Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Utah, USA
Language: English, a little Japanese, Java, C#, C++
Feeling Indebted to Strangers
Long story short, I've suddenly become the primary caregiver for both of my elderly parents, with whom I still live. I've been caring for my mom for several years now, doing all of the cooking and running all of the errands, as well as helping with everything else. But my dad's health has taken a turn for the worse, necessitating his retirement, and suddenly my mom is reaching out to her old church for help, even though they haven't been involved with it in about a decade.
I have a long and sordid history with this church and want absolutely nothing more to do with it ever again. I know that my parents' beliefs and choices are their responsibility, not mine, so part of me feels like I needn't feel indebted to anyone. But another part of me can't help it. I want (and need) to support my parents as best I can. If they feel like they need more help then I should be thankful for people who step up. I don't want to seem like an ungrateful *******.
But on the other hand, I absolutely cannot get involved in the drama of this religion again, and I hate feeling indebted to these people. I know from experience that none of them actually give a damn about us; they just want to drag my parents back to church, so they can get their time, money and hearts again. They probably expect us, or more specifically me, to repay them by helping them in the future. Maybe I'm a terrible person because I don't care enough about anyone other than my parents to help them.
I know that leaving is the most obvious solution but I cannot do that yet. I can't wait to get out of this state and possibly this country, but I feel obligated to help my parents while I can. So how do I deal with feeling indebted to people even when I'm not even the one who solicited their help in the first place? To what degree can/should I feel obligated to repay their kindness?
"Churches ... appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.." -Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason