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Advice needed on how to handle religious family members

  • Trouble (3021 posts)
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    Advice needed on how to handle religious family members

    Hello, I’m Trouble.  I live up to that without any help from anyone.  But I need some wisdom, maybe someone here has gone through it.

    My husband is ill.  Kidney cancer, lung nodules, liver nodules and on and on and on.  He could use some help around the house.  Whenever his family calls to chat, he tells them that he’s falling behind on things, such as cutting the lawn.  They say they’ll pray for him.  He gets angry and I can’t say I blame him.  He was always there for them when they needed him to be.

    What do you say to these people?  You’re not praying hard enough?  If you can’t help him with the lawn, can you find someone who can?  Like someone at your church?

    We’ve hired the young man across the street to cut the lawn, I see no problem with that.  We need the help, he needs the money.  But I see my husband’s point too, he donated his time and journeyman skills at no charge to them, more than once, more like 25 times over our marriage.  Building decks, installing exterior doors, fixing a roof, new toilet, major renovation, the list goes on.

    I just don’t understand why family thinks they can just say 5 words about him in church on Sunday and everything is just fine.  Maybe we’re both just angry at the situation and we’re taking it out on them.  Maybe we shouldn’t have expected anything in return.

    Any advice for these 2 heathens?  Thank you

    B Calm, olddots, Idaho progressive and 7 othersDeadpool, ConcernedCanuk, Haikugal, djean111, melurkyoulongtime, Doremus Jessup, Lorien like this
    Do your own damned research and be sure to include extraordinary proof so others don't need to think.      

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18 replies
  • Lorien (1776 posts)
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    1. I would just be blunt with them. Tell them you need help

    and don’t say “thank you” when they offer “I’ll pray for you”. I bloody HATE that phrase! I had a falling out with my mom, a former atheist turned born again Baptist, because she tried to force me to join her cult like religion. Every problem I had was answered with that fucking cop out phrase (sorry for my language). If something awful happened, she would say it was because I didn’t pray to Jesus. If something good happened in my life (through my own efforts) she would claim that it only happened because she prayed for me.


    I would say “that’s fine, but we need hands that help by working, not simply praying” or something similarly straightforward that doesn’t allow them to wiggle away with an offer of “prayer”. No need to bring up what he’s done for them in the past; they know. If he’s the one talking to them, he could say “my wife would never ask herself, but she really needs your help around the house and yard”, or if you are the one talking, you could say something similar to them about him. Maybe suggest that if they come by to help for several hours in the afternoon you’ll have them for lunch or dinner as a thank you. “I will pray for you” basically means “I don’t care enough about you to actually DO anything for you, but you must accept my thoughts to my imaginary deity as equally valuable.” which is utter bullshit, especially after your husband did various Herculean tasks for them!

    • Trouble (3021 posts)
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      5. Thank you, I knew this group would understand

      and have been through it themselves.

      The only thing he needs help with at this point is pushing our self-propelled lawn mower, and that’s just for a few more weeks.  He can trim and use the leaf blower.  He had part of his kidney cut off, so there’s no pushing a lawn mower for a few weeks yet.  It’s not like he needs 24-hour care LOL

      Our lot is 60′ x 100′ with a 3BR ranch and 2 car garage on the lot, we don’t have a lot of grass.  I considered doing it, but it’s all I can do to go to my part-time job in a grocery store and still be able to walk.  We did hire the young man across the street.  It just seems so wrong that when he needs help, all they do is pray.

      Do your own damned research and be sure to include extraordinary proof so others don't need to think.      
      • Lorien (1776 posts)
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        9. It IS wrong! They need to carry a bit of the burden

        it’s not too much to ask by any stretch of the imagination. I totally understand how you feel. I have a tiny yard too, but often don’t get to mowing the lawn for weeks because I work multiple jobs and have a lot of chronic health issues. I know that it drives my neighbors nuts, but the people I’ve hired over the years to mow it have never been consistent (tiny yard with lots of trees isn’t worth their time). I have two able bodied neighbors who are journalists, and I take care of their cats for at least a week out of every month. They never offer anything in return, and this has been going on for over a decade now! I did ask the wife to drive me to the doctor twice, so I guess they think we’re even. They never talk to me anymore except to ask me to pet sit, or when I drop by with veggies from my garden. Both are avid joggers. I just wish that they would jog on over here and mow the lawn for me at least once, especially when I’m having a bad flare up and can’t get out of bed.

