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Recovering from a Cultic Family

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Recovering from a Cultic Family

Postby warforged » Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:05 pm

I've posted parts of my story elsewhere in these forums, but I wanted to add a bit more about the dynamics of my rather cultic family for anyone who still visits this section. Any thoughts or perspectives are always appreciated, especially from anyone who may have grown up in a similar situation.

My family identifies as strongly Christian and also has strong ethnic ties to their country of origin, and between these two major themes come an entire way of thinking that everyone in the extended family is supposed to mimic without question. The patriarch of the family is my grandfather, who spent his career as a relatively famous preacher in the company of other famous Christians, which confirmed his God-appointed role to control and abuse his children--who then unknowingly carried on the generational abuse to his grandchildren because it was all they ever knew. There was virtually no difference between the Word of God and the word of the patriarch, and many of my aunts and uncles (who are finally recovering from their own abuse now as they approach retirement) will admit that they viewed their father as an infallible authority in all matters of life and decision.

Ours was the one True Christian faith, of course, and even though we all grew up attending churches, everyone was always critical of others outside the family for "not being the right kind of Christian", meaning conforming to every aspect of life in a heavily spiritualized way. We would attend protestant/evangelical churches where this sort of family dynamic could safely hide and even be exhorted as model Christians. However, the family never liked to identify as a particular denomination and simply referred to themselves as "Christians" or "believers". Eventually (today) it has gotten to the point where some of my aunts and uncles are starting to think for themselves about their Christianity, but their discourse still insists upon finding the one right way that everyone should live.

Spanking was a central part of the ritualized abuse that was inflicted upon children and admired by adults. The adults all seems to have an unusual fixation on spanking and would feel personally persecuted at the suggestion that parents should not spank their children. Myself and my cousins would often hear stories of our spankings many years after they had happened, as if these were cherished memories that our parents loved to re-tell. Even now that I am well into adulthood, my mother has the implements of punishment stored in their usual place at her home as a daily reminder of her righteous parenting. Combined with a strict taboo on any and all sexual matters, it's no wonder that I turned out with a masochist/sadist paraphilia centralized on childhood spankings with generally aromantic and asexual tendencies toward women (or anything else, for that matter).

I managed to climb out of this insanity partly through education, but it was really accepting my paraphilia that forced me to abandon some of my core taught beliefs. Accepting that my own sexuality was somehow different from the one right way that people were supposed to be meant that I had to make a decision: either I was wrong, and my paraphilia could be fixed (and believe me, I tried this route), or the taught belief that homosexuality and other orientations are "sinful" and choices is fundamentally wrong. I accepted the latter of these two choices (after a very difficult process of self-reflection over 2-3 years), and the house of cards began to crumble. Education filled in the remaining gaps, but accepting my own sexuality was the key to allowing me to see the deception in which I was raised. Were it not for my paraphilia, I might still be trying to hopelessly find theological loopholes and tautologies to make all modern scientific theories fit harmoniously with our family's faith and show that it all means we are living the one True way.

Although I began to develop my own beliefs and opinions about 8-10 years ago, my family generally ignored it and chalked it up to youthful rebellion. They expressed concern as I grew older, moved away, experimented with Catholic services and other forms of Christianity, and eventually stopped attending church altogether. When I would visit on holidays or during summer they would act like I still believed everything they did, or they would use our discussions as ways of trying to fit everything together to reaffirm what we believed. If I tried to insist upon a certain idea that I now believed was a better way of thinking, then they would get upset or challenge me with questions like "Don't you believe the Bible?" that I dare not answer with a large audience. Even my attempts at expressing myself in writing go unheeded by most of them (they don't want to accept that my beliefs have changed), while a few realize what I am saying and react with worry and concern over my spiritual well-being.

