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Old 02-06-2006, 12:44 PM   #1
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Why...

Okay. Here it is. I've been attending this Christian church awhile. And they're very..affectionate, physically. Invasively so. There are times, in fact, where I am literally grinding my teeth just to get through the service without lashing out at someone for touching me, or holding my hand too tightly, or hugging me when I don't want to be. I guess I'd describe my personality as very Larry-ish. I like people. I just prefer to keep most people at a distance, even when I feel a great deal of affection for them.
So far I've been whined at by some of the curchgoers (thank God there are some there who know by now that I simply can't stand to be smothered with physical or verbal attention and let me be) and lectured at by the pastor on two or three occasions in the past 4 months.
And I apparnetly have to have a repeat of this in the next week.
The last time I went from fairly hysterical (It is never good to corner me in an office with yourself and two other people. It just isn't.) to very quiet, without ever really outright telling him anything.

This time, I want to actually set things straight i a way that is not ambiguous and leaves him and the church with a very clear idea of what I can and more importantly can NOT tolerate without doing too much injury to feelings.

Any suggestions?
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Old 02-06-2006, 12:50 PM   #2
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Try another Church?
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Old 02-06-2006, 01:07 PM   #3
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Heh. Well yeah, I could do that. These aren't people I /dislike/, though, so I'd rather straighten things out than just pick up my toys and leave.
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Old 02-06-2006, 01:13 PM   #4
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Weird, I'm not sure what to say. I'm not very touchy-feely either, but there's only a few people in my church who invade my personal space, and that's just b/c of their personalities (it's not how the church as a whole does or does not behave).

Maybe you could sit near the back, or somewhere where it's fairly empty?

I've been to a church like the one you're describing b/c I know a lot of really cool people that go there. I haven't gone back b/c there's more of a doctrinal conflict, but yeah....it's hard when you're just not a physical person. Wish I had better advice....
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Old 02-06-2006, 01:22 PM   #5
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Two things are going on there.. The people at that church are reaching out to you (figuratively as well as literally) in a way to show their kindness. They really may know no other way to do this. I can relate to your level of comfort with people approaching you with smothering attention. All my life I've been that way too.
But, just because you express yourself differently doesn't mean you don't have anything to offer those people. I'm sure that when the people come to know you, you all will find an acceptable way to approach each other. Nobody's perfect anywhere.
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Old 02-06-2006, 02:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Try another Church?
That would be my advice.

Especially if members whined at you and/or the pastor lectured you. Doesn't seem like a good fit to me.
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Old 02-06-2006, 02:47 PM   #7
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I'm sorry I really can't relate. I attend a Christian church as well but I don't get any of the overly touching, whining or lectures from the pastor. I absolutely love my church

I recommend what some of the other posters have said and perhaps find another church where you would feel more comfortable
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Old 02-06-2006, 02:48 PM   #8
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Originally posted by indra


That would be my advice.

Especially if members whined at you and/or the pastor lectured you. Doesn't seem like a good fit to me.
The pastor lecturing you struck me as an odd place to try to stay.

I applaud your desire to make it work, but when something uncomfortable starts from the top you may find it frustrating to pursue worhsip with this congregation.
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Old 02-06-2006, 03:14 PM   #9
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SunBloc: See, that's what I think. They care, they want to be kind, and are bewildered by my seeming standoffishness. (Well, I am, but that's due to some chemical imbalance and abuse issues) They take my lack of physical affection as outright rejection, when all I'd like is a little less overtly physical reaching, and more space to deal with the fact that it's a tiny space with too many gregarious people (think of a church full of on-stage Bonos.), too much noise, and services that are longer than I'm generally used to. When I attend Bahai functions, the anxiety I feel around people is very muted - I'm faintly anxious, but not so much as I am in a Christian atmosphere. I think it's because Bahai's tend to be very laid back and less inclined to hold tightly in general. It's very wierd.
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Old 02-06-2006, 05:21 PM   #10
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Devlin, You may be there for a very short time, or it may be more permanent. But, the important thing is that you are there for a reason. God is working with you and through you, just like he is working with each imperfect work-in-progress person at your church or Bahai functions.

Right now, I'm looking for a church like the one you described - where the people actually seem to care. I also had an abusive family situation when I was younger. Then I was involved in an openly caring church. I really think that the benefits from that love and care far outweigh the difficulty of getting to that point of acceptable interaction. It is hard at times - I think I put way more pressure on myself to interact in a good way, socially, more than anybody else has ever put on me. HOPE this makes sense. Sorry to ramble!! Let me know how it goes!
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Old 02-06-2006, 06:01 PM   #11
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personal boundaries should always be respected


and it is a two way street.

you have to make known your boundaries and they must be respected

if they don't respect or question them
then you should find a new church
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Old 02-07-2006, 01:00 PM   #12
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Hey Devlin, I'm kind of with NBCrusader on this. It's great that you're trying to make it work, it makes sense that there would have to be some give-and-take on BOTH sides. The problem is they seem to be smothering you. There's a difference between being friendly and being forceful.

Here's maybe another question to ask yourself: If it's affecting your worship of God and/or your growth as a Christian in a negative way, then I'd move on. What's the point?

God bless. I'm praying for ya.
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Old 02-07-2006, 02:26 PM   #13
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I'm probably going to end up leaving, but I would rather not have it be with a giant misunderstanding looming. And, just for the record, I am Baha'i, not Christian. Baha'is are always free to attend any worship service type we choose. Part of that whole independent investigation of the truth agreement thing.
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Old 02-07-2006, 03:01 PM   #14
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I would just come out and say I really need my personal space and do not like be touched by so many people. In out church, we always have to get up and shake someones hand. I hate it and I am usually the first one to sit down. But I think the absolute truth would be your best policy.
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Old 02-22-2006, 12:50 PM   #15
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Okay:
Here's the update. Much ado about nothing. The pastor has had nothing to say to me a'tall.Methinks another- olderandwiser - pastor had words with him about it. The older guy has been pretty much backing me up and supporting me. It's pretty funny, how he knows I'm not so into the whole touch thing, and has told people bluntly, "Look, if she wants you out of her space, get out of her space."
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