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I NEED TO RANT!How do I combat this?

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amyrose2712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 11:08 AM
Original message
I NEED TO RANT!How do I combat this?
My sister is a fundie who beleives that she and her church(it is all done online and interprets the bible through Strong's Concordance )are the ONLY TRUE CHRISTIANS. She is also an un-medicated schizophrenic that refuses to believe she is ill. I try to ignore the things she says and does, but I don't know if that is right. People need to be told when they are hurtful and wrong. Anyway, she recently had an exchange on Facebook with our aunt and it was friggin mean and nasty and made my aunt very upset and cry. My aunt is very sick and does not need the stress. I am very bothered especially since the conversation started with my aunt being very nice. But after I told my sister that she was replying in a place where all can see this is what I recieved in return. And honestly I just don't know how to respond.

"amy let me ask you a question. Have you ever heard of righteous indignation? No nothing you done . i am just curious if you know of it because that is what i was doing . the other day the drama with michele , she posted a cartoon that I saw and it was mocking me and i thought it mocked God. thats why i called her stupid. because it seemed to me she was asking for trouble or wishing to bring trouble, granted some would have thought it funny but it was right after i posted a link and it talked about how God is and what HE thinks of Troublemakers.. (He does not care for them at all). so when i finally read what she said about me being God Like in my behavior , Yes I was. I stand for God and if anyone is gonna start to put God or Myself down by making fun of things that Happen to be of God, well i will speak up and show my righteous indignation , its so funny what she said about me not being God Like in my behaviour when She does not even know HIM. she is biblically illiterate . I thought she was being STUPID for lack of a better word at the time.. She was being very Ignorant and I spoke out. The way she plays it is she didnt do anything and that Is A BIG LIE.(sorry caps, i really dont appricate someone lying about me or to me.) and that is STUPID in my book.

look at the long dragged out explanation.. : ) I felt the need to explain and I didnt want to bring this up to her knowing how she is."

THIS TYPE OF BULLSHIT REALLY PISSES ME OFF!!! :grr: :grr: :grr: :banghead: :banghead: :banghead:

ps I'm pretty sure this is the cartoon she is referring to:


UGH! She lives with my mom and I am going there today. Going to have to bite my tongue off to keep my mouth shut!
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
1. First, that cartoon is freakin' hilarious!
How do you feel about alcohol?

I now fill an empty perfume bottle with vodka before going to bf's fundie mother's house. And taking an extra Ativan or two doesn't hurt.
I've also locked myself in the bathroom and meditated for a few minutes to clear my head.

Your sister is beyond any help you can provide, maybe your family can agree to just ignore her when she starts in, or collectively tell her that her vitriol is not acceptable.

It's just one day, you can get through it.

Bonne chance!

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MarkCharles Donating Member (932 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 11:51 AM
Response to Original message
2. Just my two cents: What bothers me most is your sister's untreated
Edited on Sun Dec-04-11 11:53 AM by MarkCharles
illness, which, when combined with a religion, often eventually harms the person with that illness and those close to them more than anyone else.

The holiday times are key aggravating factors for those with mental and emotional illnesses, and we can see that it is, indeed, a cartoon referring to the holiday traditions that has tipped her over the edge here, and unreasonably angered her into acting out angrily and somewhat publicly toward her own family members.

As an outsider, I see how this illness is further confused by the religious references, but the bottom line here is sister's illness. Religious references aside, she needs her medications, even though making public comments on Facebook is insulting, destructive, embarrassing, and bothersome, my thinking is that the illness has more to do with this than the religious aspects of it.

Nonetheless, her religion seems to have a much stronger hold upon her than her familial relationships right now. So, as an atheist, and before things escalate further, I'm almost surprised I'm coming up with this idea, but here it is.

Perhaps working WITH her chosen church's minister to get her back on the medications is an approach worth considering.
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amyrose2712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Yes, I do agree here...
we have been trying to get her back on meds. It was a terrible struggle to get her help before. She was hospitalized for the maximum 30 days that Medicare would pay for, and was on meds for a couple of years. She was doing MUCH better, she was still religious but with less vitriol. The reason she stop taking meds, according to my mother(who is not the most reliable source-not because she lies, but she is in denial and takes my sister's word for things) is because she has not gotten a blood test. So, the Dr won't give her meds. So, after being off the meds, she refused to believe anything is wrong with her. The church she belongs to is just an online. She doesn't have any personal interaction with them. It's more like a TV evangelist. I have no idea how to get her any help. My BF says I should lie and say she hit me to get her back in the hospital. But I feel that would only feed her paranoia. Thanks for the response. This really has been bothering me for a long time.
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MarkCharles Donating Member (932 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Your mother might be close to the truth on that. There are some
anti-psychotic medications which require an annual or semi-annual monitoring with a blood test. Some meds CAN and do hurt liver or kidney (forget which or both) function over time. Of course, there can also be side-effects of medications, as mild as dry mouth, to as disabling as blurred vision, tremors, twitches, insomnia, or worse, and that is a reason folks give them up, on their own, without advice of a shrink.

