Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring Break

So I have been sleeping in every day this week so far. It's been sweet.

My term paper is written, so yeah. I just need to let it sit and stew in it's own juices for a bit, have my editor give it a read, go back once more and see if I still like it, and turn it in.

When school returns, I have two more Module Tests and three Finals, plus a couple of smallish papers to write. Wish me well. With the program I am applying for, there is a huge point differential between an A and a B,and the applicants with the highest points get in. So, I really do need the A over the B if possible. With both PreCalc and MedLegal my A is in the bag, but I still am too close to the line in HumanAnatPhys to be relaxed about it. So, those of you who pray for me, keep praying.

I got my titers back for my vaccinations, and my doctor says I'm good. All I need to do now is take all my papers in to sign up for the CNA classes this summer. It's looking good so far. Thanks for all your support, cyberfriends. It means the world to me.

I don't yet have a new EMDR therapist, but I am on someone's waiting list. I think I would rather just wait it out for this person to be available than take someone my former practitioner recommended. I am still considering writing to the state licensing board for clinical social workers about my experience. I do have the contemporaneous record of my blog to keep the dates more or less straight. On the other hand, I am a very busy person with a lot of my plate, and it is not even close to the top of the prioritized list of things I need to accomplish.

I am still torn between hope and realism, as far as my marriage is concerned. So many people are urging me to leave,immediately if not sooner, but I do not feel that sense of urgency. I also doubt myself, if I am making the right decision to move slowly but steadily toward independence, giving my husband time to heal to the point we can live a life of love together, or, if that doesn't happen, being thoughtful, proactive and reliable for myself. I think on occasion of women who have been seriously hurt by PTSD husbands. I know they must have felt safe enough too, or they wouldn't have remained in the relationship that long. Surely a part of them thought that their husband would never cross the line to heinous violence/murder, or they would have left before then. So I do sometimes wonder if I am only kidding myself, but I also trust that God will keep me safe.

The thought of doing anything hastily really bugs me. I don't want to be pushed into action by circumstances or the behavior of others. I have been married twenty-three years. For many of them, the only difference between now and then is that I have woken up to the truth that it's not my fault my husband behaves/thinks the way he does. I now know I have absolutely no control over the man's inner life, and in fact have rarely been aware of what that really is. I *thought* I knew who he was, because of the assumptions I made. Now I know that I truly am not the issue here, and that all the good will in the world on my part guarantees nothing. Sobering, but at least the playing field is now level. It was so confusing for so many years.

I *thought* that we meant the same things by the same words, especially what it means to follow Jesus. I have discovered that was never true. Fundamentalism sounds good, but they do not mean the same things by the same words I understand the Bible to be saying. They have hidden meanings and unspoken rules that negate the actual commands of Christ and turn them into something different. For example, "love one another as I have loved you" turns out to not be so loving.

First of all, the fundamentalist Jesus burns most people who have ever lived in hell for all eternity- not very loving,eh? My experience of the gospel is that it was the good news that God has removed all barriers between God and man, that He freely forgives and wants to lavish His kindness on us through Christ Jesus. "Just as I Am" and "Amazing Grace" actually meant something good to me.

The MKs experience of the gospel is that God will burn the Indians in hell forever if your parents don't lay down their lives to translate the Bible for them. This is serious business! So serious, little child, that your need for parental love and attention pales in comparison. Small child, you may need love, but if your parents give you the love and attention you need, those Indians will burn in hell forever! Forever, young child! You don't want the Indians to burn in hell FOREVER, do you? DO you?!?! How could you be so selfish?! Shame, shame, shame on you young child. ps God loves you. Your parents love you. Now be a good boy and go away and keep your needs quiet or GOD WILL BURN THESE INDIANS IN HELL FOREVER AND IT WILL BE YOUR FAULT!

Another huge difference between my faith vocabulary and fundamentalist faith vocabulary is what Jesus meant by the commandment to love one another. For me, that means both to feel (compassion, kindness, pity, remorse, longing for security/healing/kindness to come to your brother) and to act in ways that bring good (comfort, provision, healing, understanding) to others. It is both a feeling and an action that is directed toward wanting/accomplishing good for others.

