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HerNameIsBuffy

Safe at Home 4: Where the thread names change, but the Arndts stay the same

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Waffle Time
mango_fandango

God, all the families we discuss on here have some fucked-up dynamics. The Arndts are on a different level altogether.

Omfg, if Sarah Maxwell ended up Sarah Arndt... that would be KER-AAAAZY. 

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Four is Enough

Sarah Maxwell playing softball? She might have FUN.....

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Giddy
Carm_88

It seems unlikely that no Arndt will ever get married, but I really didn't think they would stay unmarried this long. I've stopped trying to predict.

Edited by Carm_88

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HerNameIsBuffy
15 minutes ago, Four is Enough said:

Sarah Maxwell playing softball? She might have FUN.....

Sadly I think she'd have a lot more fun snarking to Teri about the shorts and the perfectly appropriate to everyone but a Maxwell v-neck tops.

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keen23

Maybe they're waiting to pull off a Seven Brides for Seven Brothers type thing, except Thirteen Brides for Thirteen Brothers. That would be one heck of a shot for VV.

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Jana814
Just now, keen23 said:

Maybe they're waiting to pull off a Seven Brides for Seven Brothers type thing, except Thirteen Brides for Thirteen Brothers. That would be one heck of a shot for VV.

I have thought the same thing!  

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HerNameIsBuffy
11 minutes ago, keen23 said:

Maybe they're waiting to pull off a Seven Brides for Seven Brothers type thing, except Thirteen Brides for Thirteen Brothers. That would be one heck of a shot for VV.

So kind of like in school when you had to bring enough for the whole class?

"No, son, you can't have a wife unless you have some for all your brothers."

You'd think someone as into having babies as Rick and Cathy would be aching for grandbabies.  Unless Cathy sees the baby making as her domain and doesn't want to pass the torch.

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JenniferJuniper
22 minutes ago, Carm_88 said:

It seems unlikely that no Arndt will ever get married, but I really didn't think they would stay unmarried this long. I've stopped trying to predict.

My own hope for the boys is not that they get married so much as it is that they simply get away.  They aren't ready to be married, and frankly, the oldest ones may never be at this point.

I know we've said the same about countless fundies, but this is different.  Those fundies live in fairly extended world where everyone lives in the same bubble.  I feel sorry for Joy (and I guess Austin too) but that's their world.  They wouldn't know or understand anything else.

Arndt World contains just 14 people and the only two of the fourteen who can legally marry each other are already married to each other.   For Paul or John, now in their late 30'sm to marry outside of their world would probably be disastrous.   Maybe there are some fundie Catholics out there who they could at least relate to but I'm guessing they are few and far between.  "Normal" women would flee from the weirdness.  Typical Protestant fundies who were wearing frumpers just a decade ago would give wide berth to a family that includes a mother and daughter who wear short shorts and participate in manly athletics with actual men. 

So 1) Their options are severely limited and 2) They have been so sheltered that they don't behave like normal 30-something men.

GET OUT, boys.  You can find jobs off the homestead, expand your world and gradually develop friends and relationships outside of your parents' control.  If you don't, you will live there forever.  Tending ducks, cutting the lawn, making pizzas and playing softball.  In other words, living like patients in a mental institution. 

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HerNameIsBuffy
8 minutes ago, JenniferJuniper said:

Tending ducks, cutting the lawn, making pizzas and playing softball.

Is it weird that that sounds really appealing to me right now?

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nausicaa
15 minutes ago, HerNameIsBuffy said:

You'd think someone as into having babies as Rick and Cathy would be aching for grandbabies.  Unless Cathy sees the baby making as her domain and doesn't want to pass the torch.

So the Arndts are mostly a mystery to me, but if I had to guess, I'd say this is a big part of it actually. Not just the baby making part. My gut says Cathy Arndt is the ultimate overbearing mom of sons. No woman will ever be good enough for her precious boys. And she can't bear the thought of losing one of them and being "replaced." She would be a complete nightmare of a mother-in-law, and I'd be willing to guess some of the things that go on in that family are borderline emotionally incestuous. 

I think she is also vain and doesn't want to admit her age (the short shorts, the hair and makeup unchanged from twenty years ago). Cathy Arndt is no one's grandma, thank you very much.

To make things worse, she's the parent most firmly grounded in reality. I think she has a better idea of how strange the dynamics are, but she can't bear to lose her sons to another woman. Rick on the other hand seems like a goofy narcissist lost in la-la land and just happy he has plenty of gaffers and cameramen for his pet project. 

My question isn't so much why this happened but how. How did they get all of the sons to fall in line? How does no one rebel? 

Edited by nausicaa

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HerNameIsBuffy
10 minutes ago, JenniferJuniper said:

"Normal" women would flee from the weirdness.

I remember one of Mark's posts from years ago, so his views may have changed but he said then that while he didn't speak for his brothers he was adamant about saving first kiss for his wedding day and how to do it before would ruin everything and make it less special.

Paraphrasing.

