Jump to content

Living in the closet - killing me


Recommended Posts

I'm turning 40 and about 5 years ago could no longer believe that nonsense.

 

But my parents, extended family are so into it. Group chats are god this, Jesus that.

 

I've stopped going to church but haven't said I don't believe.

 

I didn't want to break my parents hearts but I'm just miserable now.

 

They will do a whole family intervention if I tell them but being dishonest is eating away at me.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Super Moderator

I feel for you; it's a difficult position to be in.  I chose from the outset to live my truth and let the chips fall where they may.  It did break my mom's heart; and she's still very passive-aggressive About it even after 17 years.  I learned during the process, though, that their response is their responsibility, not mine.  

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Moderator

Welcome to Ex-Christian @Dandilion!  You’ve come to the right place.  You’re absolutely not alone in what you’ve been going through, both the deconversion from Christianity and the heartache of dealing with loved ones who are staunch believers.  
 

At the age of 40 you have every right to be your own person and not to have to pretend to be something you’re not.  Alas, life isn’t always fair.  

 

Every Ex-Christian is unique, and so is every family.  From my experience, and reading other people’s stories, a good way to proceed may be slowly revealing your unbelief.  

 

Most people still have an instinctive dislike and distrust of people who don’t believe in God, or who have left their religion, and they can rush to judgement about what kind of people we are, or have become.  
 

My suggestion would be to gradually reveal yourself: you’ve made a start by no longer going to church.  You could mention that you have questions or concerns about the Bible. You could say later that you still believe in something (we all believe in something, even if it’s just peace and love) but not in traditional religion.  Let them down gently, so to speak.  I realize that works for some families but not for others.   I’m sure you will receive other good advice here and I know you’ll receive encouragement and support.  Welcome again!

 

TABA

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey @Dandilion.

 

Honesty is the best policy - with the exception of our dear old mum on her death bed.

 

I went to church with Mrs. MOHO for a couple hears after deconverting and not telling anyone. I could stand, no more one day, sitting there listening to the rapid-fire bullshit and becoming more aware of my frowny face and wrinkled brow. I finally realized I was sending a silent signal to all around me that I was not in control of my life...and quit. Mrs. MOHO, instead of asking for a divorce, simply stated that she questioned my faith all along. When I asked if she questioned hers and, if so, why, the fecal matter slammed headlong into the Sears and Roebuck 18" oscillator. This was, much to my surprise and delight, the only fallout.

 

I happily enjoy my Sunday AM's now with her at church and me at home. My marriage is strong. She still sends emails with church crap and when I reply I get yelled at but that's about it. We hang out with Christian friends because I like them - and they me.

 

I realize I have focused your thread on myself but only to illustrate to you and any non-member readers that outcomes are seldom as bad as we anticipate and it is most often better to be forth-coming. If your fams annoy you over this then simply spend less time around them. They'll get it. They'll back off.

    - MOHO (Mind Of His Own)

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

@Dandelion Welcome to Ex-C! You came to the right place. There is a wealth of knowledge amongst the members here.

 

Coming out to your family can be very difficult. I do not know details of the denomination you are in and how fervent your family's beliefs are. I kept my misgivings to myself for about a year and finally told some of my close family after that time. There are members of the family I don't bring it up to, because frankly, they would have no idea where I am coming from. I would be asking them to think in a way that is so outside their domain, it is not worth the time. Also, I do not see any need to give my grandmother a hard time about Kenneth Copeland. She is in her upper 80's and I would just be causing conflict for no reason.

 

My father was a bit upset, but he kind of understood. We talk about it to this day amicably. He understands the arguments I put forth, but he has never studied them for himself and cannot really relate to what I am telling him. He is not really that steeped it in either. He believes, but I would not say he practices Christianity to a high degree. My mother was way more understanding and even stated she had misgivings, which really caught me by surprise.

