How to handle unsupportive Co-workers and family members


#1

How would you suggest I handle coworkers and some family members that don’t really ‘support’ my decision to come back to the church???

I work in a fairly close ‘family’ of coworkers who like to joke around during work. One such coworker is a gay man who has been, in a way, like a father to me. I really get along with his ‘significant other’ and really have no big ‘issue’ with him being gay. He is a close friend. However, he like to tell very inappropriate jokes. I really don’t know how to respond, because they aren’t directed to me. Rather I am in the wrong place at the wrong time and overhear these jokes. He really is not into religion so I don’t discuss my beliefs with him, so he doesn’t technically know how I feel about these jokes but he does know that I am uncomfortable. Before my ‘coming back home’ 2 1/2 months ago, he would tell the jokes and I would smile at them. Only to not seem rude. I have always truthfully been very uncomfortable with these jokes. I just wanted to be part of the group. To go with the flow. I made a lot of mistakes doing that.

Also, my mom and I have always been very close. She is even living with me. She is Catholic, but won’t come to church with me. She even went so far as to say that she doesn’t want me to become ‘weird’ or a ‘fanatic’. She also made a comment that now that I have become so involved with the Church that I had better stick with, like it is a faze I am going though, like some new ‘hobby’. This is my passion, my life now. I feel that this has always been my calling, God just didn’t want me to start it until I was 23. I think that she may see it as she is losing her daughter. I don’t see it that way. I see it as me finding out who I am. And I love and thank God for it everyday.

I am going to be Confirmed at this Easter Vigil. I want her to be there and I don’t want her to be there. Does that make sense??? I know that she will take communion, and I now know that is wrong. She hasn’t been to confession in well over 10 years. I am just torn on how to approach situations.

Does anybody have any feedback as to handle these situations??? Please help. Thanks and God Bless.


#2

I would talk to your coworker one on one, and let him know that some of the jokes he tells make you uncomfortable. If you are really close, it shouldn’t be an issue.


#3

Sometimes, you just have to go at it alone. Being the only Catholic in a group of friends or family can be quite daunting. I pray for my family and friends and I practice my faith on my own.

This Christmas was especially sad as I was the only one in the family to attend mass. In past years one or two of the family went along, but I guess that was more to appease me than to visit God.

I really wanted to tell folks, IF you don’t want to go to mass at Christmas, don’t bother to exchange presents, because that is what Christmas is really all about. But rather than make a scene and spoil things for everybody, I held my tongue and just let things happen. Next Christmas, I’m going to tell folks not to get me anything and just show up to mass.


#4

Your solution bothers me. What sends your family the better message?

A. I’d rather celebrate Christmas with God than you, or
B. I love you, you’re my family, and it has been good to celebrate Christmas with you, but now I am going to go to Mass and celebrate Christams with God and welcome the Baby Jesus?

Answer A simply alienates you’re family and makes you look “holier than thou”, while answer B gives your family something to think about without hurting them.


#5

Hi Frosty_gurl. The situation with your coworkers, is a difficult one. It’s also quite common. I was out in the work world from 1977 to 2008. And I can’t tell you how often I was subjected to this type of thing. Yuck! I really feel sorry for you, hon.

When people who work together, all day long… become very “familiar” with one another… these types of behaviors can become a real problem. It has always been my experience, that it “bugs” us women… more than the guys. Or maybe the guys are just too embarrassed to object. Who knows :shrug:. But my advice to you would be to take your coworker aside, privately (so as not to embarrass him, in front of anyone else)… and just tell him very simply that the inappropriate jokes are making you uncomfortable. You say that he is a “close friend”. So… it shouldn’t be a problem for you to be honest with him.

As far as your mom… well, my heart goes out to her. With all due respect to your mother… there are so many people in the world today… who will label religion (and in particular, Catholicism) as “fanatic”. But my question to them would be… “Why is it fanatic to LOVE God with all your heart, in this life… when you are going to spend ETERNITY with Him in Heaven?”. God created us, for Himself! That we might know Him, Love Him and serve Him, through all Eternity.

So… what’s so “fanatic” about getting started with our destiny (which is Heaven) while we’re still on earth?

Maybe if you put it to your mom, that way… she will better understand. I will keep you in my prayers. God bless.


#6

Oh, does that sound familiar. I’ve had this kind of reaction from members of my family, and the way I’ve handled it is to keep doing what I’m doing, and to pray for them.

