Monday, February 18, 2013

Religion makes abuse easy

A field near my home.

Religion makes abuse easy. There it is, pure and simple. A truth I've born witness to.

Walk with me down this road. Travel back in time with me, and open the window to the kitchen in my parents' house. Poke your head in and listen with me. Look at the old farmstead kitchen table, and the meek kids with their heads lowered in submission, while the patriarch booms on at the head of the table, lecturing and teaching after dinner before everyone's dismissed from the table.

Let's learn about meekness. When a boss yells at you at work, it's 100% of the time because you deserve it. When your parent yells at you, it's 100% because you deserve it. If the preacher ever judges you, it's 100% of the time because you deserve it. Does the parent or boss ever make a mistake? Oh, no? Because they are in a position of authority, and anyone in a position of authority is there because he is appointed by God. Only men are supposed to be in positions of authority, and women aren't to be there. God does not speak through women like he does men. Even if you think the man in authority is making a mistake, he is not. You probably have some hidden sin in you that God is judging you for, through the chain of command.

What should you do if you are in a situation when you think you are being yelled at, misused, or treated wrongly? Should you talk back, or try to escape? No, you should turn the other cheek and take it silently. Whether you think you deserve it or not, the answer 100% of the time is - "You DO deserve it." God works through authority, and if it is a man, such as a boss, pastor, father, etc etc, then this is God speaking through that man. Being in a position of authority is a God given position. Whether the boss or parent even knows it or not, whatever they do is God-inspired. So if they seem to be hurting you or demeaning you for no reason, even if they truly have no reason at all, God himself is using that person in authority to punish you, the sinner, and to chip away at you to perfect your character. So, children, what you see as injustice is always a punishment from the very hand of God. Be thankful for it, accept it, and welcome these opportunities. Suffer in silence, because you know our mysterious God has a greater purpose for your life. He is perfecting you like a diamond in the rough through these trials. A man in authority is never wrong. Because God breathes and moves through this man. Any man.

You women who are married. Does your husband beat you? He is performing the work of God. There must be some sin in your life you need punished for that God is putting you through the refiner's fire for. Thank God for it. Do not run, take your punishment in silence. The Bible states that a woman can not get divorced unless her husband cheats on her. So if your husband beats you and yells at you, even if he threatens to shoot you and your two children, stay with him. He did not cheat on you. God is putting you through the refiner's fire. The Bible says that a woman who divorces her husband without him committing adultery is committing a sin. So that woman will be judged at judgement day. In addition, God would turn a deaf ear to her prayers for the rest of her life. He wouldn't come to her aid if she was in trouble. God would allow curses into her life, and he would release Satan to plague her in her health, finances, mind, friendships, etc. This would go on until she confessed and got back under the protective authority of that same man.

My sister Louisa is married to a solid Christian man that beat her and her two children. He is graduated from seminary and is looking for jobs as a pastor. He has been involved in Christian ministry for the last 20 years, and has been abusive toward Louisa since he met her over 13 years ago. He calls her bitch and cunt and screams at her regularly. He makes sexual comments to my younger sister and me, about our bodies. He has a gun and threatened to shoot Louisa, their two kids, then himself. It wasn't until there were bruises on her and the kids that Louisa had the courage to tell us and my dad. My dad told her to stay with her husband, since he hadn't committed adultery. He told her that God would protect her, but that she needed to be in her situation because God was working directly through her husband to refine Louisa's character and possibly punish her for her sins. My dad refused to let Louisa and her kids come stay with him. Basically, her husband would have shot her and himself, but my sister Thalia opened her home immediately to Louisa, and Louise moved into Thalia's house a month before I joined her.

But back to the homestead, to the kitchen window where we look on at these young serious faces bent over their dinner plates. The father figure is wrapping up. I look at myself, the thinnest and most serious of the daughters. I ask my father in a moment of courage if we are supposed to be doormats? He says- Yes, absolutely. But you are a doormat for God, and He knows what is best for you. He will protect you.