Fundamentalism dismisses such notions as silly sentimentality. In the letter of John the apostle (this proof text only works if you take the verse completely out of context, which they do!) the Bible says that we know we love the brethren when we obey the commands of God. So a fundamentalist never need feel compassion, or long for relief or comfort for another, because they attend church regularly, memorize Bible verses, believe the right doctrines and don't smoke, cuss, drink or dance. That's how they can KNOW they love the brethren. They obey what they believe to be the commands of God, so they never need experience (i.e. "feel" equals bad to fundamentalists) emotions that resemble what the rest of the world calls compassion or love for another. They can rest assured that even without ever feeling anything resembling that for other humans or ever acting in ways that relieve the pain and suffering of others, they do "love the brethren" because they are obedient fundamentalists.


I hope you can see why my frustration with my husband is tempered by my compassion for the lies with which he was raised. I will lay out both arguments so that you can see what goes on in my head, and why I am willing to stay until my education is completed and I am self-sufficient. It both gives him time to heal, and keeps my from denying my own value system (i.e. love my neighbor as myself).

Common experience says abusive men rarely change. This is undeniably true.

On the other hand, my husband has taken a lot of actions others husband's never take. He attended a 26 week Life Skills course and went to the Davison's Marriage Intensive. He is in therapy, which is something his family would NEVER condone. And he is on anti-depressants, another huge defiance of the family rules which say medications are for the weak, and are mostly unnecessary.

But back to common experience, this work has been going on for two years and he still allows himself days/weeks of reverting to the old resentments and hatreds. This should not be.

Again on the other hand, he is actually doing more on his own lately that is in keeping with the Life Skills/Davisson's advice. He is watching the Davisson's videos at lunch. I printed off a checklist from this site and he knows I read it everyday. He says he reads it every day. He says he meditates on positive statements about me while he walks on the treadmill most days after work. I have seen the paper. He is reading Rob Bells' book Love Wins- the most non-fundie book of all time, full of questions about the character and words of Christ, rather than an answer book interpreting everything for you so you don't have to think, fundie-style.

Common experience says all this is just forestalling the inevitable. The man's psyche is truly warped by his fundamentalist upbringing, and I don't know if it's possible for him to change enough to be fully alive to love in this lifetime, much less in two years. When he wants to be healed, he really wants to be healed. I do believe that much is true. He just doesn't always want to be healed.

The psychological land mines his family's religion have placed within his soul are SERIOUSLY DANGEROUS. All other abused, neglected hurt children can turn to Jesus for healing, but MKs? They were taught that Jesus decreed their neglect! He grew up believing that the emotional and physical distance his parents kept from him WAS love! He grew up ignored and that was explained to him as the very definition of LOVE. As a young child at boarding school, being bullied at worst/ignored at best by house parents and other missionary kids was NORMAL. Any attempts to get his needs met were shamed as selfish, unforgiving, or rebellious.

How is there hope for this man to learn to live loved?

And yet, with God all things are possible. Jesus has done so much for me that other people believe impossible. And so I keep praying and asking God to give my husband a revelation of who He really is! A vision, or a revelatory dream, or something that will break through all the religious lies and reveal the loving, gracious heart of God.

And that is how I have decided to keep working toward financial independence and not just leave now. I am asking the God of all hope to deliver my husband's soul from the religious darkness that obscures his vision of who Jesus really is. I am giving the gift of time to my husband, hoping against hope he will grab onto Jesus and plunge headlong into grace.

If that's even possible. All the words have been tainted by fundamentalist lies, so that grace means "ability to keep the law" instead of extravagant love. Forgiveness means "keep your resentments well hidden" because talking about a grievance is "unforgiveness" to my husband's fundamenatalist family. So according to their fundamentalist upside down religion, the person wronged has the responsibility to suck it up or be accused of the heinous sin of unforgiveness. They ignore Leviticus 19: 17-18 and Jesus command to rebuke our brother who offends us. In avoiding all appearance of evil (which fundamentalist treat as the greatest command of all!) the hide evil in their hearts and that is considered righteous.

So time will tell. These three faith, hope and love, remain.


  1. No matter how much others want to help, you're the only one who can make the decision of whether and when to leave. You want to make sure at the end you have no regrets, and you can say "I did everything I could do." You don't know me from Adam, but you have my support no matter what you decide to do.

    Now. Two things jumped out at me:

    1. You said you don't want to do anything "hastily." How long have you been married again? It may feel like haste, because within the last few weeks / months you kind of woke up, realized the depth of what you were dealing with, understood the real path you may be on, whatever it was. But you and your children have been trying and tiptoeing and suffering for years. Decades? There is no shame in saying "Screw it, I've sacrificed until the last shred of my being, I'm done." And certainly no haste. But that's just my read on it.

