How to handle Grandmother and religion.(21 Posts)
My grandmother is driving me insane! My two youngest boys (11 & 7)have not been Baptised, we decided not to bother and to allow them to decide what if any religion for themselves when they feel ready.
I was christened and married Catholic however life has taken me on a different path and i would now consider myself to be spiritual and not religious. My grandma has become such a strong viewed (to her own perspective!) catholic over the past few year, to the point where when ever we visit its all she seems to talk about with me, she pesters other family members to change my mind, and today she called me whilst i was sat in my office and gave me a tearful 10 minute lecture saying i would leave them in limbo unable to find their families when they die, that i was failing them as a mother, that it was not their choice it was my duty as a mother, that my granddad (RIP) would be so upset with me, etc.
I cant seem to get it through to her, she is so opinionated and i literally have no right in her eyes to have my own thoughts on this. Last year she refused to go to my cousins wedding because it was in a CofE church! She missed out on a beautiful day! She even tells some hindu people she knows that their religion is wrong. I am mortified by how shallow and bigoted she has become over this.
She doesn't live with kindness in her heart and can be rude and nasty at times, so i feel she is just a hypocrite to religion on the whole.
The problem is this is ruining what are my final years with her (she is 86) and i am already very reluctant to visit . I need to have this out with her and stop worrying about upsetting her (because she is very manipulative)
what would you do?
Honestly? I'd stop seeing her. She's being very rude.
Have a religion sounds quite nice but some people just take it all too far.
If there is such a thing as a god then there's bound to me more than one.
Your gran might want to know that limbo isn't an official teaching of the Catholic Church, it's only a theory. www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20070419_un-baptised-infants_en.html
oday she called me whilst i was sat in my office and gave me a tearful 10 minute lecture
Why didn't you put the phone down on her?
A friend of MIL's tried to give us a lecture that we HAD to get DS christened (neither of us are religious) or he'd end up 'in limbo'.
I told her 'That's ok. He loves dancing'.
Thank you for your replies!
Some good advice and glad I am not the only person who has had others inflict religion on them!
The thing with her is that she does one of two things if you don't agree with her
1) she totally ignores my point, refuses to aknowledge what I say
2) starts to shout/cry/get angry and twists it so its me "being nasty" to her.
She is a nightmare. I literally see her once about every 6-8 weeks because I can't be bothered with it. It really shouldn't be like this.
I think I do need to just stand my ground though, infront of other family members so she can't manipulate the situation. To be honest if she gets nasty with it I will just walk away and not go back.
She is a nightmare. I literally see her once about every 6-8 weeks
Why not make that once every 6-8 years? Just say to her "I can't be bothered to have this discussion, I'm not getting them Christened, if you continue to drone on about it I will assume you aren't interested in seeing us" and stay away. Why bother wasting time with people who are unpleasant?
I don't know. Maybe as she's getting older and ready to meet her maker she really is worried about your DC. If anything happens to them she'd like to 'look after them' on the other side. From what you've said, that's her genuine belief. My very anti-religion brother had his DC christened because it meant a lot to his grandparents, even if it was mumbo jumbo to him.
Twowrongs I know where your coming from with that, I just feel that as my grandma she should respect my decisions. After all surely all religions are about being kind to and respecting others. I do feel bad because she is old but that is really no excuse. 😕
After all surely all religions are about being kind to and respecting others.
Well, apart from the people they burn at the stake, of course.
Is she quite well? Just thinking if she's 86, and this has only started in last couple years, does it need looking at a bit more?
' all religions are about being kind to and respecting others' ...maybe they should be but history and current affairs show they aren't in practice. Some seem to be more about fear and control, ruining this one life we have by concerns about what they claim might happen in another one.
Just a couple of thoughts which might or might not be helpful...
The excuse your gran may have for her increasingly unpleasant behaviour is if she is starting to have some form of senility - unfortunately that can happen, maybe something you should consider?
Given that 'limbo' isn't even catholic doctrine, I'm just wondering if you could possibly find a sympathetic priest who'd explain it to her - this situation is nasty for you but its not doing her any good either.
I wouldn't bother trying to explain your point of view anymore. She has given hers, and you have given yours. She is not going to understand your perspective if she hasn't done so far.
What I would do however, is have a serious chat with her and set up some boundaries. This is not a discussion, its time for you to talk and her to listen. You are not trying to justify yourself, or to get her to change her view in any way. But explain clearly she needs to stop with the religious talk. You have very different perspectives and that's okay. You have heard what she has to say, and now its time for her to leave it with you. Tell her that you are grateful for her caring about you and you are happy to have heard her opinion, and you have listened to her. But now its becoming upsetting for you, and you will not engage in further religious discussion with her. Explain what will happen if she does not respect this boundary (you will ignore what she said/change the subject/leave the room/put down the phone etc). Explain that if she continues pushing you and it makes spending time with her distressing or too difficult, then you will back off and not see her anymore. You are both adults and both have a right to your beliefs.
That's what I would do. Its sad if it came to having to not see her anymore, but she is an adult, and has a choice in whether that happens. You are giving her every chance to move forward and maintain a relationship with you.
That sounds entirely sensible and reasonable, but tbh the OPs gran isn't. I fear such an approach would end in what the OP describes - granny crying and saying the OP is being 'nasty'.
Mama, what do other family members think? Are any of them supportive of you or do they think you should humour her?
I agree Errol, it probably will end like that. But the point is that the OP has had a chance to state her position and set the boundary. If granny chooses to react like that, then that is her choice. But from that point on, the OP can legitimatly (sp?) and consistently ignore and not engage with the religious chat. IYSWIM.
I think Wonderwoo's sentiment is correct. You're adults and you need to respect each other's opinions and it doesn't sound like she is respecting yours.
I would be concerned about her state of mind tbh. Could it be worth writing her a letter with clear bullet points on it rather than trying to have a verbal discussion with her? Removes some of the opportunity for emotive reactions...
I second the advising her to chat to a sympathetic priest.
My parents were in this situation but my mother's Catholic family were told that good people would escape Purgatory on their own merits or in response to prayer, and they have always been lovely to me. In contrast to my dad's Methodist family who called my mother and I "spawn of Satan" for years...
Is she a kind and generous person in other ways and truly worried, or just literally "holier than thou"?
My grandma went religiously ranty at this age. In her case she was showing clear signs of dementia and was also accusing people of other more obviously strange things.
We had to prune her address book with a thick black indelible marker pen.
(ps I have had other very elderly relatives slip into dementia and this was the only one who was like this. Usually they got nicer )
It could be a first sign of dementia. Or it could be just an older person getting more and more fixed and right wing in their beliefs as they get older.
I have spent the week stuck with the ILs ranting about Brexit and illegal immigrants and am well and truly fed up. It has been very upsetting for DH who remembers them being very pro-European Guardian readers in his childhood but as they have aged a drift has occurred and the list of topics we can talk about has shrunk as they are always 'right', everything was better 'in the old days' and a hint of debate and we 'are being nasty to them'. Only one of them has dementia and he's the easiest one to get on with
If you would prefer to solve it rather than drift away, can you ask her church leader their thoughts and ask them to speak to her?
Only if they don't share her view that lectures and guilt trips to you are the way to go of course.
My Jehovah's witness fil told me my ds will burn in hell because I didn't christen him within the Christian church. Arsehole. I see him as little as I can. When he gave Ds a bible I just put it high on a book shelf. It's up to you how you raise your kids. Better to beleive in the now than a book suposidly written 200 years after the fact.
As the Beatles once said. Love is all you need.
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