My Mom's Upset With Me

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TheVegetarianHumanist1996's picture
My Mom's Upset With Me

My mom and I recently got into a fight. I told her that I felt taken for granted.

She said that she "tolerates" me being a vegetarian and not-so-religious. It hurts knowing what she really thinks of me. That being said, she doesn't know that I'm an atheist/humanist.

Piror to my deconversion, I was religiously zealous. I was also a bully. I preached about keeping kosher, obserbing the sabbath, and wearing modest clothing. I would scold people who had permanent tattoos and saw them as people who couldn't be "saved." I also viewed my paternal grandparents who didn't take my former faith seriously while they were mean to me as "godless heathens." To this day, I'm scared of going back to being a religious bully.

My mom's like a Republican version of those college students who call for trigger warnings, safe spaces. I feel like everything I do around her is like a microagression.

I've been having an internal crisis ever since the fight. What should I do?

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Flamenca's picture
There's no magic remedy but

There's no magical remedy but if you could use this... I have had innumerable fights with my Catholic mum throughout the years because of this... You have to understand, that, just as you did, she was indoctrinated so in her mind you're making a mistake. You have to be patient, love her and respect her (not her irrational beliefs, of course), and let her know that you are a much better person now and that you need her to understand this. If you are still living with her, it's difficult. But don't stop being yourself.

And don't be afraid... Once you learn how to use your brain to this matters, there's no coming back. Good luck!

TheVegetarianHumanist1996's picture
Thanks. This helps. But I try

Thanks. This helps. But I try to respect my mom.

ZeffD's picture
I cannot advise you and know

I cannot advise you and know nothing of your circumstances but offer these observations. Obviously you wish to respect and (especially) not hurt your mother but it is important to be open about being a non-believer and a humanist, if you can. Reticence about it can be misinterpreted as guilt.

I was always quite open about my disbelief in god(s) and I think was more respected for it. It would be no credit to anyone to treat someone who rejects god(s) and religion badly just because of honestly held views on those matters. Religionists always say that people are free to choose whether to believe or not. I would hold them to that.

LogicForTW's picture
If you are not 18 yet, I

If you are not 18 yet, I recommend you grin and bear it, you got a lot of change going on in your life try to put this on the back burner with your mother.
If you are over 18, if you can afford it, I would recommend a short session with a professional, non-religion-oriented family counselor or something similiar to help you setup, understand and create boundaries that can foster a better relationship with your mom, based on respect for each other.

It is unfair to you, to try and respect your mother and her opinions if she cannot respect yours. All our parents do a number on us. No parent is perfect, if your mother does not cause harm to you, (physical or mental,) sometimes that has to be enough, despite their other flaws.

If she is causing mental harm to you, if at all possible get your self to a place where she cannot, usually by physical distance. Withdraw a little from the relationship to protect yourself and seek help. These boards are a start, but are by no means experts on this. Hopefully someone else reads your post that has gone through something similar to you can offer further advice.

Once you safeguarded your self from further mental harm, then work to build back up the relationship with your mother, from a position of safety and support. Nothing good comes from two angry and upset people arguing with each other.

As you are well aware, for many theist, the not so devout theist or atheist are an attack to them and a large part of their core ideals and values. (Even if you do not mean it as an attack.) I find many theist are actually quite insecure about their faith, that they typically hide behind a wall of anger, fear and resentment.

If they were so secure in their own faith, atheist, agnostics, and non devout theist would not be a threat to them and would not stir a strong emotional response. Nearly all major religion ideas also have a forgiveness system built in, so even if they believe you are going to go to hell, they know their is hope for you. There is no reason for them to be upset if they were secure in their faith, even when you are your mother's daughter and very important to your mother.

CyberLN's picture
Kids and parents argue. If

Kids and parents argue. If it's not one thing, it's another. I think the friction is typically due to a child practicing adulthood and a parent grieving the loss of their baby.

Veg, all my kids and I argued when they were your age. It's pretty normal. We survived it. I can't even remember what 99% of the arguments were about. Neither you nor she likely will either. Time will see you grow up and see her back off some. The arguing will abate.

chimp3's picture
It is good that you respect

It is good that you respect your Mother. Religion is not worth creating schizms in families.

SHAM's picture
For god's sake - move out!

For god's sake - move out! You have a choice of who you want to associate with.

TheVegetarianHumanist1996's picture
I can't move out so easily. I

I can't move out so easily. I don't have a lot of money.

Foregotten's picture
As many others have said,

As many others have said, there is no simple solution. If she says again that she "tolerates" you being non-religious, just say "thank you. That's how I feel about religious people" then simply drop it. If she starts trying to convert you, then it wouldn't be impolite of you to counter her arguments. Let her know why you don't believe in god. Let her know that when she insults your reasons for NOT believing, it is no different than insulting her for her reasons FOR believing.
Above all, don't be cruel or impolite. That never works for getting someone to respect your decisions. Be firm in your resolve and if you ever need help, seek it out.

mbrownec's picture


....she doesn't know that I'm an atheist/humanist.

I want you to please think about the word order you used based on the following philosophical relationship between atheism and humanism:

While all humanists are atheists (or at least agnostic,) not all atheists are humanists.

Humanism is a rational philosophy informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion. Affirming the dignity of each human being, it supports the maximization of individual liberty and opportunity consonant with social and planetary responsibility. It advocates the extension of participatory democracy and the expansion of the open society, standing for human rights and social justice. Free of supernaturalism, it recognizes human beings as a part of nature and holds that values-be they religious, ethical, social, or political-have their source in human experience and culture. Humanism thus derives the goals of life from human need and interest rather than from theological or ideological abstractions, and asserts that humanity must take responsibility for its own destiny.
– The Humanist Magazine

Please note the "social" connotations in the above definition. There are many atheists who adhere to the philosophy of maximum self-development and liberty, but reject any moral or ethical responsibilities to society.

I bring this up to simple say that the word humanist is the descriptive word describing your philosophy of atheism and can be summed up in three words ... "Good Without God."

When appropriate, I tell those who are interested that I am a humanist centered atheist which almost always leads to a discussion of what that means.

A HUGE bias we face is that nearly all theists see atheists as heathens. One of the ways we can help change this attitude is to "walk our talk" of humanism. I encourage you to visit the Foundation Beyond Belief ( website and look under the Service Corps and Volunteer Network tabs. Getting involved in your local community by performing "Good Without God" works, your mother (an others) will see that humanist centered atheists are doing many of the things Christians are supposed to be doing (but don't) like feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, finding homes for the homeless, and being a friend to someone that others have rejected.

Keep your head high and your beliefs strong. You will get through this challenging period in your life. Love -- and not resentment -- will prevail!

Keith Raye's picture
Chimp3's advice is good. If

Chimp3's advice is good. If you love your mother don't let your feelings about religion break up your relationship with her. You are young now and all this will pass. When you are older you will be glad that your relationship with your mom is still good. Be strong, you can be an atheist and a good daughter if you want to.

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