HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Cynthia Jeub’s blog CynthiaJeub.com. It was originally published on October 7, 2014.
< Part Two
A lot of people are asking me why everything I’m saying must be public. Why not just go to counseling, why not sort it out privately?
We have tried. I’ll go into more detail later. In short, as my little sister explained it today: “mom and dad believe the way to solve their family problems is if they can’t control a child anymore, they kick them out and won’t let them back unless we agree to more control.”
My first sister was kicked out in the early 2000s, and at 18 years old she was given the option to live in Kevin Swanson’s basement, having counseling sessions with him and my parents every night until she succumbed to their authority, or to leave and never see us again. She lasted for two weeks before she couldn’t take it anymore, and I didn’t see her for three years.
My second sister was more abused than any of us, and she just hopes we can all get along. The most healthy thing she did for herself was literally move to the other side of the world. She’s very torn over me going public, so please, if you have the urge to contact somebody or ask questions, message me or Alicia or Lydia. She doesn’t need the extra pressure.
When our parents kicked Lydia and me out last year, we saw the pattern for the first time, and thought perhaps we were wrong to feel abandoned by our older sisters. I tried to confront my parents more than once, and it always ended with me in tears, feeling guilty and ashamed for ever seeing anything wrong with them. Mom and dad found a counselor last month who we planned to go see, but then they took the liberty of spending two long sessions telling their own story to this counselor before inviting Lydia and me to join the conversation, and asked us to write an essay about our top three grievances so they could deliver these to the counselor secondhand.
We gently informed them that we thought they were controlling and cared too much about their reputation, and they said they disagreed. We said there was physical, emotional, and financial abuse, and they didn’t reply. We backed out – there were too many red flags surrounding the attempt to reconcile. We later found out that this counselor was recommend by a family friend who gave Christian counseling to both my sister Alicia and me (conflict of interest), and who made me distrust therapy in general for a long time.
Lydia and I received messages from my dad saying we would not be allowed to visit our family until we followed their demands to reconcile on their terms. Both of us heard the phrase “Our love is unconditional, but our welcome is not.”
This abuse and dysfunction has been going on for the two dozen years since my parents met – and my mother abused my older sisters before my dad entered the picture. My parents chose to make everything public when they put us on TV, happy and smiling, to demonstrate how great our family was. Extended family knew about it, observers noticed hints of it, nobody did anything. My youngest brother is three years old, so if nothing happens, my parents will continue doing this for at least another fifteen years. My older sisters didn’t have a voice. I’m using mine now.
IMO it’s public because we don’t have any other choice. Mine is “public” because there is no other way that I can feel like I am helping prevent and protect the current generation from what I went through.
[and, in a smaller note, I am… looking back at my interactions with your dad and just kind of going “…yup, that was a huge red flag, all right!” Like, seriously, he got so damn pissed off that I “humiliated” one of his debate teams by calling them on their abusive in-round behaviors* that he tried to demand that I never be allowed to do anything judge-related for ANY of the kids in his club! And … no. Just, no. The hell?
It’s so telling that he thought in his reaction that that was even a logical and reasonable thing to do, and that nobody called him on it!
*yes, I am the one who gave out, to my knowledge, the first and only double-negative in Colorado history…]
It’s public because your parents have made their parenting public all these years. If you had bowed to their demands and let them continue to dominate you, wouldn’t they have made that public?
I’m so sorry you have the added stress of dealing with talking about this publicly to your own personal and family healing. I hope it does you some good as well as doing good for the community.
They made the family public first. All of those potential new recruits to evangelical Christian parenting/home schooling deserve to know the whole story. Thank you for speaking out, even though it hurts.
I would cringe if my own kids started a blog, but I would no doubt deserve it. I was the idiot who bought the script and tried to get everyone to fit into it. I was the idiot who freaked out in frustrated anger when people didn’t play their parts.
I can give myself a little credit for finally figuring out the script wasn’t working, and that actually it was a pretty crappy script in the first place. I was the first to sign up for therapy and start apologizing. But see how much ashamed I still am, that I have to end with a few positives about my parenting in order to deal with the reality of my guilt?
So sorry. The whole Christian evangelical parenting spiel is a load of crap, a big money business preying on the insecurities of parents. Parents want guarantees and so the market obliges, but all the methods are made up bullshit, proof-texted with scripture. Follow the money.
Again, so sorry for your pain. Stay strong.
Good for you Cynthia that you are able to yank the mask off and reveal the abuse and dysfunction for what it IS. They have no right to profit off you children, as you suffered. So they would demand forgiveness, eh ? And I can just imagine what hell two weeks of Kevin Swanson that maniac, and your parents must have been for your sister. People who move far away as she did are not unusual- I did it, too. Not from Fundies, to be sure. For your parents to proclaim “our love is unconditional” while battering you all only shows that they never had a true concept of what love actually is. Only a bad idea of what it looks like, to THEM. How is your youngest brother faring as far as safety goes ? Think you may have to get him out of there, with help from the state ? I saw some blog on narcissistic parents, called lightshouseblog.com. Parents sound like classic versions. You have every right to expose this stuff, plus it will help many who see it, that are still stuck with their abusers.