Saturday, March 13, 2010

Part 11 - Perfect Victim

Self Control vs. Self-indulgence
Instant obedience to the initial promptings of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:24–25) - Bill Gothard

The training started when I was just a toddler. I don't remember who introduced it or how it was introduced. I just remember that, at certain points in the day, one of my parents would have us line up in the family room and begin barking commands. "Ruth, go to the table and sit in the chair. Stand up. Sit down. Sit on the floor. Move the chair. Come stand by me." It was common for one or two of the commands to not make sense. "Ruth, pick up that magazine and move it into the bathroom, but don't put it on the counter. Put it in the shower." The goal was to get us not to question the command or the logic of the instruction - the goal was immediate and unquestioned obedience. My mother never asked us to do anything "wrong" but my father would introduce "challenges" (as he called them). "Ruth, hit your brother." This contradicted our household rules. However, if I did not walk over and tap my brother on the arm, I would have to sit in time out. I can't tell you how common this "game" is in QF/ATI families.

Another incident, that I've described before, happened when I was very small and was asked to take a diaper to the trash for my mother. I had a sensitive gag reflex as a kid. Smells or sights could make me vomit. My father saw this as a character flaw and lack of self-control, so he mandated that my mother find a way to break my sensitivity. This particular day, I gagged on the way to the garbage can and was punished severely. Part of that punishment involved two weeks of eating the same meal (a meal that had previously made me toss my cookies): liver and onions. I hated the texture and smell. Yet, every night, while the rest of the family enjoyed whatever my mom had prepared, I was presented with liver and onions. I sat in my chair for hours, until the meat had congealed and cooled, trying to force down smaller and smaller bites. If I didn't finish it, it was reheated and served for breakfast the next morning. When I finally managed to eat the meal without throwing up, I was given oatmeal dyed with food coloring or some other unappatizing or stinky menu option. In the end, I learned to disassociate from what I was eating and I got past my gag reflex. My dad claimed this as his victory.

My siblings and I became robots for Jesus and my father took all the credit. We were picture perfect children, on the surface. Beneath the surface, we all suffered from various forms of anxiety disorders. It's not surprising! Everything, and I mean everything, was a big deal. If, when we finished our dinner, we didn't place our forks precisely on our plates (with the tines at two o'clock and the handle at ten o'clock, horizontally), it was considered a lapse in self control. If we spoke an unkind word or raised an eyebrow, it was a lapse in self control. If we ran, rather than walked, to get to a toy... you get the general idea. You can't live with that level of perfection and come out without anxiety. For myself, it would prove to be a disaster. At eight years old, I would make a mental accounting of every flaw or imperfection in my behavior (over the course of the day) and I exacted an almost Catholic approach to repentence. I would force myself to say so many prayers, in a certain position, with hands folded precisely, with no words missed. If I missed one word or positioned myself wrong or had my thoughts drift, I would start all over. This often meant me praying for hours every night.

Another result of this "self control" or "discipline" was that I became unable to carry out certain tasks without express permission. I've heard people say, after they've been through boot camp, that they couldn't pee without being told they could. I was much the same way. With regard to personal actions, I wouldn't take care of my own needs without first fulfilling my obligation to others and getting permission to take care of myself. Because every command was supposed to be followed literally, I also became the perfect victim. This was dangerous.

One of my dad's "friends" was a pervert. Much later in his life, he was convicted of lude and lacivious behavior towards a minor. This didn't shock me because, one afternoon, when I was six, he attended our home church and the bbq that followed. I was inside the kitchen, gathering condiments on my mother's orders to take back outside. One of my younger brothers was with me, getting hamburger buns and putting them in a basket to take to the serving line. Directly off our kitchen was a small pantry. "Martin" followed me inside the house and engaged me in small talk. When there were no other adults present, he told my brother and I to go into the pantry. Once inside, he shut the door and told me to kiss my brother. I pecked him on the cheek without questioning the order or the reason for the order. Apparently, he didn't want to see a peck. He told my brother to open his mouth and told me to stick my tongue inside his mouth. I was nervous and felt awkward but I'm also ashamed to say that, after having been drilled into following orders even if they were morally questionable, I did exactly as instructed. I didn't even hesitate. This haunted me for years. How could I do such a thing without even pausing to consider that what we'd been instructed to do was wrong. I've said it before and I'll repeat it- this is why the obedience game is dangerous. It replaces your ability to reason or pause to consider if the request is reasonable or safe. That same afternoon, Martin told my father that I had defrauded his son by sitting on a fence.

As an adult who's been through hours of therapy, I now see how twisted this experience was. Here's a grown man ordering two children to tongue kiss while he watches, who then goes outside and suggests that a child is being sexually enticing (defrauding young boys) by sitting astride on a fence. It's terrible!

The worst tragedy is that I never told my parents about the pantry incident and I was punished for "defrauding" even though I was the victim. In this type of family, you do not "tattle", especially on adults. Adults are the authority figures, end of story. Unfortunately, looking back on it, I don't even know if telling would have resulted in a punishment for the man. I don't have any confidence in my father and I'm sure that he would've labeled me a liar. In fact, I suspect he'll call me a liar even today. Parents, when you're teaching your children obedience, make sure they understand that there are some orders that a child has a right to deny. Otherwise, you're creating the perfect victim.

103 comments:

  1. Wow Ruth, no wonder you had writer's block. I can't imagine how it must have been growing up like that.

    One question I'd love to hear the answer to - did you consider yourself 'happy' when you were growing up, before you became disillusioned?

    I wonder if/what your dad will post for this part of your story. Keep going though - I don't know how to express my admiration for how strong and level headed you sound.

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  2. wow... this is... just wow. i was raised to obey my parents but they never made us obey for the sake of obeying, (well i did get the "because i said so" bit but that's normal) my parents always explained why we were being punished and never took advantage of our obedience.

    this story just twisted my gut while i was reading it. i can't imagine living like that, and i'm sorry anyone has to put up with that complete lack of trust from their own parents.

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  3. My God, Ruth. This story of child sexual molestation and brainwashing is making me want to toss MY cookies, no liver&onions or dyed oatmeal needed! It is absolutely repulsive that adults would do such things to anyone, let alone innocent children. Period. That they would excuse such behavior with religion is even worse.

    but it does illustrate even more brilliantly how very courageous and strong you are to have broken free of this sick and abusive world.

    (As a side note, your "repetence and prayer" was even more strict than normal Catholicism calls for. I was brought up Catholic and I was NEVER asked to pray in a certain position in a certain way for hours on end and to start over if I made a mistake. Frankly, I think I'd prefer self-flagellation, which is no longer an acceptable practice per Rome. Congratulations -- ATI/Gothard can out-guilt the Catholics!)

    Rest assured, if your father does decry you as a liar no one here will believe him.

    --tatortotcassie

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  4. I'm sorry you had to live that. I hope that your father is gonna read that and believe you.

    I always wondered how this cult would consider rape. If the woman dresses modestly and does not act in a particular way would they consider a rape ? or do they always say that the girl acts lascivously, etc and so it's her fault ?

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  5. Ugh, that whole story makes me gag! I am not a picky eater, I am not, but I just cannott swallow mushrooms, even to this day. They literally make me gag. My parents accepted/understood this and did not make me eat them (esp. since they knew I wasn't a picky eater in general). Ugh. I'm sorry you had to go through this. The obedience game, I could have tolerated if it didn't include the "hit your brother" thing. BLECH. Talk about a mixed message!

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  6. Yes, I had an ATI mom tell me that it was their duty to break their children's will. All 11 of them. She was the sweetest person...you could eat her with a dessert spoon..but this I didn't understand. I argued the point with her but it was if she had been (and now I know she was) brainwashed.

    As to the sexual molestation, it happened to me twice as a child (not within a Christian context, but still friends of the family). The first time it happened, I was too scared to tell anyone. The second time it happened, I was very close to being raped and I told my mom. Guess what, Ruth. She didn't believe me. She phoned him and asked if he didn't, and when he said "of course not", she chose to believe him rather than me.

    So, you aren't the only one. (((hugs))) It hurts to have parents invalidate your experience and put other people/ideals ahead of their own child. When God describes adults hanging a millstone (read that as a great burden that could kill) around a little one's neck, it is these types of horrible experiences I believe He means.

