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 Post subject: religion and fear of change
PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 5:04 pm 
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Hi. OK.....I haven't been on for a bit because I've been working on things and trying to get more centered. Things have been coming at me like epiphanies lately and I'm not sure why. Part of me is scared that it is all another jump to try on a new me and another part feels strong and confident and happy with the changes. It's like I'm finally learning to listen to my own inner voice. I'm happy because I've always liked that girl. I'm scared because my parents and many others don't really like her. She's a bit of a challenge to the status quo....a unique and dynamic individual who passionately enjoys challenging the status quo.....but not in a violent or disrespectful way. I've always just been...and by being....I was a threat to my parents.

OK....so maybe I'm being vague. Let me explain. But I'll keep it brief.....my mom and dad have unresolved issues around religion and as a result, I've been very confused most of my life. I tried to find a religious home that was more "me" but since I never really felt good about being "me" I never stayed at any place I've chosen. Both of them grew up in protestant households and rejected it all as adults. They brought us up with no religious education or guidance. I have always sought spirituality....a sense of connection with the divine. In college I tried many faiths.....Presbyterianism, Quakerism, Catholicism, and then just stuck with Taoism.....it was safest.

Now, I want to start exploring Christianity again......but there is such a deep seated and ingrained voice in my head that talks badly about it I hesitate everytime I think about it. My mother's voice is angry and hostile...but that doesn't scare me. The part that scares me is her condescension for all people who "believe". I have always felt like it was OK to believe in the "Tao" because it is just the way of nature.....who can argue with that? My parents never understood it but it also doesn't threaten them because they have no clue about it. But to become more Christian would threaten them because it is a path they rejected years ago.

Maybe you too don't understand about the Tao, or Christianity, or even religion. That's OK....I really don't need this to be about religion as much as about overcoming part of BPD. As it was manifested in me...BPD is a result of my parents' constant disdain for my person and my choices.....from the time I was tiny....(when I was born my dad was really mad that I was a girl and then he fought with my mom so much she had a nervous breakdown sometime around when i was 3 months old). The point is.....I have to learn to overcome the negative internal talk that puts me down for the choices I make, the passions I have and for the need I have to be more spiritual then they are. I need to learn to separate and be able to still face them as a strong and happy 40 year old woman. Right now, I can't do that. Ugh.....why can't I let it go????


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 Post subject: Re: religion and fear of change
PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:15 am 
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Hi Skiotter :)

I wonder if you know that it is a normal and expected thing as we enter our 40s to find ourselves needing "something more" in the form of spirituality? I ran off to a Buddhist monastery when I was 40! I spent 3&1/2 years there, trying to absorb what I needed. I don't think it matters what faith we choose, it is the search for answers that helps us to mature.
As for your parents (and interestingly, I was also a disappointment to one of mine because I was a girl) they cannot be threatened by what they don't hear. BY that I mean, if you know they will never be accepting of, or even genuinely interested in who you are and the things that inspire you, why talk to them about it? For years I ran my relationships with my parents this way, I mean just leaving most of my life out of conversations with them, and although it meant things were quite superficial between us, it also meant no conflict, no hurtful rejection of things that mattered to me. I guess that may be one form of the letting go you were asking about. I'm not sure how it is done, but I do know it means being willing to grieve the loss of the hoped-for loving and supportive parents we never had.
Peace be with you...you "strong and happy 40 year old woman!"


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 Post subject: Re: religion and fear of change
PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:32 pm 
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Let me begin by stating that I am not a religious person, but was raised such and rejected it much like your parents. I'm not anti-religion or anything, just more scientifically-minded. I do have interest, but I lack faith......

Anyway, my point is maybe your parents will not be as disapproving as you assume. I'm sure you have talked to them about this in the past and it has not gone well.....but if you have conviction in your choices, and show them this is not some passing phase (assuming it isn't) and that this choice truly makes you happy.......what is there for them to complain about? They aren't being asked to become religious or do anything differently, just respect YOUR choice in the matter, right? Try approaching the subject from a place of "I choose this and I would like you to respect me and my choice" rather than "This is who I am and you have to like it so there" kinda thing.....do you see the difference? Does that make sense to you in your world?

Quote:
I have always felt like it was OK to believe in the "Tao" because it is just the way of nature.....who can argue with that? My parents never understood it but it also doesn't threaten them because they have no clue about it. But to become more Christian would threaten them because it is a path they rejected years ago.

Are you certain they didn't question you just because they didn't understand it? Maybe they saw you happy with this choice? Maybe they don't really care what you choose for your religion as long as you have really put time and effort ant aren't being 'suckered' into anything? Maybe they are horrified at the thought of you becoming Christian-- who knows? I still feel like some assumptions are being made......You choosing religion (any religion) doesn't threaten them-- re-read separation of stuff. Your religion is YOUR stuff, their religious choice is THEIR choice, the two don't involve one another, you are an adult.

