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Marriage And My Folks' Beliefs


Rosa Mystica
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Hi all,

 

I have got a *major* issue on my hands right now. I have been in a serious relationship with a man for two years now. I have no doubt that he is the one for me, and I would like to get engaged in a year from now (we're waiting for my philosophical views to settle somewhat). Sounds great, right?

 

Wrong! My folks assume that I am still Catholic, and would never envision me getting married anywhere other than a Catholic Church. In fact, my mom told me two years ago (for no reason at all) that if I ever got married outside the Church, she would not support that. What brought that on, I have no idea. I just know that this is her attitude and she's sticking to it. My dad is no different- he is incredibly harsh towards *anyone* who is non-Catholic. He already hates my atheistic bf, and on one occasion threatened to "massacre that son of a bitch". Lovely.

 

I have often felt that I can't *ever* get married, b/c I can't be a freaking Catholic anymore! Getting married outside a church is something they would find out about eventually- especially b/c I work for the same organization as my mom. Playing pretend has exhausted me mentally and physically. I've been doing it for three and a half months, and it isn't working out for me anymore. But if I tell them the truth, then I will face all kinds of threats and manipulation from the both of them. You can only imagine the kind of hell I'd go through after they found out about my decision to "live in sin." :ugh:

 

My counsellor has told me that it would be wisest to not tell my folks a thing until *after* I got hitched. I tend to agree, but often wonder if I could really get away with such a thing. I live in constant fear of my father finding out and sabotaging the wedding, as well as threatening me with violence. He knows where I reside, and I fear he will show up unexpectedly on my doorstep, ready to beat the living daylights outta me after learning the news. Yes, he really is that cruel. :(

 

What do you guys think I should do? Should I just resign myself to being single my whole life in order to be able to better fake belief? Need I accept that, given my circumstances, I can't *ever* marry *anyone* and bid my sweetheart goodbye forever? :( Or is there another way out for me?

 

If anyone has some advice, please pass it along. I've had many sobbing fits and anxiety attacks over this issue. I don't want to have anymore.

 

Thanks,

Rosa

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What do you guys think I should do? Should I just resign myself to being single my whole life in order to be able to better fake belief? Need I accept that, given my circumstances, I can't *ever* marry *anyone* and bid my sweetheart goodbye forever? :( Or is there another way out for me?

 

If anyone has some advice, please pass it along. I've had many sobbing fits and anxiety attacks over this issue. I don't want to have anymore.

 

Thanks,

Rosa

 

 

Wow Rosa, very sticky situation. My heart goes to you. I can't even imagine ever being that afraid of anyone. I am the type that when someone says A I do B, so I would go to Vegas and would get married without telling my parents. But it is easier said than done, right? :shrug:

 

What works for one person doesn't work for another. It seems to me that instead of worrying about whether to get married or where, you need to concentrate on working on your fears. Fear seems to be your major issue. Once you work that out, you will feel more at ease making a decision.

 

Good luck!

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It seems to me that instead of worrying about whether to get married or where, you need to concentrate on working on your fears. Fear seems to be your major issue. Once you work that out, you will feel more at ease making a decision.

 

Good luck!

 

Definitely. That's what the next 12-18 months are for. I can't rush into this immediately, or it could have disasterous emotional effects for me. I don't wish watch my life pass me by, though. :(

 

Just wish my parents weren't such assholes. That wish will never be granted to me, though.

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I think it's wonderful you've found the right one for you and want to spend your life with him.

 

I think you should follow your conselor's advice and elope when you and your future hubby feel the time is right. Your relationship with your man is your business. And if anyone doesn't like the idea of you two being married... fuck 'em, sayeth I.

 

If you two need a place to elope, I'll be happy to offer you asylum in my little summer resort town. The Xtians are a little more tolerant here in NJ. :)

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And if anyone doesn't like the idea of you two being married... fuck 'em, sayeth I.

 

I agree. And I *know* that you're right. Still, when you've been abused for many years, it's hard to remember that your life is your business and not your abuser's.