 

My parents were really the only ones I felt I needed to be honest with. If I went beyond that bubble, I would just be causing problems for no reason. To that point, I would say that is something you have to decide for yourself. If not expressing what you are thinking and feeling is eating you up, you obviously have to do something about it, it just depends on what that is. You may feel the urge to tell everyone, but then you also have to realize that some people will be inclined to cut you out of their life. I would take some time and think about who you feel you need to tell, how that might impact your relationship, then decide if you think it is worth the disclosure.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi @Dandilion. You said you're 40. What's your family situation like? Are you married, and if so does your spouse also believe in Jesus? Any kids who believe in Jesus? Do you work for a Christian employer? I'm 36, married, but no kids, so I can relate to you in some ways but maybe not others. My wife and I are both Hindu so if your spouse is Christian, the marriage part may not be an area of relatability.

 

I was in a rather privileged situation as far as ex-Christians go, in that I was raised Hindu. So all I had to do was cut off contact with my former church family. No speech, no coming out, nothing. I just walked away, and walked back to my real family. Thank God (by which I mean Vishnu) that this was all before I got married to a Christian. The personal cost to me was merely the loss of friends with whom I had nothing in common anymore. I did, however, experience life in the closet for close to a year. When I deconverted it was a very rapid process and I was living with Christian roommates in a house. Because they were leaving town at the end of our lease, I decided not to deal with the awkwardness of living there as a public non-Christian, so I kept portraying myself as a Christian, going to Bible studies, etc. until our lease had expired. But once I left, nothing felt as satisfying as living authentically, and not being compelled to say things I didn't believe. I have engaged in few acts more shameful than saying "in Christ's name" while not a Christian.

 

Others may offer different suggestions, but I don't feel it's appropriate to tell you whether or not to out yourself. There can an extreme benefit to outing yourself, in that if Christianity is a major part of your daily life, then outing yourself means you can sleep at night knowing that you're not living an utter lie. But there's also a cost, which from what you've said sounds like it will be primarily the damage done to your familial relationships. And if you only see your family on holidays or on Facebook, then maybe the benefit doesn't really outweigh the cost. I'm not here to tell you whether to come out with your deconversion. But I do think you should assess the cost vs. the benefit prior to making a decision.

 

Good luck my friend. Hope to hear back soon.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Dandilion said:

They will do a whole family intervention if I tell them

If it did come down to a number of christians against you I would suggest you not take the bait to give reasons why you no longer believe. The group dynamics of multiply people not understanding a word you're saying will be very frustrating, make you appear unreasonable and lead nowhere you want to go. If you point out flaws in their reasoning it will most likely put them on the defensive and emotions will rise and everyone (and/or anyone including you) might start saying things that are regrettable and potentially stick in loved ones minds for years. You don't owe anyone an ironclad reason for not believing. The point you can safely make is that you have spent many many hours considering your beliefs and have come to the conclusion that christianity just isn't true. You realize that that is a minority opinion in the US and in your family and you have no issue with anyone else believing the opposite of what you do. From your perspective you can either continue pretending to believe or be honest and open about christianity and the bible no longer representing your beliefs. You can tell them that if they sincerely want to understand why you came to the decision you have that our ExC site has hundreds of stories written by former christians that detail the many exact reasons they left the faith and also there are a good number of high quality books that are now available that detail particular concerns such as Dawkins, The God Delusion. In all likelihood you have already heard and considered everything they want to say to you and in all probability they have heard and considered the primary issues of concern regarding christianity. You hope that these differences of opinion won't destroy the wonderful loving relationships you've developed with each of you family members throughout the years. Those relationships are as precious and desirable and needed as ever and you hope they will continue indefinitely. You are not a different or more immoral person than you were before and you're sorry for the pain your disbelief has caused them.

   I'm sure I've written very similar advice here before but it is worth thinking about. You are the star because it is your mind they want to change. Don't let anyone take you where you don't want to go with the conversation. You can slow things down. Say you don't know, say you'll get back to them with that, say you'll need a few days to think about whatever it is. No matter if many people are on the opposite side you hold a lot of power to shape to course of the conversation.

   I'm glad you got out and are able to enjoy Sunday mornings like MOHO. It's your life and good for you on not allowing pushy cultists to dictate what you think. Welcome.   

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, DanForsman said:

I'm glad you got out and are able to enjoy Sunday mornings like MOHO.

 

Good god this is the greatest benefit of departing the horrid Christian faith. Once your heart is no longer in it, waking up at the crack of dawn to go to church, followed by "afternoon fellowship" is a genuinely torturous experience. I'm a pretty early riser. Heck, I'm one of those nutjobs who's out jogging at 6 AM in the winter sub-zeroes. But there are few greater joys than sleeping in on a Sunday morning while the Christian fools are outside worshiping their fake deity.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

You are 40 years old.  Can you not refuse to participate in a family intervention?

