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"You all die at 15"-Diderot

 

 

Before becoming a Christian I was opinionated, independent, self-sufficient, quick to speak, and happy to be single.

 

That was the first thing that my "Christian leaders" stomped out. I was a wild horse that needed to be broken. My will and my spirit needed to be crushed so that I could be putty in the hands of Jesus, and furthermore, my husband as well.

 

I needed to have a gentle and quiet spirit.

 

I needed to be respectful of men.

 

I needed to listen to their advice. Men were the brains, women were the heart. Avoid this commandment to your own deteriment.

 

"Men need to be needed" , they said. So don't be to self-sufficient. Don't make to much money or be too educated, or a man won't want you.

 

"Share" your views, but never state your opinion.

 

Speak softy and quietly.

 

Be "feminine". ect., ect., ect.

 

The overlying theme was: Identify the needs/wants of your husband/boyfriend and morph yourself accordingly. I quickly lost my sense of self. My tastes in music, clothes, my worldview, my opinions were never my own. I no longer had a core. Whatever I was told to become, I became. To this day I (unconsciously) find myself being submissive to men.

 

So ladies, how did you take yourself back? Or did you ever?

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Ooooh.

 

There was the church......and then there was my immediate family.

 

ONE of these institutions sought to make me a proper Stepford woman.

 

And it sure wasn't my family. All three of us bucked convention, and we found ourselves butting heads often with christianity, despite my mothers sense that we needed christianity (nice little dichotomy that I'm sure happens a LOT).

 

Christianity did a nice job raping my self-esteem and confidence. Totally thrashing my ego in the process. But every time those parts of me were beaten down, my intelligence and inner confidence would make me get back up again, and the beatdown would be repeated. I'd get back up.

 

So I wound up sort of split in half. Half of me had no confidence and really poor self-image, the other half was fully confident and self- assured. This resulted in plenty of in-fighting.

 

When I finally got out of christianity, I began the same process as you. Getting the rest of myself back together. Assuring those parts that another beat down would not only not happen, but would actually be resisted and fought.

 

I was always a whole person, but one trying to pull in two directions, and therefore going nowhere. Now All of me is headed in the same direction. Life is good and still getting even better.

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Variable, I'm sorry that you had to go through that garbage. I hope that you are rediscovering who you are as a woman and as a human being. I can't imagine what you must have gone through.

 

I deconverted for many reasons, but the main one that drove me out of xianity was the bible's stance on women. It embarrasses me to say this nowadays, but I actually tried to believe in everything that was in the bible, but somehow I just couldn't. Like submission, I tried to believe in it, I tried to understand it because I thought that it was god's word so I had to learn to accept it, but the truth is that I never could accept it. Not completely.

 

I always came back up and said, I will never submit to a man. I also didn't like what the bible had to say on a woman having a gentle and quiet spirit. I'm not quiet at all. In real life, I'm very energetic and outgoing so I could never be that. I like who I am and I don't want to change that for any man, any person, or any system. I don't need to respect anyone. Why should I? I don't care if they're the government or an authority figure. Respect is earned just like Zoe Grace said.

 

I never really lost myself because when it came to women I always fought those ideas of what a woman should be. Everyday reaffirms that I made the right decision by leaving such a disgusting and perverted religion, especially to women. I still can't believe how I tried to "buy" all of it, its disgusting now that I think about it. Never again. :ugh:

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I'm very familiar with the "submission" teachings-ala Paul. Not only did I hear some of it in church, I have homeschooled my kids for 15 years and this teaching is rampant among homeschoolers. I've actually had as much or more damage done to me via homeschool leadership teaching than I have church leadership teaching. The reason I fell for this stuff was I wanted to be a GOOD christian, GOOD wife and GOOD mother. It does sound sort of Stepfordish. :eek:

 

I am a mid-lifer, deconverted searching for the person I was before I had children and started down the slippery slope of trying to live as Jesus would. Always asking myself "What would Jesus do?" I tried the submission stuff and not only did my husband NOT want to decide which couch we should buy, he wasn't interested in leading the family in bible studies nightly. According to the teachers, submission will cause your husband to assume the "mantle" of head of the household and Christ in your life. It just didn't work but I gave it a good try. I always thought-prior to the submission teaching--that marriage was a partnership. No head of the household bullshit for me, anymore!

