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The Life As A Pastor's Daughter!


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:twitch: I was born in the summer of 1970 ten months after my parents were married. My dad was a trainee Solicitor (a lawyer to you Americans!!) and my mother was a office worker before she had me. I remember my parents being involved in ministry as far back as I can remember. Life was about serving God and saving the lost. Family always took a back seat.


The first church we belonged to was a bretheren church. My dad was an elder as was his father before him and so on. It was a very formal church. There were a lot of hymns sung and it was all very serious. From about 8 onwards I had to cover my head with a scarf like all the other girls and women there. My only happy memory at that church was when the minister fell in the baptismal tank by accident. I can remember laughing hysterically and getting told off for it!!


Life was extremely serious. It was not to be enjoyed but instead it was a stepping stone through to the next “life”. We couldn’t buy anything or do any home work on a Sunday, pubs were prohibited and the cinema was considered sinful. I only remember going once when I was ten to see a cartoon film. Alcohol was banned and so were parties. If a couple kissed on the TV, the TV would be turned off. Any mention of bad language or drinking or sex the same would happen. My parents considered alcohol to be the “devil’s urine”. When I was 12 I was a bridesmaid and drank some of the punch secretly. It wasn’t secret for long however, as I ended up drunk as a skunk and had to be taken home, much to my parents disgust. I discovered that day though that drinking alcohol numbed some of the feelings I had and made me an extrovert, quite funny character and I liked the feeling!

When I was around this age (12) my dad started up his own evangelical church. In some ways it was quite exciting because at least it was more entertaining and lively. They started talking about the “gifts of the holy spirit” now. This included deliverance. There was a lady in the church who kept falling asleep so automatically they thought she had demons and performed deliverance on her! I now cringe at the thought….the woman was fecking BORED!!!


My parents saw me as a difficult and troubled child (which of course I was). However, instead of trying to find answers and solutions they decided my problems were spiritual and that I was troubled by demons. I remember my mother shouting across the kitchen (when we were having an argument) “GET OUT OF HER SATAN”!!! I asked my mom why she and dad couldn’t love me and my mom answered saying that my dad “had something in him that reacted to something in me”. In other words it was God verses the devil!!!! How charming!! My parents would regularly sit me on my bed and read revelations whilst trying to dispel demons from my physical body. I remember feeling terrified and begging my mother to leave the light on at night but being refused, so I would lie in total fear for hours whilst I wanted the bathroom but couldn’t pluck up the courage to go. My dad even took me to London once to an old man who tried to exorcise me.. It scared me to hell.


When I was around 6 two older boys (brothers) started experimenting with me sexually. It turned into full blown rape and went on for years. I was told never to say anything because I would get into trouble and that no one would believe me anyway. They were right! I told my mom a few years later. She dismissed the subject totally. Something inside me told me the situation was not normal. I felt confused and isolated. I never told anyone again for a long long time.


I always hated school. The best time however was probably infant school as a very young child. Whether this was because it was prior to the abuse I don’t know, but I do remember happy times at this school playing with friends in the sandpit and the playground. However, I also remember telling all the kids that they would go to hell unless they became Christians and quickly discovered it was not a way to attract friends!!



I was now always in trouble at school. I wasn’t nasty or malicious, I was just cheeky and wanted attention. I worked on the theory that any attention was better than no attention. My parents were often called in and parents evening were a constant source of worry to me. It was like I couldn’t control my “naughty” behaviour and every parents evening I would be punished by having my bike taken off me. My parents would threaten me that if my behaviour continued I would be sent to a private school and even boarding school.


One day I came home from school and the prospectus was on the table. I had to make the choice. I did not particularly like my home life (although there were parts that was lovely….it wasn’t all bad) but certainly didn’t want to board and be “sent away” so I opted for the girl’s day school. I hated school but it was familiar and didn’t want to move to another school where I would have to make new friends and start again.


I started the new school at 10 and on the first day was made to stand on my chair for what seemed like eternity because I was being cheeky. I still remember the humiliation as the other girls starred at me in horror. The discipline was more of an issue here and actually it did “calm me down”. However, I was deeply unhappy and because I was so behind academically I was made to stay behind a year. .



We moved to a huge house when I was 11. The reason was so that we could have the church services there. It was a beautiful house with a lot of land at the back but I hated living there. It was not a family home. It was a church house. We frequently had missionaries living with us as well as alcoholics and people in awful circumstances. When we weren’t forced to attend the meetings we couldn’t play in the garden, go in the kitchen, watch TV or play music. I resented these people who violated our house. There was no escape from the church anymore as we WERE the church.


