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Vulnerable December 17, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in family, rants, school, teen angst.
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In tears once again. Fresh from a particularly acrimonious fight with Mother Dearest, where she let a lot of bitterness come to the surface.

Apparently, I have no right to feel offended by anything they say or do, just because I’m still living under their roof. Because they’re paying my tuition. She actually stooped to guilt-tripping:

“We spent thousands of dollars for your 18th birthday! It was a huge sacrifice for me — I opted not to buy that digital camera I’d wanted for myself because we were saving up to make you happy.”

Fucking seriously.

And she said that since they are still making these huge fucking sacrifices for me, disrespectful, ungrateful, spiteful old me (her words), I’d have to be at peace with the fact that she would always be disappointed with herself for letting me become this way. My choices — to be an atheist, to enroll in my Dream College instead of Smarty-Pants College like her — are her failures.

How could a speech like that not make any child want to kill themselves (hey, at least they’d be making a lot less “sacrifices!”)? How could she expect me to understand that I will always be a reminder of her shortcomings, and be okay with it?

She also wanted to criticize my choice to remain closeted in Dream College:

“You have to fight for what you believe in.”

You know what? Fuck you. Who are you to judge? Am I supposed to settle for a limited number of choices (the only non-sectarian institution is Smarty-Pants College, where she wanted me to go to), just because I’m an atheist? The world isn’t fucking fair, okay, and I’m going to take what I can, even if that means taking on a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in college. If I’m facing this much discrimination at home, imagine how much worse it would be in a Catholic college!

She accused me of taking advantage of Catholic education, which, again: IT’S A CATHOLIC MOTHERFUCKING COUNTRY, WHERE THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO GO?

Also, I’ve now been forced to stay home on Christmas Eve, because she said that going out and partying and staying at a hotel would be “too unsafe.” I agree, it is a risk, but I don’t want to be miserable on Christmas Eve. I want to enjoy myself and have a special night, with or without you.

Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be able to free myself from all this fucking drama. I wish I could run away, but no, I’m too financially dependent. I’ll probably just stay at home and do whatever she tells me to do, like the daughter she wants me to be. Maybe I should lie and say I believe in God again. After all, she sacrificed her longing to have that digital camera, just so I could have a nice 18th birthday! Because really, wasn’t it enough to see the smile on my face after I came home from the best birthday ever? I was so happy! You had to hold it over my head that it took a huge toll on you, just to prove a point? Well, thanks! You win, asshole! Now when I look back on that wonderful night, all I’m going to remember is THE FUCKING DIGITAL CAMERA YOU NEVER HAD.

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Comments»

1. Irish chick - December 17, 2007

I totally understand how you are feeling. Parents can totally just lick their wounds by cutting you up.

2. Josh Charles - December 17, 2007

I’ve been there, and I know how much it can suck. I think you hit the nail on the head when you talked about dependence. Once I was independent, things changed. I hope they will for you as well.

3. Wildwing - December 17, 2007

TA, I wish I could sit down with your mother and give her a piece of my mind and a virtual slap upside the head. The crap about her doing without a digital camera to give you a great birthday IS WHAT PARENTS DO. It’s what you sign up for when you have children! As a parent of 4 and grandmother of 7, I couldn’t list all the things I’ve done without to give my various offspring and their offspring good birthdays and Christmases. I’d NEVER tell my kids that I did without something to get them a present–IMHO, it kind of goes without saying, but they don’t need to feel guilty about it. I think your mom needs to grow up and become as responsible and mature as you are.
And I’m glad to hear you’re not considering running away, because I think you know that sticking it out is going to be the best thing in the long run.

4. wildwing - December 17, 2007

Let me add, that sounds like good old Catholic guilt indoctrination talking from your mom. Hopefully knowing what it is helps take some of the sting out of it.

5. Roe - December 18, 2007

I’ve been there and heard those same words from my mother. When are you going to start acting like an adult? Are you or are you not of age in your country? You are only as financially Dependant as you want to be. Go get a job and a room mate move out and put yourself through school. Life is hard and no one should OWN you like your parents do now. If someone said to me I had to do whatever they said because they were holding my tuition money at bay unless I did then I would tell them to go fuck themselves and get my own place.