 

How am I reclaiming myself? This year I have been reading tons of books about mid-life crises, finding yourself and following your dreams. I'm going to a yoga workshop next weekend. I grew up dancing and stopped after the kids came because I knew I shouldn't go to those type of places. :twitch: DH and I are starting ballroom dancing classes in a couple of weeks. I'm listening to great music now. Too bad I got rid of some of my old albums-yes albums! They were of the devil-rock and roll stuff. I am trying to remember what I was interested prior to my descent into fundamental christianity. It's coming back, slowly but surely.

 

Think back to when you were in your late teens/early twenties. What were your dreams then? Start reclaiming them.

 

WakingUp

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My experience in the Lutheran Church, and growing up with my father, has in a big way turned me off to men. I am bisexual and have most of my experiences with women, it's not because I don't like men, it's because I'm absolutely fucking terrified of them. In fact I prefer men, in fact maybe I'm not even bisexual, at least not to the point I think I am, but I'm just too scared of men to get close to them. So I go to women because I feel I have no other choice. I've had one relationship with a man and while I valued it the most it had to end because I was just too scared to go on. Not that he was (that) bad (of a) guy, I just couldn't take it anymore. My fucked-up psyche won. I was saddened but relieved when it was over.

 

But my paralyzing fear of men wasn't due to the church, that was all my father's fault. It was my father and the church that made me hate men. I hated the way they sat around the house wrapped in their own fleshy lard and grease, farting and building up a collection of debris from soda cans, Cheetos wrappers, and popsicles around their disgusting bloated bodies, while we modern working women - whose job is required of them because the men of the family insist on their added income - are expected to delicately pick up and dispose of all their garbage, polish their furniture, cook their meals (and live with it if, after an hour of standing over a hot stove and making everything perfect, we did not get a thank-you [ever] but a "Jesus, this is nasty stuff, what the hell is wrong with you making this crap"), rub their feet, and love their fat sweaty bodies even as we starve ourselves to ensure that they will stay married to us.

 

They yell and berate us for spending our own money (remember, two-income household here - but wait, women are still too stupid to cover finances so the men still control all the money), they cannot grasp the concept of "pick up your own mess", spend entire days staring, open-mouthed and unmoving, at the exact same shitty Steven Segal movies on TBS on a loop simply because it is on a flashing screen and moving; and never thank us for our hard work sweeping up the shit they leave in their wake as they waddle around the house in filthy underwear and leaving disgusting socks all over the furniture for us to do their laundry.

 

The problem I had with the church was that this arrangement, which is what I grew up with, was approved of by the church. Certainly, women can have jobs; however, it is important for a woman to realize man's domination at home. My father was not a religious man. In fact, he was and remains an atheist. However, he knew my mother's Lutheran religion and that she was raising my brother and I up in it, so he used that to his own benefit (as in, do as Dad says or I beat the shit out of all of you, just as the Bible says I should). The problems between the genders in the modern world, the church assured, was due to women trying to take on man's role as right ruler of his dominion. They would of course dissipate when women submitted to their men.

 

I am not saying the church advocated the kind of blatant marital slavery seen in Saudi Arabia. Decisions should be made by both parents, of course - it was just that the man always mattered more. His opinion was always more important; his desires were always more to be strived for by both of them; everything came down ultimately to his supremacy.

 

I'm very familiar with the "submission" teachings-ala Paul. Not only did I hear some of it in church, I have homeschooled my kids for 15 years and this teaching is rampant among homeschoolers. I've actually had as much or more damage done to me via homeschool leadership teaching than I have church leadership teaching. The reason I fell for this stuff was I wanted to be a GOOD christian, GOOD wife and GOOD mother. It does sound sort of Stepfordish.

 

My aunt, a rabid fundie, home-schooled her kids for years. They recently insisted on going to public schools and are failing miserably. The reason is that while my aunt did raise them to be good Christians, she, like many home-schoolers, failed to provide really any other education. I feel sorry for my cousins.

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You know, Variable. After I stopped going to church, I realized that all that stuff isn't only christian. It is also cultural.

