Hello! Welcome to the Quivering Daughters website. Please note that this site is no longer being updated with new material but I hope you find the archives helpful. God bless you.

Dear Anonymous

A recent exchange (see comments in this post for background) culminated in the following concerns from an anonymous poster. I know that many share this person's views and I wanted to address them in a visible format so others can follow and add thoughts of their own.

"Anonymous" writes,
I guess my question is still very much unanswered. I understand the desire to help those who have been truly abused.
    However, I get the sickening feeling reading these posts that the definition for "abuse" has gotten really out of hand and has turned into a self-indulged victim mentality.
    The distinctions are not clear enough. There are terms being used interchangeably with "abuse and cultish" that are not, in and of themselves, such.
    To try to illustrate my point:
    Because there are abusive parents in EVERY kind of family, denomination, "camp", etc., imagine a family where the father is a pedophile. This father chose to homeschool his children to make it easier to abuse them without being found out.
    It would be ludicrous then, in an attempt to "speak for the abused", to write things like, "Abusive men homeschool to try to hide their activities". While that statement is true in some instances, it is far to overreaching. Now the undiscerning reader has had a shadow cast across every homeschooler he encounters because he read that "abusive men homeschool".
    What I see happening here I've seen over and over. A knee-jerk reaction that "throws the baby out with the bath water".
    You insinuate that a family who uses terms like "guarding a daughter's heart" is a cultish family. It could be true, but you've just cast that shadow across every family who has a genuine desire to do so.
    That cannot be a blanket statement. This is a gross misrepresentation of many, many loving homes who do in fact use such terms and actually mean it and carry it out in a loving, healthy way.
    It matters little "who your audience is" when you hurt these healthy families in the process.
    What of the many families (I know them well) who would agree to being called "patriarchal types" who are gentle, sacrificial, listen to their children and have flourishing, sweet relationships with them, who like Vision Forum AND hold their daughters close, telling them, "You are unique in the sight of God, I'm so blessed to be your Mom/Dad and God has great things in store for you"?
    Who eat whole wheat bread and don't believe it's a sin to wear make-up.
    Who attend the Father/Daughter Retreats and have joyful, healthy daughters anyway?
    Who believe in the authority of parents in the home AND who teach their children that they can DO NOTHING to earn the favor of God because they have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus?
    Who teach a balanced view of repentance and grace?
    Whose daughters may enjoy wearing skirts because they like the feminine way they feel, but wear pants sometimes too?
    What of those families who have instilled a healthy, balanced sense of work and whose children understand that helping with siblings is not abuse, but just a normal part of life, just as it has been for centuries?
    I see some dangerous Psychology being used here. I could bait anyone and get them to *feel* abused. We all had flesh-covered, sinful parents who didn't love us perfectly and we could conjure up "abusive moments" all day if we wanted to. We could even say our whole lifestyles were abusive (my parents sent me to public school. I could easily call this abuse, though they loved me dearly.)
    (The feminists baited their proselytes and instilled in them a hatred of home using a similar tactic.)
    My question is, if grace is so much a part of what we are trying to extend to these daughters, where is the grace for parents who, despite not being perfect are doing the best they know? Instead, I'm seeing a whole generation of ungrateful children rise up against their well-meaning parents. (Hmmm...I seem to recall that in a prophecy of Scripture.)
    It's a disgrace that I have a friend who was so grossly abused (chased with a gun on a regular basis, anyone?? Told how ugly she was...) who demonstrated honor and respect for that wicked father up until his death, having never even received an apology, and still continues to give him honor due a parent to this day. She is healthy because she refused to be a victim. Her children are healthy because she refused to be a victim. She didn't need counseling because she really understood grace and in extending grace to her abusive father, she was healed.
    Address abuse, yes! But address it in the only way it will bring healing (by teaching forgiveness of the abuser, despite their deserving of it). And distinguish, for mercy's sake, the difference in real abuse and a selfish, sin nature that wants to blame and be coddled.
    All the good that is being done here is being negated by the healthy families being torn apart and labeled as a "cult", and by the happy girls who will come here and fall victim to "being a victim" by the baiting of feelings.
    God can not be pleased when His people--faithful, loving parents, are falsely represented.
    All in grace, and pleading, and praying you have ears to hear.
Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for taking time to address what many others believe as well. In mulling a response, I've been a little uncertain how to structure my statements. Anything I say could be considered defensive or knee-jerk or, as others have suggested, influenced by humanistic or feministic thinking. This puts me in a tight place and I can only pray that the One who calls me will give me the words I need to speak. I know that nothing I say will sufficiently squelch concerns because the topics themselves are controversial by nature. But I believe that everyone, whether or not we all agree on issues, is created in God's image. If you are a Christian, then we are a brother or sister in Christ. Both of these things makes what you think important to me and I take your words seriously, even if after prayer and reflection my own convictions remain unaltered. 

I will make every effort to address the issues you've raised.
1) Regarding definitions of abuse, I've identified spiritual abuse here, and emotional abuse here. Yes there are abusive parents in every kind of family (and every religion) you can imagine. Unfortunately I can't focus on all of them, nor am I called to ~ although I can pray and try to reach out to the ones the Lord brings across my path. Thankfully He has established many who minister to various hurting families and who address different kinds of abuses. 

2) I'm not sure how to address these things in a manner that doesn't come across as "knee-jerk," although I realize that my saying "it's not" has no meaning or credibility to any who question. It has been well over ten years since I've experienced this environment on a daily basis, and my personal journey with the Lord has undergone a thorough revamping. I've approached not only this blog but my book and the people I've met with buckets of tears and prayers and much agony of heart and soul. If it weren't for the Lord's clear leading I would have given up long ago. These subjects are very serious; the only reason I'm able to keep going is because I am truly convinced this is God's path for me. I do hope He continues to refine, teach, and guide me. I want this to not be about me, or to glorify pain and abuse, but through exposing pain, heartache, and other issues point to the ultimate Healer and bring Him glory.

3) I don't know how much of my blog you've read, but there are many places where I've encouraged forgiveness and / or acknowledged the good intentions of our parents. (For examples, try here, here, here, and here.) I haven't once indicated that we are not sinners. But often daughters from patriarchal environments are so aware of their own sin that it becomes hard to even address the effects of others' sin  ~ they feel they deserve it. They feel unworthy to seek healing. My job isn't to be the Holy Spirit to these girls or anyone; it is His job to bring conviction. My prayer is that what I write exudes the fragrance of Christ. Sadly it hasn't always, and when it's brought to my attention I try to acknowledge it and make it right. I've left up some comments I'm ashamed of because it would be easy for me to delete them and brush away my insensitivies, but I'm not trying to paint a flawless picture of myself. 

4) Regarding grace for parents, I am sad that trying to address the hurtful effects of sin is automatically associated with a lack of grace. Here is something from my FAQ (written on behalf of myself and any contributors) and the position I take within my book:
What do you think about parents, pastors,Vision Forum, the Botkins, and the other ministries and organizations who promote reformed, Quiverfull or the patriocentric family?
Because only the Lord can see the heart, we do not feel it appropriate for us to assume critical attitudes towards the real people behind movements, ministries, organizations, churches, or within families. We acknowledge that many of these people are sincere in their efforts to do as they feel God has indicated, which includes taking a stand for or against specific religious or familial practices. We trust and pray that wherever they, and we, are in error, God will reveal it and lead us along a path of righteousness and humility. We trust and pray that He will reveal truth and healing to those affected, and endeavor to make restitution where we are responsible. We are all fallen, and yet all created in the image of God. Judgment belongs to Him.
You've said that you do not want to "assume critical attitudes towards people behind the movements, families, etc". But there are some very public faces promoting unbiblical teaching! How can you not point someone out and truly support the women they are hurting, directly or indirectly?
We try to address the teaching itself, and may on occasion use specific names to illustrate ideology in question. But our goal is to remain focused on aching souls and feel that for us, it would be a distraction to 'go after' those with whom we disagree or who perpetuate errant philosophy. In other words, it's nothing personal. To have a merciful heart towards those who promote hurtful teaching is not mutually exclusive to bringing awareness to said teaching and addressing the effects and wounds they cause. Again, it is try. There may be exceptions.
If there is anywhere that I've seemed ungrateful either to my own parents or promoted an environment of ungratefulness, please bring it to my attention. However I don't believe that adult children examining the fruits of sin, dysfunction, or the mistakes of others is equal to ungratefulness. I also don't believe it is appropriate to include a disclaimer to this effect within every article, for I respect my audience who are adults and if not all, most are Christians. I can't judge them on where they might be on their journey; true forgiveness takes time and many who have not been shown grace don't understand it. I hope, I pray, that perhaps through cultivating an environment of grace, others might begin to understand God's ~ and in His timing ,will begin to heal, blossom and grow. I will continue to examine what I write in this blog and try to be more sensitive to parents, although they are not the ones whom the Lord has directly called me to address. (If other parents are reading, please give me your feedback on this as well.)

5) The only place that I recall specifically discussing guarding a daughter's heart as it relates to patriarchy and emotional purity is in this post where I quoted a young woman and asked readers how this teaching affected them. So I'm not sure where I've insinuated or made "a blanket statement that those who do this are cultish."

6) You've mentioned cultish several times. Other than the three-part series I completed recently ~ out of  over a hundred other posts written in almost a year and a half ~ I have not dwelt on cultishness at all. I've mentioned that sometimes healing is similar to the recovery of those who exit cultic groups. So I guess I am a little confused why this is emphasized so heavily in your responses to me because while I stand by and wholeheartedly maintain that many families (and organizations) are cultic in nature and structure, this has not even been close to a primary focus.

