Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Postby manas » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:33 pm

Hi puppha,

you said you were 'trying for yet another child'. My advice would be to take measures to ensure that you DON'T conceive another child with her, or you will have even more dear ones to worry about (getting heavily indoctrinated, you not getting a say about that, etc).

Don't multiply your stress any further. The current level is enough to deal with.

With karuna
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Last edited by manas on Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Postby Reductor » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:03 pm

Lordy, lordy, puppha! I feel for you.

First, I echo the opinion that you should not have more kids. To heck with what others want you to do, if you think it would be wrong. I knew a woman who was constantly pressured to have another kids, because her husband and whole family wanted a boy. She was digging in her heals last I heard (fingers crossed she still is). Another woman that I met not long ago - a mother who brings her daughter to the same dance class as my kids - told me that she wasn't sure about having another kid, but that it was really important to her husband. I couldn't help but point out that she wasn't obliged to have kid just for that reason, and that I would not be willing to do it.

One family had seven girls - more than they could afford to support - all because one of the parents wanted a boy (probably the father, since this was a chinese family). What good did it do the mother and kids?

In my own family, my wife has often expressed regret that we will not have more children, to which I tell her that I am not sorry and that I would never consent to have another one.

As it is, in my family we have two kids, a Buddhist and a fundamentalist Christian. Things get pretty tense at time, but I have long ago stopped caring if I say something that runs counter to her beliefs. This isn't to say I show disrespect, but rather point out the other interpretations whenever that chance arises.

So, say my kid is sick, the wife prays, and a day and a half later the kid is well. Hallelujah! She talks about the miracle to the kid, I sit near and point out that I have also gotten better from illness without a single prayer.

It irks her sometimes, but I think the dynamic between us is such that we don't break into fist fights over it.

Of course, you wife has long sounded like she holds you in very low regard, while my wife thinks well of me in most respects. And honestly, I think it is lack of respect that is causing your woes more than anything else.

So, stand your ground, speak openly without being disrespectful (use your standard, not hers - for her just being non-born-again is disrespectful), and dont' have any more kids with her. Accept that the parent to whom you daughter is closest is the one that will most determine her beliefs and If that parent isn't you, then, well...

:heart:
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The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Postby Sokehi » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:17 pm

Khalil Bodhi wrote:Puppha,

I would caution you against bringing more children into the situation unless you intend to go along with her desires.


This...

and I feel for you OP. May all you be well. :anjali:
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Postby Anagarika » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:49 pm

For living with such a person in the same house, I can honestly say that it really looks like insanity to me. If it was not because of the 'Christian' label and the political correctness expected towards religions, I am quite sure that psychiatrists would classify such behaviours as heavily deluded.


My two cents would be that it may be that comorbid with your wife's behaviors may be some psychological issues. Does she have a history of trauma in her family of origin, or any dysfunction within her family of origin or adolescent history?

I have seen in my work some people that have traits of personality disorders that manifest as religious extremism. There are "splitting' behaviors where the disordered person's absolutist religion is 'right' and everyone else' is wrong, or evil, or a threat.

One avenue that may be helpful is to pursue marriage and family counseling with a qualified (LCSW or Ph.D. level) therapist. The clinician can help with communication and boundary setting in the home. At the same time, the therapist may identify patterns or traits in your wife that may be consistent with a DSM diagnosis. If your wife refuses therapy with an independent clinician, and will only agree to a church based counselor, I would not go down that path.

I would certainly do the work in therapy necessary to get a handle as to what is going on in your marriage and family from a clinical perspective before considering having more children. I'm not trying to pathologize your family situation unnecessarily but to offer my two cents based on your comments thus far.
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Postby Ben » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:53 pm

puppha wrote:Does anyone see an ethical problem in having children in such a situation?


If it is as you say - yes.
If you are in league with the devil, then you have to ask yourself why she hasn't ended the relationship.
Perhaps you should tell her that you have no desire to father any more children and perhaps you should start sleeping in a separate room and practice celibacy.
Kind regards,
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Postby Mr Man » Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:01 pm

puppha, I don't think it is appropriate to bring this kind of personal issue to a public forum. It is disrespectful in my opinion.
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Postby Ben » Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:05 pm

Mr Man wrote:puppha, I don't think it is appropriate to bring this kind of personal issue to a public forum. It is disrespectful in my opinion.
:anjali:

Which is - just you opinion.
The op is not identifiable and neither is his wife.
He is asking for advice regarding a significant issue in his life.
If you have a problem with it Mr Man, then I suggest that the problem lies in you and not the subject matter.
And there is something you can do about that.
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:26 pm

Ben wrote:The op is not identifiable and neither is his wife.

I would dispute that. He may not be easily identifable to us, but we already know he lives in London, UK, has an 8 year daughter, and is a Buddhist married to a fundamentalist Christian who speaks in tongues. No doubt his wife's relatives also know a lot more, and they might well know who he is.

It might be wiser to discuss such personal matters in private with a trained councillor than on a public forum, where comments that would no doubt be very hurtful to Puppha's wife might get back to her.
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Postby puppha » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:07 am

Hi BuddhaSoup,

BuddhaSoup wrote:I have seen in my work some people that have traits of personality disorders that manifest as religious extremism. There are "splitting' behaviors where the disordered person's absolutist religion is 'right' and everyone else' is wrong, or evil, or a threat.

That splitting is the whole purpose of the "born-again" experience, isn't it? To the bin, the old 'me', full of sins, fears, uncertainties and guilt! Here comes the new 'me', shiny, radiant, perfect. Of course, the old 'me' has not gone, it is just put aside. Then the poor born-again individual has to maintain that split at all costs, even if that means shutting down their heart and brain.

BuddhaSoup wrote:One avenue that may be helpful is to pursue marriage and family counseling with a qualified (LCSW or Ph.D. level) therapist. The clinician can help with communication and boundary setting in the home. At the same time, the therapist may identify patterns or traits in your wife that may be consistent with a DSM diagnosis. If your wife refuses therapy with an independent clinician, and will only agree to a church based counselor, I would not go down that path.

Thanks for the advice, I'll definitely propose that to her. I would appreciate it, even if just to shed some lights from different angles. I didn't realise there were family therapists!
Indeed, if she just wants a born-again one, that will be a flat 'no' from my side.

Thanks for your input, BuddhaSoup!
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Postby puppha » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:11 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I would dispute that. He may not be easily identifable to us, but we already know he lives in London, UK, has an 8 year daughter, and is a Buddhist married to a fundamentalist Christian who speaks in tongues. No doubt his wife's relatives also know a lot more, and they might well know who he is.

It might be wiser to discuss such personal matters in private with a trained councillor than on a public forum, where comments that would no doubt be very hurtful to Puppha's wife might get back to her.

That's a fair point. I thought this was all fairly anonymous, but it's true there are a enough details to at least provide some suspicion...
I'll try to be less personal from now on.
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Postby Clarence » Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:31 pm

Hi Puppha,

I am glad you thought my questions were helpful. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to help you further. If I were in your situation, I would get a divorce. But, first I would try therapy--after having my wife's head examined (this only because in one of House's episodes the sudden onset of religiosity was caused by a tumor).

Further, I would also want to caution you to be careful what you write here. If your wife reads some of your posts, she might freak out and that will only aggravate things at home.

All the best of luck to you and your family. I truly hope you can work it out.

Clarence

BTW, could her desire for more children have anything to do with the Christian credo to "go forth, and multiply"?
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Postby reflection » Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:09 pm

I don't have any experience with such situations, so I would be a fool to tell you what is best here. Also I've not read all the replies, so maybe I missed some details. However, I think I can give a general piece of advise, up to you to decide what you do with it.

You've now shared about your wives attitude towards religion, but there are many more aspects to a person. Sure you married to her in the first place, so there are also still beautiful aspects to her. And there are also many more aspects to raising a child. Perhaps it's an idea to not focus on only this one point of religion (however big it may be or seem). Most important is love. If she can raise your kids lovingly, that's worth more than any religion in my eyes.

If both of you can agree on having different points of view or somehow can find a middle way, that'll also teach your kids a lot about tolerance, cooperation etc. Kids pick up stuff on very deep levels of feeling we often are not aware of. I imagine worst thing to do is to let your kids feel like they are in the middle of an argument of sorts, if you get what I mean. Agreeing to disagree is also an agreement, I think will bring some peace into the family.

That aside, I personally think a child should not be raised in any religion at all. That's stuff for grown ups. Perhaps, just maybe, you can agree on both not intentionally sharing things of this nature with your child. So this includes no Christian education, but also not taking her to monasteries. I can imagine -even if you say Buddhism is based on investigation- to your child it will not seem like this anyway. People bowing to statues, chanting strange words.. now for a 8-year old doesn't that resemble Christianity ? I know I wouldn't have been able to see the difference at that age. In my humble opinion, best way to keep her open minded is to keep her away from all that stuff. An 8 year old should wonder about the hair style of her dolls instead of the universe, philosophy, Buddha or Jesus.

