Hurt and Dismay.

For the most part, TH has no bearing on my religious leanings. This is for a variety of reasons. He is a professed atheist and I don’t see merit in trying to change his mind (most days). It will only aggravate me to have my words ignored. He also prefers to play devil’s advocate, which I think is an admirable trait. It’s also nice to know that, as an atheist, he has the ability to see others’ viewpoint. But mostly, it is the sneakily hidden scorn that occasionally slips out from behind his mellow gaze that keeps my mouth shut the most. I feel that the conversations would turn to debate, would turn to fights, would turn to anger before anything was changed or decided. I can understand that sharing a religion with a signficant other is a very important thing in some relationships, but in ours, it never was a big thing. There were more important things that kept us together besides a similar religious practice. And after years of being together, some battles are not worth it. Besides, I can teach our son how I see fit in matters religious and that would be the only battle I would be willing to fight over…

The thing is, he seems more tolerant of my magical witchy leanings than anything else… What gets to me the most is that when he disseminates information about my practice incorrectly, knowing that it is incorrect, just to get a rise out of someone else or myself.

I don’t discuss my religion very much with his family. On occasion, they are more open than the standard and so, I am able to comment to them about various things. But, I keep my mouth closed about the polytheistic version of my faith. They would not understand it when I speak about multiple gods. I’ve seen the confusion that has marred TH’s mother’s face when I’ve mentioned it or the occasional glances when I say, “oh, my gods” in regards to something. They understand the witchy version of my faith more so than the polytheistic. And this is magic to me, in and of itself. To have a family member, even an entire family, that is willing to hear me speak about spells and joke about nekkid dancing beneath the full moon is glorious. To have an entire family that is willing to hear me speak about spells or to read Tarot for them is fan-fucking-tastic, so it is with this that I am satisfied. I have no need to speak of my gods or my relationship therein and I have no need to speak about the fact that I believe multiple gods. The witch part is enough.

Recently, I began wearing a Sekhmet pendant that was given to by OF after we stopped speaking with one another. Prior to receiving it as a gift from OF, I had been eyeballing similar pendants all over the Internet that were specifically related to Sekhmet. Unfortunately, for a long time, the pendants that related to Sekhmet that I could purchase easily were cheap or poorly made. They were not what I would have as a symbol of my faith in her. As it is, I’ve always wanted to wear a symbol of her in some form or another. I had to content myself with various stone pedants (tiger’s eye) for a long while. When I was given this pendant, I knew that it was a true gift beyond just the ending of a friendship. It meant a lot to me, more than I can convey, in the giving. My lady loves this pendant and has demanded that I wear it as often as I feel it is necessary. (I’m wearing it now.) I touch it in an effort to feel more connected to her: it’s like she is with me more than just in mind and spirit, but in body now as well. I find it difficult to explain, but suffice it to say, I wore it today.

It elicited interest from the mother-in-law. She reached out and touched it thoughtfully. She went to ask, she went to query. Before she could say anything, TH told her that it was a pendant of Sekhmet, one of my gods. She couldn’t say her name properly, so I related it back to her a few times. She asked who that was and before I could give a conscientious and careful reply, TH told her that it was a pendant for a goddess of destruction, of hatred. He went on and was just… He was a complete ass about the whole thing. I sent him the look that said, “Stop it. Stop it now,” but he wasn’t seeing it or he was ignoring it or my ability to silently communicate with him as been revoked. Either way, he reiterated it and continued on until I smacked him into silence. His mother dropped the pedant around my neck and left it alone.

Damage done.

I’m hurt and dismayed that he would do this. I know that it stems from the above related comments I’ve made about his “religious views.” I also know that this is his way of openly scorning me. Or maybe I’m being paranoid here because of things that have been said to me before about his behavior and my religion. All I do know is that I’m hurt; beyond hurt by the whole exchange. I’m not really sure how to broach the subject with him, either. How do I say, “You hurt me with your words. You were being an asshole and about my religion, which is no one’s business but my own. Why couldn’t you just stop it before you went too far, like you always do? Why did you do this to me? How can you hurt me like this?” How do I say all of that without flying off of the handle and lashing into him about everything? How do I say these things to him without being a bitch, but showing him the pain and hurt he’s caused?

I, honestly, don’t know.

He was wrong.

He wrought damage.

And I don’t know how to fix it.

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40 thoughts on “Hurt and Dismay.

  1. ~hugs~ I think an honest “It really hurt me to have you say those things” might be a good start. He doesn’t have to understand your beliefs, he doesn’t have to like them, but it would be helpful if he understood that they are important to you and to have him trash them is hurtful.

    Do your best to keep your calm and just explain what upset you. As your partner he will know which buttons to push more then others, but sometimes people don’t realize how hurtful those buttons are.