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Super Moderator

Welcome!

 

Keeping a false peace by lying about who you are serves no one. You are as entitled to your own opinions as anyone else. Many Christians can't handle the fact that lots of people finally see the sham of religion. How they react to that reality is not your fault. It's usually the same story; "It would break my heart if you don't believe what I believe" "I'm so afraid for your soul" "What did we do wrong to make you do this?" How can you do this to us?" .... and blah, blah, blah. Do not allow their emotional blackmail dictate how you live your life honestly. There may be some fallout but the pretense can't continue forever. I wish you all the best. Remember, you've done nothing wrong and their reaction is their choice.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all so so much for your kind words.

 

I feel Christianity has taken so so much from me and left me a wreck.

 

My child is mid teens. All the while I wasn't sure about Christianity I didn't want to condemn my child to hell just because I had "allowed myself to be ensnared by the devil". So I allowed the indoctrination to continue, now I've got a godbot in my home and it's my fault.

 

 

My mother had suffered the loss of many people very dear to her. It feels like literally stabbing her to say "oh, you're not getting your pie in the sky and those people are gone forever. On the offchance I'm wrong then you can be reunited with everyone in heaven but you'll have one in hell.

 

It was a twice on Sunday, Wednesday bible study, Saturday choir practice sort of set up. They were my whole social circle and I've been completely shunned. 

 

My family would do the same. I've seen similar with a gay cousin. They would be telling all sorts of stories about me 'oh, she wanted to be free to sin' and all that,  which would break my heart.

 

I'm too old for an intervention but it would be guilt that makes me sit in that chair. 

 

My mother literally only speaks in Bible verses. Even simple things, thank the lord we still have some of those biscuits left. Praise Jesus that the car got fixed without a big bill. I'm actually scared to say anything but it almost feels like only one of us can be happy now.

 

I wish I were still in blissful ignorance sometimes. But no. The silence of prayer was probably worse than this. Wondering what hidden sin was blocking my blessings.

 

Dandilion

  • Like 1
  • Sad 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Super Moderator

Sometimes toxic people have to be cut loose. They're like a cancer. Save your life while you can.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Super Moderator
14 hours ago, florduh said:

Keeping a false peace by lying about who you are serves no one.

Sometimes a bad peace is better than a good war.  Other times it's vicey versey.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi @Dandilion thanks for sharing all of this. It sounds to me like you've got two issues here: your teenager and your mother (and other adult family members). I can't really speak to the parenting issue, but your teen is a situation that is much more under your control, correct?

 

As to your mother, how often do you really see her? I have a good and healthy relationship with my parents (partly thanks to leaving Christianity), and even I only see them a handful of times a year. Is it really worth it to fight with your mom about this? Maybe it is. I'm genuinely asking.

 

Finally, you mentioned that you saw your church friends several times a week and that they comprised your entire social circle. That was basically my situation, so I know how hard it is to leave all of that. And yet you did. It sounds like you've already done most of the heavy lifting in terms of de-conversion. You should give yourself some credit for that. It's not an easy task.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Sometimes a bad peace is better than a good war.  Other times it's vicey versey.

Cheaper too.

Especially when the "enemy" owns half of your stuff. :ugh:

  • Sad 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/24/2020 at 8:07 AM, Dandilion said:

I'm turning 40 and about 5 years ago could no longer believe that nonsense.

 

But my parents, extended family are so into it. Group chats are god this, Jesus that.

 

I've stopped going to church but haven't said I don't believe.

 

I didn't want to break my parents hearts but I'm just miserable now.

 

They will do a whole family intervention if I tell them but being dishonest is eating away at me.

 

Your personal beliefs are not their business. That you 'owe them your private knowledge or personal feelings' is Christian cultural nonsense. So, you're not being dishonest. You are being self-protective and that is perfectly valid. You have a right to personal privacy. You figure there will be a mess if you tell them so you are holding off. 

