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Officially Official Outing


WaitingInfinity
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So a while back, I posted about how I thought I had but wasn't sure about being out to my parents. Turns out...I was. And I don't know how he found out. He wouldn't tell me anything more, but he had phrases I had written in my Sunday morning anger journal that he questioned me about and he also talked about my using worse language. I don't know how he saw that from the pulpit.

 

Anyways, I'll be brief. 

 

I cried for the whole two hours he confronted me. My dad is a lawyer and he became a pastor about 8 years ago, though he still is a lawyer. He likes to cross-examine. And that's exactly what he did. He cross-examined me, twisted my words, made me sound like a sniveling idiot. It was horrible. I kept begging him to just listen and stop twisting my words. He didn't stop. 

 

He attacked me for not telling them when I had first decided I was an atheist/humanist. I kept telling him I was afraid. He would ask why. I said that I didn't know what they would do, just I was afraid of what might happen. But that wasn't a good enough answer for him. "You don't know why you were afraid, so you couldn't have been afraid." (No logic there, but I digress.) Then he switched to attacking my convictions. "Well, if you're so convicted that your beliefs are right, then you should have been confident enough to share them." That ended up going in circles for a while.

 

He asked if my boyfriend had been "on board" with this whole thing. I told him to leave my bf out of it, but he brought him into the conversation anyways. "Was he telling you not to tell us, because that's not a good trait!" I told him no, that my bf had told me it would be okay and that I should tell them. (Of course I didn't because I was afraid.) My dad jumped on that. "So you don't trust him?" Huh? Of course I do! "No," he said, "because it sounds like he had good advice and you didn't listen to it. You don't listen to his advice? That's an unhealthy relationship! You don't trust him." (See what he's doing? I kept telling him that he was extrapolating and exaggerating, but it didn't stop him.) 

 

I tried to explain our relationship wasn't unhealthy, but I couldn't do it...he was so caught up on the fact that I didn't listen to my bf's advice on this particular occasion. "You're going to have a bad marriage! Your relationship is only built on ideas; there's nothing there!" Which is not true at all. Anyone who spent time with us would see how well-balanced and gentle and loving and sacrificial we are. He didn't understand.

 

He attacked my decision to transfer to a secular school. "Well, if you're so open-minded, then your Christian private school is the best place. They'll just teach you humanistic stuff that you already know at the secular school. You would be challenged at the private school and exposed to a different worldview." I tried to explain that I would meet more people of different worldviews at the secular school and that I had grown up in a Christian worldview so I knew it well, but he didn't listen to that either. (See the trend?)

 

He also insisted that I read lots of Christian authors like C.S. Lewis if I was so open-minded. I told him I watched lots of debates. He was like, "No, not debates."

 

He again attacked my fear of telling them. "What do they call it in psychology when someone is afraid of something but they don't know what it is?" I told him it was Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which doesn't apply to how he was using it but it applies to a pattern in life. I admitted I probably have GAD and he was like, "Well let's go see a counselor then! But it has to be a Christian counselor!" I yelled at him that I was not going to a Christian counselor. He again went back to the open-minded argument. "A counselor who believes as you do is just going to tell you stuff you know. You need someone who has a different perspective." He kept pounding this point in. I have learned in all my classes that you go to counselors with similar beliefs as you. I kept telling him that but he wouldn't have any of it. A counselor who doesn't believe like you comes to the sessions with different assumptions. It would be like me going to an ear doctor for my eye. It won't really do me much good.

 

I fired back that he wouldn't send a Christian to a counselor of another belief system and he said that he wouldn't because nonChristian counselors mess people up. (Hypocrite. Not surprised.) He also implied that the Christian doesn't need to be open-minded since they have already found the ONE TRUE GODTM. So basically open-minded to him means look at Christian stuff.

 

He compared my articulated beliefs to those of my aunt who committed suicide last year "because life was meaningless for her and no one cared about her". To those of my uncle who was an atheist for most of his life and just recently became a Christian. 

