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Recovering from a patriarchal childhood


rebelsaint

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What sort of Patriarchal theology did your family followed? Doug Philips? Gothard? etc. Did they had any friends who followed Patriarchy as well?

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It sounds like your father was emotionally abusive on some level toward your mother. One very common tactic is to make the victim feel incompetent, stupid, and therefore dependent.

My dad was the same way toward my mom. Many times he tried to make her quit her job, but she clung on to it no matter what so she would not be financially dependent on him. She saw the same thing happen to her own mother. Her dad gave her mom an allowance that she had to use for all the bills, food, and clothing while he spent the rest on frivolous things like boats and hunting gear. She warned my mom to never give up her job, and my mom followed that advice. He still managed to mess up my mom pretty good without ever hitting her, but she managed to get out eventually.

I wouldn't say that my family was completely Patriarchal, largely because my dad just didn't want to make all the decisions. He definitely expected my mom to do all the housework though. On some level it's kind of sad because he was just incompetent and couldn't handle things so he covered it by acting entitled. But there's a certain point when a grown man just needs to put on his big boy pants and learn for himself where to buy toilet paper (no, I'm not exaggerating there). He was really controlling but since he put the burden of decisions on my mom, it gave him extra room to criticize her because every decision was wrong.

Luckily for me, my dad was not as controlling with me. He kind of saw me as an extension of himself, and sort of a trophy. He fostered my academic work and encouraged me to go to college, largely so he could brag about it to his friends. He expected to still have control over me forever, and he was quite surprised when he threatened to take everything away, and I actually called his bluff and managed to succeed on my own, without him or his money. We've been estranged since then but it was a long time coming. He just never thought I was an individual person, and he never expected me to leave all his money just to be free of him. He never thought I could live on a budget or live without every luxury, but he was wrong.

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What sort of Patriarchal theology did your family followed? Doug Philips? Gothard? etc. Did they had any friends who followed Patriarchy as well?
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It sounds like your father was emotionally abusive on some level toward your mother. One very common tactic is to make the victim feel incompetent, stupid, and therefore dependent.
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Was he supposedly a Christian or anything? The difficult thing about my dad is that he supposedly gets this stuff just out of the Christian bible...he's not like following Gothard or any other person or religion. When people ask me what religion he is, I hesitate...I don't want to say "Christian", because not all christians are like him (not that other christians don't have their problems)...

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I seriously think my father was mentally ill in some way most of his life. I probably shouldn't even get started on talking about my childhood. He may have had some kind of serious depression, possibly was bipolar. He may have had some kind of OCD thing going on, extreme anxiety disorder, and probably PTSD from childhood abuse plus being sent to the Pacific with the army when he was nineteen. His way of coping with this was to be a total control freak and fly into a rage whenever he was crossed. He had to make everybody else bad so he could feel good. Everything was black and white. Something was either good and he liked it and that made it compulsory, or it was bad and he hated it and it was absolutely forbidden for anyone ever.

He had some kind of problem with women. I believe he was gay and in the closet and married my mother because Catholic guilt and shame wouldn't allow him to admit his real feelings. He haaaaated any woman who showed signs of leadership or wanting to do things her way. He also haaaaated any signs of female sexuality. So he was constantly ranting about and talking bad about any woman who crossed him. Including his own mother. He hated her big time, and often compared ME to her, and said I was just like her. Characteristics of his mother, according to him: she was bad, selfish, a liar, lazy, a hypochondriac, and fat. Good women were those who dressed nicely but modestly, didn't wear makeup, were always agreeable to men, and took care of all housework without making a fuss or asking for help or money. However, even that didn't satisfy him, because those women were doormats, and thus not interesting, so after emotionally abusing my mother into total groveling submission, he would then complain that she was boring and stupid.

He claimed that men had to be dominant, otherwise they couldn't function sexually. Yes, he stated that dogmatically in front of his three teenage daughters. Ahem. it certainly made marriage look attractive. He also liked to wear teeny weeny shorts around the house, so we saw a lot more of his equipment than was really comfortable or appropriate. However, he was disgusted if our flesh was ever on display, and he once had a horrendous tantrum because he found an inadequately wrapped tampon in the bathroom wastebasket. You'd think with three daughters, a man would get used to the notion that yes, women have periods. But no. He freaked out and we could never ever talk about anything related to being a woman, because it disgusted him.

