(Can I just leave the post like this with no context?)
Life is hard. Spiritual abuse is real. And this will possibly be a rant more than anything else, but lately it seems I have to keep taking breaks from writing about fundamentalism to deal with its effects that are still very present in my life. I’m working on getting out of my current situation (living with my fundamentalist parents) and there ARE good things happening. What’s been a long road to leaving an abusive situation is almost at a point where I can breathe. Not there yet.
My dad decided he “needed to talk to me” after I gave my parents the book Torn by Justin Lee kind of as a conversation starter. Just for future reference for anyone with fundamentalist parents, if it has gay in the title or the author is openly gay (ie, Justin Lee is over the GAY Christian Network), it’s probably not going to go over well. They may not be ready for that. Mine weren’t and I didn’t realize how angry they were even with the concept of their daughter being gay.
All that to take a deep breath and repeat some very vitriolic, damaging things my dad said that will possibly take me a while to process:
“I would rather die than have you be with another woman or be openly gay…”
“I want to pastor another church someday and I would be ashamed to do that with a gay daughter.”
If this is where a conversation is starting, 1. it’s not a conversation and 2. I’m so sorry.
And if your parents or anyone you know has ever said something like this to you as a queer person, I’m so, so sorry. My parents don’t understand the concept of sexual orientation much less someone being gay meaning anything less than sexual behavior. And like many fundamentalists, they’re not willing to be educated on anything outside of the Bible–and then, only their interpretation of it. If you think you’re starting at the bare minimum in explaining things, if you can’t have a conversation about differing interpretations, you’ll probably have to take that a few steps back. Dial it waaayyyyy on back.
I was told by my therapist when I first came out to my parents that it was somewhat of a grieving process for the parents. They’re having to come to terms with new information about their child and let go of certain expectations they may have had. I’m not a parent; I have no clue how hard that must be.
But I DO know, damaging rhetoric isn’t helpful and taking out that anger or grief on someone who’s already vulnerable is pretty fucked up. Sorry, it just is. Like, in case we need a reason to hate ourselves more as society so often does, hearing it from our own parents is never helpful. My dad basically thinks I am an abomination to God if I ever act on my sexual attractions. As in, the God who I was told loved me all these years, now hates me for existing. While I know that’s not true, it’s still hard to digest.
I know folks say we’re supposed to have respectful dialogue with people. Honestly, being the better person is exhausting and in an abusive situation, it’s better to get out of it as soon as possible. It’s not ok. You shouldn’t have to sit there and take that kind of verbal onslaught of hate.
That being said, I’m really angry and doing my best to work on plans for moving out with even more determination. I’ve seen it do some awful things, so I’m trying to channel that towards being productive. Anger is a powerful motivator. Or a destroyer. Don’t let it destroy you. Don’t let anyone tear you down like that. None of us deserves that.