Escaping Spiritual Abuse: A Survivor’s Tale -Part 6

My mother used to be best friends with a woman I will call “Mrs. Light Bringer.” She is very active in aiding people who are healing from abuse. I correspond with her frequently; she has helped me deal with and make sense of the spiritual abuse. Mom used to tell her elaborately woven tales in order to garner sympathy. Mrs. Light Bringer believed her at first, but started seeing things that did not add up. After hearing my sister’s story and mine, she finally realized the truth and worked tirelessly to assist us in our recoveries.

My mother was angry that Mrs. Light Bringer no longer believed her, and sent her searing letters. Anyone else who “turned against them” received the same treatment. She accused Mrs. Light Bringer of meddling, working with my husband (because apparently he was the mastermind behind everything!), and talking to Tiffany about her sexual abuse solely for the purpose of getting more stories for her book.

My parents hoped to sue her and send her to jail. I know those are ridiculous ideas; someone has to actually commit a crime first! The motive though, was to roast and ruin her because she called my mother out for what she really is. It is terribly sad, because the Light Bringers were such dear friends to us. I have many fond early memories with their family; they spent a lot of time studying the Word with my parents and encouraging them.

In the beginning, my parents blamed my actions on my husband and claimed that I was only saying things because he manipulated me. Now I am one of the people on their Bad List. They told Tiffany not long before she moved out, that even Darcy could not make me do what I did (reporting our brother to the police). Now, apparently they see me as bad to the core and out of control. I actually rather liked hearing that; finally they see me as a responsible human being who makes her own choices! The other part of me was a bit astounded that they saw their own daughter as just another person to more or less hate for going against them.

Right before my sister moved, she and I had a fight. Somehow my mother figured it out and tried to manipulate the situation, saying that Tiffany should not be around me but instead should live near them, that they would help her financially by getting her a car, an apartment, and money for school.

In one letter, my father said I “needed Jesus more than ever now.” Yet Eel is considered a Christian because he is “repentant” and started attending a church soon after the blowup. Eel could basically get away with murder; if I committed anything close to his behavior, they would never again look at me the same and would treat me horribly. His sin is “forgiven and forgotten” even though he had no remorse or repentance. My father claimed that the reason my husband talked to him about Eel was that he wanted to exploit him. He also said, “Sin is sin” in reference to what my brother had done, somehow equalizing his transgressions with something like stealing a candy bar.

God’s word says in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” When my mother used this verse, she referred to piercings and tattoos, though it was really talking about people like my brother. His sins were not to be brought up though, because they were the past and he was now “forgiven.”

I used to get so angry and feel the absolute need to reply my parents’ emails, to defend my husband and myself. After awhile though, we quit replying altogether and now emails have ceased except for a birthday or holiday email from my mother. She likes to put up the facade that she is sweet and “neutral.” I see right past it; it goes against who I always knew her to be. She was hardly a “sweet” woman; when she was in a good mood and acting nice, it was something to feel excited about since she was usually miserable.

I tried to reason with my parents, but it was like talking to a wall! They pretended that they could not understand what we were saying; it was like something out of a creepy horror film, and they wrote similarly scripted words. They would not reply to the questions I asked; they ignored them.

My father said I “sounded bipolar,” which is funny because I did nothing but stand my ground and hold onto the truth. I did not change my emotions or say two different things to them. He was upset when many people commented that he might be bipolar; guess what happened next? He started calling me and a multitude of others bipolar and mental. (Before this, he did not believe in mental illness; since it was now directed at him, he needed to fling it onto other people.) My mother, who complained often about Dad’s behavior and was sick of being submissive, certainly stands by every sinful decision he makes now. Here are some excerpts from my last real letter to her:

I tried on more than one occasion to communicate with you, but it’s like what I have to say is quickly discarded in the trash, and the only thing not thrown out is your denial. This is one of the very reasons I do not care to talk to you and have waited so long to email you again; I wanted a break and some peace from this never ending chaos of bitterness. I can truly see we are headed down the same path again. My words may as well mean nothing to you; I must remain mute while you loudly make your points. You say that you love me, as if that is supposed to make up for your spiritual neglect. Actions speak much louder than words.

If you believe I’m in danger for whatever reason, then you should be totally honest and say so, instead of beating around the bush. I must say that not only is it laughably ridiculous, but it’s maddeningly insulting since you are completely wrong. It is not my problem if you continue to think this way. So if you don’t believe I’m okay, that’s fine with me. My word should be enough.

I’ve said what I needed to tell you, and it fell on deaf ears. It’s like calling out over and over again in the wilderness, but no one can hear you: as if you’re mute; your lungs and your throat hurt, and your voice gives out so that no more words come, and you have no choice but to cease. I do not wish to meet with you; I don’t see it as going far.

Things will never go back to the way they were. But everyone still has their life which they can make better if they choose to. If you wish to start making things better, perhaps you can start by talking to the people to whom you’ve told the accusation stories, and drop them by stating they are false -that you have misjudged the situation. That would be a nice thing, since you state that Eel is the only one blamed (Whether you actually mean that or not).

No one ever said you had to like my husband, but the political character assassination needs to come to a screeching halt. If it doesn’t, then you can choose not to be a part of our lives or our children’s lives. Let this madness go, move on with your life, focus on what you need to so that you may be happy and prosper and let some time pass (like a few years). If you can do all of the above, perhaps we will be able to talk. You can tell me anything, but I won’t necessarily believe it unless I see it in action. God is truth, and He will lead you to it. It’s up to you whether you have eyes to see.