 

By that I mean that society at large is offended by women who are opinionated, smart, driven, and outspoken. At least, that is what I read in a book about assertiveness. People consider those traits MASCULINE.

 

So I am finding that most of the things that bothered the church people, also bother the non-religious. Just because people aren't religious, doesn't mean that they aren't conservative--and that pists me off.

 

How I am taking myself back? I am reading books on assertiveness. The book I am reading right now "How to Be an Assertive (Not Agressive) Woman" is older but helpful. It talks about things I need to learn.

 

Good luck to us!

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I kinda relate to Zoe..I screamed when they tried to pushed me into that ouchy fuckedup xian box.

 

I think women generally have a hard time finding themselves in this society...ya have to be prepared to step on a few tootsies...

 

me..I grabbed a whole lot of 'empowering' information from feminism..went back to school/university. but really the process of 'finding yourself'...is never done..I'm always learning about me. SOmetimes I don't like it...sometimes I do...

 

The best trip of 'taking myself back'.... I've had with 'religion' was being able to say to the penticostal pastor who was bothering me...was to say to him 'go fuck yourself hard'..!

 

I think that's the best...to demonstrate something...anything to yourself....not some airy fairy idea or thought...but good hard shit that you can almost take a photo of.

 

However...on another tangent...from my experiences.....chrisitian females are the toughest crowd to play to....they are the most critical...less likely to forget or forgive anything... they make a tight circle of whose okay and who is not that I've ever had to content with.

 

Yep...xian's females are their own worst enemies.!...............its that group mentality stuff. Look at who is riding around on their xian broomsticks raving about how to be a 'good' wife etc etc....but the xian female. I don't think there is necessarily a male oppressor.....but a female to female one when it comes to religous groups.

 

I also break away from the myths ....the sterotypes created of what a woman is..or what she looks like...on a regular bases.

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However...on another tangent...from my experiences.....chrisitian females are the toughest crowd to play to....they are the most critical...less likely to forget or forgive anything... they make a tight circle of whose okay and who is not that I've ever had to content with.

 

Amen sister!

 

They are oppressed and take their bitterness on each other. I daydream about slapping some of them... I used to anyway.

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Well, I'm sure most of you are well aware that the women who are admired in the Bible were women like Ruth. But the women that are scorned are the women like Jezebal.

 

There was alot things I found offensive. There was time when I was sitting through Sunday and the topic were issues concerning sex. One thing I found offensive is how the youth minister was blaming feminism and the media for the reason why women are more sexually assertive. And how we were being "programmded" to fantasize about sex. Why was I offended? Because this only meant that women aren't supposed to be sexual, as if we're not human. :vent:

 

A few women at my former church believe women shouldn't have equal pay! :ugh:

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I just wanted to comment that hearing your stories makes me angry. In my neck of the woods, there is not nearly the oppression of women like this in our churches. It sounds very strange to me and I'm starting to understand your anger at the church. I have no idea what it's like to be a women growing up in a culture that suppresses them SO SO much. I wanted to just say that I'm sorry. I will never hold any of that authority crap over a woman, it's just BS. Marriage is a joined relationship of working together, not working over or under. I hope you are able to manage now that you've left such a horrible institution. I wish you the best. Honestly.

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I will never submit to a man.

 

 

Awww come on...Never? :wicked:

 

heh...sorry sorry, I'm such a twisted little fuck. THIS is what I got from Christianity lol. I have NO idea why it twisted this way...but i LIKE it. muahahahahaha.

 

Yeah I can't hear the word "submit" without thinking "kinky" ;)

 

Ok i'll be good now. :HaHa:

 

dude you crack me up!

 

well you never know when it comes to sex now do you?

 

:lmao:

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Jeeezus fucking Christ, Sage, you just described my own father to a "T", with the only real difference being that my idiot patriarch is a Fundie Christian...

