I so want to send this letter to a childhood friend of mine, but I probably won't. I want to stop taking her calls, but I've known her since I was 11. I'm still friends with her sister (we were like the Three Amigas at one point), but... I dunno. I'm just so over the facade. And I'm so over feeling so... invalidated. This girl has been through so much, and I tried to be there for her... but it has been ALL about her for so long, and not me at all. It's a toxic relationship, really.

Well, whatever I do, I'm just going to post this... so someone sees it I guess... so I can get it out there. I sort of want to apply it to so many people in my life, too. I'm so tired of feeling objectified by their religion, like, I'm just a project... a pitiable sinner. I ceased to be human when I stopped believing their fairy tales. It's such a weird feeling even after all this time.

Look, no hard feelings, I just feel a comment you made on the phone the other day was the straw the broke the camel’s back, as it were.

I’ve been a loyal and compassionate friend to you. Even when you were hard to love -and you were- I loved you. I comforted you as best I could, let you tell me all your deepest, darkest secrets without judging you, and even chose to live in a place that was extremely toxic to my mental health… because I didn’t want you to be alone there.

When I arrived, I was in the middle of a shift of my world view. It was hard, it was traumatic, but it was necessary. I changed my mind about what I believed because I felt there were better explanations. My relationships have, as a terrible side-effect, suffered because of it… but I cannot lie to mend them.

I tried once to talk to you about this struggle I was having, but you told me, in no uncertain terms, you “liked” what you believed, and had no interest in changing it. I dropped the subject… forever. I never, ever pushed what I believed on you, or even made off-hand comments about my perspective in this area. I’ve always been respectful, and never once told you I thought what you believed was silly or wrong. I’ve only ever validated your right to be who you are, and believe what you will.

Like I said, you’ve shared with me all your secrets… secrets you didn’t even want to share with your sister. I’ve kept them. But now I just feel like your confessional, and not your friend. You’ve never expressed much interest in my life, or my boyfriend, or my beliefs, or anything that makes me who I am. I’ve always wondered why you continue to want to speak with me when we have so little in common, and when you’re so disinterested in me. But, I thought you just needed the support, familiarity, and stability I offered.

But now… because you believe you may have finally found “the One”, your faith has been renewed it seems. And you seem to think your experience should renew mine without even asking or caring what my experience has been. And… the straw was you asking me to ask my mother to pray for you. I know you know what you were doing. It’s bad enough my own mother disapproves of me, but it’s even worse to have that rift shoved in my face and used as some sort of weapon against me… or as some way to convince me I should repent and return to the flock. I’m a pariah, it seems. Well, so be it.

I don’t believe there’s a god, and I never will again. I will never try to convince you, and I thought the same respect for my beliefs would be returned. I was wrong. I’m not in your Christian bubble anymore. You’re there with my mother and everyone I loved in a past life. You’ve shown me there’s no bridge. It’s just me out here, and all of you in there… pitying me, rolling your eyes at me, and not remotely concerned about who I really am.

I don’t want to be your confessional anymore. It may make you feel better to reveal all your so-called “sins” to someone who truly does not judge you, but you’ll have to test the truth out on those pious people who call themselves Christ-followers. But you won’t. They claim to be full of love, acceptance, and non-judgement, but we both know it’s a lie. I don’t want to be used anymore though. Our one-sided relationship has to end.

I hope you faith makes you happy. I hope this new guy, or whomever, makes you happy. I hope your strained relationship with your sister finally heals. I hope you’re successful and become totally fulfilled. I want the best for you, truly. Let’s just go our separate ways and think about the good memories we shared.

Views: 334

Tags: childhood, friends, pariah

Comment by Simon Paynton on March 26, 2014 at 3:04am

She sounds like something of a user to me. 

Comment by Gallup's Mirror on March 26, 2014 at 3:18am

I so want to send this letter to a childhood friend of mine, but I probably won't. I want to stop taking her calls, but I've known her since I was 11.

Ah, to be young and innocent, when a friendship took little more than just being the same age as someone else.

What a difference 10 or 20 or 30 years of living can make, as genuine feelings of affection and respect transform into chores of duty and obligation, until what was once a warm, living friendship has died and fossilized into a cold, dead stone that you wear around your neck.

And… the straw was you asking me to ask my mother to pray for you. I know you know what you were doing. It’s bad enough my own mother disapproves of me, but it’s even worse to have that rift shoved in my face and used as some sort of weapon against me… or as some way to convince me I should repent and return to the flock. [...] I don’t want to be used anymore though. Our one-sided relationship has to end.

