Maintaining a Relationship with Difficult Parents

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Over the years, I have sometimes gotten emails from readers wanting advice on how to deal with controlling and manipulative (if not downright abusive) parents. As my regular readers will know, I have maintained my relationship with my parents in spite of the no good very bad treatment I received from them as I came of age. My parents' actions---their efforts to control and manipulate and guilt me into being the daughter they wanted me to be---were emotionally abusive. Why did I decided to keep … [Read more...]

When Love Is Abuse

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Love. Love. Love. It seems to be all I hear about.I was raised in an evangelical home. Between five and ten years ago I went through a time of incredible pain at the hands of my parents. They believed I was bound by God to obey them even as an adult, they freaked out when my beliefs began diverging from theirs, and they cracked down, hard. Their efforts to control and manipulate me can be safely termed emotional abuse. I cried so much during that time. I was still so young, and out on my own … [Read more...]

You’ve been brainwashed; or, following after fleshly lusts

Sometimes, from time to time, a fundamentalist or evangelical child grows up to question and reject her parents' beliefs and values. The funny thing is, this shift in belief is rarely seen as a legitimate rethinking and change of belief. Oh, no! Far from it! After all, how could a child raised on the Truth (tm) go on to reject the Truth (tm)? How could a child raised to know Jesus and the amazing life he brings go on to reject him and his gift? It's incomprehensible! And so, an explanation must … [Read more...]

Courtship, Part 1: Eroding Girls’ Self Confidence

When I was in high school, I looked forward to the day when I would take part in a parent-guided courtship. It's what I wanted. The idea that I could go out myself and find my own spouse was incomprehensible to me. In fact, I even said that I would be open to an arranged marriage. More than that, there was even a point where I wanted an arranged marriage. Why, you ask? Let me explain.The idea that adult daughters should obey their fathers - an idea central to Christian Patriarchy - is … [Read more...]

Raised Quiverfull: The Family Responds to Questioning

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How did your parents and siblings respond to you questioning/rejecting their beliefs? How did those you grew up with respond? Joe: When I met, Kristine, the woman I have been married to for almost 11 years, I had already left my singly mother who very sincerely and deeply followed Bill Gothard.  Regardless of her lifestyle. I still felt that I needed to be completely open with her about everything in my life.  Knowing she would be hateful toward Kristine, I told her anyway - and she was h … [Read more...]

Focus on the Family on emotional abuse

I recently found an entry on emotional abuse on Focus on the Family's website. The article was clearly intended to help the church to identify, target, and reach out to women in emotionally abusive relationships. What's ironic is how often parents in Focus on the Family's brand of conservative Christianity, and especially in the even more conservative Christian Patriarchy or Quiverfull movements, employ the exact tactics described here as they attempt to keep their children in the … [Read more...]

Worthwhile Reads: Emotional Incest

Inspired by my series on emotional incest a few weeks ago, Sierra of The Phoenix and the Olive Branch recently wrote three posts on the topic herself. By the way, I can't praise Sierra and her writing enough. I really can't. If you haven't perused her blog yourself, you should. Start with the three posts I just mentioned:Emotional Incest: The Junior WifeEmotional Incest: The Mama's Boy and the Other WifeEmotional Incest: The Bottom Line … [Read more...]


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