I didn't want my confirmation

I was 15 when my parents made me get confirmed. I’m in my mid-thirties now.

I told them that I didn’t want to be confirmed. They made me get confirmed anyway. I get that they thought that they honestly believed that they were doing the best thing for me. At the time I was on the altar and the archbishop asked me something and referred to me by the confirmation name that my parents chose for me, I answered “yes.” I should have answered no.

I remembered crying the car ride home. That day was the very first time I suffered suicidal ideations. I felt humiliated. I felt that my parents valued looking good in the community and “saving face” over what was really best for me or what I actually wanted.

At 17, I secretly started attending a Protestant church. I didn’t tell my parents until I moved out of their house. As of now I don’t attend any religious services.

I’ve been in treatment over the ideations. As an adult, I have had panic attacks on and off whenever I’ve gone to Catholic mass for any reason. I have been to communion at other churches with no problem. I’ve experience feelings of worthlessness and suicidal ideations several days later.

I missed my grandmother’s funeral. I was driving my car and thought about Mass and had a panic attack and had to pull over to regain the ability to breathe right. I attended the wake and the burial, but I was unable to attend the Mass out of fear that I was going to have another panic attack or to avoid further ideations.

I’m worried that I’m missing out on family life experiences now. I told one of my sisters that I would not be a godparent to her child. It wrenches my gut to think of telling my other sister that I will not attend her wedding if it takes place in a Catholic church. I don’t know if I will be able to handle attending my parents’ funeral masses.

I decided not to confront my parents about this and will just wait for their passing to forgive them. I’m haunted by the experience but making them feel bad about it won’t fix what happened.

I woke up this morning to another nightmare where I was reliving my confirmation. I don’t need advice. I’m in treatment for depression and anxiety.

Would something else have been the trigger? I don’t know. Maybe.
Would I be able to attend Mass on at least a ceremonial basis (weddings, funerals, baptisms, etc.) if my family hadn’t dragged me to the cathedral 20 years ago? Probably.

I don’t need advice here. I woke up again this morning thinking about my confirmation. This event has haunted me for over half my life. I did not want my confirmation.

I’m sharing my story here in case there are parents whose children also share they don’t want their confirmations. I’ve known others who didn’t want their confirmations as well, and some of them are really devout Catholics now. Others don’t practice any religion or have joined other faiths, Christian or otherwise.

If your child doesn’t want to be confirmed, it may not directly affect how they end up as adults. For me though, it has been a major source of trauma and pain. I wish that I didn’t wake up some mornings or have these experiences while driving a car or that I could go to friends’ funerals.

I’m sorry you’re having problems, and glad you are getting treatment, but it seems likely that your issues and problems with your mental health and your family go well beyond just the fact that your parents arranged in good faith for you to get confirmed many years ago. You yourself say you don’t even know if something other than Confirmation could have been a trigger for your illness.

Also, since you’re obviously not a practicing Catholic as you’re not going to Mass and are going to communion at other churches, then you cannot and should not be a godparent to your relative’s Catholic child. That function requires a practicing Catholic, one who is not going off to other churches and telling people not to confirm their kids in the Catholic church.

Once again, sorry for your problems but this post is pretty meaningless to us here. This is something for you to work out with your doctors and therapists.

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My question to you is why you are regretting of your confirmation?
Why you didnt want to confirm your faith?
Even if there is valid reason,you could do it just because of your parents.If you are atheist it dont play any role however.
If you dont believe,I Dont see why its so Huge deal.

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It seems more must have happened. I wonder what reason you originally had for not wanting to be confirmed and whether you were victimized by a priest, or of your parents were particularly abusive around the subject of church.

Alternatively, I wonder if your upbringing was generally abusive and for whatever reason this confirmation day became the symbolic culmination for you of every wrong thing your parents ever did.

It is possible as well that you are not being entirely reasoned in your thinking. Many people misunderstand the church and get some wild ideas. Perhaps your parents were.reasonable.and you have an unreasonable.take on the situation. I do feel strongly that confirmation should be at the free choice of the individual. My son chose not to be confirmed. I was disappointed but did not wish him to make a false sacrament to please me.

It.would.probably benefit you to consider why the church bothers you so.much and look at whether your education on that particular.topic is accurate.

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OP, I know you are not asking for advice, but you will most likely receive many people’s thoughts since you did post here. It is clear that your problems are not necessarily with the Catholic church, but rather some other form of emotional trauma that you need to get help with. It must be very difficult to go through life with this problem weighing you down and preventing you from doing even the simplest of things. Please seek counseling as your issues will continue to haunt you and color your life with confusion and panic if you do nothing.

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So, the first question is— What do you think Confirmation is?