 

If you two need a place to elope, I'll be happy to offer you asylum in my little summer resort town. The Xtians are a little more tolerant here in NJ. :)

 

Cool. :woohoo: We plan to do it locally, though. My family is *not* coming, but his probably will. His folks don't know I'm ex-Catholic, either. They'll probably react better than my family will (they're Protestant Christians).

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I agree. And I *know* that you're right. Still, when you've been abused for many years, it's hard to remember that your life is your business and not your abuser's.

Oh, believe me, I know exactly what you mean, Rose. Been there, done that, never want to go back again.

 

If you're truly frightened for your safety, then having an escape hatch will possibly ease some of your fear. You have a right to protect yourself from your dad. If he comes to your home and starts crap with you and your guy, call the cops on him. There's no need to deal with violence, regardless of whether or not he's your flesh and blood.

 

And remember that my offer still stands. If you need a place to go to feel safe, you just let me know and I'll help you out to the best of my ability. A lot of us here at ExC would protect one of our own. You need only ask.

 

Cool. :woohoo: We plan to do it locally, though. My family is *not* coming, but his probably will. His folks don't know I'm ex-Catholic, either. They'll probably react better than my family will (they're Protestant Christians).

Then get closer to his family (if you aren't already) enough so they get to know you well, and if your dad ever gets nasty with you and Future!Hubby they'll likely help you out of trouble. Especially if they love their boy and know he's happy with you.

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If you're truly frightened for your safety, then having an escape hatch will possibly ease some of your fear. You have a right to protect yourself from your dad. If he comes to your home and starts crap with you and your guy, call the cops on him. There's no need to deal with violence, regardless of whether or not he's your flesh and blood.

 

They will *definitely* be called. And my sweetie promised me that he would keep me safe from my dad. My guy is 6'2", and weighs over 300 pounds. My dad's a little shrimp who's only a bit taller than I am (I'm a more than a foot shorter than my SO). According to my SO, "It'd be the shortest fight in history". Still, I am extremely frightened. I am moving to a new district that is farther from my folks than my current one. Hope that'll be enough of a deterrent for them.

 

And remember that my offer still stands. If you need a place to go to feel safe, you just let me know and I'll help you out to the best of my ability. A lot of us here at ExC would protect one of our own. You need only ask.

 

Thanks. I appreciate the offer.

 

Then get closer to his family (if you aren't already) enough so they get to know you well, and if your dad ever gets nasty with you and Future!Hubby they'll likely help you out of trouble. Especially if they love their boy and know he's happy with you.

 

They know me pretty well, and they love me as their own daughter. I feel guilty about that: I don't deserve their kindness. :( They don't think too highly of my folks as is (bf has told them every sordid detail). I think they'd help me out if I needed them.

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They will *definitely* be called. And my sweetie promised me that he would keep me safe from my dad. My guy is 6'2", and weighs over 300 pounds. My dad's a little shrimp who's only a bit taller than I am (I'm a more than a foot shorter than my SO). According to my SO, "It'd be the shortest fight in history".

Hehe. A man who truly loves his woman would fight to the death for her. Just think, you've got your own personal bodyguard. :)

 

Still, I am extremely frightened.

...which is perfectly understandable. Abuse is not easy to get over, and a part of you will always have the scars. But you will heal, especially with the right support system to be there to support you. :)

 

I am moving to a new district that is farther from my folks than my current one. Hope that'll be enough of a deterrent for them.

And the distance may make you feel safer as well.

 

They know me pretty well, and they love me as their own daughter. I feel guilty about that: I don't deserve their kindness. :( They don't think too highly of my folks as is (bf has told them every sordid detail). I think they'd help me out if I needed them.

Sure, you do! From what I see, you're a kindhearted, articulate gal who's had a major stroke of bad luck in her life. You have no reason to feel guilty about receiving the love and kindness you deserve as a human being. And I don't blame them for not thinking highly of your folks. From what you've told us here, I'm not particularly fond of your kinsmen either.

 

But your true family is not always the one you were born with; it's the one you make for yourself. Your man and his family (and us!) are the family you've created for yourself. Along with the other friends and aquaintances in your offline-life.

