Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Conflict

Harris and I had an argument this weekend. In normal relationships, with normal, emotionally stable, that wouldn't be a big deal. Since this is really my first, mutual relationship, it took on it's own life (in my head). My parents didn't fight. It wasn't allowed, you could say. If my mother disagreed with something my father said or did, she kept her mouth shut. That's what I learned. It's the temptation I fight whenever I disagree with Harris (or anyone) and this weekend it started out the same. It was just that on this one point, even though my history was telling me to keep quiet, I reacted. Once I reacted, it felt so good I kept reacting until I was no longer reacting to the thing I was angry about. St. Harris figured that out before I did and physically left me to work it out on my own. Later, he said he was kind of glad that we'd fought and that it was "out of the way". Never in my life had I ever thought of arguing as a way to work things out because in my ATI experiences - you just go along with whatever you're dealt, as a woman/partner. The emphasis is on keeping sweet and non-conflict to the point that conflict becomes a dirty word. That's doing everyone a disservice. Conflict can be good. I think men like my father hide behind ATI/QF/Patriarchy because they can't deal with conflict. It's much easier for them to dominate by imaginary divine right. Anyway, it was just something I thought of.

That's the end of that babble.

My sister went back home. It's really hard for me to admit that because it hurts. It's her decision and I know that logically. She wasn't ready to be away - that's what I tell myself. She's still so young. My dad sent my mom, with Blessing, and another ATI family mom to get her. I wish there was more I could do.

Edit to add to this post:
Yes. I have heard that some are again doubting my story. It's their choice to doubt or believe. I'm not going to try to force them to believe or read this blog because that's not my job. The internet has people who attempt to hoax - people have been burned. I don't blame the people who question everything. It's probably the best position to take. What else can I say? If I got angry or tried to prove myself more than I have or am comfortable doing then I'm doing what I've done my whole life - letting others control me. I'm happy with my life and with the blog as it is. That's all. Thank you for making me aware.

44 comments:

  1. There's no such thing as a conflict-free relationship; the important part is making sure the conflicts are RESOLVED, hopefully without nastiness. Sounds like you and Harris are doing just fine, actually.

    I'm so sorry to hear about your sister. Seventeen IS very young, and I'm sure life "on the outside" was even more overwhelming than it was for you. Don't lose hope. She's seen what life can be like, and she isn't going to forget it.

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  2. Good that your sister at least got to see you - that's pretty important for you both! Take care of yourself!

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  3. Learning how to deal with conflict is essential (and all that 'sweet spirit' stuff is nauseating). It sounds like St. H. was pretty smart about it, and you've just experienced a) reacting and b) figuring out what you were reacting to and when you went beyond that. I suspect that the two of you will be able to argue with respect for each other.

    Your sister knows that support is available to her if she chooses to leave again. You've given her the kind of safety that many cult-leavers don't get. I don't know her particular reasons for going back, but if she was brave enough to try leaving at seventeen, hopefully her chances will increase as she gets older. Good luck to both of you.

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  4. Even though your sister was in the "outside" world for a short period, she now knows what it is like. Hopefully, she'll begin to question some of the Gothard paranoia, and the next time she decides to leave, it will be a permanent decision.

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  5. So glad you had conflict that that was healthy. when my husband and I hold premarital counseling sessions, we say this line to prepare those couples who think all marital relationships are bliss and that conflict is bad. It is..."Conflict in marriage doesn't mean you have a bad marriage it means you're married."
    I have to admit I do hate to have conflict in the beginning of the issue, but I know that confrontation and conflict can bring growth, freedom, and friendship. It is so true for me... by the end of the fight, discussion~what have you, the growth in the relationship is so worth as well as the freedom to express myself in conflict and a deeper level of friendship takes place. So glad you have taken this first step in learning to conflict. Way to go Harris for allowing Ruth to get it out.

    Erin

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  6. Glad that you were able to express yourself (your true feelings and thoughts) with Harris. That's how life is. The whole "keeping sweet" thing is making me sick.