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  8. I'm sorry you had to go thru that. The fact that you can see how "first time obedience" is so wrong is a testament to your maturity and clarity about your past. You are on the road to healing.
    Parents who are reading that are Gothardites or other "first time only obedience" please heed her warning. It will absolutely set your child up for becomming a victim of sexual abuse.

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  9. Anyone who doesn't want you to question what they say, whether they are trying to sell you a product or a worldview, does not have your best interests at heart.
    I also grew up in a strict home but my father always had a reason for his rules and told me what it was, but then he also taught me not to obey adults, including him, if they told me to do things I thought were wrong. What happened between Ruth and her brother is just disgusting, not because of what they did but because an adult told them to do it. Furthermore, there is only one word needed to describe a man who feels a six year old is defrauding him, pedophile. I hope your parents kept him far away from their children after that incident, although I highly doubt it given what I've heard so far.
    I've been thinking about this lately and I've decided that I feel sorry for Ruth's father. How sad it must be for him to live a life were everyone and everything outside of his narrow little world is evil. How pathetic it is that he feels so little self worth that he must have total authority over his wife and children, does he fear that if he treats them as equals he won't measure up? Speaking of measuring up, I've long held a rather Freudian theory about the kind of men who need to be "the patriarch".....which actually leads me into a question I've been wanting to ask Ruth for awhile now. What do ATI members think of psychology?

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  10. This entry makes me certain that there must be some "failure" in your parents' lives that makes them demand this level of perfection from you.

    Did you ever get the typical (IMO) ATI script that we are just doing this for your own good, to prevent you from the pain we had to endure?

    I will state that nothing surprises me in your post - I lived things much too similar under ATI - even blaming me for trying to destroy other's lives by stating the truth (not about an adult, but about a juvenile male who was inappropriate.) Each ATI situation is sooo vastly different, some (IMO) have been absolutely horrible.

    Thank you again for your blog. Your strength as a survivor comes in part from the miltary bootcamp that you endured as a toddler and young child, so remember to let yourself feel human - I found that one of the hardest things to do through my healing...

    ex- pilot ATI daughter (MA)

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  11. OMG! OMG! Oh Ruth, I feel so badly for you. That was disgusting. I truly feel sick.

    As Anon 2:49 said, no wonder you had writer's block. YOu are so brave, Ruth. I hope that getting those episodes written has helped in some measure in your road to victory.

    Know we are all cheering for you,Ruth.

    Jean

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  12. Oh my god. You poor thing, Ruth. I'm so sorry you went through this.

    I know that the Duggars do this obedience game. It's pretty twisted, and you're story explains why.

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  13. I was brought up Catholic and I was NEVER asked to pray in a certain position in a certain way for hours on end and to start over if I made a mistake.

    FYI, there are Catholics who do similar stuff -- there's a form of religious OCD called scrupulosity. It's not unique to Catholics (I read a book by a Jewish woman who suffered from it) but it was named and identified as a problem early on within Catholicism, and priests are (supposed to be) trained on how to counsel and help people who suffer from this particular problem.

    What's interesting (interestingly awful) is that Ruth's father more or less imposed scrupulosity on her, and that ATI doesn't just encourage but really seems to mandate this.

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  14. Wow what a part 11. All I can say is I agree with the other's you were given mixed messages from your parents. I consider myself VERY lucky to have the parents that I have!! I wish I could send them to you!!

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  15. I can see why you had writers block for this one. I can also see why your "father", and I use that term loosely in his case, is increasing his efforts to guilt you into shutting your blog down. He knows that the truth will make it clear to all that he really is a monster.

    The adult me wants to hug that little girl you were. It sounds hokey, but you, as well as all of the adults who were abused children, who have faced their past and have had to strive so hard for normality are my heroes.

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  16. My heart is breaking for you Ruth! You are so strong to have gotten out of this! I hope you can be an inspritation to other young people going through the same thing. Have you considered turning your experiences into a book? I know you write on the NLQ site and communicate with Ms Joyce. Since she's written a book, I'm sure you two have talked about it. You're really a good writer and your experiences are quite fascinating. I'd buy your memoir...maybe others would, too. You really should look into it.

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  17. I just found your blog recently, and all I can say right now, after reading Part 11, is I am amazed over your ability to NOT give everyone your father's name and let someone teach HIM a few lessons.

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  18. I think it's gross that little small girls were told so much about defrauding so young.

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  19. I have just spent the last 45 minutes reading your blog. I was homeschooled, but wasn't involved with ATI. You blog has the chance to help other young women who want "out" of the cult. Although there families wouldn't see it as a cult.

    I wrote a book "Emotional Purity". I was shocked when ATI bought four cases of it. I feel like an extreme liberal when it comes to their views...I hope others saw the freedom of saving your heart, not the laws.

    Thanks for your honesty!
    Heather

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  20. It becomes more and more obvious that your father is not just a religious zealot, but also mentally ill. Your mother was apparently not physically abused (although it would not surprise me, based on the information you provide), she certainly is(and no doubt still is) the victim of emotional, mental, financial and spiritual abuse. Her victimization has rendered her helpless.

    As others have already commented, you have been brave to share this with us. I hope with all my heart, that however difficult this disclosure has been for you, your healing will continue. Each day, and each statement you make, takes you further away from the past, keeps you safe in your present life, and a step closer to a bright future.

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  21. I don't understand how a 6 year old can "defraud" another little boy. That's just bizarre. What exactly can a 6 year old girl do? That's just sick, sick, sick.

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  22. oh dear, such a story as I have never heard... and true... oh dear.

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  23. Big gigantic hugs to you. I am not a very religious person so it is easy for me to point the blame at "cult like" religion, but I was raised in a "normal" religious home (if that's possible) and know that discipline and religion are 2 completely separate things. Stay strong Ruth and I hope that you are getting all out of this blog that you need to heal and move on. There are so many here that are supportive and willing to help even if it's just an ear. YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG. I hope you truly believe that or one day will.

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  24. **hugs** Ruth. I'm never shocked at what you post. Any one that teaches you to ignore instincts is always a mistake. Instincts are the best thing you can have or develop to protect yourself. Never ignore that little voice inside yourself!

    I hope you have a great spring break and that things are going well.

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  25. Hugs to you Ruth from one survivor to another. You are but two years older than my oldest child and my mother's heart breaks for you.

    I taught my little ones to play freeze tag. Just as effective for obedience in potentially dangerous situations, without making your child helpless against the sick twisted freaks of this world.

    Your spermdonor (fathers don't do these things to their children!) is unspeakably cruel.....

    Always, always question authority.

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  26. I read somewhere the Duggars used games to reinforce obedience. How does child know the meaning of defraud ? They asked Joy anna Duggar at 11 years old about defrauding and she didnt know the meaning of their defraud. these extreme types make all Christians look bad.

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  27. Let us not mince words here. The heinous acts described in this post are those of a madman; they are those of a person that is completely and utterly bat sh*t crazy. There are no two ways about it.

    Ruth's father, you belong in prison and/or a mental ward. In no way, shape, or form should you be allowed to roam free in society. What you have done to your children is downright criminal. Being a mom and having raised children, I will you you this straight on: you had a lot of time on your hands, you twisted piece of work. It takes a lot of time and energy to brainwash and torture people as you did. How you can live with yourself - period - is beyond me. How you can sleep at night knowing what you did is disturbing. The fact that you come on this blog to say how you "walk in the light" is a complete joke. It is no wonder that you're so scared of the truth and people finding out what you did. The truth of the matter is that you are a monster who has covered up your heinous acts with the cloak of religion and religious freedom.

    Ruth, I don't know what to say other than I am so sorry that you and your siblings went through this. I'm glad that you are getting all of this out so that you can keep moving towards healing. No child or adult should ever have to go through what you did. This has nothing to do with obedience to God or to your parents; this has to do with complete, unmonitored insanity.

    Thank you for posting. Keep moving forward, Ruth. Keep speaking the truth. :)

    ((Hugs))

    Donna

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  28. I don't know that you should read it (it's a very troubling book even if you're not an abuse survivor), but my first thought in reading this is that it was very reminiscent of "A Child called It", which is an autobiography written by the victim of one of the worst cases of child abuse in California history.

