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When are fundie kids responsible for their beliefs?


alba

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Generally-speaking, I, and I think many other members here, have a lot more sympathy for people raised in fundamentalism/QF/Gothardite families than those who choose this lifestyle. Where I feel only revulsion for the parents, who have rejected the (relatively) secular worldview in which they grew up in favour of bigotry and stifling their children's futures, I pity the children for those stifled futures and the brainwashing that threatens them with eternal torture should they stray from the ordained path.

At some point, however, those children become adults, and those adults choose to perpetuate the lifestyle and its attendant beliefs. And some choose not to, and choose to leave the lifestyle instead. Lately I've been puzzling over just when these children reach the point where we should say, "Enough with the pity, you're a terrible human being who thinks zygotes are more valuable than women and homosexuality is equivalent to pedophilia." Is it when they turn eighteen? Marry and move out? Begin teaching these same disgusting beliefs to their children? Or is it more gradual, so that we can pity them and condemn them at the same time?

I find that my gut reaction is still to feel sympathy towards most of the fundie offspring until they become particularly abhorrent. I also notice that the people who have lost my sympathy tend to be male, and I wonder if I feel more sympathy for the women because of the simple fact that they're women in a patriarchal lifestyle.

I'm interested in others' thoughts on the matter.

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Or is it more gradual, so that we can pity them and condemn them at the same time?

.

As some one who sort of unintentionally stumbled away from fundiedom, your whole post resonates strongly. This line on particular summarizes my personal opinion.

When I consider my own personal journey, it took more than 15 years between the very first moments of 'I don't think I agree with this'(and by 'this' I mean some super minor point of tradition) to the moment I actually stopped thinking of self as one of 'them'.

It's very hard to explain to someone who hasn't grown up in it, how different the worldview is and how much of what is completely taken for granted in secular society is utterly foreign to some of us brought up in fundiedom. I haven't considered myself to be part of fundiedom for 7 years and I'm fairly self aware and I still have moments where I catch myself in old thought patterns.

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I think its more of a gradual thing. Obviously, while they are still living at home, they have no responsibility at all for having awful beliefs, nomatter whether they are 4 years old or 32, as they have been sheltered so much that they know no different and have no way to learn about other peoples beliefs. Once they get out, there is more of a gradual move away from them being completely innocent, and being responsible. You cant expect that the second they move out, they will start voting democrat, go on the pill and wear miniskirts, it does take a while to find yourself, especially when you go from being pretty much 12 to being a full adult in just one day....they haven't had the awkward teenage years where they are finding their identity. I think all of them go through a stage where they seem like "OMG why is this child marrying, they still..." or go through a stage when they are obnoxious, immature, or are celebrating their freedom in a way that isn't really age appropriate as they have never had any independence or freedom before.

I still feel a bit of sympathy for Josh, as he learned from his parents too, and part of the reason for his poor health choices is that his parents fed him crap food in small amounts, and likely restricted him from food when he was younger and they were not as well off as they are now, and didn't teach him self control, so now there is nothing to stop him from eating three cheeseburgers at once if he really wanted to. But he has been out for about 5-6 years now? He is a douche, and that is partly his fault. He is doing a better job than his parents though, with his kids.

I feel way more sympathy for the girls though, as they have less freedom. When the boys grow up, and get married, they are their own headship then and can make their own decisions, so if they wanted to only have three kids, buy a TV, and send their kids to school, they could, as their wife has been raised to be submissive to him and will not argue, and if they do it gradually, it is easy. If a fundie woman wanted to rebel, she only has two options-to hope that her headship will be receptive to her idea and not start abusing her over it, or completely break free, divorce and leave everything behind all in one go, which is a scary thing to do.

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Are either pity or total condemnation of someone as a human being useful? After all, why should anyone else give a shit about how we feel about them?

The sensible thing to do would be to attack the ideas, not the person (unless someone is truly dangerous or going above and beyond in nastiness). You can love or pity a child, and still challenge the beliefs that they hold. You can realize that a woman may be trapped in her marriage, but still try to free her mind by challenging some ingrained ideas.

So yes, I think you can have a discussion or debate with anyone, and show how marrying an adult of the same gender doesn't involve lack of consent or power imbalance while sleeping with a child does, or point out that a woman is more than a passive incubator, or ask why the life of a potential child not yet conceived would trump the life of a woman who is already alive.

