Seeing Through to Validity

Validating Children
Their Thought Patterns, Feelings, and Perception of Their World.
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We are still traveling. My daughter has become a Little Traveler. I have become a wreck of an excuse for a woman, to say nothing of a wife or mama.

On the upside, we are finally under contract on a house, but won’t close until the end of the first week of September; posts between now and then will be minimal, though likely therapeutic. We have basically been carting the clan around from Grandma’s, to a furnished condo for a month, to a hotel for a couple weeks, and who knows what in between, for the last 7 weeks. So, like I should expect anything else but turmoil and difficulty from my two year old who understands so much, but not quite enough, and very little when it comes to abstract things like the future.

Wanting to keep discussions going however, I thought I’d throw out my latest topic of the week.   Monsters.

Yep, my daughter suddenly sees monsters. They’re everywhere. I ripped her from her foundation, her stability, and from the security of “home”, and to say the fallout compares to that of Chernobyl would be an almost fair comparison. Perhaps I should have seen the Monster thing coming.

This is a nightmare.

She never saw monsters before and was certainly not afraid of those she did see on tv. She liked them in fact, especially the Sesame Street variety. Now she and her baby are constantly demonstrating insecurity and trepidation. I am so grieved that I can’t make it through a single day without tears or silently breaking down. Her Papa and I have both worked so hard to instill confidence, security, and strength in her and we knew that this “move” was going to be really tough. But none of our plans have worked out the way we’d hoped, so we’re just sorta winging this day to day, and that is the single worst thing we could have allowed to become reality at this stage in her development.

Let’s talk regression. Let’s talk no longer will she poop because she wants to go home and won’t poop anywhere but home, and she refuses to tell me when she has to pee… AND since she doesn’t have a home and her bathroom, or the run of her environment, etc., she won’t just go pee on her own because well, the toilet is too tall, the seat is split and her legs get hurt, and the Bumbo actually tore a few days ago. Oh and she’s terrified that “this” toilet (insert toilet model/location of choice) is going to either flush on its own and thereby send her into an instant and horrified panic, or it will be so loud when it does flush on command that she doesn’t want to go anywhere near it. Pick an issue (the bucket is full), or combination thereof, or random reason (like she’s stuck in a damn car seat for hours on end as we traipse across the state trying to make this work somehow). No surprise she just doesn’t see the point in tending to her pottying needs effectively.

It’s horrible.

And I can’t let her think for one second that I have no clue what I’m doing. Or can I?

If she sensed that I am floundering just as much as she is to grasp this situation, just from a different angle, she will likely fall apart at the seams, or so I thought. But, I learned something this week. I learned that my kid has a perceptiveness and awareness light years beyond even what I thought, and I had already given her a pretty high ranking. Her cognitive development seems to have chosen now to kick into high gear. I’m not sure this is a good thing, but here we are.

I lost it the other day, couldn’t keep up the facade, and just broke down and told my little kid what I was dealing with. She asked why I was sad and why I was crying. I told her that I was so sad that we couldn’t just go home right then, as she’d asked me to. I was sad that she was struggling with the environment I had placed us in, and all the stress (details of this in part two of this post) that her little self seemed to be dealing with. I was very sad that she was scared of monsters and that she couldn’t just have her room, her house, and her Papa right then! (He was working a couple hours away for a couple days and stayed at a hotel.)

She told me that she was also “Scrug-gul-ying a lot because (her) baby was afraid of the kabooms (thunder) and the monsters (that are everywhere now, in the dark, the light, otherwise), and that she (her baby) needed her (my daughter), but that it was hard”. Which, of course, brought a new flood of tears from me. The ache is unable to be ignored.

She has decided to choose this period to first become very attentive to a doll, her “baby”. She has also decided to personify her own needs, thoughts, and feelings through those of this doll, and in her tending to it. The really positive side of this is my husband and I get to see first hand, tangibly demonstrated, how she sees our parenting of her, and her life. Particularly, as she is a girl (she says) she is the mama (she says), and so she mimics with her doll what she and I share and do together. I am humbled and so pleased because I know from this that I’m doing what this little one needs. BUT I am also horrified because in the same vein, I am forced to see exactly what harm and damage I have allowed to occur to her through all of this.

I cannot adequately explain all of what our life is like right now, but basically, we have chosen to make a career path modification that will eventually lend the opportunity for all of us (Mama, Papa, Bug 1 and maybe others, and canine kid) to spend a much greater amount of time together. No more of Papa having to leave for an office at 8am, not to return until at least 6pm, work from home half or more of the time, overnight a good amount, and basically be at the beck and call of the company around the clock, all the time. – Not so good for family…

We have chosen this path to give us the opportunity to live in an area that is diverse culturally (though some would question the validity of that statement, it is true nonetheless). It is also an area that provides for more real estate for less money than we are accustomed to struggling through, less population and stress than we’re used to tolerating, and views as far as the eye can see. In fact, the only objects that obstruct those views are mountains 50 to 100 miles off.

