Forgive me if this comes off as a rant…
Ever since five years ago, my parents have been slowly subscribing to a lot of feel good New Age philosophies. At first it looked like it had done nothing more than give them a more optimistic view of life. They’ve felt that this was something they needed since my dad was planning to retire early and start his own business.
A couple of years later however, I observed them reading a lot of fairly popular New Age books and movies (e.g. The Secret). And like a lot of morally relativistic ideologies I’ve found associated with the New Age, it caused my family to go downhill (though how exactly would be a long story).
Here’s the thing, I’ve never been fully drawn into this. However, it was never fully because of my faith (though it played a role in my judgment) but also because I’m what a lot of people label as your typical, brooding, self-loathing emo. Though that might be an exaggeration, it’s enough to say that my family just couldn’t get around my more realistic way of thinking. The Catholic articles I’ve read with regards to New Age just gave me more reason to lose faith in whatever advice they tried to give me.
Now because of these ideals, my dad’s gone from a strict authoritarian perfectionist to a pseudo-philosophical one, which is worse. He (and often times the rest of my family) do nothing but point out what’s wrong with how I see things, criticize the mistakes that I’ve already hated and scolded myself for making, and say hardly a word of any redeeming qualities or improvements I may have. My dad’s excuse for neglecting to do the last one?
He expects me to see it myself. He expects me to see it and at the same time, he constantly makes me feel more and more like an incompetent loser who can’t do his job right.
Can you believe it? Here I am, constantly being plagued by criticisms by a parent who has lost all moral integrity in my eyes, and then being told feel good by him when he can’t even see that his son suffers from insecurities that would make ten regular emos hang themselves.
Regardless, he and the rest are still my family. Even if I were to discard his questionable advice, I am still in some way subject to him. You can say it’s a cultural thing here. I can’t criticize his views openly. I can’t convert him back. I virtually can’t say anything! I’m just their son. My opinion will always be beneath theirs in their eyes and they always think they know better than me.
What do I do? How can I get my family (much less my parents) to stop buying into these morally dangerous beliefs and go back to the faith without making it obvious?