My very religious parents have invited me back into their home for the first time since I declared my agnosticism. I don't want to go. Am I making a mistake?
Hi all, it's me again
. Apologies for the length of this posting!
In my previous question, I asked you guys to help me overcome my guilt for not wanting to convert to Islam, despite a lot of pressure from my parents.
I feel like I've been doing pretty well with this. I haven't been in touch with my family much except for the occasional phonecall or email. The phonecalls always stress me out so much that I feel nauseous the whole day before one is planned, because I know my mum will pressure me and guilt me about accepting Islam, and I have to try and stay strong and change the subject while not hurting her feelings too much by outright rejecting her.
To briefly recap: I told my parents about my secret boyfriend in February of this year. My dad has told me he can only accept me as his daughter if we both convert to Islam, and we have been given some time to think about that before... well, no end point or ultimatum has been thrown down yet. My dad has not wanted me to come back for a visit (I live in a different country) during this time. But today I got the following email from my mum:
"This week I'm soo happy because Allah has granted my wishes and your dad says that you can come home for a visit, I thought that it would be really good if you came and we could meet up for your b-day as well as visiting your grandma. I know that you're going away over christmas, so I think now would be a really great time for you to come because I can say to everyone that you have a big project on over Xmas holidays and that's why you can't come."
And I'm feeling very stressed out. Because to be honest, I do not want to visit. I miss my mum and family very, very much, but what I miss are the fun, loving times we used to have with one another. I anticipate that this visit would be filled with discussion of Islam and why I really should become a Muslim, and the thought of having to deal with that makes me feel ill. My self-confidence and assertiveness has been slowly developing through therapy, but it feels so fragile still. I know I could ask my mum to promise we won't discuss it, but based on past experience I know that won't work. She can't talk to me about any other topic these days.
Also, my hyper-conservative extended family do not yet know that I am not a muslim, or that I have a boyfriend. If I come to visit, as my mum alludes to above, it will help the lie to continue for a while (my parents don't want to say anything to them in case I change my mind). I don't particularly care what these relatives think of me, and I really wish I could stop lying about this thing, full stop. But I know that to my parents it is very important to maintain the lie.
However, I have an uncle who is a bit crazypants, extremely religious, and known for his shady dealings. I may well be overreacting and I don't want to give in to paranoia, but I'm a little scared that I could go visit my parents and somehow my uncle finds out and tries to convince my dad to physically stop me from going back to my boyfriend. Another point is that it just irks me that now my dad has relented and 'summoned' me, and it's just expected that I will go back whenever they want me to and put up with their bullshit despite the many things they have said and done to hurt my feelings.
What I would like to do most of all is to tell my mum the truth about why I don't want to come back and visit just yet, and then plan a visit myself for sometime in the first half of next year, on my own terms, ideally even taking my boyfriend with me so he can meet my parents. My extended family will be suspicious, but maybe that is a good first step towards revealing the truth, and I will be safer abroad for now anyway. But I know that to say no to my parents at this point will hurt them very much and make them think I don't care to see them, so I'm worried at the damage this could do to our relationship.
Am I being selfish by not wanting to visit my parents, dear MeFites? Is it wrong to stay away even though I know that going would make them very happy? I want to maintain a relationship with them very much, and I know that this will take work. Am I doing irreparable damage to that relationship with this decision? Thanks so much for any insight you might have.