar and order a beer.  I wish I did!

 

That's a real shame, especially considering the quality beers you guys have in the Northeast. I'm not a huge drinker, but one of my things I enjoyed most about my trip to Boston a few years ago was the beer selection. Sam Adams has some good seasonal blends. The only thing you guys are missing up there is Mexican beer (Corona does not count). If you were ever to find yourself in the Austin area, I'd buy you a pint. 

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I fully support you not drinking!  I've never had a drink in my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

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Ellwood,

 

It would seem there are further underlying issues with the marriage than just her going in to shock over your rejection of faith. Maybe this is the final straw in the haystack and she has to hit her rock bottom to see everything as it is.  Now, I am assuming you are not arguing with her to deconvert. I am also assuming you are taking as much of the higher ground as possible when she starts her sudden tidal wave of faith. I know that kind of hypocrisy is absolutely infuriating, even insulting. I mean, it's a double standard by far!

 

From the sounds of things, you are still in good company with the majority of your community and family. My mother was much like this when I first out and out rejected their faith. Praying for my soul, choking up in to tears when discussing hardships I had experienced and how much of it could have been avoided if I believed in God. That last bit always made me want to scream, and the times I did, in her mind, it justified her behavior even further. I would suggest leaving the missus in the dark as to what your plans are on a Sunday. I know as an organized person myself, I hate the idea of last minute packing things to go on a planned trip, but if she doesn't know what you did until after you're done, it might incense her, but she won't have the kayaks staring her in the face. Know what I mean? :)

 

I agree this is traumatic on some levels for her, but I don't understand the psychology of your wife like you do. I would think after 35 years, you know where you can draw your lines and work around her until she chills the hell out... along with some meds.  Definitely she needs to get meds and get perspective here. Nothing has changed except you do not share faith. She might not like your opinion, but considering you've done things her way for how long now, she will have to learn to eat that piece of pie too.

 

Good luck!

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I second the don't start drinking suggestion.

 

Is there any form of common ground that you both can agree on? If you haven't already, you guys might want to get some marriage counseling, but it will only work if both participants are willing to work through the issue. This might be a problem if she isn't willing to listen, but maybe it can help you both find the common ground you need.

 

But please continue to take care of yourself.

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I have never been married, so I can't dig up any advice. I hope your wife will be OK and ease up on the "witnessing." Other members have talked about how their marriages came through being unequally yoked and some spouses can live with the situation. Best wishes. :)

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I going to go against the grain and say to go ahead and have a beer. Lots of people drink responsibly and there's no reason you can't be one of them.

 

I actually have a hard time trusting people who don't drink, probably because I suspect they're either judging me for it or otherwise some kind of goody-goody. People who drink at least have a time when they let their guard down just a little so you can see who they really are.

 

Also, with due respect to your wife's mental health issues, not being able to handle the one year anniversary of your deconversion seems extraordinarily dramatic to me. She has probably gotten results from being hysterical about stupid things in the past.

 

Bottoms up.

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Guest r3alchild

I thought, when I leave christianity I wont care about friends or family who remain christian. But I did and more so, theres not just one thing that holds a persons faith togther. You can only topple the faith wall once you find all the weak points in the persons faith wall.

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Ellwood: My wife and I have been married a few years longer than you and your wife. Of course, that

doesn't qualify me to advice to you. But I'll discuss it here for what it's worth. When I told my wife about my deconversion (several years afterward) she took it pretty well but was not happy about it. The big difference that I can see between your problem and mine is that my wife does not want to talk with me about why I deconveted. It upsets her. But I wanted to discuss it with her and I was frustrated

because she refused. The truth is that she loves the people she knows at her church and its minister

and its music. It is the only social group she is a member of. So I understand her feelings of not

wanting to argue with me about Xtianity. She would lose a lot if she left. And so we have agreed to

disagree. I promised I would not try to discuss the issue with her nor she with me. I go to church with her on special occasions (Xmas, Easter, etc.)because she sings in the choir. It would be inconsiderate of me to insist she leave.

 

But I'm lucky because she is not an extremest. She does not go for some of the crazy things that some

do in the faith. As an example, I showed her a video that was on this site of a beautiful baby while a voice over was pretending to tell this baby some of the crazy things in the Xtian doctrine, like

original sin, burning in hell, etc. I showed this to my wife but turned the sound down so she could

only see the baby. I told her this was a video against the doctrine of original sin and that some

churches preach that it applies to babies as much as adults. She said: "Not in my church. If it did I'd walk right out." And further, she doesn't try to convince anybody to convert to Xtianity. So I don't

really mind that she wants to go to that church. So what?

 

What do you think of the possibility of you and your wife agreeing to not discuss Xtianity or religion at all? It has worked well so far with me. It's worth a try. Also, why don't you see if you two can

agree on a non-christian psychologist for counseling? The psychologist must be non christian for it to work. I had a terrible experience with a Xtian marriage counselor. But a good (emphasis added)

counselor can make a difference. If he or she is not good, get another one. Never stick with a bad

counselor.

Good luck to you. I both sympathize and empathize with you. bill

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I going to go against the grain and say to go ahead and have a beer. Lots of people drink responsibly and there's no reason you can't be one of them.

 

I actually have a hard time trusting people who don't drink, probably because I suspect they're either judging me for it or otherwise some kind of goody-goody. People who drink at least have a time when they let their guard down just a little so you can see who they really are.

