Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fundamentalists Dysfunction

This is a short post, and rushed, with no time to edit, like yesterdays post. Muddle through as best you can, online friends. :)

I start clinicals next week for the CNA class I am currently taking, AND two eight hour shifts shadowing a medical sonography technician. Wish me well.

I am of two minds concerning "the cycle of abuse" referenced in discussions about domestic violence/abuse. Yes, it's real, on that I agree. What exactly is happening is a matter of debate.

My opinion based on my experience, is that post-traumatic stress disorder is the true cause, and unresolved traumas are not going away on their own. There is no way someone can determine to not react to a stressor when they have unresolved traumas in their psyche that are affecting their thinking and therefore their behavior.

So, when there are no stressors, the (for lack of a better term) abusive partner is happy, loving, supportive, all in all a regular person with a regular capacity for gratitude, joy, affection, etc. But let a stressor occur, and that person is triggered back into the age/thought life he was at the time of the initial trauma. Some people live in this state almost all the time. Very sad.

Others muddle through as best they can, avoiding traumas when they can. Once these wounded people start therapy, there is at first resistance and denial. It's hard to accept that one's thinking is disordered, especially when shame is part of the traumas one has suffered. It is survival instinct to blame others and project negative emotions you don't think good people should feel onto others.

So, I was counting down the days and weeks from the last abusive incident at our house, hoping for a new record. I think we are going to make it, though things are hinky right now as my husband's fundamentalist family just dropped by yesterday for a visit.

Still, even though my husband slipped back into PAPD patterns and projected both his families dysfunction and his anger about it on to me twice in the past 24 hrs, each time he acted on his DAPP on his own, and came out acknowledging that HE was not in a good place mentally. No groveling apologies (which may or not be sincere)-yay! No denial- yay! But an honest apprisal of the situation, and appropriate apologies offered realistically where needed.

This is awesome! I am pleased.

Now for the rant about his fundamentalist dysfunctional family system: OMG!

One of the accusations he makes when he is "in a bad place" is that I don't care what he thinks or how he feels. While this is not true of me, it is SPOT ON about his family of origin. Yesterday it was on full display, when my husband questioned the doctrine of eternal damnation.
(For the few who know me IRL, check out his facebook discussion about Osama bin Laden for a sample! Feel free to show him some support. =)

Immediately he was shut down and shut out. Without giving any consideration to my husband's actual words, my former missionary brother-in-law went into full fundamentalist apologetic shutdown mode. He argued against whatever meaning he wanted to ascribe to the words my husband used. He called him irresponsible and dangerous, comparing my husband's question to encouraging children to run with scissors. And though my husband started out asking questions, not one question was directed to him.

He is right. No one care what he thinks. No one cares how he feels. Fundamentalism will tell you what to think and what you're allowed to feel. Any hint that you might be considering life outside those lines is immediately shamed. You are not a friend asking questions; by asking questions you have become DANGEROUS and you must be SHUT DOWN!

I had to leave the house it pissed me off so much. I walked across the street to my neighbors and she asked, "what are you up to?" to which I replied, "Avoiding WW III, doing my part for world peace."

I watched my husband's family drive away without saying goodbye.

I am so angry. They don't love my husband. They don't know my husband and they aren't interested in knowing my husband. They do not care for his heart. They only care that he assent to their beliefs and that's ALL.

Of course he's "not in a good place". He is coming out of denial and facing really ugly hard truths about who cares for him and who doesn't. He is facing head on the reality that his family has never had unconditional love for anyone. No wonder they get so angry at the notion that God is not hatefully ostracizing and torturing their enemies for all eternity. That really is the core of their beliefs.

Wow. I thought they knew Jesus, who says "him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out" and the One who will reconcile "ALL THINGS to himself". They are the big brother in the parable of the Prodigal, and boy will they be pissed if it turns out God really is going to reconcile all people to Himself.

They WANT people to burn in hell for all eternity, and for nothing more than being born in the wrong place at the wrong time. They WANT a god who is weak, who fails at redemption, only able to save a few, as long as they are in that elite. They WANT a god that is two-faced; they don't want Jesus. They want fundamentalism.

Big. Difference.


  1. fundy thinking that has no room for Jesus. oh, yeah. Most Evangelical thinking has little purpose for Jesus actual life and deeds; the only really important parts are birth, death, resurrection--and with the rise in apocalyptic thinking, the Second Coming of the Mean and Angry, Death and Destruction, Avenging Jesus. The fundier (is that a word?) you are, the less room in your theology for Jesus' life and teachings. I remember that.

    But hooray for the hubs holding his own--sanity-wise--in the onslaught of fundamentalist hate and discontent!

  2. Well, it did make him sad and angry for a while there. Hopefully he can put a lid on it and explore it in this next therapy session.

    It was very needful and brave of him to do, but I could hardly take it. He actually handled it much better than I did, as I wanted to start yelling myself and he just sort of let the guy rant.

    I agree with you hooray, Sandra.

    For the first time I realized that none of the children of his family really have any choice in the matter of what to believe or how to live. Step outside of the prescribed lines just a little, and you will find out how conditional the acceptance was all along.

    If they are able to bully you back into line, all well and good. If not, well, that hasn't happened yet. If my husband breaks free he'll be the first, so I guess we'll find out.