 

See, I never got a bad vibe from my old church in regards to women. They were pretty progressive - until the old pastor died, and they brought in some jackass Fundie Baptist-type who managed to turn a Christmas sermon into a screed about how evil, stupid, dirty, and undeserving of God's Love we women were. Luckily, mom has never really been inclined to go to church, and dad wasn't home often enough to force us (and when he was, we all managed to make ourselves scarce before he could haul his stinking carcass out of bed)

 

But, to this day, because of my father and his need to control every single thing I did (while allowing my brothers free reign, mind you), I struggle in life. He never let me hold a real job, which meant I had absolutely no work experience before moving away from home. I have trouble taking criticism, because nothing I ever did was good enough for the disgusting excuse for a man - he berated everything I did, said, wore, or even showed interest in, and when he wasn't doing that, he was just outright ignoring me. He never let me have any freedom, and did his damndest to terrify me into staying home and not going to college... and when that didn't work, he did everything he could think of to try to get me to come back home and stay there, including offering to "take care of me" if I did, and then demanding that I come straight home after I graduated from college because "We had a deal" that I would do that if I didn't have a job once I graduated (we didn't, but he thinks I'm stupid or something...)

 

Even now, he can't treat me like an intelligent, autonomous adult - he insists on treating me like some mentally-challenged four-year-old just because I don't hold a managerial job with a six-figure income, live with my boyfriend and best friend, and don't weigh 100 pounds or dress in skirts and blouses and pink and yellow or wear gobs of makeup like a "proper" woman does...

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Long story short, the mindset of what a girl and a woman "should be" was exactly the same for me as it was for you. But I was raised by agnostics, so this is wasn't just a religious thing, it was a societal thing. My family expected me to become the stereotype and were very forceful about it sometimes.

 

Apperantly didn't fit into the "sheeps clothing" very well and everybody knew it. No matter what I did to be just like I was "supposed" to be, I was doing it wrong. I had a miserable time growing up because I couldn't be myself, but I couldn't gain acceptance acting like everybody else either.

 

I finally realized one day that I had no idea who "I" was. What sort of things did I like? What did I want to be when I grew up? What were my opinions about the things going on around me? I honestly couldn't have told you. I could have parroted very easily what I thought everyone wanted to hear...but what I really felt and thought had been so squashed down I couldn't have given you a real answer. I didn't like that. Not one little bit.

 

I finally just gave up. Nobody cared about "Stepford Me" because I was a faulty product and it was obvious I was heading to the trash heap trying to function that way. So I bucked the system, dissapointed everyone even more, and started trying to find out who and what exactly I was. If I had to be alone, I could at least learn to like myself.

 

It took many years, and I'm still in many ways a percieved societal screw up. At least now I know my own species and I like who I am. My body is undeniably female, but my mindset is definately something else. Good thing I'm not the only one out here on the fringe.

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dude you crack me up!

 

well you never know when it comes to sex now do you?

 

:lmao:

 

 

So...ar eyou saying theoretically you MIGHT submit. ;)

 

RAWRR :wicked:

 

 

given the right situation I might do anything, you never know with the right guy....

 

:lmao:

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Long story short, the mindset of what a girl and a woman "should be" was exactly the same for me as it was for you. But I was raised by agnostics, so this is wasn't just a religious thing, it was a societal thing. My family expected me to become the stereotype and were very forceful about it sometimes.

 

I think that was my dad's problem and continues to be. He has no spiritual beliefs whatsoever, but his mother raised him in a VERY traditional-style household, concerning men's and women's roles. My grandmother had eight children, five girls and three boys. She virtually ignored the girls while lavishing every ounce of praise she could muster upon my father, her firstborn son. My father was brought up to believe that everyone would always let him have his way, that he was better than anyone else - smarter, faster, more successful, etc., simply on the basis of, he was male and Mommy's Little Angel. To this day my grandmother laughs when my father cuts down other people (his favorite form of humor is personal humiliation) and tells stories about how he used to throw his sisters down the stairs at their home growing up. Not that my grandmother hated her daughters or did not love them - they were just always subservient to Georgie, and Georgie got used to things being that way.

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Sage,

 

Your dad sounds like my ex-husband. Unfortunately, I wasn't very codependant. My ex-husband, his family, my own family, and my pastor would tell me that my "problem" was that I was not a submissive wife. As in, the man could do whatever the fuck he wanted, while I had to be a doormat.