    I've said it before, and I've said it again-Ruth, you're one strong woman. To escape from this, and to move on as capable, and, yes, normal as you have is nothing short of a miracle.

    I also never thought I'd say this as a homeschooler, but if it will prevent even one child going through what you did, bring on more oversight.

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  29. If my dad had another dad tell him I was "defrauding" his child by sitting on a fence at age six, my dad would have probably punched his lights out, and at the least would have ordered him out of his house immediately, never to return. THAT is how a father protects his daughter. I'm grieved your father didn't do that for you.

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  30. Because my dad would have known that any grown man who looks at a 6 year old child that way has serious, serious problems.

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  31. Maybe I'm crazy but there is still a disconnect for me when I think of the pantry incident as "sexual abuse" and my dad's making me eat liver and onions as "abuse". Only in the last few years have I thought about it like that. That's another problem with growing up isolated and insulated - you can't call abuse abuse because a) no one talks about it and b) you don't have anything other than families like yours to compare your life to. It also makes me worry about having my own family someday. Will I know how to raise them without imparting the techniques my parents used or will my child be uncontrollable because I'll be too afraid to discipline them out of fear of abusing them?

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  32. Ruth, it most definitely was abuse but I can see how there would be a disconnect for you.

    About having your own family...there are progams, agencies, books, DVDs, friends, and your husband(or significant other)and his family to give you plenty of advice and to gain perspective. First though you need to help yourself and get some distance from your past.

    In time, children, if you wish, can be part of your life. You have a wonderful heart so I'm certain you'll do a fine job. Just give yourself some time.

    Take care.

    Jean

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  33. It's hard to think of yourself as being abused. For 20 years I was married to an abusive man, and I watched him abuse our son especially (although not the girls so much). I called what he did a lot of things, but never abuse.

    Two years ago, while online trying to figure out why he acted the way he did...again..., I came across a little survey. You know the type, "do you feel this when.. or that way when...does he do this or that...". When I finished the survey, it told me that I was being emotionally, psychologically and sexually abused by the man who kept saying how much he loved me. At that point, my eyes were totally opened, and I was terrified. Within a week, I had taken myself and the kids to a woman's shelter..utterly dumbfounded as to how I ended up there.

    I never called it abusive because I would have felt horribly guilty about saying such a thing about the man who provided for me and said how much he loved me. But then as one of the counsellors there said, woman (and children like you, Ruth) who are dearly loved, don't end up in women's shelters terrified to look their husband (or father) in the eye.

    That brought it home to me. If he wasn't an abuser, then why am I reacting the way I am. I've learned to call it what it is. Abuse. Taking advantage of another's weakness, age, beliefs, insecurities or whatever. It's all abuse.

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  34. Ruth,

    I am anonymous (6:46 pm). I have known many people in my professional life who have been traumatized in childhood and they fear becoming parents because they do not want to repeat the mistakes their parents made. We do learn how to parent from our parents - usually. Yes, it is a fact of human nature that when under stress we tend to go back to what we know. However - and this, Ruth is very important - there are several factors that can help mitigate the history. I cannot say I know you, (or even if you are a hoax - although I think you are real, the more I read), but I suspect you have some of these characteristics. Obviously you are intelligent; you are beginning to make sense of what happened; you have insight; you have humor; you are able to reach out to others (friends, internet, therapist); you have begun to "make a new family" and seem to be developing a support group around you; you have put distance - both physical and emotional between you and the abuser; you are dealing with guilt well (although you may doubt yourself at times); you are resourceful. All these factors contribute to resilience which is a hugely important factor for people who, despite dreadful childhood experiences, move on and are successful in life. I think that if you (not some arbitrary being who "opens and closes the womb") decide to be a parent at some point in your life - you have the ability to do well. It will be hard - but no one ever said it was easy either - for anyone!

    The funny thing about parenting is that it is a conundrum - it's the "hardest thing you'll ever do". BUT in many ways it's easy - love your child, provide stimulating opportunities, keep her safe, act as a good role model, support HER choices and teach her about the world. Obviously - you know what not to do!

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  35. I think you'll be fine as a parent. Jean's advice is good - give yourself time & get a distance from your past. It will give you a chance to heal, so that you're not just reacting to your past by going in an opposite direction. I think that's what a lot of religiously zealous parents are doing - reacting to the "sins of their youth" by being so restrictive with their kids in an attempt to keep them from doing what they did.

    I spent the last 25 years in a religiously conservative environment - all of my child-raising years. I think the thing that saved me is that I never got caught up in the latest "christian parenting" fad. A new one comes along every 5 - 10 years. Ezzos, Pearls, Dobson, whatever, ad nauseum. A friend who had her first child about the same time I did said to me, "I don't want to be a book parent." That really stuck with me. Now, I am not saying that books are bad - some are great for information and advice (not Pearl's though). I just think it is wise to not get caught up in any one method. And follow your instincts and intuition.

    You are making amazing progress, Ruth. It is exciting to get to see it!

    Jennie

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  36. @anon11:01,why do you think Ruth may be a hoax?

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  37. They didn't say that she was a hoax, I quote:

    I cannot say I know you, (or even if you are a hoax - although I think you are real, the more I read), but I suspect you have some of these characteristics.

    I think they are just being circumspect about what they find on the internet. Ruth's dad was a real life hoax, as was my husband. Think how many internet hoaxes there are out there tugging on our heartstrings.

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  38. Ruth, you will know how to raise your children with love and kindness when it is time; this I promise. Take your healing one day at a time. You will be prepared to cross that bridge (of becoming a parent and raising your child/ren in a loving home) one day. You are an amazing young woman. Take care. :)

    Donna

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  39. Ruth, remember no one is an authority on children either! LOL. Just when you think you know what you're doing, they become teenagers.ROFL.

    Yes,read up,talk to people, etc., but in the end, instinct usually wins the day.Give them lots of love, take a deep breath, & hope for the best.

    Anyway, you are young yet. Plenty of time to ponder about child/ren. Heck, mine are 29 & 23(girls) & I still am in a state of confusion with the 2 of them. lol

    Take care.

    Jean

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  40. On the subject of when you call something abuse, here is my perspective. Abuse is not just the bad/inappropriate thing that happens, it is the potential when someone *abuses* their position. There is something that can be called a mistake when there is a lack of knowledge on the part of a parent, but what is here is clearly an abuse of power and therefore an abuse of those under the care of (a should be) responsible adult. Breaking down a person's spirit and intuitions is abuse of power (except in cases of the military which someone willingly enlists and even then there are still some abuses.) If there still is NO END to the power that your father FEELS he has, there will be no end to the abuse that he wants to perpetrate.

    "Pantry Man" abused his position as an adult/grown-up to feed his sickness. I loved the poster above who said her dad would have punched him and told him NEVER to return!

    For now even though there is a "disconnect" with the abuse that you received, you can at least see how they were abusers and that is a step in the right direction, until you can get your intuition back (and trust it!!)

    In BYC/ATI, yielding your rights to authority sets you up for abuse. It is regularly encouraged. Deference, Yielding rights, Flexibility, Challenges...all buzz words where the responsibility is ALL yours as the inferior and all the credit goes to the "authority"... Add to that list - humility...obedience All things that make you vulnerable to abuse while not allowing you, the inferior, to name it for the abuse that it is.
    BTW, it infuriated my parents to call the abuse for what it was/is - and there are 2 types of abuse - type A and type B - type A abusers actually commit the abuse and type B enable it. I believe that type B are more dangerous since they excuse it and play along sometimes unknowingly, prolonging the abuse and making the damages worse.

    I have a recurring question in my mind, how did your therapist have the "courage" to tell you to blog this? Maybe I give myself up in my mistrust of people that I would not have expected the general public to be so warm and honest. A huge thanks to everyone who posts here!!

    ex-ATI pilot daughter

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  41. Similar thing happened to me. Raised by a batshit crazy religious nut father, coerced by my uncle into sexual activity with him and my sister when I was seven. Sister too young to remember, and even when I told people years later what he'd done (he got arrested later anyway for possesion of indecent images of children), I omitted the part about my sister. Her life doesn't need ruining over that.

    I was too scared to tell my father because even at that age he would call me a slut if my skirts were higher than the knee etc. I knew he would blame me.

    When I did tell him after I'd moved out, he just called me a liar anyway. Life, eh?