Your mother will take years to get over this crap and you hanging around with her while she struggles with it only hurts you and makes her feel good because she makes you cry, which will only make it take longer for her to get over this bigotry.

I am speaking from experience I got a room mate 1 month after my 18th birthday and moved out. I took out student loans and paid my way through college and now 8 years later my family and I still fight about religion, but I don’t have to put up with them controlling me because I’m my own person!!!!

MOVE OUT!!!!

This may mean you have to compromise on your dreams, but that’s a life leson that everyone has to learn anyway. It may take longer to get through school, you may have to go to a different school. In the end these things don’t matter as much as the friends that you will make along the way!!! Friends that support you and treat you better than family are everything and given some time you may find a few, if you haven’t already.

Anyway I know this post was all over the place but I hope you get my general points…..

Good luck, and keep you head up we’re all here with you as much as we can be.

6. Ben (From Canada!) - December 18, 2007

johnnypeepers is a douc*ebag, so don’t listen to him. Wildwing and Roe are among those who support you, and I do as well

Remember, even though we don’t know you, we love you, and we want you to be happy. Religion couldn’t do this for you (understandably), so you need to find your own way now.

I recommend you get a job, save up some money, and move out. I lived without a permanent address for two years while attending university, and finished in the top third of my class. You can do it, it’s easier than you think to live *however you want to*.

If you have to stay at home and work for a while, stay strong–and if your mother begins to withhold basic care, you can get the government to step in and help you out. It’s your life, and always has been.

If you want a good example of how to live to get your own life back on track, read this post: http://www.violentacres.com/archives/32/drastic-measures by Violent Acres, my favorite blogger (besides you, of course). It’s how she got rid of her debt, but… it might give you some ideas.

Good luck kiddo, we’re all rooting for you. You can do it. We believe in you.

7. Genevieve - December 18, 2007

*hugs*

I’m so sorry TA. You don’t deserve this.

8. DaFatalGigabyte - December 19, 2007

Oof. Sorry about the Christmas thing. Maybe it’ll be for the best. Make the best of it I guess. There is a good point that if you’re going to be dependent, you’re going to be controlled. Every time I try to negotiate with my Dad he falls back on “I’m Dad.”

9. pericles - December 19, 2007

Dear,

you have to understand that our parents are not perfect, by far. They reflect their expectations/dreams/hopes/failures through us. However, deep down they love you and they will always be there for you.

It is difficult for them to accept that you do not believe in God? By the way, are you really an atheist or is it a way to rebel?

I am 36 yrs old (damn I am getting old:)) with a Christian background. I am an atheist now. I am more educated than my parents (thanks to their sacrifices; which I am grateful for) and I can tell them things about their Christian religion. Although they do not accept what I am saying, I can see that they are proud for my rationale and way of thinking.

I think that eventually your parents will also be proud of you and accept you and your beliefs.

10. the Shaggy - December 20, 2007

Pericles,

Have you actually read this blog? TA’s parents love her – that’s where all of this hostility is coming from, I think. But you’re grossly mistaken if you think that your situation is any way similar to hers. Have you been kicked out of Christmas dinner (and then denied alternate plans – what the hell was that about?)? Verbally assaulted and insulted by your family because you weren’t of their faith? Lost contact with a sibling because they now thought of you as a horrible, immoral person for it? Not all Christian/Catholic/Mormon/Muslim families are as cool dealing with that as yours may have been. TA’s certaily don’t sound “proud” for her “rationale and way of thinking.” Her life has sounded miserable and hellish.

I’d suggest you read her blog before you start attacking her atheism. There are four months worth of post here, it won’t take you very long.

11. pericles - December 20, 2007

Ouou, where did this come from? I am not attacking her atheism. It actually takes big balls (sort-of-speak) to come out at such an age in a religious country.

You are right in the fact that I have not read that blog, though . I only discovered it yesterday. It does take a few days to go through it.

