Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

I wanted to make a separate post from the "Notes from Dad" post.
I've read every comment regarding my broken engagement and I want to send out a "Thank You" to everyone who wrote in. Your words of wisdom were much needed and your perspective was appreciated. I purposefully withheld from writing/blogging/communicating with you all for a few weeks because I didn't know if I could handle re-living the break-up everyday. As it is/was, it didn't matter - not reliving it and analyzing it is impossible.

The truth is that I don't know where to go from here. Despite firmly believing in my head that my life's happiness isn't wrapped up in a man, my heart still clings to that childhood belief. When you grow up hearing, and continue to hear (through family), that you can't be a full woman without a husband and a family, not having either (especially at my age) makes me feel like I've failed.

My dad's right in certain respects. My life hasn't been a resounding endorsement of living life the way I do. Let's face truth- I am an adult who really can't support myself financially. Despite trying as hard as I have, my goal of getting a college degree is taking longer than most and I'm in a constant state of financial struggle. It's discouraging. More honesty- when I thought I would be getting married to Harris, I dared to imagine a certain amount of security that now seems like it will never happen. It's easy for me to see why people return to, or can't leave, a quiverful home. There's no safety net.

It does feel like God is punishing me. I hate to say that because, for the last few years, I've tried to stay open to the idea of God being a loving entity. Now I just don't know anymore. That's not to say my personal decisions haven't been responsible for a majorty of my life challenges, but I just wonder when that whole "God will never give you more than you can handle" becomes nothing more than a bumper sticker? I am at the end of my rope. If God exists, then why is this life I'm running towards more difficult than just capitulating?

2012 is here and it's hard to see a positive. Before anyone asks, the answer is "Yes! I am back with my therapist." I'm not suicidal...I'm just tired. I'm taking medication for depression- another double-edged-sword. Medications are expensive and they were forbidden in my childhood. They were seen as a sign of weakness. Every horrible forecast of despair that I'd been told would happen if I abandoned the ATI/QF plan has come to pass. My only consolation is that I also see non-ATI/QF/Christian people who seem very happy, unbroken, and unmedicated, too! Maybe there is hope. Maybe I'm just doing it wrong. Ha! Maybe I haven't found that life for me, yet?

Thank you, my readers, for helping me see past this break-up. Thank you for being there to listen. I wish all of you a wonderful 2012.


  1. Medications are not a tool of the devil, they are a necessary part of being a healthy human. Trust me, if I wasn't on the anti depressants, my kids life would have been more of a trauma than it already was. Take the pills. God made the scientists who made the pills to make us better.
    Happy New Year. No more accidents missy!

  2. Life is hard for all of us, Ruth. That's the point. Running away from life's challenges, in this case by constructing a series of barricades consisting of religious and familial delusions, is not living at all. The life you escaped is one unworthy of a human being. It is antipodal to meaningful experiences and freedom. You will learn from your setbacks, as we all do on our journeys to discovering ourselves and our places in this world. Your father's path is a desolate one, and to have rejected it *is* a ringing endorsement of your intelligence and character.

  3. Ruth, you said it so well in your post to your Dad. Your life may be difficult, but it is *your* life.

    Also know that a lot of good people are struggling right now, and there are forces a lot larger than you can affect at play. The economy has been tanking for the past few years. A lot of people can't find work / enough work. Scholarships are drying up and programs are being cut back. Sure, God is sovereign, but in my mind these things are more to do with a crappy economy than a God who is out to punish you.

    Keep going. Few things that are worth doing are ever easy. You're doing well.

  4. There is logic to this, Ruth -- and it's not that God is punishing you.

    The fact is that if the patriarchal opressive lifestyle was a GOOD way to raise HEALTHY self-sufficient adult offspring... nobody would think it was a bad thing. Nobody would care if people embraced that lifestyle and subjected children to it.

    We (many of your readers) are angered by patriarchal opression of families specifically and exactly because it is BOUND to result in people who struggle with handling ordinary secular life, who have difficulty supporting themselves financially, who deal with the effects of the abuse on their long term mental health, and who have to learn many of the 'personhood' lessons of adolescence well past the age when most people are not prevented from doing so!

    The consiquences you are living are the precise evidence of what was wrong with how you were raised and abused.

    And yet you are still viewing them upside down, as if they were the results of you having walked away from that abuse.

    Yes, it's safer to stay in the system -- and never realize that you weren't ever supposed to become an adult, and were not provided with the skills or opportunities to do so. But to stay in that system, to become married and appear adult, yet remain subject to patriarchal opression... to do that, you would have had to join them.

    What's hard is meeting the real world and having to make choices without a safety net -- and then living with those choices and realizing that tough times aren't the end of the world. Lo and behold, another day, not quite as bad as yesterday... 363 of them... Then another year after that. And...

    God is loving -- and because He is loving, He is respectful. A lot of the crap in our lives is there not because God chose it, but because God chose to respect the choice of other people when they enacted their freedom to be evil. That sucks... but a God who wouldn't let people be evil if they wanted to: is that a good option?

  5. Ruth, I've been a believer and a non-believer - and in my experience there is no correlation there to happiness or "success"....

    So far my life journey has been;

    1) brought up in a "nominally Christian" (but not church attending) family - I was lucky to have had a very happy childhood.

    2)I had a conversion experience in my early 20's becoming a fundamentalist christian - I was both happy at times, and also very sad and unhappy at other times.

    3)later in my life, I'm now a weak athiest (or strong agnostic, if you prefer!.) I've had bad times, been low and had counselling to help. I've had great times, and been very happy.

    For me, my greatest support has been people rather than God - family and friends have always been a great help, as has professional support when necessary.

    The main thing, though, has been to be true to myself - when I was struggling with my failing faith and pretending to myself and others I still believed, I was at my most unhappy. I know that you are at a different place, spiritually, but if I had any advice for you, it would be to remain true to yourself - but that is a lesson you seem to have learnt well!

    I do hope you have friends and support around you, and wish you all the very best for 2012.


