ag_NO_stic

Free Therapy (discussing upbringing and family of origin)

35 posts in this topic

So, I am a psych nerd; majored in sociology and minored in psychology and continue to research it indefinitely... I am absolutely fascinated with how our genetics work with our environment and socialization to make us who we are as individuals and socials groups. All of that to say, I mentioned in another thread how interested I am in fundamentalist christian behavior and other correlating behaviors/similarities in life. I put this in the testimony section because it's essentially giving back stories/emotionally personal information and seemed testimony-ish. Would anyone care to share a bit about growing up with their parents? Maybe their mom/dad's parenting style and how it impacted you? I am planning to do this later, just don't have time at the moment. Looking forward to opening up some feedback on our pasts. :)

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My parents raised me with short hair and a good little Mormon boy cut.

No tats.

No soda.

Nothing but ultra-square clothes and attitude.

 

Now I can only attract ladies looking for same.

<sigh>

 

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Probably not in public.

 

You open to PM's?

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Probably not in public.

 

You open to PM's?

 

Absolutely! I also have been on the chat, so there are personal messaging options on there as well. :)

 

 

My parents raised me with short hair and a good little Mormon boy cut.

No tats.

No soda.

Nothing but ultra-square clothes and attitude.

 

Now I can only attract ladies looking for same.

<sigh>

 

 

Hair cuts can change, you can add a tat, you can drink soda, and you can wear what you want. Change = different ladies. :)  :P

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Absolutely! I also have been on the chat, so there are personal messaging options on there as well. :)

 

 

Hair cuts can change, you can add a tat, you can drink soda, and you can wear what you want. Change = different ladies. :)  :P

 

I was just lamenting how I wound up with a screem'n fundy to begin with.

@55 it's too late to fix that.

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@ag_NO_stic  I grew up with parents who were each abusive in their own way to each other and to their children. One was an atheist, the other a born-again fundy. Through some sort of sheer luck, at a really young age, I was able to see through all the anger to the underlying hurt and ignorance. They were just doing the best they knew how with whatever emotional tools they were given as a result of their upbringing. That being said, I don't buy into a deep exploration of the past as a means of explaining the present because IMHO it is inconsistent at best, futile at worst. 

@MOHO At the same age, I dont think change is impossible! (But I do think some tactics work better than others).

 

I hate the thought of behavior being owned by genetics or by socialization into certain cutures, or by childhood experiences so I tend to reject (or at least try to reject) any of those influences that were/are unhealthy. But I have to admit, it takes intentional effort and I fail pretty miserably . . . a lot.

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I was just lamenting how I wound up with a screem'n fundy to begin with.

@55 it's too late to fix that.

 

Meh. Still got half your life. Start with a tattoo!! I have one, it's liberating. If not for yourself, do it for the look on Mrs. MOHO's face. :D (this only half good advice).

 

 

@ag_NO_stic  I grew up with parents who were each abusive in their own way to each other and to their children. One was an atheist, the other a born-again fundy. Through some sort of sheer luck, at a really young age, I was able to see through all the anger to the underlying hurt and ignorance. They were just doing the best they knew how with whatever emotional tools they were given as a result of their upbringing. That being said, I don't buy into a deep exploration of the past as a means of explaining the present because IMHO it is inconsistent at best, futile at worst. 

@MOHO At the same age, I dont think change is impossible! (But I do think some tactics work better than others).

 

I hate the thought of behavior being owned by genetics or by socialization into certain cutures, or by childhood experiences so I tend to reject (or at least try to reject) any of those influences that were/are unhealthy. But I have to admit, it takes intentional effort and I fail pretty miserably . . . a lot.

 

I definitely wasn't implying that you're owned by anything ('cept the good lord), but you are the way you are because of how you have chosen to deal with your parents (both genetics and upbringing), your community, and your culture. Those influences are powerful things.

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@ag_NO_stic  I grew up with parents who were each abusive in their own way to each other and to their children. One was an atheist, the other a born-again fundy. Through some sort of sheer luck, at a really young age, I was able to see through all the anger to the underlying hurt and ignorance. They were just doing the best they knew how with whatever emotional tools they were given as a result of their upbringing. That being said, I don't buy into a deep exploration of the past as a means of explaining the present because IMHO it is inconsistent at best, futile at worst. 

@MOHO At the same age, I dont think change is impossible! (But I do think some tactics work better than others).

 

I hate the thought of behavior being owned by genetics or by socialization into certain cutures, or by childhood experiences so I tend to reject (or at least try to reject) any of those influences that were/are unhealthy. But I have to admit, it takes intentional effort and I fail pretty miserably . . . a lot.

 

I'm not a psychologist but I suspect a BRIEF examination of upbringing/parents can be useful to understand some of the reasons for current behavior but dwelling on it is not helpful.