Quote:
I have to learn to overcome the negative internal talk that puts me down for the choices I make, the passions I have and for the need I have to be more spiritual then they are. I need to learn to separate and be able to still face them as a strong and happy 40 year old woman. Right now, I can't do that. Ugh.....why can't I let it go????

You seem to care more what they think about your choice than you care what YOU think about Your choice. See the disconnect?

YOU decide what's best for you and when and why and for how long. Of course you care what your parents think.....but at 40, you need to decide if you are happy living their life or you want to begin your own.

Best to you, none of this is easy stuff and religious beliefs (or lack thereof) can be very deep and strong. I do think it boils down to you deciding (choosing) to be true to yourself and hoping (maybe even wanting) those you love to support your decisions. But in the end, it's you and your life-- you have to live with the choice, they don't. Things in real life aren't black and white, do this don't do that, one way or another. Maybe with your parents, with open and honest and non-emotional dialog......you can all find the grey areas of religion or anything else. Be yourself and I think you may be surprised at the level of support you receive, inside and out.

Oh, and congrats on the epiphanies!! Good stuff!! :biggrin

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 Post subject: Re: religion and fear of change
PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:56 pm 
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Hi skiotter -- good to see you again!

I've struggled with the faith/religion stuff most of my life in one way or another. I was brought up going to a mainstream Protestant church (Episcopal), though it was only my mother who showed any interest in any of that -- my father only showed up in church for weddings or funerals, and reluctantly even then.

There have been times in my life when I've felt extremely alone spiritually -- God is very far away, not listening to me at all -- and also times when I've felt that He is definitely supporting me through the church community I belong to. (I'm pretty isolated socially, so attending church is my primary social contact. Sometimes when I'm full of doubt, I feel like a total hypocrite being there, but I know it wouldn't be good for me to withdraw from there and become even more of a hermit. Hopefully God understands.)

I think you should do what feels right to you, and if that is exploring Christianity, then go for it regardless of what your parents think. Harmonium is right -- this is YOUR stuff, and your parents' reaction is THEIR stuff and irrelevant to your decision. I know it can feel scary, even for those of us "of a certain age," to defy our parents. We want to do right in their eyes. We don't want to be abandoned (again) if they reject us for our beliefs. But this is a good place to practice your boundaries.

I have a sister who is categorically against any form of organized religion, and when I occasionally talk about my spiritual journey with her, I know she thinks I'm engaged in a worthless quest, tilting at windmills. She's totally entitled to her opinion, and I don't even attempt to argue with her. I respect her point of view, and I ask her to respect mine in terms of not putting me down for feeling the way I do.

On the other hand, I have a friend who is a Baptist and a LOT more conservative than I am, religiously and socially and politically. I know she thinks some of my beliefs are "un-Christian," and I leave it at that. Her views are not my responsibility. I'm undertaking some study to try to learn more -- to actually read through the Bible, and eventually to explore some of the different theologians -- to try to figure out *for myself* what is behind my faith. Maybe it will be deepened, and maybe I'll decide that religion doesn't offer much to me. I'm open either way. It's all a journey.

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I can take it in small doses, but as a lifestyle I found it too confining. -- Jane Wagner


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 Post subject: Re: religion and fear of change
PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:52 pm 
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:torn

Thank you Sari, Harmonium, and Northof49.....

I've been pondering all of your responses, your ideas, your experiences the past few days. You've all brought up ideas that resonate.......

Abandonment is real....but part of my history and time has come to just deal with it. I have so much more in my life it is ridiculous that I keep hanging on to the negative experiences I've had....but I guess that's part of this whole BPD. I also think maybe I tend to transfer my doubts about my own decisions onto my idea of my parents that just isn't real anymore. They just want me to be happy......they don't really care how it comes about.

So, back to religion....I think I try to latch onto something concrete and "popular" when I'm feeling lonely or threatened. I know I believe in something more than the current understanding of science.....but my beliefs don't really fit into any one religion. Maybe that's just fine too....

I'm still exploring......and changing.....


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 Post subject: Re: religion and fear of change
PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 7:13 pm 
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Location: Reality ~ It's a great place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there!
I don't "preach" my spiritual beliefs to anyone but I think it can be an important thing to discuss since so many people are seeking and don't know where to look. I was raised without a spiritual upbringing by my parents too and unfortuantely that left me open to Satanism at an early age (I became a "bride of Satan" when I turned 7 since the couple who ran the in-home daycare I attended were Satanists). I ended up back in a Satanic group when I was a teenager since it was my foster brother's chosen religion (I made the choice to attend rituals with him) and I have dabbled in witchcraft on and off for many years but I have made a choice to reject those teachings as an adult.