It seems they are starting to come around. The biggest change I’ve seen is in my husband, who now goes to Mass regularly and has started going to Confession after being away from Church since he was a teenager.

People who are walking in obedience to God do have an effect on others around them. You don’t have to nag others to make an impression. St. Francis says, “Preach the Gospel always, and when necessary, use words.”


#7

Hello Frosty_Gurl,
forgive me if I’m reading you incorrectly, but from what you’ve written, this is how I’ve interpreted it.

How would you suggest I handle coworkers and some family members that don’t really ‘support’ my decision to come back to the church???

Grin and bear it.

You have a treasure, which they don’t even recognize. See it as their poverty, and show compassion toward them.

I work in a fairly close ‘family’ of coworkers who like to joke around during work. One such coworker is a gay man who has been, in a way, like a father to me. I really get along with his ‘significant other’ and really have no big ‘issue’ with him being gay. He is a close friend. However, he like to tell very inappropriate jokes. I really don’t know how to respond, because they aren’t directed to me. Rather I am in the wrong place at the wrong time and overhear these jokes. He really is not into religion so I don’t discuss my beliefs with him, so he doesn’t technically know how I feel about these jokes but he does know that I am uncomfortable.

I sense a little bit of a sanctimonious attitude here. We have to live in a world of sinners, as we once were. You’ll have to learn to live with all sorts of people, and be happy that these are the ones who love you, but don’t quite understand. Again, see it as their poverty and show compassion toward them.

Also, my mom and I have always been very close. She is even living with me. She is Catholic, but won’t come to church with me. She even went so far as to say that she doesn’t want me to become ‘weird’ or a ‘fanatic’. She also made a comment that now that I have become so involved with the Church that I had better stick with, like it is a faze I am going though, like some new ‘hobby’. This is my passion, my life now. I feel that this has always been my calling, God just didn’t want me to start it until I was 23. I think that she may see it as she is losing her daughter. I don’t see it that way. I see it as me finding out who I am. And I love and thank God for it everyday.

You’re involvement with religion, makes those close to you, evaluate themselves, and they’re not ready to do that, yet.

One mistake many people make when they find religion, is that they get in the face of others, which only pushes them further away. Make sure you’re not one of these types. Be happy in your new found faith, but let the value of it, show in your actions, not your rhetoric.

I am going to be Confirmed at this Easter Vigil. I want her to be there and I don’t want her to be there. Does that make sense??? I know that she will take communion, and I now know that is wrong. She hasn’t been to confession in well over 10 years. I am just torn on how to approach situations.

She’s your mother, you should be honored that she wants to be there. As far as her receiving Communion, there’s not much you can do about it, except to invite her to join you in going to confession, before your Confirmation. If she refuses, perhaps in a tactful way, you could explain why YOU feel its necessary to receive Holy Communion, worthily. If she doesn’t get the message, there’s not much else you can do. Isolating yourself from your mother, because of a disagreement, would do more harm than good.

In all, you are becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. I hope that faith in Him, is you’re motivation, not just joining a religion with some attractive rituals and doctrines.

Faith in Christ, should give you great joy and happiness. It should also be a transforming experience, because you are receiving His grace, to help you love and be compassionate as He is. This transformation is what will be noticed in time, by those around you, This is what will draw them to faith, more than anything else.

God Bless
Jim


#8

This resonates with me also. My circumstances have placed me back in my city of birth, where I haven’t lived for some 30 years. I’m living with an aunt who is a radical feminist/atheist, whose shelves are stocked with the likes of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, etc. I have been struggling with faith for a very long time. My wife, family and friends think I’m losing my mind because I want to reconnect with Catholicism. Interestingly, when I visited a local Buddhist temple during the last year, off and on, they had no such qualms.

I found the courage to go to mass just before Christmas, and lied about it. I went to mass again this morning, again with a lie, saying I was going to the library.

Now this is where a recurrent thought comes into my head. If I really believed, I mean really believed, I would have no hesitation about going to mass, and announcing where in fact I was going.

If I really believed, nothing else would really matter. Imagine, you have a personal relationship with the creator of the universe, and after you died you would be in heaven. If you really believed that, could anything else possibly matter?

Yet here I am, slinking off to mass, lying about where I’m going, as if it was 1st century Rome, not 21st century Toronto, Canada.

Obviously I don’t really believe the lines we spoke this morning when we proclaimed the mystery of faith, or else I wouldn’t be embarrassed about it, like it was a mental disorder.

I think I would have been happier living in the middle ages, when Catholicism was the norm.


