I was wondering if anyone here has gone through therapy specifically to deal with processing how they grew up and the relationship with other family members (NOT family therapy). Did it go well? Did it help you?
[possible TW for self-harm]
I'm beginning to realize that there were parts of my childhood that were really neglectful and somewhat abusive. I have a lot of issues with my mom because she doesn't know how to put up boundaries (for anything, ever). I felt my parents - despite being so strict and conservative - never protected me or even really "raised" me to do anything or function as a human being. I'm understanding that my parents will never change, talk about this, or accept that they've done anything wrong (and my mom does have a tendency to threaten suicide and become hysterical when someone brings up things she has done wrong). So I need to process everything on my own without any type of help or closure from them. My sister was very abusive to me and most of our family doesn't have contact with her anymore (even her own oldest son). I don't need help processing the fact that I cut contact (which if anything has been the best and most healing thing I've ever done for myself in my life) but I think I still need help processing how and why things just.....were the way they were. And then of course there was all the weird religious stuff, which didn't help and was very inconsistent and erratic.
I think I need this to not only deal with the past, but also retain what relationship I have left with my parents, which still leave me frustrated and exhausted, even though I think from their perspective they'd say we have a great relationship and are very close; totally opposite from how I see things, but I am so careful to not send them off the deep end. I feel like I walk on eggshells in my life.
I've never been to therapy before and I don't know if it will help me. I don't know how it works. Do I go to a specific therapist? Do I walk in and say, "Yes, hello, I need help with dealing with my childhood and dealing with my parents now?" Or do they ask questions?
[This is not for now as I have approx. $0 money; this is for a hopeful later date when I'm actually a functioning adult.]
Hi, friends! I'm summarizing Doug Wilson's latest pile of dreck so you don't have to. This precis is long, because the freaking book is. It took considerable labor to chip through the author's overblown verbosity to winnow out the point.
Ride, Sally, Ride (Or Sex Rules): Prefatory Matters
I used the stuffy term “prefatory matters” here to set the stage for Doug the Pedo-Enabler’s grandiose style. He’s one of those guys who’s oh, so proud of his wit and of his assumption that he’s oh, so much smarter than anyone who opposes him philosophically, politically, or theologically: guys like Dennis Miller or Bill Maher—cut from the same cloth despite their differences in worldview.
Epigraph (his term):
“A comedy of manners in a world without any manners, that world being a sexual dystopia in the very near future.” Doug also press-gangs the lyrics of “Mustang Sally” (“Ride, Sally, Ride”) into the story, as a fun little bit of slut-shaming.
“All of the characters are fictional….Any resemblance to any real people, living or dead, is their own darn fault.” OK, then.
Explanation, As One Is Clearly Needed (because we’re all WAY less brilliant than you, Dougie):
According to Dougie, “sex rules” (including customs and etiquette) exist as a necessary outgrowth of sexual binary “realities,” which were established by God. He quotes Horace in the original Latin, in order to impress us, and thoughtfully includes the translation “You can drive nature out with a pitchfork, but she will keep coming back in.”
An Overture to the Whole Affair:
Dougie introduces Our Hero, Asahel “Ace” Hardwick, who will serve as the catalyst that sparked “the crack-up of the United States.” (Asahel means “made by God,” and was one of David’s generals in the Old Testament. Dougie doesn’t tell us this, because he luh-HOVES to show off his Biblical knowledge and make people feel ignorant for not having his level of scholarship. Also, he desperately needed a male name that could be shortened to “Ace.”) He throws in a chunk of irrelevant theological history here.
Chapter One: A Phinehas Moment (Phinehas--as Doug doesn't bother to tell us, either because he assumes we know or because he wants to show off his knowledge of Biblical minutiae--is an Israelite who executed an Israelite man and a Midianite woman for committing the sin of intermarrying.
