Part 8: Hypervigilance in the Wider World – Adventures in Ambiguity

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceAll images by Cindy Kunsman and used with permission from Under Much GraceHigh demand groups manage tension and pain which arise from natural and healthy disagreements and differences by forcing uniformity. Again, we come back to the fact of life that we human beings are very dynamic and diverse, something that a group purports to “correct” for the member, giving the illusion that they've resolved that healthy tension. Anyone who espouses beliefs that are different from the group are discounted or demonized which further galvanizes the control that they hold over a member. In doing so, they force and reinforce the idea that t … [Read more...]

Part 7: Finding a Healthy Locus of Control – Adventures in Ambiguity

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceAll images by Cindy Kunsman from Under Much Grace used with permissionWe've already noted that a person's concept of self suffers while in a high demand group or family, since the member's sense of worth must be derived from the group. Though they may appear to have autonomy, their choices are bound and limited to that which is determined by the group. … [Read more...]

Part 6: Building on Emotional Self Regulation – Adventures in Ambiguity

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much Grace In the previous post, we explored the challenge of developing a healthy sense of personal power that we encounter when we exit a high demand group. How on earth can we get through life with a faulty set of coping tools, where do we go to learn them, and how can we figure out how to be balanced when all we've seen modeled for us is extremes of power and of emotion?   This topic is a huge one, but a person can do a lot of good work on their own to develop healthy Emotional Self-Regulation after exiting.REMEMBER:  As with all things that make generalizations about groups of people, if this doesn't describe your experience after … [Read more...]

Part 4 – The Map is Not the Territory: Adventures in Abiguity

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceAll images in the piece by Cindy Kunsman and used with permission. And the territory is definitely not the map.   This saying came from a scientist and philosopher named Alfred Korzybski who launched the study of how human understanding and the nervous system intersected, particularly concerning how language shapes our perceptions. He was a Polish-born Russian who served in World War I as an intelligence officer, but he became a citizen of the U.S. In 1940.The original phrase that Korzybski coined in 1933 illustrates the problem of mistaking an abstraction of something for the genuine article. Another wise f … [Read more...]

Part 3 – Self-Regulation? What? How?: Adventures in Ambiguity

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceEditor's note: Cindy has oodles of very cute cat and kitten graphics at her site to illustrate her points. You should take a look at them on her site!)How can I possibly know anything about emotional self-regulation? I was faced and am often still faced with the quandary of growing up without it, not really knowing that I lacked it, and then trying to figure out how to develop it. And though trauma therapy helped me make great strides to develop it, I still have my days...The process works out differently for everyone, and some people have less difficulty than others.  This represents what I experienced in my journey … [Read more...]

Part 2 – Emotional Self Regulation: Adventures in Ambiguity

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceIn the previous post, we explored the problem created by the black and white thinking that was forced upon us in a high demand religious group. This is especially difficult if we grew up in an ideological group, because we likely didn't see anyone model moderation or another way of thinking. We end up adopting the strategy that if one thing is bad and unsafe, it's extreme opposite is likely the best safe alternative.High demand groups don't tolerate uniqueness, and they make the mistake of defining uniformity as a type of unity. They don't tolerate much of anything that falls outside whatever their group defines as … [Read more...]

Part 1 – Black and White Thinking After Exiting: Adventures in Ambiguity

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceI spent much time studying chemistry, thinking about the Bohr Model of the Atom, and I was so fascinated by the periodic table.  I suppose that along with math, it seemed like one of the few consistent things in my life.  Language could be misinterpreted, but chemistry presented a fixed, definitive type of truth.  And I lacked that in my life.How can something be true and untrue at the same time? … [Read more...]

Revisiting Generation Gaps and the Moral Imperative of Totalitarian Niceness

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from Under Much GraceThe following list describes the desired traits that non-Christian young people desire to see in Christians, particularly among their elders as compiled by the authors of “unChristian: What A New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity....And Why It Matters.” When I presented quotes from this book on my blog last year, I suggested that we as believers should extend the same considerations to those who follow patriarchy as well as to young unbelievers. I would like to use this list (from pp 194-5 of the book) as a point of departure for relating to young adults in general. Those interviewed suggested that these considerations would imp … [Read more...]

You Are Beautiful

by AJ cross posted from her blog I Am Phoenix(Editor's note: Not precisely related to QF or religion but something important to remember in recovery. So many of us coming out of high demand religions have such a down negative view of ourselves that it's worthwhile to sometimes stop an realize we are all beautiful. It's a message that can never be repeated too often. We need to keep hearing this message as we recover.)Can you really fully experience being you if you never get outside of yourself?Do you really know who you are if you've never experienced yourself through the eyes of others? … [Read more...]

Open Thread: How Has Thanksgiving & Other Holidays Changed For You?

Yesterday it seemed like Facebook was filled with all sorts of tales of hostile Thanksgiving pasts and worries about how sideways the holiday could go due to the presence of fundamentalist Christian relatives or your loud uncle Larry that drinks a little bit and then proceeds to yell out his love for the most awful politicians ever. Turkey Day's filled with pumpkin pie and indigestion.Benjamin L. Corey has a very funny Formerly Fundy Bingo card up on his Facebook page that suits what some have to deal with from friends and relatives during the holidays. … [Read more...]


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