Thursday, June 6, 2013

Whatever Made You the Way You Are?

This is the meme that Mom was upset about
Tonight I have unwisely become embroiled in an email/FB conversation with my mom about atheism. Apparently she saw an atheist meme on Facebook and started trying to take some of the commenters down with her supposed Christian wisdom.

(Her comments were, unfortunately, poorly articulated, badly spelled, poorly formatted, as you will see below. And we all know that that gives her message the kiss of death on any board anyway.)
She had gotten to the meme by following the FB feed on the right side when I had clicked "like", having found it ironically funny. Apparently she then read through some of the other joke memes there and got all upset.
Eventually, all while I am out of the house and reading on my cell phone, and after looooooooong posts in which I was UBER kind and loving to her, as I am because I love her tremendously, she kept acting as if she was talking to a snarky, rude person, and she replied with this:

(Realize that this is after lots of talking
and I am not going to repost the entire thing, 
just know that I am respectful and loving to her at all times
as well as being quite empathic
 about her supposed epiphany that 
atheists do not believe in her god.)

Well Kay, I guess I am kind of innocent with what I think you are telling me about your beliefs. Very much crying yes, but that will stop too, just as my sadness for you and your ways will whatever made you the way you are? I do not know, I still love you very much. Yell, I cannot believe you could be as cruel to me as you say your one sister is. I guess this pretty much changes your mind about my visiting you ever, because my belief will nit change your way EVER . What a time for me to see just how much I do not know you at all. Everything you have ever done for me and all the beautiful pic you sent me, will seem like they came from someone I do not even know. I never went this deep into your private world before and it is as you say very sad and making me cry. I guess yes, 
I thought you were being snarky (whatever that means to you). 
Yes, I see you wasn't. Good by.

Good bye?
What the hell?

Of course I have tried getting ahold of her in a variety of ways, but to no avail...
I am sharing this because I simply cannot understand a religion that creates such fear and distress in its followers.


If you are looking for more posts like this you can read these:

Honestly, I don't have anything else like this.


THEN, just moments ago, I received this message from a friend on Facebook:

Somehow I ended up on the site where you and your Mom were having a discussion. I just wanted to let yo
u know that I commend you for being so kind to your Mom. Unfortunately she's not going to listen while she's only thinking from an emotional state. She's missing out on the fact of what wonderful daughter she has. Even though you and I have differences and some similarities in our belief system, I have found you to be open and honest on who you are and what you believe but have never pushed or forced your ideas on others.
Not sure where I'm going with this, just wanted to let you know how great I think you are! 



Addendum, the next day:

I need to THANK the people who have contacted me on this blog, on FB, and personally. There are many wonderful people with empathy for the pain of others and I feel like this experience has reinforced my appreciation of the human race.

I have been contacted by perfect strangers who saw the meme and reached out to me in sincere compassion and empathy.
I truly do believe in the goodness of people.


  1. I'm really sorry to hear this. It's so difficult to maneuver in the christian world when you aren't one and it's even worse when being who you are alienates others because of who they are. It shouldn't have to be that way. I hope your mother will come to understand you and APPRECIATE you for who you are.
    My thoughts are with you.


    1. Mae, I think that, with time, this will pass.
      I honestly think she is dealing with her own 'demons' and she is not really thinking straight...especially with regards to me.

      But seriously, isn't that meme brilliantly funny?
      I generally do not post anything rude...but I did have to "like" the irony in that one...

  2. I am so, so sorry. (((hugs)))

    I went 10 years without talking to my mother, and another 3 without seeing her. For me, having someone toxic out of my life was less painful than having her in it, but it still hurt tremendously that she couldn't tolerate me being me.

    And it wasn't even religion.

    I can't say anything but...I understand, and it hurts like hell. And it will always hurt.


    1. Thank you so much Darlene.
      (((accepting your hugs!)))

      I do hope that when my children are adults, I can accept and love them without holding back for anything. I can honestly not understand that...

  3. Complicated, to say the least. I know it must be terribly upsetting, horribly upsetting. Let it go for now. She can't possibly be serious with the final good-bye. How hurtful. I don't understand the reaction. So unfair. I'm with ya. Kendra

    1. <3
      I knew you would be.

      I think it will blow over, but her propensity for drama and painful things astonishes me.

