Escaping Spiritual Abuse: A Survivor’s Tale -Part 5

My mother likes to make everything about herself, her pain and her “hard” life. During most of the years I lived with her, she was unhappy and complaining. After Darcy and I fled, she asked us to come for a meeting where she was planning to read one of her infamous letters -addressed to our grandparents- aloud to us. My parents still did not know our exact location.

We acquiesced. Darcy told her that she had a time limit, since we had a long drive home and he had to get up early in the morning. Selfishly, she went over the limit. I remember sitting there, listening, saying nothing, and leaving. We did as she wanted. After that, Tiffany shared how Mom was wailing about her treacherous life: how she had it so bad, she was not going to take it anymore, and she was not going to be submissive any longer.

We sent so many emails back and forth, trying to get my parents to see what was wrong, and to change it. We worked very hard to do the right thing. Darcy even attended pastoral counseling with my father. Nothing worked. If someone does not want to change, then no change will happen.

Tears were shed, and many invisible wounds were caused. I had such a hard time understanding how the very parents that gave me life, cared nothing if they hurt me. They tried pitting me against Darcy. Even though my father preached that divorce was always a sin, he made an exception for me; my parents wanted me to divorce my husband.

They were hoping I would be the emotional daughter that would run back to Mommy and Daddy to be influenced by them. I would not budge. They accused Darcy of abusing me, and said that it would only be a matter of time before he physically harmed me. They accused him of writing my emails (when they would work on each other’s emails!) and controlling what I do. How funny, considering that the only man who has been controlling to me was my father.

My parents decided to uproot and move a few hours south: the first real move they ever did in their life. The house they were renting? Owned by none other than Creep, the very same man who had acted inappropriately towards to Tiffany. She then had to live on his property. He sometimes took trips down there and came by to visit. My parents still tried to make her feel horrible, reminding her of how she had hurt his feelings and still needed to apologize.

One night he came to the house, and my sister went outside to avoid him. She tried to come inside later and found all of the doors locked. She heard my father telling Creep how he was “family” to him. It was clear to her then, that the daughter he locked out in the cold was not truly considered family anymore. My father even went so far as to say that Tiffany was a liar and Creep was the victim.

Speaking of which, she brought up the sexual abuse we both had endured from our brother. When we were younger, Mom did not want Tiffany discussing it with me; she told me to send her to them if she ever broached the topic. (I had suggested that she bring it to them in the first place!) They are in such utter denial about everything now; they pretend to be unaware that our brother molested us.

As time went on, I stopped telling Tiffany to not bring up our abuse. I had always tried to obey my mother, but learned that it is not always the right way. I wish I had talked to my sister years ago when we were very young; she may have understood and dealt with it much better. I finally encouraged her to reach out to a dear friend who has been helping abuse victims for quite some time.

In March of 2015, my husband lost his job. There was some very unprofessional involvement in our family matters by the boss. He would tell Darcy how to think about certain issues, and involved himself in things that were not his concern. Clearly it can be a bad idea to work for someone that your father-in-law knows (at least in our case). My husband was suspicious that my father was conversing with his boss and up to no good. He did something that he knew was wrong, and regrets.

Part of his job included having access to everyone’s emails. He used this to his advantage, to see if my dad had sent any meddling emails to his boss. His suspicions proved correct. The boss discovered what he had done, and promptly fired him. We both agree that the spying was not right, even though it was inspired by him wanting to protect us.

Judging by what Dad said in the emails, it appeared that he was trying to have Darcy fired. He did not seem to care about me in doing this; for all he knew, his own daughter who relied on her husband’s financial support, may have had to live on the street. I could have been very sick or pregnant and needed medical treatment, and would have had no money or insurance. His only motive was to destroy, so of course he did not care about my personal well being.

That same month I received an email from my dad:

If you wish to talk to your brother or sister, let mom and I know. Your negative behavior towards us and your siblings is disturbing and sadly we don’t approve of you to be communicating with them until we come to an understanding of this. Mom and I need to censor who are children are allowed to talk to. People that don’t want to talk to us and have a problem with us obviously don’t represent our values and principals and must be the opposite of what ours are so we will not let our children have communications with them until we come to an understanding of the opposing views.

I was not their daughter anymore: just part of their long list of people who disagreed with them.

In February of 2016, Tiffany finally took the plunge to do what she had been wanting for quite some time: she ran away, back to where our grandparents live. She had simply had enough of the situation and needed to leave: Eel would visit sometimes and give the underage kids alcohol, even getting the fourteen-year old drunk. Tiffany told Mom about this, but she was not as upset over that as she was about some new piercings in her daughter’s cartilage.

During that previous summer, Tiffany had asked me if I would go with her to report our brother’s sexual abuse to the police. I was hesitant at first. I did not want to relive it, but to move on with life; she was angry with me for that. I changed my mind, especially because Eel now has two daughters and I felt like it was the right thing to do. We went together to the sheriff’s office in our hometown. It was humiliating; I had to describe to a man what had happened, and he told me to use explicit words so that things were clear. It was extremely embarrassing, and in the end, did not even matter because there was nothing they could do.