        When I was a kid, there was an elderly widow who lived across the street. Everyone in the neighborhood took turns mowing her lawn, raking leaves and checking on her. My mom brought her baked dishes regularly, as did her other neighbors. Everyone simply thought of it as their civic duty as a “good neighbor”, since she obviously couldn’t take care of much herself. That part of our culture seems to have disappeared. Darwin said that it wasn’t “the fittest” among animal societies who stood the best chance of survival, it was the “most cooperative”. That doesn’t bode well for humanity!

  • Doremus Jessup (3134 posts)
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    2. Avoid them. Nothing should have to be said. They should have offered when they

    found out he  was sick. Stuff doesn’t get done on its own and surely they know this. Most people don’t do the right thing because they are either lazy or don’t care. I can’t count the people I have helped out who are always to busy to help me with things around the house that I cannot do any longer. Not all are religious either. Pay your neighbor kid. He won’t try to convert you. I sure enough understand the frustration. No good deed goes unpunished it seems. I would truly avoid even talking to them unless it’s a must. I’m pretty blunt so I would thank them for all of the help they haven’t given when they were willing to take his time when they needed it. It’s obvious they don’t do subtle so try blunt out.

    Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity. End ALL occupations and bring the troops home.
    • Trouble (3021 posts)
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      6. Kenny, is that you? LOL

      Kenny is my husband and he shares your view on this situation.  I don’t like to see anyone abandon family, but it’s his family and his choice.

      My brother already does enough and I know if I asked him, he would do anything for Kenny.  My brother and his friend came over and installed our window a/c last spring, without asking.  When my dad died, my brother was 14 and Kenny became his father figure.  We both assumed it was his families’ turn to help out.

      Do your own damned research and be sure to include extraordinary proof so others don't need to think.      
  • melurkyoulongtime (99 posts)
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    3. I stopped dealing w self-proclaimed "Christians"

    long ago.  Found out that at least 1 group of them mean that “I’ll pray for you” is, to them, an underhanded insult to heathens like us. I know you may not be able to deal w them in this way but I told the ones in my group to Fawke off a long time ago.  Best of luck to you and your husband and I do hope he recovers soon.

    Rage, RAGE against the dying of the light!  Do not go gently into that good night!

    • Trouble (3021 posts)
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      7. That's how we felt, insulted

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Do your own damned research and be sure to include extraordinary proof so others don't need to think.      
  • MRM1024 (234 posts)
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    4. I agree with Lorien

    I think they need to be told what they should be doing. He needs help. He needs company and support. They need to hear it.


    • Trouble (3021 posts)
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      8. They've been told…

      It went something like this with each one of them…Look, I need someone to cut the lawn, any suggestions?  Answer was, not really, but I’ll pray for you.  Gotta go, hope you feel better.

      This happened with each of the 6 siblings.  He threw the cell phone on the floor with the last one and cried.  It was heartbreaking and I’ll never forgive them.  He said, “We’re all alone in this, I hope they choke on their communion wine.”  I should have just handled the grass situation myself instead of involving them, I could see it was coming.

      No one’s called back, either, to check on him or visit.  Afraid they’ll be asked to help our their baby brother.

      Do your own damned research and be sure to include extraordinary proof so others don't need to think.      
      • Pakhet (230 posts)
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        11. What part of the country do you live in?

        If you don’t mind my asking.

        Never be cruel, and never be cowardly, and if you are, always make amends. The Doctor
        • Trouble (3021 posts)
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          13. NW Ohio

          Toledo.  The young man across the street is cutting it for $10, can’t beat the price.  He grew up in that house and lives there as an adult now, we’ve been neighbors for 24 years.  We watched him grow up.  He was raised well, waives and asks how we are whenever we see him.  More than I can say for my in-laws.  My husband will be able to do it again in 2 weeks.