It’s the sacrament of spiritual strength and maturity. It gives us the grace to profess our faith openly as followers of Jesus, and in a way, it completes what was begun at Baptism with the graces of the Holy Spirit.

So, since you started attending a Protestant church a little later, it didn’t seem that your problem was “I-don’t-want-to-be-a-follower-of-Jesus”, and it didn’t seem that your problem was “I-don’t-want-the-graces-of-the-Holy-Spirit.” Since, presumably, Jesus and the Holy Spirit were both embraced by your new church. :wink:

I’m happy for you that you’re in treatment for depression and anxiety. It seems that you really have a lot of inner turmoil to work through, and I wish you the best on your path. It’s not an easy one.

But after spending half of your life regretting the Confirmation, it might be easier to accept that it happened by perceiving it as what-it-is, and that what-it-is isn’t something nefarious— the laying on of hands has been something that’s been part of things since the early Church, and it’s sort of a way of perpetuating the graces of Pentecost on all of us ordinary people. It puts the seal of the Holy Spirit on your soul— a sign of belonging to God, just as Jesus said he had been marked with the Father’s seal.

Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”

Hugs. I wish you the best as you work through your counseling. :blue_heart:

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Tis_Bearself – Thank you for being kind.

I wouldn’t say my post is meaningless. My story can help with others who in their teens do not want their Confirmations. I don’t know how common my own story is, but it’s a real consequence of an event that happened.

Correct, I am not not a practicing Catholic. However, as someone who was baptized and confirmed under the Catechism, I consider myself Catholic, even if I were to practice something else. All the same, based on my toxic experience, I do not think I should be a godparent to a child being reared in Catholicism. That noted, we need not agree with each other’s reasoning to agree on the conclusion.

I wish you well. Again, thank you for your kindness. I don’t know whether the origin of my mental illness goes “well beyond” my parents’ coercion years ago. They believed they were doing the right thing, but it was coercive.

@In_Jesus_I_Trust
I didn’t want my confirmation.

Asking me why is asking a victim why they didn’t want to be coerced into something. No matter how I would respond, it won’t likely be good enough in your eyes. That I didn’t want it is reason enough why I shouldn’t have been forced into the humiliating experience.

The truth is, I didn’t want to be confirmed. It’s a huge deal because I was repeatedly humiliated about it, told I didn’t have an option, had a name picked out for me and was coerced.

I only ask that if any parents or guardians read this and their children express that they don’t want to be confirmed that they think long and hard about the unforeseen consequences before they force a human into something they don’t want. The damage cannot be undone.

@Kindnessmatters
I was not victimized by a priest. My parents have been devoutly religious for as long as I can remember. I remember not wanting to do my first confession either, and my dad took me to go to the priest. That all noted, I wouldn’t call them abusive around church or otherwise. I will say I expressed very clearly that I didn’t want my confirmation, and my parents said some really humiliating things to me around it. Christmas was miserable at me for a while.

Again they were and are devout. My father is a deacon. I’m very familiar with the catechism. The bottom line is: I was forced to perform a rite I clearly did not want and feel damaged as a direct result.

Honestly, I’m proud of my Catholic heritage, analogous to an ethnic heritage.

@Irishmom2

Thank you. At this time, I am in treatment for my mental health issues. In addition, separating myself as much as I can from practicing Catholicism is a healthy step. Thank you as well for being kind.

Again, my intention here was to share my story to give food for thought to parents whose teens don’t want confirmed. The majority of people on this site are practicing Catholics and offer one viewpoint (e.g. “I didn’t want it, but now I’m an adult and a practicing Catholic and I’m fine.”). I was sharing my trauma so that parents know that it’s sometimes not helpful or harmless to make their children do something they don’t want.

I wish you well.

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Okay,and what is happening now?
Are you angry at God?Mad at him? Dissapointed?Dont believe in Him?
What is happening now?

Do you remember why you felt so strongly about not wanting to be confirmed. We’re you a shy young person who did not want the focus upon yourself in a public ceremony?
I can understand something like that constraining a person.

Did your parents’ insistence constitute a betrayal of you to your mind as someone not comfortable in public situations? Did they not realise that to you it represented a lack of love or respect of you to force you to do something where your social anxiety was heightened? And that they would regarding the Church, to your youthful psyche made the Church complicit? If something like this was in operation within you I would understand, but for your own liberation from the serious constraints that you. Now imposed on yourself as a consequence, you may need help.

