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Testimony From The Thick Of It


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I have been on here for quite a while but I never have posted my ex-timony. In light of recently getting outed I figure I'd share.... I don't really know what to do with myself at this point.

 

So, early background. Some if my earliest memories are of my mother nagging me about whether I had said the sinners prayer or not. I always lied and said I had but she didn't believe me and kept pestering me until I was about 4 and I went through the motions because she basically twisted my arm.

 

I was heavily indoctrinated into the reformed tradition, memorizing the bible, going to Awanas, Vacation Bible School, and Christian private school. I was taught all about things like predestination, Presuppositionalism, the council of Nicea, the multifarious heresies, and so on. I really liked the idea of predestination because I felt very dissatisfied with being cloistered in the Christian quarantine and i liked to believe that the only reason I didn't get to do the things I wanted to do with my life was because God had better plans for me. Even though I thought I had a clear understanding of Christianity, I never liked apologetics and I avoided having to use it, ever.

 

I was rebellious as long as I thought my parents wouldn't find out. It was (is) very hard for me to deal with their disapproval so I acted out a lot less than other kids, but I was still kind of the black sheep in my group of friends.

 

I'm not sure what to make of my actual childhood and what effect it had on me. I know that I got secretive at an early age, because I felt like I was being shamed for anything I did that was new or that was my own idea. I didn't even let my mom know when I needed more tampons, I would find some way to procure them myself, even when I was in 8th grade. I don't know if it makes any sense but I felt like I had had reactions that made me feel bad about myself from my parents about anything relating to puberty, like criticizing me for having body odor, telling me I should be ashamed of it, making fun of me for wanting to buy a bra, etc. I think that was when my secretive behavior really started, although I certainly hid my true opinions from my overbearing parents for as long as I can remember. it was simply instinct and self-preservation.

 

I started feeling depressed when I was 11. I actually clearly remember the first depressive episode. For some reason a movie I watched sent me into a gloom that lasted for weeks. I was sad that I couldn't be what I wanted to be, I hated my life situation, the Christian cloister. I didn't play with my friends, I sat inside for the rest of the summer, shades drawn on my dark bedroom in the middle of the day. Episodes returned from time to time, reaching a peak in my senior year of high school.

 

This is relevant, I promise.

 

Anyway. I found out I liked other girls in 10th grade. I had a raging, tragic crush on one of my friends who was straight herself and the whole thing made me very upset. For at least a year I tried to convince myself it was just a joke, a mind game I was playing on myself and had got too deep into. The fact that it was an "abomination" was stressful. I didn't have a lot of confidence or a strong sense of how I wanted things to be, I behaved oddly and our friendship went belly-up. It didn't help that I didn't tell anyone about it (including her, though she probably guessed) the entire three years I knew her. I ended up doing some self-injurious things to myself and not eating for a while.

 

And cue college. I started taking some classes that challenged christian views in really polite ways. I was firm in my faith until I got to some biology, the fossil record, and evidence of evolution and an old earth. As you know, the evidence was overwhelming. I began to challenge Christianity because of these contradictions - I asked myself, what do my parents and teachers have to hide? And why they not want me to look at evidence?

 

That semester I had relapsed into my depression or whatever you want to call it, I'm not diagnosed or anything but that seems similar to what it was like. I also relapsed into my eating disorder and self-injury behaviors. I don't know if that is related to what happened next.

 

I can remember vividly, I was walking into the supermarket sometime in the beginning of December of my sophomore year and it occurred to me ... What if it all isn't true? What if this is a bunch if bullshit they're just pretending they know to be true?

 

At first I was afraid of going to hell for that thought, but the more I thought about it, the more reason I had to think it wasn't true at all. I decided I was "taking a break" and that I was sure that if Christianity was true, it would reveal itself to be true from my wanderings and open-minded investigations of other ideas..

