Question- Do I regret telling my family of my unbelief?

Anothernone contacted me by email a month ago. She had several questions and shared a bit of her story. I promised to answer her question and then I forgot! With all the holidays and such I just forgot. That was until she emailed me again to ask about setting up her own blog. I’m so glad she emailed again because I wanted to answer her and quite frankly she been nice to talk to.

Here is what she asked.

I am asking this of you and anyone else that has deconverted from any religion: Do you regret telling your family or in your case, your family finding out?

To be honest sometimes I do regret telling my family. With that said I don’t believe that it could be kept a secret for very much longer anyway. I outed myself in two ways now that I look back on it. The first being my stance on homosexuals. I saw some pretty hateful stuff coming across my Facebook feed and I just could not let that go without saying something.  It was hate filled and wrong. That gave my mom a hint that some of my views had changed. It also, if I remember correctly, got a bible quote in the comment section of a post I commented on.

The second way I was outed was telling her that I didn’t want her to tell my kids to pray to God when they were scared or worried. Her actual question to me was would the AH be upset if she told them that. When I hesitated in my response she knew something was up and asked if I minded if she told them that. You can read about that here.

I don’t regret that they know. I do wish that it had went smoother and maybe that I had done it a different way, at a time when I felt ready to confront their questions and to better deal with their reactions to it. I wish that it hadn’t caused tension in an already at times, tense relationship. I wish my mom’s anger and fear hadn’t made her say some things that have been very hurtful and have resulted in a more distant relationship with her. I regret that I hurt her and my brother, well all my family for that matter, they just took it the hardest.

I do not regret the journey that I went on. While it was intense at times, I do not regret how I think and feel about religion now. The farther away from it I get the sillier some of it seems to me. I have a new-found respect for people, things and life in general. When you realize that it really is the only one you get it becomes much more meaningful. At least in my experience.

Anyone else have anything they’d like to add for Anothernone?

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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, Life, Outing Oneself and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Question- Do I regret telling my family of my unbelief?

  1. Eldon says:

    The most difficult thing for me was telling my wife. She had already suspected but until that point nothing was certain. It was a big blow for her, to be sure and I think I could have done a better job of it.

    That was almost three years ago.

    Since then my life has been up and down like crazy. We were even semi-separated at one point. We’re okay now but we’re distant at best. We don’t have big discussions for fear of making things shitty again.

    At this point, we have so many physical and financial limitations, any separation would probably destroy us.

    Sucks.

  2. liza says:

    I’ve questioned religion since I was about 12, so there was no “coming out” for me – I’d been having religious discussions with my parents for a long time before we all realized I was an atheist. But when I see how destroyed some family relationships become, and how forceful people (who love each other) can be over religion, I have a new understanding of how there can, in fact, be wars over religion…..scary!

  3. jinkies says:

    I haven’t come out to my family. I would love to be able to, so that I could be honest with other people, but I just can’t do it. It would make my and my husband’s life horrible, further distance myself from my family and my mom. There are so many people who I can’t tell and it’s frustrating.

  4. anothernone says:

    Thank you AW so much for posting my question! I truly appreciate your willingness to help me. It is interesting that 2 of the 3 replies thus far have had, or could potentially have, bad outcomes when it comes to being honest with family about their non-belief.

    Eldon, I am so sorry that your wife is having such a hard time with your non-belief. I was wondering if you had told anyone else? Or did that conversation go so terribly that you don’t want to risk telling anyone else?

    Liza, I am glad you had it easy! Were you raised in a religious or secular home?

    Jinkies, you and I are in the same boat. This boat frickin’ sucks!!!!

  5. bumfuzzled says:

    I’m sort of like Liza. My parents were never “religious” but my grandparents were (are), especially the grandmother I spent all my weekends with. She is the one who indoctrinated me into the Southern Baptist way of thinking aka Hellfire and Brimstone. It was cruel if you ask me.

    My parents haven’t been an issue for me. It’s mostly been the rest of the family and my in-laws. My husband is a believer of sorts but is no fan at all of “religion.” My immediate family knows about my beliefs and are fine with it. Only one of my in-laws knows and it bothers her, but she hasn’t been pushy about it. The rest of them I actually tried to tell and their eyes glazed over and they still act like I am one of “them.” I don’t know if they really didn’t hear me or if they are in denial.

    I feel so bad for those of you who have lost or suffered damage to close relationships because of religion. It must be a strange part of the human brain/mind that I don’t fully understand. The more I think about it, the stranger it seems.

  6. Michael Mock says:

    I was one of those who just sort of wandered off and never came back. My family is pretty much okay with it; I mean, I know it bothers them, and it’s caused some interesting discussions in terms of how my wife and I are raising our children, but as a family we’re pretty big on individual self-determination – plus, I came out of a pretty laid-back, liberal sort of Christianity. More grace, less hellfire and dalmations.

    I moderate a facebook group for atheist/agnostic children of Christian parents (and another for the Christian parents) . I’m not on my usual computer, so I don’t have the links handy, but if you hit my blog and do a search, it should be pretty easy to find. Anyone looking for support is welcome to join, and anyone who’s coming out to their parents/family is welcome to send family members over to the corresponding group.

  7. -rb says:

    Kudos to you to have had the courage and strength to “come out”. It sounds like it was difficult. I have always felt like I need to be true and honest, and if that means some folks will disassociate with me, then it’s a shame, but that choice is on them. I don’t want to live a lie. Good luck!

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