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For me, it’s when they get married because in their culture, it’s the first time they are “real people.†At that point, if they want to seek out information, they can.

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Well, I do agree that I personally have little sympathy for people who should know better but forced their families into fundiedom and causing them to suffer because of the crazy cult lifestyle their are living now. People like the J'Chelle and Boob, Stevehova and ZooZoo and PP and so on.

Their children of course never had the chance to learn about another world view, so I can't really blame them all that much. However, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't challenge and firmly reject certain harmful beliefs and claims.

Whenever people are out causing harm and pain to other people, one should stand up and speak up, regardless if it's a first generation fundie, or someone who had to grow up in a cult.

And of course, this applies to first generation fundies and their children, if someone makes attempts to get out of crazy fundiedom, they should be encouraged and supported.

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Thanks for the responses; you've all given me a lot to consider and helped me tease apart my thoughts.

Are either pity or total condemnation of someone as a human being useful? After all, why should anyone else give a shit about how we feel about them?

Reading this comment, I think I really conflated two very different questions in my initial post. If I split them apart, they are:

1) At what point do you think people raised in fundiedom are accountable for their beliefs, and the effects these beliefs have on others? In my opinion, there's two aspects to this. For one thing, the beliefs have to be harming others. If a woman believes women should stay at home and raise their children, but also believes no one has a right to make that choice for someone else, then that's a personal belief and no one else's business. When a fundie acquires a platform to share these beliefs, or imposes them upon their children, though, then they are responsible for the harm those beliefs cause (this applies to anyone, not just fundies; Sparkling Lauren is as responsible for the effects of her blog and parenting as Michelle Duggar). The second aspect to this is they have to be able to critically assess those beliefs in order to be held truly responsible for them. This means having access to information, so for fundies this means it's not until some point after marriage. When Joy Anna wears that horrendous Roe vs. Wade shirt, it's on her parents. When Anna wears it, it's on her. That doesn't mean Joy Anna's beliefs shouldn't be challenged, but the responsibility for the harm done by that shirt lies on her parents moreso than her.

2) Is there a point at which you, consciously or unconsciously, rightly or wrongly, judge someone to be a bad person? When I think about the fundies I consider to be bad people (Lorken, Cabinetman, and the Pearls), it's because they promote (and, apparently, practice) abusing children and women. And yet at the same time that doesn't mean I'm devoid of sympathy for them; I felt terribly sorry for Debi Pearl when I read about her honeymoon. Do I have the right to call these people bad human beings? Perhaps not, but that's my gut response to them.

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First of all, a thank-you to Alba. We touch on this in lots of threads about individuals, but I always thought it deserved its own thread. I just never got around to starting one.

That said, though I think it's worth discussing, and would love to hear others' opinions, I don't think there is any real answer. My thoughts always veer between "it depends on the individual, and I think this one is more of a victim/perpetrator" and "I don't know enough about this person to form an opinion."

Vague and annoying, ain't I? :D

But it's really what I think. I can feel deep, true sympathy for a small child in the fundie nightmare, and anger at people who chose it and dragged their children into it. But, for someone who was raised in it and is now perpetuating it, I'm often at a loss.

You can see strong opinions in the threads about the young adults in fundie-dom, but taken as a whole, those threads also show how hard it is to know what to think about them. The threads often go back and forth between sympathy, condemnation, assumptions (or at least hopes) that someone will rebel, statements that a young fundy is just as bad as his parents, etc.

Some people latch on to 18th birthday, marriage, college graduation (which doesn't apply to many of the fundies), having children or some other milestone as the official start of adulthood.

I tend to think maturing is more gradual and uneven. People can be very advanced in one way, practically babyish in others. And I think the fundie upbringing leads to some really exaggerated cases of this.

Following up on what 2xx1xy1jd said, I think we're on more solid ground talking about the horrors of the fundie philosophy, lifestyle and goals. Whether one person is to be reviled or get sympathy is not always clear.

But I sure do understand the urge to wonder about, and discuss, individuals who were raised this way, are now young adults, and are still living that way.