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They know me pretty well, and they love me as their own daughter. I feel guilty about that: I don't deserve their kindness. :( They don't think too highly of my folks as is (bf has told them every sordid detail). I think they'd help me out if I needed them.

*cough*

You do deserve their kindness, every bit of it. It's hard when the enemy you are fighting is inside your head like this, but you have made great steps Rosa in this journey of yours and I have no doubt you will continue to do so. You'd be welcome to have a Welsh wedding if that is what you wanted, but I think your plan of growing stronger over the next year or two and then marrying the way you both want to do is a good one and one that you can have confidence in. Although your dad is small, he still figures big in your life and part of the work you can do with the counsellor is to shrink him down to the size he deserves to be...

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My folks assume that I am still Catholic, and would never envision me getting married anywhere other than a Catholic Church. In fact, my mom told me two years ago (for no reason at all) that if I ever got married outside the Church, she would not support that. What brought that on, I have no idea. I just know that this is her attitude and she's sticking to it. My dad is no different- he is incredibly harsh towards *anyone* who is non-Catholic. He already hates my atheistic bf, and on one occasion threatened to "massacre that son of a bitch". Lovely.

 

Sucks royally indeed.

I'm afraid you'll have to choose between your almost-husband and your family. If he's really absolutely definitely the right one for you, I think I'll just barely recommend pulling through with the marriage. After all, sometimes after The Deed™ has been done, people start coming to terms with reality. Kind of like they always threatened you without thinking it all the way through on their side, and now realize that the convenient threat method didn't work so they better think up something else... and sometimes this is to try and cope with the new situation.

 

But that's just me. :shrug:

 

And again, the jebus cult (or at least its "serious" flavor) shows its true colors...

NoJebus_Emblem.jpg

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I don't think it's hopeless. Don't change your name and get married. Be sure to not talk about your "husband" when mom is around, and you should be fine. It may only last a few years, and they would eventually find out me thinks, but by then they will have gotten more used to the idea of you being with him and there isn't much they can do at that point. You may have to move out of state to get some peace, too.

 

(This is Pandora again... )

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I don't think it's hopeless. Don't change your name and get married. Be sure to not talk about your "husband" when mom is around, and you should be fine. It may only last a few years, and they would eventually find out me thinks, but by then they will have gotten more used to the idea of you being with him and there isn't much they can do at that point. You may have to move out of state to get some peace, too.

 

(This is Pandora again... )

 

Couldn't agree more.

 

I had a similar situation happen in my abusive family. My sister married a guy from a family we hated. It was horrible.

 

Then she had a child and that was it. The baby became everything to us -- my mother had to forgive her.

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Wow, that is quite a situation. I had been engaged for just over a year to a fundy girl when I came out about my beliefs, and my parents (especially my mom) threw a fit. I never had to worry about anything physically abusive, but my mom does plenty of emotional abuse. She always constantly has given me and my sister guilt complexes if we ever deviate slightly from what she thinks is a proper lifestyle.

 

I thought of a very ironic thing when I read your story. During the many years I was a Christian, I don't know how many times I heard other Christians say, "I know what I believe is right because of all of the persecution. Such great persecution can only mean that Satan is trying to discourage us from what He knows is right." Maybe you can say the same thing. Maybe the reason your Dad is so violent against your atheist boyfriend is because deep down he has had some questions about his own beliefs, and He wants to squelch out anything that might make him dwell on them even more. Personally, I know that the times I was most adamant about my beliefs and was the most argumentative with those who didn't share them with me was when I was starting to have some serious questions. From your perspective, maybe you can use this to encourage you. Perhaps there is some hope that one day your dad will come around.

 

I am sure that deep down he still loves you, and that is probably why he is being this way. He doesn't want to see you go down the wrong path and is willing to do whatever it takes to keep you from making what he sees to be a serious mistake. You know what you believe about God and your boyfriend, so I'd say to stick to your guns and do what you need to do. My counselor always tells me that you can't let the perceptions and reactions of others keep you from doing what you know to be right.

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I am sure that deep down he still loves you, and that is probably why he is being this way.