  6. Your life is so difficult right now not because you left the ATI/QF lifestyle, but because growing up in that lifestyle left you without some critically important tools that children in healthy families learn as a matter of course. You are now singlehandedly teaching yourself how to be an adult in our society. I admire you.

    Regarding medication, taking antidepressants for depression is no more a sign of weakness than taking insulin for diabetes or wearing corrective lenses for nearsightedness. I am grateful every day for the three prescription medications I take: one keeps me out of the hospital (I have a serious chronic illness), one keeps my metabolism running at the correct speed, and one helps moderate my moods and irritability. I don't think I am a weak person and nobody who knows me thinks that, either.

  7. This is a process. No one starts a new life without bumps in the road. Let's face it, you were not given the skills to live on your own like most children. Of course it may take you longer to come into your own. You are not a failure, and don't let your father make you feel like you are. The fact that you even considered going to college with no support from your parents takes a lot of guts! Most people in college are pretty poor unless their parent's are paying for it. You are not alone there.

    All good things are worth working for. I know you are going to be successful in whatever you want to do with your life! - PAM

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  9. Everyone needs a family, but a woman's family does not have to consist of a husband and children. Nor does anyone's 'family' have to include blood relations. My parents weren't QF, but they were authoritarian and I had to leave them. I'm still in the process, but over the years I've built a new sort of family of friends, dogs and a non-traditional romantic partnership. I'm sure that with enough time you can build a 'family' for yourself too. Your struggles aren't evidence that your father is right or that you've done anything wrong. They simply evince the fact that life can be damned hard sometimes. I hope I've given you courage and hope. I hope that for you (and everyone) 2012 ends better than it begun.


  10. Ruth, you are doing SO WELL considering how you started out. It is just really really really hard to make it on your own - lots of people hit rough spots as adults and end up living with family, or taking loans or gifts from their parents. It's not uncommon for parents to buy their kid a car, or help with tuition, or give some money for a house downpayment - and it's nearly universal for good parents to be good for job networking, or a little cash in a hard time.

    Everyone needs help in life, however they were raised and no matter how awesome they are.

  11. Okay, first of all, your dad is not right in any respect. Pointing to your suffering as evidence of God's displeasure with you is cruel and manipulative. And it's not just ATI families that do that.

    Think about it. How do fundamentalists explain their own suffering? It's from Satan, right? It's usually presented as evidence of their goodness. That they're doing exactly what they should be doing and that makes Satan nervous. But when someone outside their circle suffers, it's unquestioned that it's the result of sin.

    Now, if a fundamentalist has things going well, that's taken as evidence of God's blessing, but if someone outside their circle is doing well? Well of course it's because Satan is lying to them, trying to make their path to destruction easy and pleasant.

    It's the perfect way to control someone. No matter what they do, you have evidence that they were wrong.

    Life is hard for most of use. It just is. It's not always (or even usually!) evidence that we made bad choices. Most of us struggle with finances, relationships, and just life in general. Trust me when I say that you will make your life 10,000 times harder if you ever allow yourself to start buying into your dad's explanations for this. It's difficult, but you have to practice stopping your thoughts in their tracks when you start to even consider believing your dad. Life is hard, and we can't explain it, it just is.

    In any case, it took me much longer to get through college than most people and I'm doing great, happy in my career and in life. And I've struggled financially for most of my life and understand how difficult that is. It's a special kind of stress that doesn't go away, but it's not a sign of failure. Most people struggle in their 20s when they don't have parents to bail them out. It's normal. You really will be fine.

  12. Oh honey, sometimes the universe just throws a load of crap at you. It's not punishment, it's just how life is.

    My husband and I thought earlier this year that we were in such a good state financially and personally that it was the right time to have a baby. So we got pregnant. And the shit hit the fan. So many unforeseen financial expenses that we haven't been able to pay our rent at times. And then my mom was having issues with her family. And my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, and it seems the treatment would be worse than the disease at his age.

    I feel guilty because I'm not working. I'm getting my master's, but it's taking forever, too. I think, if I was working all of our financial problems would go away. But I can't seem to get a job, particularly one that would pay for daycare.

    I get depressed and sad and I don't know what to do at times. But I'm trying to look on the bright side, to a better future.

    You need to do the same. You've seen things can get better, you can have a real relationship, you can find a better future than the one your parents decided for you.

    -Lauren H.

  13. By the way, I take anti-depressants, and have been for over 8 years. It's nothing to be ashamed of. I would not be able to function without them.

    -Lauren H.

  14. Just wanted to add that I'm almost 30 and have never married and am so so so so so so thankful for that. I have changed so much since my early 20s that I can't even imagine what my life would have been like had I married then. Well, actually I can imagine it and it makes me shudder. In any case, studies show that women who marry in their 30s report greater happiness and satisfaction in their marriages and tend to stay married longer. You are still so young!

    Do you have a good group of single girlfriends? Because I've found that to be the single most important factor in my happiness as a single woman. If you're living in an area where everyone is married, it's incredibly difficult to be single. I live in a big city where many are single even through their 30s, and it's great. I'd strongly urge you to find a city like that once you graduate and find a good group of girlfriends. It makes all the difference.

    Also, your taking medication is not a sign of weakness. It's a sign that you're stronger than your dad who desperately needs medication but refuses to take it.

  15. a large reason why you're struggling is because you have a limited support system. college students rely on their parents a lot- that's why many poor people never get college degrees. i would suggest finding a real life support system... friends, a community... people who believe in you and believe you can do it. it's one thing hearing words of affirmation from strangers on the internet, but nothing can replace a hug from a friend.

  16. Ruth, struggling, even mightily struggling, through college is not a punishment from God. Many of us have lived on Ramen noodles (I haven't had a cup of Ramen noodles since!) and were unable to afford even new underwear or socks for four or five years. Many of us had no parental support whatsoever, financial or otherwise. Your experience right now is far from atypical and it is certainly not a punishment from God.

