Why Didn’t You Tell Me?

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”  ― M. Scott Peck

One of the things that my mom has said to me several times is “why didn’t you tell me?” Why didn’t I tell her I was having a faith crisis? Why didn’t I tell her that the AH was having a faith crisis? Why didn’t I say anything? Why would I go through that alone? I actually think that my whole family wonders this. Wonders why neither the AH or I said a thing about what we were thinking and feeling about God and Christianity, about the Bible. My first inclination was to say, I don’t know! I don’t know why I didn’t say anything! However, I do know. At least I think I do. I knew that this would not be taken lightly by my family and it would upset everyone. They would spend a lot of time and energy trying to convince me that my questions, while good ones, needed to be directed at God and I could find my answers in the Bible. While the AH was searching and looking for his answers, I was desperately trying to figure out a way to change his mind. To make him forget all the stuff he had learned and to just believe again(yes, I actually thought these things in the beginning and have been told to do the same thing by others, now I understand that this is not how it works. Silly me!). I was scared and mad. Mad that this was happening and afraid of what would happen if my family found out. I felt at the time, and knew they would feel the same way, that what he was doing was a very bad and dangerous thing. He was putting our souls at risk. All of us, his, mine and our children. I guess I wanted to hide it all, tell no one, until I could convince him that he was wrong(seriously, ugh).

As you know, on my journey to try to convince him otherwise and to become more knowledgeable myself, I too began to question what I believed. I didn’t want to burden anyone else with my thoughts and questions, it was such a burden at the time. I also felt that I would not get an unbiased answer from my family. I knew what they would say. I also have always been pretty private with my religious beliefs. I felt like the relationship that I had with my God was between him and me. I didn’t need anyone else giving me their opinion on how they thought it should be. I kept it to myself because I didn’t want to be viewed as a hypocrite. I hated how hypocritical everyone seemed to me.

That and the fact that I think I’m very guarded when it comes to sharing my most inner thoughts with others. In my past experiences that only got me hurt and deeply disappointed many times. I also felt that this was my journey and I had to travel that road alone. It was such a long, lonely road at the time. Perhaps I should have shared some of it with my family it might have made it easier when I finally come to my conclusion and deconverted. I know there is still a lot of confusion on my families part about what happened. How did I go from a Christian to not believing at all? When I try to answer those questions things become heated between some family members. My answers don’t seem to be good enough for some of them, but they are the only answers I have. They are how I got from there to here. I know that most, if not all, of my family wish I would still believe and view me and my beliefs as something bad. Thinking that I have nothing to live for and that my morals are now in question. They think nothing could be worse than to lose sight of God. I’m on the other side of that now. It’s good here. I’m not ashamed that I used my brain to think this stuff through. I’m not ashamed that I did the research when I had questions. I’m sorry I have disappointed those I love, though some of them have surly disappointed me too. I’m not sorry that my children will have the tools to think things through and not just take someone or something’s word for it not matter how silly it seems.

So, I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t trust anyone. I was ashamed because I viewed what was happening as bad. I truly thought God would intervene in someway to confirm that he was real. That was when the AH was deconverting. I didn’t tell anyone when I began to questions because I didn’t trust anyone. I was scared and trying to figure out who I was without God. How to live my life as an unbeliever. What the next step was. All things that had to answer myself, not someone else. Where I live, this is the path less traveled. This makes me a minority. I’ve had to come to terms with being “different from those I love. I had to come to terms with the looks of pity and the guilt of not following tradition.

For all those reasons and probably a few more I did not tell anyone. Well, anyone but the internet that is.

“Life is complex. Each one of us must make his own path through life. There are no self-help manuals, no formulas, no easy answers. The right road for one is the wrong road for another…The journey of life is not paved in blacktop; it is not brightly lit, and it has no road signs. It is a rocky path through the wilderness. ”  ― M. Scott Peck

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About theagnosticswife

Living in the bible belt, in middle America, with a once Christian husband who has turned Agnostic. I no longer know what I believe.
This entry was posted in About Me, Agnostic, Atheist, Family, God, Life, Outing Oneself and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Why Didn’t You Tell Me?

  1. Michael Mock says:

    Hmph.
    “Why didn’t you tell anyone?”
    “Why? In the long run, do you think it would have made any difference?”

    • Yes, I think they do think it would have made a difference.

      The difference would have been, they could have tried to talk me out of it. Probably by using biblical scriptures and guilt and blaming it all on the AH, then not liking him for it. Oops, that last part already happened, but you get the point.

      • Michael Mock says:

        I’m sure they *do* think it would have made a difference. That’s why my immediate response is to question that assumption. What arguments, exactly, do they think would have made a difference *then* but no longer work *now*? And how could those arguments lose their effectiveness? That only seems possible if they weren’t based on finding the truth, but rather on social pressure and similar things.

        The question itself – “Why didn’t you say something?” – assumes that things could have gone differently if only they’d known in time. I dislike that assumption – both because I think it’s incorrect, and for what it implies about how they’d have gone about trying to bring you back into the fold – so my reflex is to try to get them to think about those issues.