In any way, there are multiple people involved here. Never forget to take your wife into account. Christians often wonder what Jesus would do, but it's at least just as useful to think what Buddha would do. Whatever that is, I'm sure it is out of kindness. To call her "strongly deluded", well, not wanting to be judgmental, but it may not be the most gentle approach.

With metta and all the best,
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Postby puppha » Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:40 pm

Hi reflection,

reflection wrote:You've now shared about your wives attitude towards religion, but there are many more aspects to a person. Sure you married to her in the first place, so there are also still beautiful aspects to her. And there are also many more aspects to raising a child. Perhaps it's an idea to not focus on only this one point of religion (however big it may be or seem). Most important is love. If she can raise your kids lovingly, that's worth more than any religion in my eyes.

I agree with you. She does have good sides. She does care for the well-being of others (although it is tainted by what she thinks is good for other people). I can indeed find qualities in her. Actually, religion is not the problem to me. The problem is fundamentalism. For a fundamentalist, every aspect of your life is under the influence of your fixed beliefs based on holy scriptures. Even Disney or Pixar movies could be seen as a source of wrong teachings...
There is just a small step between being a fundamentalist and being a terrorist. Let's not forget the atrocities Christians did from the 3rd century up until about 100 years ago. And they still continue wrongdoings as of today. I have no doubt all these good people were absolutely 100% convinced what they were right in the eyes of their god.
I don't want my children to be indoctrinated. Even thinking that it's normal for someone to be deluded to such an extent appears wrong to me.

reflection wrote:If both of you can agree on having different points of view or somehow can find a middle way

That's a dream, my friend. You don't negotiate with a born-again. You convert or you are one of "them", end of story.

reflection wrote:Agreeing to disagree is also an agreement.

Yes, and even that is a problem to her...

reflection wrote:That aside, I personally think a child should not be raised in any religion at all. That's stuff for grown ups.

Agree 100%.

reflection wrote:Perhaps, just maybe, you can agree on both not intentionally sharing things of this nature with your child. So this includes no Christian education, but also not taking her to monasteries. I can imagine -even if you say Buddhism is based on investigation- to your child it will not seem like this anyway. People bowing to statues, chanting strange words.. now for a 8-year old doesn't that resemble Christianity ? I know I wouldn't have been able to see the difference at that age. In my humble opinion, best way to keep her open minded is to keep her away from all that stuff.

I take your point. Although I usually go more to Dhamma talks or classes. It is a fair point you're making.
Also, asking a born-again not to share their faith (especially towards their children) is like asking them to pull their heart out of their chest themselves.

Thanks for your useful comments!
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Postby daverupa » Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:47 pm

It seems as though conversation hasn't got much of a chance, as you see it. So, in lieu of that, the choice is either keep on keepin' on, or a separation/divorce alongside custody arrangements.

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    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Postby reflection » Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:26 pm

Hi!

puppha wrote:Hi reflection,

reflection wrote:You've now shared about your wives attitude towards religion, but there are many more aspects to a person. Sure you married to her in the first place, so there are also still beautiful aspects to her. And there are also many more aspects to raising a child. Perhaps it's an idea to not focus on only this one point of religion (however big it may be or seem). Most important is love. If she can raise your kids lovingly, that's worth more than any religion in my eyes.

I agree with you. She does have good sides. She does care for the well-being of others (although it is tainted by what she thinks is good for other people). I can indeed find qualities in her. Actually, religion is not the problem to me. The problem is fundamentalism. For a fundamentalist, every aspect of your life is under the influence of your fixed beliefs based on holy scriptures. Even Disney or Pixar movies could be seen as a source of wrong teachings...
There is just a small step between being a fundamentalist and being a terrorist. Let's not forget the atrocities Christians did from the 3rd century up until about 100 years ago. And they still continue wrongdoings as of today. I have no doubt all these good people were absolutely 100% convinced what they were right in the eyes of their god.
I don't want my children to be indoctrinated. Even thinking that it's normal for someone to be deluded to such an extent appears wrong to me.

reflection wrote:If both of you can agree on having different points of view or somehow can find a middle way

That's a dream, my friend. You don't negotiate with a born-again. You convert or you are one of "them", end of story.

reflection wrote:Agreeing to disagree is also an agreement.

Yes, and even that is a problem to her...


reflection wrote:That aside, I personally think a child should not be raised in any religion at all. That's stuff for grown ups.

