This is a little bit of a complicated problem. My mom and dad are both Catholic, and they have a tradition - every Easter and Christmas, they take the immediate family (themselves, me, and my sister) to Church.
There's just a few small problems: neither me nor my sister get anything from it. And in my case specifically, the incense they use in church triggers both my allergies and my asthma, which introduces a major health risk (not to mention makes me highly irritable).
There's a secondary issue here: I have a confirmed and diagnosed anxiety issue. Without health insurance (of which I do not have because I had it through school and I've graduated and don't have any health coverage until I can apply January 1 with my new full time job), I can't get the medication to keep it under absolute control within my budget. Which means every time we go, there's screaming children, and every time the screaming noisy children make a noise, it drives my anxiety levels up exponentially.
So, the core problem is, I've made many attempts to make it known that:
- There's a health risk with the asthma and allergies, and
- There is a safety risk both to myself and others with the anxiety (which in extremely high amounts can reveal itself explosively), and
- I don't get anything from church (I'm in the beliefs category of "Religion is just a bogus a mythos just to give you 'rules of behavior', and has archaic traditions that are worth nothing to me"; also known as the "I don't believe in any religion at all" category), and in addition to forcing me to do something I absolutely do not want to do, making me go is equivalent to torture because of points 1 and 2.
Now, in every case, when I bring this up, there's absolutely no 'wiggle room' within my parents to actually accept the points. They indicate that "Oh, you can fix the asthma problem just bring your inhaler", or "Just suck it up" for the second point, but point #3 they just completely ignore.
I currently live with my parents, until my apartment is habitable and well stocked with food and stuff, which can't be done until I receive my first paycheck with the full time job I recently got. After January, that shouldn't be a factor, and solves the problem, but until then I'm living with my parents and so this is still a problem.
So, I'm stuck in a dilemma - every time they force this upon me, I become a very angry person for the rest of the day, even if it is twice a year.
How do I go about telling my parents in no uncertain terms "Traditions be damned, I absolutely refuse to go" for the above reasons without getting into a "But this is tradition!" fight with my parents?
Additional information was requested in comments, and answers are here:
What culture is this taking place in? How old are you?
USA, 27 years old.
Have you told your parents you are atheist?
Yep. Hasn't changed their viewpoints on it.
@ThomasWard So who feels guilty? You or them?
Do your parents normally attend mass or is it just for the holidays?
Usually they only go that I know of twice a year, Easter and Christmas.
@ThomasWard What happens if you just stand your ground and not go, period?
It gets into a yelling and swearing argument and they essentially rage-mode me into joining them. My mom and dad are forces of nature...
- Do you know why they want you to go?
- Is it a bonding experience for them?
- Is there a social aspect for your parents? in the sense maybe it would look bad in their circles that their son is not going with them to the church?
- Maybe they also feel that if you are not going, you lose any chance to redemption?
- Have you had any discussions why they want you to go that badly?
(list formatting was my doing)
- They only quote 'It's tradition!'
- Probably, in that it's one of the 'few times' the family is actually all in one place. Empty-nester-syndrome, perhaps?
- Not really anything that fits that category, no.
- Maybe, but if this were the case my father would tell me so - he knows to not beat around the bush with me (thanks to aspergers syndrome, if he actually tries to be vague I brush it off / ignore it because my mind doesn't process it well)
- Beyond the medical reasons I stated, and the anxiety risks, and me having told them "I don't really get much from this anymore..." in the past? Not really.