    Your are down right now. You are grieving a relationship in which you were quite invested, which is appropriate and right. It will pass in due time if you face and process your pain. I know everything seems hard and the future is uncomfortably uncertain right now. It's this discomfort that challenges and stretches us, and ultimately empowers us, so please don't despair.

    Stay the course, marshal your resources (counselor, friends, community resources, college resources, medication!, and anything else that you can), and don't be afraid to ask for help. It will get better. I'm sure of it. ((((hugs))))

  17. I hate that you feel so alone in this. You aren't the only college student/twenty something woman that believes that she needs a man to be fulfilled. I feel that way too and I don't come from a religious family. Disney movies, literature, the media, all of these things can be very persuasive in showing what an "ideal" should be.

    The decision that you made to separate yourself and become independent from your family shows how strong you are. Yes, it's hard feeling like you have no support system, it's hard when you feel like you never have enough money and are constantly struggling, college is hard and overwhelming, but that's just life. Life is hard. Everyone struggles, is struggling especially now. It isn't "God's punishment" it's just the way it is. Ask people who look like they are happy and secure. They weren't just born happy and secure, they struggled too. I think as humans, we are more likely to focus on the bad, shitty things in our life rather than remind ourselves of the good things. Sometimes when I'm feeling down, I remind myself of how things could be worse. I'm healthy and the people that I love are healthy and alive, and then I know what really matters.

    You don't have to know where your going, you just have to not give up. Keep going to school, keep doing things you enjoy and take it one day at a time. I too, like to believe that once I finish my BA and my bf finishes school and we both have full time jobs, then we will move in together and have this "secrity" that everyone else seems to have but me. Well I'm four months away from graduations and more scared than I've ever been.

    You will get through this. You will find your happy place. You are already halfway there, the best is yet to come.

    someone who understands.

  18. You're in your mid-20's, and you're in school, struggling financially, and not sure what to do about your love life? Honey, you're just like a ton of other people. You're fine. You'll get through this. Also, there is nothing wrong with taking meds if you need them! To help with the cost, many pharmacies offer cheap generics- I was getting my anti-depressants at Target for just $4 a month for a while. You should look into it.

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  20. Hi again Ruth,
    Are you open to researching (in your free time - as if a student has much of that) Narcissistic Personality Disorder (also known as Malignant Narcissism) and co-dependency? Perhaps you could explore with your therapist the idea that your parents may have displayed these qualities - and that they may have affected your development. While I am not a mental health professional, I am the child of a parent with NPD and a co-dependent.

    It appears to me that your father was grooming you to be a reliable source of "narcissistic supply" and when you did not cooperate he behaved, and continues to behave, in an entirely predictable manner. I treat my dad as if he had drug resistant TB: a sick person who I love, but from a very safe distance and I have limited or no contact. You may find strategies such as this helpful. Discuss it with your therapist. It may open up a world of understanding to you and assist in your healing.

    God is not punishing you. Everyone has hard times, if only they were honest and open about them (many people hide these things and/or lie about them). The "experiences" you are having in this phase of your life are helping you develop strength of character, resilience, wisdom and, hopefully, empathy, among other positive and useful qualities. All these things will pass, although it may feel now like the bad times will last forever. There are actually scientific theories on why this is so.

    It is OK to not have all the answers and to feel lost sometimes. The journey to finding answers is rewarding in and of itself. You have shown us all that you will get there. If a bunch of cynical seen-it-all worldly folk believe this, then I hope that will life you up a bit and move you a few steps forward.

  21. It's not easy for anyone whether marrying or not. Marriage isn't the panacea your parents have instilled in you, and whether a person marries or not is not a sign of their success or failure.

    To steal a phrase: It gets better. Stay strong, you are better than the disaster you got out of.

  22. Ruth: what they've all said! Come PM me or anybody else who feels like potential cyberfamily over at FJ when you need a shoulder, a lift, encouragement, hugs!

    God IS with you, and His/Her presence has NOTHING to do w/ your dad. God is with YOU.

    So are we. <3, Mama Junebug

  23. I've been feeling the same way this past summer, questioning God, wondering if he was punishing me, honeslty questioning his existance. I'm working through it all little by little, with the help of a therepist.

    If you want, I could share some of what I've been learning, it's helping me, helping me see why I should stay on this crappy earth even though heaven is such a better place. Helping me know I'm not being punished.

    I grew up in ATI too. If you want someone to talk/vent too, just e-mail me.

    Also, although I think it would require a move for you but I do have a spare room that could be yours if you need to get away from where you are.

    I can be reached at

  24. Ruth, talk to your health care provider about medication samples, and/or contact the manufacturer regarding free meds and the qualifications for free meds.

    Most of us who read your blog have struggled financially; it's almost a right of passage. I recall a time where we were excited to discover a coupon for a free movie, and another for a free 2-liter of soda. The weekly grocery deal included low-cost garlic toast and we were excited to have a "real" spaghetti dinner with a movie.

    Another time I had to borrow money from my boss to fix my car. We ate a lot of Top Ramen in those days! Right now, we don't have the money to pay for the new water heater that was installed a few weeks ago...they'll have to settle for payments.

    Despite this, I feel very wealthy. We have a roof over our heads, food in our stomachs, and we're warm despite the temperatures.

    There is a lot more I could say, but you are a smart woman going through a hard time and you don't need a lot of patronizing comments. I hope I've offered you a bit of support.

    Peace and love. PS: God can take your anger.

  25. Ruth God is not punishing you. God is love, not pain. But you are experiencing life. The good and the bad. Have faith that what you go through today will make you stronger (and more appreciative) when you enjoy the good. The good will come. Just live, you'll be okay.

  26. Hello Ruth,
    I know that things feel tough right now, but I also know that things have a way of getting better. Don't buy into the lies that your family wants you to believe. You deserve to be happy, and you will be. Bad things happen to good people and needing anti-depressants is no worse than needing penicillin. Please take care and surround yourself with caring, loving people.

  27. What they all said. So many people love you, Ruth, really. You're going to make it. You can fight back. Come hang with the FJ's, many of us are in your corner.