    As far as your sister is concerned, 17 is indeed young, and also she isn't quite of legal age yet. So I gather that your mom and the other ATI-mom know where you live now? Or maybe the "drop-off" happened at a public place. Let's hope that it's the latter. I wouldn't trust your father or ANY of the people your family associates with WHATSOEVER.

    Interesting that she also brought "Blessing" with her (a young baby) as she travailed across the country. Maybe it was so you could meet your baby sister or maybe it was to guilt your 17 year-old sister to come home.

    I hope that you stay safe and keep your wits about you. I can't emphasize this enough. If this whole blog is real (which I hope/think it is), it would be extremely foolish to trust your family as far as you can throw them. Their need to control far exceeds any love they have for any of you kids (at least based on the "Anonymous" trolls that post on this blog). I hope that your sister isn't taken to some BG concentration camp or thrown into a prayer closet in order to repent and/or see the evils she perpetrated by getting out. Like I said, I don't mean to be an alarmist, but I am 47 years old and I had a similiar problem fleeing my own concentration camp (family) when I was 19. I was promised by my mom that we could talk and work things out. So, I flew back East 2000 miles only to find myself physically trapped inside her house with relatives holding me down physically trying to keep me there. Thankfully, the whole scenario was extremely loud and neighbors called the police which showed up promptly. Because I was of legal age, I was able on my own accord. I needed no one's permission to do so. I stayed at a friend's house for several days until it was time for my flight and I flew back to CA where I stayed for the next few years until I was able to work things out (to a degree) before I returned home. I realize that your sister is still a minor according to the law and secondly, as you said, she has to be ready for the whole process. It IS extremely scary for anyone to leave their domicile, especially for someone that's been as brainwashed to fear everyone such as your siblings have. To be out there with the wolves, the big, bad world, is not easy. You kids have had mental shackles placed on you big time.

    I am sort of sad to know that your family "won" this round, but more sad (and possibly scared) that your sister, now that she has shown her "hand", might not be able to leave again if she wants to as she might be closely watched now. Let's hope that she's not bethrothed to some ATI a-hole who will quickly take her girlhood away and turn her into an indentured servant. Forgive me for possibly introducing worry, but it's what is running through my mind right now. Whatever the case is, you can't live anyone's life for them. Each and every person has to make their own decision and apparently it wasn't the right time for your sister.

    Take care.

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  7. I wasn't with my sister when she left. The story is long and I don't think it would do her much good to go into the details of who she was staying with or how she got there (in detail). It may make it harder for her to leave if she chooses in the future. In the end, my dad claimed her as a runaway and there wasn't much to do to keep her here. If she didn't go back, he was prepared to have certain people declared as kidnappers for taking her out of state. She had an attorney and was working with an advocate but the attorney told her that she should go back and wait to be of legal age to leave. My dad agreed to allowing her to live with my brother's family (the brother who lives on the same plot of land as dad and mom) so long as she stayed in the area until she was eighteen. Blessing, mom, and the other woman came out to escort her home. Mom couldn't leave Blessing because she's nursing and, frankly, I doubt dad could have handled the job, even with Rani helping.

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  8. i am sad to hear that your sister had to go back, hopefully she will be able to get out again

    i have a sister (we were strict pentecostals) who is still at home but she has some mental issues and truly believes her life is ok...she takes care of our grandma as if she is her nurse and she said she isnt leaving home until some preacher guy comes and wants to be with her

    i hope some day somone can get through to my sister that there is more to life then living at home taking care of grandma and she will be 21 in a month...

    although i don't truly know how you feel i do know how it feels to know your sister is trapped (brainwashed in my opinion as it took me four years of being out to stop believeing half the stuff)

    BIG HUGS for you

    i am glad things are going good with Harris
    :-)

    ~Bella~ (i am sign it at the end with my name now becouse people don't seem to like when you use anonymous)

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  9. i had to edit, the reason she has mental issues is not becouse she believes her life is ok...they are medical mental issues...