  4. Oh Karen, so sorry to hear that you have this drama in your life right now. I recently had to unfriend (such a funny verb...) Ben's dad and his wife because their fb accounts consist entirely of dishonest, mean spirited posts against abortion and atheism, and farmville ads. If your religion requires you to purposely insult people I love I'm not going to be a party to it.

    It's got to be extra hard because you can't hop in a car right now and go visit her to talk it out. :(

    Whenever someone seeks out a argument like that with someone they love I can't help but think it might be because of an unresolved conflict within themselves. Often it's cognitive dissonance causing them personal distress, and the argument is their way of trying to resolve the world to fit their assumptions and expectations.

    Maybe it would be helpful to you to see it in this light: It's not you she is taking issue with, it's the inability to reconcile some of the questions that arise in life through religious means. You're just the person she feels most safe arguing these problems with. It's like how siblings can be so mean to one and other because they know, ultimately, that the other sibling will still be there for them in the end.

    It sounds like your mom is trying to grapple with some heavy stuff, and it's much easier to focus that frustration over the world not fitting neatly with her belief system at you rather than re-evaluating everything she's ever thought about morality and existence.

    I'm so sorry hon. You know your mom best, do you think this will all blow over once you get back to town? It's a lot harder to refuse to talk to someone over fb drama when they are in the same room as you. ;)

    Peace, Mary C.

    1. <3

      I do think she is refocusing her feelings about things onto me, yes.
      But I don't know that her heavier feelings are in regards to religion. Maybe, but I think she is pretty comfortable with NOT thinking about if a belief in a god makes sense and more with feeling her mortality.

      Although she hasn't told me, I know that she feels that she is nearing death. NO, she is not ill. I can't really adequately explain her anxiety and depression here... But I am certain that the idea of heaven and being reunited with her husband and mother comfort her.

      So, ultimately you are right. She is placing those fears on me. But let's also add the fact that we are here. She is feeling very alone and distant from us.

      Lots and lots of love, Mary.

  5. My mom and I have things we do not talk about. There are subjects that are absolutely forbidden because we do not and will not ever agree. We don't talk too much about religion, to be honest, though I think she continues to wish I was Catholic. But then, I think, she's always kind of known I have had questions and I have dabbled in other beliefs so I think she's used to it. Not sure how it would be though if she had access to Facebook. It's hard though, when you feel like you can't entirely be yourself because you have to think of how you are affecting others. It shouldn't be that way though and I'm so sorry that you are dealing with this. (((HUGS)))

    1. But I do feel like I a entirely myself. She just added her religion's slant of "atheist=satanic" crap.

      But you are absolutely right, she and I generally don't talk about religion much. The times it has come up, she usually looks at me and says, "Grandma would be so hurt by that, Kay." And I reply, "Maybe, Mom, but I think she would still love me very much."

  6. *HUGS* I don't know what else to say, so just *BIG HUGS*.

  7. Hi Karen,

    I stumbled upon your blog and I am astounded at how much we have in common. I am a homeschool mom to 2 children. My daughter is 14 and my son is 12. My daughter is, let's say.... "spirited", and my son is as easy as can be. My daughter has been obsessed with Australia for years. Most specifically... Brisbane! We are from NY (Long Island & Brooklyn), but we just moved to NC last year. We are also devout athiests. Not wishy-washy athiests, but hardcore anti-theist athiests. My husband comes from an Italian, Roman Catholic family and even went to Catholic school. I was not raised religious, but my mom was raised Irish Catholic and had her own issues with that. She considered herself athiest when I was born and somehow has come full circle and now considers hersef a Christian. My entire family are non-churchgoing Christians. My husband loves to be snarky on FB about religion & politics, but I am completely non-confrontational and keep my comments to myself, as often as possible! It was much easier in NY because there were many more open minded people and religion wasn't as palpable as it is here in NC. Needless to say, being an athiest in the bible belt hasn't been easy. Being asked "what church we've chosen", totally assuming we GO TO church, really boils my blood. When I tell them we don't go to church, the conversation pretty much ends there. They will never get to know about all the charities I volunteer for, all the animals I've rescued, the random acts of kindness that I do, or that I cry instantly when I see or hear anyone else crying, because I can't stand when others are sad or in pain. I don't go to church, so I must be a bad person, is what they've been brainwashed to believe. Very sad.
    I am sorry that your mom is putting her religious beliefs before her daughter. That's what religion does, It pits people against each other and creates divisions that wouldn't otherwise be there.
    Well, I just wanted to tell you that I really enjoy your blog and that you are not alone!

