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my (suddenly) religious mom -- very long --


silky88
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i was raised in a family without a religion for the most part. sure, we celebrated the commercial "holidays" with an x-mas tree and chocolates in a basket, but there was no church, no dogma, no bibles; there were morals and rules that we lived by, and they made me a good person. my parents were pretty much democrat hippies and raised me with very liberal values. i always was very close to my mother particularly, and could talk to her about ANYTHING -- sex, relationships, ANYTHING while i was a teenager.

 

my parents divorced when i was nine, and they both told me that i could explore and if i eventually chose to have a religion, i could choose for myself. my mother said she had always resented my grandmother, who was catholic, for "shoving religion down her throat."

 

when i was 14, my mom, who i lived with, decided to start making me and my 2 younger siblings attend a christian youth group on night a week, because my cousins were going, and it gave my mom time to spend with my aunt without kids around.

 

i hated it, and my response was to attend while on drugs or question everything the pastors said, and talk back and cause general chaos. i was otherwise a reasonably well-behaved teenager, and an excellent student. i just hated that group in the extreme. i remedied the situation by getting a job at a fast food joint after school, and making sure i was scheduled that night of the week. problem solved.

 

meanwhile, my dad was getting involved with paganism and native american spirituality, which had always appealed more to me anyway, and i was curious about it, but too shy to ask him, so i instead borrowed books on it from the library. i never devoted myself entirely to any religion, i was just browsing, so to speak.

 

well, around the time i graduated, there were some tragedies in my family; my step-dad died of a drug overdose, and my aunt was murdered. i was scheduled to move 3000 miles from home a few months later for college, and i did, which felt good to escape the aftermath of the tragedy and get started in my life as an adult.

 

but my mom started to get really religious. like always sending my forwarded god e-mails and trying to talk to me about religion on the phone, and showing disapproval that i was "living in sin" with a boy when she herself had footed part of the bill for me to move cross-country with him less than a year before.

 

she is the one who encouraged me when i started having sex at thirteen to seek out birth control pills, and taught me to have good liberal values and to think for myself instead of letting other people brainwash me into accepting dogma blindly. and here she was trying to drill some religion into my head that i had never been interested in.

 

it only got worse over the years -- we had a big blow-out around the time of the last election, because she snapped at me for wanting to vote for a baby-killer and i really started to wonder if the mother i had grown up knowing had died and been replaced with some republican alien-robot spawn.

 

i sent her a very long e-mail detailing how she'd changed and how the way she was assaulting me with her religion was hurting me, and after not speaking for a couple of months, we tentatively re-established contact, with no mention of the dreaded "religion or politics." it has been a couple of years since that, but things are getting worse again.

 

last year, my father, who abused his body with drugs and alcoholism, died at the age of 53. he had a native american style memorial in keeping with his religion. but my mother, who hadn't even been married to the man for over ten years and literally laughed at HIS religion when i expressed interest in it to her, insisted on holding a christian memorial at her church a month later, and was insulted when only a handful of people showed up.

 

she is all holier-than-thou when it comes to sex and alcohol now, and openly verbally disapproves when i am at a family function and have 2 glasses of wine (i'm 25!) even if i am not driving. i feel like i can't at all be myself around her anymore -- the closeness we had in my youth has faded to a ghost.

 

meanwhile, i have fallen in love with a wonderful man, who i have been dating for almost a year, and will probably end up marrying eventually (i can just tell). she recently came to visit and i was embarrassed by her insistence in praying over dinner in public (i dislike pdr's: public displays of religion). neither he nor i are at all religious and i was appalled about some of the comments she made in front of him along the lines of her judging other people around us. she never used to be so judgmental, and it's really embarrassing to have such a close-minded mother.

 

and while she was here, she snuck a bible among my things repeatedly, and i kept silently replacing it in her bag, and she hid it here in my bedcovers when she left. i helped her to find a church of her faith to attend during her visit... why can't she pay me the same respect by accepting my lack of religion?