Men: the only real humans. Women: necessary but icky.

Oh, that's right. This thread was about recovering from a patriarchal childhood. Well, I'm not sure I have recovered. That's why I'm in therapy.

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A really good friend of mine (who reads here occasionally but has not posted) grew up in what she considers a Christian cult, that was basically Gothardism. She has had a really hard time. My heart goes out to those of you who grew up this way. I mean, everything that she was taught about life was wrong. Everything. And she deals with a lot of ongoing issues as a result.

She basically ran away at 18 and joined the military just to Get Out.

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Was he supposedly a Christian or anything? The difficult thing about my dad is that he supposedly gets this stuff just out of the Christian bible...he's not like following Gothard or any other person or religion. When people ask me what religion he is, I hesitate...I don't want to say "Christian", because not all christians are like him (not that other christians don't have their problems)...
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My dad used bible verses as his excuse, yeah...but I think it was just that, an excuse to act the way he did. (I think there's a fairly good chance he would have been like that otherwise, but we'll never know.) He liked being the boss (even though he always said he didn't *rolls eyes*). He likened himself to God to his family even. He was really big into "authority structures" and stuff.

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He claimed that men had to be dominant, otherwise they couldn't function sexually. Yes, he stated that dogmatically in front of his three teenage daughters. Ahem. it certainly made marriage look attractive. He also liked to wear teeny weeny shorts around the house, so we saw a lot more of his equipment than was really comfortable or appropriate........Oh, that's right. This thread was about recovering from a patriarchal childhood. Well, I'm not sure I have recovered. That's why I'm in therapy.
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My dad used bible verses as his excuse, yeah...but I think it was just that, an excuse to act the way he did. (I think there's a fairly good chance he would have been like that otherwise, but we'll never know.) He liked being the boss (even though he always said he didn't *rolls eyes*). He likened himself to God to his family even. He was really big into "authority structures" and stuff.

Geez. Had he ever heard of Vision Forum or Gothardism or anything like that? I don't think mine had, and probably wouldn't have followed it because he's not very religious. But eh, I guess you never know...

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Geez. Had he ever heard of Vision Forum or Gothardism or anything like that? I don't think mine had, and probably wouldn't have followed it because he's not very religious. But eh, I guess you never know...

Not for a long time...though he did admire Gothard (and would have joined had he agreed on music and beards). He started us on Pearl-type child training/disciplining methods before their book came out.

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I always end up regretting it when I say anything about my childhood. It sounds creepy and I feel stupid and like I've over-shared. Because it's impossible to convey just how crazy it all was without sounding over-dramatic.

But I guess the conclusion I draw from my experience is that a lot of patriarchal fathers are just about as strange as my father if you could see under the facade. Look at Michael Pearl! {{shudder}} To me, he comes across as a person with a lot of undiagnosed mental problems. Grandiosity and narcissism, for instance. I think patriarchy is a crutch that these guys use to compensate for their social deficits. All the crappy and weird things they do are not inappropriate--rather, they are appropriate because they are MANLY and the world just doesn't appreciate their manliness. Like my father's propensity for threatening to beat people up. A normal person would feel ashamed and worried about having frequent uncontrollable outbursts, but if you can assure yourself that real men have righteous anger, and Jesus whipped the bad people out of the temple, etc. then you feel you are okay and it's other people--degenerate men and uppity women--who are in the wrong. Of course, I also think that patriarchy will make you crazy after awhile, so I don't know which comes first, the chicken or the egg. And when I say "crazy" I do not mean to impugn people with genuine mental illness who know it and are doing their best to cope. That is a whole different ball game. I'm talking about people who take their own ills out on others and are irresponsible.

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I always end up regretting it when I say anything about my childhood. It sounds creepy and I feel stupid and like I've over-shared. Because it's impossible to convey just how crazy it all was without sounding over-dramatic.