    OK, and I'm just going to say what has been going through my head as I got caught up on your story:

    Your dad is a DICK.

    Hugs to you, strong lady.

  28. I don't have words for how horrible a human being your father is. I don't even want to call him human.

    Hang in there. I wish you still had your PayPal button, because I'm finally having a fantastic year after some very bad ones and I'd like to treat you to something you like. Every girl needs a friend who takes her out after a relationship ends and I hope you have someone doing that for you.

  29. Ru, I've followed your blog for a year, and although I've never commented I've been cheering you on from the sidelines. Usually there are so many commenters with great advice, I feel like everything I would like to say needs to be said by the time I find the thread.

    However, I wanted to add that through most of my 20's I've struggled financially and I'm just starting to get to the point where I have pocket money. This was the first Christmas since I've been married where my husband and I have been able to exchange presents. However, my financial increase was due to a promotion at work which means an increase in responsibility, so there is that stress too. If it isn't one thing its another ;-)

    Ruth, your an amazing girl and you have come so far, and with yr drive you will go far. You are wise beyond your years and have made some extremely difficult decisions that most people in their lives are too timid to make. Your father does not know you,, nor does he want to know who Ruth is...If he thought you were human he would not treat you as he has.

    I don't have much to offer other than friendship, but if you are ever in Chicago land I always have a place at my dining room table and a bottle of wine and an ear. I have lots of amazing girlfriends who are strong, independent women such as yourself and we always have room for one more. Just send me a PM if you like (feel free to vet me too, if you think I could be an internet weirdo :-p ).

  30. Btw, sorry about my autocorrect spelling you name wrong!

  31. Ruth, you struggle financially because you were unprepared by your upbringing to do so. If you'd had an education that prepped you for college, you could have finished your degree in 4 years, instead you spent time filling in gaps. I don't know how much longer you have in school, but you should be able to find a decent job when you finish. Do you work a part-time job? When I was in school I did things like waitress and wash dishes in the dorm to make money. I did have my parents helping me too, I was not self-supporting until I finished school. I married when I was 26, possibly not the right decision, who knows. But it didn't guarantee financial security. My husband is in his 40's and lost his job and age discrimination is causing problems with finding a new one. There are no guarantees in life. Hang in there.

  32. I just wish I could reach through the internet and offer a hug. Hang in there. Life is tough, but the valleys don't last forever.

  33. {{Virtual hugs!}}

    I was going post something more involved, but upon re-reading it just looked... pompous. But what several earlier commenters have said about most college students having a support network that you simply don't have? That's very, very true.

    But you do have a support network of sorts, right here. Even if you never meet us, and most of us never even know your name, there are quite a lot of people who are cheering for you, just for doing what you're doing.

    And I understand that you don't want to take advantage of us, and that you don't want to look like you're asking for help, or money, or... anything. Maybe I even understand why. But I think you have a lot more support here than you realize.

  34. Echoing what everyone else said; you are an incredibly strong, intelligent young woman, and you are out there attacking LIFE. You are doing an AMAZING job!

    Thought I'd point out also -- you know all those terrible things you were told would come to pass if you left? The FLDS tells their "defectors" the same things. So do other cults. Heck, abusive spouses use the same lines on THEIR victims..."You'll never make it without me... You'll be sick and destitute within a month and come running back... I'm the only one who truly loves you... Even though you've done these horrible things, I in my greatness will forgive you and allow you to come home..."

    Seriously; ask your therapist. The message isn't new. Abusers of all stripes use it. Gives you a little broader picture of the nature of those ATI "predictions."

  35. Here are some resources to help you with your money stresses.

    I saw someone posted about $4 Target generics. Walmart has them too, as does RiteAid and Walgreens. You can also do a 3-month supply for $10. These chains don't offer all the same meds, so check around.

    If you're on a med that isn't on the $4 generic list, look here under the patient assistance programs and drug coupons. If you have any questions, my email is wenke dot witt at

    List of free or reduced cost health care and mental health care clinics.

    You'll make it through this patch, Ruth--I predict an utterly AWESOME life ahead of you.

    SheWoreLemon from free Jinger
    211 can direct you to a food bank and see if you qualify for SNAP (what used to be food stamps) if you're low on money. They have other resources too.

  36. God is not mad at you.

    I just think all those ATI, people only show the best foot forward, they would never allow people to see their struggles, financially or other.

    Because, then God would be mad at them, and how could that be? I mean with all their holy living?

    Everyone struggles in some fashion. EVERYONE.

  37. Ruth - I feel for you. If it makes you feel any better the financial and school struggles are ones that many face and it is not a direct result of some "non-ATI" choice you made other than the choice to better yourself with education. You will persevere!Prayign for you. -MS

  38. College is not everything Ruth! I have a degree and still have no job. Many loved ones in my life have no degree, and are making more money than I ever will with the degree I do have.

    It's probably hard for you to look at it this way because of your upbringing, but maybe god does not have anything to do with your life, or what happens in it. Maybe you are just figuring things out, and going through a hard time.

    I do know that although it really sucks, you made the right choice with your ex, if his family was pressuring you, and he didn't support you. My husband never sees his family. Everybody has different ideas about family. Yours is not wrong!

  39. In the grand scheme of things this is just a bump in the road, or bumps. In time you'll look back at this time and say, wow, I got through that and I'm ok. In my 20's I struggled financially and emotionally and had major health issues. Life sucked. But it got better. I'm in my 40s now and life is good. GOOD. Time is an amazing healer. It can be tough to get through those days but each day gets better. Medication allows us to work through the issues at hand. Nothing wrong with it. Heck, I wouldn't be able to walk without meds. Thank goodness there are smart scientists and doctors who have figured these things out so the rest of us can live happy, healthy and productive lives. You'll get there. You're smart, caring, passionate, driven, resourceful and hopeful. Hang in there. Take the meds and participate in therapy. trust me, it does get better.

