Dispelled: Part 11 Raging Rapids on the Sea of Change

by Chandra June came in on the wings of a splendid spring for Darren and I. My world had never been sunnier. It was a hopeful season full of the amazing gift of love between a man and his woman. We both knew we were going to become engaged, the question was one of timing. [Read More...]

Dispelled: Part 10

chandra

by Chandra It didn’t take long for myself and Darren’s lengthy friendship to turn from dating to committed to one another. We were very much in love, and our voluminous email correspondence had already paved the ground for much of our relationship. I was so happy- I had met the man that I had been [Read More...]

Raised Quiverfull: Introductory Questions

by Libby Anne Welcome to Raised Quiverfull! Nine young adults who grew up in the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements have come together to answer a series of questions about their experiences. All of these young adults have since questioned and left these ideologies and have chosen their own life paths. The goal of the [Read More...]

Dispelled ~ One Girl’s Journey in a Home School Cult ~ Part 9: Sparks Fly

Please note: The content contained herein does not necessarily reflect the values and opinions of the NLQ blog and its administrators.

by Chandra

I still remember what I was doing on Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001. It was a gorgeous morning, crisp azure sky with nothing but the blissful autumn sunshine overhead. Not even a cloud. I pulled into the church parking lot, sunroof back and something along the lines of Green Day blaring. I arrived at the office early, unlocking the door and booted my computer, prepping to attend to the stack of projects that pastors needed completing. I glanced over the counseling schedule for the day and realized that it was going to be a light day. After I had started a pot of coffee for all the guys, I went back to my desk to begin my day.

Somewhere around 9am the news came flooding into the office about the tragedies that were surrounding our eastern coast. Several key members of our church were in the air on business meetings, yet to be accounted for. My co-worker and I went to the sanctuary to pray and when I came back, my inbox said, “You’ve Got Mail” from this mysteriously attractive guy named Darren that I had met over the summer in the singles group. I was a baby, just 19 when I met him. And he was 29. But we were friends and we started an email conversation on 9/11 about the current events facing our nation. And for some reason, this conversation never stopped.

I was still living at home and I knew for certain I wasn’t about to let my parents screw up my chances at finding love and happiness. I knew I needed to leave the house before I could date, because there was no way in hell that I would ever consider courtship. My parents were so screwed up, that that model would not have worked, even though that was their clear desire for me. They wanted to be able to control whom I married so that they could continue to control me from beyond my father’s house.

I began to actively search with a dear friend for a place to rent later that same month. Things at home had grown substantially worse, if that was even possible. I was never home, often leaving early in the morning and often not returning until well past midnight. My sexy Honda became my refuge and respite from the intolerable home environment. My mom grew increasingly intrusive and controlling, opening my mail (keep in mind, I was 19), analyzing my credit card statements (again, I was 19 with a full-time job and zero overhead), my eating habits (she told me that I had bulimia- HA! I wish!), and my choice in clothing (my father told me while going to church that I looked like a prostitute).

I was told that my lack of pitching in with my hard-earned money to help out with household costs was the reason that my parents were in so much debt. I believed it, and internalized these statements, rather than recognizing that my dad’s sexual addiction was the cause of their financial state. Rather than throwing my money to them, I determined that my best option was to leave.

I was weary of trying to make things work at home, of no freedom and completely humiliating incidences. My mom would call people I was hanging out with, demanding to know where I was and when I would be home. Many times, she would be awake when I arrived home, and would begin her emotional tirades against me from the moment I stepped into the house. They never set a curfew, so I never felt compelled to keep it. Once, my mom barged in on a church single’s party, tracking down where this social gathering was. She appeared and demanded if I was there at the house. She came in, and dragged me by the hand out of this home and humiliated me in front of everyone. Again, I was 19. That was the final straw. I ripped into her, telling her how much I hated her and it was not two weeks later, that my friend and I found a condo that was offered to us by a member of the church where I worked.

I was thrilled to at last have found a place to live away from my parents toxicity! I had my little red Honda packed and ready to go weeks in advance, but I would be required to live with my parents through the holidays. My girlfriend and I were free to move in anytime after Christmas, so the day after Christmas, I planned my move. And this guy Darren, who had befriended me that autumn had the truck that I needed. I did not need help from my parents, and refused to take it. I needed to leave, flee- as far away from them as my situation would take me, and I wanted them to have no part of my new life.

I got myself moved and found my parents and my brother in my new condo, unannounced. I had forgotten to lock the door. I was more than just a little angry that they wouldn’t leave me alone, and told them to leave. This was my life, and I wanted to live it apart from them perpetrating their abuse and control on me. Little did I know what a long road I would have ahead of me in actually obtaining that freedom.
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Dispelled ~ One Girl’s Journey in a Home School Cult ~ Part 8: The Road to Freedom

Please note: The content contained herein does not necessarily reflect the values and opinions of the NLQ blog and its administrators.

by Chandra

It wasn’t until this past year, while speaking to my counselor, that she looked me in the eye and asked of me, “Did you ever think to call 911?”

Something like a tidal wave went through me. I still feel like I am picking up the pieces of that.

“No,” I replied. “It never even dawned on me.”

I still don’t understand the full implications of living in such a mind-controlling cult. I really don’t. It’s…indescribable really and I often feel like a blundering, clumsy writer trying to articulate it to the outside world. The truth is that I had been trained to believe since I was six that all law enforcement was to be feared. The only authority that was to be trusted was that of a God-ordained institution: marriage, family, and sometimes, the church (if that church was legalistic or a home church). Government, social workers, doctors, lawyers, police officers…were all to be feared implicitly and never, ever trusted. I had become so trusting of my caretakers that I had turned into the girl who was ignorant of their abuse: because I had been trained to rely on them for everything.

I stumbled through the next few months after my graduation with a feeling of being a nomad, feeling like I was waiting for a game of chess to end, but somehow the game continued to be sustained by a few pieces. In retrospect, I see how certain events were orchestrated to my benefit, leading me slowly into the path of freedom. Even in June, after I had graduated, I was still weak and sickly from my previous pneumonia and ARDS. I got tired very easily, and frequently felt short of breath. I was also depressed. After all, I was a newly graduated senior and I was without friends. It had been well over four years since Hannah and I had last spoken to one another and probably about a year at that point since we had seen each other. Still, somewhere in my heart there was a longing and an aching for the hope that we could renew our once precious and sisterly friendship.

In truth, I had never had another friend like her. We were more alike than not, even in the way the thought about life. What I didn’t understand, even at nearly eighteen, was that we were both cut from the same cloth: brainwashed, controlled, and manipulated. Because our parents were the best at manipulating and “raising godly daughters as a heritage unto the Lord” it was a very natural thing that we would approach the world in the same way. But at almost eighteen, I didn’t understand that. All I knew was that there was loneliness, an aching, a void, a starving and thirst for human companionship and the sisterhood of true friends.

After I graduated, I received a sizable amount of cash, and combined with money that my grandparents had generously gifted me with over the years, this allowed me to purchase my first car. My dad actually spearheaded the entire purchase of the car. I purchased my first car when I was 18: a 1993 Red Honda Civic, with all the bells and whistles. I loved that car! It was the best thing that had happened to me in nearly seven years. I would drive with the sunroof back, the stereo blaring and loved the feeling of burning rubber. This car held out its metaphorical hand to me, encouraging me to embrace the freedom of my future. And I took it.

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