OK, so here is the deal. My family is really, REALLY, religious (Southern Baptist) and I slowly separated myself from their beliefs for the past 5-6 years until about a year ago where I am a full blown anti-theist. As one might expect, this has caused tension with my family (they don't know that I no longer believe in god, they just think that I am a horrible Xtain). This came to a head about 8 months ago when I posted on facebook (oh wonderful facebook, the place to go for drama) that I support gay rights and that they should have the right to marry and such. While this got a lot of positive feed back from my friends, my two (lets call them Cain and Able lol) brothers started posting things such as its a mental illness and that god does not approve and such. Their posts of course received a lot of negative responses and while Cain backed off (to fight another, less public day), Able kept right at it, even going so far as to call my friends and myself some kinda ugly names (liberal crap head [lol], embarrassment to the family, dumb, unintelligent, etc) After the name calling started it got really ugly as one can imagine. Able is also a police officer and he also said things like how the police are anti-gay and other things that could really get one in trouble. Believe it or not, Able's facebook was then "hacked" and he had to delete his account.
All this led to a phone conversation I had with Able were he called me more names (little bitch being the most common) where he decided that we just weren't going to see each anymore. Time went by very peacefully for me, except for my father telling me that I needed for forgive Able and such and me ignoring him and telling him that if Able wants forgiveness then he has to call me and apologize. Anyway, a couple of weekends ago I come to find out that my aunt and uncle were up to see my step-mom graduate, I couldn't go to the graduation because it was mother's day and I didn't think that my mother would appreciate me going to see my step-mother on her day. They had a huge family dinner, and since my bother was up, I didn't find out about my relations even being in the state until after they had all left. I confronted my father about keeping me in the dark and basically lying to me and he said that it wasn't to hurt me, just to not cause drama.
I happen to feel that they are taking his side after all the shit he said about me and I am the one being punished, not him. Should I not be feeling this way? I am just...I don't know how to say what I am, just...empty...over this experience. I feel let down and abandoned by my family, I wanted to "come out" about my atheistic beliefs (I knew it would be a big deal and I would probably loose them, but I had hope that they would just love me anyway) but I feel that after this experience I really can't because then I really would be viewed as the worst person ever and they would shun me. And while I love my husband and his family (they are much more open minded, my husband is an atheist as well) I don't know if I could stand being cut off from everyone in my family.
So I guess, what do you think about this situation and is there any advice on how I should deal with them?
(Sorry for the book)
This will be the most difficult time in your life to deal with but it can work out. It may take years for your family to get over the shock, anger etc. but it is better to tell them sooner rather than later so they can work out their feelings while everyone is somewhat young and you can re-establish your relationships with those that will still love you. (I do hope they will get over it quickly but be prepared for some hard times) I think that it is worth it in the long and short run because you will feel better inside yourself and if they really love you as family they will "forgive" you enough to still accept you even if you are not the same person they thought you were. Just tell them in the most loving and non-confrontational way possible. Some people write a letter/personal email to some family/friends at first so they don't have to be face to face with those that may react violently or too passionately (anger or intimidation) in person. I hope this makes sense and I hope everything works out as best as humanly possible. Your own happiness and sanity need to take priority. Good luck with everything. :)
Thank you so much. I really appreciate you answering me and I think that you may be right. :D Once again sorry for the book I just had to get all of those feelings written down and out of my system ya know?
Don't worry, most of us like books :)
I came out as soon as I noticed I was atheist. Personally as much as a love my family, if they can accept me for who I am, then I don't need them. That is just my personality. If you think that you cant take that kind of emotional turmoil when shit hits the fan. Then maybe maybe coming out is not a good option. I hope everything turns out well for you, it sounds like a catch 22.
You gotta live your life for you, Amanda. Would you really be cut off from your whole family if you came out about this, or would you only be cut off from the ones who feel like your living with sense is an affront to them? Do you really need that kind of people in your life?
well at least you have a like minded spouse. My favorite part of this sitiuation is how they act like we are defective or lacking something in our lives or "lost" is a good one. As much as it sucks I'd say you need to argue your case. Make them explain why they would take the side of an asshole like the god the worship and not their own blood. Id say we all need to argue our case more given the grip the religious have on politics.
"...we all need to argue our case more given the grip the religious have on politics."
Sigmund Freud (bless his whacked out mind) once said: "there comes a time, in everyone's life, when they need to tell mommie and daddy to go straight to hell!"
"Go to hell mommie, but I still want to.... erm.... have sex with you" : )
Hi Amanda, I'm sympathetic to you feeling like an outsider in your own family. It's a very lonely place to be. Clearly, your thinking no longer jives with the groupthink within your family and by their reaction it doesn't sound like there is room for tolerance, at this time. Also, the police officer (Cain) could potentially cause you trouble, because of his bullying ways and the power available to him through his badge. If connection to your family is as important as you indicate, I suggest you stay connected and gradually reveal your disinterest in religion by opting out of religious expressions and making occasional casual non-confrontational statements. While it seems your brothers are looking to argue and belittle, your parents will probably be most concerned with where they think you'll end up - and this will cause them a great deal of stress and worry and they will feel compelled to save you - as parents want to protect. It's very difficult to shield such an important facet of ourselves from those we are closest to - but sometimes it allows us to prepare the ground for the mustard seed of our anti-faith, so to speak. Good luck!