I was led to Christianity ten years ago after being strongly opposed to anyone preaching Christianity at me since I was taught that Jesus was a bastard and Mary was a whore. Now that I have a more personal relationship with God I don't want to stray again and yet I still have a Father God / Mother Earth concept that is not very Christian. I tend to be eclectic in my beliefs so I do not identify with any particular Christian denomination and I am still asking questions as a means of seeking answers.

I have provided Christian teaching to both my daughters and they have both made the choice to be baptized into Christianity, my older daughter at the age of eight and my younger daughter at the age of seven. Still, I consider their beliefs their own and I would never tell them what they should believe. I think it is good to question and seek answers so I encourage my daughters to do the same in all areas of their lives. My daughters do not have to share my beliefs just because I am their mother.

I am going through some difficult times with my older daughter, who turned 18 in January. While she wants to be an adult, there are still household rules she must follow if I am going to continue to support her financially. She has chosen to move in with her boyfriend and let him support her and while I think it is a mistake it is her mistake to make. She is the one living with the consequences of her choices and she is the one living her life as she chooses. I still love her and yet I have had to set limits by telling her that just because she has an interest in her boyfriend and the other two couples she is staying with, does not mean that I have to take an interest in them as well. It was hard for me to see her with a shiner after getting involved in a fight her boyfriend was fighting (he is still recovering from a fractured skull and broken ribs from the last time he was jumped) but there is nothing I can do about her choice to be with someone who is unable to handle conflict more appropriately. For now she believes the outrageous lies he has told her but one day his lies will catch up with him and she will be able to see what I see already. The point is, I can completely disagree with the lifestyle she is choosing for herself and I can disapprove of the people she hangs out with but those are her choices to make and I will keep loving her as my daughter.

It is good that you recognize that your parents want what they think is best for you and they want you to be happy. I think it is important to distinguish between their rejection of the choices you have made versus rejecting you as their daughter. You have the ability to focus on the positive things in your relationship with your parents or the negative things about your relationship but you will probably enjoy spending time with them more if you can let go of some of the negative things. It sounds like you already understand that the things you like the most about yourself may not be the things other people like in you so you may have to choose how much of yourself you want to share with others. I know that there are things I probably don't want to know about my own daughter since I already know that she lies and steals so she does not tell me about all of her choices, knowing that I would disapprove. She is at an age now where she needs to parent herself because I am no longer responsible for her. Sometimes we need to detach ourselves from people we care about enough to allow them to stand on their own, even if that means watching them fall. At your age it would seem that your parents would have learned to separate and not take your choices as a rejection of them but not everyone matures at the same rate.

I am well aware that BPD is usually due to being raised in an "invalidating environment" and as a child you did not have control over the way your parents raised you. You still may not have control over everything in your environment but what you do have control over is whether or not you allow yourself to feel invalidated by others. Because we are social creatures, we all seek approval from others to one degree or another. The thing is that no one is going to approve of who you are in total, not even yourself, so you may need to seek validation from more appropriate sources. If your parents are not Christian, they may not be the best people to validate your desire to learn more about Christianity while the members of a Bible group may give you the validation you need. You have the ability to cross over into other environments rather than expecting one single environment to fulfill all of your human needs for acceptance. If you are a Democrat, you are going to find more support in a Democratic party gathering than in a Republican party gathering. If you are Jewish, you are going to find more acceptance in a tabernacle than in a Nazi rally. It is up to you to put yourself in environments with people that validate your choices, good or bad, rather than to expect other people to come around to your way of thinking in order for you to feel validated by them.

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 Post subject: Re: religion and fear of change
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:04 pm 
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Hello Skiotter:
Re: Parents. Uhmmm...I stopped caring too much about what mine thought about anything. My Life, not theirs. No longer twist myself up wanting their approval for anything. Make any sense? [ dad wanted a son too...]

Quote:
I believe in something more than the current understanding of science.....but my beliefs don't really fit into any one religion. Maybe that's just fine too....

I'm still exploring......and changing.....

Have you explored Buddhism?

Chain of Being, that sort of thing...all is interconnected through the spirit.
True or not, I'll never know till I cross over...I'll worry about it then. In the mean time...do my best to live well and not harm others.


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 Post subject: Re: religion and fear of change
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:26 pm 
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Hi DragoN......

I've been "taoist" most of my adult life......the problem is.....there isn't really anything to being "taoist" so sometimes when I'm insecure or feeling lonely I drift off to something more secure. It never lasts though.....I just drift back and wonder how I could have thought something else would make sense to me.

taoist though make sense to me and helps me realize that everything i go through is really just an opportunity to learn and grow...........sometimes i just don't know what i'm suppossed to learn though.

it helps me to have faith though....knowing that I'm not in control of things around me.....only of my actions.

thanks for reminding me of this post! it was a while ago.

:)


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 Post subject: Re: religion and fear of change
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:39 pm 
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Quote:
it helps me to have faith though....knowing that I'm not in control of things around me.....only of my actions.

Yes....agree with you.


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