 

Right after that, I had another brief yet important girl in my life who wracked my emotions in such a way that I decided to take control. I decided to try to fix my emotional issues (mild depression aggravated by bad thinking patterns, probably. Again I haven't been diagnosed, but I know what I'm like). I made a serious decision at that point. I decided I wasn't going to listen to anyone's advice about life. No Christians were going to tell me that only Christ can make me happy and no online people were going to tell my how to be happy and I wasn't even going to read my horoscope anymore. I journaled a lot at that time and I developed this 3-tenet plan of Confidence, Security and Presence to try to make my life better. Confidence to me meant not letting anyone fuck with me or bend me to their will. Security meant doing things like reveling in my old music and my old pictures and reminding myself that I'm alright how I am and my life is as interesting as everyone else's. Presence meant mining happiness from every moment, maximizing my awareness, living in the moment.

 

At the same time, and the connection is tenuous in my memory, I discovered the online ex-Christian presence. This forum, the purple fox videos, and darkmatter2525's channel were especially influential. I decided I was an agnostic atheist.

 

I blogged for a while and mentioned freely in anonymity that i was a bisexual or lesbian (I couldn't decide on a label) and that I was an athirst. The blog was nice, I liked it a lot. I still do.

 

More recently, my parents discovered this blog and cornered me about it. They made all sorts of strange, false and unfounded assumptions about me. They decided to try to "fix"' me. I don't want to write about the details, it just stresses me out to think about it. Ever since then they have not been normal and this is the part I need the most help with. They are being something between belligerently self-deluding and smugly passive-aggressive now. They have gotten extra pious, but it's like they are dead inside, so weirdly formal and they don't treat me like normal anymore. They don't yell at me anymore but they "kindly" make unreasonable requests like for me to skip parties with my friends to see them instead because they "have seen her (my friends) blog" and "are just paranoid" and "miss me". And they grill me if I miss church for work and are generally keeping ridiculously close eye on my whereabouts, always demanding to know where I am.

 

I want to tell them that I am participating in lesbian temple prostitution to the god of rock and roll because that is how they are treating me right now.

 

I am a successful young adult with a job and a great college gpa and very little debt, but I know that since they know I am an atheist and a lesbian they consider me the black sheep and the wayward child and they are just so *sad* that I am lost even though they are so pious and have tried so hard with me.

 

It is infuriating.

 

Keep in mind I have thatextreme habit of keeping them out of my life and not telling them anything, because I know how judgmental they are. It's not like I'm just paranoid, I have real reasons for these habits.

 

I could use any advice you have. I'm not sure I explained it well but I can add more if it didn't come across right.

 

Thanks, signed,

Tollo

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Tollo, Wecome to Ex-c and thanks for sharing your story with us. We truly understand here what you are going through. Keep posing all your concerns. It's a wonderful place and someone is always here to help you. Continue to read the testimonies. You will certainly see you are not alone.We may not have many 'real' meetups for this type of support, but we can all be glad we have Ex-c to come and write our thoughts out. All you need to know today is that you are beautiful just the way you are. Hold your head up high hon. You're going to make it. We'll help you along if you need that support'

 

Big hug

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Hi Tollo :)

I can really relate to the stuff about your parents. [brief background: I'm 43, and deconverted 4 1/2 years ago]. They were heartbroken when I left my faith, and then really lost it when I divorced a couple years ago. They treat me like the black sheep, too, which feels really bewildering to me, I've always been a pretty good person, sweet, kind, smart, never did drugs, never was in trouble, got good grades, married a nice guy, had 4 beautiful babies (now 8, 14,15,16), was always involved at church, taught Sunday school, went on mission trips, etc etc.... And I am no longer even welcome at family holidays because of my horrible rebellion and dangerous behavior (thinking deeply and being unable to accept shallow, unreasonable answers). It is mind-boggling. The rejection hurt for a while, but after seeing my mom again recently, I realized how good it is to have almost no contact with them. I never have to worry any more about what they think of me or how to act around them. I have nothing to apologize for or explain. I decided to be me and live my life. They don't want to be a part of that, so it really works out better to keep our distance from each other. So, FWIW, I think you're probably wise to keep them out of your life as much as possible.

 

Actually, come to think of it, they still kinda barely tolerated me for a while after the divorce, but when I started dating again, and was also seen "liking" a page on fb that had the word "fuck" in the title (I fucking love science) they shit their pants and stopped inviting me to family stuff. They adore my ex-husband, and they felt they had to take sides or something. He is a terrific guy, actually, and he and I get along great, and he seemed to take it just fine that I was seeing someone. But I think my dating (kind of a bad boy type) felt like a slap in the face to my parents. And as for my saying "fuck"...well fuck I say fuck all the time, and they just happen to have a particular horror of that word, like it conjures in their mind the most devil-worshipping evil blackhearted person imaginable. firedevil.gif

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Tollo, that is an interesting extimony. The reaction of your parents seems bad, but apparently it's not that uncommon.