I can relate. I still wear the family fossils around like a necklace of anvils. (Case in point: I'm about to be my brother's best man at his Catholic wedding, complete with a mass.) But I do it because they're family and provided they know where I stand (and they do) this is an obligation I feel I must accept.

But after enduring many years of shoves similar to the one you describe above- ugly little shoves which made clear that my atheism was as a major character flaw they were reminding me they were so graciously overlooking-- I let go of my fossilized "friends" and have never regretted it. Ironically, I'm fairly sure some of them did.

I don't get to choose my family, but I do get to choose my friends.

Comment by Noel on March 26, 2014 at 8:16am

Yep, can Identify.

Having sought recovery from an addiction to alcohol and drugs, one day at a time, I knew coming into my new non belief about changing people, places, and things. My road to recovery has meant letting go of most of the people I've called friends and some family members too. My professing my atheism has meant the same. Like you I tend to tolerate peoples belief systems. Heck, I've allowed myself to go down on bended knee and ask my friends gods to help them with what ever pain they were in. Despite the fact that I just don't believe that there is a god or that he's going to miraculously appear and take away their pain. But they believe it. With all their hearts. And to me the object has always been to take away the pain.

One of the hardest things I've ever done.... Consequently I've become sort of a friendless recluse. Stay with my life long friend mostly; my wife who happens to be agnostic. It's sustained me. I tell myself that as long as I have her friendship it's enough for me for now. 

Good luck. Thanks for sharing.

Comment by Simon Paynton on March 26, 2014 at 10:13am

Noel, you're lovely. 

Comment by _Robert_ on March 26, 2014 at 12:04pm

Sounds very similar to my girl's situation with her former "best friend" from grade school. Just a slow disassociation ensued without a proclamation such as this. Probably less dramatic, but also less satisfying as well.

Comment by Cara Coleen on March 26, 2014 at 3:44pm

@Gallup I like the fossilized necklace analogy... it's so fitting. My boyfriend keeps wondering why I carry the damn thing around. HA!

@Noel have you tried, or are you interested in, meet-up groups for atheists in your areas? I've met lots of awesome people, and one girl I feel is a best friend (maybe to replace this one... haha).

@RobertPiano I'm sure this will end up being more like your girl's experience. Although it might be satisfying to send this if I thought any of it would register or sink in, but I know it won't. It would truly be wasted.

@Belle You're right, she's not really a friend. I have had lots of wonderful girlfriends in my life, and she hasn't added anything. Her sister and I don't have much in common anymore either, but I still feel she cares about me and is interested in my life. That's what actually makes this hard. Can I stop talking to one and not the other? I just realized they've both been a part of my life for 20 years! It's such a long time... although it doesn't really seem to matter anyway.

Comment by Noel on March 26, 2014 at 5:10pm
@ Simone : That's sweet. Don't think I've ever heard anyone refer to me as lovely. For the first six years of my life I thought my name was son of a bitch 'cause every time my step mother called me it would be "son of a bitch throw out the trash, and son of a bitch pick up your room, and son of a bitch clean the tub". LOL. Lovely is a nice and welcome change. Thank you Simone.

@Collene: that would be great. I don't have any friends who are atheist. I have a group that I ride with and communicate with over the net but I may see some of them once a year. Matter of fact we are meeting up at Cape Cod in June. Yes they are all believers but it doesn't get in the way. We've agreed to not talk religion or politics.
Comment by Ed on March 26, 2014 at 9:05pm

Cara,

Mail that letter!!!!! The honesty and forthrightness of it speaks so well to how you feel the relationship has left you, basically, victimized. If she has half a heart the truth will be seared into her psyche.

Comment by Ed on March 26, 2014 at 9:07pm

@ Noel

A reclusive existence can have it's advantages, never underrate it. Although I do have a couple good friends in the area who are agnostic/atheist and there company is truly appreciated.

Comment by Wesley on March 30, 2014 at 10:54pm

I agree with Ed..  Mail the letter.  Even if your relationship is over she NEEDS to hear to KNOW how one-sided you feel it has been.  That's something that could actually rattle her up enough to take an introspective glance.   If not today, perhaps someday the echo's of what you've spoken from your heart will find their way into hers to broaden its scope and potential for empathy for others.

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