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Dealing with religious zealot?

Kaim's picture

Hi everyone,

I've gotten some good feedback from this site before so figured I would ask if anyone has any suggestions on dealing with a religious zealot who is mentally ill. Truthfully, I think the religious zealotry is just his form of mental illness i.e. how some mentally ill people are obsessed with patterns, etc. He has been diagnosed before with severe depression, and some other thing as well but decided to stop seeing his therapist and taking his medication because "I'm not ill, this is the devil fighting for my soul. I need to pray harder and become more faithful then ever before to beat this". This was 8 years ago, getting progressively worse. Well his views are his own, however considering that he is now interfering with and causing tension in my SO's kid life; it is no longer just limited to him being batshit crazy.

To make a long story short - the teenager was enrolled with a counselor, was making progress, slowly but surely. This was all while the dad was out of the life due to a court order. Well the court situation gets figured out, and supervisory parenting is dropped; a week later the kid does not want to go back to counseling. Knowing that the dad was completely opposed to counseling from the very beginning (remember, it's all sin causing these issues - never mind the divorce, grief, etc), it's safe to assume that the dad has convinced the child not to go and talk to the counselor. So thanks to the final court order, the child needs to resume counseling with the old counselor and it flat out says that it's the court's finding that the dad has been interfering with counseling and needs to stop.

So in the end, it would be nice to think that everyone can get on board but considering that he is throwing a hissy fit about the child not going to his counselor because she's equipped to deal with "sin" while the other counselor (who the child has established trust with) is not. We know how it's going to end, with fights every week to go, and the idiot feeding this religious bullshit and convincing him not to talk to the counselor. Keep in mind, we tried to appease him by finding someone at the practice, but all they wanted to do was pump the child full of drugs instead of addressing the issues.

I'm sure everyone has dealt with these issues, so that being said - any advice on how to make life easier and at least give the child a chance to succeed? Because if this dad gets his way, the kid is dead in the water, and will end up a failure with no high school education and dead-end job (just like dad). How do I know this, well the dad refuses to be a dad and takes the Disneyland/best friend approach - it's already caused a whole host of other issues.

Kaim's picture

Should have read:
I'm sure everyone has dealt with similar issues, so that being said - any advice on how to make life easier and at least give the child a chance to succeed?

Timetogiveup's picture

I go to a "Christian" I am exposed to religious zealots all the time. I was raised Catholic, went to church, did the training etc., but I fell away from the church. The rest of my family are/were still devoted to the Catholic church.

At this Christiam school....there is lot of bible quoting going on, personally I don't know how these people remember all this stuff. But they seem to have a quote for everything, I swear half the time they are just making things I would know? I have to admit some of these people are over the deep-end and I have seriously questioned the mental stablility of some of them! I have seen narrow-mindedness,lack of accepetance and intolerance for those who do not share the same belief that was beyond belief.

Personally I wonder if it is a mental illness, addiction or substitution for something missing in their life.

PoisonApples's picture

I'm confused.

Would you clarify the relationships?

Who is the child? What is his relationship to you? What is his relationship to your SO? Who is the religious nutcase? What is his relationship to you, the child, and your SO?

ThatGirl's picture

Sounds a bit like my ex-husband. How old is your SO's son? I'm guessing the father was not this way during the marriage, and only started after the divorce? How long have SO and you been together, and what does the son think of your relationship with his mom? And have you talked to the counselor about your belief that the father is trying to dissuade the boy from attending?

Sorry, all questions and no advice. But I'd like to know more before throwing my two cents into the hat Smile

Kaim's picture

Post made sense when I posted it but yea, ton of missing info in it:
Who is the child?
--SO's teenager son

What is his relationship to you?
--Really no personal relationship to me, but care about him by default due to SO caring about him. So I do want him to succeed in life, and this is a major obstacle that he needs to overcome. He hates me, but I hear that's par for course for most people that become involved in mom's life when they have a teenager

What is his relationship to your SO?
--Birth mother, full custody; classic teenager, much disrespect (some normal, some not so normal = counseling)

Who is the religious nutcase?

What is his relationship to you, the child, and your SO?
--Frustrates SO and me due to his inability to recognize marriage is over (still feels SO and him will get back together); only have a relationship due to child. Restraining order in place for SO. Will eventually need to change phone, email, addresses to stop stalking but pointless now.

--Father was not this way when started (from what I hear); progressively getting worse since mental illness is taking over more and more. Went from being normal religious to zealot in few years time.

We've known each other 4 years, seriously dated last 3 - always been like this. But getting worse.

overit2's picture

Hmmm, i happen to know quite a bit about cultish religions and zealots also sadly.

I'm always wondering if it's a chicken or the egg issue...

As in-does religion attact (in addition to regular people) mentally ill? Does their progession in going nuts/zealouts come from their mental illness progressing, or their exposure to religion or both?

Not sure what all you can do other then have the mom try to obtain supervised visitation if she is concerned with the dads' mental state.

Oh...on a funny note...I saw this quote about the chicken and the egg analogy-was too funny not to pass on lol:

A chicken and an egg are lying in bed. The chicken is smoking a cigarette with a satisfied smile on its face and the egg is frowning and looking put out. The egg mutters to no one in particular, "I guess we answered that question."

ThatGirl's picture

This guy scares me, and I'll bet your SO is afraid of him, too. If it were me, I'd fight to get visitation removed (or at the very least supervised, conditional upon a psych eval and counseling) and a restraining order for all of you. He's dangerous. And his use of religion is a way to dehumanize you - a sinner. When you and your SO are no longer human to him, anything's possible.