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I haven't posted on here before. I usually just lurk but I need some advice. My parents are very religious. I was raised baptist and went to church 3 times a week. By college I was done and feel very good with the place I am now. I would say I'm agnostic, but that's not the issue here. My mom has a problem with me not going to church... but even worse, that I don't take our 3 year old son to church. (I'm almost 30, married with one child and pregnant... I'm not living with her or supported by her in any way). In the past, I've just not talked about it and I haven't been pestered too bad about it. We recently (thankfully) had the opportunity to move a thousand miles away from my family. I have really taken it as the chance to distance myself from them for a bit and live life peacefully (without constant guilt trips). But of course, the badgering has gotten worse. My mom doesn't have our new phone number (I've told her we don't have a phone set up yet) so she's been e-mailing me. I already deleted my facebook account to avoid the mess. It started off with "Have you found a church down there yet?" I finally got a bit honest and told her that I don't see the point in going to church and that it would be a waste of time. So she started mailing my son religious books and telling me often that she is praying for me. I've been e-mailing her less and less and making the e-mails shorter and shorter. Finally I get this e-mail today:
I'm so sorry i have turn you away from the Lord, i know your father and i have fail all of our children, for not continue to lead my family toward the Lord, i know all you kids are save, i just pray now that each one of you will fine your way back to Jesus Christ.
Sorry, she doesn't proof read or apparently know how to use the shift key. Anyways, I'm at a loss of what to do. No one else in the family is talking to me now because of this and I'd prefer not to turn this into a big deal but she really has been driving me away. Please help give me some clarity to the situation and advice. I'm really lost on what to say or do. Thanks for reading and sorry it's so long.
Ouch, I don't know what to say as I wasn't raised in a religious environment, but I'm sorry your family is putting their religion before you. That's really crappy if you ask me.
From her first sentence, it seems like she is aware that by being so pushy, she is driving you away. Maybe with that awareness, she'll back off a little now? Could you find a way of letting her know that you have been pulling away for that very reason and that if she could lighten up, you might be able to get closer again in the future? It sounds like you also have siblings that have disappointed her in a similar way. How did they handle it?
And BTW, she does know how to use the shift key as she capitalized Lord and Jesus. Maybe not capitalizing 'i' is symbolic for putting herself lower than them??
I’m Sarah (39), wife to Chris (40), mom to three boys (age 0, 3 and 5)
Thanks for the support. Tiredmom- my brother and sister are not "in to" religion very much. They are, as far as I know, religious... they just don't like to go to church. Everyone, including my parents, stopped going to church when I was 15 I think. My mom wanted to go to a different one than we belonged to and dad didn't. They couldn't agree on which one to go to and I was finally free! My mom sees not going to church as a big deal and she thinks that's all my problem is, and therefore her fault for not keeping the family in a church together.
I have simply been vocal about not going to church, so I get the grief. My siblings just haven't talked about it so it doesn't get brought up. I have not said that I don't really believe in god and I'm thinking now is the time to do so. My first thought is that she is trying to make me feel guilty by disappointing her. She is very passive aggressive and this seems like another way to give me a guilt trip. I've been reading that e-mail over and over trying to figure it out. There are a lot of other things bothering me about my relationship with my family. No one thing seems like enough to cut them out of my life, but when I look at everything, that is exactly what I want to do. I'll spare you all of that because I sound like a whiny middle child when I talk about it. Sleeping on it really hasn't helped and my husband doesn't know what to do. He tends to keep me grounded by saying I'm overreacting, but he's not even sure in this case. He's supportive either way. Thanks again for the advice, I'll keep over-analyzing it for a while and try and think of what I should say.
(And I wouldn't put it past her to put herself lower than god in her e-mails, what better way to show it?)
Ditto Sarah. I am really sorry you are in this position. My mother was incredibly supportive, but my sister not so much. We were never close and really don't like each other so we don't talk much anyways. (((HUGS)))
I guess I should let her know to back off a bit. It seems like the more I back off, the harder she pushes. The only consolation is that I'm a thousand miles away and don't have to deal with it in person. My family usually just ignores things, so the fact that she's making a big deal out of this is what is really bothering me. I'm now pretty sure she's turning the rest of the family against me as well. No one has e-mailed me since this all started and I don't know who it's safe to talk to without them turning it back around on me. It kind of sucks, but I've never really felt close to anyone in my family. I'm a bit of the black sheep I suppose, so I guess I'll just use this as my excuse to not have to talk to anyone anymore. I will send an e-mail to her explaining my thoughts, if I can figure them out anyways. Thank you all for your support and thoughts. It's a hard thing to deal with but it helps me remember what kind of parent I don't want to be to my kids.
Could it be possible in her mind that since she isn't physically close to you, that she would feel better if you were to attend church, to be "closer to jesus" and that would give her peace of mind?
It's gotta be tough when it's your mom. Mine feels the same way about religion that I do, just stories, nothing more. Usually when theres a difference of opinion on something, a middle ground needs to be found, but when it's someone thats very religious, it can be like talking to a brick wall :/
Well, I sent an e-mail yesterday. I pretty much said that I wasn't religious and I wasn't going to raise my children to think they had to believe in religion to be happy or good people. I was very blunt about not having her tell me she was praying for me and not to send my son any more religious themed gifts. He can decide what he wants to believe in when he is older. I think I handled it pretty well, but I haven't heard back yet. I will be happy if we can just have a nice, civil relationship where I don't have to keep tabs with her daily anymore. (She used to send me text messages or call multiple times a day and if I didn't respond quickly enough she would send tons of messages. She also expected daily picture and e-mail updates of how our son was doing. I just couldn't keep up. That was the other half of my reasoning to back off from her.) I'm glad I got everything off my chest and I feel a lot better for doing so.
She replied with a very nice e-mail that says that they all love me and I will always be a part of the family. They are fine with whatever decision I make. I don't know what caused the complete 180 but I have a feeling that it has something to do with the thought that if she isn't careful she won't see her grandchildren again because she added that she hopes it's still okay that she comes to visit this summer after the baby is born. It seemed very fake to me, she is always saying what she can get away with and pretty manipulative so I don't know what to think. It's hard for me to believe her and I don't feel compelled to have some kind of a buddy-buddy relationship with her now when she never wanted one when I was living right next door. Sorry, I've started to vent again. I still don't know really where to go from here, but at least the badgering is done for now. Thanks again for your support. It's really hard being in a new area with no friends and dealing with crap like this.
well im glad you got it all off your chest....i for one would keep my guard up but of course would let her visit.....just take it day by day...maybe this is a turning point for her knowing you are so far away with her grandchildren? who knows! good luck!