So, I'm a judgmenal jerk


#1

That’s according to my mom. She hasn’t said that in so many words, at least, not those particular words in that particular order, but that’s the jist of her thinking about me.

How to summarize quickly?

Mom is responsible for planting a seed of faith in me, and she planted it well. Eventually I became one of those annoying hard-core amateur apologists early in college, but I quickly burned out. I rejected the faith for a while, but eventually came back, and as far as I can tell, this faith is healthy, holy, and real. I now loathe apologetics, and for the first time in my life, I’m much more likely to actually hear what people are saying whether they’re anti-Catholics, non-Catholics, or non-Christians.

Over the last few years, my family has gone through some trying times. My brother got hooked on drugs, married a horrible woman, had a child, divorced, cleaned up, and then got another girl pregnant. While the annullment is pending, and his new fiance seems “nice,” it’s still not the ideal situation, obviously. Especially because my brother’s then-girlfriend was living with him in my parents’ place. I never said a thing about it, and mom was quick to shut down any conceivable criticism about that arrangement.

My sister also got pregnant while living at home. Her boyfriend is also “nice,” but not Catholic. Now both siblins are living with their respective lovers.

I’d kept my mouth shut through all of it. It was fairly easy to do–after all, what can I say? My siblings both know it’s wrong, and except for their actions, could be considered “orthodox” Catholics.

Through this time religion would sometimes come up. During one visit last year, before my wife and I were married, me and mom had a fight at the dinner table that will go down in family lore as “the time things changed.” (We could date life before as B.F. [Before Fight] and A.F.) The topic? I simply said, “Generally speaking, Catholics in America don’t know their faith very well.” I think it’s an accurate statement, but one I’m very open to modifying.

Mom didn’t take it that way. It became a fight about me being holier than everyone else, about her parenting, about how she hates “Bible thumpers,” etc. It made a so-far irreversible impression on my soon-to-be-wife, who, at the time, was still a fundamentalist.

I could add to the list of minor grievances that exploded into ridiculous, pointless squabbles, but I’ll just skip to the end.

Last night I was chatting with mom, and I asked WHAT in the world my sister was thinking if she KNOWS living with her boyfriend is wrong. Well, that’s all it took. It’s probably pointless to recount everything that we said, but I’ll just ask that you take my word for it–I was NOT condemning anyone to Hell. I didn’t say my siblings were evil. I did NOT call her a bad parent. In fact, I’ve been bending over backward for so long to not cause offense that I’m probably guilty of a sin of omission.

I’m just done. I can’t keep playing this game anymore. My mom is perpetually p.o.'d at the world, and it’s apparent that nothing I can say will ever be taken the way I said it. It’s all about secret motives, or subtext, or the subconscious. Somehow, by almost remaining silent I’ve become a judgmental ***.

Is it wrong to simply let family ties die through non-contact when everything is so noxious?


#2

Your mom KNOWS in her heart of hearts that it is wrong, when you bring it up - it is like salt in the wound.

No advice really, prayer, love, and maybe a good martini?


#3

Honestly could it be because you are the voice of truth in your family? Your an example of trying to live out the faith and that bothers your family.

I mean for me i noticed that when i have gotten the angriest with people is really when i see a trait in them that i either want or is within myself that i want to fix. It’s like when i use to hate hanging out with this women names Helen because i thought she was the “holy roller” and she rubbed me the wrong way. Well truth be known i was really jealous of her faith of how she lived her faith. she had no problem speaking the truth in every arena. I now appericate her for all that she is and know that she has nothing but the best inentions and has helped me on my faith journey.

I wouldn’t drop your ties but continue to love and pray for them.


#4

My policy with my siblings and my in laws is to keep the conversation level at what I would do with a complete stranger. Lots of small talk, no substance.

Fortunately, my parents are wonderful. :slight_smile:

But, I pray a lot for my sibs and in laws. .


#5

Boy, what a mess! satan loves to sow discourse in families. My gut instinct on this one is: You are called to pray for all of you,fast and make sacrifices that God calls you to do. Storm the heavens for your family. remember we only get one family of origin in this life. You’ve got your priorities morally in order. Just don’t give up on them. Jesus never gave up on anyone. we must do the same. I will keep all of you in my prayers.
God love you!:gopray2:


#6

I’m just done. I can’t keep playing this game anymore. My mom is perpetually p.o.'d at the world, and it’s apparent that nothing I can say will ever be taken the way I said it. It’s all about secret motives, or subtext, or the subconscious. Somehow, by almost remaining silent I’ve become a judgmental ***.

