Monday, May 23, 2011

To Heal

A few of you have expressed interest in helping, to varying degrees, young women leaving the P/QF movements. Some have broader abilities and plans to do so than others, but ALL offers of assistance are appreciated. Ideas are still being considered and plans formed to create a more seamless means of assisting these women and doing so responsibly. I appreciate the hearts that are willing to help. {I would ask that those who offer assistance ONLY do so privately - and I thank you}

Many of you already know many of the things I'm going to discuss in this piece, either having healed from wounds of your own or being in the process of healing. For those who don't know, that process, healing, is what I want to talk to you about. I can't emphasize the word "process" enough. Healing, in these instances, is the embodiment of several elements...

Breathing. Physical rest. Mental rest. Redefining. Rediscovery. Reconnection. Examination. Introspection. Sifting. Sorting. So many more that I didn't list, and others who read here are likely much more qualified to discuss and address this, but in the interim, I want to talk about a few of the more important issues.

One thing you didn't find in my list is a direct reference to religion or faith. This is the MOST important thing for those who want to help these women to consider and remember, particularly those willing to house them in their transition period: It can't be a religious thing. They don't need Christian counseling or immediate encouragement from the bible. They need to breathe. 

They may need to sleep 12 hours a day (or more) for a week or two. Let them. They're exhausted in every imaginable way. They've had their entire lives turned upside down. They've been struggling to keep their heads afloat in a tidal wave of often very ugly interaction, overwhelmingly negative emotion, and utter rejection  coming from people who should be pillars of love, acceptance, and safety in their lives. Their minds are tired. Their bodies are tired. Their broken hearts are tired. Let them rest.

Live your faith and your freedom before them, but not upon them. 

Pray FOR them - only with them if they ask you to.

Little things like referring to the bible as "God's Word" can be immensely triggering and damaging to a young woman battered and bruised by "God's Word" her entire life. Your personal beliefs on the subject have to become secondary to the healing of the battered heart, mind, and life before you. Little things like religious terminology can cause irreparable breaches of trust that can defeat the forward momentum of the healing process. These women have to break the connection of the term "God" to the oppressive and abusive lifestyle they're leaving behind. The reconnection of the term to the Loving Creator it represents has to happen on their terms, in a way their heart can handle, not yours or mine. For some it happens quickly. For others it takes time. We have to let them make that reconnection themselves (even not make it at all if they so choose). They have to breathe.

[My experience - I recoil at Christianese. I recoil at terms like "godly", "biblical", and "God's Word" in reference to the bible. I have good reason. The most destructive, hurtful, and devastating things ever done to me have been done, in "God's name" and at "God's intervention", by men and women fluent in Christianese, men and women who claimed to be "godly", "biblical", and devoted to "God's Word". I want no part of it. I know how skeptical those terms make me. I can only imagine how skeptical those terms make these young women.]

These women may need to totally redefine their faith, totally redefine what it means, totally redefine who Christ is to them, totally redefine their Heavenly Father, totally redefine the things that are true, and good, and lasting. This faith, whatever its condition, may be the only thing of value left in their life which they can call their own. Total redefinition and rediscovery of what they will cling to may be necessary to protect this precious thing. Sifting, sorting, examining, reexamining. Let them - without interruption, interjection, and interference. Let them - for their own reasons. Let them.

Their faith "muscle" may be tired and expended. They may need a break from all things related to their faith for a while. Let them have that break - without condemnation or judgment.

Let them engage you on matters of faith. Don't seek to start that dialog yourself.

[My experience - The above describes me in many ways. There are days when I cling to my faith by the thinnest of margins as I sift, sort, reexamine, and heal. For me, what I saw was so wrong, so evil to my own reckoning, that I took my faith in Christ and set it to the side, but placed ALL other aspects of my Christianity on the table for scrutiny and examination. I searched meticulously for anything that could make me like my ex's family, and as much as hate to say it, like my ex. I want nothing whatsoever to do with their "God". I want nothing whatsoever to do with a "faith" that would cause me to treat others as expendable, that would cause me to do to others what this group of people did to me. Nothing. My sifting and sorting continues, and may for a lifetime. I want to hold on only to that which is meaningful, real, and true. Perhaps this seems petty to you. So be it. The wounds, both emotional and spiritual, are mine, not yours. This process is between me and God. The process for these young women will also be unique to them as individuals, and needs to be settled between them and God without interference. You may not understand it. You may not approve of their approach to it. So be it. Let them settle it.] 

