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)
I want to give you a hug. I'm in kind of the same situation just not as dramatic and severe. I'm happy you have your sister and husband. I've been lucky enough to have an atheist friend group to vent to (and this amazing site). Let us know how the dinner goes. This is kind of inspiring me to come out too. I wish I could help and give you advice, but I'm stuck in the same rut and not sure how to go about getting out.
But what I can say is, be strong and do what you think is right for you. Sometimes you have to put yourself first and do what's best for you.
So dinner happened and nothing. They didn't bring up the topic of why I was pissed and I was too much of a kitty to bring it up myself. Dinner was stilted, superficial, and shallow. The topics of conversation ranged from when we are gonna start having kids (we told them not anytime soon and when we do want kids we will probably adopt...which they didn't get ugh) to what my step-mom is now doing since she graduated. It was awkward and nothing got solved, although at the end my husband did tell my dad that he didn't appreciate how they treated me but honestly nothing happened. I am really kinda mad at myself for not stepping up and bringing it up, but, I just couldn't. My role in the family is the peace keeper and I am having a hard time breaking out of the mold.
I really appreciate all you guys support and thoughts. I feel lousy that this all lead up to nothing lol, next time for sure. I can't sit through one more of those super disappointing dinners again.
Amanda - RE: "my husband did tell my dad that he didn't appreciate how they treated me" - it's really none of our business, unless you want to share, but other than the shallow superficiality, how did they treat you badly?
I guess my parents knew of my disbelief, only because of probing questions I often asked about their beliefs, but I don't recall ever sitting down and formally discussing it, because I knew it would cause conflict and I was sufficiently troublesome as it was, without compounding it. (Trust me, I was a pain!)
So how important is it really, to have "the talk"?
LOL arch, basically he talked to my dad about how they excluded me from the family gathering and then blamed me for not talking to my aunts enough on the phone (because ya know if I had talked to them recently on the phone I would have known about the dinner). But whatever, they don't call me either so I don't see how it is all my fault
I hear what your saying about if there really is a need for "a talk" with my parents, my husband has said this as well, and honestly I don't even know. It would be very easy to just not ya know? And I am sure it would have been so funny to be a fly on the wall when you were "being a pain" hehe
@Amanda - RE: "I am sure it would have been so funny to be a fly on the wall when you were 'being a pain' hehe"
I know I hide it well, but I really haven't changed that much --
I don't see that you've done anything for which you should feel the need to take the blame. But the confrontation you're considering is up for debate. Check out the 2-minute video on my website, and pay particular attention to the line in the song that says, "It's better to be loved than to make a point" -- http://in-his-own-image.com/2011/12/29/---a-special-merry-xmas-edit...
LOL I saw that video around the holidays and I cracked up as much as I did this time hehe. Thanks a lot! I have been going slowly through your website (half way through 2010) I really enjoy it, thanks man.
It still cracks me up every time I watch it - it's a classic, but the message is good too - only you can decide what's best for you, but sometimes, "It's better to be loved than to make a point" --
On the other hand, that doesn't mean you need to roll around on the floor and talk in tongues either, or anything else involving your parents' religion that makes you uncomfortable, but it's your decision to make.
You might consider listing:
1. Confront them
2+. All increments in between
?. Pretend everything's peachy and Kiss Hank's Ass (and no weiners with sauerkraut - ever!)