 

she's gone as far as to tell me that when i do get married one day, my marriage will be more likely to fail if it's not done in a church "under the blessing of god." meanwhile her last marriage -- in a church -- failed in less than a year because she only knew the guy for 4 months before marrying him and in my opinion probably only moved so fast so they could have sex within the confines of religious acceptance.

 

i am at wit's end with this woman. i love her dearly, but i really am starting to resent the fact that we cannot have one conversation that doesn't include the words "god," "jesus," or "pray." and i fear that it will only get worse if i get married and have children. she's going to want to church them to death and i don't want her trying to sneak religion into my children like she did into my bedcovers.

 

yet, i love her and don't want to offend her or alienate her.

 

what do i do???

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To begin, I'm a non-denominational Christian and maintain a spiritual relation with God and his word. Your mother is misrepresenting my faith in the way she projects an image of self rightiousness, and not humility. The best way to "check' her is to remind her that to follow Christ is to carry our cross in our daily actions towards people, not condeming judgement

which only God has that right; to be the salt of the earth in living the word of God, not force teaching the word; to be the fisher of men in our humble approach to actions we project as a lure to our lifestyle, not chase people down with an ultimatum. I think her pastor would agree with me on how she needs to behave as a loving person in Christ and let the world in it's time accept or deny what we stand for without undue influence. As for your future children the best approach is to raise them as you were raise and give them the understanding that whatever faith they chose they need to remember that a spiritual relationship is way more important than religious dogma. This is something your mother needs to learn.

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Religion and politics are always a very uncomfortable subject because people have very very strong beliefs one way or another.

 

I'd say you need to let your Mom know that, like her at your age, you haven't found religion yet and that you may or may not in the future. But you need to have the freedom to make that decision when and how you see fit. Tell her that you don't appreciate her "shoving religion down [your] throat" and that you want the same freedom of choice that she always wanted with her mother.

 

But, here's the flip side, when she visits you, she does have to abide by your rules, because it's your house. So, when you visit her, you have to accept her religious beliefs. You should pray with her at dinner, go to church with her, etc. It's only fair if she has to embrace your way of life when she visits you, you should have to embrace hers when you visit her.

 

Hope that helps.

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Many people who are born again in their adulthoods realize that Jesus is the one thing they've been missing, and that He fills a hole in their hearts that they never even knew was there. Suddenly, they start to wonder why other people haven't done the same thing. So the next natural course of action is to start "spreading the word." I did that for about a month before I burned out and realized that my witness was just being who I am. I figure everyone knows I'm a Christian, I don't need to rub everyone's face in it. If they're curious about my faith, right on. If not, ah well.

 

She probably feels terrible that she raised you not to be a Christian, so she's making up for it now. She's definitely going about it the wrong way.

 

There is one tactic I use with a pretty zealous Catholic friend of mine that seems to work. I've told him that I'm open to where God wants to lead me, and should He lead me in the direction of the Catholic church, I'll go there. (I'm non denominational.) Just let her know that you're open to where God wants you to go, and if He decides to lead you to a church, you'll go there.

 

If she continues to act this way, tell her that her insistence is driving you more away from Christ than towards him. I've never met anyone who, after closing themselves to any philosophy, would suddenly open up to it because of constant nagging by someone else. Ask her if you constantly brought up Buddha around her, would she convert some day to Buddhism? There's actually a passage in the Bible, Matthew 10:14, that I've interpreted as Jesus saying "Look, you told them about Me, if they don't like it, pick up your toys and go home." Jesus never says anything to the effect of "Tell them over and over and over and over again about Me, and if they don't like it, tell them again and again and again and again."

 

However, should she want to talk about her religion as it applies to her, you should not begrudge her that right. She has found something that has fulfilled her, and you should be extremely happy for her. If she wants to talk about God, Jesus, church, whatever - that is her right to do so. I understand you not wanting her to push it on you, but if you want her to stop talking about the subject altogether, you're asking her to do something that probably goes completely against her instincts.

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Hmm.. I'm someone that thinks religion is brainwashing, so my opinion probably can't be totally unbiased, although I will try...

 

Since she found religion after a couple of tragedies in the family it is clear it was completely irrational and just a means to escape the pain and justify it. thereforeee, do not try to use reason or logic with her because it wo't have any effect.