7) Regarding the "self-indulged victim mentality": these are common terms that many use to disregard and dismiss real pain. Even if someone else's pain is not understood, is not valid in your eyes, or perhaps not even important to you, I beseech those who feel tempted to use them ~ please refrain. This isn't conducive to Christ-likeness or healing. Only the Lord knows the heart of each one involved. (Parents, children, readers alike.) But let's say that someone reading is perhaps self-indulgent, milking their pain for attention. How does an accusation of this draw them to the Lord? If you believe someone isn't sincere, please pray for them. The Holy Spirit can convict them and lead them into truth and wholeness.

8) You are right that there are many godly, gracious, balanced families who are quiverfull, patriarchal, etc. But they are not my audience. I will endeavor to use the term "patriocentric" more often to help distinguish. I'm not sure how to differentiate some of the others; I use "authoritarian" quite frequently in my book. However, it can also go the other way; some might hear "quiverfull" and automatically think "godly" when it is not always so. I will pray about what other terms I can use in my writing. I think the context is most important however, and those who read will understand, write for clarification, or perhaps the Lord will lead them to write something of their own. Regardless, the Lord knows the heart and if someone who has not been abused is "baited" to feel as though they have ~ which I hope never happens through anything I've written ~ the Lord knows the truth. He loves that person and can restore them. However I can't let fear be a reason to disobey Him. Even if I, hypothetically, were the Apostle Paul and my letters to churches were included in the Holy Scriptures, people would dispute, misread, misjudge, misinterpret, and attack what I write for thousands of years. As me, I must continue laying this before the Father and seek His wisdom.

9) You wrote: "It matters little "who your audience is" when you hurt these healthy families in the process." While I certainly don't want to hurt anyone, and think that perhaps this concern might not be  well-founded, Jesus said “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Mark 2:17 Although I realize I am far from being Christ, my service to Him is to try to portray, even if with broken hands and broken language, His heart. And who is reaching out to these precious girls whom He loves? Whom He wants to make well and reveal His love and grace? I wish there were a thousand others who could take up this cause, who would definitely be better equipped than I. I don't say this with false humility, but because everyday I see my own short-comings and sin and frailty. I see my weaknesses and limitations. I don't know why He called me to this, but I love Him and pray that He can somehow use my feeble words. I am nobody, and have no desire to change that. To be honest, I never even expected the audience I do have. He said "write" and I sat down in my pajamas and bed-head and puffy eyes and started typing. I would be absolutely disobedient to my Lord if I were to streamline my focus elsewhere. I certainly don't do this because it's easy or fun, although the Lord has sustained me and blessed me through it in many ways. The only thing I'd do differently is use a pseudonym from the beginning, but it's a little late for that and I trust that the Lord will continue taking care of me and those I love.

I've consistently requested that any readers don't take my words alone but to weigh them according to Scripture and seek the Holy Spirit for guidance. He will reveal truth to you. 

I will continue to try addressing concerns; please be patient with me as I am wrapping up my book. It goes into greater detail what I wish I could put here.

Edited to add: Here is the beginning of part one of the Cultic Family series in which I used the term "authoritarian" not "patriarchal." I bring up this difference because while some patriarchal families may be cultic, my own context in writing was authoritarian. There is a major difference, I believe. 
Life in an authoritarian environment causes many  women to experience severe emotional and spiritual stumbling blocks. Some of these include shame, fear, self-condemnation, difficulty trusting those in authority, knowing God, and understanding truth. Issues of the heart and spirit have been addressed at length, but of less renown are some of the physical effects caused by prolonged periods of extreme control. And in the context of a deeply religious family, when one is born and raised in such a milieu, the ramifications on flesh can be especially destructive.

Within high-demand groups, like cults, for instance, members often have what's known as a "pre-cult identity". Recovery requires  that one reconnects with the person they were prior to group involvement. In other words, remembering life before the cult enables ex-members to reestablish life on their own and heal from cultic abuse. SGAs ~ Second Generation Adults ~ are those from totalitarian groups who do not have a pre-cult identity to fall back on to aid recovery. Because those from cultic groups and adult children from authoritarian families have such similar living environments ~ physically, psychologically, and emotionally ~ we will look at both in this article.

55 comments:

  1. Excellent response; I see these kinds of sentiments all the time in comments on spiritual abuse blogs, and it's very frustrating. I admire your forbearance.

    It's been observed that one of the symptoms of abuse is a dulling of the senses of humor and irony. Perhaps that's why people like Anonymous can't see that a label like "a self-indulged victim mentality" is a much better example of a "blanket statement" and a "gross misrepresentation" that "casts a shadow" across lots of good people--in this case, real victims. I seem to recall that in another prophecy of Scripture, Jesus mentioned "the plank in your own eye," didn't He?

    The Bible also differs from Anonymous on the "only way that will bring healing": "They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace." (Jer. 6:14 / 8:11) How can we be expected to forgive abuse if we're also expected to see it as a misrepresentation, an overreaction, and not a big deal?

    Also, have to ask: What class of people are the most likely to be concerned that other people do not see themselves as victims? Victimizers.

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  2. Anon.,
    Good is good and evil is evil. It matters not what "title" or face or movement good and evil are found in. It also matters not that within a group of people who teach and practice the same things there is good and there is evil. Do we stop speaking out against the evil for fear we will make the good look bad? I am sure there were good Pharisees and leaders in Israel in Jesus' time. Yet He still spoke against the evil among them without any disclaimers. Why? Because there was much evil in that group, causing God's children much pain and it needed to be rooted out. I highly doubt Jesus was worried about whether or not he would "tarnish" the reputations of those Pharisees who were truly serving God. Truth and goodness speaks for itself.

    It is not a strength to deny pain. Nor is it a strength to say "well, my parents had good motives so I won't worry about the outcome and actions caused by those motives." I'm fairly certain the Puritans who killed hundreds of innocent women, the jesuits who tortured natives "to convert them", the Mormons who practiced blood atonement to save people's souls, and others who have used God's name for horrible things had "good motives". What makes a teaching good or bad? The motives of those who teach it?

    Jesus said of false teachers "by their FRUITS you shall know them." Within this movement known as "Patriachy", the fruits are becoming evident: broken hearts, severed relationships, children rejecting Jesus, parents rejecting their kids because of difference in beliefs, girls wondering if they're worth anything more than the work they do and the babies they have, God being usurped in the lives of women by men, and the list goes on. But, you say, there is much good also. I ask you, is the good you see a result of the teachings of this movement, or is it a result of following Christ and easily evident in other Christian families who do not ascribe to these teachings? You say you see parents and children with great relationships. I see this too, in every family I know who loves Jesus. i am sure that those who are getting it right will not be harmed by me or anyone else speaking out on the evils in their movement. I do not feel like my Christianity is in jepardy when people speak out on the ills among Christians. I don't care what name the evil is hiding under, even if it is using the same name I do, it is still evil. My goodness is not threatened by this.

    One last thing: if a "healthy" woman reads this blog and right then and there decides she's a victim and wants out, perhaps she wasn't as "healthy" as she thought.

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  3. Ouch, Eric! But well said.

    Hillary...safety isn't the only reason some of my blogs are anonymous.

    As a ritual abuse survivor, I could really respond to some of anonymous' points from that perspective...but let me just say this. No matter what kind of abuse it is...no matter how blatantly horrific and quietly subtle...there will always be those who tell you to "forgive and forget", "stop playing the victim", "are you sure, honey?" and a whole host of other things.

    Sure...we want to be careful not to paint with too broad of a brush, but we must not stop painting entirely! It is because of silence that abuses continue.

    I think of the adage...if the shoe fits then wear it. Of course, the flip side of that is...if it doesn't fit you then don't concern yourself about it.

    I like what you wrote about addressing the teachings rather than the people...although, sometimes, it is needed to give an example.

    I am a whole-hearted proponent of forgiveness, but I see that many people do NOT have an understanding of what forgiveness really is...or of the fact that there is more than one kind of forgiveness.

    I also know that it is so often the abusers and non-victims who push the hardest for survivors to forgive. They also have fairy tale ideas of what forgiveness is and they are willing to suggest that a person compromise their safety in the name of so-called "forgiveness".

    Keep on keeping on, Hillary. I see your heart...how you want to help without hurting...and I am sure others here do, too. We also need to remember that surgery hurts...but it is needed.

    I debated on how to sign this. For whatever reason, I feel led to sign it with my survivor ID...but you know who I am...and I believe Eric does, too.

    Blessings and shalom!

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  4. Eric: "Also, have to ask: What class of people are the most likely to be concerned that other people do not see themselves as victims? Victimizers."

    Don't be too eager. I spent the better part of my life in a home for abused children. I understand abuse. Not a victimizer here. These jabs don't help an honest discussion.

    Thank you, Hillary. I don't think we are on the same page. I'm dismissing myself now.

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  5. Anonymous: My jab was not at you but at the fact that I've seen very similar lines used by real victimizers. If they can stop people from "seeing themselves as victims," then they can stop them from recognizing their abusers for what they are. The point is not that you're necessarily an abuser yourself but that that line of thought could easily be (and often is) used to enable abusers. Therefore someone who perpetuates it is not doing the vulnerable any favors.