  40. My heart hurts for you Ruth. God is not punishing you. God is a loving parent. You haven't experienced that to have a good view of that analogy though. You are in a rough season of your life. It is lasting far longer than you expected. Things often do.

    Do not berate yourself for looking at things though the filter of your upbringing. It will take time and work to over come that. As much as we wish we could just flip a switch and get over things it doesn't work that way. I struggle daily with depression. I've been on and off medication for it. Meds were what I needed for a time in order to get the help I needed. It is not a shameful thing. There are more of us out there that need it than you think.

    I will be praying for you. I would ask that you remember the verse Philippians 4:13. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." It isn't that God won't give us more than we can bear. He totally will. It is that He gives us the strength to deal with them. That strength can come in many forms. Through prayer, The body of the Church, or through wonderful Online Communities that remind us that we are not alone.

  41. I've wanted to weigh in for a while but have been fighting with Google... not worth discussing. But now that I can, I'm simply going to echo the other commenters who are spot on: 1) your father could not possibly be more wrong, 2) God is NOT punishing you, 3) ALL of us have been through variations of what you're going through now, and 4) you ARE going to get through this. You're having an absolutely brutal learning process thanks to your "upbringing", and to have Darth Daddy bust out the platitudes ought to reinforce that HE'S the problem here, not you.

    Furthermore, you've got no right to be angry with yourself for having thought life with Harris could offer a level of security you craved: darlin', why do you think over half of all marriages end in divorce? Because we look to a marriage to solve our problems, and not only does it NOT do that, it brings on a host of new ones. Brilliant BRILLIANT you for figuring out you weren't ready. (Which I'D been that smart!)

    I do know you're feeling down, and the holiday/post-holiday season is guaranteed to make everything worse. Good for you for returning to your therapist, and GOOD FOR YOU for taking advantage of the medicinal options. When you can, you need to take stock of your accomplishments, for they ARE many. The "white hot mess" bloggers do not attract the loyal and loving following that reads Razing Ruth. We're here because we admire your courage, your strength, and because we believe in you. What makes me laugh in a "he's SUCH an idiot" way is the fact that your father cannot STAND the obvious: that you are the best of his bunch, and there's not a thing in the world he can do about it.

    Hang in there and remember: yes, your circumstances may be unique, but these feelings that you have are NORMAL. They're called growing pains. And, to quote a movie whose title escapes me "if they weren't painful, they'd call them something else." ;-)

  42. Ruth, my motto in life is that anything worth having is worth fighting for. Just hang in there because in the end you will get what you want and you will feel the rewards of what hard-worth and struggle earn you. People who have things handed to them easily do not appreciate what they have so readily. It's believing this motto that has gotten me through the toughest times in my life... I find it hard to believe that even an ATI/Gothard can say that their life is strife-free in God's arms. Bad things still happen to them--children are lost, loved ones die, the cycle of life goes on whether or not you believe in God. We're all treated pretty much the same by God (if you believe that), it's just that they can justify their struggle with God by saying it's part of God's plan for them.

    I lost my husband, whom I loved very much, at the age of 26 (yeah, I was married young at 24 but it was the right guy for me and I knew it the moment I met him). It has been a very hard 10 years of my life since I lost him but I figured my way out of the pain, realized that I could still love life while hating the random misfortune that befalls you, and it was at that point that I realized I was happy to be alive that I also found room in my heart for another man. I'm happy today. But that's not to say that life wont throw me another curveball. Whatever happens, I have faith that I can overcome... because I have to, I must, and I will end up stronger in the end (this has nothing to do with God for me... Not sure I'm really a believer).

  43. Dear Ruth,

    I wanted to post last time too, but I felt like what I had to say wasn't that profound. Break ups suck. And frequently, they can send you to a very dark bad place, and it's hard to see the light from there.

    I had a really bad one at about your age. I was working in a minimum-wage job I HATED. Living in a household I hated, and which I could only afford due to the charity of the house owner, which left me very unstable. I was trying to do my masters in library studies part time. And most of all, I was so lonely. I had days when it was all I could do not to pick up the phone and beg my ex to go for coffee. Things got worse before they got better - I was the victim of a random sexual assault a year after the break-up, which derailed the masters for a while, and that was the lowest I thought I'd ever get. I was convinced I was never going to be romantically involved again. A friend bought me a lottery ticket then - his way of saying "luck eventually turns". Fast forward 10 years, and I'm a middle manager in a world renowned research library, with an adored life partner of 7 years. I share ownership of a home I love with the bank. Life ain't perfect, but I have love and financial security and a home I love walking in the door of. All things that seemed impossible goals in my mid-20s. Nothing miraculous happened - I just kept plugging away. Did what I could of the masters, when I could. Applied for all the entry-level librarianship jobs I could when they came up (ironically, the fact I was by then 30 and willing to do entry-level work worked in my favour). And eventually took some dating risks - lots of failures there - but I got it right in the end :)

    Hang in there. It gets better. Seriously...

  44. I just discovered that my (extremely patriarchal) dad is not only an undiagnosed borderline & paranoia sufferer but also a white supremacist/neo-Nazi. This lead to me ending our relationship, which of course lead to a reaction similar to the one you got from your father. Lots of capitalization, impending doom and love-with-strings-attached. Breaking free from a screwed up patriarchist background is a bit like running: it sucks and you get tired but it is good for your (mental)health.

    Life is not fair, being angry and sad is healthy as long as you don't aim it towards yourself.

    Medication and therapy are logically enemies of every self-righteous patriarchist man, because they stand for someone else protecting you / controlling what you think which chips away at their almightyness. Sadly most things that he doesn't like are things that are good for you. For a very long time i tried to get some kind of approval from my dad, but i finally realized that if i met him today, approval from him would be the last thing i wanted! You can not please him and please yourself at the same time. And i'm pretty sure you don't even want to, you just want that nagging voice in your head to stop, and in time it will. Until then, recognize you hear that voice and tell it that you hear what it says but you are going to do what YOU see fit.

    Hang in there, it'll get better!

