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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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Jess~ Offline
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church and family (kinda long, srry) - April 3rd 2016, 11:07 PM

for about 7-8 months now, my family has been forcing me to go to church with them every sunday. and every religious holiday.
both my brothers and i absolutely hate it, but they just pretend to like it so they can suck up to my parents and not turn out like me.

see, i'm just a complete idiot, because i feel that i actually deserve my first amendment right to the freedom of religion. silly me, right?

this morning i asked my parents individually if i could just not go to church today. "just this one day, please."
both got immediately annoyed and upset and told me no.

i actually have gotten so sick of being forced to participate in their church that i just went to my room and cried, which is very rare for me, especially for something that makes me so angry, not sad.
but i'm just so over it. i feel trapped.
on one hand, i really want to please my parents and make them proud, and be liked by my family. but on the other hand, i feel i should have the freedom to decide what i believe and how i want to practice what i believe.

the thing is, i don't even KNOW what i believe anymore. i seriously have no idea, because i've been putting on this mask of "diehard Christian" for so long to please my parents. because it's so much easier to just pretend and put on this mask and just be done with it. but it kills me inside, and makes my beliefs even more jumbled and confused, to be forced to go to church every week. why spend two hours of my life in a church i'm not sure i believe in, when i could be doing something productive or actually ENJOYING my weekend off of school?

i'm so confused about whether i actually believe in something or if it's just the belief that my parents have instilled in me. i just don't know what i think because so much has been forced and so many questions have been left unasked... does this all make sense?
i feel like i could believe in god. i really, really do. and i still pray to this god every now and then. i guess this is what you'd call being more spiritual than religious? because i feel like if i do believe in a god, that should just be between me and the big guy -- no building, no group of people, no one else needs to be involved if it's just me and god. right?
but it's just the fact that this god and his religion has been forced upon me my entire life. i really never had a choice about what to believe, and because of that i have no idea if what i believe is what i ACTUALLY believe.


anyway, so this morning while crying in my room, i started to get ready for church.
i was all ready to go when i heard the front door slam closed, and so i ran out to get my shoes on because they were leaving... but when i walked out the front door, the car was gone.

they just... left. without me.

i called my mom's cell and she didn't answer.

this is absolutely classic, by the way. classic, typical passive-aggressive attitude of my family. it's like they don't know how to deal with conflict, because they're so controlling, so they just emotionally manipulate me into being forced to cooperate with their immaturity.


i started freaking out. legit, panicking.
i couldn't breathe, but at the same time i was breathing way too quickly.
my heart was beating super rapidly and i could feel it in my chest.
i started up with a bunch of nervous ticks -- like i always had to be moving in someway. whether it was tapping my leg, snapping, tapping my fingers together, tapping the wall/table, rocking back and forth while sitting, and ESPECIALLY pacing.
i would randomly cry out or scream and hold my head in my hands.

i just couldn't handle myself.
(also, was this a panic attack? this is NOT the first time it's happened, but it was one of the worst times.)

so in the past, whenever this happens, i usually just ended it by cutting. then all the blurriness cleared and i finally relax. the panic just ended.

this time i tried everything. just taking deep breaths, taking a stress-reliever pill, closing my eyes and counting, listening to music, everything.
but i just kept twitching and flipping out, so finally i cut myself about 20 times.

this was one of the scariest episodes of self harm for me. because usually i'll get to a point where i've had enough to calm the overwhelming panic/anger/sadness.
but this time i felt like i could cut forever and it would never be enough.
i actually had to stop myself.


when my family got home, they had all gotten tacos.
yeah.
tacos.
like..
...

really?

then they made a HUGE show of eating them right in front of me.
my brother asked my other brother if he wanted his leftovers, and he refused them. then the brother said something along the lines of "oh okay, i'll just give them to the dogs. they actually deserve them."


they're just so... passive aggressive. in everything they do.
all this because they know i don't necessarily agree with their religion and going to their church.

and i'll always be the only one who has to say sorry.