So many folks TRY to quit them, and wind up getting themselves in trouble a few months or even years down the line. Mother and you could make demands that she go for a "physical", as most of us should, every year or two. I always liked how, in my family, schizophrenia was seen as something like tooth decay, or diabetes, a very human condition, just a real bother, that needed professional checkups and attention, just like cavities do for all of us or insulin levels do need monitoring for diabetics.

Damn, an online church, sounds almost as crazy as on-line atheist forums!!! I wonder if THEY have anything to say about mental health or medicine in general. I also wonder if they might have an 800 line...but I doubt it. It's probably some non-ordained guy with a computer in his parents' basement in the middle of the Bible Belt.

What we need to find for her is some sort of outreach, or a "hook" to get her back into some sort of treatment plan. Is there any person in her past, or any real life church which she would still feel has credibility? Some past friends or acquaintances who could get to her? I'm sure your situation is not unique, given the internet and the explosion of every kook with a computer onto it. The freedom of anonymity and the allure of so many choices as to just the right flavor of nuttiness must capture the imaginations of lots of untreated schizophrenics these days.

Schizophrenic atheists are so much easier to deal with, if only for the fact that they ALREADY KNOW their hallucinations and visions are not coming from God but only from the real flying Spaghetti monster.

I don't mean to make light of your situation. It's puzzling and very frustrating, I'm sure. Just my plea to keep trying and thinking about other ways to approach her to get her what she so much needs.
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amyrose2712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Yes, thank you. I also am familiar with psych meds and situations...
my BF of 16 years is bipolar and well medicated. I think the church exists somewhere in Ok. We will continue to work on it.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. "But I feel that would only feed her paranoia"
Bf's mom and her siblings are trying to decide when to put their mother in a nursing home, she has Alzheimer's and they have been able to care for her up until now (they take turns and check on her every night to make sure she eats and takes her meds), but it's getting to be too dangerous for everyone involved.

In her lucid moments she begs them not to commit her, other times she curses them and is extremely paranoid and combative. I cannot even begin to imagine what they're going through.

If our health care system was really about health and not profit, she could stay in her home and a nurse could help them care for her as long as possible. As it is now they have to keep her locked up in the studio apartment on the second floor of her son's house. It's been child-proofed but she is left alone much of the time.

Life is so hard sometimes, I am sorry you have to go through this.
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TruthBeTold65 Donating Member (22 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 12:06 PM
Response to Original message
4. I would engage it because I am a little militant that way...
...though be prepared for that jeezoid moment where she completely shuts down and won't talk about it anymore. The question to me is that if she(your sister) is comfortable with her religion then why should anything anyone says ever bother her? If you have true belief and it is unwavering then you should be able to be confident of that belief. And, since her "god" is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient...he already knows that conversation was going take place and where it was going she should take it as part of "god's" plan.

I, of course, don't know your sisters history on the subject so I am only basing my response on this conversation.

Also, I have a mentally ill friend in my life, and it is near impossible to talk to that person sometimes, let alone actually get that person to agree against something they perceive as truth.

Finally, I have dumped Facebook Friends for a similar reason. When the building of the mosque in NY near ground zero was being debated by those who really had no say in the process...I had a person that I went to school with and her family attacked me in a vile unprovoked attack. I took the stance that the mosque was following the correct process in NY and should be allowed to be built if we were to actually say we are a "religiously tolerant" nation. Well my "friends" had shown me how tolerant they all were. I still have messages saved from the exchange. Despicable.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 05:08 PM
Response to Original message
8. Thae fact that she is an unmedicated schizophrenic AND a fundy makes attempt at reasoning...
...with her absolutely useless, I'm sorry to say, :(
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MarkCharles Donating Member (932 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 06:40 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. I don't write them off so easily, I see them as a challenge.
Edited on Sun Dec-04-11 06:46 PM by MarkCharles
I see them as people to whom we ask the questions:

Wouldn't God want you to be healthy? Wouldn't God want you to get rid of your toothache, well this is like a toothache.
Wouldn't you want to serve your God with the most healthy of bodies? Does God not allow you to feel the caring your loved ones want you to feel? Can we help you and God get you over a small hump in family relations? How about we get you to a good Christian doctor who wants to help you make the most of your love for God?