#9

redhen,
greate testimony, thanks for sharing! :thumbsup:

In Christ
Jim


#10

testimony? I’m not exactly a role model on these forums. I was just adding my 2 cents on the OP’s question “How to handle unsupportive Co-workers and family members?”

… because I would like to know the answer too.

I mentioned my situation (which the OP shares) to a priest last year,
he replied that no one can stop me from attending mass. This is a free country.

Well, yeah, thanks, I was aware of that. So in other words, I should just let all my family and friends continue to think I’m crazy for wanting to participate in Catholic rituals.

Come to think of it, I recall some Taoist stories where a sage would pretend to be crazy in order to be left alone. Yup, it’s from amazon.com/Seven-Taoist-Masters-Novel-China/dp/0877735441


#11

Thanks everyone for your help and understanding.

I guess I have always realized that as long as I am happy in what I am doing and am living my life the way that God wanted me to, that is all that matters.

I will find difficulties along the way (and I am sure there will be a ton of them), I guess the really question is how do I handle them?

Do I…

  1. stoop to there level?
    Or
  2. embrace my faith and do what I know is right???
    I think that I will choose number 2.

Thanks and God Bless


#12

There it is, if we truly believed (if I truly believed) nothing else would matter. Romans 8:38-39 “Who then shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation? Or distress? Or famine? Or nakedness? Or danger? Or persecution? Or the sword?”

“But in all these things we overcome, because of him that hath loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor might, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

youtube.com/watch?v=jk79wJ8Mct8


#13

You’re probably right and I’ll have almost the whole year to think about what reponse if any is appropriate. It’s just a bit unnerving to see Christ and God left out of Christmas when the whole season is all about His birth. I’m just really disappointed in my whole family. You spend a life time trying to teach them Catholic values and it disappears so easily.


#14

'Directly that your worldly friends perceive that you aim at leading a devout life, they will let loose endless shafts of mockery and misrepresentation upon you; the more malicious will attribute your change to hypocrisy, designing, or bigotry; they will affirm that the world having looked coldly upon you, failing its favour you turn to God; while your friends will make a series of what, from their point of view, are prudent and charitable remonstrances. They will tell you that you are growing morbid; that you will lose your worldly credit, and will make yourself unacceptable to the world; they will prognosticate your premature old age, the ruin of your material prosperity; they will tell you that in the world you must live as the world does; that you can be saved without all this fuss; and much more of the like nature.

My daughter, all this is vain and foolish talk: these people have no real regard either for your bodily health or your material prosperity. “If ye were of the world,” the Saviour has said, “the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

We have all seen men, and women too, pass the whole night, even several in succession, playing at chess or cards; and what can be a more dismal, unwholesome thing than that? But the world has not a word to say against it, and their friends are nowise troubled. But give up an hour to meditation, or get up rather earlier than usual to prepare for Holy Communion, and they will send for the doctor to cure you of hypochondria or jaundice! People spend every night for a month dancing, and no one will complain of being the worse; but if they keep the one watch of Christmas Eve, we shall hear of endless colds and maladies the next day! Is it not as plain as possible that the world is an unjust judge; indulgent and kindly to its own children, harsh and uncharitable to the children of God? We cannot stand well with the world save by renouncing His approval. It is not possible to satisfy the world’s unreasonable demands: “John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say he hath a devil. The Son of Man is come eating and drinking, and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, the friend of publicans and sinners.” Even so, my child, if we give in to the world, and laugh, dance, and play as it does, it will affect to be scandalized; if we refuse to do so, it will accuse us of being hypocritical or morbid. If we adorn ourselves after its fashion, it will put some evil construction on what we do; if we go in plain attire, it will accuse us of meanness; our cheerfulness will be called dissipation; our mortification dulness; and ever casting its evil eye upon us, nothing we can do will please it. It exaggerates our failings, and publishes them abroad as sins; it represents our venial sins as mortal, and our sins of infirmity as malicious. St. Paul says that charity is kind, but the world is unkind; charity thinks no evil, but the world thinks evil of every one, and if it cannot find fault with our actions, it is sure at least to impute bad motives to them, - whether the sheep be black or white, horned or no, the wolf will devour them if he can. Do what we will, the world must wage war upon us. . . let us be firm in our ways, unchangeable in our resolutions, and perseverance will be the test of our self-surrender to God, and our deliberate choice of the devout life.’

St. Francis de Sales

The problems you’re talking about are ones we have all had. We all learn to bear with them in various ways. :slight_smile:


#15

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