Many things which are foundational institutions of safety in our lives are havens of distress for these women. They may not truly understand the healthy parameters of family relationships. Things that were once the foundation of hopes and dreams may now be tarnished for them. Perhaps they've longed to become a wife and mother, but the unhealthy portrait of both that has been lived before them has blurred the field of vision of that hope and that dream. Maybe they dreamed of higher education and a particular career path, but the spiritually and emotionally abusive resistance to their dream caused such pain that they can no longer view it without feeling the pain - and the luster has faded. Barring miraculous intervention from God, there's no secret formula, no spiritual pixie dust, no magical event that will suddenly make everything better. There is no "If _____ would happen, this would all be better and be nothing but a speck in the rearview mirror." Let their heart and soul rage, hurt, and mourn this. Mourn with them. Let them rediscover these things on their own terms, in their own time. Be support when they need it, not when you think they should need it. Encourage always, but only with honesty. No false praise. Love always. Hope always. Pray for their best and trust the Holy Spirit to direct and establish their best.

[My experience - Many people, very well-meaning, have tried to encourage me or lift my spirits by telling me, "You just wait...The right woman will come along any day now, you'll be bitten by the love bug, and all this stuff will be a distant memory." It isn't nearly so simplistic a matter. If it were, this blog wouldn't exist - at least not with me as its author. This devalues my experience in so many ways. This completely devalues the commitment I made to my ex and the significance of it to me. This falsely minimizes the depth of my wounds. This devalues what placing my ring on her finger meant to me, and minimizes the massive wound I suffered when she was unfaithful to her commitment and took it off. This devalues what was taken from my life. This minimizes an event which cost me my health, a third of my body weight, and nearly my life, in essence devaluing my health and my life itself. Mourn with me, rage with me, allow me to heal in the timing I require to heal from these wounds and in the way I need to heal from these wounds, even if it never happens in this life, but don't minimize my wounds or suggest scenarios which offer only false hope. Right now, I recoil at the thought of any kind of intimate commitment and at the thought of a ring. What was beautiful is unappealing. Let me heal. Your disapproval of the rate of my healing process only minimizes my experience and breaches trust. I'm moving forward, and the wounds will most likely move with me for a long while. The wounds of the young women exiting these movements will most likely move with them as they move forward. Let the process play out. Let them rediscover their dreams, and their hearts, on their own timetable. There's no magical quick-fix.] 

These women will need to reconnect to their own emotions, maybe even make the initial connection to their emotions. Create an environment for them where this can thrive. They need to experience emotion as a beautiful part of creation and not the evil villian lurking in the shadows of their heart and mind. They need to come to realize that their heart belongs to THEM, first and foremost, not to their dad, not to any man, but to THEM, to be opened and extended to whomever THEY feel lead to open and extend it to. Unless they become destructive to themselves or others, don't intervene. Let them laugh. Let them cry. Let them be angry (and validate that anger by reaffirming that what was done to them was wrong). Let them find peace. Just encourage. Cheer. Just as you mourn with them, celebrate with them. Every little victory in what might be a mundane matter to us is very significant to them. Decisions will be totally foreign to many of them. Maybe even to most of them. Support and encourage them in decision-making, but don't force decisions that they may not be equipped to make. Instead, walk them through the process in these instances. When they make a good decision, celebrate with them. Celebrate not just the good consequence, but the decision itself, too. When they make a bad decision, don't condemn, but rather comfort, and at the same time, celebrate that they made a decision.

Allow and encourage them to question anything and everything. An entire life and world is in front of them, and most of it will be uncharted territory. If they ask a question of you which you don't know the answer to, be so bold as to tell them, "I don't know." If they ask a question or engage in conversation about matters of faith, by all means engage them in return, always careful to point to a loving, accepting, grace-based Christ, not to a demanding Christ (they've heard of that one already).

