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Religious abuse??? I cant think straight.

(24 Posts)
Darkesteyes Sat 22-Feb-14 21:22:07

My parents are moaning about the fact that my DN hasnt been baptized. Shes almost 19 and lives with them. They brought me up as catholic with all the mysogyny hypocrisy and sexism it entailed.
Ive posted on here before about the bullying i receieved when i tried to tell them the truth about my marriage 11 years ago.
My DN told them that shes an athiest (nothing wrong with that in my view) and my dad said "thats hardly the attitude to take"
its up to my DN Shes a bloody adult. Its my DM whos the Catholic but AFAIK she hasnt been to any services for years.
I remember the way i was treated as a teen because of this. it was/still is an emotionally abusive nightmare.

Ive not been coping well recently. Ive been shaking and crying a lot and this has set me off again. And i dont want my DN to go through any of the crap i did. It seems my parents just dont seem to see it.

Lweji Sat 22-Feb-14 21:25:29

Could you ask them why they are so keen on having your niece baptised ad all the catholic stuff if they don't set foot in a church?

Catholics are very strict on attending church. If you don't go every Sunday you are not considered a good catholic.
Challenge her and watch her squirm.

rainbowsmiles Sat 22-Feb-14 21:53:37

Well as a Catholic I've not been brought up with any misogyny and hypocrisy. Quite the opposite although my parents attend mass and are involved spiritually and actively in the practice of their faith.

If your mother is a non practicing Catholic and your neice is 19 it sounds like the Catholicism is but a red herring and the issue is simple emotional and psychological abuse.

ErrolTheDragon Sat 22-Feb-14 21:59:25

Is your DN particularly bothered by it? If she's a happy atheist she may just go hmm and really not care that your parents have this weird attitude. Whether another adult is baptized or not is nobody's business but their own.

"thats hardly the attitude to take" - what century does he think he lives in? confused In many people's opinion it's exactly the 'attitude' to take if that's what you believe - 'to thine own self be true' is better than hypocrisy in most people's book.

Perhaps you and your DN can support each other - you can make sure she knows that it's your parents who have a problem not her.

Darkesteyes Sat 22-Feb-14 22:19:05

YY Errol She asked me about my experiences today. I tryed to stay as objective as i could but my DN has heard my DMs remarks on things like the fact that "shes been married before" (said with disgust while watching Take Me Out)
When she found out id lost my virginity at 18 she told me that i had "spoiled myself for all other men" and the attitude was no sex before marriage. I left home at 19 to live with DH It was just so oppressive as well as repressive.
I know that others have had it much much worse. (Magdelene Laundries for instance) The "spoiled" comment was in 1991 and she still has the same attitude now.

Lavenderhoney Sat 22-Feb-14 22:23:27

If your dn is 19, she can move out. What does she think?

Do you have anyone in rl to talk to about it? Someone neutral? Or a very good friend?

Pigsmummy Sat 22-Feb-14 22:24:44

I don't think that religion is the issue here.

EllaFitzgerald Sun 23-Feb-14 00:19:45

I think Pigsmummy is right. In light of the lack of church attendance, it seems to be less about religion and more about control.

How does your DN cope with it? Does it affect her as much as its affected you? Or is it more water off a duck's back?

StrawberryCheese Sun 23-Feb-14 00:30:48

Could it be less of a religious issue and more of an old fashioned, traditional one?

My mum comes out with things like 'a child who isn't christened/baptised will be a bad'un' and you're not properly married unless it's in a church. It's not because she is very religious (she doesn't go to church either) but more because she thinks that is how things should be done.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 23-Feb-14 05:53:40

You sound very traumatised by their bigoted views and emotionally abusive behaviour, and I agree with PP that religion has very little to do with their attitude. Have you ever sought counselling given that it clearly has the power to upset you this long after the events?

As for your DN does she appear to be damaged by the same treatment or, when she tells you this stuff, does she see it as ridiculous?

NoArmaniNoPunani Sun 23-Feb-14 06:04:31

Why does your DN live with them? I agree with pp, they sound abusive

quietlysuggests Sun 23-Feb-14 06:32:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lweji Sun 23-Feb-14 07:34:44

It does look more like she has entrenched traditional views more than anything.

There's quite a few passages from the New Testament that would apply to her, such about casting the first stone, or the Samaritan story (not the Samaritan himself, but the religious people who went by).

Your mother doesn't sound very nice but her views are similar to mine (except mine is very much a church goer). It's really more about tradition.
Mine would have said the same thing in 1991. smile But in other words.
Regarding your niece I'm not sure there's much you can do but model a slightly joking and dismissive tone with your mother (if you can do it) or offer alternative accommodation.

Darkesteyes Sun 23-Feb-14 15:34:40

Thanks for the replies. Ive been a bit depressed and anxious lately which is probably why im reacting this way.
My DN is quite a strong young woman. Im just annoyed at my parents bullying attitude.
Its like they want ppl to be something they are not. They are happy as long as ppl are doing what they want. And (to my DM especially) apprearances are everything.

Darkesteyes Sun 23-Feb-14 15:38:57

quietly suggests i did say in my OP that its up to my DN as she is an adult. If she is the one who wants to be baptized then i will support her.
Its bullying that i have a problem with.
Having said that she seems able to deal with it.
Im just fed up with their narrow minded views.

Lweji Sun 23-Feb-14 15:43:02

You can't change them. You can only change the way you deal with them.

Maybe take a look at transactional analysis?

Offred Sun 23-Feb-14 18:20:34

I don't think you can say the religion is nothing to do with it. Yes, the behaviour is abusive but where do people talking about "traditional views" think those views come from? They come from the teachings of the church and the behaviour can be encouraged and maintained by the religion.

Now that isn't to say these people are not personally responsible for their abusive behaviour but I don't think you should discount the effect of the support of a religious community/religious teachings on an abuser.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 23-Feb-14 18:36:38

'she seems to be able to deal with it'

I'm sure she just dismisses their pseudo-religious crap with a roll of the eyes and a pitying sigh. It is possible to live with this proselytising rubbish and not feel bullied. If she's a niece, does that mean you have a brother/sister that also experienced the same upbringing? Were they as damaged by it as you clearly are?

Have you ever properly confronted your parents on their beliefs? Faced your fears? Brought them down a peg? Or do you keep quiet and settle for depressed and anxious?

BrunoBrookesDinedAlone Sun 23-Feb-14 19:48:41

'Be careful Mum - DN's the kind of woman to take her responsibilities seriously, unlike some people I know... You end up getting her interested in Catholicism and you'll soon have her making YOU show your face at mass on a Sunday for a change!'

Darkesteyes Sun 23-Feb-14 22:02:17

I have a DB but nowhere near as much was expected of him. Even now he is "protected" from talking about and facing things like death.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 23-Feb-14 22:09:50

And the niece is the child of Golden Balls?

Darkesteyes Sun 23-Feb-14 22:59:42


CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 24-Feb-14 06:22:27

If the more punitive aspects of 'religion' only apply to wayward girls - or more specifically wayward you - then their motivation is clear. Naked double standards and control through bullying. However... back to my original theme... your DN appears to be coping and it's you that needs the help. Have you ever undergone counselling for the effects of your upbringing? Are you still in contact with them? You mention trying to tell them about a bad marriage and getting nowhere. I don't think you'll change people's behaviour when it's this bigoted and entrenched but you can try to find some peace for yourself.

Darkesteyes Mon 24-Feb-14 21:35:02

Thankyou thanks

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