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  6. Hillary,
    Thank you so much for keeping on. Your courage is amazing to me. As a "daughter of patriarchy", this blog is literally the first blog I have found of it's kind. For years and years I wrestled with the pain....not knowing where to go, what to do, feeling shame for nothing in particular. Just everything in general....
    Here I have found truth, and grace. It is like water in the middle of a desert.
    I know it's not enough to say this,but THANK YOU.

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  7. I am so glad you answered this anonymous on the blog - it speaks volumes to the very truths you are sharing. The comments here are powerful, powerful and well thought out and written. I can't tell you how this encourages my heart to see. Your answer to the accusations couldn't have been more well written and right on target. Praise God, glory to Him.

    I want to encourage you to keep on! (and I am sorry if my link to your site has brought upon you such critics ~) the families who are truly doing "well" are not doing well because of any movement or ministry's teaching, but because of Jesus Christ. That is the common denominator. Only He is to be worshipped and praised. I am so blessed by the responses in this comment section.

    a. ann
    resolved2worship

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  8. I am praying for you Hillary and fighting along side of you! I love you!

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  9. I also want to add in Quivering Daughters defense that she does not throw around generalities, blanket statements, & the like. If you knew this woman like I do then you know that she is very thoughtful, gracious, intelligent, and diligent going to God for guidance, wisdom, and understanding. She is also human and this is her blog. You do not know what she has endured and this is her right & freedom to say what she feels is best to say. I know her and I know that she feels a responsibility to her audience to address you in a loving and respectful manner which has done splendidly & I love her for that. You really need to respect that Quivering Daughters does not play vitim but is here to tell a story and share her healing with others.

    It seems to me that QD struck a nerve with you and that usually means that you hold something too dear to you. Maybe you need to be offended until you're not offended anymore.

    This I will say & believe deeply about this "Quivering/Patriarch" movement that the lie the abuse that lies beneath is in the teaching "break the child's will & not their spirit". Under no circumstance does God in the New Testament violate our free God-given will and that is what this teaching does & that's called spiritual abuse. Please don't say things that you really don't understand. Why not become a student and learn rather than nit picking.

    I'm very cautious of you whoever you are and I think that you want put QD down for searching for truth because you aren't interested in learning, growing, and understanding the hearts of QD. That's my opinion and I am not going to get into any arguments I just wanted to send a message to you and to my QD friend that what you feel is valid and God hears and cares and knows your heart. Amen!

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  10. Hillary, thank you for speaking the truth in love. You are a treasure!

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  11. Peace to you, Hillary. "The end of the commandment is love from a pure heart, a clean conscience and an unfeigned faith." (I Timohty 1:5)

    I see this in your writing as plain as day- love from a pure heart, a clean (scrupulously so!) conscience and a sincere faith in Jesus. Such wisdom and loving kindness! You are a treasure.

    Darcy, loved your post. That was the most concise definition of the outcomes of spiritual abuse/patriocentricity I have come across. All in one sentence! Kudos.

    Frogla, many of us see the person you described in Hillary's writing. You are blessed indeed to see it face to face. =)

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  12. Basically, ditto what Rachal said.

    I found your site and it was my only source of comfort and information. Being able to identify behaviors and realize that what felt wrong really WAS wrong has been a live-saver.
    Without your words I don't know where I would be.

    Don't stop because of a handful of browbeaters, or even a hundred of their innocent helpers waving "slow" and "caution" signs.

    Never let anything take you away from God's calling in your life.

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  13. I'll reply to the original anonymous first ~ I do appreciate that you've shared how things come across to you. These subjects are loaded enough, and I don't want to address them in a manner that brings more offense than necessary. I do write to a specific audience, which means that there will be those who don't agree, who will be offended, or who won't relate; and I know that unfortunately some offense cannot be prevented (even as Jesus Himself offends some individuals). His strongest words were not in defense of Himself, however, but for the little ones whom He urges us to be like, even the "least of these".

    It comes to mind that I still call myself a Christian although "bad" Christians have painted a horrible picture of the Christ I serve ~ truly maligning His nature and character ~ and I think this is much more devastating. I don't use this as an excuse, by any means, but that as we do what we are called to do, even when we try to honor God in the manner we do it, there will be some who are offended. Thank you for being iron sharpening iron and reminding me to continue using care in how I write.

    Because, again, I do this out of obedience to the Lord, I stand firm that I will not water down these messages and will continue to address the effects of spiritual and emotional abuse within patriarchal, Quiverfull, authoritarian families on women, but I assure you I will pray God shows me a way I can write that doesn't needlessly promote schism within the body of Christ. Thank you for this.

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  14. For the rest, I will start from the bottom and go up. :-)

    DoaHF, {{hugs}} you are very precious to me. Thank you for this.

    Shadowspring, Sharon, and Frogla ~ I am undone; I don't know what to say! Thank you; I appreciate your support and for your love for the Lord and desire to see healing and restoration to those who have been wounded. Glory be to God!!

    Rachal ~ awww! {{hugs}} You humble me; thank you for your words and I pray that the Lord continues healing your shame ... Scripture says He despised the shame and took up the cross. His victory over death and shame become life for us. Praying for you. <3

    One Survivor ~ I know that you have a great deal of insight on all abuses due to your own life. Thank you for weighing in here, and reminding us that even a simple "are you sure, honey?" can plant seeds of doubt, shame, and toxicity in one's mind.

    Darcy ~ HELLO and AMEN! Sending you a message.

    Eric ~ thank you for your passionate stance against spiritual abuse and your love for the Lord. I've learned a lot from you. Blessings to you and your wife.

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  15. One of the things about abusers, especially really smart abusers is that they ARE going to make their control and manipulation look as close to "normal" as possible. They want their abuse to confuse the victim, but they also want their behavior to look so good that others WILL question the victim's assessment. So there will always be others who really believe that a victim is being too harsh or extreme or exaggerating what she's suffered, calling too much abuse that really looks like normal behavior to outsiders.

    Lundy Bancroft writes in Why Does He Do That, that often when an abuser says he wants to change, what he means is, "teach me how to have the same level of control, in more socially acceptable ways." Some people with abusive and controlling hearts have really mastered this art of doing really awful things in ways that look really normal. Some friends would get really confused and start to doubt me, because I'd come in from an encounter with my husband, shaking visibly and looking like a generalized basket case, but when I repeated the conversation I'd just had, they'd be like, "What? Are you sure you're not just overreacting." Until he turned against one of them, and she had the exact same experience of being cut and torn down and shaking, even though she couldn't pinpoint one whole phrase he'd said that, when repeated, would sound terrible.

    There have been times when I've wondered, myself, like anonymous is questioning, whether or not I was making something bigger than it should be and calling too much abuse. But the thing was, I had all this terror and traumatic reactions that I couldn't just explain away as made up.
    And now being in a healthy marriage has been a big aha to me. There really IS a difference in the way a controlling, abusive person says, "Honey, are you sure?" and an ordinary person says that. Shoot, I reacted in terror when my new spouse acted PATIENTLY towards me. In my previous marriage, I'd experienced patience as a threatening, controlling thing. It has taken a while for me to discover and trust patience as safe and not as a means of control and mind games.

    There is hardly any normal action that can't be used by an abuser to control, manipulate and hurt. And that really is going to make it hard for people "outside" the abuse to understand it. It's not really a bad thing on their part, but a reality of abuse's effectiveness (abuse works...)

    It has taken me a long time to see and believe what safety looks like. Sometimes safe words and actions end up looking EXACTLY like the unsafe words and actions I experienced.

    One of the things about a safe relationship is that my husband, who is not abusive or controlling, is not threatened and doesn't threaten me, when I'm scared of him. He is sad and sometimes confused, but he does not up the pressure on me to make sure I conform to his view of himself, at any cost.

    It will probably always seem to some that I've exaggerated my ex-husband's behavior. But I'm slowly realizing I wasn't crazy. I wasn’t just randomly assigning the abuse label to good behavior. I'm experiencing safety now, and able to walk through the same fears of abuse, and come out the other side feeling safe. It makes me sad when people believe I'm unfairly calling my experiences abuse. But it helps me to understand that sometimes, even with all the terror and other negative effects from that marriage that I carry around, I have times I'm confused and unsure about what happened. It makes sense that others, who didn't live it, will thing I'm overreacting.

    Mainly, though, the thing that helps me not freak out about their views is living, daily, with safety. That contrast--through all the ups and downs of ordinary relationship--of being safe and not controlled and not messed with in my mind, is, in itself, probably the best verification to me that I didn't just imagine or exaggerate what I experienced.

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  16. The other thing is that this kind of abuse-that-looks normal has really messed with trusting God, when that was something that was not hard or confusing for me before. Is His kindness really kind, or is it like in my past experience, a cover up for other awful, controlling things? How do I make sense of God's sovereignty and my freedom to make choices? In my previous marriage, there was not the patriarchal aspect, and I did not have to have my husband's permission to do things, etc. But, here I sit, sometimes as freaked out by free will as I am by God's sovereignty.... Seeing effects like this on my life, I am reminded that something real DID happen to change and disrupt and damage me.

    Little by little, as I find people to be safe and not always hiding a hidden agenda for their own greatness, I'm hoping that I'll be able to trust the Lord's kindness, at face value, again, too.

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  17. Dana, THANK YOU for these excellent, excellent observations. (I apologize that it's taken so long to post a response.) It's apparent that you've been though a lot and I just want to say that I am really glad you are finding healing and freedom, and know what it's like to have a kind husband.