As always with fundies (and bigots, child-whippers, and those who disdain poor people), my mind is divided between accepting, intellectually, that there are people who think that way (and, sometimes, seeing how they got there) and my emotional reaction of "how the FUCK can anyone think that?!"

edited for clarity

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This is an interesting question. I don't know if there's a one-size-fits-all answer. Here are my thoughts, having spent my formative years (about ages 8-16) completely immersed in the fundie lifestyle.

I was the odd duck in my family and my (admittedly very small) peer group. I tried to believe, I wanted to believe, but by the time I was in my early teens I knew I could not drink the fundie koolaid. I pretended to believe for several more years just to keep the peace and I finished my homeschool curriculum early so I could go to college and get out of that suffocating environment. Along the way, I had a few arguments with my family about equal rights and affirmative action, because those were topics that I could grasp at the time; I already knew as a teen that my church's teachings about women and minorities were unfair and I made a deliberate effort to recognize and challenge those teachings, internally at least. But I was the only kid in our group who expressed any of those heretical ideas, and AFAIK, I am the only one who eventually left the church permanently. Maybe I was born rebellious :)

But it wasn't until years later, in college, that I began to think about gay rights and reproductive rights, because by then I was surrounded by other young people who were trying to form their own beliefs about those issues. Fast forward another decade or so, and I had completely abandoned organized religion.

Back in the day :D there was no internet, our TV watching was severely restricted, there were no homeschool co-ops, so my exposure to people outside of my rural IFB church was nonexistent. I truly credit my time in college and in the workforce as opening my eyes to how the real world works, and making me more willing to reconsider the bigotry I grew up with. For the fundies who were and are still as sheltered as I was, who are not allowed to engage the real world, it's hard to feel anything other than pity...until/unless they start pushing their beliefs down other people's throats. Then, as long as they are adults, I hold them fully responsible for their actions and beliefs. I do not push my atheism onto other people, and I don't look kindly on those who wish to push their fundamentalism onto others, especially through politics and lawmaking.

ETA: I should say that I didn't do this (leave fundamentalism and all of its vestiges behind) all by myself. I am not that awesome :lol: I have spent at least 10 years in therapy--on and off--since starting college, and have learned so much about compassion and empathy, both for others and myself, in those endless 50-minute hours. Those are things you don't learn much about in fundiestan, and it's hard to learn them as an adult, but it's been a crucial part of my process of "growing up" after the fact. I think a large part of the obnoxious and hateful behaviors we see in fundies is a result of their inability to see things from others' perspectives, and their rigid perceptions of the world--which you could say ties back to a lack of empathy. They see in others exactly what they expect to get from their god.

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As another person raised somewhat in this lifestyle, I agree with Lemonhead's post in many respects.

I look at it much the way I've looked at things with the people I've worked with in social work and corrections.

The blunt truth that most people don't want to hear about my experience is that the vast majority of people *that I worked with* who are convicted of a crime and spent time in jail are extremely damaged people. I thought that the whole "if you experience a significant amount of trauma at a certain age you are stuck there" thing was bullshit until I worked day in and day out with folks in that situation. Most of my ladies were throwaways. And they'd been thrown away by everyone significant and society very early on.

However. In no way did that absolve them of the very real damage they did to others that landed them in jail in the first place. I can grieve and have empathy for the little girl who was treated as so much human garbage by her family and the system from toddlerdom--but have perfect peace in saying yes, she does need to spend time in jail and lose custody of the child that she threw off of a moving bus into traffic (with predictable results) because he annoyed her. I have great empathy for people who have to self-medicate in order to feel like they function. It doesn't mean that I do not judge or think they should be protected from consequences when they steal from people, neglect and starve their kids, ect.

Many, many people can rise above catastrophic upbringings. It's unfortunate when someone can't, but as an adult they are responsible for their actions. I protested outside of abortion clinics and worked in a CPC when I was still religious. That has consequences that continue today, and I take full responsibility for it and honestly will bear some guilt over that until the day I die. I also said horrible things about gay people. The fact that my cousin committed suicide rather than come out started my awakening, but in truth I have his blood on my hands along with everyone else (IMO) in my family and the church community that allowed that to be the only "good" option. The fact that I thought I didn't know any gay people and had misinformation about a great many things does not mean that I am not responsible for the damage that my actions (or inaction) caused at that time.

