Friday, March 16, 2012


One of the harder conversations that my sister and I needed to have happened last night. I've been dreading it, really. How do I start this?

When I left home, I knew, in my heart, that I was breaking away from my family---not just my father. I knew that, by leaving the way I did, there wasn't much chance of my going back. At the time, the urge to self-preserve trumped my fears and worries for those I was leaving behind. That's a guilt I've lived with for the last several years and it's partly why I insisted on anonymity. Being anonymous and letting my father remain anonymous in turn felt like a small way to protect the people I left behind. As it turns out, I was partially right.

Rachel and I started talking about her memories of my leaving in the middle of the night. I'd always wondered how any of my sisters slept through my furious gathering of clothes in the middle of that night. How did they not wake-up? Why did I not get caught going out the back door? As it turns out, I did wake someone up. Rachel was awake when I left. Rachel.

Last night, she poured her heart out about how it felt to be left behind by the only person in your family that you felt loved by. That broke my heart. She was just a little girl when I left and I betrayed her trust. She reminded me of one afternoon, when she'd received a particularly unjust punishment for some small thing, and I had consoled her by saying that I'd never leave her alone with dad. Then, I left her. She said that the morning after, when I had to ride in the police car to the station from our neighnors, my father had them go to the window to watch me ride past. As I've always suspected, he was telling them horrible things about me. Rachel says that my dad told them I "was in so much trouble that even the secular authorities" had to step in to "control (my) wild behavior" and that the authorities felt it wasn't "safe" for me to come home at that point. I had run away! He was painting it to look like I'd been taken away for breaking some sort of law. In any case, my dad told all of the kids that "even if I came home", they weren't to speak to me. Rachel says that when I didn't come home- dad told them; I was a whore, I was running away to be with another boy, I was garbage, and that I would be dead within a year. Those were his predictions.

What I had always feared was that my leaving made it even harder for my sisters and I was right to fear it. After I left, my dad went even more fundamental and insulary. He cut off the house phone and bought a cell phone that only he carried. He started sending the kids to every Gothard suggested camp or intervention because my sin of leaving had marked them, too. Just crazy stuff! Rachel says that this really didn't let up until within the last two years. She says she kept preaching the party line and saying she rejected my choices just to avoid angering him. Then she left, too. She said she went back because she remembered how hellish life had been for those left behind when I left. I asked her if she was afraid of what was going on since she'd left again and we both cried. The truth is: even though my father has shunned Rachel, that is no guarantee that he's "washed his hands" of her. He could be using us as examples to control those left behind- my mother, in particular. Rachel has filled me in on how "into it" the remaining sibs are and maybe they'll be okay because they seem to really be "into" living the QF life. I'm still scared. And, I'm sorry. I'm sorry I was selfish when I left Rachel. God, this sucks.


  1. Ruth,

    There are times when you have to tell your heart to shut up and just listen to your brain. Your pain for your sister and the rest of your family is coloring your thinking in this post. How would your mind answer these questions: What would have happened if you had stayed? How would you have protected your family if you had been farmed off to the “man” your dad chose? What would have happened if you had told the younger children that you were leaving that night? How could you possibly have controlled the things your dad said about you when you left? What choices did you see at that time?

    We all want to look back and make different decisions in our lives, but most of the time our decisions were the best we could do with the information and situation we had. Yes, there were consequences. Yes, sometimes our decisions hurt others. But the reality is that staying would have had consequences and pain for you and for them also.

    Narcissists put people in these situations. There is no way to win. They build a negative self-image into their victims and then use the power that gives them to control. If you stop to think, you will realize that there was no good decision you could have made. So relax and be thankful that you were at least able to make a decision and move forward. You are helping Rachel now. In fact, you are helping Rachel now out of a much healthier Ruth than there would have been if you had stayed. True?

    My blog for today, coincidentally, is about how difficult it is for victims of narcissists to make and stand by decisions. Some are so controlled, so beaten down, so lost to their selves, that they cannot leave or change. Be thankful. Don’t look back.

  2. I am so sorry that there has been so much pain in your quest for freedom. It's incredibly unfortunate that your father is such the angry person that he is and that your mother cannot/will not stand up to him.

    Abusers are really good at making the people they abuse feel like the abusers anger is the fault of the abused. They're good at blame, manipulation and the twisting of facts to deflect their own responsibility for their behavior.

