PurpleLilac

The holidays and how my parents visit went.

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It sucks doesn't it. My parents live on another continent and I can't even contemplate visiting them yet because their whole lives revolve around religion and the atmosphere wouldn't be all that positive,it's like they grieve your death when you're standing right in front of them because that's how deep the brainwashing goes. Some people may be able to deal with the atmosphere for an extended period of time but not me, video calls are enough. 

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2 hours ago, PurpleLilac said:

Finally, They flew back home and I sent them a text that they might want to choose another place to live because two get togethers a year is the absolute limit for my emotional and mental health (yup,I said it just like that.)

You GO, Girl!

 

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4 hours ago, PurpleLilac said:

My parents flew in before Christmas and stayed for a week. Within 10 min of walking in,my father asked my oldest child if he could lay hands on her and pray her fever would be gone. She said no,thank goodness. 

The visit was tense,all parties were careful to avoid religion and politics,except my dad asking my children to pray for him and their siblings. 

I let my parents pay for nothing. They tried to buy my husband and I for years and that’s over. 

They looked at houses two hours from me while they were here. I felt sick about it but said nothing. 

Finally, They flew back home and I sent them a text that they might want to choose another place to live because two get togethers a year is the absolute limit for my emotional and mental health (yup,I said it just like that.)

I know my parents choose their god and their fundie Pentecostal religion over me. I accept that and I will do all I can to protect my kids and my family. 

I even made out my will to ensure my kids will never fall into their hands. 

I hate fucking religion. 

 

 

 

You exhibit no codependence with your parents, nor are you enabling them.  Those are healthy indicators.  They are responsible for their lives and you are for yours.  Your experience of sadness from the continued disconnect with your parents is also healthy.  Perhaps there is not much you can do about the situation, and perhaps that's just the way it is going to be.  Fortunately, you have purpose and responsibilities with your own nuclear family, to which you can devote your positive efforts.

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1 hour ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

It sucks doesn't it. My parents live on another continent and I can't even contemplate visiting them yet because their whole lives revolve around religion and the atmosphere wouldn't be all that positive,it's like they grieve your death when you're standing right in front of them because that's how deep the brainwashing goes. Some people may be able to deal with the atmosphere for an extended period of time but not me, video calls are enough. 

Yes,I grieved my brothers death 11 years ago when he came out as gay and atheist. Now my parents grieve me too. 

Such a waste of time and life and what could be. 

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4 hours ago, PurpleLilac said:

I hate fucking religion. 

 

 

 

Me too. With a passion. It is what's wrong with humanity.

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1 hour ago, PurpleLilac said:

Yes,I grieved my brothers death 11 years ago when he came out as gay and atheist. Now my parents grieve me too. 

Such a waste of time and life and what could be. 

Yup, when my sister left before me that was what initially pushed me to question. 

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It sounds to me like you did very well. It was a first or at least one of the first visits since coming out so you really couldn't fairly expect much. You held your ground without having unreasonable expectations for their behavior. There was nothing you said that was unreasonable or that you should feel bad about saying. I think you've laid a good groundwork for what will be acceptable in future visits. You're trying to deal with a very difficult situation that often ends in failure so anything positive that ultimately comes out of your efforts is a real plus. Now that everyone has learned somewhat what to expect and what your minimum expectations are there is a reasonable chance that bit by bit future visits will become less tense and possibly (who knows?) even bring some joy. It's up to your parents as much as you I think you should feel great about doing everything you can from your side and putting in as much effort as you obviously have. Excellent job Purple Lilac! I'll be very interested to hear what comes from your next get together but for now just relax and hang with some nice clear headed friends.

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That really sucks and I feel you. It breaks my heart to know that my parents sold me out for an illusion that they're right beyond reproach about religion. 

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1 hour ago, DestinyTurtle said:

 It breaks my heart to know that my parents sold me out for an illusion that they're right beyond reproach about religion. 