 

I left his shit where it laid and when he complained about the mess and the piles of his cans and newspapers surrounding where he sat, I would tell him to pick it up his goddamn self even going as far as handing him a trash bag. "Here you go."

 

He punished me by not being home very often. It wasn't a punishment, it's how I stayed married to him for so long. The punishment for me was when he spent time at home.

 

I threw all of clothes in the yard one day, I don't even remember why. I gave the kids copper clad bottom pans and wooden spoons and sat the kids outside the bedroom door the next morning after he'd come home in the wee hours. I "mistakenly" handed him a towel, after his shower, I used to clean up my two year old after a potty training accident. "oops"

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I congratulate you immensely, Taphophilia. I admire your guts. My mother is very religious. There was a time when I was about 13 that she decided to leave my dad. I was naturally ecstatic. We moved into our own apartment, furnished with our own things, we bought our own food and did our own stuff. No arguments. No problems.

 

But then her parents had to step in, with their great knowledge of God's Plan, and how God wants you to remain with a person who has made you suffer if you did this little ceremony in his church together. They ruined everything. They were inviting my dad over to their place and serving him dinner and listening to him whine and he ate it all up, getting really chummy with them because he knew they were laying God's law damned hard on my mother. God cares more about that little ceremony and some oath you took when you were 21 and still a kid more than he cares about your happiness and comfort. Every day they laid it hard on my mother: George is so miserable without you (of course, who does he have to control now that he's forced to move in with his mother and live off her savings like a dog with its tail between its legs?), God wants you to keep this marriage, we don't want to look like we raised you wrong in front of the other people at church. My mother has been beaten into submission all her life. She went back, and I with her, although I didn't go voluntarily.

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I can relate. I left my ex once when my son was six weeks old.

 

My ex was pissed off at me because I was sleeping. He wanted me to get up and sit at the kitchen table with him and listen to his mindless rambling. I refused, locking the bedroom door so he couldn't get in. (I should mention that I had just been released from the hospital a few days earlier because I'd developed a uterine infection.)

 

He turned up the stereo as loud as it would go and woke everyone in the house. My two little girls woke up and were crying, the baby woke up and was screaming, and he was ranting and raving on about how I was a horrible mother because the kids were crying and awake when they should have been sleeping. It was MY fault.

 

I told him I hated his fucking guts and I wished he was dead. He got out a gun (there should be a crime against idiots being able to own guns) and played Russian roulette in front of me and the kids.

 

I knew there no bullets in the gun. When I told him this, after he'd held the gun to his temple and pulled the trigger a couple of times, he tried to get the bullets that were on top of the refrigerator. I punched him in the face as hard as I could to keep him loading the gun. I hurt my hand and bloodied his lip.

 

He said he was going to have me arrested for spouse abuse, I threw the phone at him and told him to call the police. When he wouldn't call, I tried to call them myself and he took the phone before I could dial the last "1" and he headed outside. I locked the door and started packing my and the kids stuff. I moved into a rental house my mother owned that happened to be vacant.

 

He begged me back for a year before I finally gave into all the pressure from family, mine and his.

 

My ex finally had an affiar. I was overcome with relief and joy. It was my ticket out of hell. He still wouldn't let me leave though. He basically kept me almost a prisoner for a couple of months. Under the guise of going to the kids school for a parent-teacher conference, I went to a domestic violence shelter to formulate a plan with the counselors on how to get away from him.

 

I left him earlier than I had planned. The next Sunday morning, he was a lunatic. I'd wouldn't have sex with him after I found out about the affair, like I wanted to before, but at least it didn't last long. My three kids were conceived in five minutes, cumulatively.

 

He was pissed and stared throwing things at me. He almost hit me with an iron. He pulled out everything out of the linen closet, everything off the shelves through the house, breaking all my things. Took shaving creme and sprayed it all over the house. He created as much of a mess as he could and told me I had better clean it up.

 

The kids were in the living room watching TV. They were used to tuning out the fights, no matter how bad it got.

 

My mother pulled in the driveway to take us to church. I went out to her car and sat in passenger seat of her car. I just sat there and cried.