This path will allow for more time and energy to be given to our creativity, our craft, our passions, and her education and growth. Basically, it is a dream come true in that it pays more, living costs are less, and as a whole, our family will just simply be together a lot more and Mama and Papa get to equally raise and parent, instead of Mama’s work being parenting and Papa’s work being something else that leaves no time or energy to give the parenting gig a fair chance.

So, in the end, we will be much better than where we have been, but the getting there is a monumental effort and lesson in a thousand things that go in as many different directions, and my little tiny person is stuck right in the middle, being pulled apart.

I have had a lot of people tell me recently that I am making too much of this, that my daughter will adapt just fine, and that she won’t remember any of it anyway. Unfortunately for them, and more so for me, they’re wrong. I will write later about how I know her memory is undeniably accurate and undiminished, and in the mean time, I will tell you she is adapting only in that she is becoming cynical. And as far as this situation not being the impact in reality that I am “making it into”, I will let her voice speak for her reality (will follow this topic throughout this thread, which will likely span a few posts in the next week).

Seeing through the mess to validation. Facing the face of insecurity, crumbled foundation, and the calloused need of others to make less of everything as a method of assisting the guilt and grief ridden mind of the responsible adults, who aren’t asking for relief, but empathy. This is my daily task. This is my little bug’s daily misery.

In the midst of this, as if it’s not already enough, I am being forced to defend the validity of the very real feelings, thoughts, and new found experience with fear my daughter is struggling with to those with whom we are interacting in person (and not so in-person, for that matter). These people have an influence on her daily activities and existence, to one degree or another. They believe they are helping, but one key factor is forgotten and/or overlooked in their method, my daughter’s legitimacy. They don’t want to allow themselves to acknowledge the grief and guilt, as it might strike at them too, so they tell her (and me) that she’s just fine and that she is actually quite oblivious, or at least won’t remember any of this turmoil.

But I am here to tell the entire world that – if only – my daughter WERE just fine and blissfully oblivious, I would go to, and HAVE BEEN TRYING to go to such lengths as whatever were necessary to continue her being able to exist in such a state. Alas, that is not the case. My kid is too aware to miss a single detail, too sensitive to miss even the tiniest hint of expression, and too discerning that she could possibly sail through this mercifully unaware. So instead, I have to be brutally honest with myself, and accept the consequences of this journey. I must be omnisciently, selectively, intuitively honest with her (since I hold this power…). And I must summon an emotional stability beyond anything I can comprehend just to keep her eating, sleeping, pottying sort of, and playing in her safe and happy world to some decent duration on a daily basis. And where am I in all this? My husband and I have our own issues, relational challenges, and where am I? I can’t exist, except in theory and performance.

See why we so desperately need this to be concluded? In all of it, one benefit I have gained is the perspective I now have of just how immensely aware of her world my little bug really is. This compels me to never loose site and never become careless of the reality that absolutely everything I do, we do, or that happens within close enough proximity that my baby’s bubble is bumped, has an effect on her.

We’ve tried pretending everything’s fine.

We’ve tried acknowledging her concerns, but trying to either distract or encourage her to see them in a lighter hue of ominousness.

Neither worked. Neither are working. It doesn’t work to tell her she shouldn’t, isn’t, or can’t feel what she is fully capable of communicating she is feeling and is her reality. She tells us exactly what’s going on in her mind and it brings me to my knees, usually literally (that’s about where I have to be to get face to face).

As a result, we have reluctantly, and with extensive consideration for the long term effects, chosen to instead deal with each comment, each nuance of body language, and each whimper in her sleep as directly and with complete and utter validity, on her level and our own, as we can muster. We’ve decided to leave ourselves completely open, exposed, and vulnerable to her, and she seems to be willing to accept nothing short of this. She sees through anything else and tells us about how we’ve made her feel like she is not important, intelligent, or old enough to fully and openly acknowledge at a core level. Children don’t buy it… they don’t know how to play the game much less want to. Furthermore, they aren’t even aware that there is a game until we (the stupid adults) decide to force them to become aware and learn.

I can’t say yet what good I hope comes of all this, but I do hope something useful and beneficial reveals itself.. I know the end is near and worth the journey, but my daughter didn’t have a choice in whether she was going to join us on this journey. She is too young to think in future terms, her mind hasn’t developed that function yet, but she sure can think in the present and tangible, and she’s mad at me. And in my utter sorrow, she has every right to be.