 

The topics changed rapidly and melted into each other. I felt like I was under so much pressure. Several times, I stopped myself from saying something because I thought that he would take my words and make it sound as though I was saying something I wasn't. And I sobbed the whole time begging him to support me.

 

Then at the end he hugged me and said he loved me. But it's been a week and I still feel as though something uglier has been driven between us. I cried a little as I had to dredge up the details for this post. The things he said to me were incredibly painful. It was not the way I wanted it to happen. But when your dad treats you like a witness for the other side and tries to find the inconsistencies and patterns in your stories instead of listening to you like a father, what other choice do I have? He wondered why I don't tell him anything anymore. Don't you see that cross-examining is good for your job but not for your family?

 

On the positive, I feel honest. I feel free. I've felt better this week than I have in months.

 

On the negative, it's super weird to know that they know.

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Ugh, I'm so sorry your dad reacted like that!! No wonder you weren't jumping at the chance to tell him something like this. It really pisses me off when people confuse being open minded with being gullible.

 

You're a reflection of his own fears. His response to you coming out to him was completely uncalled for, even if he's secretly going through his own crisis of faith.

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That was terrible what he did to you! You should have told him that based on his reaction, you were justified in being afraid to tell him. I'm sure he does care about you, but his way of talking was very biased toward his way of thinking. I hope eventually things will even out.

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Your father is kind of a jerk.   :(

 

 

That sucks.

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your father asked why u didn't tell him???

I'm sorry for saying this (since he is your father) but I think he need to self examined himself first if his own child does not feel free, safe, and secure to talk to him about sensitive issue like this

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On behalf of lawyers, I apologize. A good lawyer knows that law and legal technique exist to make human communities more happy. You certainly don't use cross examination techniques on your own daughter in an oppressive way. Congratulations on being authentic to yourself and getting over the Christian Wrath-God meme. You are likely much more emotionally healthy now that you've set it out of your mind. As for GAD, i'm pretty sure that this would not be diangosed unless the anxiety was so severe that it interfered with functioning in a major area of your life -- e.g. your job, your relationships, etc. I recommend reading a book on "cognitive behavioral therapy" (CBT) -- for example Dr. Burns' book "The Feeling Good Handbook." Have courage! Have perseverence! Have hope!

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I'm really sorry to hear that things turned out the way they did for you.  My father has disowned me because of my beliefs.  He was also a preacher, and he is currently a Christian author...  I guess it doesn't 'look good' when a minister's child rejects the religion that he or she is capitalizing on.  My father doesn't even act as if I exist anymore.  Its almost as if I don't even have a father anymore.  I sincerely wish you all the best.  Be strong, believe in yourself, and whatever you do don't betray your own heart.  You are not alone.

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Your dad makes me sick! If he were my dad... I'd be going off to prison and he'd be in a body bag. It's obvious that he doesn't love you. Even though he said he did, his words sound extremely hollow. Maybe if you were still a Christian, there would be some truth to that, but since you're not, he probably wants you to burn in Hell.

 

Going through that situation, I wouldn't have taken that shit. If a person's own father is going to twist their words and attack them for saying things they didn't say or imply, then they are a terrible excuse for a father and should be put in their place (though I recommend not doing it in a way that ends in violence).

 

I'm sorry you had to go through that, WaitingInfinity. At least now you don't have to hide anymore, though. Fortunately, your situation can't get worse (I hope) and it will get better later on.

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I am so sorry to hear that you went through that with him.  But keep in mind, his anger was fueled by his own guilt and fear, not by anything you've done or not done.  Love doesn't speak that way; but fear does.  That's not to say he doesn't love you.  It simply means love was not the motivation behind his response. 

 

Always remember, you didn't choose deconversion; it simply happened to you.  But the way you are handling it now shows just how strong you are and how far you've come. 

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What a cruel fucking bastard! And how ironic that he can't see that his attitude and behavior toward you demonstrate exactly the reasons you feared to tell him when you first started doubting. I hope you can get away from that petty little sadist -- far and fast!