My father sent an email asking me to meet them for lunch. Of course Darcy was not invited; Dad wanted to use tactics to turn me against him. I replied:

I do not wish to meet you and Mom for lunch, or meet you at all for that matter. I am entirely sick of all the BS and do not want to be a part of it.
You think you can win me back with sweet small talk about Cuddles and Davy. As much as I love both of them, I’m not having it. You cannot disregard what has happened, and my message to you.

You ignored everything that I wrote to you in my letter and Mom never even replied to mine. Instead, you think my letter wasn’t written by me, which I take as very demeaning. I have my own mind, which I spoke to you; if you didn’t like what I had to say, then oh well.
Tell me, have you looked in the mirror and asked yourself who you are? You may be scared to see what you find.
Have fun destroying your family and battling things that don’t even exist.

His response was:

Wow. This really concerns us. This is very odd behavior coming from you and not like you at all, being our most Godly child and understanding what is right or wrong according to God and loving and serving Him. We never saw you like this before. You above all children know and understand that issues need to be reconciled. We need to move on.

Whatever this is about, it’s wrong to disengage the whole family and hurtful to your siblings. The little ones miss you and so does mom and me. Don’t let your feelings hurt the innocent. I’m sure they’d want to grow up with you in their life. You know where we are and we’re here to listen and reconcile when you’re ready.

Love,
Dad

So here are excerpts from the last -ever- email that I wrote him:

Wow. You are very disturbing. I concern you? I think anything that goes against what you want to hear concerns you. Yes, of course this is very odd coming from me because for too long I was silent. Too long I had to fake how I really saw things because I thought it was easier to hide how I felt, for you would yell in my face or ignore what I had to say. You always think you’re right. Well, I no longer want to be that coward, and instead want to speak the truth even if I get a lot of backlash, or if it falls on deaf ears.

I want you to stay out of my life. You’ve caused nothing but damage to my family, and what God wants me to do is to focus on the future with my husband. God does not want us to have that kind of negativity in our life and wants us to dust our feet off and move on when we’ve tried, but to no avail. If you think I was very godly at one time, don’t be so quick to think I’m not now. Perhaps I’m saying the things I am because I do look to God and He gave me the good reasoning to know that what’s been going on clearly is not right.

You blaming all of Eel’s problems on Darcy, accusing him of things he never did, letting Eel free from all the wreckage he’s caused, and refusing to talk to Darcy but instead wanting to meet me without him: this is not what I call sane behavior. You even go as far as to perpetuate Eel’s lies and spread them to other people to maintain your image; that makes you a liar yourself! The lies and accusations you have made are absolutely disgusting and baseless. It is obvious to everyone what you have been up to during Eel’s crisis. Now you hide in some form of ignorant denial as if nothing ever happened.

I know what God wants me to do. You talk about Godly things like you know what they are, yet your behavior as of late has been much, much worse than even most unchristian people. Oh yes, I know problems need to be reconciled, but you don’t want things truly reconciled. You only wish to hear your side of the story or the side you want to believe, and not listen to the truth. “We need to move on.” Yeah, easy for you to say when you caused so much damage and watch it go up in smoke. You think you can just walk away clean and free like Eel got to do, like you never hurt anyone through the process. You’re not sorry about what you did; and when someone is not sorry, things cannot be reconciled and people can’t truly move on.

But I plan on moving forward in my life in the best way I can, and part of that requires me to not let your falseness stand in front of me. I have my own life now. It’s time for you to let me go. So just understand that almost everyone has a problem with you. Maybe you’ll choose to see the truth; maybe you won’t. I noticed things some of your faults that you put on me in this email, making your problems mine. You’ve done that to me growing up too, which made it very hard to voice the truth. You deflect your wrong-doings onto other people, dumping your faults on them and pretending they aren’t yours, blaming it on them. You are scarily delusional but I hope one day you wake up and see what’s true, even if it takes a great blinding light to do so.

Those were the breakup letters to my parents in January and April of 2014. It felt liberating to cut the ties that shackled me. They moved to the northwest in the spring of 2016 without even telling me. That was originally where we were going to move, but we ended up staying here and are glad we did. It also felt freeing that they were that much further away from us.

I am not sure about my father’s Christianity; I have wondered if he only became one so he could feel better about himself and tell others they were wrong, like a Pharisee. That is between him and God, but what I do know is I do not know him by his fruits. My mother on the other hand: I have hope that one day she may see her error. I always believed she was a Christian; she seemed genuine and sincere and taught me some important truths. I do not see any fruit now, but perhaps she has lost her way and will come back. There is always the flicker of hope.

It feels amazing to be my own person, though I must still be wary of any dart they may throw. I am discovering what God really has to say, and making my own choices separate from my parents’ ideas. I am still learning and growing, but the path is beginning to look less obscure. My heart goes out to others who have lived through these types of teachings and situations, including my own siblings who are still stuck there. God’s truth will always shine and is never far from sight. I hope that you go from sufferer to survivor to warrior.

One thought on “Escaping Spiritual Abuse: A Survivor’s Tale -Part 6

  1. I’m so thankful to have found out about this blog. Thank you for your kind words, Jessica, and for the beautiful name you chose for me. I didn’t know your parents were thinking about suing me, but my husband and I did receive a few scathing letters.

    I regret that we didn’t handle the abuse disclosure from our end as swiftly and decisively as we should have–it can just feel so difficult and messy when the people involved are friends. I’ll add, though, that I’ve gotten that “you just want to use her/his/my story for a book (without permission)!” accusation more than once, but Tiffany’s story has never seen the light of day when it comes to any kind of publication I’m associated with, and just like all the others I’ve received, it never will unless she is ready for it to be known.

    Like

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