These women are bright, beautiful, fascinating, wonderful creations of God. Open your hearts to them accordingly and you'll be doing as powerful and important a work as there is to do for Christ. If you offer assistance, and I or others have some questions for you, please don't be offended. We just want to take the right precautions and be careful to not place you or these young women in unhealthy situations.

To those of you going through this healing process now, some of you practically alone in doing so: You're never far from my heart and mind. Most of you have made enormous progress just in the period of time I've known you, and I'm SO proud of you guys. You are genuinely my heroes. You're all beautiful and very special to me. Keep breathing. Keep healing.


  1. These are just the issues that struck me as being among the more important issues to be considered. If more come to mind that I feel need to be addressed, I'll add them to the article.

    Those of you who have other issues that are/were important to you in your own process, and anyone with experience or qualification who sees that I missed something important and wants to address it, please feel free to do so here in the comment thread at any length necessary.

  2. Sorry Lewis. I didn't like my last comment. I got too personal. Just praying these young women get some help.

  3. No worries...Thanks for the prayers. These girls can always use them.

  4. Lewis - Thank you so much for this post and for reaching out to those that are seeking healing. I could see so much of myself in your post and I'm still healing, redefining, examining, etc. even though this is 14 years down the road. I appreciate you and your heart for others so much!

  5. Great post Lewis, I am so glad to see the emphasis on not talking about God unless and until the girl brings it up. To some people it might seem almost mean to not talk about what they believe is the best way to help a person recovering from trauma, but no matter how kindly meant it is not always a good idea.

    Now I need to go finish reading the last few posts in your series - been chaotic around here and I'm behind in the riveting "suspense noir" tale. I hate that you had to go through all that, but you really are good at writing so that even though I know the story it's still keeping me on tenterhooks.


  6. "You just wait...The right woman will come along any day now, you'll be bitten by the love bug, and all this stuff will be a distant memory." It isn't nearly so simplistic a matter. If it were, this blog wouldn't exist - at least not with me as its author. This devalues my experience in so many ways.

    This is a part of another Christian lie that seems to be prevalent in churches. The idea that God has promised anyone whoe wants one (and even those who don't) a spouse, if only they are patient to wait. I can't count the number of times that a well-meaning christan has tried to comfort a frustrated single with the phrase "Just be patient, he/she will be worth the wait." You're right, it totally devalues what those singles are going through, aside fromt the fact that it puts an innordanent amount of emphasis on "the promised one" as the persons fulfillment. A spouse cannot heal anyones pain, only God can. Thank you for the words to describe what I have been trying to explain to others.

  7. "These women will need to reconnect to their own emotions, maybe even make the initial connection to their emotions."

    It took me at least a year just to be able to connect the name of an emotion with the emotion. My emotions were like several balls of yarn that had been played with by a dozen kittens for a month. All negative emotions presented as various forms of anger. All positive ones presented as an adrenaline rush. If there wasn't physical activity available, I would start shivering. I'm still (years later) discovering more nuances of my emotions.

    "Decisions will be totally foreign to many of them." (and every sentence in the rest of that paragraph!)

    Oh my. We're talking about decisions on what to wear for the day. Or whether or not it is ok to spend a dollar for a candy bar (*cue voice in head* candy bars are not a necessity of life, you know). These decisions can cause huge amounts of anxiety. Ten times worse are decisions on buying new clothes or what jobs to apply for or whether to go ahead and be a friend with a guy. Unthinkable are decisions about a career path or what degree to try for.

    Also, I totally agree with cheering for every tiny progress. Those tiny things are HUGE.

    Also, avoid fear - any kind of fear. Show us how to live life without constant fear. Show us that it is ok to break through comfort zones; that we will actually survive that. Because we have already broken a lot of those in very recent history if we are seeking refuge with you. Show us the difference between watchfulness (cautiousness) and fear.