Even if you get shot by your husband and lay in the coffin dead with your family looking on, weeping. If this happens, it will be God's will for you that you die, and he is protecting you now in your afterlife. His idea of protecting you is letting you possibly die at the hands of your husband, while your father openly looked on, nodding wisely and approving.

Note: Louisa was not murdered, after all. She left her husband and took her two kids to my sister's house and then got her own apartment for a year. Her husband went to live with his parents. Then Louise got lonely and told her husband he could come back because he said he was a changed man. This husband is Clark.

I used to believe this theory of abuse for my whole life. The "turn the other cheek" belief on steroids. I thought most Christians believed this. It caused me to, not surprisingly, fall into one abusive relationship after another with various men. It made me seek out job situations and living situations that deeply demeaned me as a human. I felt that the more abusive the situation was, on some level, the more God was happier with me, and the God was able to refine my character. And I wanted so much to be good, to make God delighted with me. I wanted to make my dad proud of me.

I don't believe these lies anymore. I believe that I am good, and always was. I was born amazing. God has been delighted with me since my birth, and always will be. He sees no sin in me. If there ever was any 'sin' in the world, it is a figment of our imagination. Each human is born completely sin-free and loved with an enormous love. We are each God inside of us. God is love. We are all love. We are all one. The whole world exists as one, is powered by the sheer creative driving force called love. God doesn't choose to send me situations to refine my character, at all. That's cruel. The only way I get into an abusive situation is if I create the situation completely by myself, usually in a subconscious way that I don't even realize, by believing that I deserve to be in an abusive situation and need to be abused. I create my own reality. My reality is that I am love. I am loved. I am amazing. I naturally attract good to myself like a magnet, and I accept it because I now I know my true worth.

Maggie put holes in our couch cover, and I got my period.

Halloween, dressed up as a cat. Sort of.
Yesterday I got my period and I was transformed. Suddenly, emotionally I was a raging bull. Everything got under my skin. Even Maggie looking at me felt like she was leering at me and daring me to make one move, and she would start this knock down, drag out fight. Which she does every day, anyway, but. I was suddenly angry at our couch, the way Maggie bit holes in our cover and it looked ghetto. And the fact we can't get a new couch cover or a new couch till she gets de-clawed, and she isn't old enough yet to get declawed. I usually have some moodiness, feeling angry and sad at unpredictable shifts. But yesterday I felt like a complete bitch, volatile and ready for battle, in a way I've never felt in my life during a period before. I want to blame it on my Nutritional Balancing Program. It's helping me detox heavy metals, and this is my first period after starting this new program.

So, yesterday Karl was at his parents, so I was alone and felt relieved to express my bitchiness in the safety of my own mind. But when he came home, the second he lifted his eyebrow and spoke, it was like he was setting rockets under my arse just to irritate me. I eventually told him that I loved him a lot and wasn't mad at him, but I just got my period and was extremely grumpy. Finally he went upstairs to watch TV. But then he came down and HAD to bring up my brother in law. Had to make a joke about something religious that he knew makes me upset even on a good day. I said, "Why are you making a joke about this? If someone got raped, would you make a rape joke in front of her? No. The answer is no." He was not trying to be sensitive, he was getting a good laugh out of seeing me irritated, and he didn't care. He blundered on spewing all this religious crap and I weighed the options in my mind: "Go numb on the inside and pretend you don't hear, leave the room, or blow up." I couldn't leave the room because we keep the house super cold in the winter and I was in front of this portable heater. I tried to go numb.

Then he decided to say goodnight, and he leaned over to hug me, and said, "I love you." I said, "I love you, too." Then, as if he didn't hear, he said, "I love you." So I said, "I love you, too." Then immediately he said it again, and a flip switched in my brain, and enraged, I roared in a deep loud, angry voice, "I looooove you tooooo." He let go of me, and sighed, then went upstairs. I was so mad.

I thought immediately afterwards of explaining why I had to roar, but knew that the explanation would cause him considerable angst, and would make things worse.

So I have no one to explain this to. But I must sort it out, and I will. My mind processes things better when I write them out. So here goes.

