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Coconut Flan

Maxwell 35: Choosing The Right Vest For an Extended Family Member

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NancyDrewFan1989
1 hour ago, kpmom said:

I agree, MJB.

Sarah had a ton of responsibility growing up.  She was the only female among the older three, and I don't doubt she did much of the work raising the reversals when Teri was pregnant, nursing.  Throw in Teri's depression, and I'm guessing there were times Sarah took over most of the household responsibilities.

Maybe she feels like she's done the housewife and mom stuff with her siblings, and is thoroughly enjoying some freedom.  And I agree, I think she has much more freedom and say in her life than we here assume. 

I agree and disagree. Yes, I think that Sarah was Teri's right hand daughter growing up since she is now a SAHD. But what do you mean by freedom? Steve and Teri may have loosened the leash since they recognize that she is an adult. But, outside of having her own money and dog, what do you mean by freedom? 

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dripcurl
1 hour ago, Tatar-tot said:

Steve and the clan are all bright.  That is what always leaves me puzzled.  I would think intellectual curiosity would have lead one of them to question Steve’s teachings. 

Fear. They are all afraid of hell and sin, he also has a great fear of losing control of his family. I think his brand of Patriarchy is equal parts religious and narcissistic. My parents are well educated, intelligent people, but they take the Bible literally and love Trump.

Edited by dripcurl
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HerNameIsBuffy

I know there is no way to know their thoughts or motivations but just based on what they put out there I'm curious if anyone else sees Teri as more culpable in the stunting of their children than Steve.

Don't get me wrong, he's megalomaniacal, with an emphasis on maniac, but I think he's so deluded by his own psychological and control issues I do think he truly believes he's doing the right thing by his family.  That his way is the one true way.

Unless there is some kind of folie a deux going on she knows their lifestyle is wrong and damaging her kids, but she chooses the path of least resistance.  

IOW I think he's an asshole because he thinks it's best for the family.  I think she is because she knows it not and didn't care enough to stop it.

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dripcurl
4 minutes ago, HerNameIsBuffy said:

I know there is no way to know their thoughts or motivations but just based on what they put out there I'm curious if anyone else sees Teri as more culpable in the stunting of their children than Steve.

Don't get me wrong, he's megalomaniacal, with an emphasis on maniac, but I think he's so deluded by his own psychological and control issues I do think he truly believes he's doing the right thing by his family.  That his way is the one true way.

Unless there is some kind of folie a deux going on she knows their lifestyle is wrong and damaging her kids, but she chooses the path of least resistance.  

IOW I think he's an asshole because he thinks it's best for the family.  I think she is because she knows it not and didn't care enough to stop it.

Interesting point, I personally would not say she is more culpable but I do think that she is definitely equally culpable. I know she has her depression which can be seen is making her more vulnerable, but I think he definitely has some unresolved trauma issues, neither are an excuse to be as narcissistic and controlling as they are. The Maxwellian way is working out just as they both designed it, he is in control and she has every little step, thought, and emotion laid out for her in a pattern which apparently makes life easier to cope with. Mic that with their strong religious beliefs, and now you get several children who have been forced to live the way they do and be limited beyond comprehension.

 

I think there are isolated issues in which Steve might be more responsible, and where Teri might be more responsible. If you think about the vasectomy and family size, that is definitely all on Steve. It seems to be generally agreed-upon here on FJ that Teri doesn’t seem to be a very natural mother or grandmother. However, I think Teri’s heart is in a different place than Steve’s. A good example of this would definitely be that birthday post from last year about Sarah, it was completely vile and malicious. Steve reigns the judgement down on people for sure, but IIRC he has not gone for the jugular with his kids like that, and in all of his posts he always seems to have an end goal of ensuring salvation for everyone. Teri’s rhetoric seems to imply she is more concerned with being proper and perfect. But if you take an issue like modesty, I think they are both on level playing ground. Steve has this hyper paranoia about lust and impropriety, and Teri has reinforced that by dressing her daughters the awful way that she has.

 

All of this could just be a vicious cycle of him being forceful and her being resentful, but in the end she has endured and allowed it, and I think she actually enjoys whatever the hell is going on.

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grammyj

Meh, curiousity was beaten out of them, figuratively and/or literally, a long time ago. Probably same with the grandkids. Had the adult children asked any real questions, they'd be long gone by now.

Couple other observations. I don't think Teri will ever take up Pepsi again. She, herself, was bothered by her habit. Steve had nothing to do with this as I recall.  And, in regards to Steve forcing her to have more kids--no, no, no-- it was her decision to go along with it. I dont think Steve had ever "made" her do anything. She had agency. One is as bad as the other.

