Thursday, March 18, 2010

Feeling better

I've seen my therapist twice this week and I'm feeling better. I've had to come to terms with the fact that I am very angry. Growing up the way I did, that's not an easy admission. Anger was considered a "selfish emotion". Never let the sun go down on your wrath and all of that. That might be a wise instruction- if you have a way to confront your anger in a managable, productive manner. I don't have that and it was never appropriate for me to show my anger, so now I'm having to find ways to show it and deal with it.

My dad will never apologize to me. If he does, it will be icing on the cake, but I'm not going to expect it. That doesn't change that fact that I am owed an apology!

I'm angry about a whole list of things but chief among those things is:
1. My childhood being abbreviated to serve the family.
2. My feelings being trivialized.
3. My pleas being ignored.
4. My individualism being sacrificed for the "greater good".
5. My education being sub par.
6. My father not loving us as he should have.

What I do about this anger is still up in the air. For me, just acknowledging it publicly is a huge step.

How do you channel your anger? I'm open to ideas.

On NoLongerQuivering, someone asked about Lisa Welchel's version of the obedience game. LW, according to the poster, has written that she occasionally denies her children the permission to use the restroom. The commenter said, "Why would anyone do that?"

I can speak from experience. My parents did this, too. They claimed that it was about learning self control and denying your physical urges. The belief was that if you could withhold the urge to need a restroom, you could withhold the need to satiate other physical desires. I was told that it was part of purity training because, some day, we'd have to practice controlling our need to self-gratify sexually or have physical relations before marriage. It was also used to get us to do things under our parents command. We had a bathroom schedule. If you had to use the bathroom at other times, you were supposed to get express permission. Our parents were supposed to know everything we did, down to bathroom habits. Just in my house, we had timers in the bathroom. The door could never be locked and you couldn't spend more than two minutes in the bathrooom for urinating or defecating. Showers were five minutes and you had to have someone of the same sex in the room with you, sitting outside the shower, so that you weren't tempted to use that time for "unpure purposes". It didn't seem like a big deal to me at the time because I was usually helping a littler sister wash her hair or someone was getting themselves undressed for bathing while I was bathing. Now I see how crazy it was.


  1. Volleyball. Or actually any competitive sport. It makes you fully concentrate mentally on the moment. There's no time to reflect on your childhood, your depression or anything but catching that ball or blocking that spike. It also provides exercise, excellent for relieving the depression often caused by suppressed anger. You have a lot to be angry about. Anger is good. Reading about the utter nonsense of keeping sweet, joyful, and submissive for the past few months on your blog, FJ and NLQ has blown my mind. Normal people get angry when they are wronged, it is our nature. By subverting that and leaving women and children unable to respond normally to offenses against them such as physical and psychological abuse these Christian movements are denying that they are truly human. The fact that people admire these groups for the good aspects they display (such well behaved children, modest clothes) and do not cringe in horror and shout about the defilement they inflect on the human soul is one of the more puzzling mysteries of our time in my opinion. You are an incredibly brave and strong woman Ruth. Your anger is letting you know that you are a whole human. Channel your anger into exercise, into writing, into creating something new.


  2. Video games for the anger I can't resolve because it's in the past and what can I do about that?

    For today, you have to tell people you are angry with them and why. My father is, and was, an unmedicated, rapid-cycling bipolar. I notice that growing up with him as a father seems to have effected me the way your parent's abuses affected you.

    We were never allowed to express any negative emotion, ever. We were happy and we were happy all the time, because anything else could send my father into insane rage or stupifying depression. My father dragged us through debt to the point of near starvation, he moved us across the country from one "greatest job ever!" to the next, and everything in our house was as he wanted it, always. What we needed wasn't nearly as important as what this moment's whim was.

    I threw up the first time I told someone that I was angry at them, but you know what? It worked. Instead of being walked all over and hating myself for letting it be so, I was empowered! It was amazing! Scary as hell, but amazing.

    I still get nervous, more than a decade later, expressing myself like that, but it's good for me.

  3. If I'm REALLY angry I hit a pillow or throw a pillow not at anyone or anything other than a wall. I'm also known to just scream & yell & even if that doesn't solve the issue by the time I've calmed down I feel better. My husband walks away & then once he's calm he comes back. Sports like someone suggested is a great way to channel your anger. Look into taking up kickboxing or something that you could release your anger in a healthy produtive manner. :-)

  4. When I am angry I clean house. My family used to joke that they always glanced around the house to judge my moods. ;)
    I also garden, being outdoors make me feel good and calms my nerves. Except when the agorophbia kicks in.
    My daughter sings. LOUD! She is a trained vocalist and will launch into a screechy aria to calm down.
    All the other suggestions are just dandy as well. The thing is to find out what releases the anger and allows you to find your innner peace.
    Good luck, Ruth.


  5. hi ruth! i havent posted before, but ive been reading for quite a while. i want to commend you for being such a strong young woman. we are just about the same age and i cant imagine being in your shoes. you are helping me think out of the box and helping my compassion grow.

    about the anger thing. i like to write. just word vomit onto a page of paper and take it and rip it or burn it or whatever my mood needs. i like to exercise to release that pent up energy. people probably think im crazy for running thru the park with tears streaming down my face.

  6. If it's murderous rage, I go somewhere private and punch cushions (firm, but easy on the skin and don't break). If it's something that needs to be said (and the other person is still around), I write it down, take at least a day's break, come back to check it's legible and not pointlessly insulting, then send it. If it's part of an argument, I occasionally ask a trusted friend to look it over and give any necessary criticism.

    Right now, I feel like punching more than cushions. The two 'training' subjects you mention happen to be two of my biggest fears, and I can't think how you lasted in that household for as long as you did. Thank you for sharing it, though - such things deserve all the anger they're exposed to.

  7. Susan! I'm right there with you with the cleaning! Past roommates have referred to it as "Mommy Dearesting the house." "I'm not mad at you, I'm mad at the dirt!"

    These are things that I do for the anger that I can't resolve. You can't change the past. All you can do is let go. And if it's something you can't let go of on your own and need help, it's easy to translate it to cleaning power. Each slight, each hurt, each letdown, each reason for rage turns into a dirty dish, or a stain on a shirt, a wrinkle in a pair of pants, or a splotch of spaghetti sauce on a stovetop. I talk to the things I'm cleaning, if I'm alone (because I know I sound like a nut!). I explain to the dirt why I'm upset and what it stands for (You're for the time that Mom forgot my birthday because she had a date. And you're for the time that Mom put lemon juice in my cereal to curdle the milk because I was eating something in between meals) and as the dirt is washed away, I try to let go of the hurt.

    I still get angry with my mother almost every day. And sometimes I'm able to confront her directly about it, but most of the time I'm not. Working through it that way keeps me sane.

  8. I too use the word vomit method of getting my anger out! I use hard copy pen and paper, that way I can throw it away if I need to. Sometimes it is in the form of a letter to the person I am angry at, sometimes just a rant.

    Once I put the letter in an envelope, addressed the envelope and left it on a shelf. Being newly married, it didn't really occur to me that someone else might come along, see the envelope, helpfully put on a stamp and mail it! That ruffled some feathers! Ha ha.