    ~Bella~

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  10. I'm glad you had an argument with Harris and learned it's okay to disagree. So sorry your sister was forced back to the family prison. It isn't forever until she's 18. Hopefully, she won't be forced into a marriage and indentured servitude. I hope that your sister understands the cage door is open. She just has to walk through it like you did.

    I'm totally surprised your dad unchained your mother long enough to let her go fetch your sister. Noticed she couldn't do it on her own...she had to be supervised. (Are gothardite males of the opinion that it takes 2 women to equal 1 man?) Is your dad afraid she'll leave him too?

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  11. Ruth,
    I am sorry that your sister had to leave. Like others have said, even though she was out in the "real World" for a little while, maybe she will realize that this is what she wants and is counting the days till she turns 18. Also about you are Harris having arguments are a part of being in any kind of relationship, it can make some grow.

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  12. Ruth,
    I, too, am sorry to hear about your sister, but I hope she will be able to leave if she wants to when she turns 18. I hope your dad didn't tell her she could stay with your brother just so she would come back, only to "change his mind" when she got home.

    Do you think there will be any retaliation against your sister from your dad because she chose to run? I hope not. I would worry about him taking out his anger on your siblings who are still at home because he knows it would get to you. I hope I'm wrong.

    You are in my thoughts,
    Alicia

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  13. PART I

    Dear Ruth,

    Thank you for your follow-up post in which you clarify how your sister was taken back home. I’m so sorry that it came to that, but I fully understand how your father used the run-a-way teen legal angle to get her back. I also understand how you, your brother, or both could be charged with kidnapping and aiding and abetting a minor. The attorney your sister had apparenty hadn’t read this blog or taken the time to research patriarchy and the abuses that stem from the system. In my opinion (which could be wrong), she took the easy way out by counseling her to go back to the abusive system from which she fled from to begin with. I am finding it hard to believe that that was the BEST legal counsel for her client, but that is neither here nor there at this point. Yes, I do hope that things work out for her in the future.

    When I left at age 19 (as I stated above), the way that my mother, uncle and aunt (there was no dad as my mom and dad divorced when I was 5 and he lived out of the country), tried to get me back is to file charges of grand theft auto (I took my vehicle with me). Legally, it WAS grand theft auto because the vehicle was titled in my mom’s name. The truth of the matter is that I purchased the vehicle from an aunt who was dying. I used the vehicle to drive her to her radiation treatments and back (as my mom didn't drive). I purchased the vehicle with my own money that I saved up from working. My family convinced me to put the title in my mom’s name due to lower insurance costs. Yes, I was the naïve, ignorant and stupid - BIG TIME, I fully admit that looking back now. After my aunt passed away that summer of 1982, I left that same Fall. I was basically forced to leave because things got worse and worse in every respect. It had to do with religion. It’s a very complicated story. In any case, their legal tactic was to file grand theft auto charges in hopes of getting me back home. I ended up driving the vehicle back East and dropped it off at a local mall and flew back. They could have “their” car and stick it. It didn’t end there. I also got screwed over as it pertained to that same aunt’s will as she left her assets to my brother and me. 6 years later, my brother got his full portion (and more), I got nothing. That’s another complicated story. Same happened when our mother passed away years later. Basically, it’s been a long history of being screwed over if you’re a nice, trusting person who believes in what people tell you. I believed that you could trust your family with telling the truth; I have found out that I was wrong. This is why I am the skeptic that I am now as it pertains to these very controlling, patriarchal type family situations.

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  14. PART II

    Ruth, things will work out for you, they really will. There are guardian angels looking out for you. Everyone on this board and in life knows why you had to leave. We all know why your sister wanted to leave. Life couldn’t have been so easy for her either.