    Yes, you left, but you also created a place for Rachel to go when she left. The time you were gone allowed you to be able to heal enough to be able to actually help her when it was time for her to leave. Your dad told her and your siblings horrible things about you, but your love for her is what she believed in the long run and not his lies.

    Now that she has joined you, and that there is a brother who has left, the three of you present a stronger hope for the others who in their hearts are wishing to leave as well. Rachel is not the last, though she may be the last for awhile.

    1. Amen Montana Wildflower. You took the words right out of my mouth.

      Ruth, your first responsibility was to YOURSELF, the conditions of the household were NOT your fault. It is the job of the parents to protect their children from harm. Unfortunately your mother would not stand up to your father to ensure her children had an emotionally safe home, but that is not your fault.

      As Montana said above, you leaving gave Rachel a safe place to run to, and an example of how to "make it" in the outside world.

    2. I totally agree with Montana and Natalie!! THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Your father is the one sole person responsible for this all. I grew up in SUCH a similar house, except my mother was the one who broke our wills in half and demanded we keep her secrets. You set an example for your younger siblings. And guess what - NOTHING that your dad said happened. You are now the poster child for freedom for them. Even if it's rough-looking now. They need to experience then tell their own stories. What finally broke my chains were two studies (on my own, outside any church influence): Beth Moore's Breaking Free, then her Believing God. Amazing, I can now be free, make mistakes and still believe GOD for good. Not others, but yes GOD.

      Legalism is a painful thing to go through. It's like you know you have to go through it but the fear of ending up wrong and on your way to hell is sometimes crippling. Don't give in. There is TRUTH and FREEDOM on the other side. I don't know how old you are, but I'm 43. I didn't begin my freedom journey until my mom's death 12 years ago. So I had 33 years of it and have STILL broken free. There are and always will be layers to freedom. So don't let this set you back. Mourning, freedom, truth - they all take time to process. But now I'm completely committed to praying for you, and Rachel. God WILL win this. Not your lameass father. Because good and love really do triumph. xo

  3. Having been the guinea pig and the first sibling to leave my fundy family/home, I can totally relate to part of what you express here. My dad was never as far gone or mentally abusive as this, but I definitely had to wade through siblings being hurt by me leaving and false things which were assumed about me because I left.

    However, by leaving you have established that 1) getting out is possible, 2) there's life outside of the family bubble, and 3) dad can't control everyone forever. They may have more hardships to suffer, but there's a way out now, and you have paved that path.

    Your siblings will definitely benefit from the reality of this, even if your dad makes life at home hell in the meantime.

  4. I really don't know if I have anything helpful to say this, but...

    I understand why you feel like you betrayed Rachel. I understand why Rachel would feel abandoned. But there's only one real reason why it had to be that way: because that's the way your Dad set it up. Your father is the one who put you, Ruth, in a position where you felt like you had to leave for your own safety. Your Dad is also the one who put you in a position where the only way you could do that was to abandon Rachel and the rest of your siblings.

    You were a child, and there was nothing you could have done to change that situation. You made the best decision you could, out of a set of choices that ranged from Bad to Completely Awful. And the reason those options weren't any better is because your father wouldn't let them be.

    I realize that this may not help with feelings of guilt, but in order for you to really be at fault, you would have had to have some sort of power over the situation... and you didn't.

    1. Heh. And apparently I'm far from the only one who feels this way about it.

  5. You got yourself out. Your own success models the best behavior to your siblings possible. Abusers isolate, belittle, and marginalize targets. Your siblings aren't stupid. The more you thrive in the face of your father's taunts, predictions, and admonishments, the less powerful and more false he becomes. Honestly, I wouldnt buy how 'into' they are. I grew up in a very religious household where I went to church 3+ days a week and had very little freedom at home. Once I accepted it was essentially a prison sentence, I could deal with it. I focused on getting into as good of a college as far as possible away from my family. I intentionally picked a religious school several hours away because it was something they couldn't reject, but they also couldn't visit me more than a couple times a year. My point is that your siblings may be just as cagey as they are into it. We find that in many cults, a basic tenet is to encourage members to rat out each other to the leader and to breed distrust among all the membership. The general idea is the leader only wants trusting relationships between themselves and the follower and not between followers. Your siblings may not be happy, but they also may not trust each other to pour their hearts out.

