I don't feel like like I'm welcome in the Catholic community


#1

I’ve been having a lot of problems and a hard time in my personal life. I feel like right now the church is really…it’s something I can go to, and talk about light stuff over coffee, but I don’t feel safe really talking to anyone. Even priests.

A lot of it is that I feel like there’s very much a good parent / bad parent dichotomy. In my case, I feel like this means if a parent is helping out financially, then everything else they do must be reasonable or at least an understandable mistake. For someone like me who’s both receiving assistance but struggling heavily with emotional demands that I cannot meet, this is very difficult. (I also somewhat feel that legal and moral rights get confused here.)

I also feel like there’s a very confusing idea of responsibility going on sometimes. As a young adult, I’m supposed to take care of myself and be responsible for myself and my needs. But wanting the resources to do so marks me as entitled. It doesn’t help that most of the issues for me are healthcare related, and it’s such a big political football right now.

I could probably go on, but the problem is I’m in a position where I want to be supported and be able to talk, but I’m afraid to speak up because of being judged or told how I should be more loving/hardworking/whatever. I also sometimes feel like “go to therapy” ends up being a way to isolate problems from the Body of Christ.

I guess I’m wondering…do other people feel the same way? Do you feel like the church is a safe place for you? If not, where do you turn?


#2

The Church is for ALL people.


#3

We are likely separated very many years in age. Thus, I wouldn’t doubt you could think, aw that old fossilized biddy can’t relate. And you’re possibly right. But someone here sure can, and through some level of interaction you will find people you can relate to.

Don’t mind the rabble who wish to force their will on you. Instead, concentrate on those who do want to address you as the unique, precious person you are.

Do other people feel the same as you? In your age group, probably most.

I find it immensely helpful to visit Our Lord at Adoration. Maybe the first 6 times you go, you’ll get nothing. Then you hear that beautiful, soft, kind voice that is Our Lord talking with you, comforting you, and giving you support and direction. At least that’s the way it was and is for me.

God Bless You,
Stephie


#4

Hello.

I feel the same about not feeling safe really talking to someone. I’ve felt that for a long time. Prayer helps. Plus I’ve been in therapy forever and they’re required by law not to disclose unless you are thinking of harming yourself or another. It’s important to take care in who you confide.

It helps me to know that people need to earn my trust. And there’s nothing like practicing kindness.

Have you taken a read lately in the Book of Proverbs?

Just wondering.


#5

I personally don’t look to the Church, or to a specific parish, as my “support group” or place to talk about my problems. I look to it for worship and for creating a space where I can take my problems to Jesus (and Mary and saints ) and get strength from the sacraments. I was taught this way growing up. At the time in the 1970s there were definitely people using church as their support group for life issues in one way or another, and my parents viewed this negatively. I think even if I hadn’t been taught this way, I wouldn’t find church people very helpful because my life has been different from most of theirs.

So no, I don’t think church is “safe” for talking to people other than Jesus. I talk to my husband and a handful of trusted friends. At times in my life I haven’t had the friends so I’ve just been alone. If things got bad enough I’d have sought out a mental health professional, but things never got to that point, although sometimes things haven’t been fun.


#6

I never really got anything out of mental health professionals other than a place to spend a lot of money that I didn’t really have to spare. I know people go on about finding the right one, but I’ve lost track of how many I’ve seen and I can’t name one therapist that did a bit of good to me (and I can name several who did a great deal of harm). It all seemed to me to just be a way to substitute real compassion and assistance with word-games and mental jugglery. I know other people find it helps, but it just never did anything for me.


#7

This is part of why I never went rushing to call one up. I’d rather just take that money and spend it on something nice for myself, such as travel, or clothes, or a pet. But if I had really felt I needed help badly I’d have spent the money.


#8

Well, you’re just in a toxic environment right now, from what I’ve read on your threads. It’s hard to get better in that respect until you can remove yourself from the situation. That is probably blatantly obvious but you know might as well start with those.

And once you’re out of college, it can get more difficult to find friends to talk to as well.

It’s a challenge and a grace to find a person you can share with.


#9

I can relate to being a young adult and being told I am entitled, in my case it was for wanting to be able to afford to move out of my parents home and live independently (I was working full time).

I also don’t feel emotionally safe at church and it doesn’t feel like a home. I never wanted to be someone that just goes for sacraments but it is what it is.

It sounds like you are going through a rough time and I’m sorry you are not getting any sympathy. I don’t think wanting healthcare is at all entitled (but then I’m British and left wing) and it sounds like you are doing your best in a really bad situation.


#10

I mean, I think that’s the issue. I feel like I’m buckling under the weight of trying to do what it takes to take care of myself. Working full-time and often overtime, trying to take care of all my health issues, trying to find a better job, trying to constantly manage my mother’s emotions so I don’t get it, trying to make sure I never betray mine. (That last bit almost certainly isn’t helping.) I know what I need to do, but that doesn’t mean I can snap my fingers and have it all fall into place instantly.

I feel like I’m falling apart under the burden and the message I’m getting is “you must bear it alone.” I don’t think therapy is what I need. I know perfectly well what I need to do, I don’t need someone to help me work out my issues or whatever. What would help much more would be the expression of compassion. Failing that, at the very least being able to talk about living at home and job searching without fear of judgment or biting my tongue all the time at false assumptions would be great.