 

My mother asked me what was wrong, I was too upset to talk. My ex came out to the car and acted like everything was fine, as though the previous drama of the morning had never happened and as though he had no idea or clue why I was upset. I was the crazy one. I was the emotional wreck and he the sane, long suffering husband with a basketcase for a wife.

 

I had planned to take some things with me to the shelter. I'd packed a duffle bag with some things and had them in the bottom of my closet. I wasn't able to take them. I didn't even want to go back in that house. All I wanted was to get away from him as soon as I possibly could.

 

I said I just wanted to go to church with the kids. When we pulled out of the driveway, I asked my mom to drop me off at the shelter. I left him with just the clothes on my back.

 

If there is an afterlife, hell for me would not be eternal torment. Not having to be married to my ex-husband could sustain me through anything hell had to offer. Hell, for me, would be having to be married to him again.

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Man. Sometimes it fucking sucks to be a woman, being trained to deal with the detritus of other human beings.

 

I was trained to be passive and all that too, but it wasn't from religion. It came from my mother.

 

She was raised nominally Episcopalian, but it didn't really mean anything to her, so by the time I and my sister came along my mom was largely an agnostic - though it might be fair to say that she was raised with conservative Xian values.

 

She'd been raised in a time when children were to be perfect, to be seen and not heard, wives were submissive to their husbands, women didn't go out and work, men were the breadwinners, yada yada yada. She spent most of her childhood largely ignored by her own parents, except when my grandmother took the time out to criticize her for existing. So it's no surprise to me that she grew up the way she did: emotionally stunted and endlessly needy.

 

At some point in her life she decided she desperately wanted to have children, and make sure that they knew they were loved, adored, and wanted more than anything in the world. So she had me, and then a few years later had my sister. She loved and wanted me until I was old enough to walk and talk and demonstrate that I wasn't an extension of her, which wasn't allowed. From that point on she became more and more critical and increasingly angry in general. When I was about 7 or 8 she became a full-on alcoholic, and it was all downhill from there. She quit drinking when I was 15 or so, but by then the damage had been done, and in any case the lack of alcohol didn't stop the endless criticism. I still couldn't do anything right, and heard about it constantly until I married and left home at the age of 22.

 

My mother decided that what would make her happy was settling down with a nice man and raising a heap of babies; and since I was little more than an extension of herself, she decided that's what would make me happy too. Add to that the intense secrecy and denial surrounding alcoholism, and we had the serious makings of some major female repression. She taught me that what I was supposed to do in life was the same thing she did: grow up a nice virgin girl, go to college - not for a degree, but to meet the Right Guy, get married, settle down, and raise a heap of babies as a stay-at-home mom. That was supposed to be fulfilling.

 

Since I was supposed to be a smaller version of her, and since I was part and parcel of the secrecy surrounding her alcoholism, having independent thoughts wasn't allowed. I was supposed to be a quiet, submissive girl, doing her bidding without question, on demand. I wasn't supposed to talk back, rebel, have "difficult" feelings, be too smart, too pretty, or too outspoken. I was supposed to wear makeup from an early age, but not attract boys. I was supposed to be perfect, never succeed too much, but never fail either, to her glory. That's what my life was all about to her, as far as I could tell: making her look good, and meeting her needs.

 

So it was my mother who trained me to be submissive, not because of a religious injunction so much, as from her own need to be unconditionally loved and cared for. She converted to Xianity shortly after she quit drinking, but honestly not much changed. She just had another weapon to use in her arsenal of criticism and abuse.

 

I will note, however, that when I converted shortly after she did, the brand of Xianity she and I had both adopted was a highly critical form of Xianity, that certainly supported her attitude towards me. I believe I took it on - as I took on most of her abuse and rejection of me - because I learned that it was safer for me to submit.

 

Where was my father in all this, you may ask? Well, he was busy hiding at the bottom of a martini glass, avoiding his abusive wife, preferring to let me and my sister act as buffers between him and my mother, rather than risk being vilified himself should he dare to stand up for her.

 

He wasn't particularly courageous.

 

So how have I reclaimed myself?

 

Well, really, I haven't entirely. I'm still haunted by many of the messages that my mother programmed into me, especially the ones about being a failure, never getting anything right, and never being Good Enough.