 

One of the unwritten dysfunctional concepts in Christianity is that you are responsible for other's emotions. Well, you arent. You won't break their hearts, their dysfunctional Christian programming will cause their own emotional distress. Of course, either way you will probably have to deal with their bullshit, emotional pleading, tears, sending you Jesus messages, etc etc ... but you sure wont have to pretend anymore, or feel owned by them.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Dandilion said:

My mother literally only speaks in Bible verses. Even simple things, thank the lord we still have some of those biscuits left. Praise Jesus that the car got fixed without a big bill.

Wow the horror. How can you even live like that?

 

Should she start slamming cupboards, cursing and yelling? That would make her a better mother, right?

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, SilentVoice said:

Wow the horror. How can you even live like that?

 

Should she start slamming cupboards, cursing and yelling? That would make her a better mother, right?

 

For some reason I didn't think Christians would be sarcastiic.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to ex-c, Dandilion :) For me, coming out was like ripping off a band aid...my pentecostal cult family was butt hurt for a while, and they "ministered" to me every chance they got, but that soon stopped. Maybe they figured I was a lost cause and the devil had me :D

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, SilentVoice said:

Wow the horror. How can you even live like that?

 

Should she start slamming cupboards, cursing and yelling? That would make her a better mother, right?

 

This isn't one of the debate forums. Since the purpose of ex-C is primarily to encourage ex-Christians, I don't believe you're permitted to post in here.

 

@LogicalFallacy, as the mod who's most familiar with SV, could you take a look at this and see if it's permissible to get him out of this thread?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Super Moderator
13 minutes ago, Bhim said:

 

This isn't one of the debate forums. Since the purpose of ex-C is primarily to encourage ex-Christians, I don't believe you're permitted to post in here.

 

@LogicalFallacy, as the mod who's most familiar with SV, could you take a look at this and see if it's permissible to get him out of this thread?

As I understand it, christians are allowed to post in other forums, provided that they refrain from the preaching, ministering, scripture-quoting, which is reserved only for The Den.  Most eventually fail to comply. 

 

Since SV's post does not contain outright proselytizing, and merely reflects the dickishness typical of christianity, I have allowed it to remain... for now.  Trust me when I tell you, though, SV is on dangerously thin ice wearing red hot skates.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/25/2020 at 6:49 PM, Dandilion said:

My mother literally only speaks in Bible verses. Even simple things, thank the lord we still have some of those biscuits left. Praise Jesus that the car got fixed without a big bill.

 

On 6/26/2020 at 5:29 PM, SilentVoice said:

Wow the horror. How can you even live like that?

 

Should she start slamming cupboards, cursing and yelling? That would make her a better mother, right?

Admittedly, if this was your only complaint, our newest resident troll might have a point, albeit rudely stated.  But it clearly isn’t the only example you give.  The previously  mentioned troll even sank so low as to leave off the very next, and far more important sentence.

 

This is what xians do though.  They go through the many examples you give, find one that they can refute, explain away, or belittle.  Then, they think they have won the entire argument.  In their circles, the audience is often dim enough to agree.  I usually don’t paint with so big a brush, but experience has shown this tactic to be one of their favorites.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/26/2020 at 7:50 PM, Derek said:

Welcome to ex-c, Dandilion :) For me, coming out was like ripping off a band aid...my pentecostal cult family was butt hurt for a while, and they "ministered" to me every chance they got, but that soon stopped. Maybe they figured I was a lost cause and the devil had me :D

 

 

 

Oh yeah, now that's a good feeling, once they stop botherin' with ya. "Juss let him go ta hell an' be with his best friend Satan." I know that several of my former congregants have done this with me!

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, actually,,aren t they breaking your heart by making you feel you have to pretend a whole identity just to please them? You will not break their heart just frustrate their desires. That is just life. It s not you, it's the way of this world. We get things we want and are pleased we don t and we suffer.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Plus you seem to want an honest open afectionate relationship, with boundaries and mutual respect and you think they would prefer hypocrisy and emotional blackmail. How is the first position wrong and the latter right? 

      I mean do want to cut off/harm your loved ones in obvious ways? Theft, asault, manipulation, etc? No ? Well then stop seeing them as YOUR VICTIM , because in the scenario you are presenting YOU are the victim and they are the perpretator. But christianity is masterful in victim blaming and role reversal.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.