But i do agree that what we see on the blog is heavily curated. I have no idea if their lives are so rigid ad they appear. That's their persona and like the Beaudelaire children, I can't look away. Maybe someday, sometime, somebody will break away or fess up. I tell ya though, squashing a child's natural curiousity and feeding them only pap is a heinous, heinous sin in my eyes.  Ok. Done now.

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Giraffe

I see Terri as victim & perpetrator. She’s not innocent and has been abusive to her children, she’s also been Steve’s victim. 

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scoutsadie
21 hours ago, SolomonFundy said:

 polishing Satan's Chorepak.

Next thread title?

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SolomonFundy
6 hours ago, HerNameIsBuffy said:

I know there is no way to know their thoughts or motivations but just based on what they put out there I'm curious if anyone else sees Teri as more culpable in the stunting of their children than Steve.

Embroidering on what @Giraffe said, I think that Teri is in a weird intersection of victim/perp with a very important third element of mental illness thrown in for good measure. It's really, really hard to look at her actions as a younger wife and mother, and make confident value judgements on what she "meant" to do in any given situation. It opens the door to a lot of unanswerable questions about personal responsibility when coping with abuse and mental illness. (At least, I personally feel pretty inadequate to the task of answering them.)  

This is an extreme example, but Andrea Yates is a polarizing figure for many of the same reasons. She was suffering with profound mental illness (often untreated), including pregnancy-induced psychosis, a fundamentalist-driven procreative doctrine, and a spouse who frequently undermined her when she tried to barter for limits on family size. People still debate over just how much responsibility Andrea had over her own actions, and her children have been dead for almost two decades now. Teri's circumstances were certainly not exactly the same as Andrea's, but they share some uncomfortable similarities, including a headship with an obsessive fixation on growing the family size. Andrea coped as best she could, until she snapped. Teri probably coped as best as she could as well. Fortunately, she never snapped. Or if she did, it was in a much subtler manner.

Personally, I don't care for Teri's public persona, and I don't have a lot of respect for her as a mother. I happily chime in  with the people here who nicknamed her "Scary Teri", and I absolutely think that she is probably an unpleasant person in real life. This opinion is based entirely on the face that the Maxwells choose to share with the world. However, I also recognize that she very likely was under- or un-medicated, had limited access to therapy and expressive outlets, was in a position of financial, emotional, and mental abuse perpetrated by a manipulative and equally mentally ill spouse, and physically worn down from nearly two decades of pregnancies and constant depression. I don't know of many people who could have weathered that particular set of circumstances in a way that would endear them to me.

So at the end of the day, I think that Teri is an unpleasant, insincere person who exercised the miniscule amount of power that she possessed by stifling her own children, who is still worthy of compassion for her lack of personal agency during what should have been her formative mothering years. Both things can be true, and in her case, I think that they are.

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MamaJunebug
17 hours ago, Tatar-tot said:

Steve and the clan are all bright.  That is what always leaves me puzzled.  I would think intellectual curiosity would have lead one of them to question Steve’s teachings. 

You can question and keep mum. Ask me how I know. (Big Daddy JB was NOWHERE Steve! But he had his very confirmed ideas - and he lived & died happily, none the wiser about his eldest daughter.)

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HerNameIsBuffy
9 hours ago, SolomonFundy said:

Embroidering on what @Giraffe said, I think that Teri is in a weird intersection of victim/perp with a very important third element of mental illness thrown in for good measure. It's really, really hard to look at her actions as a younger wife and mother, and make confident value judgements on what she "meant" to do in any given situation. It opens the door to a lot of unanswerable questions about personal responsibility when coping with abuse and mental illness. (At least, I personally feel pretty inadequate to the task of answering them.)  

This is an extreme example, but Andrea Yates is a polarizing figure for many of the same reasons. She was suffering with profound mental illness (often untreated), including pregnancy-induced psychosis, a fundamentalist-driven procreative doctrine, and a spouse who frequently undermined her when she tried to barter for limits on family size. People still debate over just how much responsibility Andrea had over her own actions, and her children have been dead for almost two decades now. Teri's circumstances were certainly not exactly the same as Andrea's, but they share some uncomfortable similarities, including a headship with an obsessive fixation on growing the family size. Andrea coped as best she could, until she snapped. Teri probably coped as best as she could as well. Fortunately, she never snapped. Or if she did, it was in a much subtler manner.