Your parents ‘made’ you feel you had no autonomy or choice, because they felt they had no choice but to do what they believed to do right by your soul
but do you realise that ever since you have kept yourself in a prison of your own responses, you are now prisoner of your own youthful anger and helplessness, no longer to your parents, whether you realise or not.
I hope you can find a way towards freedom letting go of the perhaps repressed anger, to live your life as a full member of your family and with the ability to freely choose faith.
God bless you

@midori
My understanding of what Confirmation is after taking time to learn about Catholicism, you agree to live by the Catholic Church’s policies.

The Protestant churches I have attended tended to be Unitarian (UU), Quaker (Hicksite) and Congregationalist (UCC). Post-Christian theology was more embraced. That noted, I don’t go anywhere anymore.

Thank you for being kind. In working through the event, what I’ve come to accept is that my parents honestly believed that they were doing what they thought was best for me, even if it left me damaged. Therapy, psychiatric help and avoiding Catholicism, particularly Mass, seems to be the best thing right now.

While I had a panic attack while driving thinking about the funeral Mass, I did attend other portions of my grandmother’s funeral. It was one of the best grieving experiences I’ve ever gone through.

All noted, I just want parents to be aware of my own story before they force their children to undergo confirmation when they don’t want to. It’s my life. I now live 1000 miles from my parents. Very little has me thinking about Catholicism aside from familial events and reliving the trauma. It’s much less frequent than it used to be.

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@In_Jesus_I_Trust
Honestly, religion in and of itself is not a big deal. I feel nothing about God one way or the other. I don’t honestly think about religion in terms of “believing” but rather “practicing.” I practice nothing at this point. The last time I practiced religion, it was Quakerism. Going back and forth about whether I think God exists or not doesn’t really help anything.

Actually i dont know what to write Here…
You dont actually believe in God so what can we do?
From one point i can understand you,but trust me you dont know what you are missing,God is waiting for you and even if you dont believe in Him,He believes in you.
God isnt a dictator and He respect your decisions.I hope things are going well in your life(without sarcasm).
God Bless you and your family

@Trishie
It wasn’t because I didn’t want to be in a public situation. I felt betrayed by my parents not respecting my wishes. I did not want to be confirmed. I was told that if I did not want to be confirmed Catholic that it meant that I was not a good person, that I didn’t care about anyone else, and that I was just a child. I don’t remember other things that were said, but I remember it being disrespectful and humiliating. I also spoke disrespectfully.

Again, I’m in treatment. Not being religious at this time in my life is the best way to go forward for me. It’s great if it’s working for everyone else on here, but for me, it’s full of pain. I will never return to practicing Catholicism, except as a point of heritage.

Where do you get the impression that the Catholics on this forum express this viewpoint?

Although I can’t remember a thread where we discussed confirmation specifically, we have had past threads on a) forcing teens to go to confession, b) forcing teens to go to Mass, and c) forcing teens to pray with the family. Just about every person posting on this site speaks out AGAINST anyone forcing a child who’s past the age of about 11 or 12 to do anything relating to religion. The concern is that forcing them would likely have the effect of turning them off to Catholicism, or to religion entirely, and also would cause them to be insincere in their expression of beliefs. And there are many on here including those involved in sacramental prep for children and teens, who have said that a person needs to willingly accept being confirmed, and that they would not send any child to confirmation who was insisting that they didn’t want to be confirmed.

Nobody on this forum goes around advocating forcing kids to be confirmed. What good would that do? They’d likely just drop out of the Church after they got old enough to move out. Plus, the whole point of confirmation is commitment. If the person is not making the commitment of his or her own free will, then it robs the sacrament of meaning.

The vast majority of us on here who were confirmed as teenagers freely chose to do it, whether or not we were enthusiastic about it. I personally don’t know anyone in your position who had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the church on confirmation day. So there aren’t a lot of people around saying, “Yeah, I didn’t want to be confirmed but I did it anyway and now I’m happy I did.” Most people were either happy about it or they didn’t care much one way or the other.

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@In_Jesus_I_Trust It’s not that I do or don’t think God exists. If you are familiar with modern String Theory within physics, there is room for the existence of God within the framework.

It’s just irrelevant to this conversation. It has more to do with a sense of feeling violated 20 years ago and having decades of consequence that my parents couldn’t foresee.

Why didn’t you do it for the sake of your parents? At the age of 15, do you think the child owes more respect to the parents, or do you think the parents owe more respect to the child?

@Tis_Bearself Thank you for explaining better. I looked at some history. After waking from the nightmare this morning where I relived my confirmation, I googled “I didn’t want my confirmation” and found this site and an old thread from 2015 where a poster was sharing that “Parents make children do all kinds of things they don’t want to do like eat their vegetables.” That was the origin of me sharing my story.

I’m glad to read that it’s not the majority viewpoint of posters on here.

I wish you the best here. :slight_smile:

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