    You wrote:
    >>"In my previous marriage, I'd experienced patience as a threatening, controlling thing. It has taken a while for me to discover and trust patience as safe and not as a means of control and mind games."<<

    Exactly!! In many cases, things that are inherently good qualities to have become the very things twisted and used against someone. However on the outside, it looks like virtue. And there really is no language that can make this understood by those who haven't experienced it...

    Thank you for writing and praying that you will continue to draw close to God and find comfort and rest in Him.

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  18. I have been reading here on occasion, Please, Please do not allow Satan to guilt you into policing yourself so that the truth about the yes, dark sentences and occultist abuse is masked with goodness in so much of today's religious culture. You are addressing something that the enemy does not want people to hear-know, God is using you because God has brought me here to this blog to deliver me from a lot of masonry ritual abuse and occultist abuse that Was wrapped neatly in a Christian [false] package, in both Protestant and Catholic churches/environments, through the abuse through my mother and grandmother [though I wasn't aware of the spiritual connection there until this past few months] and that included sexual abuse. I came here a couple of weeks ago and read your article about honoring parents, I did curse my mother, after years of stuffing the confusion and anger and self destructive hate that she had planted in me through years of deliberate soul splitting type of abuse, though you know we wrestle not with flesh and blood but with principalities, etc.,

    I had a Hard time when reading that and cried for hours because I did not honor my mother, she was killing my soul, the abuse lasted up into adulthood and the mind control was and still is horrendous, and the guilt, that night I prayed and prayed and it took a very, very long time for me to believe God would forgive me.

    I grew up being told I was the devil's kid and a whore, from a very young age and I became that, even after I accepted Jesus, I had been given to Satan as a small child, now whether she knew this and did so deliberate or out of ignorance, that I do not know, I was born in Washington D.C., I do have fragmented memories of Venus on the wall and other things that well, I just don't know,

    but the damage and not having anyone to go to But Jesus and His Word, is very severe, though Jesus has been delivering me and showing me the light. I do not know WHY God allowed me to go through all this, not every reason but I do understand how the occult works through religion and politics and in patriarchal/abusive marriages/authority in a way that is very intimate--Stockholm Syndrome from a very internalized level. Now it's having to be delivered from Egypt, the gods, and learning NOT to worship them, to know who GOD is, not the mask of good that is used by the 'gods' to deceive,

    your blog is necessary and it IS saving souls, saving Lives...it brought me to repentance on numerous things and at the same time is delivering me from a lot of demonic brainwashing.

    Yes be open to Jesus, yes, but be careful that it isn't Satan trying to guilt you into not telling TRUTH, we worship God in TRUTH, NOT DENIAL,

    the son of perdition is in the temple, Paul said, what is the temple, that is the question that I ask. I don't think it's the building temple in Jerusalem,

    but in the hearts of many who profess Christ Jesus.

    Your blog and this is not flattery btw [Proverbs], is a light that is so needed, I appreciate you and I love you for telling TRUTH, even when it hurts.

    Love,

    Jane

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  19. Jane ~ Wow. I am humbled by your words and so sorry that you've experienced all of this! I am familiar, although in a limited way, of precisely what you describe. I agree wholeheartedly that this is a spiritual battle, one that is not fought with flesh and blood. (Although flesh and blood are often the "arrows" in the quiver of those who try to fight it.)

    Thank you for your kindness and don't worry ~ I will not back away from the truth at all. I CANNOT. I endeavor to present it as graciously as possible in love and humility. (Although that might look differently sometimes.)

    I praise God for His continued healing of you...hugs and prayers,
    Hillary

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  20. Jane, let me add: you honor your mother when you seek the face of God. You honor her when you seek truth and healing. She doesn't have to agree that this is honor. Her disagreement doesn't make it any less so.

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  21. I wasn't able to read all the comments above, but I wanted to tell you, Hillary, that I have found your blog to be one of the most gracious towards parents. I think you always acknowledge the good intentions of quiverfull parents. Grace and love just ooze from every post. I can see your heart for girls and your heart for the Lord--you strive to reach out to them without bashing the parents who, perhaps unwittingly, abused them. This is more than I can say for many other blogs and forums on the web. Perhaps Anonymous was reading elsewhere and lumped together all of those who speak out against spiritual abuse, some less graciously than you. Keep up the good work. I know you don't need me to tell you that. Just want to encourage you.

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  22. Dear Anonymous,the anonymous that has caused quite a stir.....
    My heart cried when it read the words that you wrote because it was exactly what my soul had tried to say but could only groan. Thank you.

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  23. I have to echo Rebekah's words, Anonymous --

    Your words were beautiful, grace-filled, and true of so many God-honoring families I know: including my own; thank you for speaking what was on my heart as well.

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  24. Rebekah and Anonymous 10:58 ~ {{hugs}} and God bless you both. I appreciate that you have left your thoughts and ask for prayer that I will obey Him regardless of the cost.

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  25. I'd like to address a few things that Anonymous said...

    "However, I get the sickening feeling reading these posts that the definition for "abuse" has gotten really out of hand and has turned into a self-indulged victim mentality."

    Abuse can be very easily defined as the unnecessary and uninvited imposition of one's will upon another, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually. It always causes damage. In my experience, Patriarchy deals far more with indoctrination - children being forced, even into adulthood, to accept the beliefs or face retribution for being "rebellious" - than with teaching. Teaching benefits all and needs no boundaries to bear fruit, whereas indoctrination benefits only those in positions of authority and needs to be enforced rigidly. It's fruit is seldom sweet.

    "You insinuate that a family who uses terms like "guarding a daughter's heart" is a cultish family."

    When the daughter, as an adult, has no real choice whether or not her heart is "guarded", and has been indoctrinated to the point that a personal desire to go another path results in paralysis from fear and shame, she's in a cultic family. I've yet to see a Patriarchal family where a daughter can freely choose another path without retribution or estrangement. It then becomes more about the parent meeting their own needs, whatever they may be, by performing a role and exercising authority over their children rather than looking out for the best interests of the daughter.

    "This is a gross misrepresentation of many, many loving homes who do in fact use such terms and actually mean it and carry it out in a loving, healthy way."

    There is no loving, healthy way for parents to impose their authority on grown children, regardless of good intentions. It equates to meddling.

    "It matters little "who your audience is" when you hurt these healthy families in the process."

    If these families are healthy, nothing anyone could say here will hurt them.

    "What of those families who have instilled a healthy, balanced sense of work and whose children understand that helping with siblings is not abuse, but just a normal part of life, just as it has been for centuries?"

    I'm not certain many will agree that this is a normal part of life in the 21st century, or even the 20th century.

    "I see some dangerous Psychology being used here. I could bait anyone and get them to *feel* abused. We all had flesh-covered, sinful parents who didn't love us perfectly and we could conjure up "abusive moments" all day if we wanted to. We could even say our whole lifestyles were abusive (my parents sent me to public school. I could easily call this abuse, though they loved me dearly.)"

    My parents aren't perfect people, but I can't point to a single instance in my life concerning them that I could even contort or distort into something abusive. This is quite a reach.

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  26. "My question is, if grace is so much a part of what we are trying to extend to these daughters, where is the grace for parents who, despite not being perfect are doing the best they know? Instead, I'm seeing a whole generation of ungrateful children rise up against their well-meaning parents. (Hmmm...I seem to recall that in a prophecy of Scripture.)"

    There's a huge difference in being "ungrateful" and coming to the realization that what is, in many (if not most) Patriarchal families, the foundational aspect of daily life is extra-biblical and the product of human wisdom. My ex-fiancee, for instance, knew a lot of buzzwords and concepts about life, but had no idea what basis to tie them to apart from being forcibly indoctrinated into them. To question any of it would've been "rebellious". So, she just blindly accepted it and founded her life on it as if it were all directly from the mouth of God. I'm sure that many Patriarchal parents start out with the best of intentions. I also know that people don't usually mention good intentions until those good intentions have produced bad results. When there's been an abundance of bad results, there's a fundamental flaw in the process and the process needs to be scrapped.

    Regarding being "ungrateful", my ex-fiancee, at 23 years old, in defense of "courtship", told me (in distress), "They've clothed me and fed me and sheltered me and cared for me!...I owe it to them to do it their way!" That's abuse. If I ever used that kind of manipulative emotional leverage on a child of mine, I'd be, in my own opinion, a colossal failure as a parent.

    "All the good that is being done here is being negated by the healthy families being torn apart and labeled as a "cult", and by the happy girls who will come here and fall victim to "being a victim" by the baiting of feelings. God can not be pleased when His people--faithful, loving parents, are falsely represented."

    Again, no genuinely healthy family will be harmed by anything written on this webpage, and no genuinely happy girl will adopt an attitude of victimization because of anything said here. Any family that the ideas and opinions presented here might harm aren't really healthy at all, but instead are likely being held together by the duct tape of rules and indoctrination, and the cognitive dissonance that results from any critical thought in a closed environment.

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  27. Thank you, guys! I can't tell you how much good it does my heart to hear some men speaking up for us and not trying to minimize our pain! :-) Thank you so much!

    ~Anna

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  28. Lewis, thank you for this. Your observations directly confirm the dynamic I've witnessed in many, many daughters' lives. Thanks for your response.