          Do your own damned research and be sure to include extraordinary proof so others don't need to think.      
  • ConcernedCanuk (895 posts)
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    10. Gently get them out of your life.

    I define myself as Agnostic, with leanings towards Atheism.

    To me, that means I do not deny the possibility of a higher power, but I sorta doubt it. Especially the part where Gawd created man in his own image thing.

    Of all the creatures on this planet, we are the most disgusting imo – we waste resources, damage the environment and slaughter each other so some of us can live in mansions etc., etc.

    I could go on, but I’ll try to stay on topic.

    When my inheritance came in, one of my friends, who never visited me while I was impoverished living a 17 foot trailer with no hydro/water etc. said – “Well, that’s because we prayed for you – God loves you”

    I literally could not speak . . . . probably a good thing, cuz the things that raced through my head were definitely not polite . . .

    My mother rammed religion down our throats as children, church every Sunday, I was enrolled in TWO different church choirs – practices twice a week, and sang in two services every Sunday.

    I discourage visits from my “religious” friends now – so much conversation is impossible when they believe the World is only 6,000 years old . . .

    I was “confirmed” as an Anglican when I was 15, under extreme pressure from my mother to do so – shortly after I approached the Father that had confirmed me, telling him I did not believe most of the stuff I had said I did.

    He said just this: “I realize that David, most of the young people do not really believe – just say so to please their parents – BUT, you are one of the few that has come forward and told me so. Just live a decent life and don’t worry about it”.

    I figure I’ve done that, lived a decent life, and haven’t worried about my decision to not attend church anymore.

    I treat people much better than most “Christians” I know – and I do not believe any of my wrong doings are wiped out by asking for forgiveness every Sunday . . .

    ’nuff said.


    Why is it when we get older, we can remember the tiniest details from our youth, but not where we put our reading glasses 30 seconds ago?
    • Trouble (3021 posts)
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      14. It was rammed down my throat as well

      to make Lutheran grandma happy.  I went to school 5 days/week, piano lessons twice/week, Catechism on Saturday, Sunday school and church on Sunday, they drove me nuts as a child!  I could never, ever sleep in.

      I got in a lot of trouble because I refused communion when I was confirmed at 14.  I told my parents and the pastor that eating Jesus and drinking his blood was too gross for me (I have OCD).  My parents told me they were ashamed of me and my pastor gave me some song and dance about it being symbolic.  I wanted to know why I even had to PRETEND to eat flesh and drink blood.  The pastor gave up and told me I didn’t have to take communion.  I stopped going to church.  I was grounded for 4 years, until I turned 18.  No prom, no nothing.

      As soon as my grandma died, no one in my family went to church anymore :)  Problem solved.

      Religious people can go suck an egg, stay the Hell away from me.

      Do your own damned research and be sure to include extraordinary proof so others don't need to think.      
  • Deadpool (12372 posts)
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    12. …

    I agree with @doremusjessup and @concernedcanuk. Live your life without them. You still have your side of the family. :)

    • Trouble (3021 posts)
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      15. Thank you

      I have a mom in a nursing home, a brother and SIL and 2 nephews.  I have a husband and 2 dogs.  Plenty for me.

      Do your own damned research and be sure to include extraordinary proof so others don't need to think.      
  • jeff47 (1136 posts)
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    16. "You will know them by their deeds"

    Nothing says you can’t use the Bible against their selfish asses.

  • Silver Witch (5957 posts)
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    17. I agree with other posters Trouble…

    I changed my post after reading the entire thread.  I am so sorry that his family seems so uncaring.  I Hope your husband is doing okay.

    Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost~John Quincy Adams  
  • misanthroptimist (759 posts)
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    18. First, sorry to hear about your husband's trouble

    I won’t pray for you, but wish you the best.

    In answer to your request, I would say, “So, you think God or Jesus is going to cut my lawn? I ask because that’s what I really need done, not prayers. I can get good wishes from anonymous dweebs on the internet.”

    But I tend to be very direct. :)

    "We watched the tragedy unfold; We did as we were told; We bought and sold; It was the greatest show on Earth; But then it's over" -Roger Waters, Amused to Death