 

I'm actually going to concur with something I've heard many Christians say: "Love is an *action*, not a *feeling*". My dad's act *stinks*, as far as I'm concerned. So no, he does NOT love me. Abuse isn't love! And I certainly feel no love for him.

 

You know what you believe about God and your boyfriend, so I'd say to stick to your guns and do what you need to do.

 

Yes, I know that my god isn't an asshole like my dad's god is. My god doesn't condone the sort of behaviour my dad exhibits- assuming the creator even plays an intervening role in our lives.

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I'm actually going to concur with something I've heard many Christians say: "Love is an *action*, not a *feeling*". My dad's act *stinks*, as far as I'm concerned. So no, he does NOT love me. Abuse isn't love! And I certainly feel no love for him.

 

I'm sorry if I offended you. That was not my intention. I was just trying to be fair and see if I could see it from his point of view (one of the lessons I learned when I left fundamentalist Christianity). By no means am I condoning what he is doing; I am just saying that perhaps he thinks it is what is best for you. Perhaps it is love and he just has a weird (albeit cruel) way of showing it. Then again, perhaps it is just altruistic nonsense to assume that all parents love their children. I really don't know what I believe about family anymore. I want to have a good relationship with my parents, but then again it is hard not to be angry at them for how they raised me.

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I'll concur with Rosa Mystica. From what you've described of your father..that's not love at all; rather it is all about control instead. At times there seems to be a fine line between actions which are done out of love, and those that are done out of control. In your case however your father's actions (or what he threatens to do) fall squarely within the control camp.

 

I really feel for you and hope that you're able to extricate yourself from this situation cleanly and safely. Best wishes to you and your fiance.

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Rosa:

 

I'm truly sorry to hear you are in such a position, and I offer my deepest respect to stay with your SO regardless of what your family thinks.

 

I would document everything your dad says or does that could be considered a threat. If you believe, (and you're the only one who can make this call), that the threat is real, get a restraining order and become armed.

 

I belive that no one has a right to run your life but yourself. I think you showed incredible wisdom in choosing to wait. That shows that you are thinking clearly and can plan for any contingency.

 

I know that if *anyone* went after the lady in my life, there is nowhere they could run, nowhere they could hide from me. I would be relentless. But, before any of that could happen, I would persue every legal means to protect her and myself.

 

I wish you and your SO the best and will keep you in my thoughts.

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Bleah, I have the "abusive family" t-shirt too... I understand that fear. Sometimes it's there even when things aren't physical... it just depends on the family.

 

Anyway. I think waiting to get your head settled a bit more before marrying is an *excellent* idea. In the meantime, I highly recommend therapy, therapy, therapy, and then some more therapy. And you might want to add some therapy to that - oh yeah, and did I mention therapy?

 

Being abused fucks your whole head up. It fucks up your self-image, your ego, your sense of safety about the world, your sense of trust, everything that makes it possible for a human being to live a decent, happy life with other decent, happy human beings. I can tell from your posts that your family sure did a number on you. And it ain't right, and it ain't your fault.

 

I don't know why some families do that kind of shit. Maybe it's all they know, who knows. It still sucks and it's still wrong.

 

One of the things that I sort of am sensing is that you haven't come to a place yet where your family's opinion of you doesn't matter anymore - is that accurate? I ask because I know that for me a lot of trying to heal from being abused was getting to a point where I didn't seek their approval anymore, because it's just too easy for them to get their hooks into you if you care about what they think of you.

 

It was very liberating for me to come to the realization that my family was going to treat me like shit no matter what I did, so I might as well do whatever the fuck I want anyway.

 

The priority in your life is your happiness and safety. If your parents would throw a shit fit at your non-Catholic wedding, they don't deserve to be there. In the end it's all about you and your future spouse. Go to Vegas if you like, don't invite your family if you don't want to - despite being related to them, if they act like utter assholes to you, you don't owe them shit. Frankly, I think they're lucky that you even talk to them anymore - by their behavior they've certainly earned it if you should decide to cut them out of your life.

 

Anyway. Hang in there and keep working on getting detangled from all of it. It takes awhile and I think it's good that you recognize that. Just keep at it - it will get better!

