Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
Clarence
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Post by 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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reflection
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Post by 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,
Reflection

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puppha
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Post by 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!
:anjali:

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daverupa
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Post by 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.

:juggling:
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "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.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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reflection
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Post by 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
Last edited by reflection on Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Anagarika
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Post by 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" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

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

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puppha
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Post by 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" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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).
:anjali:

corrine
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Post by 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.

corrine

makarasilapin
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Post by 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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Kamran
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Re: Having children with a strongly deluded spouse?

Post by Kamran » Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:28 pm

Human perspective is very selective. Its preferable, in my opinion, to get your mind very still by watching your breath, and then look at the situation.
"Silence gives answers"

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

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