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  29. __ Dear Lewis:

    I have been following this blog for some time now, and hestitated in responding. But now, after reading your sad, sad story, I can no longer be silent.
    My heart truly goes out to you. You have been through real, and intense pain. It's never easy. However, there are a couple things that I would like to ask that you consider.
    You claim you love this woman, yet you go about unabashedly spreading out her flaws and sins for all the world to see. This is not the kind of action a protective lover would take. We all fall short in some area of our lives, but may I bring forth to you, Joseph, as an example of a man who truly and honorably loved?
    From his view, and according to Jewish culture, when Mary, his betrothed, was found pregnant by another, he could have had her hauled before the courts and publicly stoned to death. According to their law and customs, it was considered the same as having committed adultery . But instead, regardless of his rights, he loved her; and did not want her to be publicly shamed. And so, he intended to quietly annul their betrothal. I can only imagine the pain her perceived infidelity caused him.
    Have you ever considered how many little old ladies were counting the months from the time he took Mary as his wife, until she gave birth to her first-born? Yet he refused to flaunt her sin before the eye of the people, not even to maintain his own integrity in the situation. This man displayed true virtue, and he had the honor of being the earth- daddy of our dear Saviour.
    You tell, also, how her heart-change came after she had been "scuttled off" for "reindoctrination".
    Dear Lewis, you were not there. How do you know she did not go away to seek God's will and examine her own heart in the matter?
    How can you pass judgment that she did not return with settled confidence in her own conviction of what she should do?
    If it is possible for a woman to be convinced of her convictions by her family, it is also possible for the same woman to be convinced by the man who is trying to charm her, that the convictions she holds are not really hers, but forced upon her by her parents.
    I only raise these questions, to bring in a balance to those things stated as facts, which can only be known by presumption.
    If you are a Christian, then you have to acknowledge a sovereign God. It could very well have been God, who stepped in to close your relationship and prevent a marriage that would have undoubtedly brought both of you much unhappiness. It is clear from your posts that you and she were not together on many issues. Issues do not disappear after tying the knot: they grow.
    So, if she really was not God's will for you, was she really a victim? Or were you the victim of manipulation by the hand of God?
    Even with all the pain involved, it is clear your relationship with her is past. This means you need to allow her to leave your heart.
    Dear Lewis, you must examine yourself, your motive, the core of your bitterness. You need to forgive her, forgive her family, and stop coveting another man's wife.

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  30. __For the Other Commenters:

    We must remember that we have only one side of the story. We cannot assume that his former love is thrust into an unhappy marriage.
    I have met many couples who are happily married, to someone they once claimed they would never marry. People do have change of hearts; and people do have change of convictions. This is nothing condemnable.
    Yet while we are all sorrowing over Lewis and his former girl-friend, she is very likely joyously wedded to her best friend and loving husband, confident that she is living according to our Father's will; regretting only the short-sighted emotional fling of her past.
    And too, we must also recognise, if it is possible for a family to "indoctrinate" and put their own convictions over the head of their daughter, and manipulate her emotions; it is even more possible for a young man to use the same tactics, in order to win her heart, and woo her away from whatever is there to stand in his way. Merely having Lewis' side of the story is not evidence that this girl's change of heart lacks validity.
    I raise these issues, not to cast doubt, nor to minimize the pain that really is there, but to bring in some balance to the assumtions that are being made.
    I would like to point out that I have never observed a family, or any other social, or work related group --whether secular or Christian based -- that did not use it's own "coded" words, phrases, or non-verbal cues known exclusively within the group.
    It is an unbalanced judgment call to bring condemnation upon one particular faction, for something in which we all participate. True. Abuse and manipulation can be present. But as long as any form of communication skill exists, there will be those who use it to manipulate, control, or otherwise coerce another to a pre-concluded response.
    Just remember the balance: in any network or family, because of the dynamics of the group, there will be coded expressions and unspoken expectations of those within it's sphere.
    To illustrate how this works; observe a crowd, any crowd. To which direction do the people tend to flow? Perhaps our instincts are trained by the necessity of safety guidelines in manuevering our vehicles through traffic. But this tendency has carried on to influence other areas where we interact within our culture.
    If you do not believe me, try entering a crowded building, or exiting a crowded restroom to the left hand side. You will, quite literally, run into some grouchy folks.
    My point is simply that the presence of system of "coded" language is not evidence that the group is cultic, or that abuse or emotional manipulation are in use. We are all similarly "coerced" by non-verbal cues and expectations in every area of our culture. It just isn't apparent until viewed by an outsider.

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  31. __To the Writers of This Blog:

    I understand, as you have stated, your calling is not to parents, but to the daughters of patriarchal and "quiverful" families.
    While this may well be true, you are presenting a grave imbalance when you extend mercy and grace to one group of sinners, and yet, withhold it altogether from another.
    I know the subject you are addressing is very sensative in nature. I too, pray the heavenly Father's direction and power over this situation. But please keep in mind that even Pharoah fulfilled God's purpose and acted according to His will when he tried to destroy God's people; as did Judas, when he betrayed God's Anointed Messiah.
    Scripture even warns that persecution must come.
    But woe by whom it must come!
    Yes, there are flaws in every human heart, no matter how right it is with God. Yet we must remember that we can only see things from a human perspective.
    This blog may be the first, or even the only association many people will have of a people who deeply love the Lord. Of a people who faithfully walk according to the convictions He has placed on their hearts. Even when it means they must walk against the tide, and contrary to what is generally accepted as "normal".
    Yet, because of the image being painted here of their motives, your readers will have a slanted opinion, even before they have had a chance to observe genuine fruits. As a result, all get lumped together into the same group with "cults" and "abusers" - the healthy along with the unhealthy. And thus are described, with "coded" phrases, and double-meaning expressions.
    And they have no idea how it is being received by the hearer, when they use a "code" word, in trying to explain, simply, the calling God has placed on their hearts, which has led them to raise their family in a agrarian lifestyle; or to wear a headcovering; or to dress their young daughters in more feminine clothing. Or to allow God to plan the number of their children. Or even to submit under the spiritual leadership of their own husbands, as they have understood it to mean.
    I know many people who are genuinely seeking the Lord's will in their lives, and sincerely believe they are walking according to God's will. Who are now labeled and forced into a cookie cutter definition, molded by this blog. And whose own personal convictions are accused as being indoctrination to a "formulaic" lifestyle.
    Thus, they, who have walked down the path which they firmly believe God has lead them, are now subjected to vicious criticism from others who think they are much wiser in what the true motive of their heart really is.
    What right have we to pass judgment over whether their conviction is truly from God, or whether they do so for the gratification of their own ego?
    Why shame another's convictions which are not our own?
    Could it be, that, deep down inside, we realize we really are not where we should be?
    This leads me to ask, who then, is the real victim?
    (To Be Continued...)

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  32. Yes, for those who have suffered, there needs to be healing. But true healing involves not only a recognition and forgiveness of the offence, but also, a transformation must take place in which healing becomes past-tense.
    Healed.
    As for "healthy" families being hurt, I agree with the commentor, who gently shows how many families will be affected by being erroneously, and slanderously placed under such labels, as have been defined here.
    If a victim's emotions can be manipulated by an abuser, to the extent that they are unable to recognize themselves as victims; then, by the same token, a healthy person can be convinced by a councelor that they are victimized, and in need of emotional healing.
    In order to bring a balance, we must acknowledge the truth on the other side.
    If a daughter can be led by the Holy Spirit, then also, patriarchal parents can be guided by the Holy Spirit.
    I plead with you to use caution in condemning those who may, in the end, prove to be guiltless.
    --A Concerned Christian

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  33. Anonymous...

    I have the unique impression that you're connected to the situation, because frankly, everything you've just said is bunk.

    Patriarchy is, in my own estimation (and I believe biblically), a genuine evil, and a reproach upon the name of the Lord.

    Frankly, the woman wasn't my "girlfriend". She wore a ring, had made a lifelong promise, and by her own estimation, considered herself my wife. Also, by her own admission, had all of those meddling and manipulating her simply left her alone, she'd be with me today - out of the cultic madness she's been raised in.

    "Dear Lewis, you were not there. How do you know she did not go away to seek God's will and examine her own heart in the matter?
    How can you pass judgment that she did not return with settled confidence in her own conviction of what she should do?"

    Because I have the confession of her chief manipulator, concerning his "regrettable" words and methods in coercing her, in print, and her admission that had these people left her alone, that yes, she'd be with me today.

    Look, if you want to continue this nonsense, please take it to my blog and leave Hillary and the rest out of it.

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  34. I'll call it a Cult, because of the fruits they bear,

    let's see, two children dead [Lydia not the first], numerous others beaten, numerous others married off against their will, women treated just like in Islam [fact], forced de-individualization which is soul assassinations, strict controls by money power at top, millions made off of books that do not even HIDE their promotion of what Legally is deemed as child abuse, which BTW, WE the People, forming a more perfect union, ARE the GOVERNMENT, THE 'AUTHORITY' and there are enough of us, that WILL FIGHT, TO SEE THESE CULTS

    DEALT WITH. That's a promise, No more children dying as a result of this absurdity and insanity. I don't care WHAT 'god' you put it under,

    you have the fruits of a cult, then by golly,

    you are a CULT.

    don't like it,

    too bad.

    The blatant misogyny and disregard to women [and this recent tubal pregnancy garbage is got to be about as misogynist and WOMAN BUTCHERING as the clerics who forced child marriages in Yemen, girls dying at age 10 from forced pregnancies, same ends, different means, belongs in the DARK AGES.