 

I was just wondering if part of the problem might be fixed by time. You have known about your sexuality and skepticism for many years. Maybe after your parents get used to this new information they will start acting normal again?

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Hi Tollo

 

I too have judgmental parents who can't handle me being bi/lesbian and atheist.

 

I suggest, if at all possible, that you have as little as possible to do with them for at least a few months.  You deserve a break from them.  If they can't get over their problem with you being an independent adult in charge of your own life, then I'd be making the break permanently.  The responsibility for the loss of the relationship is theirs, not yours.

 

Pressuring a 4 year old to adopt a religion is child abuse.  You have done well to survive and thrive.

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I have been on here for quite a while but I never have posted my ex-timony. In light of recently getting outed I figure I'd share.... I don't really know what to do with myself at this point.

 

So, early background. Some if my earliest memories are of my mother nagging me about whether I had said the sinners prayer or not. I always lied and said I had but she didn't believe me and kept pestering me until I was about 4 and I went through the motions because she basically twisted my arm.

 

I was heavily indoctrinated into the reformed tradition, memorizing the bible, going to Awanas, Vacation Bible School, and Christian private school. I was taught all about things like predestination, Presuppositionalism, the council of Nicea, the multifarious heresies, and so on. I really liked the idea of predestination because I felt very dissatisfied with being cloistered in the Christian quarantine and i liked to believe that the only reason I didn't get to do the things I wanted to do with my life was because God had better plans for me. Even though I thought I had a clear understanding of Christianity, I never liked apologetics and I avoided having to use it, ever.

 

I was rebellious as long as I thought my parents wouldn't find out. It was (is) very hard for me to deal with their disapproval so I acted out a lot less than other kids, but I was still kind of the black sheep in my group of friends.

 

I'm not sure what to make of my actual childhood and what effect it had on me. I know that I got secretive at an early age, because I felt like I was being shamed for anything I did that was new or that was my own idea. I didn't even let my mom know when I needed more tampons, I would find some way to procure them myself, even when I was in 8th grade. I don't know if it makes any sense but I felt like I had had reactions that made me feel bad about myself from my parents about anything relating to puberty, like criticizing me for having body odor, telling me I should be ashamed of it, making fun of me for wanting to buy a bra, etc. I think that was when my secretive behavior really started, although I certainly hid my true opinions from my overbearing parents for as long as I can remember. it was simply instinct and self-preservation.

 

I started feeling depressed when I was 11. I actually clearly remember the first depressive episode. For some reason a movie I watched sent me into a gloom that lasted for weeks. I was sad that I couldn't be what I wanted to be, I hated my life situation, the Christian cloister. I didn't play with my friends, I sat inside for the rest of the summer, shades drawn on my dark bedroom in the middle of the day. Episodes returned from time to time, reaching a peak in my senior year of high school.

 

This is relevant, I promise.

 

Anyway. I found out I liked other girls in 10th grade. I had a raging, tragic crush on one of my friends who was straight herself and the whole thing made me very upset. For at least a year I tried to convince myself it was just a joke, a mind game I was playing on myself and had got too deep into. The fact that it was an "abomination" was stressful. I didn't have a lot of confidence or a strong sense of how I wanted things to be, I behaved oddly and our friendship went belly-up. It didn't help that I didn't tell anyone about it (including her, though she probably guessed) the entire three years I knew her. I ended up doing some self-injurious things to myself and not eating for a while.

 

And cue college. I started taking some classes that challenged christian views in really polite ways. I was firm in my faith until I got to some biology, the fossil record, and evidence of evolution and an old earth. As you know, the evidence was overwhelming. I began to challenge Christianity because of these contradictions - I asked myself, what do my parents and teachers have to hide? And why they not want me to look at evidence?

 

That semester I had relapsed into my depression or whatever you want to call it, I'm not diagnosed or anything but that seems similar to what it was like. I also relapsed into my eating disorder and self-injury behaviors. I don't know if that is related to what happened next.