When I was a kid, my dad made it a habit of saying hello to each of his 6 kids when he got home from work. He didn't care about any of us, but in his OCD world, the hellos had to be administered and completed for him to go about his afternoon. So he went down the line everyday. Sometimes I was reading a book, or engrossed in playing with one of my sisters, so my "hello" back to him was in a tiny voice, quiet, or preoccupied. In which case, he would always repeat the hello to me, "Hello, AJ." By the third time, I would get annoyed and say quite loudly, "HELLOOO." And that would be that, I would be liberated, and he would move on to the next sibling.

When I was a teen, after I got to the point that I was completely disgusted with him abusing me, my mom and my siblings, I decided that he could control all he wanted to, but he couldn't control my power of speech or my power to eat or not eat. So I stopped talking when he was in the room. This led to many battles. Most of which I won, because I didn't speak, I just sat there like a statue. But for some reason, he couldn't let me win the "hello" battle. Maybe it was his OCD nature. By the time he would get to the 7th or 8th "Hello AJ," he was so irate, angry, cold, and hostile that I feared he would hit me. Everyone would be looking at me in terror, shock, disbelief, each time. Everyone would be silent. You could hear a pin drop. My mom would pretend to be busy at the stove, and the siblings would freeze what they were doing and stare at me. My dad would be all but shaking from rage, but he would conceal it so as to keep the upper hand. Usually by the 9th or 10th Hello, I would begin heavily fearing the judgement of God, since God spoke through my dad, and I would eventually whisper in my tiniest voice, "hi." So painful it was to be forced to speak. I think a few times I couldn't take it and yelled "Hello" back in a loud, angry tone. I tried not to do this too often though because it meant he really won, then.

So I guess I had a flashback to my teenage years when Karl kept telling me, "I love you," as if he hadn't heard my reply twice in a row. It was instantaneous. I roared at him in a split second's time. My subconscious mind must have made an instant connection, and it's like I didn't even remember or know why I was doing it, but I did feel like I was under enormous pressure to say something when I just already had said it.

How do I tame the inner tiger that is wounded, crouched and waiting to lash out in self defense? How do I get out of the defensive mode? How I get out of fight or flight mode? How do I tell my subconscious: "It's OK. You can rest now. Everything is OK."

The flashback I wrote about here in this post was a mild and almost amusing version compared to some I've gotten. The episode here was half PMS, half flashback. The ones that concern me are the ones where I'm just going along as calm as can be, and a sound or voice intonation will suddenly trigger something in me, and I would snap. It's like my body is suddenly the body of the six year old I was, and waves of fear roll over me. I start instantly cowering, turning my back to the noise, trying to curl up in a ball even while I'm standing up, wanting to get away quickly, desperately craving some kind of hug, needing reassurance that the other person is really not about to hit me. It is really the oddest thing ever, to go from a completely calm and normal state to a state like this in an instant, just because of one sound or one trigger.

I get over it in an hour or so, and so it is really OK. I have to talk to myself and explain to myself that it is OK. It is fascinating to me that a part of me is still flashing back, because I thought I had healed from this. The need must still be there for me to go back, so I will be patient. I don't understand exactly why it is happening, but I trust my body knows and so I will patiently love and comfort myself each time until I know I'm safe.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New guitar

My old guitar and my kitten
You know, maybe I like Facebook after all. I'm not completely sold on the idea of Facebook yet, but recently I've been a little  more open to it after a turn of events with my guitar. 

So, I updated my status the other week. I posted how the tuning knob off the E string of my guitar cracked and fell off, leaving me to tune my guitar with a pair of pliers. Just a screw was left where the plastic knob used to be, which hurt my fingers to even try to twist. I got nowhere using my bare hands. The pliers worked fairly well, although it is time consuming and awkward to manipulate them. I was pulling out the pliers to re tune the old girl up to twice a week, as my beloved guitar is old, warped and has seen better days.

So, a few weeks after posting this status update, my mom called me and said that she and my dad had bought me a new guitar and was it ok if they brought it over? I was sick that day, so they brought it over the next day, Sunday. I was pleasantly surprised. I kept thinking, "Wow, my parents DO care about me. Wow, I AM special. Wow, this is how I and every child is meant to feel... this is how it naturally feels between a parent and child... the parent gives and the child naturally feels like it is good and normal."