I remember being so sad for him because you could feel, in his words, his loneliness and how badly he wanted to marry.  But the truth is the only women who will be comfortable with that is hardcore fundy herself or someone with other reasons for avoiding all sexual contact.  

And what's with that mindset so common in these people...do they think only first contact is special?  That the second time you kiss or have sex it's all old hat because you've done it before?  What a sad way to think about it and IME as great as the first time can be it gets way better after that.  The novelty of the first time is fun, but once you get comfortable with each other and in your own skin and trust is solidly established that's when things start to really get good.

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Carm_88

I think that the Arndts are stuck in the teenaged mindset. They are not just searching for someone who they can spend the rest of their life with, they're searching for that absolutely perfect woman. You know like the Cathy that they have built up in their own minds. Cathy Arndt is an impressive woman, but I'm sure that when she was a young Mom of lots of little boys, she wasn't as impressive and efficient as she is now. No woman will ever live up to Cathy and I think that's the way that she likes it.

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HerNameIsBuffy
7 minutes ago, nausicaa said:

My question isn't so much why this happened but how. How did they get all of the sons to fall in line? How does no one rebel? 

If I could have the answer to any unknowable question it would be this.  How?

I have three kids, young adults, who love me and with whom I have close and IMO healthy relationships.  Not one of them would stand for the expectation that our family of origin remain unchanged.  No matter how I insisted it might hurt them, make them crazy, riddle them with guilt...but they'd still fall in love, have lives outside the family, and launch.  

As a parent of kids in the Arndt age bracket (between Phillip and Nathan) that level of compliance is so far beyond my comprehension I can't wrap my head around it.

 

 

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nokidsmom
43 minutes ago, HerNameIsBuffy said:

I have three kids, young adults, who love me and with whom I have close and IMO healthy relationships.  Not one of them would stand for the expectation that our family of origin remain unchanged.  No matter how I insisted it might hurt them, make them crazy, riddle them with guilt...but they'd still fall in love, have lives outside the family, and launch.  

To the bolded, I just want to say that as someone who experienced this when I left the family home, that the need to live (and love!) my own life was the most powerful counterbalance to withstanding the fear, obligation and guilt that my family, both parents and siblings, heaped on me.   Have none of the manboys experienced anything, such as falling in love, or wanting to see the world more after traveling, or anything that would spark a strong desire to live their own lives and help them withstand their family's reaction?   It seems that at least one should have but touching on @Carm_88's comments, I wonder if they have been kept so close, so naive, so childlike, that they stopped in time and never got to that adult stage. 

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nausicaa
2 hours ago, HerNameIsBuffy said:

As a parent of kids in the Arndt age bracket (between Phillip and Nathan) that level of compliance is so far beyond my comprehension I can't wrap my head around it.

I know, I just keep thinking of how many parents of even mid-size families I know who couldn't keep all of their kids in line with their priorities. Every religious family I know has a kid who became secular, or at least more mainstream. The majority of tiger moms who force their kids to take endless violin lessons and SAT prep have one kid who drops out of college and gets covered in tattoos.

My mom wasn't very controlling but her big thing was that we were never to start smoking (her mom died of a stroke because of it). This was drilled into us from toddlerhood and we weren't even allowed to pretend smoke with pretzel sticks. My sister still smoked for while in college and I smoked cloves a few times when out with friends when I was younger.

Fourteen.Damn.Adults.In.Bunk.Beds.

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nokidsmom
12 minutes ago, nausicaa said:

I know, I just keep thinking of how many parents of even mid-size families I know who couldn't keep all of their kids in line with their priorities. Every religious family I know has a kid who became secular, or at least more mainstream. The majority of tiger moms who force their kids to take endless violin lessons and SAT prep have one kid who drops out of college and gets covered in tattoos.

My folks had 3 kids.  I was the unexpected "rebel" who busted out after college.  The other 2 were fairly compliant, that is until their 30s when both finally left because they met their husbands.   They finally got that one impetus to leave: falling in love.   

Even then, my folks desperately tried to control their lives with varying success.  Which makes me think that if any manboy actually got married, the family, especially Cathy, are going to be the in-laws from hell.  

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JenniferJuniper
3 hours ago, HerNameIsBuffy said:

Is it weird that that sounds really appealing to me right now?

No, it sounds good to me too right now, but I've got the lyrics of an old song in my head...

They're coming to take me away Ha Ha
They're coming to take me away ho ho he he ha ha
To the happy home with trees and flowers and chirping birds and basket weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes
They're coming to take me away ha ha...
 

After one week in the Arndt Happy Home I'd probably be ready to come back and deal with my normal life.  Reality bites, but at the end of the day it's still better than Groundhog Day every day.  And now I've got "I Got You Babe" in my head...

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Briefly
4 hours ago, nokidsmom said:

To the bolded, I just want to say that as someone who experienced this when I left the family home, that the need to live (and love!) my own life was the most powerful counterbalance to withstanding the fear, obligation and guilt that my family, both parents and siblings, heaped on me.   Have none of the manboys experienced anything, such as falling in love, or wanting to see the world more after traveling, or anything that would spark a strong desire to live their own lives and help them withstand their family's reaction?   It seems that at least one should have but touching on @Carm_88's comments, I wonder if they have been kept so close, so naive, so childlike, that they stopped in time and never got to that adult stage. 