 

I can remember vividly, I was walking into the supermarket sometime in the beginning of December of my sophomore year and it occurred to me ... What if it all isn't true? What if this is a bunch if bullshit they're just pretending they know to be true?

 

At first I was afraid of going to hell for that thought, but the more I thought about it, the more reason I had to think it wasn't true at all. I decided I was "taking a break" and that I was sure that if Christianity was true, it would reveal itself to be true from my wanderings and open-minded investigations of other ideas..

 

Right after that, I had another brief yet important girl in my life who wracked my emotions in such a way that I decided to take control. I decided to try to fix my emotional issues (mild depression aggravated by bad thinking patterns, probably. Again I haven't been diagnosed, but I know what I'm like). I made a serious decision at that point. I decided I wasn't going to listen to anyone's advice about life. No Christians were going to tell me that only Christ can make me happy and no online people were going to tell my how to be happy and I wasn't even going to read my horoscope anymore. I journaled a lot at that time and I developed this 3-tenet plan of Confidence, Security and Presence to try to make my life better. Confidence to me meant not letting anyone fuck with me or bend me to their will. Security meant doing things like reveling in my old music and my old pictures and reminding myself that I'm alright how I am and my life is as interesting as everyone else's. Presence meant mining happiness from every moment, maximizing my awareness, living in the moment.

 

At the same time, and the connection is tenuous in my memory, I discovered the online ex-Christian presence. This forum, the purple fox videos, and darkmatter2525's channel were especially influential. I decided I was an agnostic atheist.

 

I blogged for a while and mentioned freely in anonymity that i was a bisexual or lesbian (I couldn't decide on a label) and that I was an athirst. The blog was nice, I liked it a lot. I still do.

 

More recently, my parents discovered this blog and cornered me about it. They made all sorts of strange, false and unfounded assumptions about me. They decided to try to "fix"' me. I don't want to write about the details, it just stresses me out to think about it. Ever since then they have not been normal and this is the part I need the most help with. They are being something between belligerently self-deluding and smugly passive-aggressive now. They have gotten extra pious, but it's like they are dead inside, so weirdly formal and they don't treat me like normal anymore. They don't yell at me anymore but they "kindly" make unreasonable requests like for me to skip parties with my friends to see them instead because they "have seen her (my friends) blog" and "are just paranoid" and "miss me". And they grill me if I miss church for work and are generally keeping ridiculously close eye on my whereabouts, always demanding to know where I am.

 

I want to tell them that I am participating in lesbian temple prostitution to the god of rock and roll because that is how they are treating me right now.

 

I am a successful young adult with a job and a great college gpa and very little debt, but I know that since they know I am an atheist and a lesbian they consider me the black sheep and the wayward child and they are just so *sad* that I am lost even though they are so pious and have tried so hard with me.

 

It is infuriating.

 

Keep in mind I have thatextreme habit of keeping them out of my life and not telling them anything, because I know how judgmental they are. It's not like I'm just paranoid, I have real reasons for these habits.

 

I could use any advice you have. I'm not sure I explained it well but I can add more if it didn't come across right.

 

Thanks, signed,

Tollo

It sounds like you are doing a very good job of dealing with your circumstances! Kudos to you! No advice, just keep doing what you're doing...

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Firstly, welcome.

 

Secondly, I applaud your idea of "Confidence, Security and Presence"; seems to me to boil down to "be yourself".  An excellent plan.

 

Thirdly, I rather sadly doubt if there is any way to deal with parent such as you describe short of moving to a distance and living your own life without reference to them.  Not necessarily cutting all ties - but doing your own thing without involving them.

 

I'm afraid the only answer to those who wish to live your life for you is to live it for yourself.

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Welcome.

You are very mindful for your age. Many of us struggled much longer to arrive where you are. The issues with family will probably never go away but always remember you are free, they are constrained by an absurd religion. So you don't have to respond to absurdity in like manner. Depression and stress are killers. Even moreso - longing for things to be other than they are. You recognize that you have issues with depression and have taken decisive steps away from it - that's a huge positive. But don't take it lightly, it can re-emerge and really set you back. I suggest reading everything you can get ahold of by Pema Chödrön. Her teachings saved me from succumbing to major depression a few years ago.

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