    Unfortunately, there is the matter of her being underage and that’s the card that your dad chose to play. Fortunately, time does go by and she will eventually be of legal age. I still don’t know what to think of your mom. I am still upset that she goes along with the whole patriarchal abuse thing. I wonder if she even knows anything else now. I don’t know if she could leave if she wanted to. That’s the thing with this whole system. Once you get entrenched into it, it is extremely hard to get out because the shackles are placed on your mind and your whole being. They are invisible to the world, but they are real and visible to the person who is wearing them. The trouble is that oftentimes, they can’t even see them. Then there are the real legal issues like that of child custody, etc. That’s why I am saying, I hope that your sister is not married off to someone who will fully entrench her in this life because it will be SO hard to get out later.

    Ruth, thank you for sharing with us your story. I do hope that someday if and when you feel safe enough and strong enough you share your full story through writing a book. It is time for this country to wake up to the fact that while we are overseas fighting the Taliban and the stranglehold they have there, we are being encroached by our own version of the Taliban, the Christian fundamentalist Taliban who wish to fully entrench our country with fundamentalist religious law. That is the LAST thing that we need.

    Ruth, you are loved. Please take care of yourself and just take life one day at a time. That’ all that any of us can do.

    ((Hugs))

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  15. Ruth, I don't know how to edit (or if we have the ability to do so), but I just wanted to clarify that I DO understand why the attorney your sister had counseled her to go back home. While it might not have been the best counsel for your sister, it was probably the easiest way to drop the kidnapping charges (if they were filed). Yeah, you and/or your brother could have fought it, but it would have compromised your safety, your whereabouts, and everything else. I totally "get" how your dad could have killed (so to speak) several birds with one stone. What a weasel. Some day when all of his kids are of age and he's an old man sitting in his Depends diapers, waiting for someone to change them, he might have time to think about all that he's done in his life to hurt people, especially his kids. Same goes for Bill Gothard, the conniving snake oil salesman, who has mastered in perverting the bible for his own personal (and selfish) agenda. It's sickening, really.

    Sorry, for my rant.

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  16. Your first fight, great! Sounds like Harris is a fine man. Allowing you to get it out and then staying around to help you understand. Sounds like a keeper to me.

    I am sorry your sister went back home. But, she did get to see the whole wide world from a different perspective and that is priceless for her.
    Here's hoping she tries life again and again; until she is ready to join it.

    To your naysayers.............Thffffffffffft!

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  17. Hey, are there any police officers/juvenile officers/etc. reading out here? Because I was of the opinion that the police and court system are way too busy to look for runaways, and will only respond when pressured and the person is at a known location. Further, I was told that the police won't do anything if the seventeen year old wants to stay, is well cared for, and is responsible (not a druggie in a flop house).

    Is this scenario accurate? Or does it depend on the legal resources of the parent? As in, if your parents are poor and uneducated the cops do nothing, but if your parents have a lawyer and means to pursue people that get in their way, then the cops take you?

    I am curious if anyone in that profession is willing/can tell how these things work in IRL, not on paper.

    Also, that is total bs that she or her brother could be charged with kidnapping- TOTAL BS! It makes me think that the person who wrote that is one of Daddy Darths moles.

    Kidnapping is where you force someone against their will to go with you and then keep them there against their will! It's a felony, and if you use a weapon it's punishable by the death penalty.

    Aiding and abetting a runaway is the most serious charge anyone could get in this case, and even then you will not be charged unless the police (not Daddy Darth!) point blank ask you where she was and you repeatedly, knowingly lie to them. They'll even give you a couple of warnings.

    Finally, I know from personal experience that when you are arrested for being a runaway, you will appear before a family court judge. He will not be on Daddy Darth's side. There they will actually listen to you and what you have to say. Worst case scenario- they would put her in foster care until she was eighteen. No family court judge would send a 17 year old back to any home that was even accused of emotional/physical abuse. In fact, the judge would probably order a CPS investigation to determine whether or not the other children were safe.

    I know this from experience. My control freak mother called me in as a runaway, and boy was she mad when the judge didn't do what she wanted! I was put in foster care, where I had everything I needed and was treated with great respect and affection until I was eighteen.

    The government is not our enemy, and though I may seem Daddy Darth with all his talk of authority can control the government, he doesn't. A 17 yr old runaway (especially one not on drugs or chasing a boyfriend) will be treated with respect in a court of law.