    After that I used my usual spiral notebook journal. =)

    Also, I love vigilante movies! I know I "shouldn't" but I do. Love them, love them, love them. It is a guilty pleasure when the bully/criminal gets what's coming to him. My favorite is Man on Fire with a young Dakota Fanning and Denzel Washington. "I had...more time!" Bwahahahaha!

    In past therapy I have also imagined the person I was angry at in a chair and said what I needed to say. I was generally afraid of this person, and it would never have been safe for me to confront them directly. I found this rather satisfying for me to be able to move on past a particular incident, along with my therapists support.

    Finally, the shower thing is weird! Your parents preoccupation with sex is uber-strange! Methinks that someone in your parental unit may be a sexual deviant. It is just not that normal to obsess about sex.

    Other abusers I have known control time in the shower simply to dominate their children and show them there is no safe place to relax. I had and NPD friend who did that to her teenage daughter, by installing a shutoff valve to the hot water. After three minutes she shut off the hot water, leaving her skinny daughter freezing with soap in her hair. Bi#@%!

    If you wonder why I was friends with an NPD woman like my mom, it's two-fold- a tendency I have healed out of over time to be drawn to crazy women like my mom and a desire to stay involved to help her daughter any way I could.

    I weaned out of the first reason, and was successful in the second reason. I am happy to report that the daughter is now safely away from mom and living with her dad.

    Yay! My suffering paid off in some small way as I was able to help someone else. Not a reason for suffering, but a redemption of suffering. I take victory where I can find it.

  9. Ruth, you have years of anger within you. Exercise, writing, role-playing, and talking will help.

    Maybe I shouldn't write this because I don't want you to feel guilty if you do feel this way...yes, release the anger but also release any bitterness. Perhaps it's all one and the same. It is going to take time. Eventually, you will be able to move past your childhood, although I doubt in its entirety.

    That's OK 'cause you will be gaining the control in small incremental steps. YOu'll climb out of this with each secure foothold.

    We are all cheering you on here, Ruth, through good times and the bad. Take care.


  10. anger? How do I vent anger?? I write it all down. I write ferociously, then it just sits there in a book - outside of me - harmless to me or anyone else.

  11. When I was in college, I was on the fencing team and used practice and tournaments to channel my anger. Using a perfectly legal reason to hit people with swords was a great channel. Now that I've graduated, I run and lift weights. I think the running especially helps because you're releasing endorphins.

    The bathroom thing is Who thinks like that? Honestly, I don't think your parents, Daddy Darth in particular, had a good background in biology. You can deny physical and biological urges only for so long before it will finally overwhelm you. The body is a like a machine: it will do what it was designed to do, chemicals, hormones, and all, and brain power and sheer will can only control it so far.

    Like another poster previously said, I'm baffled by your parents' uber focus on sex and sexuality. It sounds to me like they're the type of people who think along these lines: "if you don't tell a teenager about sex, he won't do it." WRONG! You can make suggestions, give opinions, and give guidance, but you can not fully stop the body from doing what it was designed to do: survive and thrive. That means all basic physical urges, including that to procreate. I firmly believe that if you don't talk about those kinds of urges, it will eventually permeate every aspect of your life so you're slowly obsessing over it. A perfect example is the ATI/BG obsession over purity!

    *hugs* I'm glad you're feeling better Ruth. Admitting that you are indeed angry is a huge deal. You have a right to be angry. You're human, and are therefore entitled to all the emotions that come with that. Don't let anyone EVER tell you differently.

  12. Part 1 - I went through years of therapy to work through a lot of my abuse issues with my step-father. I found that a lot of my energies were transferred into "helping others" (basically being very co-dependent) to: 1) get rid of a bad boyfriend; 2) dealing with hurtful family members; 3) dealing with unfair bosses, etc. I becames sort of a vigilante for the underdog, the abused, the neglected and I had this "Justice-Kick" going on... where I felt compelled to help others get out of their bad situation. After I realized what I was doing, then I had to work on avoiding those kinds of people who would suck my energies dry. That was so hard because I was naturally gravitated towards people like that because it made me feel validated. It was hard to find that balance... but that was one way I dealt with my anger in probably a very unhealthy way.... I only mention it because you may find yourself doing that too (I was the oldest in my family too and it's easy to be the "mom" to others, friends, etc.) I still had a lot of issues to deal with, but basically I needed to learn to forgive without forgetting and most importantly, to know that I did not have to allow myself to be subject to the abuse anymore. I would have to just stay away from my family or when I would visit, it would be in just "small doses." I realized I could not handle being around the craziness because it would "trigger" all that anger in me and I did not like the person I was becoming.

    I found a really interesting book by Lewis Smedes, "Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts you Don't Deserve." It was the most amazing book I've ever read on the subject and I highly recommend it because it helped me to see that in order for me to heal, I needed to forgive, but I wasn't really willing to do what it took to forgive my father. I wanted to hold on to it because it wasn't fair that he seemed to "get away" with all the stuff he did to our family. This book helped in a really unusual way. I was able to see, in a vision-like way, a picture of my dad when he was a small child... (I did not know much about my dad at all other than he left home at 17 to join the Navy and he never went back home again. What could have hurt someone so much that they would never want to go back home again.) this "vision" I could see my dad, hurt, dirty face, tear-streaked and sad... and I knew that he was really injured emotionally and possibly physically. I was able to somehow have a bit of compassion on him knowing that he too was a victim of his own mom and dad's parenting (or lack thereof). BUT--- then I realized that my dad had a choice - at some point in his life (JUST AS I DID/DO) to decide if he wanted to perpetuate the abuse he received as a child or to "be different" than his family (which I know is extremely difficult to do apartment from God's healing grace and the help of a good therapist!) Even though...he obviously continued the cycle...and our family was the recipient of his abuse - I STILL HAD A CHOICE to not perpetuate it.... so all of this to say... I was able to have at least a bit of compassion on him, knowing he was a victim of some kind of abuse as a child, but I did not have to be that kind of a person NOR did I have to subject myself any longer to his abuse - even as an adult.

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  14. I recommend masturbation. This is not a joke!

  15. Part II - Eventually, I was able to forgive him but I also realized that I did not have to have this emotional touchy/feely love for him - I was sad that I did not have the kind of dad I always wanted. But God was faithful to provide other men in my life to mentor me as a daughter to help facilitate my healing. It's been difficult. But it has been a journey, that takes place, as others have said, one step at a time...going forward - knowing that on some days, you may go backwards in your progress - and that's totally okay...

    My dad passed away a few years ago after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He was a weak, pitiful man, a mere shadow of his former self - the man I remembered was a harsh disciplinarian, hateful, self-absorbed, selfish... now he was dependent on others to care for him 24/7. My younger sister moved in to take care of him and my mother years before - (my mom eventually became ill and died from breast cancer.)

    My sister was very sad when my dad died. She was his only child from his marriage to my mom. He had "adopted" me as a child, but I always felt like the outsider. I was not sad when he died because I had made peace with him and with God about it all. As I said, I was sad that I didn't get to have the kind of father I always wanted, but in many ways, I learned to view God as my true heavenly father....and that was enough.. for me.

    bless your heart Ruth... i have many friends i've known over the years who are or have been victims of this Gothardite crap...and I hope they will finally see the light and get out. You are making such incredible progress and I just hope that you don't get too bitter even you will feel that way a lot as you move forward in your healing....