 

Also, with due respect to your wife's mental health issues, not being able to handle the one year anniversary of your deconversion seems extraordinarily dramatic to me. She has probably gotten results from being hysterical about stupid things in the past.

 

Bottoms up.

 

I think it's much more respectable to be able to let your guard down and be yourself without using substances to alter your state of mind.  Alcohol is just another drug.  :)

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Guest r3alchild

 

 

I going to go against the grain and say to go ahead and have a beer. Lots of people drink responsibly and there's no reason you can't be one of them.

 

I actually have a hard time trusting people who don't drink, probably because I suspect they're either judging me for it or otherwise some kind of goody-goody. People who drink at least have a time when they let their guard down just a little so you can see who they really are.

 

Also, with due respect to your wife's mental health issues, not being able to handle the one year anniversary of your deconversion seems extraordinarily dramatic to me. She has probably gotten results from being hysterical about stupid things in the past.

 

Bottoms up.

I think it's much more respectable to be able to let your guard down and be yourself without using substances to alter your state of mind. Alcohol is just another drug. :)

I am divided about alcohol , it clearly has so much history and culture around it but then it can cause so many problems.

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 As an example, I showed her a video that was on this site of a beautiful baby while a voice over was pretending to tell this baby some of the crazy things in the Xtian doctrine, like

original sin, burning in hell, etc. I showed this to my wife but turned the sound down so she could

only see the baby. I told her this was a video against the doctrine of original sin and that some

churches preach that it applies to babies as much as adults. She said: "Not in my church. If it did I'd walk right out." And further, she doesn't try to convince anybody to convert to Xtianity. So I don't

really mind that she wants to go to that church. So what?

 

 

Bill, when you find time (only if you have the time), can you let me know where that video was? I'd like to check it out and perhaps do some work of my own with a video showing, once more, the sociopathic nature of the cult. Thanks.

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I going to go against the grain and say to go ahead and have a beer. Lots of people drink responsibly and there's no reason you can't be one of them.

 

I actually have a hard time trusting people who don't drink, probably because I suspect they're either judging me for it or otherwise some kind of goody-goody. People who drink at least have a time when they let their guard down just a little so you can see who they really are.

 

Also, with due respect to your wife's mental health issues, not being able to handle the one year anniversary of your deconversion seems extraordinarily dramatic to me. She has probably gotten results from being hysterical about stupid things in the past.

 

Bottoms up.

 

I agree with you. Personally, I don't drink. Just don't like the taste of anything alcoholic. But, if the man wants to have a drink, so be it.

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I fully support you not drinking!  I've never had a drink in my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

You want a cookie? While we're at it, how about a cookie for not ever being a Christian, since you like to wave that around in other people's faces too? Anything else you want to bring up about how great you are? Now's a great time to do so, maybe we can all follow your mighty example and our lives will all be hunky-dory, except for the fact that we would have the worst qualities of a judgmental fundie without actually being one. 

 

Look, nobody is encouraging anybody to go out and become an alcoholic, or even go out and have more than one or two beers. (For those of you who have never had a drink, one or two beers doesn't make one drunk unless you weigh about 90 pounds. I've felt worse from two coffees than two beers.) I just thought maybe, since he brought it up, maybe it would lighten the mood a little? Stop acting like having a beer = having an alcohol problem. Please get off your high horse. 

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I fully support you not drinking!  I've never had a drink in my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

You want a cookie? While we're at it, how about a cookie for not ever being a Christian, since you like to wave that around in other people's faces too? Anything else you want to bring up about how great you are? Now's a great time to do so, maybe we can all follow your mighty example and our lives will all be hunky-dory, except for the fact that we would have the worst qualities of a judgmental fundie without actually being one. 

 

Look, nobody is encouraging anybody to go out and become an alcoholic, or even go out and have more than one or two beers. (For those of you who have never had a drink, one or two beers doesn't make one drunk unless you weigh about 90 pounds. I've felt worse from two coffees than two beers.) I just thought maybe, since he brought it up, maybe it would lighten the mood a little? Stop acting like having a beer = having an alcohol problem. Please get off your high horse. 

 

Haha, whatever makes you feel good buddy :).  I just know the pressure to do drugs because it is the social norm, and I think it's great when people don't feel the need to conform.  I don't particularly care if he chooses to.  I just want him to know that it's not weird or bad to want to keep a clear mind.

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I fully support you not drinking!  I've never had a drink in my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

You want a cookie? While we're at it, how about a cookie for not ever being a Christian, since you like to wave that around in other people's faces too? Anything else you want to bring up about how great you are? Now's a great time to do so, maybe we can all follow your mighty example and our lives will all be hunky-dory, except for the fact that we would have the worst qualities of a judgmental fundie without actually being one. 

 

Look, nobody is encouraging anybody to go out and become an alcoholic, or even go out and have more than one or two beers. (For those of you who have never had a drink, one or two beers doesn't make one drunk unless you weigh about 90 pounds. I've felt worse from two coffees than two beers.) I just thought maybe, since he brought it up, maybe it would lighten the mood a little? Stop acting like having a beer = having an alcohol problem. Please get off your high horse. 

 

Haha, whatever makes you feel good buddy smile.png.  I just know the pressure to do drugs because it is the social norm, and I think it's great when people don't feel the need to conform.  I don't particularly care if he chooses to.  I just want him to know that it's not weird or bad to want to keep a clear mind.

I'm not your buddy, and I don't do drugs. 

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Fantastic :).  Anyways, Ellwood, I hope the best for you.  Please let us know of any progress you make.

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