heartless: lacking courage or enthusiasm; spiritless; disheartened
No one starts out this way. It's the product of being beaten into submission, whether physically, mentally and emotionally, or spiritually. Some are strong enough to maintain their heart through the abuse. Others aren't. That doesn't mean one group is "better" than the other. People are different, and circumstances vary, and all of these variables factor in.
My ex and I broke up twice. Once before we were engaged, and most of you know about the second one. With both break-ups she said, "My heart just isn't in this." In both cases, I knew that wasn't true. Her heart was completely in us. After we had been restored together from the first break-up, she admitted to me that she had been beaten into emotional oblivion by her father, constantly hearing his objections to me, constantly hearing him belittle me, berating her to the point of tears many times. On the day of our first break-up, she said to me, "I just don't see any way this can work." I didn't understand it at all at the time, but what she was doing was falling into Learned Helplessness. The berating had turned her emotional clock back by years, rendering her a helpless child.
The same scenario played out when our relationship ended permanently. The growing, expanding, confident and vibrant woman she had been when with me just weeks earlier was rendered a scared, helpless, emotional adolescent. If I may be human for a moment, this makes me want to pound her father every which way but stupid. What a cruel and inhumane thing to do to a daughter, and I have little patience for any "good intentions" behind what he did.
Learned Helplessness results when the mind is conditioned to see a situation as "damned if you do, damned if you don't." In our situation, my ex was experiencing the hell her father was making her life, and would continue to make her life if she followed her heart (damned if you do), and knew that if she went along with her father she'd lose what her heart truly wanted (damned if you don't). Combine that with being indoctrinated her entire life to believe that her heart was evil and that she, as a woman, was created to be easily deceived, and these are powerful, crippling, downright paralyzing influences. When, in her eyes, nothing she could do would make any genuine difference, she gave up. She lost heart...all while attempting to console herself that she'd done right, being that her heart is evil. Works-based, false virtue had been stressed above and mistaken for character, and the fruit was made manifest in her life by crisis.
The patriocentric movement forcefully indoctrinates daughters to see their fathers as the man who "guards their heart." I can think of many words to describe this dynamic - silly, senseless, perpetual infancy, overkill, meddling, and many more, none of them good. The heart was made to love, to feel, to experience. It doesn't need the novocaine shot of being "guarded" by a person who can't even be privy to it's very personally unique sensations. The true danger in the dynamic is the lack of any scriptural basis for it - yet it's practiced doctrinally, with daughters, whether by spoken or unspoken mandate, believing it sinful to choose another path. Their hearts cease to be guarded. They're stolen instead, and offered by their fathers on the altar of a human god.
Proponents of patriarchy may argue this with me, and say this is all by choice, and all "biblical" - and nothing they would say would be even slightly true. For those allowing your father to "guard your heart", attempt to take it back and see just what happens. You'll be treated as if you've rejected Christ. To suspect or expect otherwise is naive. I've seen it, and many who read my page have lived it. If the concept of a father "guarding the heart" of a daughter fails, patriocentricity fails, because the father has to control ALL for it to be viable, and it will be defended with the scorched earth policy of the old Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc - because the system must not fail. It's god.
I think of David's charge to Israel - "Don't lose heart because of this uncircumcised Philistine", and of the 10 spies who caused the children of Israel to "lose heart", convincing them that invading the promised land would be futile, despite the faith of Joshua and Caleb. David, Joshua, and Caleb all knew that, if they exercised faith in God, the battle wouldn't be defined by the enemy, but by the power of God. This is the opposite of what the people chose, and it's the absolute, inarguable opposite of the patriocentric ideal. A neo-patriarch wants his wife and children to put their faith in him alone. He may say otherwise, but there's no argument whatsoever against the fact that he wants ALL correspondence with the Lord to go through him. He wants to define everything. This makes him the god of his fiefdom.
In those passages, "heart" is translated from the Hebrew "leb" or "lebab", which means: inner man, mind, will, heart, soul, understanding.
When a young woman hears a lifetime of reminders that she's easily deceived, can't trust her heart, has to surrender her inner being, mind, will, heart, soul, and understanding to her earthly father - her heart has been stolen, she's left with only woefully bounded choices, she's been made SO much less than God created her to be, and the enemy rejoices that she's lost heart, unable to claim the promises of God. Galatians 6:9 tells us, "And let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." Patriarchal fathers would intercept and cancel that harvest by willfully taking the hearts of their children.
Only a small, small man would kill the spirit and steal the heart of his daughter. Only a small, small man would dutifully and purposefully engineer the weakness of a woman to allow himself to point at the scripture about the "weaker vessel" and feel justified.
Modern day neo-patriarchs are small, small men.