  8. Two things:

    It may happen that the decision made is to leave Christianity and never come back. To fight against that is to not believe that the Holy Spirit, as he promised, can work in a person's life, WITHOUT human interference. I'm convinced that anyone who is willing to help must understand this, because, if they don't, any intervention to prevent the walking away will only serve to confuse and even push the individual back into the comfort of what they know best.

    And yes, what they know best IS a comfort, no matter how hurtful, evil, and life-destroying it is. Its sick, but it is the dynamic of being in a guilt-ridden, cultic group.

    Secondly, though to a different degree, men coming out of this movement are in need of much of the above, as well. They are taught that their place is to rule over women and many of them have no healthy relational boundaries set. To them, the world revolves around them and yet the world is what needs to be feared.

    I know. Its a whole different idea and the healing process is going to be much different. I only mention it because I am one of those men. My respect for women has only grown deeper since leaving all that bullcrap behind.

    Thank you for your awesome words.

  9. I agree with anon. Telling a single that someday his or her day will come when they will find this wonderful person of their dreams is pointless! Who cares to hear that when your heart is breaking and/or you are suffering from abuse?

  10. Thank you for this.

    You are so right about the sleep/rest thing. For me, it's been 10 years since I experienced the worst days, and 8 since I walked away from it all...and it's only in the last year or so that I feel alive again, that I can make plans and set goals for myself. I was just so exhausted on all levels from "trying" so hard - thinking I had to be perfect, fighting my emotions, dealing with the constant pressure. It's taken me a long time to heal from that.

    If I could add one thing - secular counseling is a huge part of what helped me. I know in the Christian world that therapy is not encouraged, but I really think that it's a life-saver. Good therapists won't work against someone's religious faith, and they don't try to "de-convert" you. They try to help you heal, and for me, going to my weekly therapy appointment was the biggest and best thing I could do to help myself.

    I understand what you mean about the platitudes, too, but at the same time - now that I'm on the other side of the darkness? I didn't know life could be so beautiful. Even though I still struggle every day (with food issues becuase our brand of fundieism had a huge amount of food restriction, with perfectionism, with feelings of worthlesness), life is 1000 times better now than it was then. The struggle sucks, but I just hope that every person who has experienced the darkness can experience the light too.

    Anyway, thanks for writing.


  11. via my friend Anne (blogger wouldn't let her comment)...

    Privacy...lots Of privacy.
    Boundaries...sometimes in our quest to find healthy boundaries we take in way too much territory at first.
    Trust...SHOW us we can trust you, don't insist on it.

    Lots of space is good. My ex roommate was hell to live with as a fresh escapee. She was constantly pushing me ('for your own good') and stuff.

  12. I don't have anything to add, but I appreciate posts like this and all the comments.
    I get impatient with myself and think that I should read more, be less tired and be further along. I forget that it's ok to rest and give myself time to figure things out.

  13. This article is stellar.

    I would add this:

    Have grace on yourself. And be patient with yourself during the healing process.

    I am many years "out" and have been extremely blessed in many ways, both personally and professionally. There have been times that my career puts me in positions which garner deep respect from others. I don't know how to say this in a way that sounds as humble as I intend; I don't put stock in status or position. But I'm still a little surprised at times when I reflect on how others within my field perceive me and I think: if only they knew that this "strong" person sometimes writhes at home in grief over something from my past....whether it is from being triggered somehow throughout the day, or recalling memories, etc.

    All of this is to say ~ you will heal, and you will keep healing over time. Don't become discouraged if in ten years or more something appears out of nowhere. This is part of the process. Consider that there is a reason for the timing. This doesn't mean you've failed or regressed, but that life had to happen before you were ready for this part. It is progress. Perhaps you didn't have the strength to address it before, but now you've received the fortitude you need to face whatever it is. Be the friend you need for yourself.

    Good job, Lewis.

  14. Wow! Just Wow!!!!
    This post is awesome (for lack of a better term!)
    You truly nail on the head for not only survivors of patriarchy but survivors of cults and controlling pastors.

    As Sharon said "These decisions can cause huge amounts of anxiety. Ten times worse are decisions on buying new clothes or what jobs to apply for or whether to go ahead and be a friend with a guy. Unthinkable are decisions about a career path or what degree to try for."