  45. Thank you for your advice, everyone.
    I called Target and they *do* have my prescription in their $4 category!! Oh my! You have no idea how wonderful that news was for me. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

  46. Ruth, many people have provided insight better than I might provide, but I just wanted to mention two things:

    1). There is, of course, nothing wrong with needing the assistance of medication to help carry you through bad times. Take it from someone who knows a little about this, though..... You *might* need to try different ones to find the best match for you - one size does not fit all. Don't be shy in talking with your prescriber if you feel you are not making appropriate progress.

    2). Your overwhelming feeling of failure and futility might well be a reflection of what you have successfully accomplished versus where you think you *should* have accomplished by now. I hope you see from what we all have written that what is happening to you now is so-called NORMAL. Most of us have had to overcome similar circumstances, including flying without a net. It is certainly scary, but I hope you can eventually rejoice in the fact that you DO *feel* is so much worse to discover that you have shut off and turned away from feeling anything or have stopped asking questions. It might be small comfort, but that you care enough to explore your questions is a very good sign.

    I wish you upcoming peace, joy, and (eventual) happiness and, in the meantime, whatever friendship and fellowship you glean from all of us who care.

  47. You are not a failure.

    Everyone one is at the end of their financial rope especially young people. There are no jobs and the rich are taking all the money. Everyone that doesn't have a trust fund is having a terrible time trying to pay for school and live. I own a small business with my husband and we have been struggling for the last few years just like everyone else.

    It is perfectly natural to mourn a relationship that is ending, you're supposed to be depressed when something that could have been wonderful doesn't quite work out, it is natural to be sad. It would be unnatural to be anything but sad.

    And most importantly, your life is not a banner for living one way or another it is just your life. Be happy even when you're sad, it's more fun.

  48. I want to wish u good luck in 2012 Ruth in that ever happens to u.

  49. You are bright, you are strong, and this shadow is not forever.
    I too have known the struggle of escaping fundamentalism, of working 3 jobs just to make ends meet and preserve my independence; of in those dark nights hearing the voices of my upbringing tell me that I deserved all this trouble and would never be free of it until I 'repented'.

    I am turning 40 this year and sometimes I cannot believe that I have the life I have now. It seems too good for me to have 'deserved' it. Other times it feels like the person I was in my 20s was somebody else.

    We walk, we stumble, we fall, we slog through a sucking swamp, but we also summit, see the gorgeous view, camp in fields of wildflowers, get struck speechless by intricate patterns of moss and bark, drink pure water, and eventually find the place we want to call home.

  50. Ruth,

    I'm another example that "leaving the fold" does not necessarily equal happiness. The fact is, different things make different people happy, and you are where you are right now.

    I'm glad you had the sense of self to admit to everyone you weren't ready for the life what Harris wanted to give you. And I'm glad you have the sense of self to admit to everyone you don't want the life you're father wants for you.

    Unconditional love is accepting people as they are, not as you want them to be - even our selves. And even though dad is incapable of giving such love, you seem to be doing a pretty decent job of giving it to your self.

  51. Matthew 5:45 "That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." or if you prefer "So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."
    Someone once told me that God unleashed His anger on His Son on the cross. We may go through trials and temptations and He may even send us events that cause us to see the errors of our ways (possibly termed as punishment), but His anger has already been poured out. The things that happen to us are His way of drawing us closer to Him, not a result of His anger. Point being GOD DOES NOT HATE US and He doesn't seek to unleash His anger on us. That is bad philosophy that fundamentalists have taken up.

    Ruth, I'm 34 and been working on my degree for 6 years. I was raised fundie and even did the unaccredited college thing- don't waste your time with that! However, I've been able to attend university classes at a reduced rate because I work for the university. If finances are getting you down, you might look for an entry level position with your school. If you work at least 75% time, usually they will provide health, life, possibly disability insurance as well as discounted/free classes. And believe me, being in an environment where you a a real person and your work and opinions valued will go a long way to counteracting what we learned growing up.

    Best to you, Ruth.

    nolongerIFBx (also from FJ)

  52. Ruth, we've (most of us) had our whole lives to learn to be independent, figure out our futures, etc. You've only had a scant few years to find out who you truly are. School is tough, and life is tough, but hang in there. You're a good person, and things WILL even out for you. Sometimes it seems like the universe is against you, but that's the megalomaniac thinking of your father haunting you. God is not hovering over you ticking off all the mistakes you made and punishing you for it. Your father would like you to beleive so, but that's his megalomania and not your problem. Don't give up on yourself, you CAN have the happiness you deserve, and WILL. And being on medication is not a stigma. Sometimes your body doesn't supply you with the chemicals you need to stay healthy, so medication does the job your body is unable to do.

  53. Ruth,
    I am so sorry you're hurting right now and I just want to let you know that you are a beautiful person with an equally beautiful mind and heart.

    'Beautiful-by Christina Aguilera'
    "Don't look at me

    Everyday is so wonderful
    Then suddenly
    It's hard to breathe
    Now and then I get insecure
    From all the pain
    I'm so ashamed

    I am beautiful
    No matter what they say
    Words can't bring me down
    I am beautiful
    In every single way
    Yes words can't bring me down
    Oh no
    So don't you bring me down today

    To all your friends you're delirious
    So consumed
    In all your doom, ooh
    Trying hard to fill the emptiness
    The pieces gone
    Left the puzzle undone
    Ain't that the way it is

    You're beautiful
    No matter what they say
    Words can't bring you down
    Oh no
    You're beautiful
    In every single way
    Yes words can't bring you down
    Oh no
    So don't you bring me down today

    No matter what we do
    (No matter what we do)
    No matter what we say
    (No matter what we say)
    We're the song inside the tune
    (Yeah, oh yeah)
    Full of beautiful mistakes

    And everywhere we go
    (And everywhere we go)
    The sun will always shine
    (The sun will always, always, shine)
    And tomorrow we might awake
    On the other side

    We're beautiful
    No matter what they say
    Yes words won't bring us down
    Oh no
    We are beautiful
    In every single way
    Yes words can't bring us down
    Oh no
    So don't you bring me down today

    Oh, oh
    Don't you bring me down today
    Don't you bring me down, ooh

    ^That song always makes me feel better and I hope it will help you, too.
    Love, mary. :)


  55. i've been reading your blog for a couple of years now. i just want to say: bad things happen to good people. i firmly believe this. i have found great support in my "chosen family" that i've found through SCA, and in the process i've gotten closer to my "real family" too. it sounds to me like you could use a place to go that is filled with people that will accept you for you. i wish you luck in finding that!