  3. "it did make him sad and angry for a while there"

    well, dammit, it should make him sad and angry. It is heartbreakingly, soul-achingly sad. It is vicious and ... i can't think of words strong enough... "evil" and "demonic" come to mind but they have been so over-used in Christianese that they have become warped. The only appropriate response to this psychic and spiritual abuse is a hot, white, Temple-clearing anger. Without experiencing that anger as a cleansing fire in the soul, there will always be smoldering pockets of dank waiting for a hot wind to set the blazes going again. He needs to be hideously, terribly, righteously angry--at the right target, of course.

  4. Praying that he can learn to identify the feelings when he has them and also the true CAUSE, rather than projecting it onto you and the kids. Awfully hard to realize your parents never really loved you the way you thought they did, but oh wow, what a positive step and direction it would be for the rest of his life (and yours) if he did.

  5. I hope and pray he is able to separate the two. I know I had a hard time in that area.

    Its hard to accept them 'as is', and not the image of what you thought they were for your whole life.

    Your statement, 'He is right. No one care what he thinks. No one cares how he feels. ' says it all. He needs to realize some people just are not capable of living outside that bubble. Its hard to accept, but he must.

    My mother used to play her southern belle act of 'I don't understand', and played naive to the max if points were to strong for her to deny. She was far from naive or stupid like she attempted to act. In the past? That would drive me right up a wall, and I couldn't stand being in the same room with her.

    Refusing to play that game anymore was HARD! She can't handle the conversation, and I know that now. If the world won't come tumbling down without having the conversation? lol I learned NOT to go there!

    Heck even if I make my point? The stressors aren't worth the battle most of the time.

    You have to stop and think - is this conversation worth it even if my point is made? You have to weight it. I found most of the time? Its not. Its still hard not to go there, but I have choice now that I never thought of before.

    The choice is up to him, but its still a choice.

  6. Thanks for your support, friends. You mean the world to me. Peace and good will, SS

  7. I've been reading a lot about Quiverfull since I know some people involved in the movement, and they make me shake my head a lot. One of the things I have noticed is a complete lack of God's Grace in their lives. God is not a loving or saving god to them. I was hoping it was just them, but it seems to be most fundamental/patriarchal families. I really love hearing stories from you ladies about what it was like being repressed, but this story really hits home that I want to know about the boys growing up in this environment. It's just sad that no matter who you are, your feelings and emotions are not considered if they go against the hive mind. The man is the head of the house, but only if his beliefs exactly line up with his father's?

    Anyway, hopefully your husband will continue to deal with this. It sounds like his reaction was positive, after he got over the initial shock of being attacked.

  8. Thanks, College. Yes, I think it goes beyond QF to fundamentalist/patriarchal thought, of which QF is merely the most extreme manifestation (so far). I did some very interesting research on the fundamentalists and found out that it all started in America late 1800/early1900s. Fundamentalist doctrine includes 6000 yr old earth/6 day creation/rapture theology. Christians in centuries past had many different opinions about the age of the earth, evolution, order of creation, second coming of Christ, meaning of Revelations, etc.

    Fundamentalisms great error is their doctrine of "Biblical inerrancy". The contrast is the "infallability" (and sane) view of the Bible. Inerrancy says that every word in the Bible as written is exactly as God wanted it written, means exactly what it seems to mean in the KJV and modern American cultural context, no exceptions for metaphor, allegory, and certainly no meaningful myth.

    Infallibility says the the Bible is infallible in all it sets out to present, and is a spiritual book concerned with spiritual truths and themes. This is actually the historically Christian view of the Bible. Therefore the age of the earth is not the point of Genesis, but the story of God's creation of humanity and desires for them, as well as historical record of people whose lives were touched by the Divine and how that affected their lives.

    With infalliblity, the story of the flood tells us many valuable truths: God hates violence. God apparently allows at least part of the future to be settled by our choices (he repents that he made man) as he is so disappointed by the choices man made in that story ( "the earth was filled with violence", "the thoughts of men's hearts were only evil all the time) that he decides to change course and take a giant do-over with the human race. He finds one righteous man who will listen and obey, and he saves this man and his family. We also see in this story that God cares for animals, as all the animals in the story are saved from destruction along with violent, wicked men. So from this story we learn that God doesn't wantonly destroy anyone, and that he is compassionate for all he has made. It doesn't matter if the story is literal in every aspect; it is literal in what it teaches us about God.

    For the fundamentalist, the most important thing about this story is whether or not the flood was a worldwide phenomenon. They claim that if one does not believe that the whole earth was destroyed in this flood, one cannot be a Christian. Many leave the faith when they go to college and learn that as historical fact, this very subjective account falls short of the geological record.

    They've kept none of the beautiful truths about God to hold onto: that God doesn't approve of violence and it distresses him to see people be wicked to one another; that God shows mercy any time he gets an excuse; that God loves all creation; that God is apparently very much into do-overs.

    A kid from fundamentalism only get this from the flood story: an angry God who drowned almost all the people in the whole world about 5000 years ago, and is only going to save a very few when he next destroys the earth in an angry rage of fire. *sigh*

    Jesus came to show us God because people were getting all the wrong ideas about who God was from the OT stories. He came to show us the Father, and says to all who love mercy and truth, just like the thief on the cross did, you will be with me in paradise.

    The thief on the cross was not a fundamentalist. He did not even confess that Jesus was the Son of God. He didn't have the Four Spiritual Laws. He never read Romans or walked the Romans road. He just recognized gracious love when he saw it, and had pity on an unjustly condemned man.

    And Jesus accepted him. =D

  9. SS--that's a whole blog post of it's own you've written there. "the errant history of inerrancy"