Which Kid Should Never Have Been Born?

by Vyckie

I’ve heard it too many times to be shocked anymore, but I am still dismayed by those who check out No Longer Quivering and come to the conclusion that those of us who are telling our Quiverfull stories of spiritual abuse regret having had so many children.  One woman whom I considered my friend wrote:

Question to Vyckie: Which of your 7 children would you go back and kill in order to not have liven the life you lived up to this point? Maybe Wesley? Bet your life would be different. I wonder how your kids feel knowing you wish they hadn’t been born because you would not choose that lifestyle ever again.

S O U R C E

The fact that someone is capable of formulating this sort of question demonstrates their level of delusion.

Please take a moment and read the rest of the article (click SOURCE above).

Ending the Silence in Your Relationship

The use of withdrawal and refusal is a coping mechanism and learned behavior by someone who was not permitted to experience his or her feelings in safety, likely beginning in childhood. It is a damage response. It is also what these emotionally crippled people employ as a defensive, damage control device.

The person who uses this control technique does so often out of a feeling of hopelessness; they feel they have no other recourse. And many do not as they simply lack the emotional skills necessary to use two-way, emotionally open communication. They are terrified of being open because that is where they’re vulnerable. Chances are, as kids, the parental environment was one of emotional instability, covert retaliation, and continued manipulation and diminishing (which causes a hypersensitivity to it in the future).

The resulting adult will avoid these abuses, even if only perceived, using the only method of control they were able to generate as children: Silence and withdrawal (read internalizing). In this state, the emotional abuser can’t keep getting to them and the tables are turned. The trouble is, this behavior becomes a conditioned response that outlives its usefulness and is continued into the adult’s future relationships, where he or she then perpetrates the damdge instead of being the victim of it. And in all honesty, they self damage, but will rarely become aware of it.

Understand me clearly, the person who believes themself to be whole and fully functional but then employs this control technique is not whole, they are damaged. Internal scars and survival techniques are at play, deep beneath the surface. These people often live with partners who rountinely feel as though they must be crazy, because along with the harm done to the receiving end of the silent treatment is often a distortion of reality by the one who has withdrawn. The act of withdrawal is often accompanied by a very covert shift of blame. This can occur in situations where there was not even reasonable cause for any blame to exist in the eyes of the partner who doesn’t employ the technique. There is a cycle going here.

If you rountinely find yourself using the withdrawal and internalization method, you know that all the stuff you shovel down inside just stays there, piling up. Just like it did as a child. The difference now is that you could be on a level playing field emotionally with those you love and/or live with. You could choose to seek help in gaining healthy coping mechanisms and helpful methods of interaction at such intimate and vulnerable states as are created in committed relationships. You could choose to save yourself future hurt, spare your partner the anguish you cause them, and prevent any future generation you create from the damage. You can choose to stop the cycle of pain and harm, for all involved, including you. But chances are without that pain, conflict, it whatever causes the weight of your burden to remain, you would be lost. It would be foreign and therefore not safe for you to experience these sort of interactions with freedom to feel, security to explore, and trust that your partner doesn’t want to harm you. Fear of being hurt and harmed drives your reluctance, and for good reason, your fear is a learned response.

But you can change your responses. You can change perceptions and understanding. There is another option. An entirely other world that you could exist in that is safe and makes conflict useful. Where love and compassion are the ulterior motives. Trouble is that as long as you keep yourself securely in your hole, back against the wall, where you think you are safe, there is a huge likelihood you’ll never realize the love and compassion staring you in the face.

And the reason they will never see it is because they are indeed damaged souls. Deeply hurt during a time when they could not prevent it (childhood, naive first relationship, illness, etc). These people can change, but need help from an outside source that can teach them and help them develop the the tools they lack.

In the mean time, it you suffer the effects of another imposing their rejection, withdrawal, and/or isolation the best thing you can do is turn to education. Inform yourself of the patterns, the cycles, the experience of life through their eyes. If you can part ways, do so. If you are not in a position to separate and sever your relationship, find an educated source to talk to and locate your unending supply of inner strength. Most importantly, define your boundaries and set them at the place just in front of allowing yourself to become a victim.

If there are any on here that are struggling with this topic and would like to talk to someone via email, I invite you to contact me directly, or another unbiased, uninvolved person.  Don’t struggle alone, and in isolation. Reach out and find help, find someone with the necessary education and experience to talk with, so that you can rise out of the hurt and difficulty that surrounds you.