Please realize that if your parents are indoctrinated and brainwashed deeply, unless they have an open mind to questioning, which they likely don't (especially if they think its a sin), it isn't any kind of choice for them. I sometimes start feeling this way about my parents, but then I remember I haven't really been sold out, and I feel nothing but pity for them.

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On 1/9/2019 at 11:27 AM, PurpleLilac said:

Finally, They flew back home and I sent them a text that they might want to choose another place to live because two get togethers a year is the absolute limit for my emotional and mental health (yup,I said it just like that.)

 

 

I rarely visited my (non-religious) parents who were only 5 hours away. :)

 

Good on you for letting them know your true feelings about them. Maybe let them know that you love them no matter what religion they are...just for fun. :)

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18 hours ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

Please realize that if your parents are indoctrinated and brainwashed deeply, unless they have an open mind to questioning, which they likely don't (especially if they think its a sin), it isn't any kind of choice for them. I sometimes start feeling this way about my parents, but then I remember I haven't really been sold out, and I feel nothing but pity for them.

Thanks, @TruthSeeker0. My mom was definitely indoctrinated from a young age, and I do believe she tags along largely because her cultural programming can't allow her to comprehend an alternative. My dad is a born again christian, though, who chose his theology and his approach in a very deliberate way as an adult, so I think he gets less of a pass in this regard. I suppose I can still say his insanity is rooted in some kind of damage or trauma he could never get passed, and that if it wasn't Xianity it would have been something else.

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On 1/12/2019 at 12:40 PM, TruthSeeker0 said:

Please realize that if your parents are indoctrinated and brainwashed deeply, unless they have an open mind to questioning, which they likely don't (especially if they think its a sin), it isn't any kind of choice for them. I sometimes start feeling this way about my parents, but then I remember I haven't really been sold out, and I feel nothing but pity for them.

I just can’t accept this. They are making a choice. As a parent,I can’t give them the out that they are brainwashed. 

Either their love for their children is stronger than their fear and arrogance or it’s not. 

And it’s not. 

 

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4 hours ago, PurpleLilac said:

I just can’t accept this. They are making a choice. As a parent,I can’t give them the out that they are brainwashed. 

Either their love for their children is stronger than their fear and arrogance or it’s not. 

And it’s not. 

 

Parents can love their children but remain brainwashed and fearful. That's where all their anxiety and stress that their children are going to hell is rooted. It was difficult enough for me to break free, and I grew up with a very different exposure, education and view of the world than they did. Hence my pity for trapped people. My parents are also elderly and so I have no wish to take away from them what they see as their reward in the afterlife. I don't see it as a simple choice for them, it's complicated. It was easier for me to let go of bitterness and anger about my upbringing and the current state of affairs when I thought it through properly. But I also understand it's different for everyone, we've all had different life circumstances etc.

 

Edit: imo the most important thing post Christianity is to establish proper boundaries, and I think you're doing a great job with this.

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I still have a lot of anger. Sadness. All the things. 

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22 minutes ago, PurpleLilac said:

I still have a lot of anger. Sadness. All the things. 

It's a huge loss sweetie.  You have a right to feel all these negative emotions.  Grieve the whole damn situation.  Religion is such a bitch. I'm so sorry you have to go through this but you handled it beautifully. As someone already suggested, love them from a distance. Talk on the phone (if you can) and keep things as loving and 'light' as you can. I hope you will feel better soon. Keep reading and posting.

 

A big ((hug))

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, PurpleLilac said:

I still have a lot of anger. Sadness. All the things. 

And all that is totally normal. Give yourself time and be kind to yourself. You are allowed to have all of those.

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Wow, it’s wild how similar this affects us all. It’s so very sad.  Unless people go through this with their families I don’t think they can fully understand the anger, sadness, disappointment, resentment, and loneliness it creates.  It’s sickening to me, how religion not only causes but justifies people to be such assholes with no regard for other people’s feelings or rights. 