    Stay strong Ruth.

    - JSC

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  42. My therapist had me keeping a pen/paper diary. I would show it to her at my visits, if I chose, and we'd go over what I'd written. She said I had a gift for writing and that she thought it would be empowering for me to set aside my feelings of secrecy and shame. We had been discussing my feelings about warning others about Gothardism one day and she said that I should consider writing a book or a blog to get my feelings out there. There was something she said about taking power back and maybe my story would prevent others from subjecting their children to this way of life. It would also be a way, in her opinion, for me to see that what I went through wasn't something to be ashamed of. There were several reasons she encouraged me to share and put myself out there. I'm not sure if it's orthodox but it's helping me.

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  43. Kudos to your therapist - taking power back is so important. Keep telling your story!

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  44. Think I'm calm enough to write now... As a complete non-Gothardist, I'm one of the shocked ones, and shocked that such disgusting abuse was so common among the ex-ATI folk. It really brings home the fact that all sorts of people can be brainwashed quite easily - it seems that it takes something extra, wherever that comes from, to be able to escape it. (One NLQ poster mentioned the Stanford Prison Experiment, and the Milgram Experiment also comes to mind - these were performed on consenting adults).

    Ruth, can you tell us how your father reacted to 'Martin's' conviction? I'm not awfully optimistic about this, but I wonder if that went any way toward the novel idea that the 'defrauder' is not the one at fault.

    I hope more than ever that parents curious about ATI and similar will find this blog, and not allow themselves the luxury of thinking that their family is too righteous to have these terrible things happen.

    (and, Ruth, I think you'd make an excellent parent. As for experience, you certainly have the courage to learn new things, and sooner or later you'll find examples of families who get on very well without any exposure to Gothard, No Joy Ministries or this 'defrauding' rubbish).

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  45. Ruth,

    I am glad this blog is helping you heal. Showing the world about Gothardism IS helping- only when people are kept in the dark can they unwillingly remain ignorant. I am ever ever so sorry you had to go through all of that through your childhood. A grown man asking two young children to french kiss for his viewing pleasure IS sexual abuse and it pains me to know that ANY child have to go through that. It makes my blood boil further to know that you felt you could not tell your parents. No child should be afraid to tell their parents something that happened to them for fear of being called a liar. One's parents (or care-givers) are supposed to protect you from the big bad world and be your source of support. (((((HUGS))))) Ruth, although we are close in age I truly admire your strength as a young woman, the world needs more people like you.

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  46. Anonymous said...
    @anon11:01,why do you think Ruth may be a hoax?

    Thank you Jennifer for responding so appropriately.

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  47. Wow. So horrendous.

    I would say we are a fairly strict family. There are times when a particular child is have a problem with a particular issue, "practice" is part of the discipline process. For instance, my youngest likes to "box", but will often make a fist and punch his brothers when aggravated. This is not acceptable, and it is an ongoing problem with him. So he is disciplined for it, and also asked to demonstrate gentle touch on whichever brother he has punched. Usually they both end up giggling. So we "practice obedience" in that sense. With little ones we also practice for safety situations that may come up. I have one 3 yo who habitually just took off running without looking where he was going if I didn't have his hand in a death grip, and his training to stop immediately when I yelled that word saved his little tukkus a time or two in a busy parking lot.

    But what you describe is insane. In the literal meaning of the word. "It's wrong to hit your brother, and you will be punished for it"/"Go hit your brother, if you don't I will punish you". That's a crazy-making mind game if there ever was one.

    And so sad.

    Although my children are expected to show reasonable respect and obedience to us as parents, and to be polite and respectful to other adults, the issue of inappropriate words or touch means to say "No!" and flee, or scream if they can't get away. We don't dwell on it, but I've made it very clear that anytime they are even uncomfortable with someone's behavior, they skedaddle quick, and that if someone is trying to "hide" behavior, or tells them to keep a secret, they need to tell us immediately and we will protect them. I have a relative who is overbearing and intrusive (definitely some OCD going on there, this person is anxious about everything and wants everything to be "under control" by their definition.) though well-meaning, and it's been good practice for me and the children to learn to set up good boundaries, say "No" when it's appropriate, and not get bulldozed into something we don't want to do. Good, too, for my children to see that I absolutely will defend them against an adult and that they are not presumed guilty just because they're children.

    On another note: Ruth, I think you can be a *great* parent. All of us struggle and make mistakes and have some regrets, because it doesn't matter how many books we read, every kid is different and every life is different and sometimes we're met with things we just don't know how to handle, and we handle them wrong. You will be no different, except that you will have a very clear understanding of what you know you can never do with your children, because you experienced the pain of those things yourself. You won't be taken in by "experts" as easily as most.

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  48. Heavens, 24 hours and no response from the self-appointed Vox Dei that is Ruth's father! I'm genuinely curious as to why.

    Also, Ruth, I echo what everyone has said about you being a great parent some day. The fact that you're worried about perpetuating the same mistakes shows me that. And I'm glad the blog is working as therapy for you. I too would be interested in reading a book about your experiences.

    -- tatortotcassie

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  49. "Heavens, 24 hours and no response from the self-appointed Vox Dei that is Ruth's father! I'm genuinely curious as to why"

    Well...I'm guessing one of two things has occurred. First it's Sunday and maybe there is no computin' on the Lord's day....Secondly, he's read this and is consulting Bill G and others for advice on how next to proceed. Time will tell...

    Ruth: I think you will be fine parent....just listen to your instincts and don't be afraid to ask friends and your husband for reality checks if you need em.

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  50. To address this whole "defrauding" issue; I have to say I would find it absolutely hilarous if it wasn't so profoundly sad (and infuriating).

    To insinuate that a young girl could "defraud" (give me a break already with that word alone) a grown male (I'm not going to use the word "man" because they aren't "men" in the true sense of the word), is absolutely preposterous. The only people that would think such a thing are those that are pedophiles themselves and see the world and the people in it in a very sick and twisted way. They obviously need mental help (which some, fortunately, do get), but even with that, most say that they cannot let themselves around children unsupervised.

    I am at a boiling point of anger and rage to even think that little girls in this ATI/Bill Gothard religion (yes, I'm going to call it a religion/cult because it is certainly NOT a a religion born of Christianity or anything even remotely Christ-like) are told that they are responsible for the sickness of adult pedophiles.

    These "wrapped up in the cloak of religon/religious freedom" sickos need to be prosecuted to the highest degree of the law and then be imprisoned where other inmates can have their go with them. Maybe they can put Bill G or their "prayer group" on speed dial and ask them to pray a thorn of hedges around them. Or maybe they can just jump off a bridge and rid the world of their existance. What a crock!

    Donna

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  51. Blech! I just typed a long post of shock, sympathy and encouragement and it disappeared.

    Shock: your parents did not build a home or a haven but a concentration camp. I am so glad you survived and are healing, and I am praying for your sibs too.

    Bill Gothard has to KNOW that his ideas are crazy and abusive, or he would not preach isolation, isolation, isolation.

    As a long-time home school mom, I wish I had spoken up loudly about women's and children's rights the few times I did rub shoulders socially with ATI people. But (I think in response to control abuse in my childhood) I have a very strong live-and-let-live ethic, so I never challenged an ATI mom or told her children there was life outside their family paradigm.

    As a survivor of an abusive family, I wish I had. I know a single sentence of support can nourish an abused child's spirit for years, like the comment of an adult to me as a young girl that I was so smart, I was destined for college. (Radical statement to a six year old in 1968!)

    Sympathy: My sisters and I have all had similar decisions to face about becoming parents. Two decided not to become parents at all. God loves them no less and they are no less to be celebrated and loved by humanity for their decision. I love my sisters.

    I decided to take the plunge, fully aware that I had weaknesses others might not. The best parenting class I took was in preparation to mentor a teen mom. It was offered by my local county health department. We went over the difference between authoritarian, authoritative and permissive parenting styles: how to recognize where parenting books are coming from: how to get balance in the way we relate to our children. Great stuff.

    It has served me will. For example, I recognized that the Pearls and Ezzos were authoritarians early in the book and tossed them aside. I went for Dr. Sears and Dr. Ross Campbell and any parenting books that recognized the dignity and developmental state of the child.