A Girl’s List – Teaching Subjugation, Generation After Generation

Oh, what a lucky man he should see himself as, if he is to find a woman who thinks he is always right, casts no judgement, uses no discernment or wisdom, and serves him under God.

Try to get through this… send your constructive comments.  Please pick a single sentence or concept to respond to in each response.

Girls, this is a heaping pile of don’t fall for it.  If you haven’t found the right person yet, enjoy your singlehood.  Maybe I should start writing about relationships in general… I’d love to get people talking.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/user/NGJMinistries#p/u/u-all/0/xbJPwXVtmKw]

From Your Partner’s Point of View

This is an excellently written article, and a concept well worth contemplating.  It is something I think a lot of our parents attempted to teach us as children, but likely often failed at modeling themselves.

What does this have to do with gentle parenting and respect of our children?  Everything.  If we can teach ourselves to live in harmony with one another, seeing the other first, each in turn, than our children will learn the same. Furthermore, we are then also able to see our children’s world through their viewing portals, instead of our own or that of our expected and imposed view of their world.

One who has this skill and routinely and consistently employs the practice makes harmony automatically around them and in their home.  This “being able to walk in another’s shoes”, or “see through the lens of another”,  decreases frustration instantly, especially in either an intimate relationship or a parent/child relationship.  With children, this way of being fosters a natural and mutual respect, an appreciation, an admiration (and it will be bidirectional, by the way), and has the tendency to calm them, encourage and build them up, decrease power struggles and childhood related aggravations, and generally keeps daily life more peaceful.

If you consistently allow yourself to see through your partner’s and child’s view of their world, truth and trust is also a natural byproduct.  In cases where one individual is struggling, those struggles can become apparent and support can be given.  In the case where one individual harbors negative feelings toward the other, those feelings can be explored safely, together.  And in the case where one individual is not being cared for in the manner which he or she needs to thrive, this lacking can be acknowledged and through awareness, compassion, and attentiveness, love can begin to flow freely.

Ultimately, we will enhance our marriages and friendships, and in so doing, our children will not only flourish in the love and harmony of their homes, but they will go on to have a stable emotional self that can regenerate and recreate itself in their futures, and the futures of their own children and relationships.