  16. @annonymous, actually, that's probably a good idea.

    And a bit of REALLY heavy metal headbanging *possibly* even black metal, however hard you can stand. *Hearing* a musical expression of anger, pure anger, often helps me when I'm really angry. I feel like I'm not the only one. All those other activities mentioned so far, I feel alone, and so it doesn't help as much, I feel weird and sticking out, feeling all this deep anger on my own, and then I think I look stupid and I bottle it up inside. But when I can listen to really angry metal-- then I'm ok. I don't feel stupid or the only one anymore.

  17. When I'm angry I try to just not talk to anyone until I'm calm. Reading, browsing the internet help a lot. Anything to take my mind off the anger. It really does help, and after a little while I don't feel angry anymore, and I have more perspective.

    However, in your case, I think the best option for dealing with your anger is continued therapy. You need to get it out of you and talk about it. Vent here if you need to. We're all willing to listen! :-)

  18. I once read that anger and depression are two sides of the same coin. It's easy to move from one to the other. I dove into reading, drawing and painting as a kid to deal with the anger and sadness that came with having an abusive parent. She would flip flop between being completely smothering to completely indifferent but the abuse was pretty constant. Now as an adult I keep my distance from my family. I worked hard on putting boundaries in place so their toxicity can't affect me. Some days though I grieve for the kid who had to endure the abuse and then I get angry. I write, I take a long drive, turn up the music, have a good cry or immerse myself into a good movie. I remind myself of the distance, physical and emotional, I have created and remind myself I'm safe. Over time it does get easier. Time and distance are powerful healers. The thing I remind myself is that it's ok to get angry and sad. (I too was only allowed to be happy - nothing less was tolerated which made the tumultuous teenage years particularly awful) I let myself work through it but not dwelling on or stuffing it down. It takes a bit of practice but you get the the hang of it.

    I agree with the others that there seems to have been an unhealthy focus on sex and sexuality when you were younger. I'm sure this ties into your father's obsession with porn somehow. But what was your mother's viewpoint? Did she agree with your father? Did she also treat it as taboo?

  19. painting ~ drawing ~ learn a musical instrument and let the feeling flow through the music / painting / drawing. Not only is the anger coming out, but you are creating something at the same time, instead of destroying you/people around you, you are releasing the negative energy in a positive way which can actually help others as they see your self-expression. Plus, learning the techniques involved in art/music requires a great deal of focus and large amounts of time, which can give you something to do, a recognizable skill, as opposed to something which might gratify you only while but will in the end create a monster just as large as the one you are trying to slay.

    Hope this helps.....

    as far as nannying, treat the children how you wish you had been treated, should you obtain such a job.

    waiting tables can also be good for helping with social skills and getting to interact with all types of people.

  20. "Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are."

    (Attributed to St. Augustine of Hippo.)

  21. I just had to say this after reading yet another post from your Dad.

    Wordpress is a free blogging platform, and it allows you to block certain IP's from visiting your blog should you so desire.

    I think there should also be a way to do it from blogger as well. A quick google search should yield results.

    You put new wine in new wineskins, not old ones. Your new life needs new voices, new scripts to run through your head, not the old negative ones.

  22. For releasing anger, I have to do something physical, preferably outside in nature. Ride a bike, walk, go shopping, clean, garden, shovel snow, anything like that. I personally don't do well with writing or such when I am in the midst of the anger. Doing the physical activity helps me get my brain back together, for those anger hormones to subside and for me to be able to think logically about the situation. Then I go to the person I'm angry with. If it is not a person I'm angry with but a situation or something else, I pray or write about it.

    Ruth, as you go through this healing process, you are going to experience a ton of emotions. It will be scary because they are emotions you were not allowed to have, let alone show. So they will also be magnified a lot. That will not always be the case though, so have faith! In order to learn how to deal with them properly, you have to experience them and that whole process was taken away from you as a child.


  23. "The door could never be locked and you couldn't spend more than two minutes in the bathrooom for urinating or defecating."

    What if you had a really big, um er load? I'm not trying to be sarcastic, but that DOES happen a lot. What would the poor child do?

  24. The idea of ordering your children to stand duty as a masturbation guard in order to save them from sexual perversion is just too backwards and bizarre to wrap my head around.

  25. Ruth, I haven't posted here before, but I've been reading your blog over the last few days. I just have a couple things to say

    1) Lady, you are AMAZING, and I admire your spirit and strength so much.

    2) I don't know how you feel about swearing, but listening to a great song Martha Wainwright wrote about her dad called "Bloody motherfucking asshole" might help you release a bit of anger!

  26. Do you have a park nearby? I find walking helps me. Plus if it is a nice day, in addition to releasing the anger you get exercise and a chance to enjoy the scenery.

    As for the rule about only getting 2 minutes to answer nature's can't always get it all done in that time frame. Occasionally there is some "stuff" that kinda stubborn and you kinda need to...hold your breath and push, then do some grunting and well you know. Does your dad ever wonder why so many people take the newspaper or a book in the bathroom? I keep a supply of reading material in there!

  27. God help the poor child who had food poisoning or the stomach flu! Or, for that matter, any girl with a heavy period. And if the door wasn't locked, don't you run the risk of having someone barge in on you, because it seems to me that would be highly immodest and potentially "defrauding" if there were any houseguests.

    Here's the thing: anger is not inherently bad. Nor is it inherently selfish. Even Jesus became angry -- remember when he drove the merchants out of the temple? You have perfectly valid reasons to be angry. You spent many years in bad situations. It will (unfortunately) take time to work through it.

    Exercise and physical activities, painting/drawing/writing and other creative activities. Screaming into a pillow for a few minutes straight is sometimes the only way I can get my head on straight again.

    And yes, there is masturbation . . . there was one time I was absolutely furious with someone I couldn't express my anger to (a professor; long story short, he and I held polar opposite philosophies), I visualized the anger only -- the anger building up and up and then, err, releasing, and afterwards was a lot more at peace. More info than you needed to know but just throwing it out there.

    -- tatortotcassie

  28. Forgiveness is great if that works for the person, but forgiveness is not necessary in order to heal.
    After 17 years of sexual and physical abuse by my step-father and others, and years of neglect and emotional abuse from my mom I still have not forgiven them, never will. B I'm a emotionally healthy person because I believe in myself and I know I had no responsibility for their actions.
    You have a right to be angry and I know thats hard to admit. I used to go the recyling place and throw glass at a wall. Great release!

  29. Wow Ruth......I am just floored. What would possess a person to TIME someone in the restroom?!

    As far as channeling anger goes, I like to do something constructive. I like to scrapbook/make cards OR exercise. Getting your blood pumping is a great way to naturally elevate your mood. Ruth you have every right to be angry, if you weren't I would be worried about you, and your emotional health. Thanks for writing.

  30. If I grew up in your dad's house, I would have exploded. There is no way I could get 'er done in 2 minutes!!!

    OK, anger? I agree with many above. Give me a can of Comet! My college roommate described our bathroom as hospital sanitary--and the best part is, when your anger is gone, your toilet *sparkles*!!!

    My hubby has taught me just to be honest, though. Sometimes I have to say the stupidest things, but it's better to just get it off my chest and get it out of me. (But I make sure to not hurt someone I don't want to hurt--if I'm mad at another person, I tell him or a girlfriend.) I tend to bottle otherwise, and it just hurts me. That's not fair.