    2. As I read, I admit I had to skip a lot. Because pretty quickly it jumped back into... you know how some people, when they talk about themselves, are always the victim? That is so NOT what you did; in fact it's the opposite. HE'S the victim; of poor parenting, a cultish religion, bad role models, an incompetent therapist, medication changes, etc. etc. etc.

    I mean, yeah, it's sad what he's gone through. If it caused a temporary moment of trauma in your relationship, okay, blame it on the rain. But beyond that, when it's used as a reason and excuse to hurt other people, my sympathy stops short.

    He got hurt. There's not a single iota of a reason or an excuse in that fact for him to hurt you even once. Period.

    You don't have to convince yourself he's justified in some way, because he's not. You don't have to find a way for it to make sense, because it doesn't. He's just wrong. Period.

    All right. Off my soapbox. I meant what I said about me supporting you no matter what. I've been there, remember? Stayed longer than anyone thought I should have, but I have no regrets, other than wishing I'd woke up sooner.

    Lots and lots of prayers coming your way!!!

  2. I'm not going to tell you to stay or go, either. Because you've got enough voices inside and outside your head, mine isn't going to be the one that sways you either way. I want to "ditto" everything Final Anonymous said, though, with a big "uh-huh! what she said!" And add the following--

    "I also trust that God will keep me safe."

    This statement chilled me. If you are defining safe here as I do--physically well, alive, not mostly- or even sorta-dead or dying--God most emphatically does not "keep people safe" Thousands of people, devout, God-loving, loved-by-God people, have not "been kept safe" from death, disease, torture, abuse. You know that. Don't count on God to do for you what he hasn't done for lots of other equally deserving recipients of trauma and death.

    If you mean, "mentally and spiritually healthy regardless of physical well-being", then I agree God is totally there for you. But then I think you should clarify that definition for the sake of your potential readers who will be reading with their magical thinking of "God won't let me die because I'm so devoted to him and even if he does, well, I'm down with that too because .... [insert whatever martyr-prize is being promoted these days]"

    As always, know that I love you and pray for you all.

  3. I keep thinking about your husband's psycho-spiritual state. You've summed up so precisely the FundySpeak usage of common spiritual words. My physical experience was nothing as extreme as your husband's but the "I don't think that means what you think it means" subtext of every teaching was the same. The Love = punishment/isolation/annihilation underlies everything. It is why I have such a hard time understanding Evangelicals who actually find spiritual nourishment (not just an addictive buzz) from the same-worded teachings. I just don't get at a really basic level that those words can NOT mean for people the same ass-backwards bullshit that I learned.

    I have enormous respect for the huge leap of faith (faith being a commitment, not adherence to intellectual positions) that it has taken for your husband to make the admissions that he has, attend counseling, be medicated. I know (really KNOW) how paradigm-shattering that was. I know how what a tortured soul he is, the psychic pain he feels (even more than he will admit to himself, most likely) is astounding. I say this to mean that I understand the explanation of his abuse, not to excuse it.

    I doubt that meditating on affirmations of your worth are going to do much for him--maybe band-aid level help for a femoral hemorrhage level wound. As you say, what he really needs is an affirmation of HIS worth to the ultimate judge. He needs a new paradigm of healthy Love and actual Grace to replace the paradigm that has structured his psyche for his whole life. and I suspect that the only way to get there is by fully acknowledging the extent of his pain--which he hasn't yet done, it is too scary (Oh, how do I know? BTDT, still doing it). And I worry that the struggle of his journey--that push me, pull you tension between being drawn to God/Love/Grace and deathly afraid of it--will put too much pressure on the none-too-secure grip of safety/sanity he has. Hurting people hurt people.

    Would physical distance between you actually give him the inner space, the safety zone, take a pressure off him, so he can more safely do the psychic/spiritual work that he needs to do?

  4. Ack! JUST wrote a twenty minute comment, and Blogger freaking ATE IT!

    But I see we cross-posted Sandra. =) I love you too.

    Short version:

    Future is open. It is unsettled. I see three possibilities:

    #1 Therapy works, husband is healed enough that we end up living a mutually supporting loving life together.

    #2 Husband continues or quits therapy, either way, he is not healed enough to live a mutually supporting loving life with him as a partner. We divorce. My time-table: as soon as I'm self-supporting, which I have estimated at two years out from now.

    #3 Husband makes it impossible to wait two years out, some sort of crisis necessitates an earlier separation/divorce for my safety and/or my well-being (which matters just as much as my safety).

    I don't bet against the house. If I thought the odds were in favor of #3, I'd be out of here. I guess honestly I feel like it's 50% on option 1, 40% option 2, and 10% or less option 3.