I didn’t fit in at the private school (I didn’t fit in anywhere else really either!) but I made such a fuss to move back to my old school that my parents gave in to my “nagging”.


When I got back to my old school (which by now was the senior school) it was the second year. Therefore everyone had formed their friendship groups so I was a bit of an outsider (for a change!). Everyone joked saying now I spoke with a "posh accent" instead of the local one!! I did eventually form a group of friends but in my form sat on my own whilst all the others sat in groups. I felt no one understood me, my parents had ignored my emotional needs so I sought refuse in God. He was “living” in the house with us anyway so I may as well get acquainted with him and I felt a void. My parents were pleased at my searching for God and seemed to show more of an interest in me, much to my delight.


But at 14 exam pressures and my deep rooted issues became too much for me and I took an overdose. I knew mom and dad would be at the evening meeting on Sunday. I waited until they got back and I took them what I had done. It wasn’t a suicide attempt….I just wanted them to listen and take notice of the way I felt. The stomach pump was vile. Nurses and doctors held me down whilst a plastic tube was forced down my gut. The hospital sent me home without any questions whatsoever. So much for the NHS in 1984 eh?!


Growing up as a teenager was a constant battle in our house, more for me than my brother (my sister was very young). I didn’t want to go to church anymore and I often refused to go. Whenever I did however, my parents would not speak to me for the entire day and so I quickly discovered it was easier for all concerned for me to endure a few hours of torture rather than suffer in total silence for the remainder of the day!!


Once I remember arguing with my father about not wanting to go to church and he held his hand on his chest and shouted “you will be the death of me”. He then fell to the floor and appeared like he was having a heart attack! He said one day he would die and it would be my fault. I will never forget those words and when one day I go to his funeral those words will echo to me.


We were not permitted to have our own views and opinions as they were clearly already written in the bible. This was hard for me as I was a strong character with some deep issues.


My mom was often very loving and would show physical shows of affection. My dad, however, was a typical English businessman and never did.


I eventually stopped going to church 20 years ago although there were times when I considered going back due to being vunerable but my relationship with my parents is very difficult. They do not want to talk about the past as they have told me they are not interested in discussing anything.


Despite all they have done however I still love them and don't want my children to have no contact with them.


Thank you for reading my story.

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Welcome to Ex-C. Your story makes my blood boil, and I hope that you find peace and whatever you seek in this life.

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Wow, Rachel. You are right. Your story is so much like mine. It seems that we have a lot in common.


I really can relate with this statement that you made: "We were not permitted to have our own views and opinions as they were clearly already written in the bible." This statement sums up my father's attitude even to this day. But it is a scary thing to consider that in the light of a particular comment he made. He said that he could make the Bible say anything he wanted it to say, and people would believe him. When you put those two lines of thought together, it can be explosively dangerous! ...And amazingly frustrating.


Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is an honor to read it.



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I'm so sorry you had to go through that type of abuse. Your's is probably an extreme case, but it is typical of the attitudes of many Christian parents. Many of them are completely ignorant at the harm they cause in the endeavors to ensure their kids souls are saved. This is the sort of thing that should be stamped out by welfare organisations, but it seems that religious parent get a free pass when it comes to their emotional and psychological abuse.

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Thanks for sharing your story. It really is heartbreaking. I'm glad you are away from all that, even if not internally, yet at least externally.

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Greetings. I'm sorry to hear what you had to go through. I can relate to several things you said, but you had to deal with more than I did, so I guess I was fortunate in that regard.


Hopefully things will continue to get better for you.


Take care....

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  • 2 weeks later...

I find it sad that many times christian parents tell their children what they believe. I guess, like you, I was a rebel and even though I outwardly "obeyed" my parents, I felt had VERY different views! My parents told me I was a baptist, a republican, pro-life, anti-gay etc... So as it turned out, everything that they told me I belived, I went the opposite way. :wicked:


Thanks for sharing your story, I enjoyed reading it!



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Even though it's so sad, it's still an amazing story and a powerful testimony of your inner strength, Rachel. I haven't quite seen parents like yours before (except for alcoholist, with mental illnesses etc.), and I'm sure your childhood experiences have caused harm in you, which, I think you have overcome so successfully. I applaud you for being a still loving daughter and that you let your kids have grandparents, I'm sure they all love each other. I've just been bashed, ridiculed, and bullied by Christian people recently, so I can only empathize with what you had to go through as a child, which is even more challenging to overcome. All the best for you in the future.

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Rachel thanks for sharing your story. I feel so angry and sad for you that you were unable to have the family that you deserved. It is quite horrifying what some Christian parents will do to their children because of what they believe. I think it is admirable that you have not cvut you family off completely and still want them to be a part of your life.

I wish you and you children well for the future.

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