    I still struggle with those very decisions EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. and I have been out of the cult for four years (four years peeps!! WHOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOO! Gotta think of a way to party on TCND to honor that...any suggestions?) are on fire man!!!!
    KEEP IT UP!!!!

  15. ....I do have to say I don't struggle with "being friends with guys part"...was blessed with the best dude on earth :)

  16. Have to agree with the others.
    This one is good enough to print out and have on hand to show to church people who are in too much of a rush to get the deeply wounded to "forgive and move on".

    I get so tired of trying to explain the process to people who don't understand how deep it really is.
    They keep bringing up great aunt Myrtle who wouldn't forgive her second cousin Eunice twice removed for some small offense fifty years ago at the family reunion and how bitter she is now and trying to compare that with the devastation caused by spiritual abuse that begins before birth.

  17. "I recoil at Christianese. I recoil at terms like 'godly', 'biblical', and 'God's Word' in reference to the bible. I have good reason. The most destructive, hurtful, and devastating things ever done to me have been done, in 'God's name' and at 'God's intervention', by men and women fluent in Christianese, men and women who claimed to be 'godly', 'biblical', and devoted to 'God's Word'."

    I agree wholeheartedly. I have suffered more hate from my 'brothers and sisters in Christ' than I ever have from atheists.

  18. Jay Wile. Are you Dr. Jay Wile? If so, it was because of you that my wife and I decided to immunize. You were the beginning of the end of all of our ultra-conservative ideologies. We saw your well thought out charts and graphs and serious research and decided that life was about thinking, not just accepting. Then, we listened to all the peeps who rejected reason and after getting surgery for our permanently raised eyebrows, we left...and became normal.

    So, if you are he, we thank you.

  19. Excellent and insightful article. Two things that I have had to deal with in addition to what you mentioned: #1- I don't have to pray about every decision....meaning, which candy bar should I buy? Neither, it's a "good" parking place or which outfit to wear? Because decision making was so impossible for me, I found myself praying about every little detail, not getting answers and wondering what the heck was wrong with me.

    #2- I still avoid Christian music. Every once in a blue moon I can listen to something, mostly not though...too many triggers.

  20. I'm glad you brought up the well meaning but misguided "You'll meet somebody" line. I think people mean to be kind and don't know what to say and this sounds nice and practical and inoffensive. What people rarely realize is that this is the opposite. When someone loses someone they love (though death or any other devastating means) they need to grieve and that takes as long as it takes. My friend lost her husband to brain cancer at a young age and she had to grieve, not only for him, but for the life they had planned together. It just vanished. While he was sick, she could only pray he would recover, but after he died she had to deal with her guilt (could she have helped him more), her anger (why did he leave her), etc. It was very unhelpful for people to start telling her she needed to just move on and start dating again. Lewis, you are writing such a moving story. I'm just honored to share it.

  21. Another thing for those who want to help these young women to remember...

    Although most of you who read here understand the depth of the issue, many don't, and from an uneducated position, viewing only the surface of the issue, this may strike them as just a family squabble.

    People must become aware of the sociopathy and narcissism that this belief system breeds and demands - a be aware of what it causes - to fully understand the depth of the issue.

    I can't emphasize that enough.

    I don't say this to diminish the experience of a loved one passing away (I've lost loved ones myself)...but for these girls, their experience is far worse than the passing of a loved one.

    Imagine if EVERY person of substance in your family and family circle passed away in an instant - that's the level of loss these women have experienced. Then, ADD TO that loss that these people haven't actually died, but are still walking around somewhere, rejecting them thoroughly (as if these women don't deserve to be loved or to exist), and in some cases, actively recruiting others to both die to and reject them.

    While it isn't this extreme in all cases, in most it is.

    Loss PLUS rejection.

  22. Anonymous 2:15...Your comment (which was spot on) inspired the thought in the last comment I made, so thank you.

  23. Some of these women will embrace a more compassionate and less rule ridden Christianity while others (like myself) will leave it entirely. Just thought I would point that out.