 

@Faithfulless wrote " At the same age, I dont think change is impossible! (But I do think some tactics work better than others)."

You mean like taking action instead of wining about it on social web sites? :P

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@ag_NO_stic, here's one you may not have heard. I was born and raised Hindu to parents who emigrated to the US from India about 10-ish years before I was born. My parents are not ultra-religious, ascetic Hindus, mind you, but average, religious, not-too-religious Hindus who have assimilated well to American culture. In college I discovered the horror that is evangelical Christianity, and for varied reasons was attracted to it enough that I converted. After six years as an evangelical who was very much "on fire for the Lord," I very quickly deconverted and sought to return to my Hindu roots. I am now a practicing Hindu, married to a Hindu (arranged marriage, even!), and happy to be back in this religion. Intellectually I am an atheist and don't believe in God, but I practice this religion as a way of maintaining some connection to Indian culture, since in pretty much every other way I am decidedly not very Indian. Feel free to question me on a variety of topics. With all due respect to those who prefer privacy, I'm quite comfortable discussing this openly.

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@ag_NO_stic, here's one you may not have heard. I was born and raised Hindu to parents who emigrated to the US from India about 10-ish years before I was born. My parents are not ultra-religious, ascetic Hindus, mind you, but average, religious, not-too-religious Hindus who have assimilated well to American culture. In college I discovered the horror that is evangelical Christianity, and for varied reasons was attracted to it enough that I converted. After six years as an evangelical who was very much "on fire for the Lord," I very quickly deconverted and sought to return to my Hindu roots. I am now a practicing Hindu, married to a Hindu (arranged marriage, even!), and happy to be back in this religion. Intellectually I am an atheist and don't believe in God, but I practice this religion as a way of maintaining some connection to Indian culture, since in pretty much every other way I am decidedly not very Indian. Feel free to question me on a variety of topics. With all due respect to those who prefer privacy, I'm quite comfortable discussing this openly.

 

That is fascinating. To be honest, I don't know much about Hinduism or many other religions, because I was homeschooled through high school in apologetics and how to defend Christianity against what other people said about it. The cultural connection makes sense. Do you have children?

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@ag_NO_stic, here's one you may not have heard. I was born and raised Hindu to parents who emigrated to the US from India about 10-ish years before I was born. My parents are not ultra-religious, ascetic Hindus, mind you, but average, religious, not-too-religious Hindus who have assimilated well to American culture. In college I discovered the horror that is evangelical Christianity, and for varied reasons was attracted to it enough that I converted. After six years as an evangelical who was very much "on fire for the Lord," I very quickly deconverted and sought to return to my Hindu roots. I am now a practicing Hindu, married to a Hindu (arranged marriage, even!), and happy to be back in this religion. Intellectually I am an atheist and don't believe in God, but I practice this religion as a way of maintaining some connection to Indian culture, since in pretty much every other way I am decidedly not very Indian. Feel free to question me on a variety of topics. With all due respect to those who prefer privacy, I'm quite comfortable discussing this openly.

 

What was it that attracted you to Christianity? Have you posted it somewhere else? Most people I know were born into it. It's always interesting to hear why someone would convert as an adult.

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What was it that attracted you to Christianity? Have you posted it somewhere else? Most people I know were born into it. It's always interesting to hear why someone would convert as an adult.

 

I second @Lucy!

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Not whom the question was directed towards, but I joined Christianity at 21 (2 1/2 years ago). Frankly, my church/the college ministry is super evangelic in terms of befriending people. And, as somebody who had no friends left in town, it was easy for them to clench their teeth in me and get me to follow them. Thankfully I realized my mistake only two years later, not a whole lifetime.

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Not whom the question was directed towards, but I joined Christianity at 21 (2 1/2 years ago). Frankly, my church/the college ministry is super evangelic in terms of befriending people. And, as somebody who had no friends left in town, it was easy for them to clench their teeth in me and get me to follow them. Thankfully I realized my mistake only two years later, not a whole lifetime.

 

That makes sense too. It's hard for me to imagine the other side of things, where Christianity would seem attractive to someone with no experience with it. It makes me wonder what I would have done in an alternate universe where I grew up in a secular home.

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 Would anyone care to share a bit about growing up with their parents? Maybe their mom/dad's parenting style and how it impacted you?

This will be a bit of a long one:

 

My father became an alcoholic shortly after I was born and used to abuse my mother. One of my earliest memories is my mother laying on the ground crying as he was kicking her and I'm there crying and he starts yelling at me to start hitting her. I didn't want to do it, but I did. I was probably about 2 or 3 years old at that point.

 

My mother left my father soon after that and we lived by ourselves for a few years (initially spending some time in a women's refuge). We had very little, I remember my mum having to buy things like milk every day because we didn't have a fridge for a long while. We slept on the floor, and eventually on some couches that were given to us. It was a couple years later until I got my own bed, and I don't think my mum got her own until I was in high school.