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Judging by your father's reaction, you were right not to tell or at least until you were ready.  Your father is trying to ram you back in the box that no longer can hold you. I'm glad you  are holding your own and seeing through his bull

 

 

He also insisted that I read lots of Christian authors like C.S. Lewis if I was so open-minded. I told him I watched lots of debates. He was like, "No, not debates."

[snip]

"A counselor who believes as you do is just going to tell you stuff you know. You need someone who has a different perspective."

 

So a debate where you are getting two different perspectives at once is not an appropriate avenue for getting a different perspectives, but going to someone with only one viewpoint, and in a position of authority, will give you a better perspective? Hypocrisy.

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That sounds like it really sucked for you. What a betrayal.

 

I don't know if this is worth anything, but here's a bit of possible insight into your dad's behavior. I'm sure you've heard of "fight or flight." When animals, including humans, feel threatened we usually run away/shut down or fight back. This also applies to any offspring we care for.

 

Your dad thinks that your eternal soul is in peril; he believes his daughter is being threatened. He's going to take the thing he does best (fight) to "protect" you. But he does not have an actual third-party threat to fight against. All he has are ideas to fight against. So he is trying to fight these ideas by fighting you without fully realizing the damage he is doing to your relationship with him in the process. But in his mind, saving your soul justifies any amount of temporary hurt that you may suffer.

 

What really sucks, though, is that you tried to be vulnerable with him when you told him that you felt afraid, and he just tried to turn that into part of his attack. All he has done is reinforce the idea that he is not someone you can trust.

 

Next time he tries to "talk" with you, let him know that if he truly values this relationship then he can't treat it like he's in court. There are loving ways to challenge and discuss ideas, and cross-examination is not one of them. He is used to getting his way by arguing for it. As you have said, that does not work in relationships. 

 

Don't worry about the awkward feelings. That will pass. I felt the same way when important people in my life found out. Eventually you start remembering that you can't make everyone happy. Hang in there, one day at a time.

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I feel for you.

 

I'm unsure of your age but the reality is that you are faced with an authority figure who is prepared to use/misuse that authority to try to influence you to be what he wants you to be.

 

The professor is correct.  The motive is fear.  That's not to deny that he loves you - but love can cruelly increase the pangs of fear in a truly vicious circle.

 

I also had numerous experiences of parental pressure as a teenager.  I found the best way to cope with it was to say precisely nothing and then get on with my own life.  You cannot be forced to read what you do to want to read, view what you do not want to watch etc.  But you do have a choice whether to provide ammunition to further harangues by being drawn into a discussion.  My approach would be to keep my own counsel, let him talk, then walk away without adding fuel to his fire - after all, you can say nothing that will blunt the attack short of agreeing with him.

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Shit... I really feel for you WI.  In a way I can relate.  I have this very fundamental family member that just can't let me go my own way.  Her fear?  It's much like your dad's.  They can't bear the thought of seeing us in hell.  So what do they do?  Fire off tactic after tactic, shot after shot, in hopes that we'll be 'saved' again.

 

How do still keep them as family (because we love our family) while still letting them know that this is something they cannot cross?  Fucking tough question.  Hang in there WI.

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Holy shit! That's really sad! I'm sure others have touched on this but your father is trying to control the way you think by keeping you in the private school and wanting you to see a Christian counselor and honestly, it's to be expected by a religious parent. I hope he can respect your differing opinions and learn to have a reasonable, less-angry approach to this topic but it won't be easy. Many parents look at this like it's some kind of failure on their part and it can be tough for them to shake that mentality. =(

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So a while back, I posted about how I thought I had but wasn't sure about being out to my parents. Turns out...I was. And I don't know how he found out. He wouldn't tell me anything more, but he had phrases I had written in my Sunday morning anger journal that he questioned me about and he also talked about my using worse language. I don't know how he saw that from the pulpit.

 

Anyways, I'll be brief. 