    Find your thing--you will if you keep looking. There are many healthy ways to take care of anger, and you have every right to be angry. I find it comforting that Jesus got ticked off and overturned tables in the temple--it makes me feel better when I get mad and throw a magazine on the floor or something. If he was unable to control his anger 100% of the time, how could he not forgive me for the same? ;-)

    Have you ever thought of signing up for a kickboxing class?

  31. PS, the Amazon ad at the top of the page is selling a pink baby onesie with "My Dad's a Geek" on it. Bwahahahahahaha!!! That oughta irk him!

  32. How early were you hearing all the talk about not "defrauding" men or boys? Because the normal, sane way to deal with the topic of sex around small children is to answer the kids' questions briefly if and when they have any and save the details for later, ideally right before puberty. Talking about sex obsessively from the preschool years on is so creepy and weird.

  33. Sounds to me like a whole lot of people in this ATI/Bill Gothard CULT, cover up serious mental issues, hang-ups, perversions, deviant tendences and fetishes with the cloak of "religion." In normal society, abiding by civil law, some of these nutjobs would find themselves in jail, but not these folks. They have their own morality and/or "justice" system. Yee Haw!

    Accusing little girls of "defrauding" boys or grown men sounds to me like full-on pedophilia. How nice it is to blame the victim instead of taking responsibility for some mental illness.

    Denying people the right to satisfy biological urges such as using the bathroom speaks of more mental illness.

    Sounds to me like Bill Gothard and his devotees are really twisted sisters. Their ex-devotee/followers should slap a nice class action suit against him and his organization for the various abuses committed against them following his teachings/methods. His organization has nice deep pockets and I'm sure that there are lawyers licking at the chops to take on such a class action suit.

    How do you handle anger? By getting even, by refusing to be a victim any longer. You want to affect someone/affect change? Affect them where it counts: affect their pocketbook. You'll see how fast Billy retracts/amends his know-it-all teachings. Sounds to me like a lot of innocent people have been deeply affected by his teachings. The jury would eat up such stories as the victims of his teachings undoubtedly have (especially the ones that were terrorized as children). Think about it. Get angry, then kick butt.

    Hope that you're feeling better.

  34. There is nothing wrong with anger, Ruth. You had a stunted and deformed childhood. You have every right to be full of rage. When I am angry over what happened to me as a child, I go for a walk and have a one on one bitch session with the Creator. I rage long and hard, and I don't care who sees me. Sometimes you will just have to experiment with anger solutions until you find the right fit. You are a wonderful woman, Ruth.

    Rage on, sister!! Ivy26

  35. "Talking about sex obsessively from preschool years on is so creepy and weird." I agree 100%. It's because this cult apparently has some real sexual perverts within it's flock. They call it defrauding, the legal system calls it pedophilia. Some of these people belong in jail where fellow prisoners can teach them about "defrauding" on a daily basis.

    Message to Ruth's father and the rest of the bonafied nutjobs: when this is all done, I hope a nice, long legal investigation ensues.

    I sincerely hope that a lot more victims terrorized by this "religious" system come forward and put together a nice, tidy lawsuit, which will effectively wipe out the $60+ million of ATI/Gothard assets; all blood money built on the backs and minds of innocent children who were abused and terrorized by these "teachings."

  36. I mean, when I worked as a full-time babysitter the families were already talking about sex with their small kids: they were reminding their kids that you don't touch anyone in ways they don't like, and that if someone touches you in ways that make you feel creepy or are private you tell an adult and the adult will protect you. They were teaching their kids that you don't grab your crotch in public, because that's personal, and you don't put your skirt over your head in public, because that's private and not anyone else's business but your own.

    I just think about how different this was (and this was a fairly vigilant mainstream-protestant family) from the ongoing message that your sexual parts are everyone's business, and that if you make an adult feel funny in their stomach then they tell someone so that you can be punished. It's just - very strange. Modesty is supposed to contain some right of privacy, to me; it's supposed to be a form of keeping some things your own business. Not, say, your parents', but your own.

    As far as anger - I really survived adolescence emotionally because of martial arts, which also helped me become more assertive at my own pace, and taught me physical self-defense as well. I also painted and drew - I'm not any good, it's just a way of getting feeling out. I used brown paper grocery bags cut open and those $1 craft paints in tubes, squirted on a yogurt lid. I am glad you are getting help and therapy.

  37. Anger --

    What really helped me (and a friend) with anger and depression was the Japanese martial art Aikido.

    1) Exercise is good.
    2) It's impossible to think of anything else whilst on the mat.
    3) At least where we train, and at all the places I've visited around America, it's very much female-friendly. It relies more on redirecting an opponent's force than muscling over them.
    4) Although occasionally, we get to whack things with swords :D

    Not saying that you should choose this specific art, but something similar could be a really good idea.

  38. Go to the thrift store and buy as many 10 cent plates as you can afford. Find a safe place (where no one will get hurt) to go and hurl these plates against a wall. For many years I kept a stock of these to use as therapy for myself and hurting people.

    Only one person ever made use of this, but it was so theraputic that I had given myself and others permission to get angry and permission to express it physically. So good.

  39. PS. I have found household hand held phones to work really, really well, too. They smash and break apart beautifully against a bedroom wall. Though you need to think ahead, plan it out and be prepared to replace said phone. But being able to actually see your pain expressed can be so healthy.

  40. Ruth, anger is a normal emotion. It's what you DO with the anger that leads to sin or not sin. JESUS WAS ANGRY when He drove the moneychangers out of the temple --- yet He did not sin. He took action to correct the wickedness that roused His anger.

    I'm working through emotional issues from an abusive marriage, and there are days when I just feel overwhelmed by rage. I know how that degree of anger can be terrifying when you find it within yourself.

    For me, the martial arts has given me a focus for disseminating the rage. I have a very good, understanding sensei, who helps me accomodate the limitations of my body, as well as the limitations that my fears and insecurities trigger. I don't know where you live, so here's the link to his website ( Our style is primarily taekwondo at the lower levels, but incorporates shotokan karate, aikido, kenpo, jiu-jitsu, and several other styles as you move up through the ranks. Anyway, if you e-mail Mr. Blackstone and tell him you are Wendy's friend, he may be able to recommend a good Sensei in your area. Or tell you what to look for in a dojo and sensei.

    The BEST thing that karate has done for me is teach me to control my power to achieve a goal. Board-breaking is now my number one way to kill anger. When I'm having a rough day, I go to my board-breaking setup and smash a few boards. It focuses the anger and helps me work out the frustration.

    If you want more info, just e-mail me.

    As for the bathroom and shower thing, it sound to me like "Someone" in your family has a serious problem with lust --- to put it baldly, only a complete pervert would have sex on the brain so much as the leader of your family apparently did.

    Titus 1:15-16 says, "To the pure, all things are pure, but to the corrupt, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him. They are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for doing anything good."

    ANYONE who could think that a little kid using the toilet or taking a shower might be routinely engaging in "impure" behaviour is corrupt to the nth degree.

  41. You should check to see if the statutes of limitations have expired or if you can still press charges against your parents for the abuse you have endured at their hands.

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  46. I hate it when people who have not been through ATI preach at those who have that they should forgive.

    No, we dont need to forgive.
    We dont need to be told to forgive.