So. I think when someone 16ish+ *decides* to participate in certain activities of their own free will, they are responsible. Certainly when they are a legal adult. I think the true test comes when you face something outside of your worldview for the first time. That's the point where perhaps you can begin to make amends/seek forgiveness, but it does not erase the impact of what you have done.

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That said, though I think it's worth discussing, and would love to hear others' opinions, I don't think there is any real answer. My thoughts always veer between "it depends on the individual, and I think this one is more of a victim/perpetrator" and "I don't know enough about this person to form an opinion."

Vague and annoying, ain't I? :D

Why do you think I started this thread? :lol: I'm no less vague than you.

This is an interesting question. I don't know if there's a one-size-fits-all answer. Here are my thoughts, having spent my formative years (about ages 8-16) completely immersed in the fundie lifestyle.

I was the odd duck in my family and my (admittedly very small) peer group. I tried to believe, I wanted to believe, but by the time I was in my early teens I knew I could not drink the fundie koolaid. I pretended to believe for several more years just to keep the peace and I finished my homeschool curriculum early so I could go to college and get out of that suffocating environment. Along the way, I had a few arguments with my family about equal rights and affirmative action, because those were topics that I could grasp at the time; I already knew as a teen that my church's teachings about women and minorities were unfair and I made a deliberate effort to recognize and challenge those teachings, internally at least. But I was the only kid in our group who expressed any of those heretical ideas, and AFAIK, I am the only one who eventually left the church permanently. Maybe I was born rebellious :)

But it wasn't until years later, in college, that I began to think about gay rights and reproductive rights, because by then I was surrounded by other young people who were trying to form their own beliefs about those issues. Fast forward another decade or so, and I had completely abandoned organized religion.

Back in the day :D there was no internet, our TV watching was severely restricted, there were no homeschool co-ops, so my exposure to people outside of my rural IFB church was nonexistent. I truly credit my time in college and in the workforce as opening my eyes to how the real world works, and making me more willing to reconsider the bigotry I grew up with. For the fundies who were and are still as sheltered as I was, who are not allowed to engage the real world, it's hard to feel anything other than pity...until/unless they start pushing their beliefs down other people's throats. Then, as long as they are adults, I hold them fully responsible for their actions and beliefs. I do not push my atheism onto other people, and I don't look kindly on those who wish to push their fundamentalism onto others, especially through politics and lawmaking.

I think the fact that people like yourself, who were never really Kool-Aid drinkers but still took a long time to sort through what you'd been taught, really exemplifies why I tend to feel sympathy towards people brought up in fundiedom, because so often their beliefs are the result of misinformation, not malice. I read an interview recently with a young woman who was brought up in Westboro Baptist Church and seriously chugged the Kool-Aid. The interviewer brought up an interview she'd given some decade or so previously, when she was a teen and still deep within the church. When asked what she wanted her legacy to be, her response had been that she wanted to be known to have helped people. Ten-odd years later, her response hasn't changed, but she now realises how wrong her methods were then.

It's encountering people like her, who really did believe they were doing good in extreme fundiedom, that makes me hopeful that even the most ardent second-generation fundies will change their views, and makes me generally sympathetic towards them.

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As another person raised somewhat in this lifestyle, I agree with Lemonhead's post in many respects.

I look at it much the way I've looked at things with the people I've worked with in social work and corrections.

The blunt truth that most people don't want to hear about my experience is that the vast majority of people *that I worked with* who are convicted of a crime and spent time in jail are extremely damaged people. I thought that the whole "if you experience a significant amount of trauma at a certain age you are stuck there" thing was bullshit until I worked day in and day out with folks in that situation. Most of my ladies were throwaways. And they'd been thrown away by everyone significant and society very early on.

However. In no way did that absolve them of the very real damage they did to others that landed them in jail in the first place. I can grieve and have empathy for the little girl who was treated as so much human garbage by her family and the system from toddlerdom--but have perfect peace in saying yes, she does need to spend time in jail and lose custody of the child that she threw off of a moving bus into traffic (with predictable results) because he annoyed her. I have great empathy for people who have to self-medicate in order to feel like they function. It doesn't mean that I do not judge or think they should be protected from consequences when they steal from people, neglect and starve their kids, ect.