  6. Ruth, the horrible things your father dished out are sins laid as his door, not yours. You were not Wonder Woman She-Ra seventeen-year-old. You were a minor with no resources and no ability to care for yourself, never mind a child. Your choices were to 1) leave the house and save yourself; or 2) leave the house with Aron in a month. You never had the choice to stay.

    You never had the choice to stay.

    Your father blames you for the abuse your sister suffered, and your sister believes him. Hell, YOU believe him and you've been out of that snakepit for eight years. You need to let go of your guilt and your belief in your father's manipulation. By doing that, you will also be showing Rachel a way to see the world that isn't through your father's eyes.

    1. I just want to echo this. Even if you had stayed, you could not have kept your promise to never leave her with your father. Your father never made that possible.

  7. I agree with everyone who has posted -- you made the best choice you could given the situation you were in. Self preservation is not selfish in the negative way we usually feel about selfishness. You've got to preserve yourself to be able to do any good for others.

  8. If you hadn't left, Rachel wouldn't have had you to come to when she left, and she may have never had the courage to leave. I felt bad for leaving my sister at home when I moved across the country (in a way less abusive situation than yours, but still not a good home situation) - but I feel like seeing me leave, my sister at least knows it's possible. Right now, Rachel probably really needs to see your example of being a strong woman who prioritizes your own health and needs, since your mother wasn't able to provide that example (and you are BOTH such strong women!).

    Whatever your father did in response to your leaving, it wasn't your fault. YOU didn't do it. YOU didn't make it happen. One of the first (and hardest) things I had to learn in therapy was that you don't control other people - you're not responsible for their actions, and you can't make them change.

    Abandonment sucks. But I think over time, as Rachel sees how much you care for her (and how hard it was for you to leave her, but how impossible it was NOT to leave her), she'll understand and she'll heal.

  9. Ditto to what everyone has said above. I understand why Rachel felt abandoned and I understand why you feel guilty, but I hope after some time processing these feelings and sharing with each other you'll both be able to move beyond them. You made the best decision you could. You couldn't take your siblings with you. You couldn't even stay in the house past your upcoming marriage. And you planted in their heads the idea that they might someday be able to get out. You did the right thing.

  10. this made me cry. i felt those exact same things, except that my dad told me in email upon email what exactly he was telling my siblings about me. it was a year and a half later that one of them asked me at a big event where we all were why daddy was saying these things about me when they weren't right.

    my sister left a year after i did and i was definitely in a much better situation to be able to help her financially and situationally. she is now thriving. i send cards to the other siblings on a somewhat regular basis: i hope they get them and are able to read them and remember me.

  11. Oh, honey. (((hugs)))

    I understand the guilt to a small extent. Rather, when I imagine myself as you, I feel it keenly.

    But may I add my voice to the others above? You did what you had to do to survive. And now you are helping Rachel survive. And if any of your other younger siblings gain the courage to leave, they'll have your brother, you, AND Rachel to turn to for help.

    I am one of only two children. The youngest. I have always been The Good Child out of the two of us - my brother has always been considered more rebellious. And I bought that hook, line, and sinker for years. Now, after "coming out" to my parents about how I believe homosexuality is perfectly normal and being treated by them the same way my brother has been treated by them, I understand that he has not been the evil one I was taught to think he was. He simply had differing opinions. That's all.

    You are a good sister. Clearly, right now. You have proven yourself, even though you had to hurt Rachel in order to save yourself. You are here for her now. And actually, you're a great daughter. You just have shitty parents.

  12. Others have already said this, and maybe better, but you said yourself that leaving was self-preservation. And that's ok.

    If the oxygen masks are deployed on an airplane, we're instructed to put the mask over our own face before helping someone who can't help themselves, children, elderly, or infirm. We can't save those we love if we're suffocating right along with them.

    Sometimes, it may be helpful to take the long view: As already mentioned, in leaving you have created somewhere for Rachel to go. If you were still at home, what would she have done?

    In leaving, you demonstrated that it was possible to stand up for yourself.

    In leaving, you showed your siblings they have a choice, too, and who knows but that someone, down the line, finds the choice to leave just that much easier because you already blazed the trail. I would suspect that your example helped Rachel find the courage to make the good choices she's making, in spite of what your father wanted.

