I have been living away from home for three- almost four years now, rarely traveling back home to see my family. Within that time, I’ve challenged myself with who I really am and what I really believe. A journey probably every 20 something experiences while living on their own. Although I am now far from who I was raised to be ( A Conservative Lutheran Christian ) I am happy with where I am and the boundaries I’ve pushed. I am proud of myself because after letting go of the restrictions of my religion I am learning more and expanding my mind.
My family only knows who I was when I left, and treat me as such.
All the experiences, choices, and pivotal life shaping moments shatter when I come home.
Slowly… I have been letting them glimpse the person I am now, only to receive negative reactions and remedies to help me get back on the “right path”. Their disappointment is crushing, yet the disappointment in myself for playing their role is more damaging in the long run.
All I want is for them to see me, without the mask. I don’t want to humor them anymore. I want to share my life.
Please, if there is anyone on here who has had a similar experience or can relate, I would love some advise on how to deal, and how to approach opening myself up to my family.
Hey liz, this really resonated with me. I’m in a very similar situation. I’ve been living away from home for 3 years now, and I’ve changed so much in those 3 years that I don’t think my family would understand who I am, or who I want to be. I was raised in a very conservative family, and my parents’ lives have stayed pretty static since I left. I’m in college now studying architecture, but if it wasn’t for their pressure to complete this, I would have left and become an artist a long time ago. I don’t know how to tell them that I have no wish to live a life like theirs. I feel like such a stranger in my own family, and honestly, I’m kind of okay with that. They have seen glimpses of who I am becoming (ie dyed hair and conversations w/ my friends that they’ve overheard). I’m not sure how they feel about it because I’ve always found it very difficult to talk to them about anything other than the weather.
I’ll be going home for a while in the next couple months and I plan on talking to them about what my actual goals are for the next few years. They don’t approve of an career as an artist, but I don’t approve of their sedentary, consumerist lifestyle. I guess that’s the impasse that we’ve reached. And neither party is eager to bring up the topic and further estrange an already distanced relationship.
I think I am lucky in that my parents are not wholly tied to their religion. They too have had sort of a falling out with the church that they raised me in. But in your situation it sounds like the beliefs of your parents are creating much more of a insurmountable barrier between you. It seems like the “right path” is pretty subjective. I, myself, would like to help my parents find the right path… or at least the path that I’ve found leads me to fulfillment. I still love them both, but I know that their ideals are not for me.
I think the solution I’ve settled with is to just go my own way and no let them be anything more than spectators to how i live my life. It’s been a rough transition, but I think it will work out for the best as time moves on. I can’t say that I have a solution, but i’d be nice to talk about it with someone that’s going through the same feelings.
Realy cool that you have evolved so much and that you are facing this challenge so consciously. I think that you might already be there: the solution might be as simple as trying to understand that it is not you who has to do something …. at least nothing other than allowing yourself to be who you truly are and … simply give your family time to adjust and learn to se the new you. be patient with yourself and show them this patience. If they are good at heart, they will come to terms with the new you and the problem will dissolve.
Also, making jokes helps! :)
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