    When I say I trust in God, I realize the Pollyanna gullibility that implies. To be honest, though I am embarrassed and know it's stupid, there is a teency touch of that involved.

    But remember I've been through some pretty tough times, and more than most I know that God's love sustains us through the hardships of life (persecution, famine, violence, etc. Hebrews 12) it is not magic charm that keeps us from experiencing all life might contain.

    I think I'm being realistic, yet I write this record as I go, so in the end, we will all be able to look back and hopefully learn something from the journey.

    Though maybe not. Each person diagnosed with cancer has their own decisions to make and their own unique battle to fight. Some people go into spontaneous remission, some go into remission because of treatment, some don't go into remission at all, but the cancer is fatal. Other people's experiences may or may not be helpful.

    So, in the end, this whole blog may merely be a personal interest story and no more. Certainly it will be here to explain how I got to #1,#2 or #3 to my children, if nothing else.

    So, peace and good will. Keep praying. Final, I appreciate you sharing your story and caring for me. Sandra, I appreciate you and all your love. I feel it, cyber friends, I do.


  5. Ugh. I hate to chime in again, I really do. I REALLY do.

    I just did an inservice on domestic abuse.

    The things your husband has already done may indeed be paradigm shifts. Or maybe not. Abusers know when they've pushed too far and need to make a grand gesture or three. They also know exactly what type of gesture will work. Then when things are comfortable again, they slip back into old patterns. And thus the cycle continues. The behaviors may be different, but the cycle is exactly the same. Predictably so.

    Here's the biggie though: Recent research shows that even with counseling, education, church support, etc., less than 7% of abusers stop abusing.

    Miracles happen, obviously, but a 50% chance of scenario #1 is not realistic.

    Ick. That was not fun to say. But I figure you deserve to know the truth.

    Praying for you both.

  6. I think everyone here has some really good advice. I'm just wondering about one thing.... The whole idea about MK's being neglected/abused in boarding schools is new to me, I'm wondering what denomination your husband's family was in, and do you have any other web sites with more information about this kind of stuff??


  8. Aren't most missionaries fundamentalist evangelical Bible translators like my in-laws? At least the ones using boarding schools are all tribal missionaries, to my knowledge.

  9. Most fundamentalist missionaries I've had contact with (and many have been "lifers") have had their children with them on the field until high school or college age. Some of them were second generation missionaries, raised by their own parents on the mission field. I really hadn't heard about missionaries using boarding schools until reading you describe your husband's experiences. It may have been a difference in generation, or area of the world, or even of mission boards.

  10. It has to do with either the mission boards themselves as well as the timeline. Courageous pioneering missionary parents who resisted the pressure to send their children away and chose to home school in the face of immense pressure to choose boarding school have changed the landscape somewhat. Boardings schools are not nearly as popular as they once were, yet I think no child younger than high school should ever go to boarding school.

    At what is now Crossworld, as recently as 1999 in Brazil I heard with my own ears the dissatisfaction the board had with people who chose to home school. The board member (my relative) felt as if home schooling parents were cheating the mission, that missionaries owed to full-time forty hour plus workweeks to the mission. While I was there a six year old girl and her mother spent the night on the way to boarding school, where this precious little girl was to be dropped off. One of the boardings schools my husband went to is no longer a boarding school, the other one remains open (and was the destination of the six year old in 1999).

    You are free to check out the links above for a bigger picture. I have heard from one home schooling family in Brazil that Americans are left alone to home school these days, while pressure continues to be put on Brazilians to put their kids in boarding school. Home schooling isn't legal in Brazil, and this may account for the difference.

    But still, families with young children don't belong in tribal missions at all, in my opinion. You wouldn't expect your pastor to move his children into the gang hideout of the Hell's Angels or Crips while you studied their culture. Being a foreign culture doesn't make it somehow more acceptable.

    I firmly believe once a couple becomes parents they should put their ministry to their children first, for the glory of God and to keep from dishonoring the name of Christ. Sacrificing your children for ministry is no better than pursuing adultery as an avenue for ministry. If you have to nullify the commands of Christ (to love, to welcome little children, to be like your Father in heaven, who will in no wise cast you out) in order to "do ministry" you are in the wrong ministry.

    There are plenty of single missionaries, childless couples and older couples done with childrearing to do the work. People think their works are pleasing to God, but if you are making a mockery of the good news to get there, (or stay there) you don't belong there.

    And in my experience, it is strictly fundamentalist mission boards that demand boarding school. If someone knows of any other religious persuasion that makes such demands, let me know.