(P.S. the church thing was never so bad up until 5 months ago, when my parents went through my phone and saw snapchats of selfies of me flipping off the camera, with captions like "f*king church again -.-"
ever since then they've been concerned that i'm an atheist. which i'm not. if anything, i'm agnostic. but i still have that spiritual part of me, so in all reality i actually haven't strayed that far from their religion at all.
but i've still been treated like crap for even the POSSIBILITY that i'm an atheist. i constantly hear comments from both my mom and my youngest brother like "you hate jesus", "atheist scum", and even "antichrist".
just, what the fuck...)


i don't know what i'm supposed to do
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Re: church and family (kinda long, srry) - April 4th 2016, 04:07 PM

I'm sorry about how your family is treating you. It was rude of them to bring tacos in and eat them in front of you like that. They should have eaten them in the car, or somewhere not around you if they weren't planning to give you any. I don't know if passive-aggressive people are capable of change. I'd like to think everyone is, but some people refuse to see their behavior as a problem so they do not get help and they don't change.

What you experienced definitely sounds like a panic attack. I know from experience that they are really hard to cope with in the beginning, but they get easier to cope with as time goes on and they end up becoming more of an annoyance than anything else. Sometimes when you're anxious it seems easier to stand and do things, like pacing. If you get anxious again and you don't want to sit still, maybe you can do something to keep busy. You could sweep the floor or do floor exercises to keep yourself moving and distracted.

I'm proud of you for trying different alternatives before you self-harmed. That shows progress and it's definitely better than going right to self-harming. I think you should continue trying to use alternatives beforehand, and maybe move your time up. You said last time you tried things for twenty minutes. Maybe next time you could aim for twenty five minutes or a half hour.

I know sometimes passive-aggressive people are difficult to talk to. Do you think you'd be able to talk to your parents? If not, maybe you can write your parents a note to explain things. Explain how you're agnostic, not atheist, and that sitting in church on the weekends is hard for you because you're not sure what you believe in. You might be able to convince your parents to let you stop going to church if you look into some volunteering opportunities on the weekends, or if you help them around the house or something similar to that. I know it is not ideal on your time off from school, but it might be better than going to church. You also can stop going to church when you turn eighteen. I know you are probably very frustrated with your parents, but if you decide to talk to them, try to be as polite as possible so you can be more convincing.


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Re: church and family (kinda long, srry) - April 4th 2016, 06:51 PM

Hey,

I just wanted to respond here because I absolutely understand how you feel. I've been raised into a catholic family, and while my parents are fairly liberal, they do take their beliefs seriously. I was in the same position as you where I had no idea what to believe. I didn't want to believe in God JUST because I felt I had to or because I was scared of burning in Hell, but I didn't want to not believe just in case it was all true and I ended up burning in Hell. It's really difficult to separate what you BELIEVE and what you've been TOLD IS TRUE. I'm still working through that myself.
Your parents sound much more strict and difficult than mine so I'm not sure my solution will work, but one day I emailed my mum (so she couldn't interrupt me and get all upset) and I was straight with her. I told her I did still believe in God, but I was having issues with religion. I told her I didn't want to keep going to mass every week and resenting it because I was forced to go, because when it became my choice, I'd stop going for good. I would much rather take time out, even if it's a few years or more, go when I CHOOSE to go, and then maybe in time I'll feel ready to go back more frequently. I still celebrate Christmas and Easter and sometimes go along to other masses with the choir, but I don't go every week.

You absolutely have the right to believe whatever you feel is right. Unfortunately, it can be really difficult for hardcore religious people to see that. I thought members of my family were being cruel and harsh when they threatened me and made me feel like shit because of religion (not my parents, I should add), but it wasn't until afterwards that I realised they weren't trying to be mean, they just believed so fully that I would suffer if I didn't believe in God and conform to a good catholic lifestyle. Obviously that's not true, but being cruel towards me was them trying to force me back into a life that they thought was best for me. Even if they were completely wrong and went about it entirely the wrong way.