S O U R C E

Remember when you first fell in love with your partner and how the world was so rosy and your partner was simply wonderful? And how you felt deeply connected and understood? Ahhh, the joys of the early part of relationship.
What we really want is to be truly understood. And to be really seen by the person we care about. To find someone who can read our minds and meet our needs. To find true love and intimacy that lasts a lifetime. To be loved unconditionally by our partner. We want love especially when we are angry and wounded by our partner. We want to stay in that euphoric space of new love. To get the ‘Happy Ever After’ promised by fairy tales.
But despite our deep longing to be connected with the one we choose to be with, Happy Ever After rarely happens. Most often, when one partner is angry, the other person becomes angry back or shuts down. During conflict, the two partners disconnect from each other. The relationship suffers as people become disillusioned with their partner. The two people may even secretly start to look for exits from the relationship. Common exits are addictions, silence and withdrawal, increased fighting, self-blame and depression, anxiety and threatening to leave the relationship.
The main purpose of a committed love relationship is to become a responsible loving adult and complete unresolved childhood issues says Harville Hendrix, Getting the Love You Want–a Guide for Couples and Keeping the Love You Get–a Guide for Singles. Hendrix’s approach, more than any other current marriage-counseling model, helps couples move their union towards a Conscious Relationship.
Hendrix fashioned the name Imago Therapy to illustrate how we fall in love with the image that we put on another person. Imago is a Greek word for illusion. We get caught up in those euphoric brain chemicals that the rush of new love brings. You have heard that love is blind? It is true. We don t see the real person, imperfections and all, but we put our illusion of what we expect in a romantic relationship on the other person.
Later, when the bloom goes off the romance, we have to deal with what the person is really like. And often we try to exit the relationship. Energy that is needed for the relationship building is put elsewhere. Ask yourself, ‘Where do I put my energy when I am upset with my partner?’ What exits do you leave open to deal with your pain?
Imago Therapy teaches major tools of communication and connection to bond couples together.’The job of each partner is to create a Conscious Relationship where you learn to hang on and reparent your partner. Blaming, criticizing, withdrawing and pouting are the common distancing defenses in relationships. The big challenge for a happy relationship is to stop using these destructive defenses! We can replace these negative defenses with actions that keep us in partnership even when time get rough.
‘We all got wounded in relationship as children with our parents and siblings,’ Bonnie Brinkman, Imago Therapist, explains.’The healing can only come in relationship. We need our partners for this. The old mom and dad stuff becomes the template for selecting a partner. We choose people to be in relationship with that represents the best and worst of our parents. The psyche holds an unconscious agenda to select the right person who can help us heal. Our partner, with all of their frustration about us. has the blueprint for our healing.’
The heart of Imago Therapy is to use the relationship to mend the pain of being hurt and disappointed in childhood. Brinkman continues,’ We are the walking wounded. Our partner holds the blueprint for our healing and growth. The elegance of this process is that we heart flutter over only a few people in the entire world. We fall in like with some of them and then find a person to fall in love with and hook up with. We unconsciously pick the perfect partner to help us do the growing up work. God, the Universe, Fate or whatever you call it, helps us zero in on that perfect partner who will push our buttons so we can get on with our work. There are no accidents why we get together with the person we choose out of all the millions of potential partners. The one we choose is someone who is familiar to us–we have met aspects of him or her before in our mother and father. That sets the stage for doing the work of growing past our present defenses.’
Chemical Soup Equals Love?
We are chemical beings as well as psychological beings. The peptides–that feel-good stuff that goes on in the brain that we call euphoria happens when we fall in love. The chemistry goes off when we find a person who can help us heal our childhood pain. That s why love is blind, we are so infatuated with the high emotional chemical soup that we are in that we overlook the warts of the partner. We fall in illusion!
Falling in love creates the Symbiotic Stage of relationship where the people are joined at the hip symbolized by ‘You and I are One.’ Too often this turns into and ‘I m the One and you need to do what I say, resulting in big time anger and pain.’ Too often this stage turns into in self absorption by one or both of the partner with ‘If you are don t see things the way I do, then I must punish you so I can avoid re-wounding myself.’
The high of the peptides wears off after about six months–we are not meant to remain in this chemical rush forever. The romantic stage lasts about six months in most relationships then wears off to settle down. As the high runs its course, then the Power Struggle stage kicks in. The Power Struggle Stage is illusion also. Our illusion is that we are the nice guy. Our partner, that wonderful one in the Symbiotic Stage, is now the enemy. Suddenly the partner s warts start to look REALLY warty! Things that used to be cute in their partner now grate on our nerves. The couple loses their feelings of being connected. Each feel hurt. Conflict happens. Big time Power Struggle! Distancing sets in.
The war of wills hits big time. Insistence on having one s own way and struggle becomes the order of the day. When the stuff really hits the fan, each partner runs to their arsenal of fighting tools–anger, distancing, domination and submission. Oh yes, those dysfunctional ways of dealing with threat that we learned from our parents! Criticism, blaming, sarcasm, withdrawal, and giving in with silent martyrdom are the defenses of vying for control. We do the grownup stuff that was modeled to us in childhood from those people who raised us.
Sound familiar? In the Power Struggle stage, the partners become stuck in trying to tell the other what to do and gathering data to make the other person wrong, at least in their own eyes. Conflict sends grownups, back into the defenses of their little child. There can be symmetrical wounding as each person knows the trigger points of the other and goes for them pulling forth the defenses they learned as a child. In power struggles, nobody wins. But as the saying goes from The Course in Miracles, ‘Would you rather be right or happy?’
So Imago Therapy tells you to hang in and learn about yourself. You can put your energy into distancing or you can put it into building intimacy. Keep your energy for the really important things in life–deep connection and growth. Close the Exits. Use your energy to transform your relationship! The ‘No Exit’ policy makes you become creative in working things out. According to Brinkman, there are four options that happen in relationships where there are unresolved power struggles:
1. Adios! Start the cycle over. Find someone new with whom to move through chemical soup into power struggles.
2. Have a silent divorce. Stay together for religious or financial reasons or fear of being alone and become roommates with passion for life atrophying.
3. Become the Bickersons and fight over everything, constantly injuring each other emotionally.
4. Start to cooperate with the unconscious agenda and use the volatile situations for growth. Learn techniques to stay connected during conflict and practice reconnection. This is the ‘becoming a grownup stage’ called The Reality Love Stage.
Making Your Relationship Conscious
Everyone wants a Conscious Relationship, but few couples achieve this high level of connection. So what is real in Conscious Relationships? How do we get there? We have to move on to the next stage–The Reality Love Stage of relationship. In this stage, we are presented with many challenging opportunities to use each other to put the childhood pain to rest. Like everything we have a fight–there is another growth opportunity. But of course it is an opportunity only if we choose to make it one. Some couples never reach this stage, switching partners when fighting get too toxic.
A new set of relationship skills and tools are needed to get the Reality Love Stage. Moving past the Power Struggle stage, the couples begins to realize that not only is their job to grow up but their other job is to help their partner grow up. Imago Therapy presents safe ways of relating to each other that help both partners feel heard and understood by the other. It provides a process to travel the path of creating a spiritually conscious union.
Intentional Dialogue–A Way to Keep Connected During Arguments
What creates intimacy? What we really want is to be heard and feel safe with our partner. Hendrix s technique of Intentional Dialogue is a way of relating to your partner when he or she is upset by something that you did. It is a process that keeps the contact going even in times of feeling threat and stress–IT KEEPS THE COUPLE CONNECTED EVEN WHEN THEY DISAGREE! Intentional Dialogue gives the partner the love and attention they need when they most need it.
Intentional Dialogue is a process of communication that you and your partner can learn to create an atmosphere of safety. At times, it can be exasperating. But using this tool of communication with your partner really helps him or her feel safe and listened too. It works if it is done right to recreate that sense of connection that you felt when you first fell in love. Intentional Dialogue gives you a process of obtaining The Five Freedoms that Virginia Satir, pioneer in family therapy talked about:
The FREEDOM to see and hear what is here, instead of what should be, was, or will be.
The FREEDOM to say what you feel and think, instead of what you should.
The FREEDOM to feel what you feel, instead of what you ought.
The FREEDOM to ask for what you want, instead of always waiting for permission.
The FREEDOM to take risks in your own behalf, instead of choosing to be only “secure” and not rock the boat.
Sound good? Well you can get it! You and your partner can find the Happy Ever After, after all.
But . . . it takes learning a process of active listening and hard work. It takes resolution from both partners to do Intentional Dialogue when friction starts to build up. It takes being able to be vulnerable and stomach some uncomfortable feelings. It takes you out of your comfort zone into really being REAL! Ouch! It requires listening and talking from the open heart; now that is scary stuff. The pay off is that you and your partner become a team actively working though the rough spots in your relationship. It makes you conscious in your relationship. You can actually feel closer with your partner after an argument when you stick to the dialogue.
And the technique works in all relationships, not only in romantic relationships. It even works with adolescents! Hendrix and his wife recently wrote a book on parenting, Giving the Love That Heals.
What we all really want is to be understood and accepted for who we are. To really live in Conscious Relationship, in my opinion, Intentional Dialogue is the best tool for keeping love alive. Having someone really listen to you is as close to unconditional love we can get in our lifetime. Empathy is the greatest gift you can give your partner when he or she is hurting. It helps a person be seen and feel totally understood. The childhood wounds no longer are so deep when we are truly heard and understood.
A recipe for having a Conscious Relationship equals commitment, learning powerful, how-to-stay -connected techniques during times of stress and darn hard work. This formula is doable for those determined to be happy in relationship. The Imago Therapy Tools help you keep the love you want and become a responsible, loving adult secure in the knowledge that you are truly seen and heard.
For more information read the books, Getting the Love you Want: A Guide for Couples and Keeping the Love you Get: A Guide for Singles by Harville Hendrix. To find a therapist trained in Imago Therapy, do a web search.