Personally, I don't care for Teri's public persona, and I don't have a lot of respect for her as a mother. I happily chime in  with the people here who nicknamed her "Scary Teri", and I absolutely think that she is probably an unpleasant person in real life. This opinion is based entirely on the face that the Maxwells choose to share with the world. However, I also recognize that she very likely was under- or un-medicated, had limited access to therapy and expressive outlets, was in a position of financial, emotional, and mental abuse perpetrated by a manipulative and equally mentally ill spouse, and physically worn down from nearly two decades of pregnancies and constant depression. I don't know of many people who could have weathered that particular set of circumstances in a way that would endear them to me.

So at the end of the day, I think that Teri is an unpleasant, insincere person who exercised the miniscule amount of power that she possessed by stifling her own children, who is still worthy of compassion for her lack of personal agency during what should have been her formative mothering years. Both things can be true, and in her case, I think that they are.

This was beautifully said and I admire your compassion very much.

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SPHASH

The spinster sisters took the kids to see Simon Peter.  Guess they are going to call him that and not just Simon.  Simon I'm so sorry you were born into such a fucked up family, I'd cry too:

IMG_7971-300x400.jpg

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louannems

No, seemingly Teri didn't snap, but she may have if Steve hadn't gotten his vasectomy.  That gave her several years of reprieve from pregnancy and infant raising. 

And it allowed Sarah time to grow up and learn some household skills.  I'm sure Sarah did a lot of work and baby-minding once the reversals came along.

If the last four kids arrived rapidly after the first four, Teri may have snapped.

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Eternalbluepearl

The Maxwell family is what's wrong with America. Seemingly intelligent people with their heads stuck in religion. So therefore, Trump support and everything else awful. It kills me. I wish Steve HADN'T found Jesus. And that they didn't grow up with a "Christian heritage" or whatever Sarah once called it. Bleh. It's ruined their lives, IMO.

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Wine time!
nokidsmom
19 hours ago, HerNameIsBuffy said:

Don't get me wrong, he's megalomaniacal, with an emphasis on maniac, but I think he's so deluded by his own psychological and control issues I do think he truly believes he's doing the right thing by his family.  That his way is the one true way.

Unless there is some kind of folie a deux going on she knows their lifestyle is wrong and damaging her kids, but she chooses the path of least resistance.  

I see Teri as a very mixed bag of survival and living too long in Steveovah's world where she eventually normalizes it and even promotes it.   I see her as culpable, fully culpable in the state of the family today but perhaps less so in the earlier days when Steve went down his particular rabbit hole. 

I have often described my family here as Maxwellian because there are similarities between my dad and Steve, albeit not as extreme, thank Rufus.  But similarities enough that made life unnecessarily difficult for us.  Dad was absolutely convinced his ideas were right, everyone was wrong, in fact, everyone should live like him.  Like Steve, he often (but not always) felt things should be not fun, he thought the life of Job was something to aspire to.   Dad hated TV, he hated most media thinking them evil influences, he called Mr. No's work in the media "the Devil's work".  And the whole "family is all you need" type insularity, yep he believed in that, although having to go to school and go to work (my folks did believe in education and work was necessary for financial survival) made that a bit impossible to achieve insularity at Maxwellian levels.    Our having friends was tolerated but not really encouraged.  

My mother didn't start out like him and in her younger days she pushed back at times, from going to school so she could work to keeping the TV, though it came to us kids she generally she followed him believing her duty as was typical for women of her generation who married in the 1950s.   But over time she went along more with Dad's ideas and turned into the family enforcer.  I think some of it was path of least resistance but also I think she just lived it too long, in short she normalized it.  On some level, I think she knew that some things were wrong but didn't want to fight it at the time.  Certainly not admit it.   And she benefited from it namely at one sister's expense.  

When I see Teri, I see my mother though I see differences too.   It's hard to know whether Teri put up any resistance to Steve initially, but in the end she went along to the detriment of herself and her kids.   I think initially it was survival, especially in view of her depression and birthing / raising additional kids but now she's steeped in it.  To the point she has promoted it and has benefited from it both in her family and to gullible conference attendees. 

 

 

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pupper

Teri might have even been willing to believe that having that second batch of children would cure her depression. Perhaps Steve convinced her that she was "out of God's will" and that her depression was a symptom or punishment for that sin. When you're really depressed, you might be willing to try anything that would alleviate it.

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dripcurl

Wow, they are literally calling the kid Simon Peter. Ok.

 

Why is there such a disparity in the appearance of Mary and Anna? Mary appears to have excellent skin care, and get her brows done. Anna’s skin is somehow greasy and severely dehydrated at the same time, and it appears her brows have not been unruly but actually thinning. She appears to have health issues, but I wonder why her sister gets to take care of her skin and she doesn’t.