  56. "Let's face truth- I am an adult who really can't support myself financially. Despite trying as hard as I have, my goal of getting a college degree is taking longer than most and I'm in a constant state of financial struggle."

    Please realize that this is the experience of SO MANY young adults right now! It is NOT a statement about your abilities to support yourself or your grown-up-ness. The economy is terrible, and there are many of us who want to be responsible, self-sufficient adults and just CAN'T, through no fault of our own. I struggle with this so much (I'm 26, finished with graduate school, and out of work for months now), and sometimes I just have to remind myself how common this experience is so that I don't feel like a complete failure.

    And it is NOT YOUR FAULT that you don't have the safety net many people have - that you can't move home to save money or have your parents help out. I have a tenuous relationship with my parents, and while I am fortunate that they help me out financially when they can, I also know that I could never live with them again - I would prefer to live out of my car. So I try to remember that yes, I have that additional hardship, and no, it's not my fault. Even though I'm the one making the decision not to live with them, it's not my fault that they've put me in the position to have to make that decision. Does that make sense?

    I don't know if this helps, and maybe I'm projecting my own feelings onto your writing. But I feel like I'm dealing with a lot of the same things you mention, in a different context - finances, relationships, family - and I think they're common difficulties for people our age.

  57. Ruth, I'm so sorry you are going through this. Your post reminded me of something that happened to me. without details, I'd been in a very unstable situation in my life. I coped with it until a friend moved 2000 miles to be closer to me to help me. Her presence gave me hope an stability, but due to a family emergency it only lasted 3 weeks. When she left I felt devestated I just did not want to go through the work of accepting my situation again. The good news is I found that after the initial shock I was able to recover quickly. I hope you are able to as well. All your emotions sound normal for a serious break up, I don't think you are being punished. Stay strong.

  58. Hun, there are happy people and depressed people and people whose lives are easy and people whose lives are hard in every walk of life, Quiverfull and generic Christian and every other religion and none, urban and rural... everywhere. And there are sanctimonious pricks in all walks of life as well.

    What I'm saying is that there is no causative relationship between you leaving your upbringing, and whether or not life is easy for you now. You're not being punished, you're *normal*.

    Also, I'd just like to throw this out there: Anyone who feels the need to remind you just how generous and awesome and accommodating and forgiving he/she is being... is not genuinely any of those. You can recognize generosity, you don't need to be told that it's there.

  59. Dear Ruth,

    I've been off the map for awhile - dealing with my own family drama - but I did want to send you a line. I read about your break up with Harris and I prayed so hard for you that day. You've been in my thoughts and I'm glad you are taking care of yourself by getting treatment and therapy.

    Depression is not a punishment from God, or a character flaw, or even a sign of inadequate faith - it is a hormonal imbalance that causes a distorted emotional view of the world. It's like being emotionally nearsighted, or farsighted. (When your child has vision problems, you get medical help to remedy the physcial imbalance of the eye so that they can read and function should be the same attitude toward emotional imbalances.)

    I grew up in a household where seeking treatment for depression was discouraged and it took me a long time to have the courage to seek help and to not feel judged for the decisions I made as an adult.

    I'm sorry things are so hard for you right now. I'm sorry you feel like you're being punished. I know how much it hurts to have your parents rejoice in your perceived failure.

    You are a strong woman. Stronger than you realize. God made you for a purpose and that purpose can not be defined by your father. Your heavenly father loves you unconditionally, no strings attached, and is working out your circumstances for your good and his glory. (I say this knowing how hard it is to believe this when in deep depression. I've been there, wondering why God doesn't seem to care about me.)

    We don't all find God's purpose by following a 'program of faith' (as your dad put it) but by simply being broken people who trust God to help us through. I will continue to pray that you will find deeper strength and peace as you wrestle through this trying time.
    With much love,

  60. New year, new chances. It's okay to feel down right now, but you're doing the right thing. Depression is a tricky thing, and it turns the whole world around so it's against you and it's all your fault. None of that is true, though, and I think that's important to remember. You're playing tricks on yourself right now because you've just had a bad upset and you don't know where to go. When you think you're alone, know you're not. When you think you're a failure, know you're not. When you think you'll never be secure, know you will. Sometimes, you just can't listen to yourself. I know, I've been there. I wouldn't say life is stupendous now, but I would say I was totally wrong about all those thoughts I had-- the same thoughts you're having now. What you're thinking right now is not reality, and you'll come to see that with some time and therapy. And, yes, medication, with which there is nothing wrong. Judging yourself for taking antidepressants right now is like judging a diabetic for taking insulin. Your body is not well right now, and this medicine will help you with that. We like to separate mind from body, but we shouldn't, because then we start to judge. Sometimes, people get sick and they might have to take medicine to be well. That's it, that's all, that's not any kind of weakness or badness.

    As for your feelings of despair, I can really relate. Almost all of my friends have college degrees, but we are unsure of how life is going to work out. We did what we were told to do, and now we're underpaid and making hard decisions. I hope it won't be this way forever. I know that my friends are bright and hardworking people regardless of their paychecks. I know you, too, have so much to offer and that you are absolutely capable of being on your own. Money's only one measure, which can be easy to lose sight of because it's such an important one. The truth is that you were badly shorted on your education and your family tried to clip your wings. You're making up for all that in a remarkably short time. It's tempting to look at how far you have to go, but turn around and look at how far you've come too. Lord knows I met my fair share of people in college who had no more worldly smarts, but they learned and were fine, just like you are and will be. You're normal and you're part of a very big community, both here online and in the world today. People from all kinds of backgrounds are in your shoes and will happily share the burden with you. You're in a trough now, but you'll get back up to a peak.