 

I cried for the whole two hours he confronted me. My dad is a lawyer and he became a pastor about 8 years ago, though he still is a lawyer. He likes to cross-examine. And that's exactly what he did. He cross-examined me, twisted my words, made me sound like a sniveling idiot. It was horrible. I kept begging him to just listen and stop twisting my words. He didn't stop. 

 

He attacked me for not telling them when I had first decided I was an atheist/humanist. I kept telling him I was afraid. He would ask why. I said that I didn't know what they would do, just I was afraid of what might happen. But that wasn't a good enough answer for him. "You don't know why you were afraid, so you couldn't have been afraid." (No logic there, but I digress.) Then he switched to attacking my convictions. "Well, if you're so convicted that your beliefs are right, then you should have been confident enough to share them." That ended up going in circles for a while.

 

He asked if my boyfriend had been "on board" with this whole thing. I told him to leave my bf out of it, but he brought him into the conversation anyways. "Was he telling you not to tell us, because that's not a good trait!" I told him no, that my bf had told me it would be okay and that I should tell them. (Of course I didn't because I was afraid.) My dad jumped on that. "So you don't trust him?" Huh? Of course I do! "No," he said, "because it sounds like he had good advice and you didn't listen to it. You don't listen to his advice? That's an unhealthy relationship! You don't trust him." (See what he's doing? I kept telling him that he was extrapolating and exaggerating, but it didn't stop him.) 

 

I tried to explain our relationship wasn't unhealthy, but I couldn't do it...he was so caught up on the fact that I didn't listen to my bf's advice on this particular occasion. "You're going to have a bad marriage! Your relationship is only built on ideas; there's nothing there!" Which is not true at all. Anyone who spent time with us would see how well-balanced and gentle and loving and sacrificial we are. He didn't understand.

 

He attacked my decision to transfer to a secular school. "Well, if you're so open-minded, then your Christian private school is the best place. They'll just teach you humanistic stuff that you already know at the secular school. You would be challenged at the private school and exposed to a different worldview." I tried to explain that I would meet more people of different worldviews at the secular school and that I had grown up in a Christian worldview so I knew it well, but he didn't listen to that either. (See the trend?)

 

He also insisted that I read lots of Christian authors like C.S. Lewis if I was so open-minded. I told him I watched lots of debates. He was like, "No, not debates."

 

He again attacked my fear of telling them. "What do they call it in psychology when someone is afraid of something but they don't know what it is?" I told him it was Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which doesn't apply to how he was using it but it applies to a pattern in life. I admitted I probably have GAD and he was like, "Well let's go see a counselor then! But it has to be a Christian counselor!" I yelled at him that I was not going to a Christian counselor. He again went back to the open-minded argument. "A counselor who believes as you do is just going to tell you stuff you know. You need someone who has a different perspective." He kept pounding this point in. I have learned in all my classes that you go to counselors with similar beliefs as you. I kept telling him that but he wouldn't have any of it. A counselor who doesn't believe like you comes to the sessions with different assumptions. It would be like me going to an ear doctor for my eye. It won't really do me much good.

 

I fired back that he wouldn't send a Christian to a counselor of another belief system and he said that he wouldn't because nonChristian counselors mess people up. (Hypocrite. Not surprised.) He also implied that the Christian doesn't need to be open-minded since they have already found the ONE TRUE GODTM. So basically open-minded to him means look at Christian stuff.

 

He compared my articulated beliefs to those of my aunt who committed suicide last year "because life was meaningless for her and no one cared about her". To those of my uncle who was an atheist for most of his life and just recently became a Christian. 

 

The topics changed rapidly and melted into each other. I felt like I was under so much pressure. Several times, I stopped myself from saying something because I thought that he would take my words and make it sound as though I was saying something I wasn't. And I sobbed the whole time begging him to support me.

 

Then at the end he hugged me and said he loved me. But it's been a week and I still feel as though something uglier has been driven between us. I cried a little as I had to dredge up the details for this post. The things he said to me were incredibly painful. It was not the way I wanted it to happen. But when your dad treats you like a witness for the other side and tries to find the inconsistencies and patterns in your stories instead of listening to you like a father, what other choice do I have? He wondered why I don't tell him anything anymore. Don't you see that cross-examining is good for your job but not for your family?

