I have realized that I do not have a family in the traditional sense. It’s because of my conversion, I know it.
I had a semi-dysfunctional family and now it’s very dysfunctional. My parents never had issues with my conversion nor did my sister but it’s others in the family. They acted like my conversion was stupid.
First there’s a few people in my father’s family that say that if you are not Catholic, you are nothing. The ironic part is none of them go to Mass unless there is a wedding or a funeral going on. They would probably pin my grandmother’s death on me if they could because she died three months after I left the Catholic church. They would probably say that it was punishment from God.
Please, I get that from a friend and I just side-eye him.
These family members always seemed to be fair-weathered towards my mom who they know has always been a Baptist. Now my mom doesn’t believe this is true but I actually do because I know how petty some people get about this stuff. There are actually some cultures that will shun you if you marry someone who isn’t of the same religious or ethnic background as you are so yes, I think they could be doing something like this.
They also said thing to me that makes me think that they really don’t want any Baptists in their family. When a friend of the family acted like my church was evil, a relative went along with it and said that we handle snakes and speak in tongues which is completely false. But for some reason they were okay with my one cousin converting to Pentecostal? What the what?
I also had a falling out with a sibling which the final straw was because of a issue I had with a (non-believing) cousin. It is something I refuse to get into but let’s just say it involved something I said not addressed to the offending relative on Facebook, them gaslighting me, and me standing up for my rights. It then concluded with the relative posting everything in a public post and them along with their siblings and my sibling’s spouse bullying me on Facebook and saying the cousin should get me for harassment. It turned into an issue we couldn’t do anything about because of this and other complicated reasons. And besides, the cops would have seen it as a “their word against mine” situation for me even with the screengrabs this relative showed online.
But the sibling and their spouse had an issue with me leaving the Catholic church and going somewhere else. The spouse had an issue with the church I finally joined and they would say certain people are “a-holes” even though they didn’t know them.
I know that relationship basically deteriorated because I found a spiritual life where I had fulfillment. It still angers me to this day because if it were the other way around, I would have probably said, “It’s your choice.”
I am mostly angered because we are taught as Christians that family is God’s gift of love. Sometimes I wonder if God really does love me because frankly, my gift sucks and unlike a tangible gift you get from a person, this one has no gift receipt, no store to return it to, and no way to exchange for something of better quality and/or something you really like.
So yes, I feel like God was shopping at one of those “All Sales Are Final” things when He picked my gift of family. It’s very depressing.
It’s depressing to find out pressing family news by third parties because your relatives hate your guts. It’s depressing to have your own sibling not speak to you and it’s really heartbreaking when you realize that when you were in the float for your church at the town’s Christmas parade, their cheering and waving was all a show.
Right now, I am very depressed about it. I sometimes wonder if God is punishing me because I left and started this more satisfying life for myself. People tell me it’s the opposite but I don’t fully believe it and the reason why is because I have so many people in my life that swear that by becoming a Protestant, I was going to hell.
I will never have a normal family again and I don’t know why. I know that for me, a lot of it has to do with the fact that they put me at a higher standard than most, didn’t like my parents, didn’t like things about me, and they just don’t like Baptists it seems because of the snide remarks they make about the faith.
I just sit there and think, “Well, you better not have kids who have issues and a rare nerve disorder that the doctors can’t treat effectively. Also, at least I go to church and I kept trying until I got it right whereas you all gave up and decided to go get drunk and watch NASCAR.” Yeah, I play the “You need Jesus card” a lot with them.
So what can a person like me do? I guess find family elsewhere because obviously God isn’t answering the prayer that I have a united family that loves me unconditionally.
At least I know how the people who leave the Amish and Scientology feel. Don’t forget to be awesome.