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


I feel for you. What you wrote here sounds so much like what my own mother said so many times. I was different from her in that I’m the kind of person who, when faced with a problem, wants to solve it and then on to the next thing. All my careers have been problem-solving of one type or another. It took a long time before I could begin to understand or have patience with my mom, who I loved, but she just frustrated me so much because we couldn’t always just solve her problem. Sometimes she just wanted to sit and cry, as you said.

Maybe the churches need a cry room for grownups. I’d use it too sometimes.

I’ll pray for you. I hope things get better for you. Pax Christi


Oh I get it. I am that way naturally. It’s just here, at the moment…I feel like I actually have a pretty good handle on what I need to do, I just have to get through it. It’s like, if one of the major steps is “find a new job” - well, I’m looking, but I can’t exactly just go and decide that I’m getting hired tomorrow. I have to apply and wait just like everyone else (and to make it worse, a lot of these jobs aren’t very upfront, so I might not know in advance if it’s worth taking).

And with a parent, even if you move out it’s not like it’s going to stop hurting. You can’t force someone else to come around, but they never stop being your parents. It’s very like mourning in that regard - not for the person themselves, but for the relationship.


Apologies for not having read the whole thread in detail, but my feeling is that when one has a Big Problem that not everybody can understand, you have to be judicious about who you share it with.

For example, after I had a late miscarriage, it was really shattering to discover that I couldn’t count on my family of origin. I had always had this picture of having a fantastic family, but after my miscarriage and the complications that followed, I realized that a) even people who love you can’t necessarily deal with your problems if it’s not something they understand b) at least one of my close relatives is interested in what he’s interested in and nothing else and c) I realized I had been doing 80% of the heavy-lifting in most of these relationships. Not that my relatives are terrible people, but they were only prepared to deal with got-everything-under-control-and-everything-is-awesome-Xantippe versus Xantippe-who-is-suffering. (That was, by the way, how I originally found CAF.)

Even earlier, when my oldest was having behavior problems and ultimately got an Asperger’s diagnosis, I’ve kept my mouth shut about that to my older relatives (parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles). I have given my sister some books and videos and we have talked about the spectrummy aspects of our family. My brother also has a child who is much more autistic, and one of these days, I should talk to him and my sister-in-law about our experiences, but we don’t bump into each other a lot, and I don’t think SIL is ready for that conversation yet. Our youngest also has an autism spectrum diagnosis. I have never told my grandma, “the girls are both a little autistic” because it’s just not something that she would understand. Back in the day, “autistic” meant just profoundly autistic. I have a local buddy who has a disabled child, and we talk about disability issues, and I talk to my husband, the kids’ teachers and the kids’ psychologist and I talk about it a lot online and with email friends, but I don’t talk to random people in real life because a) I don’t want to argue about my kids’ diagnosis with people who don’t have any background in the subject b) it’s not information they need and c) I want to protect my kids’ privacy. As a case in point, my youngest has just turned 5 and is finally about 98% potty-trained. This is not information that I feel the need to share with the older members of my family. (Interestingly, I am actually more open with my MIL, who has some professional background in dealing with special needs children.)

When it’s a big problem that not everybody is going to understand, there is some point in choosing who you are going to confide in, so that you don’t wind up being exhausted by explaining things to people who aren’t on your wavelength and don’t understand your problem. (To give yet another example, there’s a child at school who has a serious health problem. There was a mass communication telling us that there would be updates, but not to ask for information individually.)

Best wishes!


I think what doesn’t help for me is I feel like there’s no good way to avoid the problem either, except by subjecting myself to a string of well-meaning comments and judgments and trying to awkwardly avoid perfectly natural discussions. It’s really not very easy to avoid revealing that one lives with one’s parents while maintaining normal discussions about where you live and what you do and all that. And unfortunately revealing that by itself tends to rather open up a lot of issues, as well as bring on a lot of questions that people don’t really actually want to know the answer to.

I suppose in your example it’s like trying to raise a disabled child, while being subjected to endless advice on what good parents should do and how their children should behave. I imagine you’d do a lot of thinking “I wish it was that simple.” (Actually, I rather imagine that does happen.)


At this point in your life, I think your situation is more akin to someone trying to raise a disabled child that they haven’t been able to get professional help for…maybe through no fault of their own.

While it is frustrating for you, I think you, in your pain, might not see how others are frustrated because of the whole situation–not necessarily at you–but because of the whole circumstance.


Are you not comfortable with a singles grouop? Aka Young adults group? We have one at my church, but it’s not really my thing, I guess.


Hang in there with regards to CAF. A lot of people feel like you do – they have real questions, they seek honest discourse, but they are turned-off by the potential of being attacked for even asking an honest question. Then they are given canned platitudes (be more loving/hardworking/whatever) as advice.

As tough as these forums can be, they have GREATLY improved, and might well become even better. Pax.


I see the problem.

Maybe just mention it in passing and have alternate topics ready, rather than letting your place of residence turn into the main topic? Captain Awkward is really good at that sort of thing. Ruthless subject-switching may be the way to go.

Yeah–there are a lot of people whose opinions I’m just not very interested in. Even nice, well-meaning people can be really dumb. A recent example–I was mentioning on a small forum that my youngest (4.5 at the time) was still potty training and still in pullups. One of the ladies (a mom of a biggish family) said something like, well if that’s how you want to do it. Of course, seeing as how I had been potty training Baby Girl for 2+ years at this point, my preferences had virtually nothing to do with the situation.