Online Gathering Place for Gentle Parenting

Here you go – now let’s build this so that those in need will find a safe place to seek.

Facebook Community – Gentle Parenting With Love and Respect

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Awful Library Books: Train Up Your Child

Source: Awful Library Books

Train Up Your Child

June 6, 2010 · 53 Comments

To Train Up a Child
Pearl
1994

Submitter: I actually remember my mother having this book at some point (I don’t think she ascribed to it). Two children have died as a result of the author’s child care advice and one other was in critical condition.  At some point some books aren’t even funny to joke about and just need to be removed because they endanger society. This is why I weed – to get stuff like this that might hurt others off the self.

Here is what Amazon Reviewer R. Craig “Mother” said and I couldn’t have built a case better myself. Currently World Cat has 56 libraries still holding this material.

Here are some details:

1) The Pearls recommend whipping infants only a few months old on their bare skin. They describe whipping their own 4 month old daughter (p.9). They recommend whipping the bare skin of “every child” (p.2) for “Christians and non-Christians” (p.5) and for “every transgression” (p.1). Parents who don’t whip their babies into complete submission are portrayed as indifferent, lazy, careless and neglectful (p.19) and are “creating a Nazi” (p.45).

2) On p.60 they recommend whipping babies who cannot sleep and are crying, and to never allow them “to get up.” On p.61 they recommend whipping a 12 month old girl for crying. On p.79 they recommend whipping a 7 month old for screaming.

3) On p.65 co-author Debi Pearl whips the bare leg of a 15 month old she is babysitting, 10 separate times, for not playing with something she tells him to play with. On p.56 Debi Pearl hits a 2 year old so hard “a karate chop like wheeze came from somewhere deep inside.”