    We need you to STFU and realize that we are dealing with shit the best we can.
    We have had forgiveness and meekness and Jesus' sacrifice crammed down our throats until we could (and maybe) have vomited.

  47. "I hate it when people who have not been through ATI preach at those who have that they should forgive.: You said it all there, sister, and I've never even been through ATI/Bill Gothard hell on earth. Sure, I grew up in a legalistic type religion, but a lot of the dysfunction came through just dysfunctional family members with the SDA religion being the cherry on top. Sorry, I regress, this is Ruth's blog, not mine; just saying that I hear you completely. :)

    I will say what I think about Christian fundamentalists "fake sweet", "never mad", "servant's heart" demeanor. It's total B.S. I've posted with a host of passive/aggressive fundie women in my posting days on large family boards. There are some REAL winners on there, women who could chew you up and down, spit nails, and then sign off with "God Bless you" and/or "Blessings." Like I said, a lot of fake forgiveness, meekness, and fake sweetness. Some of those women need to get good and angry and finally face their demons. Trust me, they have them. Their demeanor is but another illusion, kind of like the sham of a life, they are living. Sad, profoundly sad.

  48. Okay, I WAS in ATI and IBLP. I DID and DO suffer for the false teaching ... the LIES ... that damaged my life. I KNOW what it means to live in slavery to a person who acts like he's God and you are his subject.

    BUT YOU STILL HAVE TO FORGIVE. What you have to realize is that the church's teaching on forgiveness is, unfortunately, just as unBiblical as their teaching on marriage.

    Forgiveness does NOT mean forgetting or letting them off from the consequences of their actions. It means letting go of the need to be the one who makes them suffer for their wrongdoing. It means I turn them over to whoever is in control, and let that person deal with them. As for me, I stop investing my emotional well-being in the person who hurt me.

    To refuse to forgive is like drinking Drano and hoping the person who hurt you dies from it. Not gonna happen. You'll burn your own guts out and die. And the offender will go blithely on their way.

    To forgive is to put down the poison and walk away. Holding on to anger, bitterness, and bad feelings damages YOU, not the person who hurt you. If you want justice done to the person who hurt you, turn them over to God (or the police) and step out of the way.

    Suppose you are a battered wife who calls the police when your husband attacks you. When the police come, you keep getting between them and your husband, telling the cops all the terrible things your husband has done to you. The cops can't arrest the man and get him out of your life because you won't let them. At the same time you're telling them you want him gone, you're keeping them from getting to him. And if you are the one between the cops and the bad guy, guess who's gonna get hurt when they pull out the pepper spray and the taser?

    But if the battered wife lets the cops in the house and stands back, they will take the wicked husband to jail and make it possible for her to escape him. And if they have to pull out their tasers, it's him, not her, that gets the jolt.

    I KNOW forgiveness is hard. I KNOW it's gut-wrenching when you think "he's gonna get off scot free" ... but the fact is that until you get up out of God's face and let Him act, nothing can be done about the bad situation.

    Forgiveness is getting out of God's way and letting Him work. It's not about forgetting, or excusing people from punishment. It's about setting yourself free from emotional slavery to a jerk. (And, quite frankly, it's been quite fun to watch God work as I get out of His way. He is SO much better at punishing wrong than I am!)

  49. @EDavis, there are a handful of places around that let you throw stuff at a wall for a business! You can buy plates, and vases and all sorts of stuff and hurl them at a brick wall. I think it's a wonderful idea, because sometimes you get so angry you just want to break stuff...

    Anyways, I blog. Bitch blogs are a great way to vent. I do make them private since it's more important to me to get the anger out then have someone else read them.

    I also exercise. Running on the treadmill, or using the elliptical for a 30-60 minutes helps a lot. Plus it releases endorphins like others have said.

    And about the post before this (re: depression). Sometimes a good chocolate dessert will help (a goooood one, I'm not talking about a run-of-the-mill chocolate cake....more like Chocolate Budini). Chocolate releases serotonin which makes you feel a bit better....combine chocolate with exercise to get endorphins + serotonin, and it can help lift spirits!

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  53. Ruth get a large bowl of ice. Or buy a bag if you don't have access to ice. Take it outside to the parking lot or sidewalk and throw the ice as hard as you can. Any ice that doesn't break, stomp on it. You release a lot of anger this way without hurting anyone with flying plate peices. Plus the sound of the ice breaking is very satisfying.

  54. ps... Don't be suprised if other people join you.

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  56. Ruth,
    See if you can get Harris to play catch with you. I am sure someone has a baseball or softball in your dorm and a baseball glove. Just go out and pitch to him. Imagine you are hitting your dad right between the eyes when you are pitching.

    Remember, we are here to support you!

  57. I don't necessarily recommend this, but I
    1) cut my father out of my life
    2) got in a relationship with someone I trusted who was really comfortable expressing his anger, and proceeded to fight like cats and dogs. The relationship took a lot of energy and eventually fell apart but it was really good for me.

    I think my little brother did this on a smaller scale; since he was at home 4 more years after my dad left, he & my mom got to the point where they could have an argument that escalated to shouting and then apologize and get over it.

    I have watched friends get over this kind of deep-seated anger with a combination of finding healthy outlets for it (sports, like people mentioned; writing, therapy, art; acting; building things) and regular practice of assertiveness. Defending your boundaries in stuff as simple as "No thank you, I don't like that restaurant" or "Please don't say that to me, it hurts my feelings" is a way to redress the wrongs done to you, indirectly, and it seems like it does defuse the anger.

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  59. Hey Jennifer (and Wendy) maybe you need to learn a thing or two about Boundaries yourselves! Like, there's a time to talk and a time to STFU, yanno?

    Back off and stop insisting that you speak for God yourselves. What works FOR YOU isn't what works for all of us abused ex-Quiverfull daughters, and we don't all believe in YOUR deities any more, either. So shoving that preachiness down Ruth's throat won't necessarily make her feel any better when she's depressed. But then, with the boundary issues, and the Religion as Feelgoodism, it's all about making YOU feel better about YOU, isn't it?

    -ex-QF YEARS before it was fashionable

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  61. Hi Ruth, how you going? I am glad to see your anger. I welcome it, and I bless it. Just before the 'do not let the son go down' bit, there's an important bit that says, "Be angry (just don't let your anger cause you to hurt someone - including yourself)." So the Bible advises us to actually just be angry. I think the 'sun go down' bit means, "just don't let it go on and on and eat you alive'. But in fundy circles where the anger of women in particular is not acceptable, there's a lot of emphasis on the latter and a skating over the the former: 'be angry'. I feel very angry about the legalistic bondage that the Pearl/Gothard/Botkin/QF/Pride/Balizet/Ezzo cartel have wreaked, the dysfunction it has caused and the dysfunction it has enabled. I feel very angry (and grieved) just reading your story. I think that God must be much much more angry about what happened to you, his precious child, much angrier than me and even more than you. These Pharisees will one day have to look Jesus in the eye and see how he really feels about the way you have been treated. We already have a clue from the Gospels of how Jesus feels about toxic legalism and religious bondage. We have a clue in Ezekiel on how angry the Lord God feels about shepherds who abuse his precious lambs. I think it very timely and healthy that your anger has shown up and that you have ways and means to honour it and let it 'breathe'. We have all these methods to deal with anger and 'manage' it but there's also something to be said for simply *being* angry. I find that to be with a loved one who is angry and not get defensive, but simply sit *with* them and let them *be* angry is such a gift. So many of us have terrible experiences with anger leading to abuse, or our own anger being *not allowed* that healthy anger makes us extremely anxious. But to be comfortable with your own anger, and with the anger of another, is a powerful thing that can be very healing. When those angry feeling rise up, *notice* the anger and validate it. "I am feeling very very angry right now. I have reason to be angry. I am uncomfortable with this anger. Yet, this anger needs to be heard. I allow this anger. I am angry because ... I am angry because ... When ....., I feel angry because ...."