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Want to hear something funny? Well not really funny but disturbing.  At Christmas I went to my parents and mom had stockings for everyone.  In each stocking for the kids my dad had put a framed picture of Jesus!  Wtf.  My 4 year old asked who it was.  My dad was obviously upset but eager to explain who it was since he realized I hadn’t begun indoctrinating my children.  That will never happen.  I know how you feel. We are all sick of this shit. 

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1 hour ago, Mandy said:

 At Christmas I went to my parents and mom had stockings for everyone.  In each stocking for the kids my dad had put a framed picture of Jesus! 

This is just way beyond appropriate, in particular if they are aware of your beliefs and are doing it regardless. It's the whole "this behaviour is OK because Jebus, only Jebus and 'spreading the good news' matters." At this point in time they need to be told it's not OK for them to violate boundaries just because they happen to believe in Jebus. That's basically what I told my parents and I'm glad I did.

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19 minutes ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

This is just way beyond appropriate, in particular if they are aware of your beliefs and are doing it regardless. It's the whole "this behaviour is OK because Jebus, only Jebus and 'spreading the good news' matters." At this point in time they need to be told it's not OK for them to violate boundaries just because they happen to believe in Jebus. That's basically what I told my parents and I'm glad I did.

They don’t know exactly how I believe.  At the time I still professed to believe but I didn’t adhere to how they believed.  They knew I didn’t.  I was loosely hanging onto Christianity.  I didn’t go to church and wasn’t pushing it on my children.  I couldn’t tell my parents I don’t believe.  There are many reasons for my choice not to tell them but mainly I don’t have the energy for what would come.  If you think what my dad did wasn’t appropriate I cannot tell you how inappropriate it would be if they knew how I felt now.  The bottom would fall out.  I am not just speculating either.  I know for a given fact that they would lose their shit on me.  I’m not so afraid of that.  I just don’t have the energy for it.  I don’t have the energy to fight with them, to debate them, to be hurt anymore by their lack of concern for me or how I feel.  Religious belief causes most people I know to act like some of the biggest hypocritical assholes I’ve ever seen. I know because I have been guilty of it myself.  I don’t have any other outlet for my feelings about this except here since I got rid of social media long ago.  I just didn’t feel the need for it anymore because I didn’t feel I could be truly honest there and felt no one else really was either.  Plus my family was on it, well they used to be and I just didn’t feel like just anyone needed to know my business.  I talk to my almost 16 year old daughter about it all some.  She also identifies as atheist and did long before I did.  If my family knew I almost think they would disown us.  They almost have already.  Funny thing is I am ultimately a better person than they are because I don’t want to hurt them the way they have hurt me for years. 

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Saw this on FB and I want to shout it from my rooftop in a mess of tears. 

 

 

8D19EFE0-EE8B-4E01-98B7-6A475DF2A289.png

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Mandy, i’m sorry to hear you are going through the difficult time. The crazy thing is that the simple clear thinking becomes a crime in fundamental Christianity. So glad you are here with us and especially glad to here you have your daughter as an ally. You are working through a difficult situation with this rift forming between your own family and your birth family and because Christians are taught to push it could be that some future conflict will be unavoidable. I think you can stay in the drivers seat and avoid emotional confrontations should you find yourself forced to divulge you true feelings about Christianity. The reason I bring this up is because you said, “ I just don’t have the energy for it.  I don’t have the energy to fight with them, to debate them, to be hurt anymore by their lack of concern for me or how I feel.” I don’t have ideas specific to countering the hurt feelings but I do believe you can greatly lessen the conflict by refusing to get into the debate they may push for. You don’t owe it to your parents or anyone else to explain why you believe what you believe. It is absolutely enough to just simply get the point across that you believe you have made a thoughtful decision and that you need them to understand that even though they don’t approve it is your final decision (barring some brand new overwhelming irrefutable evidence). If you just stick with this every time the topic comes to why you can save yourself and your parents a lot of aggravating fruitless debate/confrontation. Very very few Christians would alow themselves to consider any point that contradicts their beliefs irregardless of how persuasive they may actually be. With so many emotional undercurrents no actual debate of the facts will likely ever take place. If you won’t allow yourself to get sucked into a debate they will quickly burn themselves out. They will probably need to accuse you of having a god sized hole in your heart or being angry at god or at being tired of following god’s rules, etc. They are taught that these are the

