The breaking point

Yesterday my parents coerced my younger sister into not getting on a plane to come visit me for the weekend. I bought the ticket so we could have some fun bonding time, which we so rarely get with her busy university schedule.

As soon as my parents heard about it they became irrationally obsessed with stopping the trip. There is a church activity this weekend, they say, and your sister has to be at it. Clearly the event will stand or fall on whether or not she is there to slice the green jell-o. My sister had made arrangements with the organisers to have someone else manage the jell-o and punch in her stead. My sister may still live at home, but she is an adult. She made arrangements with the other adults to whom she was obligated, and all parties were satisfied. Why are my parents, who are not members of the singles ward, micromanaging an event in which they have no part?

The night before the flight, I received an angry call from both of my parents, blaming me for ruining the church party and their dinner plans because “they had to deal with this.”

My mum said it was important for my sister to attend because she “needed to be taught a lesson about being so selfish.” I fail to see the selfishness in periodically missing a church event to spend time with a family member. My mum seems to define “selfish” as “a person who does not do exactly what I tell them to do.” That definition seems terribly . . . selfish.

She said my sister could come another time. I asked her when. “Later,” I was told.

That’s when I hit the breaking point. I am sick to the teeth of this abuse.

“It seems like every time I ask to have either [redacted] or [redacted] for a visit, you come up with some reason why they can’t.”

I didn’t say it in an angry or sad tone. I stated it as fact. Because it’s true. My parents are manipulative and bullying and will only allow me to interact with my siblings in an environment they are allowed to control. I don’t know what they believe I am going to do to my sisters. In their twisted view of the world where anything outside the Church they worship is a threat, they probably believe that not only will I force feed them the sinful custard that is apostasy, but I’ll also take them to shoot up heroin while being gang-banged a tattoo parlour. They can’t conceive of a visit in which we talk about school, pop culture, and life in general whilst having nice meals and going shopping.

Mum laid into the usual guilt trip, how this was affecting her health, and how sick she was to be surrounded by selfish people, but for the first time it all just plinked off of me like broken arrows failing to penetrate armour. Her rubbish didn’t make it far enough to stab me the way it usually does.

She concluded with “do what you want” and hung up on me.

They went on to bully my sister so much that she did not even call me to let me know that she didn’t get on the plane. I heard from her later in the day, and we worked out some coping mechanisms for the near future. My parents have refused to fund any portion of her education because she didn’t want to go to BYU. Evil rebel. She will move away soon, and I plan to help her financially as much as I can.

This was the breaking point. I need to have no contact with them for a while, if only so that I can send a very clear message that their childish threats, guilt trips, and outright lies no longer have any power over me. I am not a bad person, and I am not to blame when they become upset because I refuse to conform to their unreasonable demands.

7 thoughts on “The breaking point

  1. This sounds creepily like my husband’s family. I’m so sorry you have to endure such abuse from the people who are supposed to love you unconditionally.

  2. Good god

    Posts/stories like these remind me just how lucky I am.

    I hope so much that events like these only impress upon your sister just how f’d up the church can be. Selfish indeed.

    Seriously. Family first? Whatev.

  3. So sorry you have to go through such crap. I’ve had some interesting wrestles with my own relations too as they believe I threaten the family unity as well. “Forever Families” is a nice concept as long as everybody acts the same, thinks the same, does the same things. God help you if you don’t. It’s so ironic that active TBMs think questioning the faith is “the easy way out” when it’s just the opposite.

  4. This sounds eerily similar to what’s going on in my husband’s family. I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. Hopefully, in time, your sister will learn to have a relationship with you–and indeed other people–that’s not conditional on someone else’s approval.

  5. Hey Molly. I’ve been reading the blog for a little while now, but never commented. I just want to say that you are totally right. You shouldn’t have to comply with your parents and their ridiculous ideas of what is right or wrong, and neither should your siblings. It’s obvious they don’t really understand Christ’s teachings if they think what they’re doing is okay. I’m behind you 100%!

  6. I’m so sorry. I know what it’s like for parents to control your relationship with your siblings. I only have one brother (out of 3 brothers and one sister) with whom I can actually talk honestly to because my parents meddle and control everything. Well mostly it’s my crazy mum and my dad just goes along with it.

    My parents also refused to fund any of my education as soon as I left BYU (and they’re rich, and funded my non-gay siblings’ non-byu educations).

    I too went through a time where I just couldn’t talk to them anymore, and part of the time, I don’t understand why I do now.

    Basically, Mormonism breaks your brain, and makes it impossible to have a normal, human relationship with anyone who isn’t fucked up and Mormon.

    *sigh*

    • Yes, but it’s also a self-perpetuating cycle. Any fascist, restrictive system, whether a church, government, whatever–basically, anywhere you can succeed “Mao Button”-style–is going to attract a certain type of person. Moreover, those who thrive within the system are those to whom the limitations are appealing. If “spirituality” is defined as the ability to parrot back whatever drivel is dished out, without in any way adding your own thoughts to it, church leaders will never be accepting sorts.

      Not to mention, I think we’re all underestimating the degree to which fear is a primary motivator. People turn each other in for minor infractions; people get disfellowshipped, excommunicated, etc for politely stating their own ideas. I lost all of my Mormon friends but two when I said that I disagreed with BKP. Now, they disagree, too–they’re just afraid of saying so, for fear of consequences. With parents, siblings, it’s the same thing, only tenfold. Step out of line and you lose your “blessings”.

      And, even worse, if you acknowledge that maybe “blessings” that force your family apart aren’t really blessings, you have to also acknowledge that your whole life–insofar as it’s been controlled by this cult–has been a complete waste.

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