4) On p.44 they say not to let the child’s crying while being hit to “cause you to lighten up on the intensity or duration of the spanking.” On p.59 they recommend whipping a 3 year old until he is “totally broken.”

5) On p.55 the Pearls say a mother should hit her child if he cries for her.

6) On p.46 the Pearls say that if a child does obey before being whipped, whip them anyway. And “if you have to sit on him to spank him, then do not hesitate. And hold him there until he is surrendered. Prove that you are bigger, tougher.” “Defeat him totally.” On p.80 they recommend giving a child having a tantrum “a swift *forceful* spanking.” On the same page they say to whip small children on their bare skin until they stop screaming. “Don’t be bullied. Give him more of the same.” They say to continue whipping until their crying turns into a “wounded, submissive whimper.”

7) On p.47 they recommend their various whips, including “a belt or larger tree branch” to hit children.

8) The Pearls recommend pulling a nursing infant’s hair (p.7), and describe tripping their non-swimming toddler so she falls into deep water (p.67). They recommend ignoring an infant’s bumped head when he falls to the floor, and ignoring skinned knees (p.86). They also say “if your child is roughed-up by peers, rejoice.” (p.81) And on p.103 the Pearls say if children lose their shoes, “let them go without until they (the children) can make the money to buy more.”

9) The Pearls claim their “training” methods are Godly, yet they have *no religious training or credentials* They never mention Jesus’ injunctions to forgive “seventy times seven” and be merciful, and they decry the “extraordinary ingnorance of modern psychology.”

The Pearls’ methods have resulted in parents being investigated by Child Protective Services, children being taken away from parents, a restraining order against a father, and even a babysitter going to jail on felony charges!

A Letter

An Open Letter to Roy Lessin: Author of
“Spanking: Why, When, How”

S O U R C E

Beth Fenimore’s father illustrated Roy Lessin’s 1979 book “Spanking: Why, When, How.”  As a child, Beth’s family attended the church where Roy Lessin preached.   Her parents and the Lessins socialized with each other and babysat each other’s children.  Beth and her siblings grew up alongside the Lessin’s two children, Joey and Lydia.  Beth’s parents used Roy Lessin’s “godly” methods of corporal punishment under his personal tutelage, and in at least one case, Beth was “spanked” with a switch by Roy Lessin’s wife, Charlene (“Char”) Lessin. In this stunning and courageous letter, Beth confronts the man who taught her parents how to use corporal punishment to extinguish all outward evidence of childish emotions displeasing to the parent, and how to instill instant, unthinking obedience based on fear.  She vividly describes the dark cloud Char and Roy Lessin’s methods cast over her childhood, as well as the long lasting psychological, emotional and medical harm which resulted from Roy Lessin’s so-called “loving correction of the rod.”

 

Beth Fenimore
September 7, 2005

Open Letter to Roy Lessin
Author of Spanking: Why, When, How
Dear Roy,

After 19 years I have found the courage to write you this letter declaring how your choice to teach and write about spanking has affected me. My purpose in writing you this open letter is to share with you and others that the spanking approach you recommend is harmful. My parents both know my view on this issue. I have talked to them, as well, about how their decision to implement your spanking recommendations affected me. I have a mission. My mission is to warn new parents who are innocently trying to raise happy, healthy children. Should just one parent spare their child the kind of pain that I endured at the hands of my parents implementing your spanking recommendations, my pain will have more meaning than it does now.

Should just one parent spare their child the kind of pain that I endured at the hands of my parents implementing your spanking recommendations, my pain will have more meaning than it does now.

I want to begin by talking about your spanking approach so that we’ll both be using the same language. In your book, you describe a process by which a parent performs a spanking on their child.

* The first step is to use the right instrument; if a parent uses their hand, the child might become fearful of the parent’s hand.
* The second step is to spank promptly.
* The third step is to find a private place in which the parent can conduct the spanking.
* The fourth step is for the parent to explain to the child why they are going to be spanked.
* The fifth step is to get the child into a good spanking position (when my parents and other adults–such as your wife, Char–spanked me, the ritual involved removing the child’s clothing); you recommend bending the child over a bed, or bending a smaller child over the parent’s lap.
* The sixth step is to hit the child on the buttocks with a stick or other spanking implement.
* The seventh step is to continue spanking until the child yields a broken cry, which indicates a broken will.
* The eighth step is reconciliation. You recommend that parents comfort the child until sufficient time has passed, and then ask the child to stop crying. You recommend that parents spank a child who displays a “wrong attitude” by continuing to cry too long after a spanking.