    • I think I’m going to have to have this conversation in the car, in a public venue. I’m liable to fly off the handle, but less likely when I’m in public because that’s in poor taste. So, maybe I can con him into taking me out for dinner and have the conversation then…

    • I don’t want him to change. I don’t want him to cow-tow to what I want or what I think or what I believe. I like the fact that he can see things from my point-of-view but also, turn it on its head to question my faith. I think I need that devil’s advocate little persona he has going on because I think it really helps me to flow further and further in tune with the faith that I am crafting for myself. I can definitely live with him being along these lines. What I can’t stand is that he would do that to me, in public, knowing how special the gods are to me. Yes, I love the fact that he can make me question my faith (or others) but I don’t like the fact that he wants to try and embarrass me in front of his mother for… I don’t know why. That’s what I would like him to tone down.

      Now, if he was embarrassing me about sex stuff, then I could handle it.

      But, what if he doesn’t change, like you said? Can I live with it? Yes, I think so.

      • He doesn’t have to kow-tow, but he does need to know that he overstepped your bounds of what you’ll put up with. Even if he doesn’t believe and ranks your spirits and gods at about the level of the Easter Bunny, he still hurt you. My worry is that if and when you bring this up, he will do as you said he has done before- say sorry, promise to change, and revert just as soon as he feels like making fun of you again. My other worry is why he would make fun of you in such a fashion, period, much less not apologizing as soon as you kicked him. It is….unsettling to me. But, if you can live with it then its not my place to change your mind.

  2. Wow. Those are very hurtful things for him to say. I don’t think this can be solved until both of you understand *why* he thinks he should act that way. You said that he says things to get a rise out of people…could he be trying to provoke an outburst from you so he can say “see, worshiping this war goddess is bad because you’re out of control like her; you should stop that stupid stuff and be an atheist like me!”

    I pray that She guides you to the best solution, even if it is to move on.

    • It’s possible he says things like that in that regard. I don’t think so, but it is possible. I think, to be honest, he just likes to be an ass about religion. On his MySpace page (years back), the only little glittery thing he had on it was this list of statistics about how religions have killed so many people, which religion killed the most, etc. So, he has a definite issue with religion…

  3. I agree with Cin. You need to sit him down and have a talk. He doesn’t have to like or involve himself in your beliefs but if he’s in a loving relationship with you he does have to respect them.

    And I don’t think it’s about changing his beliefs at all. It’s about challenging his disrespectful attitude towards you. Because at the heart of it, disrespecting beliefs that lay at your core, is disrespecting you.

    I know it hurts and I’m sorry you had to go through that. =(

      • Actually that’s a good idea! Whenever I am feeling explosively emotional about an upcoming conversation I sit down and write it out first. I make sure I get everything I want to say down on that page and I make sure it’s perfect. Even if I don’t send the letter and instead opt for a face-to-face convo, having written it down and ironed it out to my satisfaction tends to help me say exactly what I mean and without being overly emotional.

        • I don’t tend to follow this advice (writing down my thoughts/feelings in letter form) as much as I should. TH and I have gotten into a lot of fights because I couldn’t express myself properly and he mistook what I was saying. I hate when that happens, which is why I really need to just do the letter thing all the time. Plus, it would be an interesting way to look at the progression of our relationship ten years down the road…

  4. Tell him how you feel. Let him know that just because he doesn’t believe, doesn’t mean he gets to go around dissing and lying about what you believe. Then, go to your mother in law and tell her that he was lying. Show her the wikipedia page. explain the truth.

    And if none of that works, well….

    • I think I’ll wait on the mother-in-law. She’s bound to ask about it again at some future date (probably while drunk at a family party) and then, I can get into it.

      • as you think best. however, i do not know how good it is to leave her thinking you serve an evil destroyer of all things. most people are not open minded and that will fester within. best to act quickly, in my opinion. but then you know your family better than i do.

        • She’ll come to me if it does fester. But, honestly, she’s not normally like that. She takes most things in stride, even if it takes a lot of strides before she gets the point of “dealt with.” I figure at the next family party, she and I will be alone at some point and she’ll be full of wine. That should make conversation easier, at least. And if I get embarrassed… I can always demand repayment in martinis.

  5. I’m sorry you were hurt so badly. I would have been as well. This is one of many reasons that I insist on being able to openly talk about my faith with my partners. Or at the very least, I need to know that my choice of faith is respected.

    • I’m used to being disrespected because of my faith, honestly. My ex-husband was a “Christian.” I use quotations because he claimed he was but he liked to talk Taoism in the same breath. Not to mention, the last time he had prayed was when his life fell apart and he had been blaming his God since then. (I met him about five years after all of that.) He went back to his religion, to a point, and it ended up causing a good bout of contention between us.

      Now that I have TH, I’m much happier. He knows that my religion is important to me, and mostly, he keeps his nose out of it. This was just… left field, to be honest. I feel like he was trying to get a rise out of me, on purpose, but for no other reason than to see if he could. Or, I could be wrong and he really doesn’t think much of my faith. Or, he’s just an ass about religion, which is also probable.

  6. I’m really sorry to hear that. You absolutely did not deserve it.

    ‘But mostly, it is the sneakily hidden scorn that occasionally slips out from behind his mellow gaze that keeps my mouth shut the most.’

    I get this from my partner too. A vague hint of mockery and dare I say malice, that stops me revealing too much.

    I echo the sentiments above to tell him that this truly HURTS you, and then maybe he will check his ideas.