Setting the Stage
It’s 2024. The swanky Cherry Creek neighborhood of Denver is compared with the downtown area, which has rapidly gone to hell since the legalization of marijuana. (Note: I have never been in Colorado. I have no idea what it’s like living there, or what negative changes may have transpired as a result of legalizing weed. If any of you can clue me in, thanks in advance. I am not taking Dougie’s word for ANYTHING.) Half the “ministries,” as the result of the “Troubles of ’24,” have fled the state to places where they would “be able to remain legal, and where their newsletters would not be immediately prosecuted for hate speech.” The remaining ministries kowtow to the “never-ending directives from the Colorado Human Rights Commission,” tripling their legal budgets to cover themselves.
Benson Hardwick is an elder in a remaining Presbyterian church that still had the remains of evangelicalism and orthodoxy about it. He is stereotypically masculine, and is being presented as something of a non-confrontational, middle-of-the-road stuffed shirt, with a long-suffering wife and a twenty-year son named Ace, who is a college student. Ace is a cheerful sort with a “quick mind,” blond, muscular, and athletic, with an “industrious, diligent” look. (No subtlety there!) He works on getting information from “a dark website that specialized in getting nineteenth theology into the heavily censored blue states.” Here it begins: Yes, FJers—we of the Blue States are hard at work censoring everything that isn’t distinctly left of center. The funny thing about this book is that Dougie et al are bound and determined to smack down anything they don’t agree with by means of their “logic” and “Biblical reasoning.” They presuppose they’re always right, so there’s the fault that lies in this entire novel.
In another gated community, not as posh as Cherry Creek, lives Jon Hunt, a semi-retired lawyer who reads theology and does pro bono work for the “now exiled Christian Legal Defense.” He converted to Presbyterian Christianity because his wife left him for another woman. He lives with his daughter Stephanie, a Libertarian college student who isn’t a Christian but who is thinking about it. She is on her way home from a coffee date with a guy named Lionel, who attends Benson Hardwick’s church. Lionel will drop out of the story and return later.
Everyone stop and take a hit of your favorite anti-nausea remedy, because here comes that Male Gaze description we all love seeing so much: “Stephanie had jet black hair, cut in a page boy style, and a spray of freckles across her nose. She was willowy without being skinny, and she managed to be well-proportioned without being in any way a hazard or public nuisance. She was a pretty girl, but there are different kinds of pretty girls in this world of ours. Some women are just plain gorgeous, and they don’t really know how to tur it off, but Stephanie was not like that. She was entirely secure without any make-up, as was routinely described as ‘that pretty girl.’ But whenever she decided to put on the Ritz, the effect was to summon up an oceanic goddess of beauty de profundis. And if she smiled at anything male while done up like that, he would probably be in the ICU for at least a couple of days.”
She enters the house and kisses her father, who addresses her as “crazy legs.” (Ick.) She ridicules Lionel for having mispronounced “Pentateuch.”
Some historical background for this story: There are 51 states, Puerto Rico having been admitted in 2022. The “infamous” Roe v. Wade decision was overturned in 2023 (with Handmaid Coney Barrett just sworn in, I’m terrified this may happen.) As a result, states started aligning themselves according to those sympathizing with reproductive freedom and marriage equality, “with blue states opening themselves to more and more novel configurations of marriage.” Amusingly, Dougie refers to the conservative red states as “the free states,” which I found confusing as I read the book. People are moving in droves to states that better reflect their values. California is working toward seceding. “The red states got a lot redder, and the blue states got a lot poorer.” (Dougie is underestimating the amount of revenue generated by places like California and New York.) The heartland states are held together by three groups: free-market guys wanting to sell oil and other commodities to the world, social conservatives (hostile to “abortion, pot, and porn”), and a third group encompassing both.
A new neighbor moves in across the street from the Hardwicks. Benson asks his wife to make a platter of cookies to take over. (Insert stabbing sounds here.) Ace and Benson go over to help Steve Sasani, the new neighbor, move his packing crates into his house. (In my experience, the moving guys do this, but who am I.) In the house, Steve introduces his wife, Sally—a life-sized late-model sex android. “She was decked out like a suburban housewife, and…staring vacantly, straight ahead. Her lips had that come-hither pout, that sexy look, like she had just been hit in the mouth with a brick.” Steve talks to Sally as if she’s human. There’s a lot of commentary about how creepy she is, but looks like the kind of woman who would be considered too attractive for Steve if she were real.