Many, many people can rise above catastrophic upbringings. It's unfortunate when someone can't, but as an adult they are responsible for their actions. I protested outside of abortion clinics and worked in a CPC when I was still religious. That has consequences that continue today, and I take full responsibility for it and honestly will bear some guilt over that until the day I die. I also said horrible things about gay people. The fact that my cousin committed suicide rather than come out started my awakening, but in truth I have his blood on my hands along with everyone else (IMO) in my family and the church community that allowed that to be the only "good" option. The fact that I thought I didn't know any gay people and had misinformation about a great many things does not mean that I am not responsible for the damage that my actions (or inaction) caused at that time.

So. I think when someone 16ish+ *decides* to participate in certain activities of their own free will, they are responsible. Certainly when they are a legal adult. I think the true test comes when you face something outside of your worldview for the first time. That's the point where perhaps you can begin to make amends/seek forgiveness, but it does not erase the impact of what you have done.

I was thinking about this question in terms of people with horrible backgrounds, and also in terms of things like war situations.

I also did child protection work, and one thing that I learned quickly is that it really isn't about blame and condemnation much of the time. There were very few cases where I couldn't feel a bit of empathy for a parent (sexual abuse and deliberate torture of a child are the 2 exceptions that make me see red). I can understand that someone is an addict, or had virtually nobody caring for them as a child and no way to complete their education and learn how to cope, or that they could both love a child conceived during a violent rape and occasionally have rages where they attack that child, or that they are mentally ill, or that they were raised in a culture where harsh physical punishment was the norm, or that they were raised in such a dysfunctional way that they have no idea what emotionally healthy parenting would look like, or that they are trapped in a violent marriage and see no way out because they don't speak the language and fear deportation and know that their family back home is urging them to stay, or that they were abused for so long that they lack all coping skills and either turn to drugs/alcohol or seem to be incapable of the simplest tasks and decisions. My work wasn't about judging a parent as good or evil. It was about asking, "is this child at risk of harm?" Sometimes, love isn't enough to keep a child safe. Sometimes, it can motivate a parent to change and learn, but not always.

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Re judging someone as a horrible person:

I generally reserve judgment about them as a PERSON, as opposed to just snarking on their beliefs, unless the situation is really about someone being a nasty person.

For example:

Ken and Cabinetman have both advocated, repeatedly, this idea that it's appropriate for husbands to "discipline" their wives, that wives have no right to refuse sex, and that it's appropriate to use some sort of coercion or threat if a wife doesn't want sex.

Now, other Christian bloggers have talked about the religious idea that sex is part of a Christian marriage and that it's wrong to deny a spouse. I can debate that idea.

With Ken and CM, though, it's more than just a religious belief. It's them using a religious belief to behave like assholes towards their own wives for their own selfish purposes. [To recap, Ken claimed that sex and basketball were "sacred" while Lori was pretty clear that she was so sick and exhausted when she had 4 young children and a husband who traveled half the time that "sex was the last thing that she wanted". CM claimed that a husband should be able to demand sex 4 times/week and threaten to make a wife leave the home, without any financial support and without the children if she didn't comply. Both are clear that men "need" sex, and don't believe that women have any sexual needs of their own. They also see all reasons that a woman might not want sex as mere excuses, used to avoid their duty and manipulate/control their husbands.]

With someone like PP - that's also beyond mere belief. He didn't need to demonstrate on YouTube how to strap your kid. He could have also disagreed with Jewish beliefs and interpretations without going on and on about Jews being liars.

With Cheryl and Terry - Terry didn't have to shoot the dog. That reflects on him as a person, not his beliefs. He also didn't have to be so horrible to his step-daughter, and Cheryl could have been supportive instead of rejecting toward her daughter as well.

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I think that's a good way of looking at the distinction, 2xx1xy1JD, that it's not really about the beliefs, but about how certain people use religion to behave maliciously. Cabinetman and Ken would be horrible people no matter what beliefs they espoused.

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They're their own people when they have the means to escape (ie independence).

I don't think Josh is quite there as his meal ticket (and, more importantly, his young family's) depends on his fame as a Duggar. So he has to keep on mouthing the party slogans, no matter what his personal beliefs are. Ditto for Jana or Anna - they have no education, no job, no means of supporting themselves, let alone the young children they care for - they just can't leave, no matter what their personal beliefs or journeys are. So I don't think they should be held responsible for anything they say, especially on TV when they will most likely be held accountable for their every word to their wider families.