    -Emma x

    • What gets to me is that he was more open about it when we were dating. (If anyone could call what happened between us “dating.” Heh.) He watched the Sister and I do a few rites together and seemed honestly curious about it. That’s why it really baffles me. He’s more likely to be open about the witch stuff, which I don’t get. Maybe it’s just an issue he has with organized religion… not that what I’m doing is “organized”!

      I’ll definitely sit down and talk to him or, at least, write it out.

  7. Aubrey, I can only say I understand your predicament as I am in a very similiar predicament with my atheist brother. He’ll tolerate my talking of witchy stuff because we always were very close and that’s a fat slice of daily life, but as soon conversations delve into real depth about gods and my relationship with them, he will be mocking and going off the tangent of how for him religion makes no sense because you can pray all you want but in the end it’s useless, you still must live in the ‘real world’ by yourself.

    Which, after one perticular episode, brought me to mention my faith only in superficial ad occastional one-liners.

    I must not live with him tough, so I can see how more conflicted your position is. I am sorry to hear about this, I can tell you that if my brother had pulled a stunt like this i would have been able to have your restraint.

    My advice is t go straight to the point cooly, but sparing no punches. The problem in the end is not that he needs to share your beliefs to respect your faith in them.

    If he is saying falsehoods on your practices on purposes, chances are, he is doing it for provoking a reaction out of you. Don’t be afraid to call him out on this. Tell him that hurting you like this over his issues with religion is childish and since he insists on it, you would really like to know why.

    Probably his behavior here is less about your relationship with him, and more about his reltionship with the concept of religion.

    I personally notice that when my brother launches in dissing religion in my face, it is not so much about disrespecting me on purpose, it’s about him needing to prove he is right. In the end, it is easier for him to believe that there’s nothing out of there, than you accept that i something exists it doesn’t care about to reach out to comfort him, as he seems to think it is the case.

    • “it is not so much about disrespecting me on purpose, it’s about him needing to prove he is right”

      Nail meet hammer!

      I have a ton of atheist friends. And the times I’ve been privy to them going off on a tangent like that is when they feel the most threatened. I think that a lot of atheists are terrified of the idea of being wrong about it all.

      • When I was an “atheist,” I had lots of fear that I was wrong. I think that’s why I stopped identifying as one. Religion and faith seemed more important than not believing in anything.

      • I think this is what soften me toward them, even when some of their speeches get annoyingly close to dissingall religious practices per se.

        I think it has to be the most disheartening thing in the world to think that if there’s some mysterious divine entity that made contact with others and cut you out instead. Maybe for at least some of them, admitting that some people are welcame into their religion of choice from the gods, whereas they once tried to believe and received no ‘perceived’ sign of supernatural presence, might mean to consider the possibility that they are somewhat defectife, if even gods don’t ‘want’ them.

        Which is, of course, not true but it is a fear I can understand.

    • “Tell him that hurting you like this over his issues with religion is childish and since he insists on it, you would really like to know why.”

      This. This. This.

      The thing is, I doubt he’ll EVER tell me what his issue is and why. He’s the epitome of close-mouthed man.

      • eh, men and their perchant for talking about feelings.
        I suppose you might still try to use it against him tough – if he doesn’t want to talk about his issue, why does he keep poking you with it? you might try to hammer into him that if he doesn’t want to explain himself, then he need to be quiet about your religious business.;)

  8. Generally speaking, I like Atheists. I like them more than I like most Pagans to be honest with you. I am a self identified Ignostic as well as Kemetic.

  9. I just barely saw this today. :< That sucks and is horrible. I don't have much else to offer than hasn't already been said. I do hope you are able to come to some sort of terms with this, though. What utter crap on his part. :\

    • Sometimes, TH is full of crap. It sucks, but I think it’s better for him to be full of crap now than, like, when we’re old and I’m more likely to kill him by poison.

    • Yep. I’m ball-and-chain attached to a schmuck. It’s very lucky that I think he’s hot. :)

      Yeah. The MIL and I get along very well. I don’t see his asinine comment as getting in the way of that. I’m going to wait a bit and see if *she* approaches *me* about it. If not, I’ll take the bull by the horns and explain how gods are multifaceted. I’ll also wait until she’s drunk because it is both easier and more amusing that way.

  10. My husband had resigned himself to atheism, to my dismay (I had fallen in love with him partly because of his curiosity, and this seemed like him making up his mind not to believe) – but then, Papa Legba reached out to him. And then Oshun reached out to him, by another means (which I thought was a good juxtaposition to Legba scaring the crap out of him with an unbidden vision, one morning, at dawn). I have been leaving spontaneous thank offerings to them both since then. I didn’t ask for that specifically to happen, but I was asking the Powers to get his attention, if it was for our Highest and Best… Just sayin’.

    • TH seems strangely open when I discuss Legba, actually. I was a little startled by it when I began to mention the Old Man and his trickster ways, as well as some of his symbolism. I think I have had entire discussions with TH about Legba and about what he expects from me, whereas I have had little of these discussions with him about Sekhmet or Hetharu. I think he can feel more comfortable with Legba, personally, which is surprising.

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