  62. Anonymous, you have my empathy. I hear you. Wendy, I get where you're coming from. But when I saw your instruction to forgive in capital letters, I cringed. It kind of comes across in that heavy, directive, patriarchal voice that many of us have had far too much of. I relate to anonymous, about having over-kill in being "told" what to do. We've had so much of that, that every normal, natural and spontaneous response was squashed out of us by authoritative voices telling us we HAVE to do this or that. You probably meant it caringly and passionately, but I felt myself react against the directive tone. I have been disillusioned by 'counsellors' who could not seem to validate by hurt or my anger but moved straight on to "FORGIVE". Not because of any possible blow to my ego, but because in my instinct I just knew that the pain must be bourne and the anger must be given safe passage before the miracle of forgiveness can occur. The heart so wants to forgive, and so many people mired in "unforgiveness" have been trapped there because they met a wall of do-good judgement instead of the powerful healing dynamic of VALIDATION. i have seen really hard nuts crack just from the miracle of being truly present to their pain, truly listening from the heart, and validating their hurt, and their anger. I suggest now is the time for that, and in due time, I think we will see the beauty and the miracle of forgiveness - releasing that debt - walking free - unfold. At the right time for Ruth. Not on anyone else's timetable. You're not *wrong* but perhaps this particular post, in which Ruth is making fine progress by acknowledging her understandable anger, is no the one to bring up the step of forgiveness.

    " ... women who could chew you up and down, spit nails, and then sign off with "God Bless you" and/or "Blessings." Like I said, a lot of fake forgiveness, meekness, and fake sweetness. Some of those women need to get good and angry and finally face their demons. Trust me, they have them. Their demeanor is but another illusion, kind of like the sham of a life, they are living. Sad, profoundly sad."

    Oh yes - I know what you mean ... oh that passive aggression, and the terrible anger tha was never allowed to be expressed honestly. It was seeing this that helped me realise, I need to be angry, really do anger, and do it well, and do it in a way that is authentic and not sugar coated, even if it is scary and ugly at times.

  63. I think that even if the ATI/BG//QF things were bona fide to begin with, their biggest danger lies in their attraction to NUTTERS who use the ideologies to cover for their abuse. I am sure a real twisted person would find excuses for his/her behaviour in any ideology though.

  64. Titus 1:15-16 says, "To the pure, all things are pure, but to the corrupt, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him. They are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for doing anything good."

    Haha! Love it! It fits Gothardites/sex-obsessed fundies so well! I'm gonna start referring to Ruth's troll as Titus11516! =D

  65. Jennifer, you may not realize it, but you are triggering a lot of people's rage and pain with your religious terminology. >:[

    Try writing out your opinions in a word doc first and then cross out all the religious words and replace them with something else. That is, if you are still going to talk/write to people who have been spiritually/emotionally/physically/sexually abused by fundamentalist religionists.

    The first reaction in fundamental circles to someone talking about abuse is denial. This is so painful to the victim.

    Fro those who persist in speaking truth, the next painful thing is to try to shut them up by throwing the word "forgive" in their face.

    "Forgive" is just another way to say "be quiet, don't make waves, and by the way, we are putting all the responsibility back on you for everything. It's sick and it's twisted and it's cruel to respond to a victim of abuse by telling them to forgive.

    No! No! No! Just and righteous people should respond to victims of abuse with indignation, a desire to protect the innocent, bring the perpetrator to justice, true compassion and concern for restoration and healing for the broken-hearted and abused.

    Personally I see NO PROOF that Ruth is not "forgiving"!!!! You are accusing her of the grave fundie sin of unforgiveness by telling her she needs to forgive. What proof do you have that Ruth is holding a grudge? I see none. When she writes of her family, she writes dispassionately. There are no insulting nick-names or expressions of ill will towards those who harmed her anywhere. She's not seeking revenge. She has kept herself and her family anonymous all along. As far as I can tell, she has not sought restitution in a court of law or in her family's social circles.

    So why are you beating on her with the fundie accusation that she is unforgiving?

    Do you see why people think you are cruel in offering your advice on this matter? It's like you are saying she is committing a crime against God by talking about the abuse and telling the truth about her life.
    That's why you are receiving angry comments about your post. Just wanted to clear up any confusion on your part.

    I hope you didn't mean it personal. I hope you are just repeating what others told you in your time of pain and anger.

    But if you don't want to get flamed, keep your fundamentalist trigger words under wraps, and check your self. Make sure that what you are expressing is support, and not telling anyone what to do.

    Most people reading here have had enough of those two thing to last a lifetime.

  66. Well said, shadowspring.

  67. yes shadowspring, the word "forgive" is one that I can't 'forgive'. I can't use it in the dispassionate and nice way some here insist on, and I mean insist, complete with internet yelling and religious rhetoric. Please drop it. You can talk about the benefits of letting go and moving on without returning to the vocabulary that was *part and parcel of the abuse.*

    Insisting on that specific vocabulary is controlling and not conducive to helping *anything.* You can't insist that everyone else redefine the words they got hit with in order to use them "nicely," some words, by some people, SHOULD remain off limits. You're jumping on LOTS of people's triggers here, and when you're asked to stop, jump a bit more.

  68. "letting go and moving on"- yep, yep.

    But even that is all in due time. A person can't let go and move on until they have fully dealt with all the trauma and repressed emotions that went with it.

    Telling people to move on before their ready is, in my mind, rude at best and possibly even abusive itself.

    God help me from ever doing that to anyone, please! I hated it when it was done to me. It did me no good, only loaded me down with MORE false guilt. XP

  69. "Suppose you are a battered wife who calls the police when your husband attacks you. When the police come, you keep getting between them and your husband, telling the cops all the terrible things your husband has done to you. The cops can't arrest the man and get him out of your life because you won't let them. At the same time you're telling them you want him gone, you're keeping them from getting to him. And if you are the one between the cops and the bad guy, guess who's gonna get hurt when they pull out the pepper spray and the taser?

    But if the battered wife lets the cops in the house and stands back, they will take the wicked husband to jail and make it possible for her to escape him. And if they have to pull out their tasers, it's him, not her, that gets the jolt."


    This is the craziest analogy I ever read! And I am not young!

    ROFLOL They send out cops in pairs. One takes the victims statement while the other arrests the criminal. Describing in detail the nature of the crimes against you is in no way going to delay justice.

    I hope no battered women read this. There will be even more triggered flames blasting across cyberspace. Yikes!

  70. The bathroom scheduling bothers me for medical reasons. 1. Restricting access to the bathroom can cause constipation. 2. Restricting can cause UTI's. 3. The bladder can stretch, causing outpouchings where urine can collect and cause all sorts of problems. 4. The constipation issues can also become chronic.