#11

Can relate somewhat, although I think my problem is more with God instead of just the people in the Church. I also don’t want to be told to spend my money on a therapist, as if I am in a position to afford that luxury.

Idk I have never really seen the church as a support system. I vent out my feelings in other ways or do things to distract myself because I feel like people tend to focus on themselves rather than others.


#12

I’m old enough to know that “old fossilized biddies” often know more than I do! But I suspect I’m perhaps also not as young as you may be thinking I am. I’m 29, most people my age are independent but still in pretty good health and not worrying about medical bills. Plus I had a few years of either not working or working a low-end job due to health problems, so I’m still pretty much at entry level pay, but with extra expenses.

I’d like to go to adoration, but it’s hard to fit around my work schedule and I’m already getting fussed at for not being available at home enough.


#13

Depending on the parish it can be hard finding a way to get support. I ended up getting the best support from friends I made in the parish outside of the church setting, keep in mind though this was/is a college group that was created for young adults. If you are under 30, I would highly suggest finding a yound adults group or Newman center. Without the people in those groups outside of mass I would have floundered. The parish I am in now is in a retirement community and I can say that is I needed support here it would be rough if I only utilized the parish. I ended up finding a Christian therapist to fill the gap during especially hard times when I am unable to go back to my close friends and old parish.

(Seeing that you are 29, I would suggest looking up what young adult groups are available, I found good luck close to colleges and major cities) often time these people tend to be more able to understand the stresses of young adults and the priests have better resources since we (young adults) are their mission group.)


#14

My main struggle is that young adult groups tend in my experience to be focused on the 18-21 range. I think this is one area where being 19 and being 29 can be rather different. I’m also very wary of young adult focused stuff just because it often seems especially bad for assumptions about parents. I understand why they do that, but at the same time I have a strong desire to scream next time I get some advice on working things out with parents and whatnot.


#15

Your absolutely spot on with that. I live in an area that is uber left when it comes to religion, it results in Catholic pockets of young adults who are left to their own devices, especially when they are looking for any kind of support that works with our age. Im almost 27 and so far the best post 23 group I have found required me calling my priest and asking what people my age are supposed to do. He directed me to a slighly “well aged” adult group about 40 minutes away that had theology on tap. As to your comment about dealing with parents, I think it seems to be the vanilla answer from most young Catholic college agers. You get a tad better insight from the 25+ group who has had enough time to realize not everybody gets a pass to a great job and that not everybody makes enough to live their own dream apartment. In my area the rent on a studio is 1700 a month. So most of the people in our group have lived or still live at home, it creates a more honest atmosphere than the dorm college life.


#16

I think it’s a vanilla answer in a lot of cases. And I get why. The proportion of people who just need to figure out how to work things out, versus the proportion that are in truly toxic scenarios - most people will be in the first group. Unfortunately, at this point, I’ve determined that I’m in the second. And in the second there’s really not a whole lot you can do other than keep your head down.


#17

It doesn’t sound like the problem is with the Catholic Community around you but with your feelings towards it.

I have had a very hard time making friends and only made a really good friend 8 years ago at the age of 47. Church was never a place for me to share what was really going on inside, though I tried with a priest or two. I’ve belonged to faith-sharing groups and did really well with those but sharing faith and sharing real, deep stuff that’s going on inside are two separate things.

Mental health therapy has done much good for me. In truth, it was ECT ten years ago that was the pivotal treatment that ‘cured’ me of my suicidal tendencies. Talk therapy, CBT/DBT - type stuff, has kept me stable since then, along with a good medication regimen. I’ve been through about 4 or 5 therapists in the past 20 years. I didn’t pick any of them but they were all with the same mental health agency. I only changed therapists because they left the agency, each subsequent therapist being picked for me by the previous therapist. God has definitely had His hand in guiding me through this journey.

I now have support of friends in my church community, friends who understand my difficult mental health situation and accept me for who I am. Although I cannot work I’m involved in a few ministries in church and in the community so I can contribute to others and in doing so, I get out of my own way.

@DarkLight, you say you already know what you need to do so I’ll leave you to it. Know that you are in my prayers.


#18

My experience with that was honestly very different. I don’t think a lot of therapy is really well addressed to people who are having a lot of external problems. I really hated CBT, because it seemed to start with the assumption that your thoughts are distorted and that’s what’s causing the problem. In general I just found therapy seemed to start with the idea that you basically had control over where you lived, what you did, and who you interacted with. Things like “I know what healthy boundaries are, but I’m afraid if I try to enforce them I’ll end up with nowhere to live” don’t seem to fit, at least not if that’s any sort of rational fear.


#19

Wow, what a warped way to start therapy. No wonder you had bad experiences! My mental health institution works with a trauma-informed approach, assuming that everyone has experienced trauma of at least some sort in their lives, trauma that they had no control over.


#20

The assumption I found was that trauma meant people got stuck in traumatic ways of thinking, and that they needed to learn that they did have control in order to avoid future issues. So they might say you had no control over the initial trauma, but they generally wouldn’t deal with the idea that it could happen again, or continue happening, in a situation where you had that sort of control. So for example, they’d teach you a lot about how to recognize toxic people, and tell you to avoid them, but they wouldn’t talk about what to do if you couldn’t immediately get away from one.

All that is to say, I think the fundamental problem right now is that I am currently in what I would consider a toxic situation. I don’t need therapy to recover half as much as I need to hold myself in one piece long enough to get out. We can talk about boundaries and safe people and all that afterwards.


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