But I guess the conclusion I draw from my experience is that a lot of patriarchal fathers are just about as strange as my father if you could see under the facade. Look at Michael Pearl! {{shudder}} To me, he comes across as a person with a lot of undiagnosed mental problems. Grandiosity and narcissism, for instance. I think patriarchy is a crutch that these guys use to compensate for their social deficits. All the crappy and weird things they do are not inappropriate--rather, they are appropriate because they are MANLY and the world just doesn't appreciate their manliness. Like my father's propensity for threatening to beat people up. A normal person would feel ashamed and worried about having frequent uncontrollable outbursts, but if you can assure yourself that real men have righteous anger, and Jesus whipped the bad people out of the temple, etc. then you feel you are okay and it's other people--degenerate men and uppity women--who are in the wrong. Of course, I also think that patriarchy will make you crazy after awhile, so I don't know which comes first, the chicken or the egg. And when I say "crazy" I do not mean to impugn people with genuine mental illness who know it and are doing their best to cope. That is a whole different ball game. I'm talking about people who take their own ills out on others and are irresponsible.

I think it would take a whole lot of teh crazee to shock FJers.

I think you're right about undiagnosed mental illness being at the root of a lot of this behavior.

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Only tangentially related: I make a distinction in my mind between what abusers use as excuses, and what allows them to get there. I don't think the distinction between patriarchy/religion CAUSING abuse, and it simply making it easy to progress, is that relevant, to me at least. Causing it or allowing it both help it to progress.

My family Tyrannical Patriarch used religion as an excuse for some things, and used it to make himself look better, but I don't believe that being in religious communities ever made it any easier to get away with things (than it would have been in general society). It didn't really have anything to do with the situation being as bad as it was.

If he'd been involved with a proper patriarchal community, though, it would have been much, much worse. Society might turn a blind eye to some abuse, but that only goes so far. Won't expound further, this is already more than I've ever shared, but I can think of a number of ways in which such thinking would have made it worse. And I don't really want to stay on that line of thought.

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I think patriarchy is a crutch that these guys use to compensate for their social deficits.

+1

My dad is/was a lying, angry, impulse-ridden asshole whether he was drinking or not, whether he was super-devout or not (he still has all the language but he doesn't even go to church anymore), whether he's working 7 days a week or not working at all. It's who he is. The only difference is that some communities (active addicts, patriarchalists, Rush Limbaugh fans, MRAs) allow for or even celebrate that behavior, and some (AA, anti-violent-parenting types, egalitarians) disapprove and curb it.

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Guest Anonymous
It sounds like so many of your dad's were real creepers. I'm so sorry. :(

What the fuck? You're going to expound the wonders of patriarchy in one thread and then drag your heinous grammar over into another one where its survivors are having a conversation? No. Just don't even. Go back and deal with the drubbing you've been given on the other thread if you don't have the decency to STFU and GTFO.

In the meantime, may you walk barefoot in the dark down an endless Lego strewn hallway.

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AKDA, possibly you mean well, so I don't want to go off on you, but comments like that are not really helpful and really push my buttons. Given that you've defended patriarchy in another thread, your sympathy comes across (to me) as condescending and self-serving.

My dad was not just "a creeper." He was also a human being, and while I don't excuse--at all!--the things he did, I sometimes wonder: what if he hadn't been beaten with belts and sticks by his own father, who believed that was proper discipline? What if he hadn't been one of too many children living in poverty, because Catholics can't use birth control, and a wife owes her husband sex? What if he hadn't been raised in a patriarchal church that said he'd burn in hell for admitting impulses that were normal for him? What if he didn't belong to a patriarchal society that expected boys to go to war, experience horrors, and come back home to pick up where they left off with no acknowledgment of their suffering--because men are tough and don't talk about stuff? What if he lived in a culture that promoted healing instead of one that scorned men who seek help as being unmanly? What if he hadn't been taught that it's perfectly okay for a man to be a tyrant at home, because women and children need to be controlled? There are a lot of what ifs.

This isn't about one or more individuals being "creepers." This is about a whole system of oppression that looks the other way when men dump their shit on women and children. I feel your would-be sympathy is just your way of saying "Sucks to be you! That would never happen to me, because I and my family are so much better." No, you're not. Patriarchy hurts everyone, whether you acknowledge it or not. If you already have a weakness, it will hurt you more, that's all.

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It sounds like so many of your dad's were real creepers. I'm so sorry. :(

But you're not sorry that there's a system that ENCOURAGES this behavior in people and that it doesn't actually take *twisting* of the patriarchal system to create this sort of horror for these people--it just takes the system being practiced as it's preached.