    This just makes my blood boil!!! Does no one in ATI THINK? Ever?

    I would also vote for the exercise ideas for anger/aggression because it's a healthy outlet physically AND mentally.

    Are you artistic? Drawing, painting, or writing fiction?

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  72. Jennifer, I did read all the posts and I think people are reacting not to the specific content of what you're saying but to your whole attitude that you know the One True Way to heal from fundamentalist abuse. There's irony for you.

    I think everyone is open to hearing how you found your own path,(maybe you should start your own blog?) but not to lecture about what is the RIGHT way to get free from the belief that there is ONE RIGHT WAY to live.

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  74. I hope you mean that insisting on your rightness is not "worth it" anymore, not that people who don't follow your paradigm aren't "worth it". :)

  75. The bathroom scheduling seems just another sick twisted way of controlling and suppressing children's natural selfhood. Appalling mind games. Having autonomy over your body and being able to 'hear' your body's cues are important for having physical boundaries later, such as when you give birth. And when you have sex. Honouring your body's messages. Knowing no one else e.g. no obstetrician, midwife or doula etc) has the right to assume more knowledge of your body than YOU do (I am a doula, I see this going on in hospitals). Also it is pretty sick that this psycho doctrine has parents so *involved* in their children's sexuality. That gives me the creeps. Talk about bull-dozing normal physical and mental boundaries. Yes, Ruth, you have plenty of reasons to feel understandably angry. One of the jobs of anger is to prompt us to take action when our boundaries are being violated, and to do whatever we need to remove oursleves from the threat, then build effective boundaries. Premature emphasis on 'forgiveness' can blur this and prevent this vital step for safety, health and healing. - SF

  76. I apologize for coming across as dictatorial or patriarchal in my response on forgiveness. That was not my intent, and I am sorry that my words and my emphasis caused anyone to feel preached at or tyrannized. I ask forgiveness from those whom I hurt with my words.

    I understand that one must come to a place where they can forgive. That it is a long journey full of pain, anger, yearning for revenge, needing justice, and many other difficult emotions. Forgiveness cannot be manufactured, demanded, or put on a schedule. It happens when it happens ... when the injured person has had time to work out the pain and come to peace.

    And I would never want anyone to think that they need to rush the process. I know, from personal experience, that it takes time, lots and lots of time, to come to peace with abuse. Especially spiritual abuse.

    I also apologize for my very flawed analogy involving a battered wife and the police. Obviously, I didn't communicate what I was trying to say very well at all.

    Anonoymous 3/19 3:24, I especially apologize to your for hurting you with my post. I don't know another word than "forgive," so I ask if you can forgive me? I did not intend to sound as if I was speaking for God, nor did I want to violate your boundaries. You are probably right when you say that I should have just shut up. Please know that I would not want to minimize or invalidate your pain --- I am horrified by the abuses that I have seen, heard about, and been subjected to by patriarchalists and QFs. I heard the pain and the anger in your posts, and hoped that my own experience could help. I was wrong. I am sorry.

  77. Wendy, why are YOU apologizing to a person who was completely offensive, antagonistic, rude and disrespectful towards you. They swore, told you to STFU, called what you said BS, and insulted your analogy in a most offensive and disgustingly arrogant manner. These actions towards a person who has been involved in the same heinous abuse as Ruth, is completely unacceptable.

    Disagreeing is one thing, but it should be done with the respect that should be given towards any human being, NOT just the ones with whom you are in agreement (yes, I'm talking to you anonymous and shadowspring.) In any terms, what you engaged in on this board in regards to my and Wendy's opinion, is called verbal abuse.

    Shame on you both.

  78. And another thing while I'm angry enough to say it (or is that not allowed because I'm religious? Sorry. No passive agressive crap with me people, I took that from my husband for too long. I don't lick boots either.), why don't you look up Forgiveness Therapy on google. It's a well-respected therapy within psychology circles. Many who use it and recommend it are ATHEISTS. For me, and obviously Wendy, it just so happens that it jives with what scripture says.

    Maybe if non-religious people recommend it, you might be more prone to listen. But why do I doubt that.

  79. Jennifer,

    Simply saying "I forgive you" isn't actual forgiveness. Acting as though something doesn't hurt you when it really does makes the problem worse. In order for real, true, honest forgiveness to occur, a person has to be able to work through their feelings, get the hurt out, and actually be able to move on.

    Now, I missed out on alot of your comments because they were deleted, but judging from your tone in the last comment you made, you need to go back and do a little Bible reading of your own. Jesus wasn't just about forgiveness, he was also about love and compassion for your fellow man. For sheltering and caring for the weak and broken. For helping them, not just whitewashing over their injuries. If you want to be a true Christian, be Christ-like and support Ruth in her time of need. Stop scorning her and acting as though she's the one who did something wrong. Stop preaching at her and ordering what you feel she MUST do. Be kind, show love, and be like Jesus.

    And if you can't to that, then by all means, shut the FUCK UP.

  80. Val, your first paragraph was exactly what I said in my deleted posts, and what both Wendy and I have been visciously attacked for. We said that forgiveness was about understanding the abuse and working through the anger you feel until you could release a person from the debt they owe you. Releasing that person avoids festering bitterness in our own hearts. It doesn't condone or absolve the offender.

    Neither of us EVER scorned Ruth, or implied that she had done anything wrong. We did not preach, but passed on the benefit of our experience as women WHO HAD ALSO BEEN SUBJECTED TO RELIGIOUS ABUSE, and who had come out the other side with our faith intact. If having your faith intact after being abused is a crime, then I suppose we are guilty of that, but certainly not of any of the other nasty accusations we have received.

    And as for "my tone", it was showing anger. As you have all been saying, that isn't wrong (except for me, apparently). Being attacked for recommending a valid psychological therapy that has worked in my life just because I also mentioned my faith is not a crime, but it is a reason to get angry. The verbal abuse we've received (including your STFU) is intolerable.

    I deleted my former comments so that abuse would stop, and because what could have been a valid debate had been reduced to foul language and bad-mouthing attacks, but when I saw Wendy apologizing for being attacked by certain people (might I also remind you again that she was formerly abused within the ATI community JUST LIKE RUTH?), I was so incredibly angry, I had to speak up. I was indirectly accused of passive-aggressiveness, hence that comment. I was subject to that particular abuse for 20 years IN A RELIGIOUS SETTING, so I would hardly stoop to using it. Instead, I let fly with a little anger of my own.

    In none of her posts has Ruth ever said definitively that she had given up her faith, only that she struggled to understand it. So Wendy and I addressing her in terms of faith (which you and many others have done in your posts, and for which you were never attacked) is hardly surprising. Considering her family background, it's only fair to assume that this blog would attract those who have a faith.

    So how long will this go on? Can any of you actually address Forgiveness Therapy without visciously attacking the messengers? Can any of you post without resorting to foul language or double standards? Obviously Forgiveness Therapy is pressing buttons, but can you maturely explore those buttons without all the verbal abuse and insults.

    Let's try.

  81. I think, throwing caution to the wind and my reputation probably down the toilet, I'm going to address another matter AS A FORMERLY ABUSED WIFE AND DAUGHTER (not yelling, just emphasizing).