    I have screwed up, but my secret weapon against permanent damage is admitting my weakness! I apologize when I'm wrong! I admit when I don't know what the hell I'm doing! And I state my goals (I want you to have enough self-control to build a successful life) and my ineptitude at getting there (personally I don't care if your room is clean, I just want you to be comfortable and secure. So pick up your dirty clothes, make your bed, and put your things away because YOU deserve a clean and orderly space) and I ask for the kids input (what do you think about that?).

    I am not a perfect parent. I have screamed at my children in frustration, but not as a general rule and I always apologize and admit my fault. I would never reject my children, never, never, never- nor attempt to control them for my ego or my convenience.

    I think we're doing okay. We all love each other and enjoy each other's company.

    Support: Whatever you choose: become a parent or not; have a few children (my choice) or many; stay single or marry- you will succeed, I know! I know because you are doing the right things now- seeking counsel from wise successful people (your therapist), surrounding yourself with supportive, loving people (your boy/friend Harris for one), and processing your past so you can keep what you want and discard what has hurt you.

    You're gonna build a great life for yourself. In fact, you already are!

    *hugs* *cheering you on* *wishing you every success* ~me

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  52. I find it sad that the people who sought to keep you from the big, bad, evil world literally opened their doors to the worst kind of evil-a pedophile.

    Those who preach so damn loudly about finding the 'sin in the camp' allowed Sin to parade freely in their midst.

    They supported the man who victimized their children. They sided with him against their children.

    But then...really...what else is new when they side with Gothard over parental instinct to protect. Parental instinct to love and nurture.

    Your parents...my parents, Ruth, they are sell outs.
    They have sold their souls and their children to people who stroke their egos and give them a sense of spiritual superiority.

    That is a shame and at this point in my life, I can only make it a point to do better by my children.

    Thanks for sharing this. You make your point well.
    -Jenny

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  53. I wonder if it's even possible for you to realize how amazing you are. Please understand, I don't mean that in a condescending way. It's just that our perspective from the outside looking in shows us a young woman who, for all intents and purposes, should probably be suicidal, on drugs, in a mental institution, or some combination of the three, thanks to her wildly abusive upbringing. Instead, we see someone who is courageous, talented, and growing in confidence each and every day. Despite your parents' best efforts, you are succeeding in life, Ruth, and you have so SO much to be proud of. You are marvelous.

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  54. So your dad tempted you to evil and put you as a young child in the moral dilemma of "do I obey the command that makes me disobey what I know to be wrong and a violation of a standing rule?"

    WICKED, WICKED MAN. The BIBLE says "do not tempt other people to wickedness" and "do not frustrate your children."

    My former father-in-law did this to my son only once. I was generally a quiet, non-confrontational woman. But when this man intentionally enticed my 3yo into disobeying me, and then began to shout at and berate him for it, I lost it. I let him know in no uncertain terms that I would not tolerate him causing my child to disobey and then chastising him for it. Ruth, dear Ruth, that is what a parent is supposed to do: to protect their child from this kind of thing. I'm so sorry that your parents didn't do that for you.

    I'm also sorry to say, to anyone who may doubt that a parent would actually do this, that I have SEEN it done. I have watched in horror as a parent tempted a child to wickedness, and then punished the child --- either for doing the wickedness, or for not obeying. It is CRUEL to put a child in the middle of such a dilemma.

    And God says that those who "offend" little children would be better off sunk in the ocean with a giant rock slung around their necks. I hope Ruth's Dad takes heed. Sounds like his "friend" is already paying for his offensive and disgusting behaviour.

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  55. Exposing lies for Gods TruthMarch 15, 2010 at 9:19 AM

    Do not cast stones, Ruth. You admit that you took advantage of a young brother and ask mercy from him for your shame. Is it possible in your head that "Martin" had a problem that he asked the Lord for help with and you don't see that? You have lied about your life or opportunities. How do we know when you are telling the truth? I remember this picnic when you were riding the fence, we stopped your show because it appeared as you were gratifying yourself with rocking back and forth. The pantry could not have happened since your mother and her friends were in the kitchen the whole time. How much you lie, Ruth! You a liar and a sinner. You bring shame to our family with your lies. Go get your attention from positive sources young lady. Stop acting victimized (Exodus 15:2)and you will find less of being a perfect victim in your words. Your agenda is to ruin ATI to prevent a Godly, fearful man from political gain. You will fail. (Matthew 16:19) Holt will win. The right expect to be persecuted (Matthew 5:10). Read your Isaiah 57. Who are you mocking?

    Martin was wrongfully convicted. I will be a truthbringer and right the wrong. Martin was accused of exposure to a sixteen year old girl who he had into his home. She was troubled in spirit. She had left her family as Ruth and Martin's family took her in as a favor to her parents who begged him to help put their family back together. Martin and his wife offered her a place at their table if she would pray for forgiveness and follow the rules of the house. She broke the rules. She told lies about Martin to deceive her parents and the police. It was her word against Martins and Martin was punished because her lies were believed. He served his time with dignity, a marked man now who is victimized here. John 8:7

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  56. I wonder how anyone would not literally go crazy with this kind of psycho guy as a "father." It makes me crazy to read his nutso answers and responses to some of these entries... I can see how twisted his thinking is, and I can only imagine it just cuts Ruth's heart everytime she reads something like the above - because it can't help but make you wonder... maybe I did misunderstand, or maybe I am wrong.... that's why this madness is so maddening.... you feel like you can never trust yourself or your thoughts or what you believe or why.... This guy just needs someone to punch his lights out... I can't believe you are so twisted and I wish you could be exposed for the crazy liar you really are... you are not a father; only a sperm donor... you do not deserve the right to be called father.... you are a beast straight from the pit of hell and you represent no Heavenly Father that I know....

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  57. I shouldn't be surprised by Daddy Darth's post, but I am. It must be SUCH a burden for you, fella, being the only person in the entire world who's right.

    You DO understand that every time you spew your vitriol you only reinforce your daughter's statements, don't you? Or are you really so far gone in your own delusions that you think by publicly stoning Ruth with your hate-filled words you're going to convince us of your "truth"?

    Not going to happen. We know an abusive whackjob when we see it.

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  58. You think a little girl playing on a fence is pleasuring herself? That's sick!! What is wrong with you?!?!

    And how weird is that in the same post you acknowledge that what Ruth says is true and then says she's lying.

    Do you really believe that you're convincing anyone? I pray God gives you your reward.

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  59. Hi Ruth's Dad.

    Try to justify it any way you want, but even if "Martin" had a problem that he asked the Lord for help with, it doesn't change the fact that he's a kiddy diddler, and by not doing anything about it you are complicit in that disgusting behavior.

    If you're so concerned with truth, why don't you out yourself? Use your real name, big man. Maybe because you know you're a sorry excuse for a human being, never mind a father...Maybe because you know you're responsible for a world of pain being visited on your children and people (those not involved in your cult) would hold you accountable?

    Your move, Darth....

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  60. I am so sorry that you have had to live with such a miserable excuse for a father. My heart breaks for your mother's wasted life, and for your siblings still being brainwashed. Removing yourself from this completely sick and disfunctional environment is the best thing you could ever have done for yourself. Families and churches that operate under patriarchal or even complementarian models hurt women. If you still have religious beliefs, I would search out some egalitarian churches. Stay brave, and know that you are making a difference for other women!
    Mary

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  61. Please keep blogging, Ruth. You are doing a very strong, admirable thing.

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  62. Ruth's Dad,

    Why do I not even for a second doubt the validity of what that 16 year old girl you speak of said?

    It's obvious that ATI is about abusing the weak and giving a dangerous amount of power to a few greedy selfish, childish men like yourself.

    If the saying is true and "we'll know they are Christians by their love" you sir, are no Christian. I see no love, only fear and a need for self preservation in your posts.

    Why must you and your organization continue to cause so much pain?
    Why can't you choose love, choose GOD, instead of bullying, abuse and fear?

    What made you sell your soul and turn of your conscience so that instead of loving a protecting your children so isolate, abuse and manipulate them?

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  63. Cutting and pasting for CNNs benefit lest Darth Daddy try to remove his post.

    March 15, 2010 8:06 AM
    Exposing lies for Gods Truth said...