In your situation, I'm not sure there's a lot you can do if your parents don't listen to you. I'm so sorry that they've got your brothers in on this as well, it's so wrong when parents have such a negative influence over their kids.
Have you thought about what you want to do after school? If you go to college, then you could have more freedom if you moved out to study. Alternatively, you could do something else I tried and see if you can get a job. If your shifts just HAPPEN to fall at the times you go to church, then that's too bad.
I don't recommend deceiving your parents or anything, but getting a weekend job certainly helped my parents adjust to the idea I wasn't going to mass as often. When I didn't immediately burst into flames, I think they realised it wouldn't kill me not to go.

Anyway, I don't know how much of that you'll be able to take on board and apply to your situation, but know that you're not alone. I was in your boat once so I understand how frustrating it is with all the conflicting feelings about what you do and do not believe.
Feel free to PM me any time you want to talk.

Good luck - I really hope things improve for you!

- Louise


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Re: church and family (kinda long, srry) - April 5th 2016, 05:49 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassado View Post
I'm proud of you for trying different alternatives before you self-harmed. That shows progress and it's definitely better than going right to self-harming. I think you should continue trying to use alternatives beforehand, and maybe move your time up. You said last time you tried things for twenty minutes. Maybe next time you could aim for twenty five minutes or a half hour.

I know sometimes passive-aggressive people are difficult to talk to. Do you think you'd be able to talk to your parents? If not, maybe you can write your parents a note to explain things. Explain how you're agnostic, not atheist, and that sitting in church on the weekends is hard for you because you're not sure what you believe in. You might be able to convince your parents to let you stop going to church if you look into some volunteering opportunities on the weekends, or if you help them around the house or something similar to that. I know it is not ideal on your time off from school, but it might be better than going to church. You also can stop going to church when you turn eighteen. I know you are probably very frustrated with your parents, but if you decide to talk to them, try to be as polite as possible so you can be more convincing.
thank you so much for the reply, i really appreciate it.

i really like the idea of using the alternatives for a longer time. i'm not good with keeping track of things, but i can definitely try and go for as long as i can before resorting to self harm.
the only problem is that i enjoy cutting. it's the quickest fix to these panic attacks, and it feels like it'd be worse to suffer through the attack. since i'm not cutting as a form of punishment, and more as a release, it makes the most logical sense to me at a time like this.
and usually, once i get the idea in my head that i want to cut that day, i will.
i think there was a time where i was going through a lot and i decided i wanted to cut, but for some reason i couldn't? (i might've been at someone else's house or something.) but even later that day, after i had been forced to relax and think through my emotions, i still cut -- even though i was feeling perfectly fine by then.

thanks for the suggestions! i'll definitely look into volunteering or something on the weekends. but i don't know if they'd really go for that..
i would be terrified to even try and talk to them about this. they're just so stuck in their ways, i don't think they'd be able to understand. :/
honestly, they'd likely just force me to go to church even more times a week and with even more of an attitude.

and as for turning 18, i asked my mom about that. she said as long as i live under their roof, i am going to church with them, whether i like it or not.
...and they still wonder why i want to move out so soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LlamaLlamaDuck View Post
I just wanted to respond here because I absolutely understand how you feel. I've been raised into a catholic family, and while my parents are fairly liberal, they do take their beliefs seriously. I was in the same position as you where I had no idea what to believe. I didn't want to believe in God JUST because I felt I had to or because I was scared of burning in Hell, but I didn't want to not believe just in case it was all true and I ended up burning in Hell. It's really difficult to separate what you BELIEVE and what you've been TOLD IS TRUE. I'm still working through that myself.

You absolutely have the right to believe whatever you feel is right. Unfortunately, it can be really difficult for hardcore religious people to see that. I thought members of my family were being cruel and harsh when they threatened me and made me feel like shit because of religion (not my parents, I should add), but it wasn't until afterwards that I realised they weren't trying to be mean, they just believed so fully that I would suffer if I didn't believe in God and conform to a good catholic lifestyle. Obviously that's not true, but being cruel towards me was them trying to force me back into a life that they thought was best for me. Even if they were completely wrong and went about it entirely the wrong way.