I am now NC with my mother, which by extension means the rest of this extended family whom she controls. While I am learning to embrace my sexuality and also retrain the co-dependencies that I learned growing up, I am now also finally realizing just how damaging the spiritual dimension of my family's cultic behavior really was. I still deal with anger at the injustice of being born into such a situation, and it's still sad to think that I may never be able to be my real self around the family that raised me. But in spite of all that, at least I can look to the future and finally start to really learn for myself who I am.
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Re: Recovering from a Cultic Family

Postby Chant2012 » Fri Oct 17, 2014 8:00 am

I am sorry they did this to you. I can relate in some ways. I put my story here in this specific forum in fact. Have been writing a lot lately... REALLY struggling. Understand how you feel. Blessings.
Chantel

Dx: (Some unofficial)
*ADHD: age 9
*Major Depressive Disorder: age 19
*C-PTSD: age 21
*Personality Disorder NOS: age 22
*Anorexia Nervosa: age 22
*Fibromyalgia: age 24
*DID/DDNOS: age 24 (waiting on official diagnosis)

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Re: Recovering from a Cultic Family

Postby warforged » Mon Oct 20, 2014 1:50 pm

Thanks for the reply! I read your story, and my heart goes out to you. It's really tough to rediscover an identity that seems to have been stolen from us before we even had a chance.

By the way, the idea that "other people had it worse, so you shouldn't complain" is total BS and just a way for abusers to continue their behavior of controlling their victims. Your ritualized abuse sounds far more brutal than mine, for what it's worth, and it doesn't matter one bit whether or not others are abused more or less. Abuse is abuse, and all abuse victims need to recover.
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Re: Recovering from a Cultic Family

Postby Chant2012 » Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:48 pm

warforged wrote:Thanks for the reply! I read your story, and my heart goes out to you. It's really tough to rediscover an identity that seems to have been stolen from us before we even had a chance.

By the way, the idea that "other people had it worse, so you shouldn't complain" is total BS and just a way for abusers to continue their behavior of controlling their victims. Your ritualized abuse sounds far more brutal than mine, for what it's worth, and it doesn't matter one bit whether or not others are abused more or less. Abuse is abuse, and all abuse victims need to recover.


Thank you for the kind reply back and for reading my story. It means a lot to me. You're right. It doesn't matter who had it worse. It's all bad and none of it should have ever happened. You are not alone. Here if you ever need to talk. Feel free to message me should you want or need to. Blessings.
Chantel

Dx: (Some unofficial)
*ADHD: age 9
*Major Depressive Disorder: age 19
*C-PTSD: age 21
*Personality Disorder NOS: age 22
*Anorexia Nervosa: age 22
*Fibromyalgia: age 24
*DID/DDNOS: age 24 (waiting on official diagnosis)

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Re: Recovering from a Cultic Family

Postby warforged » Wed Oct 22, 2014 2:35 pm

Thanks, much appreciated! And feel free to message me if you ever need to as well.
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Re: Recovering from a Cultic Family

Postby CrackedGirl » Sun Oct 26, 2014 3:51 pm

Hi

I am really sorry to hear that growing up was difficult and how your family was. I can certainly identify with some what you are saying myself tho more so done by ppl who were not my parents. It sounds difficult for you for sure. I am glad you are moving forward but I know it is not easy at all to do that. I do hope you can find some total peace from this - you sound very strong so I think you will

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Re: Recovering from a Cultic Family

Postby warforged » Mon Oct 27, 2014 3:59 pm

Thanks! I appreciate the kind words and encouragement. I definitely still have some days that are harder than others, but the overall trajectory seems to be steadily improving. I feel less stressed in life than I ever have before, so that's a good start. :)
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Re: Recovering from a Cultic Family

Postby CrackedGirl » Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:43 pm

warforged wrote:Thanks! I appreciate the kind words and encouragement. I definitely still have some days that are harder than others, but the overall trajectory seems to be steadily improving. I feel less stressed in life than I ever have before, so that's a good start. :)


No problem :D Feeling less stressed in life is def a good thing :D

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