Is it wrong to simply let family ties die through non-contact when everything is so noxious?

I haven’t had explosive arguments with my loved ones who are doing things they and I both know they shouldn’t, but I understand your frustration.

The simply truth is–you can’t make anyone do what you want them to. People do what they want to do and justify it to themselves. We all do it to one degree or another unless we are a great saint (which I certainly know I’m not), so realize that and be patient.

Don’t bring up who should be doing what or any topic concerning religion unless they do, and then be very understanding and listen carefully to their concerns. It takes a long time under the best of circumstances to establish that kind of relationship with loved ones who won’t/can’t see that what they are doing is sinful, and your circumstance is starting in a deep hole.

So, be very patient, pray, and let it go. In time, as you pray for them and live your faith in love before them, they will come around–maybe not as much as you’d like, but even a little step closer is good. Remember that God does not break the delicate reed of conscience or put out the smoldering wick of faith, so don’t you do it, either. :slight_smile:


#7

Thanks, but I’m uncomfortable with the notion of me being “the voice for truth.” God knows that I’ve made my mistakes. But the problem here is that I’m tried and convicted even when I’m silent! It infuriates me.


#8

You are experiencing spiritual suffering. If you understand it as suffering as Our Lord suffered at the hands of the authorities of his day, it might help you deal with it. Jesus said our enemies would be those from our own families. You have to detach your feelings from the situation and not expect justice from those incapable of giving it. Pray for patience and offer up your humiliation in union with the humiliation Jesus suffered throughout his ministry and especially on Good Friday. He is our prime example of how to deal with these things, which is why he commanded us to take up our cross and follow him. Yes? :slight_smile:


#9

You could tell your mom that you are naming the baby “Benedict Pius” if he is a boy :smiley:


#10

I’ve experienced some of what you’re going through. But remember, patience and long-suffering and prayer. I have gone through difficult times that I wished would be over in a short time. But we will all be tried as through the fire and refined as gold. These things are meant to purify us and put into practice revealing Christ’s love through our daily lives. We don’t always have to use words to show how we feel.

When I pray, I ask God for guidance and humility. I also ask God for His strength as I go through something. As the Bible teaches, as Christ said, when you pray for something believe that you have it. None of us are perfect, but it is also written that the just shall live by faith. Read II Corinthians 12:9 on.

I encourage you brother, keep following Christ and you shall have guidance and your feet will go in the right direction.

God bless,
Ed


#11

Sounds like your Mom may be silently blaming herself for the family issues & problems.

By discussing religious values, she’s reminded of her self imposed failures as a mother. Even though you may not be attacking her, it hurts her, so she lashes out at you as being judgmental. And in being silent, she still sees you as judgmental.

Is it wrong to simply let family ties die through non-contact when everything is so noxious?

Please don’t do this. A mom is a precious thing to waste. :slight_smile:


#12

sometimes the most deafening sound is silence.


My entire family says I’m a spoiled little brat with a superiority complex. Oh well. Whatever. Shows how extremely little they know me, imnsho.


Here’s my policy on these things


I absolutely refuse to argue these things. That’s right. I refuse.


For example, “Well maybe if I were perfect and holy like you I’d be worthy.”


Now, what do I want to say? Something along the lines of, “Actually, putting the cigerette out while you give the baby a bottle or not dancing naked in the woods or not popping pills like tictacs would be enough.”


Instead, I say, “Oh no. Gotta go. Diapers to change!” or “Oh look at the time, got to go somewhere.” And click goes the phone or pitter-patter goes feet out the door.


I’ve come to accept that my mere black sheep existance on this planet, and certainly in their lives, irks their conscience. It is not my fault and there’s not a single thing other than prayer I can do about it.


So I’ll be clear about right and wrong.
I’ll chat weather (much as I deplore such idle chitchat).
But I won’t argue.
Nope. I won’t do it. And they can’t make me.:wink:


Now the result of this policy is they no longer bother with me, rather than me cutting them off. No, it didn’t take long at all for them to find they weren’t going to get a rise out of me anymore and apparently that took the fun out having any relationship at all with me.