only reasons anyone stops believing. But just repeating that you’ve spent many hours considering Christianity and just don’t believe in it is a powerful way to protect yourself and keep the conversation/confrontation from escalating. Possibly you will never be forced to declare you beliefs but you shouldn’t be fearful should you find yourself in that position. The conversation rightfully belongs to focus on where do we go from here rather than who is more right or who need to change. I think you can get there much more quickly by skipping the debate about Christian dogma and proofs.

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10 hours ago, Mandy said:

They don’t know exactly how I believe.  At the time I still professed to believe but I didn’t adhere to how they believed.  They knew I didn’t.  I was loosely hanging onto Christianity.  I didn’t go to church and wasn’t pushing it on my children.  I couldn’t tell my parents I don’t believe.  There are many reasons for my choice not to tell them but mainly I don’t have the energy for what would come.  If you think what my dad did wasn’t appropriate I cannot tell you how inappropriate it would be if they knew how I felt now.  The bottom would fall out.  I am not just speculating either.  I know for a given fact that they would lose their shit on me.  I’m not so afraid of that.  I just don’t have the energy for it.  I don’t have the energy to fight with them, to debate them, to be hurt anymore by their lack of concern for me or how I feel.  Religious belief causes most people I know to act like some of the biggest hypocritical assholes I’ve ever seen. I know because I have been guilty of it myself.  I don’t have any other outlet for my feelings about this except here since I got rid of social media long ago.  I just didn’t feel the need for it anymore because I didn’t feel I could be truly honest there and felt no one else really was either.  Plus my family was on it, well they used to be and I just didn’t feel like just anyone needed to know my business.  I talk to my almost 16 year old daughter about it all some.  She also identifies as atheist and did long before I did.  If my family knew I almost think they would disown us.  They almost have already.  Funny thing is I am ultimately a better person than they are because I don’t want to hurt them the way they have hurt me for years. 

That's how I felt about it for the first few months after deconversion. That I didn't want to hurt them. That I was responsible for that if I did that. That I didn't have energy for it. But living a lie became way too much for me, and I was in therapy and started to understand how unhealthy it was for me to continue living a pretense because I was afraid I would lose people, and that I wasn't responsible for their reactions. I said the hell with this, if they can't love me for who I am, they're not real people and not worth having in my life, even family and my parents. So when I sent them my letter I was very clear that we had major differences and why it was pointless discussing those, that I would refuse discussion if they tried, and that they could not abuse me with the "you're going to hell" spiel. I told them I was an adult who made my own choices and that they needed to respect that. I set the boundaries very clearly and they have abided by them. But my parents are not the confrontational type. They were hesitant to bring up the topic because I had been so clear. I know I hurt them deeply but ultimately with any discussion their concern would be for my "undying soul" and since I don't believe that shit it's just pointless. 

I also deleted my social media. I rejoined fb and only have friends from ex-c and other non believers. I honestly don't care what my family thinks about that. 

I am so done with living for others. I live for and please myself. I come first now. 

 

I've posted my letter if you're interested.

 

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I have also chosen to keep beliefs and non-beliefs to myself for now. I told my parents in a text before they came that my husband and I were giving our kids space to choose their own beliefs and that we love them no matter what. 

I also told my dad that I am “content to live in the mystery.” He wanted to know what I meant and to also have a talk that would “clear up any misconceptions”. I told him I’m an adult,I have a therapist and I simply want him and my mother to meet me where I am and respect my boundaries. 

He repeated the foreign words and probably has very little idea how to do either. Which is why their visit was rather lacking in conversation. 

The real reasons I don’t tell my inlaws and parents straight out that I’m agnostic is because I love my husband. He’s not ready and I’ve decided I’m okay with waiting for right now to “come out”. 

 

 

 

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