  13. I have been reading this blog for several years now and I don't know why it hasn't dawned on me before--your father hates females. I think in the past I have blamed his abuses on the crazy ATI rules of living. In reality, he was attracted to this lifestyle because he hates females and it is a great way to have complete control over the "weaker" sex while manipulating and abusing with a "god-given" excuse. He would have been much better off living alone...a misanthropic narcissist full of his own virtues, but harming no one. He will answer to God someday for his abuse...
    Prayers for you and your sister. You Ruth are exactly where you are supposed to be!



  14. I agree with the others above. Another thing to consider is that, without you to lean upon at home, you have gifted Rachel and the others with strength. Part of a parent's job is to help a child grow up to find their own footing in life, however, because of the warped valued your father has embraced, your voice, your siblings voices, have not been honored, allowed to grow, given permission to speak. Without you there, without you to hide behind, your Rachel has been given the opportunity to find her own voice. Without you there, she did experience pain, but that pain has been used to strengthen her. She has found her voice and her voice is being given wings. I anticipate great things from her as the months and years of healing continue, just as we have seen great things from you! Your other siblings can only wonder at what is "out there" that has lured one brother and two sisters.

    May I ask: Have any sibling thus far followed "what they were supposed to do" at home by marrying a fellow of dad's choosing or marrying a gal from another similar home?

    Hugs to you. You did good in escaping. Really good. You have forged the path and showing the way to your siblings. I cannot think of a better gift that you could have given your sibs.

  15. I left behind a small, vulnerable child in the hands of my abusive fucked up family when I left. Things did not turn out so well for that poor baby that I left. I also felt a lot of guilt about that - I totally understand how you feel.

    But, on the other hand, I would not have lasted much longer in those circumstances. You had no choice - you would have left by one method or another right? Your parents would have married you away to creep master zero (aka your fundie abuser would be husband) and you would have had to leave Rachel. Far better that you left on your own terms and created a decent life for yourself and a safe haven for Rachel when she, too, finally had to flee your abusive father.

    I know that doesn't restore Rachel's sense of trust or necessarily relieve you of your guilt because you love your sister. But hopefully it helps a bit.

  16. What exactly else were you going to do? It's not like anyone had ever told you how to properly deal with massive manipulation, or the right way to disconnect yourself from your family.

    You were a kid, Ruth. You didn't have a prayer.

    The fact that you have done so much to care for your sister, that you searched for resources and asked questions and actually cared enough to listen to her answers tells us all we need to know about who you are.

    I don't know how you would have ended up had you stayed, but I am certain that you wouldn't have been able to help her like you do now if you had.

    Maybe a part of you will always feel guilty about this. Maybe. But you can't give into that. Keep reminding yourself of reality. Remember that holding onto false guilt from a horrible situation in your past is not going to enable you to help Rachel--or yourself--now.

    Tell your sister that you love her and that you thought about her after you left. Tell her that you love her and you don't want her to ever go back. These things are all true and express what you really wanted to tell her back then, do they not?

    All of us love you and care about you. If you'll notice, we aren't perfect, either, but that doesn't stop us. I hope that you find a way to reconcile everything that you've been through.

    You are a very lovely, very human woman and you are doing everything in your power to navigate your so-far difficult life. There is no shame in that.

  17. Ruth, you did what you had to do several years ago. You didn't have anyone to "save" you. But, because you saved yourself, Rachel has somewhere safe to live and a sister who is helping her adjust to the "real world".

    You and all of your siblings were born into the crappiest of situations. You've done as well as you could. It might take some time to rebuild Rachel's trust, because consciously knowing that an older sibling cares is easy; it's really, truly knowing that without a doubt that's hard. It's going to take some time for that, and for you to know that it was the best option (even though it had negative immediate effects).

    When you left, you didn't just save yourself (Ruth) -- you gave your sister somewhere to land. Her adjustment to the "real world" will be easier to manage, because your experiences will give her a real-life "textbook" to work from.

  18. Ruth, if I ever hear you call yourself selfish again, I'm going to give you a hoard of angry mutant spiders. You were NOT selfish. You did the bravest thing you could have done, which was remove yourself from an extremely toxic situation. I do feel bad for Rachel, given what she had to put up with. I know that probably sucked BIG time for her. But you know what? The fact that you left and made a life for yourself meant that your sister has a safe place now that she can retreat to, not to mention someone to rely on (as opposed to the alternative.. where if you HAD married that creep, she wouldn't have anywhere to turn if she ran away). Ruth, you did the best you could and because of that, Rachel has a safe haven away from (pardon me for saying this) your psycho father. So please stop being so hard on yourself!