Of course, we're playing into the fantasy of a God, but we engage in a bit of make-believe as we do for 4 year olds who still believe in Santa Claus, we want to make the meaning of the experience of Christmas something we understand as moments away from our everyday life when the society allows for us to be closer to our family and friends. That's all Christmas really is for us atheists. But to Christians, there is that meaning of Christmas, and some mythology they still like to believe in. We don't walk into our Christian relatives' home and tell them that their mythology is silly, (at least, most of us don't). We go there and play the games and engage the fantasies they learned as small children. We do it because we love them, and want them to be happy and healthy, and we want them to know a moment of intimate caring within our family as we drift ever so much older and further apart. We play out the assigned parts.

This is the first year when every relative over 20, and friend of mine knows, that I, at my advanced age that I am an atheist. I have been so for years, but not all of them knew nor did they care to know. I'm would be just as happy to buy candy canes and trinkets for the little ones, the preschoolers, the young school kids, and stuff them in a stocking. But I will be away this year, far away from where they are, and they already know that. And I have asked them to send their money for gifts for me to something non-religious that does some good in the world, I'm very happy without the baked goods or new socks. They needn't send me cards either, since it costs a lot for them to get a card to me before their Christmas. I'm much more happy with getting an email and a few emailed photos of their celebrations.

We do what we can do, with the tools we have to make those close to us feel better as they share their simultaneous journey among the living with us. We don't have to "preach" our views, and we certainly don't have to give up on them, even though, we know, generally, that our outlook is more often an accurate one than is theirs.

Speaking of or perspective, and my 79 year old half sister, I had a big surprise this year. My 79 year old sister, who is schizophrenic underwent surgery and regressed into rather outrageous insanity for a few weeks thereafter, probably due to the effects of anesthesia upon an older and more fragile brain. Now she's home, with her husband, 3 months later, and quite normal, writing and publishing poetry, drawing sketches, and enjoying what might be her last year on this planet. I was amazed at the potential for recovery of the human mind and body she taught to me this year. I'm certainly going to call her on Christmas day, just for what she taught me, and for old time's sake.
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 05:55 PM
Response to Original message
9. She has a mental illness she refuses to recognize or treat
Plus she has a religious obsession that she wields both as a weapon against others and a shield against any criticism of her behavior. There doesn't seem to be much you can do to "combat" this as she's set herself up to be impervious to reason or persuasion of any kind. My inclination would be to avoid her when possible, and work to endure when avoidance was impossible.
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MarkCharles Donating Member (932 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 08:12 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. Much as I really love your posts, l kind of viewed your post as suggesting a sort of
Edited on Sun Dec-04-11 08:13 PM by MarkCharles
Russian roulette solution to a common human experience for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of humans every week.

True, if we could isolate fundamentalist Christian/Jewish/Muslim schizophrenics from us, (like prisons), we could probably escape their threat to our living bodies, and their challenge to our rational minds. And very true, we don't have answers to every challenge we face in the world we live in, (AIDS, Cancer, etc. etc.) We just cannot save every human with our current limitations of medical knowledge nor with our ability of logical rational skeptic thought to fight against thousands of years of global wide religious myths, combined with a bio-organic mental illness. We are as helpless as we would be if an asteroid slammed into our planet tonight and took out part of Cleveland.

Despite what mental health experts all tell us, despite the fact that only 1 or 3% of mentally ill people actually resort to violence, I don't want to keep that percentage that high. I don't want any more Hinckley-inspired Presidential, nor common family relatives found as victims tomorrow.

In Massachusetts last month, some 20 something guy killed his mother, his mother's boyfriend, and his 20 something sister, then sat around in the house waiting for all of them and him to be discovered. Nope, he was not a meteor falling from the sky, he was someone who showed all the signs and had fit all the patterns. We need to challenge ourselves to come up with ethical methods and schemes to get these perpetrators the help they need, even if it comes down to some sort of more improved standards for diagnosis and lifelong less-than-initially-voluntary treatment. No, I don't want common neurotics like me locked up because I yelled at the garbage collector for spilling my garbage on the front lawn, but isn't there a more moderate middle ground that guarantees treatment, and keeps the guns away?

