I'm getting ready to write a letter to my mother about this, but I'm also really hoping to find someone else out there who has already done this to see what sort of words are best to be used.
My mother came for the holidays, and gave our little 2 yr old girl some gifts that were, frankly, rather traumatic for me to see (children's religious books and a stuffed Teddy bear that sang a religious song quite loud and obnoxiously). I grew up with her and in a religious school where their particular fundamentalist ideas were hammered into me in an abusive way.
I've always known that I was going to have to set a pretty firm boundary with her about this, and this is the time....she really set me off this time. I didn't say anything while she was visiting, but would rather deal with it in a letter (she lives across the country from me). I've already had experiences with her trying to be honest and set boundaries on the phone and it was pure hell. She's in a fairly healthy place right now mentally, about as good as she ever seems to get (struggles with depression a lot)...I do somewhat fear 'sending her into another depression' but I also know that *I* don't cause her depression....and I just don't care so much anymore....I am determined to set this boundary and believe it is very important.
As far as my own spirituality goes, I've been avoiding discussing it with her for as long as possible. I still wish to reveal as little as possible to her, but still give her enough of an explanation so that she can adjust her behavior accordingly.
So...basically what I want to tell her is that we don't appreciate her launching into pre-meal prayers with out asking...especially in public, but, basically, we don't want her praying out loud around us at all ... we prefer to ask the blessing at dinner ourselves, if at all, and we don't do it at breakfast or lunch. She has launched into these before and its very uncomfortable and I get scared to even sit down to a meal with her, or go out for one with her.
The other thing is to ask her to limit her gift-giving to us, and esp. our daughter, to non-religious, non-spiritual gifts, unless she runs them by us first, knowing that we will likely disapprove of them.
I know its going to be hard on her...when she is feeling "mentally well" unfortunately she gets more into proselytizing us... she will likely say things like "this is who I am and you aren't letting me be me!" (this is what she often says if I try to set a boundary with her and make a request that she change her behavior around me). (she is also an alcoholic and has a hard time with boundaries).
If anyone else has already said these sorts of things to their parents, I would love to see some of the wording! Also, please feel free to PM me if you want to have a more detailed discussion, I would love it!
Thanks so much!