So it's not a coincidence that the entire fundie system is crafted to keep people from being independent. They're encouraged to have businesses that cater only to like-minded people. Could Steve Maxwell really leave now? when his CV is just basically "quit good job 20 years ago, went on to being a professional arsehole after that"' - I for one would never hire him. So he's conveniently stuck into the system. Ditto for the eleventy compulsory children on single breadwinner salary - unless you land a nice TV deal, that lands you square into poverty and reliance on the community's goodwill - not the ideal position to just slam the door and leave. And the "don't go to college" is self-explanatory - it not only makes you more likely to be financially independent from the community, it also broadens your intellectual horizons and social circle and so makes you a lot less dependent on the cult.

It makes me admire and respect those fundies who really did leave, especially the women, because the barriers to entry into the secular world are so high for them.

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I haven't read ahead yet, so hopefully I'm not stepping on toes or repeating stuff.

I was essentially born and raised fundy (my parents joined a fundy missionary church before I turned a year old). It takes a while to "detox," for lack of a better word. I never fully bought into the fundy belief system even though I was in church four times a week and went to fundy schools, but even at that, it took me a while to fully purge it from my brain. It still rears its ugly head every once in a while, usually at the least-expected moment.

I'm inclined to be a lot more gentle on kids who had no option when it came to fundy beliefs because they really do soak you in them and tell you horror stories that make you terrified of the "world." Everything they do is designed to keep you IN the system. So with that in mind, I'd be a lot more understanding of a 22 yo woman who was born and raised in the system than I would of a 30 yo convert. One knows no better; the other does. That said, at some point, you really do have to start thinking for yourself, and once you start indoctrinating your own child with hate and fear, my sympathy ends.

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To me, it depends on when there's access to technology and being over 18. Minors are stuck. That's all there is to it. They can't leave. Their parents' rights trump their own.

Fundy boys are allowed to get jobs and are encouraged to set up homes. They have an out, and since they get to take the lead in starting courtships, I put the burden on them from the time they start working. They can leave, and already have their support.

Women get a little leeway. I don't think it's right to say that they're ever responsible for taking responsibility. When they reach adulthood, and start having access to technology and can call for help, 911 if they feel they're being physically barred from leaving, then the responsibility starts to shift. Saying that just because they were raised in this and so shouldn't be on the hook causes apathy, and that's not good. There are some fundies who don't have access to anything, which makes them literally prisoners to the life, but there are a lot of them with internet access, phones, who go out in the world, and know there are ways out, but choose to stay. The older Duggar girls can leave. They can take their names, and get tell-all book-deals to get by on while going to school to become teachers or nurses or welders or whatever. They choose to stay. They're on the hook. That Above Rubies bitch whose daughter lives in such extreme poverty that she had to stay in a house that was flooded has a daughter who doesn't have access to help. I don't think that daughter can be considered responsible.

The ones who convert as adults are on the hook from the very first second.

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A couple of you who grew up fundie have mentioned the old thought patterns occasionally leaking back in. I'm just curious, if anyone wants to share, what kinds of thoughts, what tends to trigger them, etc. it's just curiosity though.

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I'm thinking about this in terms of Jill, actually.

I didn't hold her responsible while she was at home, because obviously. Now, she's married and pregnant. I still don't hold her responsible, not all the way. She's under a headship, so she never got to be truly independent. That said, if she still is espousing the same beliefs a decade from now...It's tough.

I do like, however, how she doesn't post controversial or political things on her IG or argue online like Ben does. She doesn't even post pro-life stuff like Anna. The fact that she's not publicly saying these things gives me hope that she could change, or at least not serve the Kool-Aid; just live and let live.

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A couple of you who grew up fundie have mentioned the old thought patterns occasionally leaking back in. I'm just curious, if anyone wants to share, what kinds of thoughts, what tends to trigger them, etc. it's just curiosity though.

I do not think this is a specifically fundie thing more than perhaps an abuse thing. (Personally, I believe the vast majority of legalistic, patriarchal fundamentalism is spiritual abuse.)