    See I don't care, if you don't like what I have to say,

    as a Citizen of this country, as a Human Rights Advocate, I would love to see your cults shut down, plain and simple,

    it IS evil, all there is to it. Any one with any Conscious, can see that,

    but then, Hitler, using the Bible, killed six million Jews, many thought HE was of God too,

    think I'd support him? No way,

    and I won't, support Cults, no matter how many of their supporters twist forgiveness, as some means to protect the banality of evil.

    Evil is evil, call it what it is. Forgiveness yes I totally concur, but tolerance, to blatant Evil,

    is NOT what forgiveness is about. I haven't forgotten that little girl, butchered and beaten and I am one citizen, that will not rest, until there is Justice, done, not just against the ones who did the crime,

    but those that are making Profit, off of selling this CULT HITLER TYPE OF BANALITY, all in the name of Christ.

    It's a disgrace, we NEED more people, with the GUTS, to stand up against it. You met one here...No more children Jesus, dying in this cult, NO MORE.

    Jane

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  35. I don't want or mean to offend or hurt anyone who has been or left or is still struggling to leave these types of cults,

    do know this. But Anon,

    I'm sorry, but when there are books, publications, that are blatant, selling iron rods, plastering how to beat a child, when there has been public statements of indifference and even pushing for abuse that to any average person is criminal,

    what the hell do I call it, a confused group?

    No way, especially with the mega money involved, I realize this is the age of P.C. and sugar coating to not offend,

    but I'm not one of those types. It would be One thing, if there wasn't the blatant and very public disclosure of beliefs that are just beyond reason, that actually are blasphemous and Cause others to blaspheme, making God look like some tyrant,

    but that's not the case. It angers me that you keep coming up with this oh we need to have grace,

    you know something, all I can think, is do those Children get grace? Did that little girl get grace? Do those infants who are slapped for crying get grace?

    Those children, cannot defend themselves,

    so I really don't care, if this offends, those who do not care about those children and if They get grace,

    it's for those children, it's for that little girl, I WILL, SPEAK UP, TO THE FACES, OF THOSE, WHO HAVE THE 'GALL',

    TO THINK, TO EVEN SUGGEST, THAT THEIR SENSITIVITIES ARE MORE IMPORTANT,

    THAN THE LIVES OF THOSE CHILDREN AND THAT GIRL, LYDIA.

    It would be One thing, if this was just one case, but we're talking a whole Doctrine here, that is being pushed and pushed,

    so NO way, in my strong opinion, yes, Vision Forum, and that whole sub-religion, is yes,

    a

    CULT.

    I stood up against the Mormon cult rapists, I still think ACLU is a disgrace for opposing the State on that case, if I could those men AND women would be in jail for accessory child abuse, child rape, and child enslavement.

    And I will work, for laws, and support laws, against ANY RELIGION, Islam included, that abuses and/or kills/rapes/soul assassinates women and children with deliberate and indifferent INTENT.

    And I am NOT alone...it really boils down to one thing,

    human decency.

    Jane

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  36. I don't mind having anonymous comments. It makes it easier sometimes to say what one feels must be said. I would rather someone speak anonymously than not speak at all.

    There is obviously a lot of material to reply too...please be patient with me. I know it took time to write out all of that and I appreciate that you've done so. I will pray about how to respond because I've just written another disclaimer (for now on www.quiveringdaughters.com) and I've tried to make my own positions abundantly clear. I do talk about forgiveness, grace and mercy to the "other sinners"...my articles do not single out individuals or even specific families. I'm not sure how I can be more clear. I try not ever to look at others' motives (although I may address our own) but fruits. Usually other's motives are good. Addressing the fruits of effects in our own lives is a God-given responsibility.

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  37. Anonymous, it is certainly true that forgiveness and grace are wonderful things, necessary things. All of us need them desperately. But forgiveness does not deny or minimize the offense. In fact, true forgiveness validates the offense as real. It admits that the pain caused was unjust and wrong. The offense must be fully acknowledged for what it is, or else the forgiveness will only be partial. Forgiveness is saying that the offense was very wrong, that it hurt deeply, but I choose to let God deal with the offender rather than take personal vengeance. It does not mean submitting to continual offenses.
    It seems to me that Lewis is not desiring personal vengeance so much as trying to explain how his fiancĂ© was wronged. The offense was not so much from her as from those who refused her the right to make her own decision in the matter. Perhaps a better Scriptural comparison would be Mary’s father, who did not interfere with her decision to accept the call of God to bear His Son. In fact, Scripture says nothing about her father even being consulted in this decision. It belonged entirely to Mary, who likely was not even 18 yet. Can you imagine a patriarchal father allowing his daughter to make a decision of that magnitude without consulting him first?
    True, Joseph did extend much grace to Mary. But there were still consequences. She would not become his wife. Once God revealed the true situation to him, he chose to accept the ridicule that would come to him and his dear wife. He knew the insults that would be hurled, and he chose ahead of time to accept them. He, too, submitted to God for himself. It was his decision. They each submitted to God separately before they endured the ridicule together. There was no manipulation by God to get them to do what He wanted. God does not manipulate. He does justly give consequences; he does try to draw us to Himself with kindness, but He does not manipulate.
    From what I have read of Lewis’ story, it was obvious that this woman was not allowed to make her own decision without interference. It was not just counsel offered. It was an onslaught of coercion. True, we have only heard Lewis’ side. Unfortunately, I have seen this type of thing happen so often that I have no trouble believing what he says. It happens. I have seen people pressured and manipulated to make a certain decision. Conversely, I have seen them given counsel, but then allowed to make their own decision. There is a world of difference between the two, even though it may often look like a fine line. The real difference is the attitude of the one giving counsel.
    As for “code words,” yes, every group has them to some extent. What makes the difference is whether the words are just shortcuts to understanding each other or whether they produce shame, fear, and control. Big difference.
    I understand your concerns about not wanting healthy families to be accused of abuse. My concern is that I came from a “healthy family” involved in a “Godly ministry” that turned out to be very dysfunctional. Others could see it, but I couldn’t because I was so buried in it. Was there good there? Oh, yes. Was there evil there? Oh, yes. But I couldn’t differentiate between the two.

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  38. Sharon, wonderful words you've written here and very true.

    No one wants innocent families who have made Christ and center of their parenting to be accused or labeled. Here's the truth though - each parent answers to God on that, they will. No matter whether we believe we are right as parents or not, we ultimately answer to the Lord. I am a parent. It is very easy to think I am following Christ and being a good parent. . . when in fact, I am not.

    I believe Hillary has made it very clear what she is saying and not saying - if read with humility as a parent I think things will not be misunderstood.

    as for Lewis. If his were an isolated situation, one might desire to question, to wonder. My husband and I have worked within two ministries that have been mentioned on this blog. His is not an isolated situation. On the contrary, it is more common than anyone would want to or desire to believe.

    on the other hand, it is also not always the case I'm sure. I do believe there is balance that must be sought. But here is the thing, things have been way way out of balance for a very long time on the other end of the spectrum and how dare anyone complain. Now some are speaking out, a very few. And those on the other side cry "balance!" I find this somewhat hypocritical?

    L

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  39. Dear Anon.

    you wrote: a healthy person can be convinced by a councelor that they are victimized

    no, a healthy person cannot be convinced. If they can be, they are not healthy after all. I was raised by loving and tender parents who loved Jesus. I knew this in the very core of my being. No one could counsel me otherwise, because it was truth.

    also, you may want to believe what you have read here at QD is not common, possibly exaggerated, out of balance, not needful, and judge QD for trying to make herself and others out to be victims. You may feel a need to defend. Please know the truth. She is speaking out for hundreds upon thousands (and that is not exaggerated) who have remained silent out of fear. Fear of people like you who will try to make them out to be wrong, liars, and misunderstand them and misrepresent them to others, attempting to discredit their memories, their story, their feelings. I pray that God will give many more the boldness and the ability to so accurately articulate the effects and the fruits of hyper-patriarchy on their lives as QD has. She is so very not a lone. And I appreciate the grace she has extended, the process of healing she has taken and her calmness amidst the fire of those who say she cried wolf. May the Lord, and it can only be Him, not anything that is said here, open your eyes and your heart to those who have experienced the evils and the ill fruits of these movements and not let that which you believe is 'good' in these movements blind you to the truth of what has and is taken place as well.


    a. ann

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  40. a. ann,

    In a blog post recently, I discussed the emotional difficulties faced by the children who have been raised by parents with a particular personality disorder. I find that these adult children have a great deal in common with adult children who were raised in QF homes.

    Reading your response this evening, I was again reminded how one author writing on this subject likened these similar struggles to the survivors of concentration camps. The first people to escape the camps were not believed and were ridiculed until the world was forced to admit the horrors of those camps. Those who come here and talk about their experiences, in my mind, are much like those very brave people who dared to tell the truth that no one wanted to believe.

    I am not saying that life in all QF homes is like unto a concentration camp, but there are some similarities in the process, particularly concerning people's lack of willingness to hear their story.

    Lawson writes:

    Primo Levi (1988) writes in The Drowned and the Saved: “Almost all of the survivors, orally or in their written memoirs, remember a dream which frequently recurred during the nights of imprisonment, varied in its detail but uniform in its substance: they had returned home and with passion and relief were describing their past sufferings, addressing themselves to a loved one, and were not believed, indeed were not even listened to” (p. 12).