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You've gotten some excellent advice so far.

 

Therapy is good. Keeping your parents far, far away from your wedding is good as well.

 

If your father threatens you again? May I suggest a restraining order? Just so you have something on record that he is threatening you, and is prone to violence, and that way, if you decide to have children, he will not have a leg to stand on if he tries a grandparent visitation OR custody lawsuit?

 

That and if he threatens you, you get a restraining order, and he shows up? His ass will be spending time in jail for violating the restraining order, on top of whatever other charges he manages to rack up(trespassing, terroristic threatening, assault and/or battery if he actually lays a hand on you.

 

You will have to take action to keep him out of your life, and away from your future children, should you choose to have them. I can see your father resorting to the legal system to terrorize you because you have chosen a different path. That's what truly concerns me, aside from the threats of physical violence against you and your beloved.

 

But yes, you are perfectly entitled to tell them NOTHING. They are not entitled to information about your life. If you can, move far away and don't tell them. And make it clear that they will never again have your address and phone number if they confront you when you come back to visit.

 

Congratulations on your decision, and good luck to you and your betrothed!

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My counsellor has told me that it would be wisest to not tell my folks a thing until *after* I got hitched. I tend to agree, but often wonder if I could really get away with such a thing. I live in constant fear of my father finding out and sabotaging the wedding, as well as threatening me with violence. He knows where I reside, and I fear he will show up unexpectedly on my doorstep, ready to beat the living daylights outta me after learning the news. Yes, he really is that cruel. :(

 

Of course you can "get away with" it. There's nothing your dad can do to sabotage the wedding except try to bully you and your bf. If he shows up at your doorstep threatening violence, call 911 and tell them there's a man at your door threatening violence.

 

If you decide not to get married because you are afraid of your parents, you are giving them the power they want. The secret they don't want you to know is that they only have that power if you give it to them. Do you want to spend the rest of your life living in fear, catering to their demands? Of course you don't.

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Rosa...

 

Will preface my post with the usual caveat of "I'm one son of a bitch to begin with".

 

Fuck the parents upside the head with Merin's Clue by Four.

 

Yer an adult, you've made your choices, and are willing to ride the out, live with

the results.

 

Unless there is a ton of cash waiting in a will or revokable trust, depending on your total compliance to its wishes, I'd say that after 18 or so, you have your ability to do and act as you damn well please.

 

One of the major points about living the religion_free, un god-led life is that we are free to chart our own courses, with little to no interference from others.

 

Will be tough to break family ties and binds, but would suspect that telling the parents "see ya when and if we get back" from gettin' hitched would be a good start on the start of your lives together..

 

kevinL

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If you get married, couldn't you just move out of state and not update your forwarding address? Granted, it's something you'll want to seriously think about, but if I was frightened for my life, that's what I would do (aside from calling the cops if it was an immediate threat).

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If you get married, couldn't you just move out of state and not update your forwarding address? Granted, it's something you'll want to seriously think about, but if I was frightened for my life, that's what I would do (aside from calling the cops if it was an immediate threat).

 

I don't think I could move out of province any time soon. I'm not really employable, as I'm not extensively educated (just have a useless arts degree). My SO is in a similar situation. We're both in positions where if we lose our jobs, we might not get another (though we're *extremely* unlikely to *ever* get fired from our current workplace, since we're both civil servants). Ultimately, it *might* be a course of action to consider (as in, when I get more job skills, etc). But I live in a Canadian city where I can get by on a modest income, whereas in many others I simply could *not* get by on the wage I make. So it looks like I have to stay put for a while.

 

Thanks for the advice, everyone. I'll try and see what I can figure out.

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Um... I have a "useless" arts degree. I earn my living with it as a graphic designer.

 

There are probably more options open to you than you might realize.

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Your work experience is at least as important as your education, if not more so.

 

But regardless, I don't think you should let fear of your parents dictate where you live. Doors have locks and phone numbers can be changed. They loom large in your mind because of all the abuse they did to you as a child, but you will gradually come to see them as just two people, no more powerful than the thousands of other people in your city.

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