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  18. Hi Ruth,

    Can I give a hearty recommendation to a presentation our life group at church went through a few months ago? It's called "Love and Respect" by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. You can find the DVD collection on Amazon for around 25 bucks with the shipping. Might even find it at the library. In any case, it is excellent, excellent stuff pertaining to marriage. I think you and Harris would really enjoy it; it's funny, poigniant and very well balanced. I would say, "certified free of patriarchal hooey". :)

    Blessings,

    Jim K.

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  19. @Shadowspring -

    You mean we don't have to wear an aluminum foil propeller beanie to keep the satellites from monitoring our thoughts? :)

    Jim K.

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  20. Ruth, your sister is around 16/17 years old (I can't recall)?? Does that mean as a repercussion of "running away" that your father will be trying to bethroth her straightaway to "settle" her down? I will pray protection from any of this for her until she can leave of her own free will.
    Take Good Care,
    Sue

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  21. @Shadowspring: I wish I had known that when my mother was terrorizing me when I was 15/16. As horrible as that was, I was terrified that I would be put in a foster home that would be worse. I ended up living with my grandma, who is just as crazy as my mom (she raised her, after all!), but in a different way. *sigh*

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  22. PS...You are right Donna about the perversion of scripture on the part of Gothard and ATI. ATI has made Gothard a god and therefore have broken the first commandment (ya, the one about no other gods before me)...they are nothing more than a bonafide cult. Below is from a Christian text on cults:

    -Toxic Faith: A Christian Analysis of a Cult-

    ----Sociological Characteristics:

    1. Deceptive recruiting practices.

    2. Dynamic and authoritarian leadership.

    3. Elitism.

    4. Cultic vocabulary.

    5. Alienation from family and friends.

    6. Legalism.

    7. Induced fatigue.

    8. Sanction oriented.

    9. Anti-intellectual.

    10. Thought stopping.

    11. No professional clergy.

    12. Doctrine in flux/ false prophesies.

    13. Financial exploitation.

    14. Mind control


    --ATI fits most of these categories.
    ~Sue

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  23. Ruth, this blog is not about we readers. It is about you. It is for you to work through your stuff and heal. That's it. I'm just thankful that you are allowing us to go along on the ride with you.

    As for your sister, she is young. She left once which means that, if she decides to, she will be able to leave again. Hopefully at that point she will be more equiped to handle it.

    Sounds like you have a great guy in Harris.

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  24. Shadowspring, you said: "Also, that is total bs that she or her brother could be charged with kidnapping- TOTAL BS! It makes me think that the person who wrote that is one of Daddy Darths moles." In response to that, you might want to re-read Ruth's follow-up post in which she mentions "kidnapping"
    - "If she didn't go back, he was prepared to have certain people declared as kidnappers for taking her out of state." So before you accuse people of being "moles", be sure to read ALL of the posts.

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  25. Bummer. I was kinda looking forward to my own stylish aluminum foil propeller beanie. :P

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  26. I second the Love and Respect book that Jim K mentioned.

    Erin

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  27. Woo, girl! Your description of "reacting" brought back memories of when I finally was able to "vent," as we called it, back then. My folks weren't fundamentalists but they did strongly discourage candor. Heh! You just keep on writing what's helpful to you and leave the naysayers to their own oatmeal. Of course, if you want to engage them in convo, do so, but if not, d-o-n't!!!! I'm happy "Saint Harris" (hee!) was wise enough to perceive what you were doing and leave you to pursue it alone. God bless you, young friend!

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  28. "he was prepared to have certain people declared as kidnappers for taking her out of state"

    My apologies, Donna. So Daddy Darth was the one claiming to have the authority "to have certain people declared as kidnappers"?

    NO CITIZEN HAS THE AUTHORITY TO DO THAT!

    The justice department and the police department do not work for Daddy Darth. They are agents of the US government, and they cannot be manipulated successfully by control freak parents- although I am sure that new control freak parents try them out every year!

