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Old 09-08-2009, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
13,138 posts, read 22,810,657 times
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Both my wife and I have parents who are extremely religious, be we are not so much (me especially). My wife's mother is the worst though. She recently wrote a letter to us expressing her extreme disapointment that we haven't gone fanatical like she wants us to. She feels we have rejected the religion so we reject her. She also sincerely believes we are going to hell and she will be all alone in heaven and she actually lays awake at night worrying about it.

Bear in mind, we aren't evil, we are honest, responsible and decent folk who just don't buy into the hype.

So how do you deal with fanatical parents? You can't just ignore they are hurting but I refuse to participate in a religion I don't belive in just to make them happy. And, reason is not applicable, as anyone who has read stuff in this forum can attest to. Help!!
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Old 09-08-2009, 01:15 PM
 
2,884 posts, read 5,931,267 times
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MIL: I'm extremely disappointed you haven't gone fanatical like I want you to.

You: I know you are disappointed, but I cannot participate in a religion just to make you happy. That would be false belief and an insult to you.
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Old 09-08-2009, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Colorado
9,986 posts, read 18,668,382 times
Reputation: 2178
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
Both my wife and I have parents who are extremely religious, be we are not so much (me especially). My wife's mother is the worst though. She recently wrote a letter to us expressing her extreme disapointment that we haven't gone fanatical like she wants us to. She feels we have rejected the religion so we reject her. She also sincerely believes we are going to hell and she will be all alone in heaven and she actually lays awake at night worrying about it.

Bear in mind, we aren't evil, we are honest, responsible and decent folk who just don't buy into the hype.

So how do you deal with fanatical parents? You can't just ignore they are hurting but I refuse to participate in a religion I don't belive in just to make them happy. And, reason is not applicable, as anyone who has read stuff in this forum can attest to. Help!!
You basically need to tell her where you stand and that you love her but do not feel as she does and if she loves you she will accept it and you. If not, well you can live a lie to please her or be honest with yourselves and cut her loose. It is sad to say, a parents love is suppose to be unconditional, not based on your willingness to follow her will. it will be hard I am sure, but you cant live a lie, you will be miserable and I cant believe it is what she would want. If she disconnects from you and your wife, well it is her loss and something she will regret.
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Old 09-08-2009, 01:25 PM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
2,901 posts, read 12,724,950 times
Reputation: 1843
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
Both my wife and I have parents who are extremely religious, be we are not so much (me especially). My wife's mother is the worst though. She recently wrote a letter to us expressing her extreme disapointment that we haven't gone fanatical like she wants us to. She feels we have rejected the religion so we reject her. She also sincerely believes we are going to hell and she will be all alone in heaven and she actually lays awake at night worrying about it.

Bear in mind, we aren't evil, we are honest, responsible and decent folk who just don't buy into the hype.

So how do you deal with fanatical parents? You can't just ignore they are hurting but I refuse to participate in a religion I don't belive in just to make them happy. And, reason is not applicable, as anyone who has read stuff in this forum can attest to. Help!!
Hold your ground and "stay in your truth" no matter what and love the lady even though she's crazy.
Her fears and worries are hers to deal with.
If she uses those fears and worries to try and control / manipulate you or your wife, she's transgressing even though she probably has no awareness that this is so.
It really is somewhat like dealing with someone who is insane ... the more objectivity and awareness you have regarding their condition the more possible it is for you to stay in your truth without being afraid that said crazy person will pull you off your center by inundating you with her nutty perceptions.
The more centered and objective you are the more able you'll be to tolerate and accept and love her.
Be loving and kind.
You don't need to fight with her or try to argue her out of her reality.
Let her be .... let her have her worries and fears but don't capitulate and go against your truth and buy into her trip in order to save her from her fears.
That's the blind leading the blind and no-one will be served.
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Old 09-08-2009, 01:32 PM
 
Location: Nashville, Tn
7,915 posts, read 18,622,146 times
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I had a friend in Seattle quite a few years ago and her parents were fanatical like that. She wasn't even an atheist but just wasn't interested in getting involved in their church so they basically told her that if she wanted to maintain a good relationship with them that she must become involved in the same way that they were. She didn't do that and except for an occasional visit to her son they basically disowned her. She was a really nice person too and was divorced and doing her best to raise a young son. I really thought that was a pathetic thing to do. I met the Mother once but not the Father and I took an instant disliking to her. From what my friend told me is that her Mother didn't like me either and I didn't even mention religion.
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Old 09-08-2009, 02:29 PM
 
16,294 posts, read 28,526,360 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
Both my wife and I have parents who are extremely religious, be we are not so much (me especially). My wife's mother is the worst though. She recently wrote a letter to us expressing her extreme disapointment that we haven't gone fanatical like she wants us to. She feels we have rejected the religion so we reject her. She also sincerely believes we are going to hell and she will be all alone in heaven and she actually lays awake at night worrying about it.

Bear in mind, we aren't evil, we are honest, responsible and decent folk who just don't buy into the hype.

So how do you deal with fanatical parents? You can't just ignore they are hurting but I refuse to participate in a religion I don't belive in just to make them happy. And, reason is not applicable, as anyone who has read stuff in this forum can attest to. Help!!
Dealing with mentally ill people is never easy, and clearly her religious beliefs have become a mental illness to the point she clearly cannot communicate with or even accept her own children.

