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My Family Doesn’t Respect My Beliefs

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From a 16 year old in Turkey: Over the past year, I was brave enough to openly admit that I only had been following the religion of my society because my family is strictly religious and simply it is more convenient to smile and nod. This admittance, to my surprise, turned into a crisis. I was almost kicked out of my conservative school, some teacher would talk about “a stupid girl who was affected by this and that” during his lesson to another class, my classmates wouldn’t talk to me for a while and claim that I was corrupting them, their parents would badmouth me at every chance, lies spread, my mother says that she’s ashamed to go out in public, that I’ve shattered her trust, that I was stupid enough to get influenced by people, etc.

Eventually, my grades went bad. I stopped talking with people and yet some would still claim that I was messing with their minds and faith! I went to a psychologist, who said to my mother that this all was happening because they gave me too much freedom.

My mother would refuse to acknowledge my will and reasoning, and kept on claiming that I was merely stupid. Whenever I was to request something from her, she’d say I wasn’t mature enough, a claim that I had been hearing the opposite of until now! I would try to explain, but she’d either mock me, try to scare me, etc. After this unfruitful cycle of trying to get my mother to at least respect the fact that I could have some opinion to myself, I snapped.

I had been trying to explain my point so desperately that now whenever she tries to mock, scare or blame me for being too foolish, I can’t help but get furious, I can’t explain my points properly and can’t talk maturely anymore, which is supposedly a support to her on her idea that I’m not mature enough to do certain things, or to be taken seriously.

What’s more, she has started to restrict me at certain points where she normally would never hesitate to let me. Whenever I try to point this out, she lists the superficial things she has done, e.g. I spent my day cooking your favorite meal and this is what you do?, to which I can say nothing because then she claims I’m unappreciative. What am I supposed to do?

My Family Doesn’t Respect My Beliefs

Answered by on -

A.

The teen years are a time when many young people start questioning the beliefs they were raised with. Most return to the faith of their parents but, having gone through a time of questioning and contemplation, they come back to it with personal commitment instead of blind acceptance. There is nothing wrong with you for going through that process.

However, it isn’t helpful to you or to your family for you to insist that the family and school cooperate with your personal journey. You are challenging beliefs they hold dear. They are frightened that something bad will happen to you if you persist. You aren’t going to change their minds. You have no right to push your opinions on them.

What you are going through really is very personal. If you are clear and comfortable in your beliefs, you don’t need others to agree. You don’t need to announce your convictions to the people you know will only be upset by them. Instead, continue to question, to read, to think, and to confer with others who have wisdom to offer you. Go about the business of your daily life as a mature, thoughtful person.

This isn’t “giving in”. It’s keeping your private thoughts and beliefs private out of respect for the feelings of others. When you are older and have left home, you will surround yourself with people with similar beliefs. Your parents won’t be any happier about it but none of you will have to live with daily conflict and upset.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

My Family Doesn’t Respect My Beliefs

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). My Family Doesn’t Respect My Beliefs. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/06/09/my-family-doesnt-respect-my-beliefs/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 9 Jun 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.