    Actually, getting the government involved is a total bluff. ATI parents are scared as all get out of social workers and child abuse investigations. And well they should be.

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  29. Shadowspring, that's alright; apology accepted. :)

    To be truthful, this whole scenario is very upsetting because, I too, like you, can't believe how the law can be manipulated to send the victim back to their abuser(s). I do agree with you that ATI parents can be bluffing. Considering how the abuse is contained in their hermetically-sealed world, I doubt that they would want their dirty little secrets exposed to authorities. Of course, this is one of the reasons they are able to fly under the radar. The whole thing is just disheartening for someone like Ruth's sister who was so close to emancipation, yet was counseled by her attorney to go back home. What kind of competent attorney or advocate does this? So, when Ruth mentioned that fact that her father threatened to file kidnapping charges unless the sister returned back home, then it sort of made sense of why the legal counsel suggested for her to return. Reading what I've typed, it sounds like I'm trying to convince myself that the counsel was right; I don't think that I'm convinced thoroughly though. If anything, Shadowspring, I think, what it is, more than anything, is that it takes 100% full-on conviction that the separation from the family is the right thing to do. There is no room for wavering on that. I think that Daddy Darth counted on the fact that the Ruth's sister/legal counsel would fold at the first sign of resistance. We know that he's already tried that strategy (unsuccessfully) on this blog in order to play on Ruth's mind, but thankfully, Ruth was at the point in her life where her belief in herself and her decision was solid.

    Thank you for your comments; I admire the fire and conviction that you have. Keep it up! :)

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  30. Emancipation is not an easy process and from what I understand, a jobless, homeless teen would not qualify. A lawyer who does not regularly deal with family court would look at the statutes and see that Ruth's sister would not qualify and recommend she return home.

    An advocate for abused women/children would look at it totally differently.

    An advocate for abused women/children would likely recommend she go to a shelter (DV or runaway) and await the legal system. If Daddy Darth pressed charges, she would be safe there while the lawyer found another guardian (relative or court-approved foster family). They would ask if she had relatives she could stay with, who would be willing to endure Daddy Darth's wrath and slander. A family court judge would likely approve that.

    The person may have been an excellent lawyer, but a terrible advocate for abused women/children.

    When a seventeen year old leaves home, a serious clean (no drugs or sex) teenager just up and leaves, the courts will listen to her if she winds up before the courts. A runaway who absolutely refuses to return home or runs away repeatedly will wind up in court. This is to her advantage. Daddy Darth will not want her talking about being locked in prayer closets in the dark for hours, days in a row, with no food.

    But it is just as likely that if she simply refused to go home, Daddy Darth would have backed off.

    Being assigned a new guardian until you are of age is much easier to come by (not easy or pleasant, but easiER) than becoming emancipated-whether foster parent, shelter, or relative.

    It is practically impossible to get emancipated. You have to prove you have and can keep a job, pay all your own bills, and continue your education. Trust me, I know. Very, very few teens qualify for emancipation.

    But there are many teens in foster care, runaway shelters and placed with relatives. It's a much easier scenario to play out than emancipation.

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  31. ps to add: At least Ruth's sister is staying with her brother and not her father! That is a huge improvement, no doubt. Baby steps, baby steps.

    Kudos to her brother. Kudos to everyone helping her grow up and away from abuse.

    I apologize for going on and on about my experiences. This is not My blog. Forgive me Ruth. :(

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  32. Sorry for your sister--I hope she is ok at home with your brother. Question: I know the Duggars say they have all that land so their kids can build there, too, "if they choose" --is this an ATI thing?

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  33. Oh my snap! Ruth for your doubters, I have found proof that things are really rotten in the independant Baptist movement.....

    "Tina Anderson was only 15 when she said she was forced to stand terrified before her entire Baptist congregation to confess her "sin" -- she had become pregnant. What she wasn't allowed to tell the group was that the pregnancy was the result of being raped by a church deacon, a man twice her age."