  24. In many ways, leaving fundamentalism is less like moving away from home and more like moving away from your whole country. Into a whole new world, culture, history, language, mannerisms... and never even being able to call home.

  25. i'd like to add, from years of mentoring teens, and VERY important thing:

    modeling *good* relationships. i don't just mean marriage - i mean with siblings, parents, friends, co-workers. the people who escape P/QF DON'T KNOW how to have normal relationships [in me experience] - everything but EVERYTHING seems to be about heirarchy, where you fit in it, and your placement is what models your relationships.

    so i think it's REALLY important to model *good* relationships for them - both the girls AND the guys who escape.

  26. Wonderful post.

    I would add:

    Don't be surprised if they have misplaced priorities and untrue truisms. Gently point them out to them when appropriate. What seems obvious and simple to you may be earth-shattering or amazing to them.

    Just a recent incident with my husband pointed out yet another of these in me. I was more ashamed of not doing my "duty" than of not communicating with my husband. Communication should trump duty... but I grew up with the reverse.

  27. Thanks you so much, Lewis. This is so helpful for me right now while I deal with a few people who are recovering from spiritual abuse. I have had so many people scrutinize my blog and say, well, it has no scriptures, it doesn't say this or that in the right "way" and I say I am definitely in this zone of healing right now where I am repugnated by simplistic, "Christian" thoughts and the use of bible verses to explain my heart and everything else. I spent my whole life quoting scripture and I need a break. It's just where I am at and many cannot understand this process and wish for me to "move on" with out dealing in the way I need to. Lewis, you are light in this, my dark and lonely place of healing.

  28. Incongruous Circumspection, I am Dr. Jay L. Wile. Thanks SO MUCH for letting me know how my post helped you. I am incredibly humbled.

    By the way, I found your site through the Quivering Daughters blog. I read that book a while ago and it affected me deeply, even though I have never had any real experience with the P/QF movement. I wish the book had been published while my daughter was still under my care. I personally think that book should be read by ANY father who has a daughter.

  29. lol. Sorry for so many posts. Once again, no need to approve. I just realized you would probably need my address to respond:

  30. Just a quick note: When someone first leaves, they go through a crisis stage. This involves sitting around and drooling-- a bunch. Or maybe yelling. Personally, I'm a drooler. For the first three months or so, someone had to walk me like one of the pups just to keep the circulation going...

    The trauma it takes to disconnect and actually get *out* is akin to going through one of those tornadoes we keep having and the aftermath is just as devastating. The soul is battered-- and that's on top of the wounds taken on a daily basis going back years sometimes.

    You've got to get through crisis before any sort of normal can start. Delaying crisis means you get to do it all over, in the future, when you probably can't remember why you're having a crisis in the first place.

    Let me just say-- those who've been through the crisis phase themselves usually recognize it right off. And you don't necessarily have to have left a fundie/cult group. Just about any traumatic hurricane on the scale of-- oh, say-- Hurricane Katrina-- will do just dandy :)

  31. this. and also, your point about loss + rejection..yeah. that.
    good job.

  32. Wondering how good a job the family I know is doing at helping a QD heal....=D

    I do agree with so much of what you wrote. If I added anything it would to give a 90 day grace period- expect nothing and accept nothing for the first 90 days. No rent, no help with groceries, no chores. Give them time to grieve.

    Anyone thinking of leaving, get your social security card, birth certificate and passport/license OR a color copy OR at least write down the important numbers, date issued, place of birth etc.

    Education: if your parents didn't home school legally or issue you a valid diploma, you might need a GED. Check with your local community college about getting one. It helps to get that taken care of before you look for work.

    And as for host families/roomies, you might want to watch Tangled for a good idea of the emotional ups and downs a recently escaped person will be experiencing all at the same time. It's so accurate in my experience.

  33. I second Incongruous Circumspection's comment about men needing help as well. Anyone who has spent a good bit of time within the P/QF movement will leave broken and battered.

    Yes, many men will gravitate toward a more domineering or controlling (even abusive) husband and father. But this is quite natural. They are merely modeling the God they have been taught. This is a devastating consequence of legalism that affects men, women, and children alike. God is not who they know him to be. And until that is fixed, nothing else matters.