It does sound like they are brainwashed.  I feel sorry for them, actually.  My guess is that the parents are so insecure, mainly Cathy, that they have basically been molded since birth to believe that the outside world is unsafe and that they are only safe if they stay within their family unit.  What is going to happen when the parents die?  I have this image in my mind of near starvation because they do not know how to take care of themselves or make adult decisions.

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HerNameIsBuffy
48 minutes ago, Briefly said:

I have this image in my mind of near starvation because they do not know how to take care of themselves or make adult decisions.

They aren't financially dependent - their parents have been financially dependent on them for years (unless there is another source of money besides working.)  They know how to shop, they know how to cook, clean, and care for a home.

In a practical sense they are better equipped than most fundies.  It's the emotional dynamic that is impossible to predict.

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JermajestyDuggar

And all this is exactly why I would hire the Arndts for family portraits if we lived within an hour or so of them. I believe they said awhile ago that they are branching out and can do some photography in their home. I like their work and I would love to be a fly on the Arndt wall while getting our pictures taken. I am not telling anyone to do this! And if you do, don’t mention FJ! But I would do it because they are talented and I’m so curious to see their family dynamic. I suppose I could go watch a softball game if I’m ever in NY, lol. All I want to do is see how they interact without a camera rolling. 

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HerNameIsBuffy
1 minute ago, JermajestyDuggar said:

And all this is exactly why I would hire the Arndts for family portraits if we lived within an hour or so of them. I believe they said awhile ago that they are branching out and can do some photography in their home. I like their work and I would love to be a fly on the Arndt wall while getting our pictures taken. I am not telling anyone to do this! And if you do, don’t mention FJ! But I would do it because they are talented and I’m so curious to see their family dynamic. I suppose I could go watch a softball game if I’m ever in NY, lol. All I want to do is see how they interact without a camera rolling. 

Tbh if i lived near them and my daughter was getting married I'd think of using them just because their work was so good  - they really do beautiful pictures.  And I would never mention it here, i feel creepy enough talking about them here and I've never met them.

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JenniferJuniper
5 hours ago, Briefly said:

It does sound like they are brainwashed.  I feel sorry for them, actually.  My guess is that the parents are so insecure, mainly Cathy, that they have basically been molded since birth to believe that the outside world is unsafe and that they are only safe if they stay within their family unit.  What is going to happen when the parents die?  I have this image in my mind of near starvation because they do not know how to take care of themselves or make adult decisions.

No starvation - many of them could be gainfully employed using the skills they've learned through the family businesses.  I'm guessing the laptop repair business is kaput but there are court reporters, photographers, handymen, etc.   And has been said, they support their parents rather than the other way around and have for a number of years.

My own conclusion is that Cathy is not the controlling parent here.  It's nutso Rick who lives in a fantasy world where he's a famous actor and star baseball player.  What actual role Cathy plays here is hard to determine.  She's never had her own voice.  Everything we've ever seen has been filtered by Rick.

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Botkinetti

I think Cathy and Rick are both controlling in different ways and these ways have meshed perfectly to keep all of their children in their home. I have no idea how they did it or why they would want to.

Once, when I was having a small argument with my then teenaged son he said that he would do some things differently when he had children and seemed almost disappointed when I responded that of course he would. I think he thought I would react with hurt feelings but I explained that I had done things differently than my parents because we were not clones and all of us had experiences that helped shape our views and that I was fine with that.

Cathy and Rick must believe their ways are the only and best ways and have somehow convinced all of their children to believe . Cult leaders should consult with them how they keep all these adults in line.

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JenniferJuniper
3 hours ago, Botkinetti said:

I think Cathy and Rick are both controlling in different ways and these ways have meshed perfectly to keep all of their children in their home. I have no idea how they did it or why they would want to.

That's it in a nutshell.  They are both complete mysteries, but the how is the one that fascinates me the most.  Yes, they've been sheltered, but not to the point that they don't interact with the real world on a regular basis (the oldest ones at least, I have a feeling the youngest ones have been more intensely sheltered using whatever techniques they developed with the older ones).

How does one accomplish this with so many grown ass men?  I can't even begin to figure that one out.

The why part is a little easier.  Rick has a sweet life.  He has his full softball team and he stopped working in his 50's.  Cathy has all her kids around her.  But Cathy's life is not so sweet.  She works very hard, even with the help of Mary and some of the boys.  And whenever I see a hardworking woman living with a do-nothing healthy husband, I start wondering what's really going on there. 

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Briefly

I guess I misinterpreted things.  I was under the impression that they were not really allowed to grow up, in the way that so many fundy families raise their children.  I know that they have income and a successful business.  I was thinking more of emotional maturity levels but I see what you mean about them surviving.

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