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HerNameIsBuffy
34 minutes ago, dripcurl said:

Wow, they are literally calling the kid Simon Peter. Ok.

 

Why is there such a disparity in the appearance of Mary and Anna? Mary appears to have excellent skin care, and get her brows done. Anna’s skin is somehow greasy and severely dehydrated at the same time, and it appears her brows have not been unruly but actually thinning. She appears to have health issues, but I wonder why her sister gets to take care of her skin and she doesn’t.

They're different people.  I doubt Anna is denied access to skin care products.  Some people naturally have nicer skin than others and some can take immaculate care of their skin and still have problems.

The brows thing could be a personal preference.

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MamaJunebug
6 hours ago, SPHASH said:

The spinster sisters took the kids to see Simon Peter.  Guess they are going to call him that and not just Simon.  

I’m tentatively taking this as a possibly positive sign that they may kinda sorta be turning slightly oh so slightly toward acknowledging that God is closing up the old Chris Maxwell Family Quiver. 

Jesus added to Simon’s name - or to Peter’s name, I don’t remember well and I’m not going to look it up -  and while most denominations IIRC don’t ascribe the profound import to the man like the RCC does, they do acknowledge that he was “the Rock upon which” Jesus said He was going to build his church.  

The Christopher Maxwell Family (might) announce the completed set of Maxwell Child Evangelizers, featuring the literal ultimate, Simon Peter Maxwell!!!

No pressure, Little Dude!  

 

Edited by MamaJunebug

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anjulibai

Mary, Anna and Steve look very strained in those pictures holding Simon. 

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MamaJunebug
6 hours ago, pupper said:

Teri might have even been willing to believe that having that second batch of children would cure her depression. Perhaps Steve convinced her that she was "out of God's will" and that her depression was a symptom or punishment for that sin. When you're really depressed, you might be willing to try anything that would alleviate it.

I wonder if that A Hole Husband quoted First Timothy 2:15 that woman shall be saved through bearing babies. I bet you anything! 

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raspberrymint

I'll take being a wife over being a SAHD any day forever.  If Teri thinks Sarah is free...  I don't think even she thinks that.  My mother and grandmother used to tell me they envied me for being stuck in a life I hated because at least I wasn't married or a mother.  Marry someone who doesn't suck!  Live your own lives!  Don't get married if you don't want to!  Jesus Christ, the world's full of idiots.

I'll take the hardest days of being a wife over the easiest days of being a SAHD any day forever, because my marriage is a good one.

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PennySycamore

@dripcurl and @MamaJunebug,  naming the baby Simon Peter just sounds a wee bit weird to me.  Maybe it just sounds pretentious or something.  

Simon was given the name Peter by Jesus in Matthew 16: 13-19.

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Eternalbluepearl
6 hours ago, PennySycamore said:

@dripcurl and @MamaJunebug,  naming the baby Simon Peter just sounds a wee bit weird to me.  Maybe it just sounds pretentious or something.

It really does and they live for pretentious.

Sidenote: Sometimes I think the Maxwells imagine they are the only ones going to heaven. Like that old joke (I probably read on FJ) about being very quiet when you walk down the hall in heaven because the catholics (or whoever) think they are alone up there. That's Steve and his kids in a nutshell for me. 

Edited by Eternalbluepearl

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Botkinetti

I think they believe they are the only ones who deserve to go to heaven. Otherwise the isolation and control, the denial of fun and good food and the endless bearing of children would have no meaning to them. 

This belief must comfort them on some level. It sounds like a living hell to me.

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HerNameIsBuffy
10 hours ago, raspberrymint said:

Marry someone who doesn't suck!

Some of us have tried that and failed miserably.  I'm glad you have a happy marriage, but for those of us who didn't being in a bad marriage is far worse than being alone could ever be.

Not directed at you, but it comes up on here all the time about how much people have accomplished by Sarah's age and a lot of you have done a lot of impressive things in your 20's and 30's.  But some us spent that time in bad marriages just trying to figure out how to survive mentally and make life better for our kids.

I'm not saying Sarah's lack of autonomy is healthy, it's not.  I'm just saying it's not like everyone who isn't a Maxwell had a young adulthood of advanced degrees, true and abiding love, career success, and raising perfect trouble free kids.

My 20's was spent in a shitty marriage, raising my children, caring for my mom on hospice until her death, and going from being a SAHM to being a divorced mom of 3 small kids, one special needs,  who had never held a job and had always been financially supported by someone else.  

I wouldn't trade my kids for anything, but I certainly don't think Sarah would consider herself to be trading up to have my life rather than hers.

Edited by HerNameIsBuffy
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