    Do not cast stones, Ruth. You admit that you took advantage of a young brother and ask mercy from him for your shame. Is it possible in your head that "Martin" had a problem that he asked the Lord for help with and you don't see that? You have lied about your life or opportunities. How do we know when you are telling the truth? I remember this picnic when you were riding the fence, we stopped your show because it appeared as you were gratifying yourself with rocking back and forth. The pantry could not have happened since your mother and her friends were in the kitchen the whole time. How much you lie, Ruth! You a liar and a sinner. You bring shame to our family with your lies. Go get your attention from positive sources young lady. Stop acting victimized (Exodus 15:2)and you will find less of being a perfect victim in your words. Your agenda is to ruin ATI to prevent a Godly, fearful man from political gain. You will fail. (Matthew 16:19) Holt will win. The right expect to be persecuted (Matthew 5:10). Read your Isaiah 57. Who are you mocking?

    Martin was wrongfully convicted. I will be a truthbringer and right the wrong. Martin was accused of exposure to a sixteen year old girl who he had into his home. She was troubled in spirit. She had left her family as Ruth and Martin's family took her in as a favor to her parents who begged him to help put their family back together. Martin and his wife offered her a place at their table if she would pray for forgiveness and follow the rules of the house. She broke the rules. She told lies about Martin to deceive her parents and the police. It was her word against Martins and Martin was punished because her lies were believed. He served his time with dignity, a marked man now who is victimized here. John 8:7

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  64. Ruth,

    Do you know if this is your father or some sick troll? Whatever it is, it is making me sick!

    Jean

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  65. March 15, 2010 8:06 AM
    Exposing lies for Gods Truth said...

    Do not cast stones, Ruth. You admit that you took advantage of a young brother and ask mercy from him for your shame. Is it possible in your head that "Martin" had a problem that he asked the Lord for help with and you don't see that? You have lied about your life or opportunities. How do we know when you are telling the truth? I remember this picnic when you were riding the fence, we stopped your show because it appeared as you were gratifying yourself with rocking back and forth. The pantry could not have happened since your mother and her friends were in the kitchen the whole time. How much you lie, Ruth! You a liar and a sinner. You bring shame to our family with your lies. Go get your attention from positive sources young lady. Stop acting victimized (Exodus 15:2)and you will find less of being a perfect victim in your words. Your agenda is to ruin ATI to prevent a Godly, fearful man from political gain. You will fail. (Matthew 16:19) Holt will win. The right expect to be persecuted (Matthew 5:10). Read your Isaiah 57. Who are you mocking?

    Martin was wrongfully convicted. I will be a truthbringer and right the wrong. Martin was accused of exposure to a sixteen year old girl who he had into his home. She was troubled in spirit. She had left her family as Ruth and Martin's family took her in as a favor to her parents who begged him to help put their family back together. Martin and his wife offered her a place at their table if she would pray for forgiveness and follow the rules of the house. She broke the rules. She told lies about Martin to deceive her parents and the police. It was her word against Martins and Martin was punished because her lies were believed. He served his time with dignity, a marked man now who is victimized here. John 8:7



    Hey Ruth, if you know the name of the 16 year old girl he is speaking about, you might give it to the folks who have contacted you from CNN.

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  66. Wow, guys. I can't be as forgiving toward Ruth's mother as you all are. I understand that there is such a thing as battered women syndrome, and that Ruth's mother was obviously the victim of some abuses. But I can't say "Oh, that poor woman! Having to live that way!" the way that you guys can. Your hearts must be bigger than mine, because I hold her equally responsible.

    She wasn't raised this way. She had her own mind and parents that were constantly trying to help her, and she refused it. She had an education and the capabilities to have a career. She ignored her instincts and participated in the abuses perpetrated on her children. She knew it was wrong, but stood by and let it happen. I'm sorry, Ruth, but in my eyes, your mother is just as guilty as your father. She was supposed to love and protect you, and she didn't. She's equally culpable.

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  67. Daddy Ruth, I wonder who you are mocking.

    You wrote:
    "Your agenda is to ruin ATI to prevent a Godly, fearful man from political gain. You will fail. (Matthew 16:19) Holt will win. The right expect to be persecuted (Matthew 5:10). Read your Isaiah 57. Who are you mocking?"

    I see no where on this blog where Ruth has mentioned any such thing. She hasn't mentioned Jim Holt, his political aspirations, or the May 2010 election in Arkansas.

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  68. Exposing lies for Gods Truth: the right expect to be persecuted, and here you are, right on schedule. Is it possible in *your* head that 'Martin' had a problem that he asked God for help with, but he chose to commit a terrible crime despite that? I sincerely hope that you don't know anybody else who's putting on a show of righteousness in order to abuse your children, because the likelihood of you believing those children is appallingly small. Now matter how much light you may claim to walk in, you're not omniscient.

    I'm not quite sure how you've fitted Jim Holt into all of this, but frankly, the fewer fearful people in politics, the better. Respectful and courageous people, sure, but fearful people spread fear.

    Ruth, be assured that truth is much more important than reputation.

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  69. CNN is trying to get in touch with you? Oh wow...

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  70. Val said....

    Wow, guys. I can't be as forgiving toward Ruth's mother as you all are. I understand that there is such a thing as battered women syndrome, and that Ruth's mother was obviously the victim of some abuses. But I can't say "Oh, that poor woman! Having to live that way!" the way that you guys can. Your hearts must be bigger than mine, because I hold her equally responsible.

    She wasn't raised this way. She had her own mind and parents that were constantly trying to help her, and she refused it. She had an education and the capabilities to have a career. She ignored her instincts and participated in the abuses perpetrated on her children. She knew it was wrong, but stood by and let it happen. I'm sorry, Ruth, but in my eyes, your mother is just as guilty as your father. She was supposed to love and protect you, and she didn't. She's equally culpable.
    _______________________________________

    I have to agree with Val. I acknowledge battered woman's syndrome and the abuses your Mother went through, but as a parent, your job is to do your best protect your children from ALL HARM- even if that harm is from their other parent/your life partner. Your Mother should have made sure you felt free to tell her anything, regardless of whether or not your father felt you were lying. I have no doubt that your Mother loves you very much, but I cannot excuse the fact that she stood by and let someone mentally torture her children for the entirety of their lives for the same reason I cannot excuse parents who have knowledge that adults are physically or sexually abusing their children and they do nothing to remove their child from the situation/get outside help. IMO.

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  71. matthew 18:6 "but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."

    i don't mean to be accusatory towards your dad, ruth <3 ... but you are one of God's little ones whom He adores! raising a child the way he raised you... saying such hurtful things (if that's really him)to his daughter as he has in those posts, and choosing not to believe you when you admit a childhood trauma that was in no way your fault (and worse - being the kind of parent whom you wouldn't dare tell as a child)are all things that could have resulted in your potential "stumbling" (which, i interpret as basically his causing harm to befall you - even indirectly).

    i really wish your pops would actually read the Bible instead of just grabbing bits that he likes and using them out of context as mantras to support his ridiculous desires.

    i hope he actually does, sometime. <3

    i'm so so so so so sorry that this happened to you, ruth!

    please know that how your dad feels about you does not affect/change the way that God feels about you! God LOVES (all caps hahaha) you. God, i believe, sings songs over you. and it made God sad to see what happened to you in the pantry. and i believe it broke His heart to see the abuses that happened to you.

    you are working through your hurts and getting things figured out. that is a big giant part of what it takes to be a good mom. <3

    -duckwithoneleg

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  72. I hold Ruth's mother partially responsible for the suffering her children have had to endure. When I said my heart breaks for her wasted life, I was not releasing her from any blame.

    When she married her warped husband, she sacrificed any goals, dreams or career ambitions she may have had. Obviously, she has her own issues or she would never have accepted the ATI lifestyle.

    Keep in mind that even if she had wanted to leave, having 10 children may have made it nearly impossible. Also part of the indoctrination she has been exposed to includes the thought that any questioning is from the devil. This prevents many people from questioning at all.

    My hope is that Ruth's mother has the opportunity to read this blog and the comments. Having a change of heart can happen at any age.

    Mary

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  73. Ruth,

    I grew up in a strict religious household, and my parents dabbled briefly in Gothard's teachings. (we went to one of his seminars and they bought the Character Sketches and other books) I am forever grateful that they never really got that deep into it, and when I read your blog I keep thinking "there, but for the grace of God, go I..."