I wonder how many of those 'super de-duper' happy families within patriarchy are headed by 'real creepers'--because it looks good on the outside, as always.

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BoltingMadonna:

I didn't mean to sound trite. I was truely sympathizing with you. I grew up with a truely loving and father, and I can't image what it must have felt like to grow up with one like those who have been described here. My mom had/has a wonderful marriage. I feel for the mothers/wives here.

I didn't defend patriarchy in another thread. All I did was add my opinions to the rest. Apparently, it came across wrong and/or was not appreciated. Homschooling I did defend. I have known many homeschoolers (the majority of whom had no connection with ATI or VF.) and frankly, I have been impressed by them, and completely unimpressed by our current education by the government.

I also do realize your dad was a human. And I'm sure and certain their were reasons for his behaviour.

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AKDA, possibly you mean well, so I don't want to go off on you, but comments like that are not really helpful and really push my buttons. Given that you've defended patriarchy in another thread, your sympathy comes across (to me) as condescending and self-serving.

My dad was not just "a creeper." He was also a human being, and while I don't excuse--at all!--the things he did, I sometimes wonder: what if he hadn't been beaten with belts and sticks by his own father, who believed that was proper discipline? What if he hadn't been one of too many children living in poverty, because Catholics can't use birth control, and a wife owes her husband sex? What if he hadn't been raised in a patriarchal church that said he'd burn in hell for admitting impulses that were normal for him? What if he didn't belong to a patriarchal society that expected boys to go to war, experience horrors, and come back home to pick up where they left off with no acknowledgment of their suffering--because men are tough and don't talk about stuff? What if he lived in a culture that promoted healing instead of one that scorned men who seek help as being unmanly? What if he hadn't been taught that it's perfectly okay for a man to be a tyrant at home, because women and children need to be controlled? There are a lot of what ifs.

This isn't about one or more individuals being "creepers." This is about a whole system of oppression that looks the other way when men dump their shit on women and children. I feel your would-be sympathy is just your way of saying "Sucks to be you! That would never happen to me, because I and my family are so much better." No, you're not. Patriarchy hurts everyone, whether you acknowledge it or not. If you already have a weakness, it will hurt you more, that's all.

I am once again profoundly moved by your eloquence, BoltingMadonna.

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Guest Anonymous
BoltingMadonna:

I didn't mean to sound trite. I was truely sympathizing with you. I grew up with a truely loving and father, and I can't image what it must have felt like to grow up with one like those who have been described here. My mom had/has a wonderful marriage. I feel for the mothers/wives here.

I didn't defend patriarchy in another thread. All I did was add my opinions to the rest. Apparently, it came across wrong and/or was not appreciated. Homschooling I did defend. I have known many homeschoolers (the majority of whom had no connection with ATI or VF.) and frankly, I have been impressed by them, and completely unimpressed by our current education by the government.

I also do realize your dad was a human. And I'm sure and certain their were reasons for his behaviour.

Perhaps you should learn how to spell, punctuate, and capitalize properly before you continue your crusade to defend homeschooling.

I didn't defend patriarchy in another thread.

There aren't any grammatical errors in this sentence, it's just a fucking lie. We're pushing an hour since you said you were buggering off and you're still here. It seems like a lot of time and effort for someone who doesn't care what we think.

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BoltingMadonna:

I didn't mean to sound trite. I was truely sympathizing with you. I grew up with a truely loving and father, and I can't image what it must have felt like to grow up with one like those who have been described here. My mom had/has a wonderful marriage. I feel for the mothers/wives here.

I didn't defend patriarchy in another thread. All I did was add my opinions to the rest. Apparently, it came across wrong and/or was not appreciated. Homschooling I did defend. I have known many homeschoolers (the majority of whom had no connection with ATI or VF.) and frankly, I have been impressed by them, and completely unimpressed by our current education by the government.

I also do realize your dad was a human. And I'm sure and certain their were reasons for his behaviour.

You defended VF families as being more happy than "normal" families. If you aren't defending patriarchy, then can you see how it is always dangerous and unhealthy for a family to be raised believing patriarchy is the only way to live like VF teaches?

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