    Simply awful....my heart goes out to this poor girl and it goes out to you too Ruth and ever other young woman trapped in this sick twisted perversion of Christianity. Keep telling your story Ruth.

    You may read the rest at this link....

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/MindMoodNews/alleged-rape-victim-accuses-trinity-baptist-church-deacon/story?id=10806348

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  34. Yes, Hopewell.

    My In Laws bought acreage for the sole purpose of all of their children building houses on the land to stay by their parents. (they are Gothardites)

    Interestingly enough, none of their children live on their land and very few actually speak to the parental units.

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  35. If you read the article from the link Sam posted, there is another link to a Facebook public site of victims of IFB/ATI etc...it is an excellent site for survivors!

    Sue

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  36. Did you all see where the pastor told this rape victim that if she was living in the OT times, she'd be stoned to death?

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  37. to Jim K, I thought the "love and respect" meeting I saw was just chalk full of the patriarchy and gender essentialism-- which to my mind is destructive of full humanity. Women need respect too, (and especially women from Ruth's background have basically NEVER been told they could ever have any!) and men really do need affection as well.

    What is love BUT respect plus affection? You can't really love someone you don't respect, and their use of "love" is pretty much interchangeable with the more descriptive term "affection." And the focus on women needing that... well, let's just say it's only a slightly more watered down bit of the belief that women need to be kept at home and all they need is some affection, they don't need to work outside the house because that is how you would get social respect, but social respect is what *men* need.

    Anyway, I just really experienced that series badly, perhaps other people have a different experience, but I don't think it's at all an unqualified good.

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  38. Margaret/CappuccinoLifeJune 3, 2010 at 6:13 PM

    I liked Love and Respect. It perfectly described the cycle my husband and I would get into. Which was, truly, "crazy"--the word the book uses. It took my husband and I a while to learn how to disagree without fighting and without hurting each other, and without going in the opposite direction and shutting down or not speaking up.

    But if you find too much emphasis on gender differences to be disturbing, maybe pick up some of the books from the Gottman Institute (www.gottman.com)

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  39. Thank you soo much to the person who posted the link. What a horrible thing for that to have to happen that that poor girl. What a scary thing, no one diserves what happened to her.

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  40. It's really nice to see other party verification of the craziness Ruth has described. Maybe that will shut up the delusional anons...I'm looking at you Darth Pater! as well as those who doubt Ruth's story.

    Keep going Ruth. I've been out for 14 years. It does get better with time.

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  41. I had such a celebration the year that I turned 35, because that meant I had lived more years as a free person than I had under my mom's legal thumb. =D It does get better with time! Better and better and better! n_n

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  42. BG is my cousin. I totally sympathize with the part of your story that I was able to read. I am very interested in reading more about your struggle growing up in this life-suppressing theology.

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  43. These are all really good points!

    As a relationship expert (www.ChoiceRelationships.com), I would like to add that couples need to know that conflicts are bound to happen. But here's the good news: there are skills they can learn so that they can handle them better. When they do, their partnerships fare much better. I offer a free teleseminar, "The 7 Tools to Manage Conflict Communication in Your Relationship." To hear it, go to: http://choicerelationships.com/teleseminar_resources.

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  44. I was fortunate enough to be raised in a Christian Homeschool family that recognized ATI for what it is. Still, I had friends in the program and even went to a couple events of some kind. I've had a front row seat to a lot of families that go through the same thing yours is now.

    Some encouragement I would give is that since you, your brother and now your little sister have all shown signs of rejecting this lifestyle the amount of emotional abuse your father is capable of with your younger siblings has been greatly reduced. Things were especially hard for you because I'm sure most of the time when you had doubts you thought you were the only one. One of those "The Emperor Has No Clothes" kind of situations. Now that someone has spoken up it gives your siblings a fighting chance to defend themselves emotionally and rationally. The crack you've formed in this ATI prison your father has locked everyone up in will widen and because of you your younger siblings will have it much much easier than you did. It will be hard, but they will be okay.

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