Agree 100%.

reflection wrote:Perhaps, just maybe, you can agree on both not intentionally sharing things of this nature with your child. So this includes no Christian education, but also not taking her to monasteries. I can imagine -even if you say Buddhism is based on investigation- to your child it will not seem like this anyway. People bowing to statues, chanting strange words.. now for a 8-year old doesn't that resemble Christianity ? I know I wouldn't have been able to see the difference at that age. In my humble opinion, best way to keep her open minded is to keep her away from all that stuff.

I take your point. Although I usually go more to Dhamma talks or classes. It is a fair point you're making.
Also, asking a born-again not to share their faith (especially towards their children) is like asking them to pull their heart out of their chest themselves.

Thanks for your useful comments!
:anjali:

[/quote]
As I said, I have no experience with born again Christian people, so can only go on your judgement. However, no matter what the situation is, I think it's always a good thing treating her like a separate person, to not toss her into a group - even if she does herself. Or not to compare her actions to things that happened many years ago. Like no two Buddhists are the same, surely two Christians aren't either. Just a general note. I don't know what would be best to do and there probably is no clear cut answer to it either.

However, to people who say a discussion is not possible, I don't believe so. I can imagine your wife feels like she is in quite the same situation as you are in, so perhaps there is more to share than it seems - as long as you don't keep the religion in the focal point, but each other and your kid. If at least you do, that may help a lot already.

Also, I can very well imagine that once you start disagreeing with her thoughts openly, she will naturally try to defend her points even more strongly - with things maybe sort of spiraling out of control in both of you.

Still, happy to be of any help, if only some support. It will not be easy to get this to work, but if you two can do it, surely it will be worth all the trouble.

Also, since you mentioned Ajahn Chah, he supposedly once said something in the lines of that when Christians are talking about God, they are talking about the Dhamma. If you can see the truth in that, that may help a lot. Your wife is part of the Dhamma as well.

All of this -I must stress- coming from somebody with little if any specific experience on such matters. However, I think many principles of Buddhism can be applied generally, so that's where I'm coming from.

Hope it helps a little bit.

Otherwise still lots of metta,
Reflection
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Postby Anagarika » Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:34 pm

puppha wrote:Hi BuddhaSoup,

I didn't realise there were family therapists!


This might be one good place to start. The site maintains a list of qualified family therapists. Even if your wife refuses to go with you, you can benefit from going yourself and perhaps then later having her join you in co-therapy. A good clinician can coach you with some insights as to what might be going on, and suggest ways to manage these issues as well as work on helping you maintain balance in dealing with all of this. Some on this board may have suggested that this subject really has nothing to do with a Buddhist forum, but your meditation practice can really be integrated into cultivating mindfulness skills in managing these difficult situations. You will benefit, and your child will too, as she depends on you to be a safe harbor and emotional anchor when unusual activities are taking place within the family.

http://www.aft.org.uk
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:06 pm

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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Postby puppha » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:18 pm

BuddhaSoup wrote:This might be one good place to start. The site maintains a list of qualified family therapists. Even if your wife refuses to go with you, you can benefit from going yourself and perhaps then later having her join you in co-therapy. A good clinician can coach you with some insights as to what might be going on, and suggest ways to manage these issues as well as work on helping you maintain balance in dealing with all of this. Some on this board may have suggested that this subject really has nothing to do with a Buddhist forum, but your meditation practice can really be integrated into cultivating mindfulness skills in managing these difficult situations. You will benefit, and your child will too, as she depends on you to be a safe harbor and emotional anchor when unusual activities are taking place within the family.

http://www.aft.org.uk

Many thanks for the link! And thank you for the sound advice. I also thought that even if my wife doesn't want a non-Christian therapist, I will still benefit if I go alone (and my family too).
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Postby corrine » Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:42 pm

I agree with the poster who said that it might be a good idea to refrain from bringing more children into this situation. You do not have to have more children if you do not wish to do so. You have the freedom to 'just say no'. I wish you luck in dealing with this situation. From my experience, those who convert to fundamentalism become more and more fanatical in their practice. Your daughter needs to hear other views - your views - whether or not your wife approves. She is your daughter too.

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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Postby makarasilapin » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:39 pm

holy crap, i feel for you man but i don't think there is too much to debate here, ie. get out of the relationship and try to get custody of your daughter, and raise her to have a rational mind...

obviously it's going to take some time to do this as harmlessly as possible, but the sooner the better. best of luck, my friend!
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