    I've been a parent for 21 years now, and I admit I was abusive when my kids were little, mainly because of my punitive background. I am very happy to tell you that you CAN break out of that kind of mentality. I found out about "gentle discipline" about 10 years into my parenting journey, and it took me about that long to come back out of the abusive patterns I had developed, but I believe that if I had not had to "unlearn" these things and do so much damage control from what I had already established in my family, it could have changed much, much faster.

    I strongly encourage you to start reading books on grace-based discipline long before you decide to have kids, to help reprogram your thoughts in this area. (Families where Grace is in Place, Playful Parenting, Grace-based Parenting) It's going to be more of a challenge because of your background, but it CAN be done! The more you feed yourself with the appropriate patterns, the more firmly they will become rooted in your mind.

    My youngest two children are 1 1/2 and 4, and I can honestly say that I am very proud of the way I am raising them now. It is completely different from what I grew up with or even what I used to do with my older kids. God can change your heart and your mind and make you into the kind of parent you want to be.

    I'm proud of you for being so strong!

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  74. Exposing lies for Gods Truth, you are BEYOND sick by a long mile!!! How you can even say to your daughter that she did anything wrong at her age (a girl slightly older than a toddler) proves to me (as if we didn't already know) that you are absolutely a fully bonafied nutjob!!!

    Had I known what an evil and twisted man you are, I would have never held out hope for you. One of these days, you are going to realize what an a*s you've been to your wife and children.

    WOW!!! I cannot believe that such an obtuse and wicked man exists!!! And to think that you have children!!! Everyone of them who is still a minor should be taken away from your concentration camp. No wonder you're so afraid of the truth, you wicked and vile man.

    By the way, every time you quote biblical verses, you make me want to throw up!!! I was raised in a pretty legalistic household, but YOU, YOU are the worst case of a wolf in sheep's clothing that I've ever seen!!!

    Ruth, dear Ruth, do NOT believe one single word that this maniac is writing. We are ALL here for you 100% and we know that what you are saying is true. None of us as stupid and naive as he thinks we are. You hang in there, dear Ruth. :)

    (((Hugs)))

    Donna

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  75. Your agenda is to ruin ATI

    Sheesh. What's to ruin?

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  76. Is it possible in your head that "Martin" had a problem that he asked the Lord for help with and you don't see that?

    Ok, which one is it? Was Martin framed or did he have "a problem that he asked the Lord for help with"? It's like saying "I didn't do it. Besides, it was a clear-cut case of self-defense." The only thing you establish with such a schizophrenic rationalization is how desperate you are to avoid accountability.

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  77. Somebody please tell me this entire blog is a hoax meant to jump start "Ruth's" writing career? Seriously, I won't be mad, I mean it's very well done and all, or even just tell me that Daddy Darth isn't real, that would make me feel a whole lot better. The idea that there are actually people in American today who really believe the kind of things that man says is making me sick to my stomach and scared for our nation.
    As for ruining some guys political career why would she start a blog that never mentions him by name and just send it out over the wide internet hoping that a large fraction of voters in his state would come across it, make the connection, and suddenly decide to change their minds about voting for him? That's real logical, but then just about what I'd expect giving Darth's apparent cognitive issues.

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  78. Ruth, either that person really is your father, or he's a troll.

    Either way, this person is trying to bring you down. You can safely discard every word as being puerile bullshit, and the attempted smear on your good name simply won't stick.

    Even if a young child does explore their sexuality, it's a natural part of development and nothing to be sickened or disgusted by... or ashamed of in retrospect.

    My 3 year old daughter has wandering hands, I've never shouted at her for it, only advised her to save it for when she's on her own and not around grown-ups.

    If it really is your dad, he's simply darting around blindly like a particularly disgusting little bug now that the rock has been lifted; and light is being cast on his grungy, seedy little set-up. Hold a magnifying glass too close, and the filthy shitter might just go up in flames!

    Uber win >:D

    You rock.

    -JSC

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  79. Thank you, Darthy Poo, for that very public link between old Billy Goat and Holt. Usually Billy Goat does his best to keep from being publicly linked to his political flunkies, so every little bit helps. I appreciate it :) You better be careful not to spill your identity now, I don't think your goat king would like that much, and I'd be willing to bet you are as expendable to him as your children are to you.

    Ruth, take care of yourself first and foremost. You are a serious threat, not to your family, but to a much bigger agenda, and your well being is of no importance to them. Please...be careful.

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  80. Ruth,

    Its go time for CNN, in my opinion. This is so much bigger than just your family now, thanks to your fathers name dropping in his post.

    Go get 'em, girl!

    Good luck,

    Jenny

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  81. ps. Ill be forwarding this blog entry with your fathers Holts references to every candidate Holt is running against.

    Im sure they would love to know that Holt and his supporters blame child victims and side with their abusers.

    I can only make that assumption after seeing your fathers endorsement of him.

    Keep talking, Daddy Dearest. Thanks for linking Gothard to Holt.

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  82. Yes - spanking to the point of breaking the will is a tactic that BG promoted. For me, that resulted in torn nightgown and head to toe bruises and some bleeding and lots of welts. And my will was still not broken.
    Instant and unquestioning obedience was promoted, and the example was given of a boy standing on the tracks when a train was coming, and his father told him to lie down on the tracks. Of course, the boy thought this would kill him, but since he had learned instant obedience, he obeyed, and his life was saved. Another MP or BG tactic is that if a child is disobeying (say, getting near the fire), then you should put their hands in the fire to burn them, so they would know how dangerous it is.

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  83. So Martin has victimized more than one child - that is so typical of pedophiles. They often have dozens of victims and in this very closed community he must have thought he had died and gone to heaven - a heaven with a very large "buffet" of vulnerable children.

    Even if he did admit he had a problem, it will never make what he did excusable. In most places in the western world, what he did was a criminal offence and he should be punished according to the laws of that jurisdiction. He should be held liable and make monetary resitution. Of course Ruth's father and the other adults have no problem with him - they aren't appealing little girls!

    It is frightening that there are many, many "Martins" in this world and probably even more adults, like Ruth's parents who enable and allow the "Martins" to roam freely without fear.

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  84. That reference to Holt is very,very interesting!

    Jean

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  85. Ruth's Dad ---

    A child of 6 can not defraud a grown man. Shame on you for making such an accusation and turning a blind eye to a pedophile within your group who has harmed your own children!

    And shame on you for making your children obey your every word, even ones that go against human nature. How dare you ask one child to hit another! You are a sick individual.

    I too hold Ruth's mom responsible. It is her duty to keep her children safe even if the harm is coming from her very own husband. I agree she is broken, beat down emotionally and mentally but come on - she has an education and parents willing to help! Clearly she enjoys watching this horrible man abuse the people around him. Why else would she stay? I get that she may be afraid. I get that she is broken. What I don't get is how any woman can see her children harmed and do NOTHING about it. Shame on you too.

    Clearly both of Ruth's parents are mentally ill or they wouldn't be together. It's a shame they had children and used them to wield these abusive and crazy ideologies.

    Ruth - you are amazing. The very fact that you are looking to seek a better path in life via therapy and an education already gives you a leg up on your parents.

    Take care and keep writing!!

    Kris

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  86. I've seen a few posts now talking about a six-year-old defrauding an adult, but in this case it wasn't what Ruth originally said.

    'That same afternoon, Martin told my father that I had defrauded his son by sitting on a fence.'

    I hardly need to point out that I don't think much of that assumption of 'defrauding' either, regardless of the son's age.

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  87. (Something went wrong when posting the first time; apologies if it ends up as a double post).

    I've seen a few posts now talking about a six-year-old defrauding an adult, but in this case it wasn't what Ruth originally said.

    'That same afternoon, Martin told my father that I had defrauded his son by sitting on a fence.'

    I hardly need to point out that I don't think much of this version of 'defrauding' either, regardless of the age of the son.

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  88. There's another possibility that no-one has mentioned. If the young Ruth really was rocking on a fence, it could have been a reaction to her molestation. Sometimes children who have been molested will show sexual behavior. It's a known marker of abuse.

    In any case, Ruth, you were not the sinner. That label goes to the man who molested you, and your parents who enabled him.