  61. Ruth said - "My dad's right in certain respects. My life hasn't been a resounding endorsement of living life the way I do. Let's face truth- I am an adult who really can't support myself financially. Despite trying as hard as I have, my goal of getting a college degree is taking longer than most and I'm in a constant state of financial struggle. It's discouraging. More honesty- when I thought I would be getting married to Harris, I dared to imagine a certain amount of security that now seems like it will never happen. It's easy for me to see why people return to, or can't leave, a quiverful home. There's no safety net."

    Ruth - This is not a secure world, nor has it ever been. It can be scary making your way on your own. Unfortunately, when you should be receiving support, encouragement and affirmation from your father in becoming a strong, capable woman, he appears to be essentially daring you to fail in an attempt to reel you back into the Stepford fold. I should think that he will point to every negative experience you have as supposed "proof" that you're on the wrong path, as if nothing bad ever happened to people who are on the right path! The truth is that all of us will trip, stumble, fail, blow it and get knocked on our butts occasionally. You will too.

    That's how we learn. Read that again.

    It's not about how many times you fall or get knocked on your can. It's about how many times you get back up and keep going. A teacher I had in school many years ago commented on the great inventors - you only heard about the invention that worked. A lot of the other ones didn't.

    You'll suffer disappointment now and then. Things don't always go as planned. The snake oil that Gothard sells is that if you follow all the "principles" your life will be one gigantic success story and perhaps you too can be an ATI poster child. In that insecure, judgmental world, God must be mad at you if your life hits a rough patch. Sometimes things don't pan out as we thought or hoped they would and it isn't God's judgment on us. Sometimes it's His protection. Sometimes it's just a learning experience. Sometimes it's just... well you know that the bumber sticker says.

    So - even if you do take a wrong turn occasionally - and you will - it's not the end of the world. The art of learning true decision-making includes the opportunity to pick door #2 when you should have gone with door #3. Otherwise it's not a real decision but a bounded choice. Sure, you can paint your house any color you want as long as it's a shade of beige. Yeah, there's freedom for ya..

    We have a saying in the aviation biz - "Good judgment comes from experience, experience comes from bad judgment". If you are raised to fear mistakes or missteps, if you are raised that the highest aim in life is to make those "over" you look good, if you are raised to think that every negative experience you have in life is somehow God's judgment against you, it can really mess with your head and it can hold you back from learning valuable life lessons. And if you allow it to, it can hold you back from becoming the person you are supposed to be.

    Ruth - what happened with Harris happened. It will become a part of the mosaic of your life and 10, 20 years from now, it will look a lot different than it does now. If you two weren't supposed to marry, you weren't supposed to marry. Better to learn that now than 5 years into the marriage. Another aviation saying we have... better to find the problem on the ground than when you're 100 feet over the trees.


    Jim K.

  62. Many of the drug companies have programs where you can get their drug for free.

  63. It's always good to look at others lives that are filled with more struggle than your when you feel like God is giving you more than you can handle.

    I've read your blog for some time. I agree with most of what you write about the QF families and the Gothardites. We had a brief period in my family that we were involved in the ATI homeschool stuff. I even went and worked at Headquarters for 3 months the year before I got married. What baffles me is how much your dad does not truly align with what Gothard teaches. I knew so many different people that worked at HQ that were nothing like your family. Families that listened the praise and worship music, families that went to churches that basically played rock music. Yes they put on the "uniform" of ATI when needed, but they didn't hide who they truly were when you got the chance to know them.
    I was post military grown woman and they opened their arms to me and accepted me. No one not even Mr. Gothard said anything negative to me about serving my country as a woman.
    I believe there are a lot of misled families out there and some of what Gothard teaches is a bit off Biblicaly. I do not think for a minute that Mr Gothard condones the type of family you grew up in. But then again my time with them and him was limited and I don't know Mr Gothard on a personal level.
    Having said that. I am amazed that your father thinks that you will not enter into the Kingdom because you are not following his plan for your life. And I mean his (your father) not HIS (Gods) plan for your life. If he's spent any time in the WORD he would know that SALVATION can only be attained from accepting the LORD as your savior. It is not a condition of salvation to OBEY your parents as an adult. As an adult God instructs us to HONOR our parents. That doesn't mean to follow them blindly to drink the kool-aid.
    I'm a born again Bible beveling woman who married who I THOUGHT was God's plan for my life. We have 3 kids and he's a drug addict. I am on my own now with 3 kids and he is not sending me any support. I have a van that has been dying for a year. I'm living on the grace of others generosity and my heard work and sweat. Talk about financial problems, try throwing in filing for DIVORCE (oh no that's against Gothard's teachings too) on top of making pennies and not being able to get a full weeks work in because you have 3 kids and someone is sick at least 1 day a week.
    When I left it's like my life started falling apart (mainly my van) which costs a lot of money to fix. But through that I was about to receive blessings from others and see how God was taking care of me in spite of how my world was crumbling in around me. I do not for a minute question if what I'm doing is GOD's will. I prayed about it and when someone you love and have been married to for 8 years cannot respect you enough to not endanger your children he leaves you with no choice but to get out of Dodge.
    Anyway Ruth what I'm saying is that don't get down on yourself about the struggles in your life. That doesn't mean God is judging you. It is his way of showing you that there are people out there willing to bless and care for you who are not your family. And as your dad should know that "rain falls on the just and unjust alike." If he was going through the struggles you are going trough he would simply say it was God's way of blessing them or it was according to HIS will. So for him to say what you are going through is God's judgement is hypocritical. Of course he will never see that because he can't see past his own face.
    I wish you well and I'm so proud of you for stopping the engagement before you got in over your head and felt obligated to get married in the end. You are a much stronger woman than I was when I was engaged. I should have done the same thing. Sorry for the book I had a lot to get off my chest.


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