Perhaps I have not been very clear. The hostility of her parents emanate from the fact that she has different beliefs to theirs, especially in an issue which most theists think it is THE ONLY ISSUE. They fail to see the other side and they think that she is doomed to hell etc etc.

A lot of parents will never accept such beliefs. However many eventually do b/c the bond is very strong.

Regards

P.

12. pericles - December 20, 2007

Well, I went through some of the posts. I should have read them, you were right.

What she describes is the typical Christian family with their values in a typical Christian country (exactly like mine).

People tell her to move out. Although it is one way out of the situation, perhaps she could be patient until she manages to go to the college she wants. That should be the number one priority. To go to the university she wants, even if the parents pay the tuition. By being far, the every day issues will stop. She will be free and a new balance will arise between her and the parents. She can get a part-time job as well. Next year she could be living in a different place altogether.

If her parents force her to go to the university of their choice then perhaps it would be time to move out completely. But life out there is hard.

Regards

P.

13. Teen Atheist - December 20, 2007

Everyone, thank you for all of your support, it really means a lot to me at a time like this.

14. Teen Atheist - December 20, 2007

Ben: Don’t worry, Johnnypeepers clearly wasn’t reading the disclaimer, so I went ahead and deleted his comment. 🙂

15. Teen Atheist - December 20, 2007

Ben and Roe: Thank you for the advice, I’ll definitely keep it in mind. I’m looking for a job and an affordable room as we speak, and I’ve got a couple of bags packed here.

16. Karen - December 21, 2007

Having been raised Catholic, I endured my mother’s guilt tripping. My “sin” was not atheism (that came later) but choosing to not have children and also choosing a profession that was traditionally mostly male.

Try very hard not to get engaged by the “I put a lot of time/money/effort into raising you, and you didn’t turn out the way I planned!” message. The more I practiced ignoring that message, the better our relationship got.

Mom gave up whining about the career choice when I graduated from college and started to show signs of being successful. She only gave up on the children issue when I hit age 40. Your mom may NEVER give up on the religion issue. Practicing ignoring the message may make your life much easier.

If you can go away to college, the issue of parental money = control becomes MUCH less of a problem. Consider that before you leave home and choose to put yourself through school.

17. GDad - December 22, 2007

Hey, TA, I have three brothers. All four of us have basically had to cut ourselves off from our father when we hit about 19 or 20. He pushed and pushed his own reality on his children until they got sick of it and told him to F— off. After a couple of years, the conversation changed a lot. We were able to interact as adults. I’m 37, so I’ve been interacting as an adult with my father for years. My youngest brother is 22, and he’s getting ready to see my dad for the first time in 2 years this Christmas.

When you are able to be reasonably independent, even if you have to live in a crappy apartment with several roommates, go out on your own. You appear to be smart, ambitious, and balanced. As soon as you are legally able, get out from under the financial pressures your parents put on you, and do it yourself. You’ll never look back, and you can choose when and where to interact with your parents on your terms. At that point, if they are in any way reasonable people, they will respect you for your success. If they don’t respect you, then perhaps they aren’t people you want to keep in your life.

And, just to echo some other people, choose your battles. I’m facing an issue today where I’m taking my family to visit some relatives. The patriarch of that part of our clan is a cantankerous old bigot. I’ll put up with him as long as he keeps his pie hole shut, but if he opens his mouth, I will slap him down HARD. I’m deciding to be a little uncomfortable in order to connect with parts of my family that I don’t get to see often, but I don’t think I’m compromising my principles. Let your conscience be your guide, but make sure your conscience is tempered by reason, not just the emotions of the minute.

Peace.

18. Teen Atheist - December 22, 2007

Karen and GDad, I appreciate the time and effort you both took to write your comments and share your stories with me. It’s nice to know that there are people out there who can sympathize; I don’t really feel comfortable sharing my story with my friends because most of them are religious. So, thank you, and I’m definitely taking your advice.

19. Atheosphere « Breaking Spells - December 25, 2007

[…] Atheist has a moving blog entry about her struggles with theistic parents and going to college at Diary of a Teen Atheist. I found her post genuine and heartfelt and it was easy to empathize with her situation if only […]


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