Forming Boundaries Late in Life

by Latebloomer

Do any of these sound like you?

I have to always say yes to others, or else I am selfish.
I have to always hide my hurt, or else I am unloving.
I have to treat other people as faultless, or else I am holding a grudge.
I have to keep my wants and needs to myself, or else I am a burden to others.

People who experienced authoritarian parents tend to turn into adults with poor boundaries. They were trained for it their whole lives and can’t imagine another way of doing things. However, it’s an extremely unsatisfying and unsustainable way to live, don’t you think? But most importantly, it’s actually not what a loving person is like! For me, when I was in that mindset, my “loving” actions were actually motivated by obligation or guilt because I thought I didn’t really have a choice; I was just an actor.

Besides hindering me from showing real love based on real choice, this mindset also prevented me from ever feeling loved. My buried wants and needs were still there; I just expected any true friend to be hyper-vigilant to my emotional state and correctly guess my unexpressed wants/needs. I felt that anyone who didn’t put in that monumental effort didn’t really care about me. And when people hurt me, I didn’t give them a chance to repair the damage to the relationship; I either lied to myself and them by saying that I wasn’t hurt, or I expected them to realize the problem and fix it without being told. Obviously, it was really hard for anyone to break through those defenses to form a real and lasting connection with me, even if they wanted to.

Full Post

[Read more...]

Quiverfull and the Introvert: Where Do You Get Your Energy?

by Barbie Getzreal

“Where do you get your energy?!”

This is a question which is frequently asked of Quiverfull moms by amazed and admiring onlookers who cannot imagine being able to keep up with the exponential demands of “biblical womanhood” including: perpetual pregnancy, child-bearing, adopting sibling groups, breastfeeding, baby wearing, chronic sleep deprivation, raising half a dozen or more closely-spaced, “stair-step” children, homeschoolingyear round through chronic illness, child-training, character training, tomato-staking, discipling children, homemaking, penny-pinching, organic gardening, baking from scratch, once-a-month cooking, homesteading, sewing modest clothing, showing hospitality, operating a “cottage” business, staying trim, fit and healthy, and of course, serving as loving helpmeet … all without the modern woman’s “village” of helpers: daycare, preschool, play dates, public school, the boob-tube babysitter, pre-packaged and frozen foods, day spas, “me time,” credit cards, government assistance, “allopathic” medicine, Sunday School, youth group, therapists, Ritalin for the kids, or Xanax for mom.

Even a cursory perusal of the above-linked Quiverfull blogs will leave a woman feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. “Where do you get your energy?” is the obvious and unavoidable question.

The most flippant, unprofitable, guilt-inducing, and insincere responses often sound the most spiritual:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Full Post

[Read more...]

A Tomboy in Christian Patriarchy

by Latebloomer

I was not the type of daughter that my mother wanted. I was a tomboy.

My hair was very short and I preferred blue clothes. I wanted to run faster and climb higher than anyone. I wasn’t afraid of slimy frogs and worms, and I could kill a spider without batting an eye. I looked with confusion and disdain at the passive little girls with their hair-bows, sitting and talking about clothes and boys. If I had known the term “badass” back then, I would have applied it to myself with pride.

When I was young, my mom was more tolerant of this. After all, in the early days, there were mostly boys in my age group in our small homeschooling community. So I was free to run wild with the boys and join their sports games during our weekly park days.

However, puberty was looming, and it signaled the end of my adventurous life. It was time for me to learn to act like a “lady”, and the means of teaching was through one sentence: “That’s not very ladylike”.

Full Post

[Read more...]

Emotional Incest Part 4: The Pain

by Libby Anne

In Part 1 I discussed the definition of emotional incest, in Part 2 I discussed its relationship with Christian Patriarchy, and in Part 3 I pointed out just how easy it is to slip into the harmful emotionally incestuous dynamics (the “daddy’s girl” effect). I am now going to turn to the problems and pain emotional incest causes.

But first, I want to note that emotional incest can happen in any family (not just one involved in Christian Patriarchy) and that it can happen with sons as well as with daughters. In focusing as I have on daughters, and also on Christian Patriarchy, I have of necessity left a lot out.

Emotional incest causes a multitude of problems, but I’m only going to address the three I see as most significant: first, it creates a relationship triangle between the parents and the child; second, it makes the child responsible for the parent’s well-being; and third, getting out of this situation can have the same effects as a really, really nasty breakup.

Full Post

[Read more...]

Emotional Incest: The Bottom Line

by Sierra

[Editors' note: At the time of writing, Libby Anne and Sierra were unaware of the controversy surrounding Hugo Schwyzer. The discussion of his critique of emotional incest is not an endorsement of Schwyzer by NLQ.]

My last two posts, and indeed all my thinking on the subject has led me to some conclusions about the ways that Christian Patriarchy and purity culture enable and even celebrate emotional incest. The following are the cliff notes:

Christian patriarchy turns marriage from a relationship to an institution, effectively reversing the historical trend from business partnerships and heir insurance to bonds between two free agents based on love. Evangelical culture says that marriage takes three: you, your spouse, and God. It also promotes self-denial and the sublimation of one’s own desires to those of Christ. Therefore, any two evangelical Christians should be able to marry each other and have a godly, fulfilling marriage, given enough work and prayer. Purity culture says that chemistry and personality don’t matter. What matters is following the Word of God. Husbands and wives should love each other because it’s commanded in God’s Word to do so; loving his wife is a husband’s “first ministry.” Similarly, a wife “ministers” to her husband by submission and love. The core of marriage in Christian patriarchy is the commitment to be loyal to God and to the marriage, not attachment to the person of the spouse. This is why evangelical courtships are more focused on purity than the prospective partners getting to know each other personally; what matters is getting to the altar without regrets. The love in marriage flows from commitment rather than the other way around, mirroring the logic of arranged marriage.(Note: Most evangelical Christians do acknowledge the importance of an emotional bond between the bride and groom that develops before the wedding day. Most evangelical Christians do want their children to marry people whom they find attractive, companionable and fun. If you are one of these Christians, you’re not the one I’m critiquing. (Congratulations! You’re normal!) What I do find problematic is the branch of evangelical-fundamentalist Christianity led by people like Bill Gothard, Matthew Chapman (who famously didn’t ask his wife to marry him), Doug Wilson, Jonathan Lindvall, et al. who expect young people to marry with hardly any knowledge of each other, rigid parental oversight and laundry lists of abstract virtues rather than personality traits in mind.)

Full Post

[Read more...]