  19. It's absolutely ok to take care of yourself when your parents fail to do so. There's no shame in leaving an abusive situation to make a better life. Just think, if you hadn't left you'd be married to an abusive man and Rachel might be married to a one too. You would have repeated the cycle of abuse by marrying into situations just like the one you grew up in. Add kids to the mix and you'd be stuck just like your mother is now. You broke the cycle of abuse! That's something to be amazingly proud of.

  20. Rachel...this is not meant to be harsh...but we pray you understand that Ruth had to save herself. Remember...she was there earlier than you were. She endured all you endured at the hands of your father. And...this is chose to save yourself too.

    Please, please do not beat yourself up over doing what you had to do to survive. Please do not believe that living in silent desperation, and breathing poison every waking minute is what God has in mind for you. Please do not believe that God expects you to endure hell on behalf of your brothers and sisters

    We understand that the guilt Ruth is experiencing is the same for you. You love your siblings as she does, and you fear for them.

    But would you truly have had Ruth stay? Knowing what you know?

    No guilt attaches to either one of you, Rachel. Your sibs have seen three break away. They will make their own choices, when the time comes, just as you did.

    Be gentle with yourself, Rachel.

  21. Hello Ruth,

    I have been following your blog for a while but this is my first time commenting. I am in a very similar situation to yours. My family is not particularly religious. However, I did grow up in a very controlling and emotionally abusive environment until I ran away at the age of 16. Last October, my sister who is 5 years younger than me came to visit me for her birthday and I told her if she was able to find a job and a place to live that she could stay her. I have always felt bad about leaving her when I did, but I know that it was absolutely necessary in order to protect myself because if I had stayed in that abusive situation for much longer something very terrible was going to happen.

    Since she's been here she has spoken a few times about the way things were after I left and the way it sounds the environment did become worse for her as a direct result of my leaving.

    It has been a very long and hard six months trying to get her to a point where she can take care of herself and her own needs and we are still not at that point. The difficulty is compacted by the fact that I grew up in the same abusive environment and so I am lacking in many of the same basic skills that she is.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is you're not the only one who had to make that terrible choice. And I know that if I hadn't made that choice that I would not be here now to help her escape and most likely I would never have been able to get to a point in my life where I ever could help her. So yes, it was an awful time and an awful choice to have to make, but it was the right one and we're being rewarded for it now.

  22. It does suck but you were a child. You were not responsible for the situation. It sucks that you couldn't save everyone and it sucks that you blame your self for not saving everyone. Maybe your example has planted a seed in each of the siblings hearts that will someday be able to grow.

    You can't take responsibility for your fathers behavior. Even if you had stayed they would have forced you to leaved with the new "husband" they chose for you. It was always a lose lose situation. It's not fair and it's not your fault.

  23. Just think, if you had stayed in that abusive environment, you might already have several kids that would also be abused by Aron and your father. And they would be your responsibility; your siblings are not. As terrible as it is, your leaving prevented MORE abuse from happening.

  24. Did you or your siblings ever go to Journey to the heart? If so what do they do at Journey to the Heart?

  25. Ruth, being estranged from your family for any reason is really hard. The fact that this bothers you so much shows that you have a genuine love and concern for your siblings. It means that, deep down inside, you love them and would do anything to share the good in your life with them.

    However, I agree with all the posters here. Even though you want to, there's a lot that you can't do simply because you aren't in a position to help them. It can be really heart-rending, but rest assured that you really do care so much for them.


  26. Ditto ditto ditto. You did what you HAD to do, and make no mistake, you HAD to. The blame for everything horrible that's happened to your siblings as a result rests entirely with He Who Provided The Necessary Biological Input. I'm never going to refer to him as a "father" again, because no one on the planet deserves that title less.

    The best thing you, your brother, and Rachel can do now is have happy, healthy lives. THAT is leading by example, and THAT is what you're already doing.