I have to fight every single parenting and relationship instinct I have. Every day. I do think every parent and partner has to battle rage now and then when buttons are pushed but frankly my normal is really fucked and I know it.

I do not want my 12 year old daughter to be doing the kinds of things I had to and burdens that I bore at her age for a wide variety of reasons--and yet I am often internally filled with rage that she doesn't behave in certain ways like a "normal" kid would. When I am stressed it is more comfortable for me to return to a very regimented system of behaviors and activities even though it is a soulkiller for me. My instinct is to be physically, spiritually, and emotionally abusive, and while it is not intellectually hard to fight it, I really don't think anyone who hasn't been there can understand the terror and devastation that one feels when you can feel your body gearing up to want to hit your child for not being "normal" (keep in mind the fucked up normal is: obey instantly, be prime caretaker of household, no thinking outside of the line I have drawn, ect.). Even when you do not do it, knowing how easy it would be for you to do so, and how your body and reptile brain *wants* to vanquish that fighter disobedient child that is daring to defy you--I have spent more of my life in 13 years of parenting vomiting bile into the toilet coming down from the adrenaline high and shame and memories after dealing with my children in a healthier manner than I really care to think about. I do not hit my children. If I lose my temper I apologize. They are happy and healthy. But after dealing with a conflict, I am on my knees before the porcelain god depending on the intensity because of how hard I've had to fight to NOT give in to my base instinct.

Luckily I don't think they know. I picked a partner whom I made promise me that he would intervene/leave me and take the kids if any abuse entered the picture, I have gotten treatment for the PTSD, I have gotten therapy for the family issues (rechecking in because my oldest is now 12 which was the age I was when I decided I needed to escape my life at home by any means necessary). I have to be careful about getting involved in church groups, so that I don't slip into the obedient/passive role. My kids seem to be normal for their ages. I am surrounded by their friends and am friends with most of their friends' parents so there are trusted people I can text/call and say "Daughter/Son1/Son2 is doing X. Is this okay/normal?" (It is, 100 percent of the time).

I think the difficulties I face in dealing with more ripples from my fundie years revolve almost exclusively around instincts. It's almost primal for me. Though I don't know if this is a normal experience for other walkaways or if I'm just particularly fucked i the head. Could see it going both ways. Also, my parents were shitty and abusive, in addition to the fundamentalism. So trying to separate out what issues are caused by what (the fundamentalism enabled and supported and encouraged their abuse, to be frank, but by no means do I think that it was the primary *cause*) is difficult. At least for me.

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I think so many of these fundie off spring that we talk about know really now what the outside world is like. I think that the believe what their parents tell them to, and if for some reason that think otherwise they are taught not to think that way.

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I do not think this is a specifically fundie thing more than perhaps an abuse thing. (Personally, I believe the vast majority of legalistic, patriarchal fundamentalism is spiritual abuse.)

I have to fight every single parenting and relationship instinct I have. Every day. I do think every parent and partner has to battle rage now and then when buttons are pushed but frankly my normal is really fucked and I know it.

I do not want my 12 year old daughter to be doing the kinds of things I had to and burdens that I bore at her age for a wide variety of reasons--and yet I am often internally filled with rage that she doesn't behave in certain ways like a "normal" kid would. When I am stressed it is more comfortable for me to return to a very regimented system of behaviors and activities even though it is a soulkiller for me. My instinct is to be physically, spiritually, and emotionally abusive, and while it is not intellectually hard to fight it, I really don't think anyone who hasn't been there can understand the terror and devastation that one feels when you can feel your body gearing up to want to hit your child for not being "normal" (keep in mind the fucked up normal is: obey instantly, be prime caretaker of household, no thinking outside of the line I have drawn, ect.). Even when you do not do it, knowing how easy it would be for you to do so, and how your body and reptile brain *wants* to vanquish that fighter disobedient child that is daring to defy you--I have spent more of my life in 13 years of parenting vomiting bile into the toilet coming down from the adrenaline high and shame and memories after dealing with my children in a healthier manner than I really care to think about. I do not hit my children. If I lose my temper I apologize. They are happy and healthy. But after dealing with a conflict, I am on my knees before the porcelain god depending on the intensity because of how hard I've had to fight to NOT give in to my base instinct.

