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I don't know how to let go of family


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I've only one good friend I feel comfortable talking with about my grievances as an atheist, but--even though they'd say they don't mind--I'd feel like a pest if I ranted to them every time I felt the need.

I'm in a situation where I still have to rent a room in the same house as my devoutly religious parents. It's frustrating as a grown-ass adult, but what are you gonna do. I'm out as an atheist, so we generally try to keep our beliefs to ourselves. My dad and I, however, get together every week to eat lunch and discuss our differing beliefs. In the midst of the election, it's become increasingly difficult for me to quietly accept our differences. I'm bearing witness to my loved ones, the people who raised me, who are wholesale buying in to what their political party and religion (often one in the same) are preaching to them. Anything I've said to try and convince them of the pure corruption of President Trump have fallen on deaf ears. I'm unfortunately not a very articulate person, and even if I was... their beliefs are based on faith, not reason, so I'm not even sure they're capable of being reasoned with. I'm stuck having to watch them be delusional from the sidelines, and then--in the case of my pastor father--spread that delusion to their congregation.

 

I wish I could stop caring. I want to just... let go of the political climate, shrug off their religious indoctrination, and focus on more mundane bullshit like getting a more sustainable job or something, but this crap keeps creeping back into the mix. It makes me feel irrationally angry. It's probably what they felt like when they found out I was an atheist: They would have believed I'd fallen for a lie that is ultimately destroying my soul, and that's how I feel about them (a figurative soul, anyway)... but I guess it's already been destroyed, and I'm just having to face the reality that my parents are too far-gone to "save".

I don't even know what such a salvation would even accomplish at this point. I guess I have this fantasy that one day they would reach the same conclusions I've reached. We'd then talk honestly and openly about our lives in hindsight, unpack all the mistakes we've made as a result of our faith, but instead they double-down and find excuses for why things haven't panned out the way they think God intended. They've invested too much of themselves at this point to let go. My dad especially: He's made his religion the center of his identity. To lose it would be to lose himself, and frankly the guy's so psychologically troubled as-is that I don't know if he'd be able to handle that kind of trauma.

 

I miss the days when I was younger and my fantasies were of writing a sci-fi book, or drawing an epic fantasy battle, and not constant debates and possible discussions with my parents to help them see reason. I think it's impossible, but it doesn't stop me from thinking about it ALL the time. I don't want to think about that shit anymore. At this point, I just want to find some semblance of peace with the whole thing.

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Perhaps it is time to stop trying to help them see what you see. The conflict makes it in your face all the time. Their imaginary view of reality is something they share with others and they feel like they belong to something bigger and more important than themselves, perhaps even with inside information on the super secret invisible warfare of angels and demons blah blah blah. Scams have been successful for centuries because people want so much to believe that they have found the answer to paradise, riches, fame, sex, etc. Once people have taken the bait and are on the hook, they are the force that keeps themselves hooked. The felt possibility that they will get the big payout completely occludes any facts and demonstrations that they were duped. 

 

Your life is yours. What you choose to dwell on will shape your emotions and outlook on life. For me, nothing beats going outside and being in nature, even if it is only my back yard in the rain. It changes my emotions for the better and makes it easier to keep breathing another day. My facebook friends are mostly ranting politically all of the time, and I barely even look anymore because they think that expressing their opinions makes it come true somehow. I know that most of what I see play out is way beyond my control, and my opinions amount to nothing. So I try to focus on things I can do around me to keep busy, like cooking, making music, helping people with computer issues, watching sci-fi shorts on Dust (YouTube). 

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I can identify with the Trump thing.  My wife and I both have family we have distanced from over him.  He has a knack for dividing people and causing trouble.  

 

Before my father died we decided to agree to disagree, and stopped talking religion and politics.  And my brother and i now visit seldom, and briefly, when we do visit.  Look to the future and srart planning and building what you want.  You are VERY LIKELY not going to chamge family.

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You really need to stop worrying about "saving" anybody. Just do your best to live your own life, free of hindrances, especially religious ones. You can still pall around with family if you want, but you probably shouldn't do it too often.

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On 1/14/2021 at 9:05 AM, Quark said:

I wish I could stop caring. I want to just... let go of the political climate, shrug off their religious indoctrination, and focus on more mundane bullshit like getting a more sustainable job or something, but this crap keeps creeping back into the mix. It makes me feel irrationally angry. It's probably what they felt like when they found out I was an atheist: They would have believed I'd fallen for a lie that is ultimately destroying my soul, and that's how I feel about them (a figurative soul, anyway)... but I guess it's already been destroyed, and I'm just having to face the reality that my parents are too far-gone to "save".

 

Don't concern yourself too much with trying to save them from christianity. That's something that they will have to get on their own if they are ever to change.

 

When I was a teenager I told my parents I was atheist and they were freaking out. I was stubborn about it. Held my ground. This was in the early 90's during the grunge era. I'm playing in bands, refusing to attend church, and arguing with people if they tried to reconvert me. Lucky for me, however, my parents took it all in and did their own researching and left the church too, eventually. That was an exceptional situation, though. It's possible, but highly unlikely that your parents will just up and change. 