    I am continually encouraged by the tremendous bravery of the young women who have come forward here to tell of their suffering, both for their own healing and for the benefit of their many sisters for whom they bear a duty to help. Their courage is admirable and their valor no less than that displayed by history's greatest warriors in the noblest of battles.

    Breaking the silence is difficult enough, but doing so under the threat of criticism is a second type of trauma that need not be suffered. I am grateful to Hillary for creating a place for QDs to heal and work through their experiences.

    The same author (Christina Lawson) who quotes the author Levi also makes this applicable statement in "Understanding the Borderline Mother":

    “Pain that is expressed, heard, and believed is not experienced in vain. Pain that is heard can then be tolerated and healed” (pg 290) . . .Children need to be held, to be mirrored, to be soothed, and to be given some control throughout their childhood, but especially following separation and loss. Unbearable pain that is expressed, heard and believed becomes bearable (pg. 304).

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  41. "Unbearable pain that is expressed, heard and believed becomes bearable."

    So true! I would not be where I am without the people who have listened to me for hours as I processed what had happened, what was happening, and what I needed to do about it. And that is why I do my best to listen to others. Getting things out of the darkness (secrecy) and into the light destroys their power to harm us. It gets them out where healing can begin.

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  42. The thing that scared me about Anonymous's comment was this quote:

    "She didn't need counseling because she really understood grace and in extending grace to her abusive father, she was healed."

    As the wife of a Pastor, I can't tell you how many times I have heard conservative Christians bad-talk couseling, as if it is something shameful. Counseling can be lifesaving, there is NO reason to avoid it. I believe that God could heal people without counseling (personally I have no had any yet), but without addressing what has happened to you head on and dealing with it, you may repeat the treatment you recieved on others around you to some extent.

    The Authoritarian, Patriarchal, Quiverfull mentality can be very damaging to the children growing up in a movement. The hardest thing I've ever had to do was to give myself permission to be angry about the shortcomings my parents had when I was a child. I wanted to pretend like my upbringing had been perfect. But the longer I've been a mother the more I've had to come to terms with the very real issues that I had faced growing up, ones I did NOT want to repeat in my own parenting. I thank God that my family of origin has finally realized that a lot of the teachings of the patriarchal mindset are damaging. By addressing my parents shortcomings in my own mind, I was able to love them for the parents they were, instead of the parents I wished they had been.

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  43. Hillary, don't spend all you time trying to please people who are unhappy that you are exposing the fault lines in the foundation of patriarchal religious home schooling.
    They will not be pleased with you, not unless you get back in line.

    I think it was Linda Ellerbee who once said something like this:

    When I first realized that no matter how hard I tried, everyone would not like me, I was discouraged. I tried so hard, and yet no matter how hard I tried, not everyone would like me! Then after a while, it became incredibly freeing. I didn't have to try to please everyone, once I understood it was an impossible task. I was free to be true to myself, accepting ahead of time that not everyone would like me.

    That's not a direct quote. I searched around on the net, but I couldn't find a direct quote. It may not have been Linda Ellerbee, but I am pretty sure it was.

    I am pretty sure it was Linda Ellerbee because, here's the rub, I don't personally like Linda Ellerbee! LOL And yet she is one smart lady!

    You are exposing things that need exposed, Hillary. Think of all the daughters who have wanted and/or tried to commit self-harm because of the pain this ideology causes them. You can't stop exposing the damage because it makes anonymous uncomfortable.

    Of course they will accuse you of being a bad religious person! The system programs you to jump through any hoop to avoid that designation.

    My advice, you accept it with honor. Your hope is built on nothing less than Jesus love and righteousness, right? It is impossible but that you will err. Be sure to err on the side of love, not secret-keeping.

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  44. Thanks to all who have contributed...both those who have urged cautions and those who have shown encouragement. I am thankful for all of you, and may the Lord continue drawing all of us to Him!

    A Concerned Christian,

    It's hard to know what to say in response because I know that we both love the Lord and want to follow His leading, even when it goes against the norm, goes against the flow. I don't always understand the Lord's ways but I do trust Him and humbly ask that as we both seek to be obedient to Him, that even in this hard situation, as a sister in Christ I ask that you trust Him with me. I can't address all of your points because I think some of it will be simple disagreements that won't be resolved, but I still value your input.

    There are many people I love who bear, as you call things from this blog, "vicious criticism" "slander", "judgment" and other things. While my heart is broken, it is not vicious. While I seek to discern things, I do not judge. But I realize saying this doesn't make it any more true in other's eyes but God knows the truth, both in my heart and the hearts of the ones I supposedly slander. I have no "problem" with people who do all the things you listed (agrarian, feminine clothing, etc.) That is not the point of this blog. If these people (or conversely, "worldly" people who don't do those things) are humbly seeking to obey God, then this blog doesn't apply to them. What God has put on my heart is to reach out to those who have come from similar situations who are hurting and confused and searching. Whether others agree or not, I praise the Lord that He has used my own struggles with depression, wanting to kill myself, shame, and other things ~ not only healing them, but redeeming them by giving me a place where those things can be used to help others. It makes it all worthwhile! This doesn't condemn the actions of others that may have contributed to some of these feelings, people who meant well, whom I love, and who very much like you said were wanting to live the convictions that God gave them. But my own struggles were very real and got in between me and my relationship with God. Does that make sense? And God, in His love and mercy, brought me on a journey and healed (and continues to heal) me of them, reconciling me to Himself and moreover bringing good from it! I rejoice! He truly is the Redeemer!

    And how can I not seek to serve Him and obey Him as He calls, even when others don't understand? Even though its hard? I think we can all agree that just because something is hard we can't get out of it...and believe me, this path isn't easy in thousands of ways. However, I am thankful to the One who calls me and has blessed and sustained me. He is also able to do this with those you say I "slander" and while my heart breaks that this is the impression others have, I can't stop doing what He has asked. But as I've repeatedly stated here, I will continue praying for wisdom for how to communicate so that I can do it most graciously and effectively. Thank you for your concern and desire to stand up for those you think I am hurting, and please pray for me and those who I know are hurting.

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  45. I am plagued by anonymous comments as well - for different reasons. Loved your well thought out response. Here is a brief one of mine - the link contained therein is a longer response.

    http://turquoisegates.blogspot.com/2010/01/just-between-two-of-us.html

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  46. A Concerned Christian said:
    "I understand, as you have stated, your calling is not to parents, but to the daughters of patriarchal and "quiverful" families. While this may well be true, you are presenting a grave imbalance when you extend mercy and grace to one group of sinners, and yet, withhold it altogether from another."

    I have been reading this blog and contributing to it for a while now and I have never seen grace withheld from anybody. As a matter of fact, I was just thinking that Hillary is so much nicer than I would be to anonymous commentors who are trying to discredit her calling. :P I pray that I can lavish as much grace on others as she does.

    If you are saying that daughters are handed grace here while parents are not, then I think you haven't read very much of this blog. There are so many posts dedicated to praising the good we received from our parents. So many discussions offering grace to parents who had our best intrests at heart and loved us. Honestly, this blog oozes more grace than I've ever seen in one place and no one is left out.

    " But please keep in mind that even Pharoah fulfilled God's purpose and acted according to His will when he tried to destroy God's people; as did Judas, when he betrayed God's Anointed Messiah."

    Right. Because as a parent I definitely want to be ranked up there with Pharoah and Judas. :P Of course God uses everything in our lives...the good, the bad, the ugly. So you're saying that because God uses bad things, then we should not speak out against them and just let evil get away with evil. I'm sorry, but Jesus and the apostles said otherwise.


    "This blog may be the first, or even the only association many people will have of a people who deeply love the Lord. Of a people who faithfully walk according to the convictions He has placed on their hearts. Even when it means they must walk against the tide, and contrary to what is generally accepted as "normal"."

    You can love the Lord and still be wrong. You can walk according to your convictions and still be wrong. You can "walk against the tide" and still be wrong. This is what we are speaking against. Wrongdoing. We speak aginst the wrongdoing in a certain movement because that is what we have experienced. I will speak against evil wherever it is found, I don't care what label it is hiding under or how good are the intentions of those promoting it.


    "Yet, because of the image being painted here of their motives, your readers will have a slanted opinion, even before they have had a chance to observe genuine fruits. As a result, all get lumped together into the same group with "cults" and "abusers" - the healthy along with the unhealthy."

    In answer to this, I wrote two guest post titled "Abusing Abuse". I think you should read them. In case you don't, allow me to quote myself: Good is good and evil is evil. It matters not what "title" or face or movement good and evil are found in. It also matters not that within a group of people who teach and practice the same things there is good and there is evil. Do we stop speaking out against the evil for fear we will make the good look bad? I am sure there were good Pharisees and leaders in Israel in Jesus' time. Yet He still spoke against the evil among them without any disclaimers. Why? Because there was much evil in that group, causing God's children much pain and it needed to be rooted out. I highly doubt Jesus was worried about whether or not he would "tarnish" the reputations of those Pharisees who were truly serving God. Truth and goodness speaks for itself.

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  47. Continued...

    "I know many people who are genuinely seeking the Lord's will in their lives, and sincerely believe they are walking according to God's will. Who are now labeled and forced into a cookie cutter definition, molded by this blog. And whose own personal convictions are accused as being indoctrination to a "formulaic" lifestyle.
    Thus, they, who have walked down the path which they firmly believe God has lead them, are now subjected to vicious criticism from others who think they are much wiser in what the true motive of their heart really is."