  27. Ruth,
    The other posters have said many things that I am thinking. I too have been the vistim of a Narcissist. Your father set up the whole situation altogether. He created a system where you all ultimately could not support one another. The only real way that you can help your siblings is to have left and stand on your own. Your father will lie, threaten, intimidate and triangulate any situation necessary to maintain HIS status quo.
    As pointed out, you were being farmed out to marriage. You would have been leaving in any case. You are in a much better place now than you would have been if you had been married off to a life like your mother's. Your sibling have been able to see that the things your father said were lies. Rachel is processing it now. Some of your younger sibling likely have not been able to fully process this.
    My mother has many of the traits that your father has. We come from a Jewish family. We were not fundamentalist at all, but my mother used the events of the Nazi holocaust to induce fear and mistrust of al people outside our faith. My mother also used all sorts of guilt, convenient mirepresentation of reality and fear to control the family. I left. My circomstances were different. However, the leaving was very messy and ugly. I am 52 years old and my mother STILL refers to this as me running away from home. She has seen to it that I am estranged from my brother and my neice and nephew. History has been rewritten and it has been made to be MY fault. For years, I accepted that it was all my fault. It turns out that it really wasn't my fault. The only thing that is my fault is that I did not accept the role that my mother wanted for me. I was supposed to continue my education and become a physician (which I have done). ButI was to do all of this while living under my parents' roof. Nice girls do not live on their own. They live with their parents until they marry. My education was to come first for me. I did date, but my parents fought every young man that I spent time with to the point that they ran away. And these were young men of similar background to myself. There was no winning. I was set up to be the "bad example"

    Ruth. You did what you did because it was the best choice under very difficult circumstances. All of the possible choices sucked. Your father set it up that way. You chose wisely although you had limited resources to see it at the time. You made the only choice that your father could not control. You created opening so that your siblings could see light if they dared to look. Rachel's saw the light and made choices too. Her choice was even more desperate than yours. The only way out of the sick world of your father's making is to be thrown out. He made it that way.

  28. As painful as it was for Rachel at the time, I hope she understands that staying would have destroyed you. Your husband would have cut you off from your siblings just as surely as your father did when you left, and you would have only provided the example of a beaten and broken person.

  29. I am sure that you were a great help and comfort to your siblings at home, but helping them in that environment was like saving people from drowning while you too were trying to keep your head above water. By leaving you created lifeboat. Your example is a beacon of hope for Rachel and others. Deep down, your sense of autonomy and your ability to be truely compassionate is probably what eats away at your "father". You are far more Christ-like than he.

    I feel for both you and Rachel. You were both children, but look at were you are now. You've survived. From now on your light can only shine brighter.

  30. Ruth you ran away when you were a minor. You ran away because you didn't want to be coerced into marrying a man you hated, who probably would have abused you emotionally and physically. If you had stayed you would probably not be in a place where you could do much to protect your siblings because your would-be husband and father would be actively trying to brainwash and hurt you into being a compliant wife.

    By escaping you were able to create a support network to help your sister when she had to leave too. I hope that your other siblings will be able to realize that their father has lied and hurt them and that they too need to break away from his influence.

  31. No Ruth, you were not selfish when you left. You were trying to save your life. You did save your life and don't have to feel guilty about it.

    Big fat, Wisconsin hugs to both of you,

  32. Ruth,

    If you hadn't left, if you had decided to try harder, you would still not have been at home for your sister. You would've been married to an abusive man, and reinforcing all the evil your parents taught you. Though it was hard when you left for Rachel, it would have been much worse for all of you if you had stayed and married that horrid person.

    Life is messy. You made the most courageous move you had to make, and even though it hurt Rachel, it helped her too. You proved that one did not have to just accept any evil a man wanted to dish out, that little girls deserve better.

    That's what gives her the courage to go through all she is experiencing now, including the adoption. Life can get better. It can get better. Hope is a very powerful force, and in that horrid home your dad keeps, people need hope more than anything.

    Also, your Dad did not "get worse" because you left. He blamed his increasingly evil control freak ways on you, but he might have gotten just as bad once he was full of himself for succeeding in marrying you off to an abuser. No one can know what might have been, so you can't see he's worse than he would have been had you stayed.

    At any rate, he's crazy all on his own, and you have no power to contribute or detract from that.

    Peace and good will to you and Rachel. May your love for each other give you strength and joy on this journey of life.

  33. How ironic that your dad's way of dealing with your leaving--forcing the remaining kids into an escalating round of all things Gothard--led directly to his losing another daughter. He made an idol out of Gothard. Now Rachel is paying the price.