 

When I was still in primary school my mother became schizophrenic and I was in and out of foster care till I was in my late teens. One of the homes were abusive, but the rest were "ok". The abusive one didn't like the fact that I was rather "effeminate" (I guess that happens when you're a boy raised by a woman) and that I preferred the company of the girls there than that of the boys so the foster mother there accused me of being a 'faggot" (keep in mind I am about 8-9) and beat me over it. 

 

When I wasn't in foster care, my mum did the best she could. This doesn't mean that I couldn't have had better parenting, but my mother gave her all with her limited abilities and I certainly don't hold anything against her. Some of the bad things that happened were due to her mental illness rather than it being "her".

 

I think in terms of what impacted me as a child, wasn't so much the parenting styles of my parents/foster parents but rather the trauma I experienced having an unstable childhood and growing up with very little. I think this is what gave me a "hole in my heart" so to speak that "only God could fill". Despite growing up as an atheist, I think I needed to try and make sense of the world and give it some purpose and that's what Christianity did. As I started to work my way out of poverty and build up a life for myself, Christianity was no longer required to help me emotionally. It's at that point that I could intellectually start seeing all these problems.

 

I could be wrong, but I imagine many converts either had troubled childhoods or were undergoing hardships at the time of their conversion.

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Born and brought up in an alcoholic home. Have lots of good and bad memories. Mom and Dad split up when I was 11 and Mom married her 2nd alcoholic and I had to deal with that throughout my teenage years. Again....there were good memories, but lots of dysfunction. Regardless, I loved my Mom very much and adored my dad.

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Well, this is heartbreaking. I'm so sorry you had to go through all that. I agree with you. One of many similar features I've seen of people who left have all been through suffering. I think it breeds compassion that is incompatible with christianity.

 

 

Born and brought up in an alcoholic home. Have lots of good and bad memories. Mom and Dad split up when I was 11 and Mom married her 2nd alcoholic and I had to deal with that throughout my teenage years. Again....there were good memories, but lots of dysfunction. Regardless, I loved my Mom very much and adored my dad.

 

((Hug))

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Well, this is heartbreaking. I'm so sorry you had to go through all that. I agree with you. One of many similar features I've seen of people who left have all been through suffering. I think it breeds compassion that is incompatible with christianity.

 

 

((Hug))

I have totally figured out that this is why I was so vulnerable when I got ''saved'' at 20 years old. When the pastor told me how much the 'father' loved me and had special plans for my life, I completely fell for it..hook, line and sinker. I know that now.

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I'm not a psychologist but I suspect a BRIEF examination of upbringing/parents can be useful to understand some of the reasons for current behavior but dwelling on it is not helpful.

 

@Faithfulless wrote " At the same age, I dont think change is impossible! (But I do think some tactics work better than others)."

You mean like taking action instead of wining about it on social web sites? :P

 

Agreed, examining upbringing/parents can be useful in understanding self - to a point.  But there are so many exceptions.  Why do some folks who were brutally abused as children break the cycle, for example, and others continue the abuse with their kids? I don't think its completely useless to examine the past.  I just think too much time (in general) is spent examining it rather than being in the present and looking toward the future.  There are certainly a lot of people that disagree with me, so I realize I'm thinking like an oddball. 

 

As for "some tactics work better than others,"  no - I wasn't implying anything about taking action versus whining.  I've just noted (through personal experience, education, and interaction with therapists) that some things work better than others when trying to help a loved one see your point of view.  I won't get into that here.  I'll just say that this much: I've figured out - albeit very painfully - that the only person I can change is myself. 

 

@JadedAtheist  There is a special place in my heart for foster kids.  Thank you for sharing a little of your story

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I was so incredibly lucky to find a professional woman who worked with me for 6 months and she helped me put my whole life together. All the pieces that I couldn't figure out, she lead me to see it myself. The trick is to find the right therapist who knows exactly what they are doing. And now I know the only person I can change is me. Yet we as loving humans can help to influence each other when we are going through a hard time. But it is still up to each individual to make the changes that need to be made. 

 

And it is so important if one can afford it, to find a really good professional who has been well trained in 'living problems'. And for us here at

Ex-c...a secular councilor is the best.

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@JadedAtheist  There is a special place in my heart for foster kids.  Thank you for sharing a little of your story

It's funny, I never really saw myself as a foster kid  - though it's probably accurate to say that I was since I spent so much time there. I don't mind sharing it, these sorts of topics are important i feel for people seeing that they're not alone in their story. A lot of parallels are probably to be found here.

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What was it that attracted you to Christianity? Have you posted it somewhere else? Most people I know were born into it. It's always interesting to hear why someone would convert as an adult.

 

I have! When I joined, I wrote about it at some length in my ex-timony on this very sub-forum.