The same department helped my dad get Tiffany back after she ran away, threatening her with arrest if she did not comply. Dad in his politics had helped the sheriff get elected, so we have reason to believe that he was working around the law to do my dad a favor. My parents and older brother drove back up north to get her. At first my father said that he would let her stay with his parents, but at Eel’s insistence they brought her back home. Eel was the driver; he poured soda on my sister and rolled her window down in the frigid February temperature of the northeast. He also used physical force on her, and my parents did nothing about it.

My parents went through Tiffany’s Facebook account and read her messages, discovering our trip to the sheriff’s office. They asked Eel in front of her if he had ever sexually abused her; he gave a sneering look and said, “No.” They were satisfied with that answer.

They stole money from my sister’s bank account to use as payment for driving up to get her. My mother refused to believe that she had done anything wrong. She told a friend over the phone about how Tiffany thought they had stolen her money, but that it was not actually stealing. She then went on bring up one of her famous woes (again, making everything about her) about the time someone stole from her.

My mother also told her friend that Tiffany was making up sexual abuse charges. Just as with Creep, she tried to get my sister to apologize to my brother, when he was the one who had molested her. Again, he was called the victim and my sister the liar. Tiffany tried to talk to them again about the sexual abuse; she got answers ranging from “We don’t know what you are talking about,” to “Why didn’t we hear about this when it happened?” to eventually, “You are a liar.” I was known for being honest in my household, so my sister said something to the effect of, “Well you can think I’m lying, but do you think Jessica would lie too?” They called me a liar as well, saying that our stories did not add up.

That hurt me so much. What my brother did affected my psychology for years (to this day). I went through the painful process of going to the police because I did not want someone else to be hurt, and did not think his sin should be hidden any longer. I did not even tell my husband the details until we were married for a year. In the end, I was called a liar, just like with so many girls in cults. I remember reading their stories, thinking how awful things were and feeling angry for them, never imagining my own family would put me through the same story.

My father swore to protect us girls against men who would take advantage of us; yet every opportunity where he was called to do so, he ignored our cries and stabbed us in the back. Later on, after Tiffany pressed the issue more, Dad admitted that it did happen, but that I had forgiven Eel! Ah, so all was well; he could move on stress-free. He might have been able to use that excuse if my brother was truly a reformed character who was sorry for his sin, but he went on to sexually abuse his own wife!

I was only a child who innocently told my father back in the day that I forgave my brother. I did not even know the extent of the damage or how deeply it affected me until I was much older. Instead of protecting and helping me through it, he just latched onto the fact that I “forgave.” Forgiving Eel did not erase the damage done to my entire being, or stop him from doing it again. Dad should have actually wanted to help me more because I had a forgiving spirit, rather than using that as license to leave me stranded and suffering.

We felt like the system of law and order let us down. Not only did the police hear the charges against my brother; they were also alerted to the family issues going on with my parents. In the end, they shipped Tiffany right back home. After awhile, I grew worried because I had not heard from her, and called social services. However, they were already involved; when Dad had called the county police about getting his daughter back, it had opened up a case. My sister was blamed for this: “How could you do this to your siblings?”

Over the phone, I told the social worker many of the things going on, including my siblings’ lack of real education. She said that it was a bad situation but unfortunately, they probably would do nothing about it. Tiffany told me that when the social worker showed up, she was rude and told her that she needed to stay with her parents. She compared her to her own daughter who became a crack addict, basically saying that if Tiffany did not stay with them, she would be headed down that road. She also told her that she did not have it that bad, that she had seen much worse. Basically, my sister was told to get over it, suck it up, and roll with it.

Tiffany’s story does have a good ending. On her eighteenth birthday, she hopped onto a plane and moved back north, where she quickly got two jobs and a car. She has completely cut ties with our parents. She changed her number and email, and has blocked them on Facebook. Before she changed her number, my father would send her controlling messages about how she needed to act like a responsible adult and be in charge of her bank account (she was). My mother sent her psychologically nagging messages as she did once to me, such as pictures of the kids or some past memory.

My sister told our mother to stop all contact. She had warned her for quite some time that she would be leaving once she turned eighteen, and had explained why they could not have a relationship: because she refused to acknowledge what she had done to divide our family, and that she had abandoned her daughter in the cases of Creep and Eel. Tiffany told Mom that she was going to cut ties, that she did not even want her future children to have a relationship with her.

Our mother replied something like this: “If you don’t want to have a relationship with me, then fine. I am going to move on with my life, with or without you. I choose not to be negative and look to the future. I need to focus on what’s ahead for me.” She basically took Tiffany’s words and copied them for herself. She is in fact a very negative person who focuses on her current state and does not move on in life.

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