  34. I have a question. When you first started this blog you had quotes such as "Father refused to speak to me today. When I went to visit them last month, I took a People magazine for the plane. I guess I left it in the schoolroom" and "I didn't leave my family. I still talk to and visit my family". It seemed that although you had a strained relationship with your family, you still had some sort of relationship. This was after you left and were living on your own. I'm wondering at what moment your dad decided to completely shun you?

  35. @Jenny
    Ruth has talked about going to visit her brother who lives near her parents and sneaking back to visit her mom when she left the magazine. At the time in comments she said that she spoke to her mom more often and she was mad that her mom didn't share the news of the pregnancy. Families are dynamic. I might be reading u wrong - are you trying to 'catch' Ruth? Put her full comment in context: The commenter said: "You left your family, Ruth Mary, as sure as you left your Lord and Savior by not following His WORD. You cut your hair and dress immodestly. You disobey your parents in direct opposition to the WORD.
    Ruth said: I didn't leave my family. I still talk to and visit my family. I still pray for you and wish for your health and happiness. You left me. Maybe not physically, but when I started having doubts about the way you raised me being the best way for me and when I was so unhappy, you turned your back on me"

  36. Leaving sisters behind was always what felt the worst to me, my youngest sister said i was like a mother to her and when i left the family fell apart.
    But my sister is in college now and has a life.
    Sometimes you have to do what is best for you before you can help them.
    I hope that makes sense....i'm just saying...i know how you feel about it, its easy to feel guilty but don't let the guilt stay
    *big hugs for you and your sister*

  37. in case you are interested. this is the link to my baby sister's feelings on the matter of me leaving

  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. Pamela said...
    If you hadn't left when you did, what would be happening to Rachel right now??? You and Rachel both need to ask yourselves that question.

    I realize that several people have already pointed this out, but until the two of you accept that what you did that night may have hurt her at the time, you were there to save her when she needed you worst, it will always be the "elephant in the room".

    (I deleted previous comment because I posted it before I finished it)

  40. I really enjoyed reading the blogs about your life, and I always wondered how you were able to get by after you left the movement, but before you got to college. Six years is a long time and I wondered how your life was during those years.

  41. Just Curious...we are waiting for the book too...give Ruth and now Rachel time...

    (We'll be buying 3 copies...when/if it hits Amazon.)

  42. Ruth, you did everything RIGHT by leaving because not only did you save yourself, but you are in a position to help others leave a life of bondage. Yes, living in what Gothard and your father created is a life of bondage and h*ll. There is no other way of putting it. Everything that your father has said, what he believes in, etc. falls on deaf ears because it is clear as day what he stands for and what he is. As far as your mother is concerned, she has the power within herself to leave and take the kids with her if she truly wanted. I'm BEYOND sick and tired of hearing excuses and rationalizations of how this is not true, that she is helpless, etc. This is all B.S. There is a light within each of us that can be tapped into when the "flight or fight" adrenaline kicks in. She has the power to change if she wants to. The whole Gothard "religion" in itself is B.S. too. It is simply a system for systematic abuse and brainwashing covered and protected by the cloak of "religion" or "religious freedom." Half the things that these religious fundamentalist freaks do would be a felony for regular law-abiding citizens in secular society, however, in Fundamentalist Land, this is all approved and sanctioned by "God". B.S. You did right by leaving, don't let anyone tell you or fool you otherwise. I am a mom of 7 children (ages 28 to age 10). I've lived life long enough to see through the hypocrites known as Quiverfull and Gothardism. I'm also tired of "God" being brought into this picture. They use God's name in vain...they could say that "Donald Duck" approves of them. It's all the same to me. There is no powerful force in the universe, "God" or otherwise, that sanctions what they do. They give themselves the power and authority to oppress, abuse, and brainwash people for their own purposes.

  43. To add to my post above (after reading some other comments), I don't know if this has already been said or not, but I equate you leaving the "The Family" first as putting the oxygen on yourself first, before you can save others. It's as simple as that. Yes, what you did was painful to your sister, Rachel, and possibly others, but that's the breaks. No one said that living according to your own conscience and spirit and light is easy, but it is WORTH IT. You will see this clear as day as the days, weeks, months & years unfold.

  44. Just Curious, I've been wondering the same thing.

  45. I have not read all the comments. You couldn't have taken her. She was a minor.You couldn't have stayed you'd be married with several kids by now. By leaving her you are here in the now able to save her. If you'd stayed you couldn't help her now.


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