Midnight. I’m in my kerchief and the hubby is in his cap when from the lawn across the street there arose such a clatter….
Unfortunately for us it wasn’t jolly old Saint Nick or even The Grinch with his little dog Max, it was merely our neighbors, the Bumpasses. Their name isn’t really ‘Bumpass’ but after they moved in they proved by their behavior that they had to be related to the original Bumpasses in the movie, ‘The Christmas Story’ And yes, they have a pile of hound dogs that would gladly eat your turkey if they could get to it.
The Bumpasses got along with no one in the neighborhood and now they were busy cementing their reputation as the neighborhood jerks by trying to move a travel trailer at midnight. There was just one big problem with the trailer. It was sitting on six flat tires, like it had been since July back when they showed up with it.
This trailer was a complete eyesore, think Cousin Eddie in the movie, ‘Christmas Vacation’. Busted out windows replaced with plywood, rust here and there, peeling paint. I watched for two hours from the safety of my dormer window as the Bumpasses screamed, swore and strained to get the tenement on wheels to move. The only thing that happened is it’s sitting cockeyed where they left it and there are huge gouges in the blacktop from the rims cutting through the flat tires.
So what does shiftless tree surgeon trying to move a trailer on flat tires at midnight have to do with recovery from Quiverful and Patriarchal cults? Beliefs, or the foolishness of believing the wrong thing even as it’s injuring you. Bubba Bumpass walked away from his futile attempts moaning and clutching his back. His insistence on his belief it’s easy to get a tireless vehicle to move ended up only hurting him.
Like Sierra said in ‘The Dead Village’ escaping the burning village isn’t necessarily the problem, it’s living with the aftermath, the survivor guilt, the persecution by former friends, changing through the pain.
The problem with escaping and thriving after leaving is the battle being waged daily in your mind. You come out and you don’t have the world’s best grip on what is right and truth. Even when your head knows what the truth is in the beginning your heart tries to immediately bring in that former belief from the dead village. The script is imbedded in your mind and that interior tape starts playing immediately, bringing with it doubt and guilt.
That internal voice that tells you what you should believe according to those you escaped was the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with after leaving Possum Creek Christian Fellowship. I would take a step forward knowing it was true, right and good and immediately the thought police of PCCF would contradict it.
Every single day I found the only way to strangle out that voice is to stop, tell the lie it is a lie and repeat the truth to myself. If you do this long enough every single time a lie from the past crops up eventually the judgmental rule book holder in your mind has to shut the hell up. It’s the best way to duct tape up the mouth of the speaker in your brain.
It’s the reverse of Hitler’s The Big Lie. The big lie works by being repeated enough times that it starts to sound like the truth. For us in recovery we need to replace The Big Lie with The Big Truth. Sometimes over and over and over again.
Kind of like Ralphie from ‘The Christmas Story’ trying to convince his teacher and mother that he needs a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas. They had the sense at least to know the things he was saying to justify getting a rifle were ridiculous. Sadly enough those of us leaving the lifestyle don’t always have the best handle on the truth so we entertain that voice that tells us that this or that would be better for us even if intellectually we know it would be the equivalent of shooting our eye out.
If you can put an action with denying the lie it gives actions to your words and allows you to write a new script in your mind to replace the negative words of the cult.
If you don’t replace the lies on the mind with the truth you might just find yourself doing a Sisyphean task like trying to tow a trailer on flat tires.
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