 

But I'm still not my mother, and I'm not an extension of her, and I never have been. I may have been passive as a child, I did a lot of hiding and pretending and trying as hard as I could to please my implacable mother; but I've always had a quietly stubborn streak in me, and I've always used it. When I was growing up, if I didn't like some stupid outfit my mother tried to put me in, I simply wouldn't wear it. If I didn't like all the makeup she wanted me to wear when I was 11 years old, I just didn't wear it.* If I didn't really believe the same things she did, I just wouldn't bring them up and wouldn't argue with her if she did. And so on.

 

When I grew up and got out of her house, it was finally safe to get mad at her. So I did. Mad at her, and mad at the various assholes I'd ended up with who were just like her - some of whom were much more direct and open about demanding the submissiveness of women. (FundieBoy, for instance.)

 

I started reclaiming myself by getting fucking pissed as hell about how I'd been treated.

 

Today, I realize she was crap for a mother, and that the bulk of what she taught me was a lie, especially what she taught me about myself. I now do what and who I want, when I want, and if it blows up in my face, well - it just blows up, and I figure out how to deal with it. If it works, great! A success. I've figured out by now that a lot of reclaiming myself, so to speak, has to do with just living life the way I want to. There are definitely men who don't like it, but I don't need to argue with them about it: I understand that for such men, my simple existence is enough to get under their skin.

 

Sometimes I go to therapy. Sometimes I take meds. Sometimes I yell at the spouse. Sometimes I go for a swim. I've been doing journal work since middle school, and it's been amazingly helpful. I just sort of stubbornly realized at some point that life could be better than living with my mother (and, later, my ex-husband), and that it was far too fucking short not to try to make it better. And actually, I guess that point came to conscious clarity right about the time I got my divorce and actually took the steps to get away from my shithead ex and live on my own for once.

 

So there it is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Note that by "makeup" here I'm not talking a bit of blush and some lip gloss - my mother wanted me to wear the whole shebang from the time I was *11 years old*: foundation, eye shadow, mascara, concealer, eyeliner, lipstick, the works. Think JonBenet Ramsey.

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Man. Sometimes it fucking sucks to be a woman, being trained to deal with the detritus of other human beings.

 

Having had as a mother someone who should be in prison for the abuse inflicted on her children, I appreciate your post very much. Thanks, gwenmead.

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Long story short, the mindset of what a girl and a woman "should be" was exactly the same for me as it was for you. But I was raised by agnostics, so this is wasn't just a religious thing, it was a societal thing. My family expected me to become the stereotype and were very forceful about it sometimes.

 

I think that was my dad's problem and continues to be. He has no spiritual beliefs whatsoever, but his mother raised him in a VERY traditional-style household, concerning men's and women's roles.

 

Yes, my dad is Danish and he grew up in a typical European household. My grandmother only had two kids, him and his brother, but the family roles were set and he tried to have the same roles in his household. My father could never understand why his household wasn't the same way.

 

Oddly, my older brother was often shoved aside by him while I was the "baby" of the house. My brother still hates my guts because of this, and he always has. But I didn't have a much better role myself, because I was supposed to be the "good" child while my brother was the "bad" (to this day I don't know how that dichotomy worked out between me and my brother in my parents eyes). God forbid I should ever act like a human being instead of a perfect little doll. My hair has always been very unruly because it's thin and fine, and it simply won't keep a style to save it's life to this day. I have to go with the "artfully messy" look because it just won't cooperate. My dad hated the fact my hair was always messy so much he'd rake a hairbrush through it so hard that I'd scream. And just maybe THAT would teach me to keep my hair brushed. I also had my toys smashed, and I was spanked, whipped, or punched for any minor infraction that happened to fray that last nerve on my dad's short temper.

 

You know, the other day I was thinking about how wonderful it would be if I had a signifigant other in my life to help pay the bills. My dog is sick and needs vet care, the economy is slow, and I'm in a "down month" where I'm trying to get enough rent together as a freelancer. Then I stop and shudder, because I would rather it be like this than at the mercy of some ass who can't seperate out money from love. It's just an old program running in my head from growing up having it hammered into my head that I'm helpless on my own and my destiny was to be a SAHM.

 

Money I can always make, my sanity I value far more.

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