 

Instead, the only way to get her to stop harassing you with this imo is to be tough on her, tell her whenever you talk religion around me I won't talk to you for a week, whenever you give me a bible I won't talk to you for a month. etc. until she eventually will have to restrain herself

 

Sorry that you have to go through this, these type of people are annoying to the extreme...

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I have seen something along those lines in my family. My wife's sister and family all of a sudden got religion about 9 months ago. I am in no way a religious person. My wife really isn't either. One of the first things my wife's sister did was to start offering things to my daugher like a bible, etc. I grew up in an area that had a majority of Mormon followers. I didn't appreciate religion being pushed upon me there. In all cases, I believe that if people want to practice religion, they can do that all they want. I encourage it. However, once their behavior becomes infringent on my life or the life of my family, that is something I will not tolerate. My wife's sister has two young boys. One of them constantly wants to give our daughter religious things (our daughter is 6 weeks old). I have told my wife that once our daughter is old enough to make her own decision on this point, it is up to us to protect her or to guide her. Until that time, I do not want people pushing religion on her, at all. I voiced my feelings on this and the sister has been respectful of this. Although, I do get a slight cold shoulder from her family when they come over or when I go over there.

 

The idea of practicing a religion is a personal one and I despise anybody who needs to get solice from forcing their beliefs on those around them. I sometimes believe they do it to re-inforce their own beliefs. Why not just trust in those beliefs and be satisfied with that?

 

Do what you feel is right and go with what your gut tells you. If it tells you that you don't want religion as a part of your life, well, make a stand about it now before it goes on a long time with your mom thinking that she can change you.

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Silky -

 

It sounds like your mother turned outward to religion when she was faced with trauma. Not meaning to offend anyone here AT ALL, but sometimes people just need something to cling to in times of need. In all honesty, this new "republican" religious mom may never go away.

 

Personally, I'm too questioning to accept religion... to me it makes no sense... but it seems like at some point, your mother looked at her life and her choices and "realized" they were wrong, or felt somehow that she had messed up. She may have encountered something so emotionally shattering (your stepfather? your aunt?) that she turned to the one thing she was taught growing up -- religion.

 

Have you tried talking to her about how she felt about those two losses? Has she offered any hints as to why she suddenly changed?

 

Even if you don't agree, you need to figure out how to deal with her. For example, next time she sneaks a bible at you, don't make it a tug of war. Just thank her and leave it be. You don't have to read it or even keep it, but at least let her know that you accept her. Pick your battles wisely.

 

It's very difficult to argue with someone that "has God" on their side. You can't win, so don't even bother trying. Just try to make your relationship as manageable and functional as possible.

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thanks for the advice... i guess i am just going to let things be for the moment.

 

as for using quotes about god or from religion to counter her, i am afraid that she would interpret that as hope that i might change my mind or think it illogical that i am using her evidence (religious quotes) for my case (not being religious).

 

i suppose i am just afraid of her disapproval; i felt like growing up i was almost always on her good side (other than being the occasional brat like all kids can be!) but now that i have grown into an adult she might not accept me for i am with my drinking, swearing, and such differing views.

 

and my boyfriend was concerned because he saw that i was acting like a different person around her and also because he felt like HE had to be a different person around her, too.

 

i've had more or less the same habits since i moved a long way from home at 17, but have always kept them secret out of not wanting to offend her, like the way you wouldn't cuss in front of a little old lady (even though she used to cuss all the time).

 

now i want to break free and be my own person, but i also don't want her blaming my boyfriend for "changing" me into a drinker and a cusser -- i've been one all along, but ever since he accepted me for who i really am (in so many ways other than just these) i want to be myself ALL the time, but still not disrespectful. he really is a wonderful guy, and just wants me to be happy, and sees that i am not happy at all when i am trying to be stiff and proper for her.

 

so i guess i am a coward; why is it so hard to "rebel"? i know that everyone has a breaking free point from their parents, but i thought mine was years ago when i moved away. come to realize that i am still letting her control my life by limiting what i say or do around her.

 

but then again, i don't want the spectre of this hanging over me forever...

 

oh well...

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