But then I spoke, and out came, "Wow, how did I deserve a cool present like this, is it my birthday or Christmas?" With the underlying thought being, "This is odd. You've never bought me anything special on your own, so what has changed?"

Mom said they saw the guitar on sale, and there was one left, and if they saw it the next time they went to the store, they would get it for me. My dad said they hadn't bought me anything for awhile, so they figured they would. Then I overhear my dad telling K, "A wife is a good thing, and is full of wisdom and intuition. Listen to your wife's intuition, and you will get ahead in life."

Later, after my parents left and I had time to reflect, I realized what he meant. It was my mom's idea to buy me the guitar, and he just went along for the ride. My mom must have been feeling awful for me after her recent visit when I let out the family secret that he abused me. She wanted to cheer me up, and she wanted my dad to man up and show some kindness. I don't think she ever told him what I told her. She told me it would traumatize him if she told, and she didn't want to hurt him. What a weight there is on my mom's shoulders. On one side, she can't dare to cross him or make him uncomfortable in the smallest degree, but on the other side, it breaks her heart to see her child hurt by him.

I love my mom because she has always treated me wonderfully... except for protecting me from the father figure. That has been damaging to me, but at the same time I can step in her shoes and understand her pain and confusion at being caught in the middle.

But back to Sunday afternoon. When my parents brought over the guitar, and I was strumming it and practicing a few songs, I was grinning from ear to ear. I kept thinking, "I am so happy. Both my parents love me, and I feel special. I am worthy, I am loved, and this is how a family feels. I can get used to this. It feels natural to me. I am quick to forgive, and just as quick to forget, and in my mind, I can imagine that it has been this awesome since I was a child. I can go with this. I feel like I can totally accept this shower of affection as natural, and I accept it, and I'm going with it. I am loved."

So after my parents left, I was just sitting there in a glow for some time strumming the guitar and thinking these thoughts. I didn't question it, I just went with it. I've been telling myself for some time that I do love my father for who he really is, and who he Really is... is a dad who loves me. If my dad know who he Really is, he would have taken me to the zoo, just me and him, held my hand, bought me cotton candy, bought me new shoes whenever I needed them, read books to me, listened to me when I spoke, encouraged me, and told me I was special, awesome and amazing. That's who my dad Really is.

The clincher here is that he never accepted who he really is. He thinks he's some awful, evil messed up person, and he's so focused on how his life sucks, and how traumatized he's been since childhood, that he doesn't have eyes to see anyone else, especially people in need, especially his own children. He is incredibly needy and broken, and if it weren't for my mom mothering him, he would be a wreck. He sucks all the wonderful life energy out of her, trying to re-do his past. His own mother abandoned him and hated him, telling him she wished he was never born. So every day, my father tries to re-create his past with his new mother... my mom. My father never let my mom mother all six of us because he would get jealous. All her attention and loyalty went to him. True, when my dad was at work, my mom gave us her full attention and was nurturing and mothering. But when he came home, we had little to no access to her. It is the same to this day. He is number one.

But back to who my dad Really is. Who he really is: Attentive, nurturing, loving, completely whole, enthusiastic, giving, compassionate, supportive, encouraging. My dad is blinded to who he really is. The scales never fell off his eyes. He was born this amazing, just like every human, just like every little innocent baby is born this amazing. It's just that when we're born, we have forgotten who we Really are. Thank goodness, I now know who I really am and have always been, and that gives me wings, it really sets me free. When I think of who my dad Really is, I can't hate him. I love him for who he Really is.

I was excited thinking that perhaps his blinders fell off and he had a change of heart. Then I realized that it was my mom who master-minded giving me the guitar. Instantly I started feeling disappointed and almost hating him again for what he did to me, but most of all for how trapped and suffocated he makes me mom feel. But then I stopped. My happiness does not rest on his ability to see himself as he Really is or not. I will still love him for who he Really is.

And when I play my new guitar, I will entertain the thought that perhaps, just perhaps, it may have been my dad's idea after all to buy me this guitar.