Luckily I don't think they know. I picked a partner whom I made promise me that he would intervene/leave me and take the kids if any abuse entered the picture, I have gotten treatment for the PTSD, I have gotten therapy for the family issues (rechecking in because my oldest is now 12 which was the age I was when I decided I needed to escape my life at home by any means necessary). I have to be careful about getting involved in church groups, so that I don't slip into the obedient/passive role. My kids seem to be normal for their ages. I am surrounded by their friends and am friends with most of their friends' parents so there are trusted people I can text/call and say "Daughter/Son1/Son2 is doing X. Is this okay/normal?" (It is, 100 percent of the time).

I think the difficulties I face in dealing with more ripples from my fundie years revolve almost exclusively around instincts. It's almost primal for me. Though I don't know if this is a normal experience for other walkaways or if I'm just particularly fucked i the head. Could see it going both ways. Also, my parents were shitty and abusive, in addition to the fundamentalism. So trying to separate out what issues are caused by what (the fundamentalism enabled and supported and encouraged their abuse, to be frank, but by no means do I think that it was the primary *cause*) is difficult. At least for me.

Thank you for sharing that.

To me, this is one of the biggest things about harsh punishment, esp. corporal punishment.

Spanking doesn't do a particularly good job of teaching specific intended lessons. You don't spank a 2 yr old once for something and have them remember the intended lesson forever. Very young children learn from patterns and role modeling - and what spanked children learn is that spanking is the normal way for a parent to respond to certain things that kids do.

As you've learned - you are more likely to feel that you should be spanking when someone else wouldn't feel that way, because this is what was hardwired into your brain at a really young age. It's also harder for parents raised this way to use positive parenting in a way that feels natural. You can't fall back on instinct and memories - you've got to relearn it all from scratch, and it is going to sound weird to you.

Here's some encouragement: My mother and MIL both had mothers who sucked. They had to consciously decide to do things differently. They had some other positive relatives, but I once found an old diary of my mom's where she was writing about how she wanted to be a different sort of mom. She studied psychology and education (she was a teacher) and we had a ton of parenting books at home, and a lot of what she did honestly sounded like lines from those books. For her, it wasn't natural at the beginning. For my sister and I, though, it is more natural. Spanking was never part of our lives, so it's not a natural response. My parents were pretty disciplined (schedules, budgeting, studying - basic planning and delayed gratification), so we know that discipline isn't about punishment and we've experienced better methods. Your kids will have an easier time because of the work that you are doing now.

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A couple of you who grew up fundie have mentioned the old thought patterns occasionally leaking back in. I'm just curious, if anyone wants to share, what kinds of thoughts, what tends to trigger them, etc. it's just curiosity though.

For me, it can be some of the most mundane things. For example, last year I was able to go to a concert of an artist for whom I can fangirl all day. I felt incredibly guilty for going though because, well, we weren't allowed to listen to ANYthing other than classical music OR the grand old hymns (no Christian pop or contemp. Christian even). My sister pushed the line a tad with her "Hooked on Classics," but that was as edgy as we ever got, lol. My oldest kid recently told me that he loved the song "Demons" from Imagine Dragons, and I could only think, "God, I hope he doesn't tell his grandfather," a man from whom we've been estranged for the last five years, lol.

Parenting issues occasionally trigger me, too. My sister and I were never EVER allowed to disagree with my parents or anything that could even remotely be defined as rebellion. I remember one particularly savage beating I got when I told my mom that I felt like she didn't love me (I was 9 or 10 at the time); she hit me so hard and so long that I wet my pants, which was humiliating and caused me to get hit even more because, you know, I was gross and dirty. Because of that, I made the active choice to allow my kids to disagree with me and my parenting decisions and voice their concerns about ANYthing, and they've done so. I also made the decision to practice positive discipline (I've not been 100 percent on that one, but it's definitely heavily influenced my choices in the disciplinary arena). I feel like parenting -- for me, anyway -- is a tightrope. I didn't have good examples, and I never know for sure if I'm making the right decisions. I'm terrified that I'm screwing them up and damning them to a lifetime of intensive therapy, tbh.

I hate what fundamentalism did to me even though I didn't drink the kool-aid. I hate that it still seeped into my brain and warped my thinking. I hate that I'm a shadow of the person I might've been had I been raised by loving, normal parents.

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