I would suspect she has prayed with all her might for some catastrophe to befall you which would bring you back into her belief system. What a wonderful person to wish (that's all praying is, wishing) you some possible life altering event, to save your soul.
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Old 09-08-2009, 02:32 PM
 
Location: Sango, TN
24,868 posts, read 24,382,997 times
Reputation: 8672
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
Both my wife and I have parents who are extremely religious, be we are not so much (me especially). My wife's mother is the worst though. She recently wrote a letter to us expressing her extreme disapointment that we haven't gone fanatical like she wants us to. She feels we have rejected the religion so we reject her. She also sincerely believes we are going to hell and she will be all alone in heaven and she actually lays awake at night worrying about it.

Bear in mind, we aren't evil, we are honest, responsible and decent folk who just don't buy into the hype.

So how do you deal with fanatical parents? You can't just ignore they are hurting but I refuse to participate in a religion I don't belive in just to make them happy. And, reason is not applicable, as anyone who has read stuff in this forum can attest to. Help!!
My grandfather and his wife are the same way. My grandfather, not so much, but his wife ugh!!!

When I was younger, I'd go and visit her, and she would take out my Van Halen tapes out of my headphones at night (I usually fell asleep listening to them) and replace them with gospel song tapes. Crazy man, after I got a little older, I refused to go over there anymore. She literally took my sister to be excersied by their preist because she was playing like Chucky from childs play.

How I dealt with it,

Well, I had a son, and I was tired of letting this woman come between my grandfather and myself. I called him, and explained that I didn't come over much because of Enolahs fundamentalisim, and that if I want to be preached to, that I would go to church on Sunday. He agreed to have a talk with her, and that was pretty much the end of it.

No more videos about hell, and why I was going there. No more anything like that when I went over. She usually just keeps quiet when I come over, which is really sad, but if thats the way she wants it, well, she gets it.

My other Granparents are Christian, but not fundamental Christians. They tend to go to church on Sundays, they have the general Christian view of homosexuals, abortion, and the like, but we try to avoid those conversations. They don't like arguing with me, because they don't like the fact that I've "turned away from God" as my Uncle puts it. I do allow them to take my son to church with them, I'm not going to hide him away from religion, he is free to make up his own mind.

So to sum it up, you've got to either avoid it, or confront it. The problem with confronting it is that people can get hurt by this, and not everyone gets the answer they want. I tolerate some religious ceremony around my family, but I do believe in a God, just not the Christian/Muslim/Jew God.
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Old 09-08-2009, 02:32 PM
 
Location: Texas
1,301 posts, read 2,110,291 times
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If your parents are that fanatical, there's nothing you can do. Well, there's nothing you can do that's gonna result in a positive outcome.

The only thing you can do to make them happy is to lie. I personally would resent such a thing, even if I was just pretending.

Honestly, I can ignore the fact that it bothers most of my family. We're all grown ups. They should have enough respect for us to treat us as such. Quite frankly, I find it insulting to be treated like some ignorant child. Anyhow, you can't reason with the unreasonable. I think being honest, no matter the consequences, is the best thing to do here.

Most of my relatives don't bother bringing up the subject to me anymore.
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Old 09-08-2009, 02:49 PM
 
5,019 posts, read 14,113,260 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
So how do you deal with fanatical parents?
Errrrr, make fun of them?

Ok, so my sister and I really probably are going to hell.

I am not religious. My sister is, but she is still rational and logical. Our mother on the other hand.....

We started noticing a few years ago that our mother now attributes everything to God. Everything. If she finds a parking spot at the mall, it's because God wanted her to have it. If she finds orange paint on sale, God wants her to paint her bedroom orange. If she nabs the last container of allspice at the grocery store a week before Thanksgiving.....well then Hallelujah, we have a modern miracle!!!

You get the idea.

My evil sister and I decided some time ago that we would start crediting God with all of the bad things that happen as well. "You have a cavity? God must want you to have dentures". Yeah, mom is not so amused.

I'll probably be punished by my own daughter in my old age. Karma is a *****.
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:04 PM
 
4,145 posts, read 10,426,326 times
Reputation: 3339
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asheville Native View Post
Dealing with mentally ill people is never easy, and clearly her religious beliefs have become a mental illness to the point she clearly cannot communicate with or even accept her own children.

I would suspect she has prayed with all her might for some catastrophe to befall you which would bring you back into her belief system. What a wonderful person to wish (that's all praying is, wishing) you some possible life altering event, to save your soul.
How sad for you. It's pathetic that you need to rail against people with strong convictions as "mentally ill". Does it make you happy to be like that?

To the OP, keep in mind that your parents feel very strongly about their faith and are probably very happy with their decisions. They probably truly want you to feel what they feel because they care for you.

That being said, if they're coming on too strong, just be honest. Like another poster said, tell them that following their faith just to make them happy wouldn't be true to yourself or them.

Personally, I'm a very strong Christian, but it's not because I was pressured. You need to discover these things on your own, and if you're not ready, or just plain don't want to, that's got to be your decision.

Ask them to politely let you live your own life.
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