It can be extreme painful for friends and family when a loved one leaves your shared faith tradition. While it’s normal to feel a range of emotions, including disappointment, sadness, anger and fear, it’s probably best not to share those feelings with your loved one who’s left the Church. Licensed therapist, coach, author of The Assertiveness Guide for Women, Dr. Julie Azevedo Hanks helps us navigate this difficult conversation.

Process your painful emotions with other family, friends, or a therapist. When talking to your loved one, it’s important to come from a place of love in order to preserve the relationship.

Here are some suggestions of what to say when a loved one leaves the Church.

What to say to a loved one who tells you they are leaving the Church:

1) I trust you to do what’s best for you
2) What can I do to support you right now?
3) I am here for you
4) Your relationship with the Church is separate from our relationship
5) I respect your integrity and strength
6) I know you didn’t make this decision lightly
7) My love for you is unconditional

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