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  89. Well I am not sure that it's Ruth's father on the post. He never claims to be her father. Maybe Ruth could tell us.

    Anyways, it does not change that the reasoning is wrong. Mr RIGHTEOUS can your head register that it is NOT enough to ask for God's forgiveness ? That this man should have asked for Ruth's forgiveness ? That her parents should have told her what was wrong with what she had been made do ? That she was not to feel guilty ? That her brother should not feel guilty ? That contrary to what you said she should not obey adults without thinking ?

    Your reasonning is sick.

    Your the one bringing people's names in this. we accepted Ruth's silence. You broke it.

    Ruth, next time this Martin is brought up with charges, please consider going to the lawyer prosecuting and tell him/her about this event.

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  90. Well I am not sure that it's Ruth's father on the post. He never claims to be her father. Maybe Ruth could tell us.

    Anyways, it does not change that the reasoning is wrong. Mr RIGHTEOUS can your head register that it is NOT enough to ask for God's forgiveness ? That this man should have asked for Ruth's forgiveness ? That her parents should have told her what was wrong with what she had been made do ? That she was not to feel guilty ? That her brother should not feel guilty ? That contrary to what you said she should not obey adults without thinking ?

    Your reasonning is sick.

    Your the one bringing people's names in this. we accepted Ruth's silence. You broke it.

    Ruth, next time this Martin is brought up with charges, please consider going to the lawyer prosecuting and tell him/her about this event.

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  91. Ruth,

    I just wanted to say that I admire your courage, both in leaving the situation that you were in and in blogging about it now. It is an tremendous act of courage to tell your story.

    I grew up in the early QF movement and can relate to most of what you discuss in this blog-- child "training" techniques, insistence on blind obedience, courtship, isolation, emotional manipulation and fear. I cringe to remember all the parents that I saw using these techniques and to watch children go from happy, playful, and joyful at life to quiet, withdrawn, and fearful. I was also sexually abused and my parents did nothing. It has been a long process to work through all that I experienced, though I left home 5 years ago. Thank you for the courage to come out and speak about your past!

    Peace,
    Sarah

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  92. Ruth, there is a whole thread about you on a gentle mothering site! :-)

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  93. Ruth, that obedience training is crazy! But then, I infer from your post that you already know that.

    Reflexive obedience has a strictly limited place in a normal upbringing, generally in hazardous situations. (Anybody who went to elementary school in the U.S., say it with me: "Stop, Drop and Roll!") But then, normal parenting doesn't start from the assumption that children must be broken to their place. And I could rant all night about the poisonous, heretical, evil assumptions that are at the base of grown adults accusing children of causing sin in the hearts of others. Cultish groups like this are just hog heaven for child molesters and rageaholics who like to target children.

    However, as all-pervasive as it seemed when you were stuck in it, please believe me that Gothard and his ilk are really rather small frogs in a big pond. (Hence all the croaking about not leaving the nice safe backwater where the boss frog is the biggest loudest critter around.) The gentle mothering site Rebekah posted about, to which I believe you have already received an invitation, teaches a method that begins by extending grace toward children. If you find yourself in need of a new vocabulary to replace the things you were taught to think about yourself, do please come visit us at Gentle Christian Mothers.

    Ruth, the first step in getting out of the pit of imposed self-loathing is recognizing that you're in it; you've done that. The next step (and the next and the next and the next) is part of the climb. You're on the way. Keep claiming your freedom!

    Jenny Islander

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  94. "The second time it happened, I was very close to being raped and I told my mom. Guess what, Ruth. She didn't believe me. She phoned him and asked if he didn't, and when he said "of course not", she chose to believe him rather than me."

    Ruth, and whoever typed this, i am so very sorry. There is nothing worse than not being believed when you finally have the courage to speak out about abuse. It was not your fault. I was 17 when I told my mother about my older brother's violence, a secret I'd kept for 10 years. I was shaking with trauma. My (Gothard-influenced) mother said, "And as for YOU young lady (oh hey, look at that! The same term of condescension and contempt that Darth Vater used!)you'll NEVER start feeling better until YOU learn to FORGIVE!"

    I think in this patriarchal, misogynistic doctrine, the feminine is so de-valued and the culture is so much to project blame onto women and foster male entitlement, that trying to address abuse is as much fun as trying to do in fundamentalist Muslim circles. Or the KKK, or the Nazis, or the FLDS or exclusive Brethren and all these other sicko groups that all have this one common denominator: misogyny.

    Well ol darth vater likes to throw his scriptures around illogically and randomly (I never fully appreciated the term 'Bible-bashing' until i saw his unique style of perverting the Word of God) but here is a little verse for you, Ruth (and all of us trying to untangle our graveclothes):
    "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then and do not be burdened again by a yoke of bondage." Galatians 5:1

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  95. Ruth,
    I suspect that when you think of God, you may think of your father. When you picture God, you may picture your father. This is typical in this situation. Talk to your therapist about EMDR. It is a technique used for trauma survivors, and is often quite effective in ridding your mind of the correlation between God and your father. Because there is NO correlation, I can assure you of that. Your father's actions stem from the pit of hell.

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  96. Even if that is not Ruth's father posting it's someone from their family or camp. I think we can assume that Ruth's parents, siblings and surrounding ATI members are reading here. I think it's essential we keep posting to reassure Ruth that what she experienced was abuse and its ok to start thinking about he upbringing in those terms as it will help her heal and move on. I had an abusive parent and they do manage to turn your world upside down. You question what is normal, what is average what is ok and what is not. As you heal you begin to trust your gut and instincts. In time as you get some distance from the family members and the past you can begin to look at different scenarios more objectively. It's that distance that helps us forgive ourselves. No matter what the circumstances are kids tend to blame themselves first and that can be a difficult thought process to overcome. Keep writing Ruth, whether you write her or own your own for your own healing. What you're doing is brave and courageous!

    Kris

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  97. I cannot believe what I am reading from Ruth's "father". I do not think a more wicked person has ever walked this earth. He is vile and disgusting.

    I am shocked and horrified that he blames Ruth for what his evil friend Martin did to his daughter and his son. I can't fathom a mind that sees a six-year-old girl as a temptress.

    This man is not decieved by a false religion. He is using a false religion to justify his sinful desire to dominate and abuse.

    Jail is too good for him. May the Lord bring him to account, and swiftly. Amen.

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  98. "I got past my gag reflex. My dad claimed this as his victory.",

    I swear, every time I read this post I find a new dimension of wrongness.

    Ruth may not get the reference, but I have a hard time believing her father would not, especially if he had been "addicted to porn" as a young adult.

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  99. Oh Sweet Jesu! I never thought about it like that, Dave L. OMG!I so hope you are wrong...

    Jean

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  100. *RAAAAAAAAAAAAGE*

    I thought my uncle was abusive to me but your father - and this Martin character - are sick effs indeed. >_< Martin for making you do it, your father for blaming you for what you only did no doubt because your father would get furious... that's torture, plain and simple, and sick. And here he comes again blaming the victim, claiming you're just a liar, and of course spreading his christianist mumbojumbo. With parents like THESE, yeesh.

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  101. Ruth, your father, or whoever is posting those mean-spirited screeds, is exhibiting classic narcissistic behavior. Obviously your blog can't be about you and your struggles to escape the self-defeating, self-loathing mindset you were raised in; it has to be directed at him because everything is about him. If it isn't a direct attack on him, it must be an effort to harm his creepy buddy or ATI or his chosen political candidate. Because he is a patriarch and the world revolves around whether or not he feels good about himself.

    What a load of horse manure.

    Jenny Islander

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  102. Oh, Ruth. Again, I doubt you'll see this comment on an old post, but I just had to say...
    What a sick man. What horrible things to experience as a child. It's sad that you weren't able to go to your parents for protection and safety. And how courageous you are to share these things. It must be painful to even write them for yourself.

    On a happier note, as I'm reading through your posts, I see a real progression in your writing and thinking. Not that I'm any judge of writing, but it seems to me you are growing immensely as a writer through this process. Looking forward to buying your book someday :)

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  103. my. word.

    people that train guide dogs for the blind even know they have to be trained it's sometimes ok to disobey a command.... like if the blind guy wants to cross the street & a car is coming....

    man;

    i have no words...

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