I have been treated again and again to the reality that church isn’t a safe place, and that deeply offends me… but on the other hand: meh. I’m not really sure I care to pursue safety…

The fact is, no matter how much we explain ourselves to other people, in church or not, they’re rarely going to understand. Most people, laity or clergy, have no idea how to listen; they’re simply seeing and hearing reflections of themselves, not what we’re actually saying or doing. And usually they’re too busy protecting themselves to bother about anyone else’s safety.

Meanwhile – Jesus understands us better than we do ourselves, and far from protecting himself, he has made himself much more vulnerable than us. That’s the treasure of the Church: the beating heart of the God of the universe, hiding under the form of bread, lying still in a tiny little cell, day and night, waiting for us to come and visit him. That’s where the understanding lies. As Catholics we know we can rest in the physical presence of God, who will hear and understand us, and respond with perfect wisdom from perfect love.

Really, how amazing it is: God loved us before he made us. He only went to the trouble to make us so that he could first spend time with us, and then eternity! So I second or third or whatever the vote for Adoration, and I’ll pray for you during my time there tomorrow.

(Remember that Adoration can be done both when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed in the monstrance, and when it’s reposed in the tabernacle. If you have a monastery nearby, or a college with a Catholic student center, it’s possible they have a chapel that’s always open. I’ve visited the student center chapel near my church as early as 6:30a and as late as 9p; and it’s open all night. This site has a listing of perpetual adoration chapels - though it’s not exhaustive. )


That might not be a bad skill to learn. I’ve been joking a little about wanting to move out - even without all the details, most everyone understands that post-college young adults don’t really want to live with their parents. But it’s rather annoying. Family is irritating for being a subject that both has a high potential for drama and that a lot of people ask well-meaning questions about without realizing that the answer might not be pleasant.

I’ve also been learning that there are stories I tell casually that are very not right from other people’s perspective. I think I had one of those on this forum a while back - the “funny story” where my mom decided I’d lied about something when I hadn’t, and told me I wasn’t allowed out of my room until I confessed, no matter how long it took, and I wasn’t sure what to do because you were supposed to obey your parents but you also weren’t supposed to lie.




Some people are still really weird about adults living with parents even though it is more common these days and also in the past. As well as the hostility I found people at my church didn’t really know whether to consider me a teenager (at 26!) or an adult and would alternate between the two in a really jarring and uncomfortable way.

It’s really hard to avoid it coming up in conversation and it’s a bitter pill to swallow knowing that it means many others will never see you as fully adult because of this one thing.

Do you have any kind of safe place to talk about your issues with your mother? I know of one UK forum where you can talk and people don’t question your perception of the situation but I don’t know if it’s the right fit, ie they probably wouldn’t understand the medical bills situation for example. I don’t know if there is a US equivalent.


I think part of it is also…if this were my husband behaving this way, I feel like people would recognize what’s going on much more quickly. I’m watching my mother be the “abused woman” and talk about how awful it is that such things are still tolerated and how she’s trying to tell everyone and all that and look for support. It’s actually making me more afraid because of her seeking support, I feel like it’s not safe for me to go to any local support system that she might be part of. Which is part of why I tend to stick closer to the Catholic church - as neither of my parents are Catholic, it’s one place that’s much more where I feel like I’m me first and not their kid first. I realize that’s not the Church’s issue though.


This is getting very bad. Something’s going to have to change soon. The requirements are getting worse and I’m not sure how much longer it will be safe to stay here.

I’m putting in for a few more jobs as soon as I get a chance to sit down at a (non-work) computer uninterrupted. And I’m going to talk to my priest and ask if there’s anything to do if I end up needing emergency housing.


Prayers. Be safe. Hugs.


Have it all figured out–talk to people in real life that you are friendly with, to make sure that they are prepared to help you.

You may want to start carrying certain basic documents or copies that you don’t normally carry with you, because there is the potential of you getting locked out at some point. Also, figure how much cash you need for a couple days of emergency living.

Best wishes!


I think I’d also put some spare clothes and maybe any spare toiletries in the trunk of your car.

Good thing you’ve got the car now!

No matter how useful any preparations are, they will give you a stronger sense of being in control of the situation.


Yes. Talk to your priest about alternate / emergency housing. There’s a chance he can help with that.


Hi , as you mentioned about being in therapy, I just started some sessions myself, but I’m a bit worried since the therapist doesn’t seem to be Catholic, any thoughts?



Yes. It can be difficult to find a good therapist, let alone a good therapist who is also a good Catholic.

I’ve had one or two very good therapists who were not Catholic, one therapist who was both --> a treasure --> plus some Catholic therapists who were good Catholics but not very good therapists.

Right now I’m dealing with this. I’ve been with this particular therapist for some years now, and we’ve already discussed these issues, but for some reason she’s started bringing them up again. I feel like she wants me to accept gay marriage, living in adulterous relationships, contraception, and deny the husband’s place in the family as head of the household. She keeps bringing these issues up and I’ve told her I don’t want to hear about it, that’s not what I’m there for. I’m going to probably have to find a new therapist, because for $150/hour she needs to have some respect for me plus I’m there because I’m depressed. My approval of immorality isn’t going to help my depression.

Thanks for your post. Helped me crystalize some thinking.

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