        Of course, the other response – the one you’ve already given here – is “Because I was afraid you would react exactly the same way you eventually *did* react, and I didn’t think I could deal with that while I was trying to sort out something this huge.” And that’s equally valid, and equally likely to make them question the reasons that they’re reacting the way they are.

        I guess what bothers me about the question is that indicates that your mom is still clinging to the illusion of control – to the idea that this was something that she should (or ever could) have prevented. It’s not, and it never was… and I don’t think it’s healthy for her to keep assuming that she should get to decide what you believe.

        Gets my hackles right up, it does.

      • The last paragraph is so true. I know for a fact she felt she might have been able to prevent it if she knew “in time”. At least she felt that in the beginning. I think she also feels like she somehow failed me for not “saving” me.

  2. I think Michael’s got it right, but I also recognise how you felt about it. I still feel like I don’t want to have that conversation until I know where I’m going. I don’t discuss every little detail of what I think about everything, so I’m not going to have a big conversation until and unless I know that there’s something worth talking about.

    I don’t think I’m going to be able to put it off forever, though.

    • I tried to put it off for so long and then I just couldn’t anymore. It’s defiantly not an easy conversation to have or at least it’s not when you have those in your family who are pretty heavily involved with their religion.

  3. Michael Mock says:

    Just in case it wasn’t clear: I was intending to expand and amplify the original post, not offer corrections or alternatives. AW’s points were well-taken, and stand on their own just fine.

  4. tlethbridge says:

    If you could undo the “telling,” would you? I have not read all of your posts and I am not sure if your family learned of your deconversion through the discovery of your blog or if you intentionally revealed it; either way, if you could change that fact now would you want to?

    I ask because I am debating the merits (if any) of revealing my own decision to my own family. I am lucky in that I don’t have the same level of dysfunction to deal with, but I know they would be extremely distressed.

    • I told my mom in Feb. 2011. I wrote about it here. While that went ok on the day I told her, that was the last day it was ok. For almost a year she she wrote me emails or texted me or chatted on FB to me. I wrote all about that. Most of it can be found under the category outing oneself in the category cloud. Her finding the blog was a whole separate issue. I’ve written about it as well, it’s mostly under the outing oneself category too. Pretty much everything that has happened on my journey out of Christianity I have written about.

      Now on to your actual question. Would I undo the telling? No, I would not, though I might have done it differently. I tried for probably a year to keep it from my family. That was really stressful and I’m told by them that I was not doing a very good job of it either. Telling them was very stressful too. With all that said, it’s much less stressful now. I feel comfortable (most of the time) in where I am now. I won’t lie, some relationships have changed. I sometimes feel out of place within my family. So, I guess it depends on your family. How your relationships up until this point has been with them. I knew my mom would not take it well. I knew it would be hard on all of my family.

      It’s a hard decision. I wish you luck in whatever you decide.

  5. ... Zoe ~ says:

    You know Adam Lambert’s song, What do you want from me? Ever sing that tune in your head when thinking about family/friends who just don’t get it? What do they want from you?

    I know, for them it’s a heaven or hell issue. Unless that changes for them, not much will change.

    Dysfunctional relationships existed within your family framework even as a Christian. It’s going to get more dysfunctional with you outside the fold.

    I wonder if your mother had had a crisis of faith if she would have shared with you?

    • Several of Adams songs speak to me. My favorite is Aftermath.

      Wanna scream out, no more hiding
      Don’t be afraid of what’s inside
      Gonna tell ya you’ll be alright
      In the aftermath

      Anytime anybody pulls you down
      Anytime anybody says you’re not allowed
      Just remember you are not alone
      In the aftermath

      I thought of those lyrics so often as I was deconverting and going through family issues. I’ve even like them so much that I have thought about tattooing “just remember you are not alone in the aftermath” on my body somewhere.

      I don’t plan on any of my family changing. I believe we each know where we stand now.

      I don’t think my mom would have come to me with a faith crisis. As a matter of fact, according to her, some of her views have changed in regards to creation long ago. She never shared that with me. I was taught creation, however somewhere she changed her views on that. To tell you the truth I don’t really know what she believes now, I think it is something like, he set the ball rolling on evolution. Like I said I don’t really know. All I know is what I was taught by her and what she believes now in that regard are different and I don’t know when it changed and she did not share that with me.

      • ... Zoe ~ says:

        I like those lyrics.

        It’s funny but there are times my mom has said something like ‘Well you didn’t say anything.’ or ‘Well I didn’t know.’ And yet, when it comes to her stuff she tells me nothing. Like ‘oh by the way we are moving from the town we’ve lived in most of our lives and moving to the city.’ I find out after the decision and things are in motion. Now if I presented myself as upset or bothered by that and why didn’t they tell me she’d say because it’s none of your business. So, I never did act surprised or in shock. Just went along with it. Put the shoe on the other foot though and well, that’s different.

        Anyway, I think you are doing a good job with your situation, you and AH.

      • Thank you Zoe. I appreciate you saying that. 🙂

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