Have you thought about what you want to do after school? If you go to college, then you could have more freedom if you moved out to study. Alternatively, you could do something else I tried and see if you can get a job. If your shifts just HAPPEN to fall at the times you go to church, then that's too bad.
YESSSS. EXACTLY!! that's exactly how i feel! for real, if there was no chance of me ending up in hell, i would've ditched religion a much longer time ago. which is what makes me despise it even more -- that if this all really isn't true, then they're just using a fear tactic to keep people in the religion; at least as a last resort.

i do realize that they're just acting like this because they love me and don't want me to burn in hell. i get that. but they don't realize how much hell they're putting me through right now.. and that's the problem.

i've tried thinking about what i want to do with my life, but i seriously don't have a single clue. it seems like everyone my age has their entire life planned, and i'm just sitting here trying to enjoy the last few years of high school and being a teen. after this, it's just real life and the real world. can you blame me for wanting to make my last few years count?
and my parents have talked about college... they tell me that it'd be best for me to go to a college close to home so i can still live with them and not "waste" money on an apartment or dorm room. part of me feels like they just want to control me for that much longer (especially during the crazy college years), but another part is afraid that they're just being good parents and that if i don't listen to their advice... i'll be fucked.

i will, however, DEFINITELY look into getting a job. i'm not sure if i could get one where i go in on sunday, but hey. i'll pray about it.

thanks so much for the response and the support. it's good to know i'm not the only one who has struggled with this.


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Re: church and family (kinda long, srry) - April 7th 2016, 06:13 AM

If you want to keep track of the time, you could try the fifteen minute game. You give yourself fifteen minutes to try different distractions, and you tell yourself that you can still self-harm at the end of those fifteen minutes if you need to. The object is to continue adding another fifteen minutes until you find a distraction that takes the urge away. But for some people, keeping track of it can continue to bring the urge to their attention so it isn't something that works for everyone.

It's normal to like cutting and I think many people do. It releases those brain chemicals and they become highly addictive even if the relief they provide is only temporary. You don't have to stop if you're not ready to, but I think trying alternatives first is a good idea.

I'm not sure what thoughts go through your head before self-harming, but a lot of people think "I want to cut" or "I want to burn" or anything else they use to harm themselves. I've found that it helps to say "I want to hurt myself" or "I want to self-harm" so you are telling yourself that self-harm is harmful.

I don't know if they'd go for volunteering or working on the weekends either, but it is definitely worth a shot. I don't have much advice for you in regards to your church, unfortunately, but I really hope you're able to work something out.


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Re: church and family (kinda long, srry) - April 17th 2016, 02:33 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassado View Post
If you want to keep track of the time, you could try the fifteen minute game. You give yourself fifteen minutes to try different distractions, and you tell yourself that you can still self-harm at the end of those fifteen minutes if you need to. The object is to continue adding another fifteen minutes until you find a distraction that takes the urge away. But for some people, keeping track of it can continue to bring the urge to their attention so it isn't something that works for everyone.

It's normal to like cutting and I think many people do. It releases those brain chemicals and they become highly addictive even if the relief they provide is only temporary. You don't have to stop if you're not ready to, but I think trying alternatives first is a good idea.

I'm not sure what thoughts go through your head before self-harming, but a lot of people think "I want to cut" or "I want to burn" or anything else they use to harm themselves. I've found that it helps to say "I want to hurt myself" or "I want to self-harm" so you are telling yourself that self-harm is harmful.

I don't know if they'd go for volunteering or working on the weekends either, but it is definitely worth a shot. I don't have much advice for you in regards to your church, unfortunately, but I really hope you're able to work something out.
i'll try the 15 minute idea for sure next time the urge comes up. luckily, for some odd reason, it hasn't come up since that day. however, that is a concern, about keeping the urge in mind. like i said, whenever i even get the thought in my head like "i'm going to have to cut today", it rarely ever goes away, even if the urge does. it's just that i've set that idea in my head and i'm going to do it whether i need to or not.

usually cutting isn't a punishment for me, it's more of an escape. like you said, it releases those chemicals and is just a HUGE relief to any time i get panicky and can't relax or control myself any longer.
so i often don't think "i want to cut", i usually just think, "i NEED to cut."
i'll try changing the words like you suggested.
thanks for the advice~


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