Snipped! Part 4 The Freedom of Divorce

by Incongruous Circumspection

Seven years old was a big year for me. It was at this point that Mama and Dad’s relationship boiled over and broke apart. Dad left and went to live by himself, leaving my siblings and I alone with Mama. At this point in my life, the alone time with Mama wasn’t too bad. She hadn’t learned yet, to take her immature “lashing out,” and reconcile it with her interpretation of the Bible. She was just solidly abusive and then excitingly adventurous.

At one point, Dad did try to come back and give the marriage another chance. I remember being asked to dry the dishes one evening. Dad had pulled our old black and white television from its corner, to the middle of the living room, and was watching a night game between the Vikings and who cares who else. I was drying a dish and became quite interested in the noise coming from the tube, being that I wanted to love what my father loved, so I peeked around the corner into the living room. Dad caught my gaze and motioned for me to climb up on his lap. I obliged and, for the next sixty seconds, I learned everything about football down to the color of the Vikings away laces.

Sixty seconds with my Dad was an eternity. He had come back to try and reconcile with Mama and the whole eleven days that he stayed was a living hell for him. Any time he tried to enjoy his family by playing with his kids, Mama would come into the room and yell, demanding that we go and do some chore that sorely needed to be done. This time was no different. Around the corner she came, swooping in and grabbing me, forcing me into the kitchen to finish my duties. It would be about a year before I watched another game of football with my father.

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Emotional Incest, Part 1: Definitions

by Libby Anne

I’ve been hesitant to write about emotional incest for two reasons: First, it’s too easy for people to think “emotional incest” implies a sexual relationship when it doesn’t, and second, I’ve had some experience with it and drudging that up can be painful. But given how integral emotional incest is to the teachings of Vision Forum and Christian Patriarchy, I’ve decided to devote a few posts to it.

Emotional incest is sometimes also called covert incest. It does not involve actual sexual or physical contact. Rather, it involves an unhealthy relationship between parent and child in which the child serves as a sort of emotional spouse or companion to the parent. Here are a couple definitions, some using the term “covert incest” and others using the term “emotional incest.”

Covert incest occurs when a child plays the role of a surrogate husband or wife to a lonely, needy parent. The parent’s need for companionship is met through the child. The child is bound to the parent by excessive feelings of responsibility for the welfare of the parent. The demand for loyalty to the lonely, needy parent overwhelms the child and becomes the major organizing experience in the child’s development.

Covert emotional incest begins when a person perceives and responds to a family member as a replacement or substitute for a partner.

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Authoritarian Parenting and Emotional Repression

by Latebloomer

I have a lot of respect for my dad. He’s thoughtful and generous to all of us. His constant reading makes him an interesting and well-informed conversationalist. He makes his life decisions very carefully, yet never looks down on me for making different decisions than him. Instead, he tells me all the time that he loves and misses me, and that he’s proud of who I’ve become. I feel so lucky to have him as my dad.

Unfortunately, we have not always gotten along so well. Less than ten years ago, our relationship had been almost completely destroyed thanks to the authoritarian parenting techniques of the fundamentalist Christian homeschooling culture. Authoritarian parenting forced both of us into roles that we were not at all suited for, with tragic results.

For my dad, authoritarian parenting caused him to see our relationship as a power struggle; maintaining his authority was his biggest responsibility and highest priority. After all, if we were calling the shots in our own lives, we would become self-indulgent and lack internal self-control. That would lead us to more dangerous “worldly” teenage rebellion against our parents and God. So in order not to fail at parenting, my dad had to be hyper-vigilant against giving up power to us kids. What an insane amount of responsibility to put on one person! And how difficult to create a positive relationship with that kind of dynamic: it’s impossible to mandate real respect and love! My dad began to crack under the pressure.

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Thirtyone – Adventures in Recovery

by Calulu

I was driving around the other day running a few errands and when I got back to my car I caught the tail end of a some random preacher speaking about the proper role of women in The Kingdom on local Christian radio. I didn’t catch his name or the name of his ministry or sponsor but his message was loud and clear and made my blood boil. Bulls eye. Trigger hit. Buttons pushed.

He started off speaking on the subject of what his ten year old daughter wanted to be when she grew up. She’s crazy for gymnastics and he asked her that question about the future we all contemplate, what did she want to be when she grew up. Her answer to that question was that she would be a gymnastics teacher as an adult.

I had to wonder how she’s come to limiting her own scope as an adult at that young age. I thought it was rather sad that his daughter said she was going to grow up to teach gymnastics instead of saying she dreamed of being an Olympic gymnast or of winning this or that gym meet. She simply wanted to teach her passion. She didn’t dare expand her dreams to include anything like actually being in competition as a gymnast. Her own goals were limited in scope to start with.

It was pretty obvious she wasn’t going to receive the same type of nurturing or encouragement the average ‘worldly’ or ‘atheist’ parent might give their offspring. Her passion and talent would never receive the type of acknowledgment and respect it might elsewhere. It’s hard to develop to the best of your talent without the emotional support of those closest to you. I suspect that is why this child could not see any further than teaching one day.

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Homeschooled Girls and Trash Cans: The Social Isolation of Homeschooling

by Latebloomer

What do homeschooled girls and trash cans have in common?
They both only leave the house once a week.

 

This joke was well-received among homeschooled youth because it rang true for so many of us. For almost all of my teen years, church was the only social activity that I engaged in, the only time during the whole week that I might have a chance to interact with people who were not my immediate family. Making friends in that context, especially as a shy teen girl, seems daunting. However, I had an even greater obstacle to deal with: I was not allowed to participate in youth group.

My parents were absolutely terrified of teenage rebellion. Thanks to various books and speakers popular in the homeschooling community, my parents believed teen rebellion to be a recent American trend due to indulgent parenting and peer pressure. A rebellious teen was more than just an annoyance in the homeschooling community: that teen was turning his/her back not only on the parents, but also on God. What a tragic waste of years of sacrifice and careful training by the parents! This type of thinking motivated my parents to maintain careful discipline and to shelter us from almost all contact with our peers, even at church.

I distinctly remember the conversation between the youth pastor and my mom. I was probably 14 or 15, and so shy that I would start shaking if anyone tried to talk to me at church. Although social interaction was painful, I desperately needed it, and I think the youth pastor noticed that. He approached my parents after church one day to invite us to Sunday school. My mom asked for the materials that were being used in Sunday school, and took them home to peruse them with my dad. I heard the decision the next week at the same time as the youth pastor: “Our kids will not be attending Sunday school.” The reason? Apparently the material mentioned a teen who was frustrated with his parents, and it was dangerous for me to think that frustration was a valid or normal feeling for a teen to have toward parents.

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