 

On the positive, I feel honest. I feel free. I've felt better this week than I have in months.

 

On the negative, it's super weird to know that they know.

 

Maybe it's time to move out and tell Dad to fuck off.

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"Someone who is worthy of your love will never put you in a situation where you feel you must sacrifice your dignity, your integrity, or your self-worth to be with them." Not sure who said it, but it is true. I truly hope you can escape the influence and household of your dad. He's being abusive and calling it love, just like the god of the bible. You have your own life, and it is yours to live, free from angry tirades of people who refuse to accept you for who you are, and insist that you conform to their ideals for you. It's a big world, and I hope you get to move away and become who you really want to be. My own family rarely speaks to me anymore, but I've found a lot of great friends who have become like family to me.

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Thanks to everyone who has responded to my post. thanks.gif  I enjoyed reading everyone's posts immensely.

 

I thought it was interesting that some of you jumped immediately to calling it out as a form of abuse. I honestly had never thought that before, but I suppose it could be considered abuse in a way. At the very least, it's a sign of an incredibly unhealthy relationship. (Funny how he was calling my relationship with my boyfriend unhealthy when it's the opposite that's true.) If anyone was wondering, he does have a habit of going into cross-examination mode. At least with me. There have been other times before that this has happened when I was younger, though this was by far the worst one. Both of my parents are also massively hypocritical people. 

 

He aimed to make me loyal to them and to want to tell them everything from now on. I'm afraid that the opposite has happened. Now I am even more worried that anything I would say to them would become a point of personal attack. 

 

I am fortunate that I move into an apartment with friends for this next year of school. The lease extends into next summer as well, so I may even stay there instead of returning home next summer. That may mean that this will be my last summer actually living here in my childhood room! I am grateful to be escaping. 

 

Also, I hope I never have to be cross-examined ever in life because it's hella scary. It would be a little different though I imagine because it would be more fact-based statements rather than pouring my heart out kind of things. 

 

Finally, I left out one thing that he said when he kept trying and failing to understand why I didn't tell them. I told him that I didn't feel ready to tell them and that I had wanted to wait until next year or so and really have clear thoughts. I also wanted to make sure this was permanent and I had intended to be the one who came to them and told them, not them finding out and confronting me. He interrupted me and said "I could be DEAD in a year! Or you could be. Then what?" I didn't have much to say to that. But that fact doesn't change that I still didn't feel ready to tell them. I don't know why they just expected that the moment I stopped believing in God that I would go dance around and tell them. 

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I'm glad that you'll be moving out at the end of the summer, Waiting.  I don't know your family's dynamic except from what you've written, but it sounds to me as though some form of BO's advice is good.  You shouldn't have to be subjected to cross-examination or something like it at this point in your life.  

 

Hugs and best, f

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Giving your dad the benefit of the doubt, he probably loves you and is probably worried sick about you going to hell, and using his lawyer skills to .. Bring you back into the fold?

 

That completely sucks, and it angers me that religion puts people in that position, afraid their loved ones will burn in hell for not believing.

 

His 'interrogation method' sounds awful and whether or not his motives are good , that just flat out sucks. I'm glad you are feeling better about it, and hope you can find the space you need to live your life. Lots of parents eventually get over it, but it is hard for them too... But that is not your problem.

 

Thank you for sharing... It gets better!

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I won't say it gets better, because sometimes it doesn't.  I will eventually get different, though.  I rarely discuss religion with my parents, mainly because my mom can't handle it without eventually going in to meltdown mode.  My father is a bit different, though, a bit more open-minded. 

 

Whatever happens, though, Waiting, you have the strength to handle it.  You may have cried because of his reaction, but you weren't broken by it; you held yourself together and took it.  Now you're ready to face whatever christianity throws your way.

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