    1. YOU ARE AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Would you believe that my mother's name is Yvonne??????

      I know that her fears and beliefs come from her is AWFUL how religions encourage discord like that. I am so grateful to be free of that FEAR.

      PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE come back again and again!

  8. Mom and I usually don't talk about religion at all. Not because I don't or won't but because she is...well, as you see, and she feels unable to talk to me.
    So when I came home and saw her spouting off on an atheist meme I thought the sharks were going to take her down! But the person who DID reply to her was so kind it surprised me. (LOL)

    I guess she saw people posting rude things (all of which I, generally, agree with...but I don't post rude things as a rule...) and she thought that this was the "secret atheist ME"....
    *eye roll*

    Like there is a SECRET ATHEIST way to be...

    I can express my annoyance, but I am genuinely concerned that she will remove herself from my life and the lives of my children.
    We don't see eye to eye on most things, but I love her very much. She's my mom.
    I am hurting right now.
    We haven't "talked" since (I am living in Australia and she is back home in America.) In fact, I'm sure that a part of her feelings are from feeling so far away from me...

    Sincere THANKS to my friends who have offered their loving support.
    I appreciate it more than these words can express.
    Your love helps.

  9. That's the thing about religion... it puts itself above people. It gives excuses for hurting people. It insists that it be more important than human relationships. The Abraham test can be a bit of a joke in some atheist circles, but growing up as a child in a religious family it was always very real to me. God required that my parents be willing to sacrifice me. That came metaphorically true for me when I was 14 and my parents become convinced that I was possessed. I was lucky, in the end, that my parents were able to acknowledge (albeit a decade later) that I am a good person and that I am living a life that is focused on helping others. They can see that, although it still pains them that I am not "saved". I'm sorry, that isn't the most helpful or uplifting comment. I just wanted to say that I know what it feels like, and that your kids are so lucky to have you.

    1. Soph-My heart is breaking for 14-year-old you.
      And 15-year-old you. And 16-year-old you...

      My family has NEVER been outwardly RELIGIOUS at all and so, therefore, I have never had to consider for a single moment if my parents would sacrifice me. ***SHUDDER***

      I have to know, how does a child/teen "recover" from that? Or move past that???

      My very mild experience doesn't even compare to that. (((YOU)))

    2. A lot of counselling ;)
      And I was fortunate that Australia has good safety-net provisions. I was able to live independently in my mid-teens because what happened was sufficiently dramatic to qualify me for welfare even though I was under-age.

  10. Karen,
    My mom has shunned me for the better part of 10 years. I was raised in a very strict religion if do this and don't ask questions. I don't want to sit here and write a whole book on my phone but it took me having to give up all my friends and family to become the person I am today. I did talk to my mom briefly when my grandma died. she hugged me and that was that, nothing since. she told me that I was going to be destroyed by god, that my kids were going to die. the list of manipulation has no end. I am a much better,much freer person but it wasn't easy. sorry for your situation. not having a mom can leave a scare on your heart.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this.
      I am lucky enough to have a mother who is able to move beyond this and to struggle her way back to me...I'm so sad for those who can't do miserable their religion makes them and the people who love them!

  11. I just found your blog through a group today. And started reading, then found this blog. Without knowing the story, it sounds like your mom has chosen to end the relationship because of you being Atheist?? I am so sorry. I am a Christian and believe we all have freedom to believe in what we want. As a mom, I hurt for you. I hope I never do this to my children. As parents, we should love our children unconditionally. It seems like, all too often, it's the Christian parents that impose conditions and forget our children have freedom of choice. I'm so sorry you have to go through this.

    1. Thank you, Lauree.
      Mom and I are doing fine now.
      I think she has times when it is harder for her. She tries though.
      There is much back story to this event that I talk about here...she felt very unrespected on Facebook by some people on an atheist group and she felt like their attitudes reflected mine.
      I know that her distress was genuine. In these blog posts I talk about the situation from my own point of view, but I do know that Mom was truly in pain and confusion.
      Happily, after our discussions, things are back on the right track with Mom and I! We are very very close and I am pleased to be back there with her.



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