I’ve never said 1 mean word. I simply stopped arguing with them.

Best thing I ever did.
I love them and pray for the best for them and am always polite and civil on the now rare occassions we talk, b****ut I refuse to let their toxic behavior and attitude poison my family further.


#13

Sounds like lessons learned the hard way. Good for you! Some people only know how to be in relationships if they are poisonous, and we are not required as Christians to engage in poisonous behavior, just the opposite. And if our families refuse love without the poisonous strings attached, we can’t force them to be engaged in a more healthy relationship, we can let them go if that’s what they want. But never give up on them, prayer is our secret weapon they have no control over. :thumbsup:


#14

one of my friends told me to practive reflective listening when I am in conversation with my sister. But, I am horrible at this.

For example here’s a conversation regarding my sister’s stepdaughter who lives with her. She’s ten years old. This is the same rant I’ve been upset by for five years.

**My sister: A. is demon spawn. You can’t do anything with her.

Me: You sound like you are really struggling with her.

Sister: Oh yeah, she’s a little **tch. I hate her. She eats too much, too.

Me: It sounds like she has a big appetite.

Sister: She is such a porker. She’s ugly, too. She’s got a big mouth. She won’t do anything I say.

Me: It sounds like you and she don’t get along very well.

Sister: Oh yeah, that’s because she is a demon child. She’s so spoiled too. She’s got bad taste. She’s jealous of her little half brothers. She’s going to grow up to be a tramp.

Me: It sounds like you are a heartless stepmother who has never given your poor motherless stepdaughter a chance. I sense that she is doing pretty good considering how little love you give her. I can tell you have a selfish heart. I can sense that if you say one more cruel thing about her, I’ll have to spit in your face and walk out of the room. **
Oops, my reflective listening slipped. :stuck_out_tongue:

Actually, I usually just change the subject as fast as I can or walk out of the room.


#15

How horrible! I think I’d take the girl and walk out real fast! She’s going to need a lot of help and a lot of prayer, poor thing. :frowning:


#16

About the OP, it sounds to me that your mother is feeling really guilty for what is going on because she knows it is wrong, and feels responsible for the fact that it has gone wrong. But she can’t find the strength to do anything about it. Maybe she’s scared, maybe she’s just not strong enough to stand up to her kids. Who knows. But it is clear she is guilty about it, and projecting that guilt onto you. She takes what you have to say as judgement or condemnation.

I think it’s true that often those who are in sin, or who endulge sin, think that people are condeming them when they speak the truth of the matter.

What to do? Pray for them all. I am sorry you are in this position.


#17

Hahaha. You people make me laugh.

Good advice here.

Sounds like your mom feels very guilty deep down for somehow not raising you all to really take your faith seriously. Somehow your dad doesn’t seem to feel so guilty?

But moms are great with guilt. They blame themselves for everything. So the last thing she needs is the kid who fixed the ignorance and lack of faith in the upbringing on his own to make any comments. That’s throwing a spark into her dynamite box. Don’t do it, dude.

Nothing you can say will add anything to the train wrecks she’s seeing with her other children.

So this is the phrase you must memorize and use all the time. Do not deviate or improvise. When they make a statement about their latest problem, say this: “Sounds like you’re going through a rough time. I love you. I’ll pray for you.”

Then leave.

Then live your own life as if it’s the only bible they’re ever going to read. Make them want the stability and success and happiness you have.

And just write a note to mom and apologize for upsetting her. Tell her you deeply value the faith she handed on to you and tell her you treasure that and her gift of life.

And then leave it at that.

Back out of the room slowly. She’s fighting her own demons. Pray for her.


#18

Heh. Benedict Pius Innocent, actually.


#19

Thanks for the words of encouragement, all. It’s a roller coaster. I just received an e-mail from mom with the logo I contracted her to do for the business I’m trying to start. It was all sunshine and light.

Heh. Okay, fine. I’m down with the repression. I’ll never again make the mistake of trying to be a positive influence.

Well, I did send my sister an e-mail simply saying “I love you very, very much.” She asked me if I had cancer.


#20

That is very funny! Keep your sense of humor!!! :smiley:


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