 

The political situation is changing. We do not discuss politics here as a policy. But just briefly, the balance has shifted and things will be different for those who oppose the current administration. The sides have flipped again and your parents will be the one's pulling their hair out every evening watching the news...

 

 

 

 

 

 

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As a general rule, it's not always easy with family, whether it be politics, religion, or differing ideas on raising children.  Dynamics do change over time, as Joshpantera has alluded; but the constant often seems to also be the toxic.  It isn't, really; but human nature tends toward the negative. 

 

My own family has been through hell these past two years.  Some parts have been broken; others healed.  It's been painful.  I've let go of a lot of the drama.  The hard truth is, I can neither change nor control anyone other than myself.  I can communicate my own grievances.  I can set boundaries.  But, in the final tally, I can only choose to accept or not accept the behavior of another.  Over the past two years, as certain dynamics within the family have changed, I have found the behavior of a particular few to be increasingly unacceptable.  There are times when diplomacy fails and one must decide whether a good war is preferable to a bad peace; or vice versa.

 

Sometimes walking away completely is the best thing to do.

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On 1/14/2021 at 6:58 PM, Fuego said:

Your life is yours. What you choose to dwell on will shape your emotions and outlook on life. For me, nothing beats going outside and being in nature, even if it is only my back yard in the rain. It changes my emotions for the better and makes it easier to keep breathing another day. My facebook friends are mostly ranting politically all of the time, and I barely even look anymore because they think that expressing their opinions makes it come true somehow. I know that most of what I see play out is way beyond my control, and my opinions amount to nothing. So I try to focus on things I can do around me to keep busy, like cooking, making music, helping people with computer issues, watching sci-fi shorts on Dust (YouTube). 

Yeah, I've hit the point where I've realized I dwell far too much on these imaginary future conversations between actual conversations we have about these topics. I'm going to have to spend some time "reprogramming" what I think about, I think. Maybe when it gets warmer and the pandemic situation gets a little better I'll get lost in nature a little more.

 

On 1/14/2021 at 10:23 PM, Weezer said:

I can identify with the Trump thing.  My wife and I both have family we have distanced from over him.  He has a knack for dividing people and causing trouble.  

 

Before my father died we decided to agree to disagree, and stopped talking religion and politics.  And my brother and i now visit seldom, and briefly, when we do visit.  Look to the future and srart planning and building what you want.  You are VERY LIKELY not going to chamge family.

It's rough, because... I mean I was a die-hard Christian for 25 years, and knowing the way my mind works I'm always like... trying to decrypt how I finally pulled myself out of it so I can feed those thoughts back through my friends and family, but it of course never really works out that way. People are too different for that, I guess. What works for me won't work for everyone, even if they're family.

 

On 1/15/2021 at 5:03 AM, TheRedneckProfessor said:

136992678_10225291245446411_3786363486899873752_n.jpg

I love this. It's a practice I've taken to heart in recent years, but could still improve on. I always had a tendency to let my mouth fly, even when I had no idea what I was talking about.

 

On 1/15/2021 at 1:57 PM, Joshpantera said:

The political situation is changing. We do not discuss politics here as a policy. But just briefly, the balance has shifted and things will be different for those who oppose the current administration. The sides have flipped again and your parents will be the one's pulling their hair out every evening watching the news...

Yeah, that's already happened some, and part of what prompted me to rant here. They were ranting about Trump's second impeachment and said how he was the best president we've had since Reagan, and I spoke up when I should have pretended like I didn't overhear them. I guess a large part of what frustrates me is that this shift IS coming, and I know how it's going to negatively impact them, when it'll all be over things that are most likely going to be improvements.

 

On 1/16/2021 at 8:58 AM, TheRedneckProfessor said:

As a general rule, it's not always easy with family, whether it be politics, religion, or differing ideas on raising children.  Dynamics do change over time, as Joshpantera has alluded; but the constant often seems to also be the toxic.  It isn't, really; but human nature tends toward the negative. 

 

My own family has been through hell these past two years.  Some parts have been broken; others healed.  It's been painful.  I've let go of a lot of the drama.  The hard truth is, I can neither change nor control anyone other than myself.  I can communicate my own grievances.  I can set boundaries.  But, in the final tally, I can only choose to accept or not accept the behavior of another.  Over the past two years, as certain dynamics within the family have changed, I have found the behavior of a particular few to be increasingly unacceptable.  There are times when diplomacy fails and one must decide whether a good war is preferable to a bad peace; or vice versa.

 

Sometimes walking away completely is the best thing to do.

Someday, maybe. I have this sinking sense that once I get my own place again I might never speak to them again, except for maybe around holidays, and I don't know if that'll be good or bad. I just know I won't feel compelled to initiate contact, and they probably won't either.

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24 minutes ago, Quark said:

I don't know if that'll be good or bad. I just know I won't feel compelled to initiate contact, and they probably won't either.

It will be neither good nor bad.  It will simply be.

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