  34. -e

    I do focus a lot on women coming out of abusive systems all the while knowing that men need healing as well.

    When I see men on the road to healing like Lewis and I.C. my heart rejoices over it.

    What kind of helps do men need that aren't being addressed?
    What more can be done?

  35. For me? Unconditional love for my children whiel walking away from the stupid asinine crap about breaking their will. Basically, I need to learn to love my kids for who they are - kids!

  36. Good question Mara. Probably a lot of the same, I guess. I am still finding areas within my own life that need healing, like when I find myself relating to my kids in ways I related to God for so many years.

    On second though my comment is probably better directed at ex-P/QF guys who might not realize how very screwed up they are as well.


  37. I.C.
    So learning to unconditionally love others, as Jesus taught us, and practicing on family members including wives and children where applicable? Is this a good start? or a good everything?

    And e,
    Relearning who God is, what His nature is, and letting Jesus be the Vine that we attach to as branches, and relearning how to truely attach in a way that we get the True Life-Giving Sap rather than a cheap malnourishing substitute of P/QR? (hope you can make sense of that rambling run-on)

    I wonder, though, just how one goes about holding mirror up to ex-P/QF guys in order for them to see how the warped system has warped them. I wonder what the best method would be.

    The more that exodus out of the movement, the better.
    And, as mentioned above concerning the daughters, some of these fellows are just going to have to be given space to walk away from God altogether, indefinitly? Right?

  38. Mara Reid. I can't answer that definitively for everyone. My wife was not involved in the P/QF movement, her dad only being swayed by the most influential speakers during her childhood. He dabbles in it, a bit now, but that is only due to his wife needing to find meaning in life. She forces him into it in order to control her children's lives to validate her existence. They have pretty much rejected it, anyway. Its a bit sickening, really.

    I mention that history and current event only to portray that, while my wife and I didn't get married, purposing to live that crap, I tried to live the "principled" life and failed, realizing that it didn't work. But, the baggage I took from that lifestyle is still with me today. I am trying to scrape away the crap with a sharper knife by the day. The problem is, there are tools out there that are helpful and yet I was always taught they were evil. My gut reaction is that I therefore need to reinvent the wheel for myself, but it doesn't need to be so.

    I just need to be willing to read, discuss, think, and study what used to be opposing viewpoints and then act on them. It is so easy to slip back into what I was used to but the consequences are enough to kick me in the arse and keep me running from that life.

    To say "practice on my wife and kids" sounds fine, but it actually can hurt them. I need to kill the "evil one" in myself (ironically, the evil one, in this case, is the same as the "good one" I was always taught to emulate).

    That being said, I have a different approach than your question. Here it is:

    My wife and kids need to practice on ME! I am constantly learning to be an open and fertile bed for their seeds of love. A P/QF's gut reaction to correction or criticism from those that are expected to be subservient to him is to lash out, reject it out of hand, and stand on his god-hood. Oddly, this is still my gut reaction, at times. But, the times it actually escapes the confines of my stupid brain is so infrequent today, that it is almost non-existent.

    I continue to learn and grow on this journey. In my opinion, the key is to be open to everyone's criticism EXCEPT those who desire to pull you back into P/QF. And, unfortunately, their tentacles are, many times, simply imagined. Yes, the guilt and control of the P/QF movement is very irritating and sometimes debilitating.

    But, I press on, with the help of many.

  39. Some of these women also need basic life skills help too; like getting money for food and housing and learning how to drive.

    As one who became homeless in order to leave, I know I could have used some money and someone to teach me how to drive.

    I'm 28 and still don't know how; don't have a GED, apparently an 8th grade education was all I needed right because I'm supposed to just stay home and pop out babies, right?

  40. Wow. I found this post about a month ago. I really appreciate the comment by Connie. I wonder how fast I could have moved forward if I had a 90 day grace period when I left. Actually I didn't have a day really. I went from home to living as a nanny with good friends, but still they were clueless as to what I was really going through. Still working long hours (a full & part time job) and wondering what happened to all my self discipline and motivation that I had... before.