If we had universal health care, this, obviously, would NOT be such a large problem. If we had no financial incentive, (as we now do), to NOT treat the mentally ill, (which is what we have now), we would not be faced with tens of thousands of American paranoid schizophrenics without treatment. But that is on the global, or national scale.

What can we do on an individual scale, with the national health care deck stacked the way it is? What inspirations or strategies can atheists offer that religion has not offered since the time of Moses or before? Namely the appeal to authority, (false authority, but nonetheless an appeal, not always successful, but sometimes so).

No, I have no ultimate answers nor solutions, but these are the kinds of problems we as atheists should be looking at, I'm sure you agree. Religion has been both the cause and the solution to SOME of the problems here in mental health, what can atheism and the techniques of skeptical science offer to us all? That's the question an example like this poses to contemporary humankind.

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amyrose2712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 10:45 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Thank you very much for your wonderful and helpful insights....
Just to be clear, I don't post about this here to disparage my sister. I love her and sometimes i just don't know what to do. I get frustrated because I am afraid for her and for my mother. I worry because it seems she believes it is justified to be violent and mean in gods defense. Worries me. I sometimes just need to vent a little somewhere I feel safe. And I should probably state that I don't know for sure if she is schizophrenic, schizoaffective, I've even heard bipolar, but from what I can see from our entire life, I actually think its schizoaffective. I am not privy to her medical records and my mother is completely blind to what any of this means. Just tonight, my other sister and I told my mother to try and take her to the Dr rather than expecting her to go on her own. "She is almost 50 years old, she can do it on her own. Why should I take her" My mother really doesn't understand much about psychology, I honestly think she thinks of it as hokum or something. Something else that worries me is my sister said in defense to any attempt at trying to discuss medical help, she simply said that "Psychology is Nothing than a mistaken premise from the get go." Anyway, you sound like you have a lot of experience with this and I appreciate your response.
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MarkCharles Donating Member (932 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 07:32 AM
Response to Reply #13
15. Thank you very much. I do wish you the best with your sister and mother.
I know from experience of two schizophrenics in my family, my father and sister.

My father didn't have the advantages of modern psychotropic medications for much of his life. It was difficult.
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 09:00 AM
Response to Reply #12
16. I agree that the state of our health care system is deplorable
The mental health system is worse. Money is the main reason in both cases though stigma causes many problems in the latter.

That being said, adults still have the right to determine what care they'll seek or refuse. That includes people thought to be or even diagnosed with a mental illness. We don't lock up people who refuse to follow their doctor's advice about losing weight, following specific diets for medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, or smoking. Likewise we cannot force people with mental illnesses to undergo treatment--unless they present a clear and present danger to themselves or others. This is actually an improvement from decades ago when one phone call from a relative could get a person locked up indefinitely.

I'm no fan of religious lunacy and it sickens me when people use it to harm others. It's particularly frightening how many people with mental illnesses also seem to have religious obsessions/delusions that result in them acting out against themselves or other people. (At least half of the people I worked with when I was in the mental health field had religious obsessions though thankfully none of them acted violently on them that I knew of.) But I can't condone targeting religious people with mental illnesses above others any more than I condone giving them all the free passes they currently get in the name of their "deeply held religious beliefs". They should be held to the same standards as all people with mental illnesses; if they show signs that they might be dangerous to themselves or others it might be a good idea to evaluate and even hospitalize them. Otherwise the best we can do is encourage treatment. If they refuse we may have to deal with it unless things change for the worse, particularly if we want to maintain what peace there is.

The person the OP described sounds like someone very challenging, even downright obnoxious. But I don't get the idea she's a threat to herself or others (at least not from that one post). At this time I wouldn't recommend pushing treatment unless she comes around to the idea. It could cause more problems than it would solve.
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amyrose2712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 11:25 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. Thanks for your input. There has been violence,
It is the reason I worry so much.
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 06:57 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. You may want to document each instance for future reference
In case it gets to the point you decide further action is necessary. It could be helpful if you seek involuntary hospitalization.

I'm sorry you're going through this. It can't be easy.
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Deep13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 06:31 PM
Response to Original message
10. How about this...
You have no better reason for believing what you believe than Muslims or different kinds of Christians have for believing what they believe. You are, therefore, in no position to insist that others respect your specific interpretation of Christianity. Please do not respond with a list of Biblical citations in an effort to prove you are right as I have no horse in that particular race. I'm simply trying to prevent unnecessary antagonism within our family.
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amyrose2712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 10:47 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. Thanks, I've tried. They are all false religions, so what they
believe is wrong anyway. Thanks for the response, I appreciate the input. I just need to vent sometimes.
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