They or He?
Benson decides to invite Steve and Sally over to dinner. Ace is appalled. Benson talks about being tolerant to the choices they are making; Ace objects to the pronoun “they,” as Steve is a human being and Sally isn’t. Benson says “they need Jesus.” Ace says Steve does. Roberta, his mother, says nothing but it’s insinuated that she agrees with Ace but thinks Benson is nuts. Ace says this isn’t a theological issue but a sanity one.
The dinner occurs, with Steve continuing to play-act with Sally. Ace gets fed up and leaves the table to do homework. After Steve and Sally leave, Benson goes to Ace’s room to speak with him. He’s worried that Ace’s interests in theology are getting the way of a practical love and concern. Ace is worried that, if Steve becomes a Christian, he might want Pastor Rodriguez (see? A Spanish name, to prove that Dougie isn’t a racist!) to baptize Sally—and that the pastor might do it.
Two days later, when Benson and Roberta are out at Bible study, Steve comes over and asks Ace to come over and look in on Sally while he goes on an errand, because she feels lonely and frightened in the new city. “Asahel, I know I can depend on you. What would be the right thing to do?” Ace responds, “You sure you want me to do the right thing?” and Steve says yes. This ridiculous request sets up the ridiculous plot line of the story.
Ace finds Sally, blindfolded and topless, propped up on the bed in the master bedroom. He goes home, gets an old “Christian Youth Jubilee” tee shirt, puts it on Sally, and loads it into his car. He drives her to the recycling center where he works and dumps her into a compactor, where she says, “Uhhh. Do it again. Uhhh. Harder, harder” and “Ride me, ride me.” He says, Okay—ride, Sally, ride” and flips the switch. Because someone born in 2004 would know the lyrics of “Mustang Sally.”
The Right Thing
Ace goes home. A few minutes after his parents return, Steve shows up and accuses Ace of kidnapping Sally. Ace says “You asked me to look in on Sally and do the right thing. So I did. I think that’s all I need to say.” The cops arrive. Ace welcomes them to search the house, but makes sure the cops know that Sally isn’t Steve’s wife, but a sex doll. Roberta says, “You gentlemen need to ask Mr. Sasani why Sally couldn’t call herself, if she were in some kind of trouble.” Because real live people who have been kidnapped are always free to call for help.
Benson takes Ace aside and asks him if would have been the kind of brother who would have destroyed a sister’s dolls. Ace replies, “It would have to be a brother, not a sister. And if he had been having sex with his doll, I would not have needed to smash it. YOU would have.”
When Ace rejoins the cops, he sees Steve sitting on the large box he had picked up during his errand, weeping inconsolably. The box is labeled “Veronica the Nurse.”
Good grief. Emily (The Freckled Fox) Meyers Carmack and fam bought a house "with a good friend" this past spring in Lehi, Utah, settled down, and now they've suddenly decided to sell all of their stuff (including furniture), pack up zippity quick and get the house on the market while "the market is good" and hit the road in the RV.
*narrator voice* November is NOT a great time to sell a house, any house.
Anyway, here's the text of the Oct. 19 instagram post. It sounds to me like they bought a house "with a friend," the entire thing blew up badly and they have to leave, STAT, and they are selling everything plus the house to generate desperately needed cash. So much chaos in this family's life. These kids need stability.
When we bought our house with a good friend this Spring, it was a no-brainer that it was the best thing for both of our families at the time, but things change and heaven knows this year has been ultra crazy and unpredictable for everyone. 😅 #understatement
So, long story short we are packing up and will be selling this house! A little sooner than we'd thought, for sure, but when I told the kids that we felt like it was time for us to start those few months of living on the road in our RV that we'd always talked about...
Received our first freeze alert of the season. Almost 90F right now, a high in the low 40s predicted for tomorrow with a chance for winter precipitation over the next few days.
I've got several onions I need to use up, and a chunk of Gruyere, so I'm thinking about making some French onion soup tomorrow. 😋