 

There were a couple of things that attracted me to Christianity. First, as strange as it may seem, the intellectualism of evangelical theology satisfied in me a desire for introspection. One thing that's important to understand about Hindu culture is that while there is a rich theology and philosophy to our religion, its exploration has been largely lost since the end of the British colonial era. Hinduism survives in India due to its ubiquity, and the various rituals and rites associated with it are familiar because they are commonplace. When Hindus are transplanted to America, they generally continue performing said rites, but fail to explain their meaning and significance to their American children. Priests are likewise useless. Whereas evangelical pastors are trained extensively in theology, ancient languages, and church history, Hindu priests are trained in the mechanics of performing religious rituals, which require a great degree of specificity. Evangelicals had an innate desire to talk about what they believed, and I found this wanting among Hindus. It's ironic, given evangelicals' reputation for rigidity, that I found them far more open-minded.

 

Secondly, I suppose there was some desire to fit in to the greater social circle. This likewise may seem ironic, given my comments on American politics in these forums (full disclosure: I voted Trump). However, growing up in the Midwest in a moderately-size town in the early 90s means I was usually the only Indian in most social settings. Except in cases where I was with the American children of my parents' Indian friends, I grew up as something of a social outsider, and upon reflection I think I may have been attracted to Christianity because it was a way of minimizing my differences from others around me. But then, you're the therapist here so perhaps I'll leave the diagnosis to you.

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Yeah, as someone who is in therapy right now, I find that it's not the reciting of what exactly happened that helps, or even absolutely has to be done. What matters is how you feel about it now, and whether the narrative of the old story that to this day interferes with your well-being is still from the POV of a small child/young person, or if there has developed a more mature understanding and acceptance (and possibly insight of how you won't remain living the same story over and over again).

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This will be a bit of a long one:

 

My father became an alcoholic shortly after I was born and used to abuse my mother. One of my earliest memories is my mother laying on the ground crying as he was kicking her and I'm there crying and he starts yelling at me to start hitting her. I didn't want to do it, but I did. I was probably about 2 or 3 years old at that point.

 

My mother left my father soon after that and we lived by ourselves for a few years (initially spending some time in a women's refuge). We had very little, I remember my mum having to buy things like milk every day because we didn't have a fridge for a long while. We slept on the floor, and eventually on some couches that were given to us. It was a couple years later until I got my own bed, and I don't think my mum got her own until I was in high school.

 

When I was still in primary school my mother became schizophrenic and I was in and out of foster care till I was in my late teens. One of the homes were abusive, but the rest were "ok". The abusive one didn't like the fact that I was rather "effeminate" (I guess that happens when you're a boy raised by a woman) and that I preferred the company of the girls there than that of the boys so the foster mother there accused me of being a 'faggot" (keep in mind I am about 8-9) and beat me over it. 

 

When I wasn't in foster care, my mum did the best she could. This doesn't mean that I couldn't have had better parenting, but my mother gave her all with her limited abilities and I certainly don't hold anything against her. Some of the bad things that happened were due to her mental illness rather than it being "her".

 

I think in terms of what impacted me as a child, wasn't so much the parenting styles of my parents/foster parents but rather the trauma I experienced having an unstable childhood and growing up with very little. I think this is what gave me a "hole in my heart" so to speak that "only God could fill". Despite growing up as an atheist, I think I needed to try and make sense of the world and give it some purpose and that's what Christianity did. As I started to work my way out of poverty and build up a life for myself, Christianity was no longer required to help me emotionally. It's at that point that I could intellectually start seeing all these problems.

 

I could be wrong, but I imagine many converts either had troubled childhoods or were undergoing hardships at the time of their conversion.

 

Waaaaay to heavy for any kid (any person) to have to experience.

 

Sorry you went through this.

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@Faithfulless wrote "Agreed, examining upbringing/parents can be useful in understanding self - to a point.  But there are so many exceptions.  Why do some folks who were brutally abused as children break the cycle, for example, and others continue the abuse with their kids? I don't think its completely useless to examine the past.  I just think too much time (in general) is spent examining it rather than being in the present and looking toward the future.  There are certainly a lot of people that disagree with me, so I realize I'm thinking like an oddball. 

 

As for "some tactics work better than others,"  no - I wasn't implying anything about taking action versus whining.  I've just noted (through personal experience, education, and interaction with therapists) that some things work better than others when trying to help a loved one see your point of view.  I won't get into that here.  I'll just say that this much: I've figured out - albeit very painfully - that the only person I can change is myself. "

 

@JadedAtheist  There is a special place in my heart for foster kids.  Thank you for sharing a little of your story

 

I think I get what you are saying here, Faithfulless,

 

Examining one's past can be helpful but if they use their past as an excuse not to change that's a whole different conversation.

 

About right?

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