    From Val's post and implied in the tone of many others, is that Ruth is somehow in need of our protection; that she is "weak and broken". She is not. She is quite obviously an amazingly strong and capable woman as many of us have stated. She left her home, sought shelter, is seeking counsel, and publicly dealing with her former abuse. That takes a strong, independant mind. She didn't need to be protected from my or Wendy's opinion on the subject of forgiveness. She IS capable of reading through those posts and making up her own mind, and even commenting on them if she wishes.

    One of the hallmarks of abuse and codependancy (yes, I will remind you again that I was in this position for many, many years) is that one of the people in the relationship is considered and told in many ways that they are helpless, or weak, or not capable of standing on their own two feet. When somebody wants to protect and rescue somebody who IS capable of standing on their own two feet (as Ruth obviously is), it is a degrading act. It is giving them the message that they aren't able to fend for themselves. Ruth doesn't need any of us to recover from her past and stand on her own two feet. She needs us to stand WITH her, not FOR her, or on her behalf.

    I believe that you were trying to protect Ruth from any possible hurt. But she doesn't need it. She is an intelligent woman who is quite capable of processing through any information on this board of her own accord. I regret now that I deleted those posts. They had a lot of good information in them.

  82. Newsflash, Jennifer: You can be strong and weak at the same time. I'm strong. I grew up in an environment of serious abuses. Physical, emotional, and sexual, and I have a mother who still thinks that she deserves some kind of award for her parenting skills. I was literally tortured daily from the ages of 9 until I got too old for my stepfather's tastes. I left home when I was 17. I was involved in a string of abusive relationships but finally managed to break the cycle, even though it meant living on the streets in an alley for almost 6 months. I'm not broken down. My spirit is strong. I am intelligent, funny, worthwhile and capable. BUT. All it takes is an angry man with his voice raised to make me quake and cry inside.

    Outwardly, I can do anything I want, anything I set my mind to. But the inside me is so fraught with doubts and confusion and anxiety that I have to labor every single day to remain normal. And if someone who was supposed to be a friendly voice came at me, ordering me to FORGIVE!!! FORGIVE OR BE DAMNED TO HELLLL!!!!! I wouldn't have a good reaction.

    Just because a person has the strength and capability to do something as huge as leave everything they know and love to escape the cycle of abuse doesn't mean that their soul isn't hurting, that inside they aren't bruised, and that they don't still need love and unconditional support while they voice their doubts and work through their issues.

    You failed in that regard. Instead of showing Ruth the true face of Christ in your loving manner, you turned into her father. And you don't even have the grace to see what people are trying to draw your attention to and apologize. You're hiding behind your own pride and defending yourself and your actions.

    Speaking as a woman who has walked through fire, sometimes the burns are in places other people can't see. And if you're going to call yourself Ruth's supporter, then you need to BE supportive. Which you are not being. When she gets up the nerve to show the secret hurts, especially after saying that she's had a hard time putting them into words, it's not for you to verbally condemn her for not doing what you think she should do. That isn't standing WITH her. That's putting her in the place that YOU think she should be. A place that she isn't ready for.

    That doesn't make her helpless and weak, but she has made it clear through her mentions of struggling with depression, doubts, and religious insecurity that she still has some road to travel inside before she is what you're trying to force her to be. Cut it out already.


    Neither of us has said that on this board. It is remarkable though that everybody has said that. We didn't damn and blast like everyone suggests, we only shared what has worked for us in our own struggles and experiences.

    Again, forgiveness means acknowledging the other person's offense against you, working through the hurt, and then releasing them so that you can move on with your life. It doesn't mean absolving them, or condoning what they've done. And again it is a valid psychological theory, just google Forgiveness Therapy. (Anybody done that yet?).

    "My spirit is strong. I am intelligent, funny, worthwhile and capable. BUT. All it takes is an angry man with his voice raised to make me quake and cry inside."

    Me to. (((hugs))). All my ex has to do is look at me and smile, and I swear I could be instantaneously hospitalized for a major blood pressure attack. I can feel my heart leap into my throat, and my head pound. I know what scared and confused is. I allowed myself to be kept in that state for 20 years.

    "Just because a person has the strength and capability to do something as huge as leave everything they know and love to escape the cycle of abuse doesn't mean that their soul isn't hurting, that inside they aren't bruised, and that they don't still need love and unconditional support while they voice their doubts and work through their issues."

    How is suggesting a viable therapy that has worked for many people NOT supporting Ruth unconditionally? We didn't say, "Don't be angry," we said, "Use that anger for positive change rather than revenge." We didn't say, "you're a sinner if you don't forgive." We said that hanging on to anger out of bitterness and revenge is like drinking Drano and hoping the other person dies. We said that anger is good and has its rightful place, but that to live a life of anger towards another person is counter-productive and only harms yourself. Almost every therapist will tell you the same thing.


  84. This comment has been removed by the author.

  85. oops...I double posted that last bit originally. continue.

    "When she gets up the nerve to show the secret hurts, especially after saying that she's had a hard time putting them into words, it's not for you to verbally condemn her for not doing what you think she should do."

    Neither of us verbally condemned her, although both Wendy and I have been soundly slapped for what we said. Our opinions on this matter are as valid as anyone's, and at least we had the decency to state them without gross verbal abuse.

    "That doesn't make her helpless and weak, but she has made it clear through her mentions of struggling with depression, doubts, and religious insecurity that she still has some road to travel inside before she is what you're trying to force her to be."

    Forced? We merely mentioned what worked for us, and what many professional espouse. We didn't beat her up, hold a gun to her, or damn her.

    We both understand that the road needs to be travelled, and both of us said that. Forgiveness (releasing them emotionally so you can get on with your own life) was a goal we suggested as she works through her pain.

    "Cut it out already."

    No. I won't be bullied into retracting what I have said. I have explained my intentions, the theory and understanding I have of it, and my own experience with it until I'm blue in the face, but retract it, I will not. Forgiveness therapy still stands as a valid option.

    Val, my former posts have been deleted, and you are only basing your knowledge upon other's reactions which is hardly fair.

    Ruth, if you are still reading this, I hope you are taking it all with a grain of salt. You are strong, and intelligent, and I will just let it stand, and let you deal with it as you see fit. ((hugs)) In spite of what has been said about me, I do understand
    and support you as you walk through this time, and risking the wrath of those atheists amongst us, I'm praying for you!

  86. Wendy, it was big of you to apologize.

    I think highly of you for doing so. Well done. :)

  87. Jennifer, I think the way to be supportive is to give people the help they have asked for, and not unasked for advice. Giving unsolicited advice can come across as very controlling. I think to most of us, it's seems like a great thing to realize that it's OK to be angry in the face of injustice.
    Ruth asked for advice on how to channel that anger in appropriate ways. She didn't ask for advice on finding a new therapy that would help her get rid of the anger. Obviously she has a therapist that she feels is helping her.

  88. Water has done a lot to calm my anger. I used to be a very very angry person. I expect I'll always have to figure out ways to deal with it on a moment by moment basis but being near, on or in water always relaxes me.

  89. My friend is a courier in Toronto so he sees every kind of road rage and gets some if he gets cut off or ran off the street. The best way he calms down is if he can a quick ride through a park or something quieter and a lot calmer. Thank you for sharing your article and best of luck to you.


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