    No one is judging motives here. Only the fruits of certain teachings. Matter of fact, we often acknowledge that the motives of our parents and others who ascribe to these teachings are good. But motive isn't everything. Motive is not good enough. Truth is what matters. And Truth is what we believe is under attack within the system known as "Patriarchy". I also addressed this concern in my posts "Abusing Abuse".

    "What right have we to pass judgment over whether their conviction is truly from God, or whether they do so for the gratification of their own ego?
    Why shame another's convictions which are not our own?"

    We have no right to judge another's heart. But we have every right to judge whether or not the teachings they promote and the God they teach is true and good. We are to "test the spirits" to see if they are from God. Anyone who tells me that God wants me to live a certain way better be prepared to have their ideas judged because that is the mark of a mature Christian. One who can take a teaching, hold it up to scripture and the character of God, and see if it is good and right or evil and wrong.

    "Could it be, that, deep down inside, we realize we really are not where we should be?
    This leads me to ask, who then, is the real victim?"

    Classic spiritual and emotional manipulation there. "You are fighting this because you really feel guilty." I don't think so. Now who is judging motives and hearts??

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  48. I have something I want to say to Anonymous: You just described my family.

    " Who eat whole wheat bread and don't believe it's a sin to wear make-up.
    Who attend the Father/Daughter Retreats and have joyful, healthy daughters anyway?
    Who believe in the authority of parents in the home AND who teach their children that they can DO NOTHING to earn the favor of God because they have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus?
    Who teach a balanced view of repentance and grace?
    Whose daughters may enjoy wearing skirts because they like the feminine way they feel, but wear pants sometimes too?"

    This was us...on the outside. No one, not even the closest of friends could ever know what we went through on the inside. My cousin, who has been very close to our family for years whose mom is my moms best friend, said she thought we were the perfect family and wouldn't have guessed we ever went though some of the things I've told her.

    Maybe there are some who are really as nice as they seem, but I would guess that they are few.

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  49. The majority of what I am seeing on here is people taking what they grew up with and insisting that everyone who grew up in that kind of system has to have the same experiences. before I start rambling there is one particular point I want to share my experience on.

    "no, a healthy person cannot be convinced"(that they have been victimized.

    Sorry, but the person who wrote that is wrong. Take it from someone who was convinced. I was raised in a VERY conservative Christian home(yep,according to your definition....a cult), I am the youngest and I was a wild child(still am for that matter). I became very convinced that my parents were emotionally abusing me, because they wanted me to *gasp* do my share of the work...and...and it was just to much for my mind(insert sarcasm). Since I am still living in their house, they expect me to respect their beliefs. And yes, I listened to many a talk about "If only you were sweeter, worked harder, were a little more ladylike, why can't you just be more like she is?" and...."You really need to lose weight, Your weight is just gonna be out of control soon". And frankly, we looked like the perfect family, but my relationship with my parents was awful. I didn't trust them with my heart or my dreams. I wanted nothing to do with their opinions or advice. Yes, it got to the point where I was depressed, because I believed that my parents didn't care if I was gone, that they were only concerned about their reputation in the church.

    It was so easy to just say "I am a victim" But I'm sorry.....if that's what you mean by "emotional abuse" you are having a very good time being a victim, and you are deceiving countless others.

    Now....the girl being told she shouldn't have been born, the one that's being told she is stupid and worthless, that being called a whore because people can see she has a shape....that's emotional abuse.

    To continue with my story...I don't agree with many of my parents beliefs...and they know that. And they disagree. But...as part of "Honor you parents" I will respect their beliefs AND abide by their rules as long as I am in their house.(and yes I'm over 18 and technically "on my own). It can be a little tense when certain subjects come up...and I still don't trust them with all of me. But the majority of that can boil down to different world views. So no....I was not abused. My parents weren't perfect...show me an adult who thinks that their parents were perfect and I can point you to an abused person. But my parents loved me...and yes..they did try to pass down their values. And no, I couldn't get away with questioning them until I was 18. And no, I don't agree with everything they taught me. But I have enormous respect for them for teaching me why they raised me the way they did. I have even more respect for them, for raising me that way in a society that says that they "abused me", "took advantage of me". No...they taught me what their experience life had taught them was the Godliest way. And for that...I am grateful!

    I'm sorry, but a father giving his daughter advice that she does NOT want to hear...isn't abuse. It's different viewpoints.

    To be continued...

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  50. When parents expect their kids to do certain chores and to follow certain rules(including how they dress) when the children still live at home...that isn't abuse. It's a landowner making a decision about what is allowed on his property.

    And for those that claim that a decision was all the fathers fault... Everyone makes their own choice. And everyone is responsible for their decisions alone.
    Yes, I know that people who are actually abused don't choose to be abused. But they can choose how the react.

    One thing that I want to live with everyone....even if you think I am totally insane. God is everything you will ever need. Those who say different are underestimating their Creator. My God watched His Son be tortured, mocked, killed, and then He was separated from His Son. Jesus had to go through the rejection, the betrayal, the whipping, the crucifixion, fasting and then being tempted with everything that any human would want and He was separated from God. You want to talk to a couple of experts on emotional, spiritual, and physical abuse......just start talking. They're listening....and they care far beyond what anyone in this world can imagine!

    A. D.

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  51. A.D., I'm so glad that you have been able to move on and heal and learn how to relate to your parents as an adult child in their home. You certainly are correct that our decisions as adults are our own and we need to take ownership of them.

    Please give the rest of us time to process our own pain and heal in our own time frame. The journey to healing looks different for each one of us. It cannot be rushed.

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  52. A.D. -- Thanks for sharing your experiences and what you've learned. I'm glad that you were able to mature in your relationship with your parents and keep your growing pains in perspective. I'm also happy to hear that you're fortunate not to have experienced genuine emotional abuse from your loved ones.

    It's a bit puzzling, though, that you frame your observations about your own lack of abuse as a corrective to what "the majority of people here" are talking about. If you read around on the site a bit, you'll find that very similar observations about abuse have already been made in several of our posts, for instance:

    - Abusing Abuse, Part 1 and Part 2
    - I Love Homeschooling, Quiverfull Families!
    - ...not to mention this very post above!

    In short, when you insist on a reasonable understanding of abuse, you're agreeing with the majority of people here. What you're rebutting is a straw man portrayal of this site (and the people here) that's been circulated by some of its more vocal detractors.

    Nowhere on this site is the definition of "a cult" given as "a very conservative Christian home." (There's a detailed definition of it in a three part-series starting here: The Cultic Family, Part 1.) As you rightly point out, and so have we, there is an enormous difference between parents asking their children to help around the house and parents using or misusing religious doctrine to devastate their children's spirits and emotions. Sadly, most of the people here have firsthand experience in the second category. Be glad if you're not one of them, but that doesn't change their pain.

    Or think of it with an analogy: Suppose Mrs. X goes on WebMD and starts believing her stomachache is a symptom of cancer. It turns out that it was only indigestion, and she feels silly about her hypochondria. Later, she hears her friend Mr. Y has been diagnosed with stomach cancer. Would it be fair of her to assume he's just "having a very good time being a victim"? Even though hypochondria is real, cancer is real, too, and its victims deserve real empathy.

    I hope that helps clarify your understanding of the ministry that's going on here! I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

    --Eric

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  53. I think that maybe I was not so clear in who I was talking to. I like the site for the most part. By far the majority of the articles are correct...and I definitely like what you guys are doing to help women.

    The people the post was directed to was more of the posters...not the site owners! I apologize that I didn't make that clear!!!!

    The thought that some great home situation could be ruined because a lady came on here and read the comments and decided from them that she was "abused" just scares me half to death. There are plenty of bad home situations without people encouraging others to try to create more.

    A.D.

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  54. First of all, I just want to say thank you to QD for her diligence in answering these questions, because I think these are questions that most quiverfull/patriarchal parents would have. I think you summed it up well. It's not about intentions here.. as most parents have good intentions. What you are trying to point out is how those intentions sometimes translate into wrongdoing and sin to our children, even abuse (intentional or not).

    I also want to add to the discussion, that the main problem with those who were raised in abusive homes or have been abuses, often view the abuse as normal. Therefore, when someone points out something that is considered abusive, those who have been abused will often say "Well, that happens in my family and we are okay." or the term that was wielded above: "Self indulgent victim mentality".

    In my opinion, anyone who feels the need to use that term about anyone who might be expressing their feelings about a particular act, upbringing, situation, relationships, should seriously examine their own reality. Why do these people, speaking out about their own experiences, upset you so much? Is there something happening, ever so slightly in your own family, that strikes a nerve with you?

    I'm going to say this bluntly, because there is really no nice way of saying this. We are all sinners, and we all engage in sin, no matter how "healthy" our families are. If you are a quiverful/patriarchal family, and something is making you angry here, perhaps there is a shred of something in your own family that is not, in fact, healthy.

    Instead of attacking those who are bringing it to light, please take this opportunity to look over your life, your relationships, etc, and address any parts of it that could perhaps be unhealthy. That is all.

    As pointed out, nobody here is calling you a bad person, abusive, or a bad parent. Nobody is accusing all authoritarian families of being abusive. They are simply trying to point out common abusive patterns within some of these families. If any of this matches your reality, it's time to seek God and ask his help for change.

    You should do this no matter who you are, whether you are married or single, whether you have children or not, whether you are quiverful, patriarchal, or any practice.

    Praying for wisdom and healing in ALL families.

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  55. Welcome, Vanessa, and thank you.

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