The language in your book is much more “sugary” than what I’ve just written. But my description does not come close to what it feels like to receive a Roy Lessin spanking. So I’ll describe what a Roy Lessin spanking is like.My first spanking was when I was six months old. My mother spanked me for crying after she put me to bed. She had to spank me repeatedly to teach me to not cry when she put me down. I know about this incident because my mother used to tell all new mothers about how young I was when she started spanking me. My last spanking occurred when I was thirteen years old. The Roy Lessin spankings that I remember most vividly took place between the ages of three and seven, because I hardly went a few days without a spanking at that time. I’d like to share with you, and others, what it was like receiving a Roy Lessin spanking.

The moment I found out I was going to get a Roy Lessin spanking, I felt physically ill. Because the Roy Lessin spanking is a ritual, the ordeal could take a long time. (When I refer to a spanking ritual, I’m referring to the steps you outline in your book.) This was hard for me because I had a child’s sense of time. The dread bubbled up and consumed me, and stayed with me until the spanking ritual was over. My parents usually sent me to a private room, such as my own room, and there I would wait until one of my parents came. (My dad spanked me the most, so in my illustration let’s assume my father is conducting the Roy Lessin spanking.) My father would explain the reason for the spanking. This was an excruciating process because I had to listen while knowing what was coming. Since I might face back-to-back Roy Lessin spankings, I had to be careful not to be disrespectful in my listening to my father. I had already developed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and would feel my guts cramp up with anxiety during his speech. Then he would ask me to take off my pants and underwear. I would feel deeply embarrassed because my father was not supposed to see me naked. (My family had a high standard for modesty.) My humiliation and fear would grow immeasurably as I leaned over the bed, my father’s knee, or whatever was around. My private parts were helplessly exposed as my dad laid his hand on my back. Trying to pull away and defend myself would only mean that the spanking would be longer, or I’d get a back-to-back spanking. The stick, paddle inscribed with scripture verses, or belt would swish violently through the air before slapping painfully on my buttocks or thighs. I would scream in pain and anguish. I cannot remember a moment of thinking of resisting, rebelling, or trying to “win” anything, as you recommend parents should watch for as they hit their children. I just tried to survive the best way I knew how. The screaming, the hitting, and the pain would continue for unknown amounts of time. When the gruesome pain ended, I would begin to battle with my emotions and my body. I knew that crying too much could mean that my father would start a Roy Lessin spanking ritual all over again to correct my “wrong attitude.”

My parents were never concerned about the marks they left on my body. We never talked about the painful marks on my body, or how clothing, baths, chairs, etc. hurt. The message was clear: there was no pain. Pulling up my pants was incredibly painful, and so was sitting on my father’s lap. Because “there was no pain,” I had to pretend my buttocks and thighs didn’t hurt even though they did, while my father would wrap his arms around me and “comfort” me. I was not like the idealized children you describe in your book, not knowing the difference between the spanking implement and the parent. My father caused me that pain–not a stick! My father’s arms scared me, and I feared my father like I’ve feared no other man. His touch repulsed me. I was the same with my mother. (To this day, I cannot physically tolerate either parent touching me. I feel physically ill at their touch.) My father would pray, and I could hardly go along but for fear of yet another Roy Lessin spanking. After we prayed, it was time for me to be happy. But my insides would be a mess. Tears would threaten to come back and cause me more pain and anguish. I had to pretend that I wasn’t sad, and that I wasn’t in pain. This would be my greatest lesson: to be happy no matter how I felt inside. It would take me a few back-to-back spankings, but I would learn. It would be a lesson I’d learn for life–being falsely happy regardless of how my body felt.

One aspect of receiving a Roy Lessin spanking is the sexual aspect. It’s taken me years to even begin to allow myself to speak of this aspect. You see, as a child I had no idea what sex was. I just had this funny sensation that came and went during the Roy Lessin spanking ritual. To my great dismay, I learned that sexual stimulation can be cross-wired with the painful ritual of spankings. This cross-wiring was a real problem for me. Because I couldn’t cope with the double message of love and pain, I avoided developing an intimate relationship with a man for a very long time. It took years for me to find a healthy sexuality outside the memories I have of the Roy Lessin spankings. I struggled with this double message as a child. I feel a deep sense of shame as I remember hitting and torturing my dolls and Barbies when no one was around. I needed some way to express the fear, pain, and sexual confusion I felt inside; yet my childish mind couldn’t comprehend the significance of what I was doing.

My parents were your “A” students. They followed your eight steps occasionally reducing the entire Roy Lessin spanking ritual to a few swats–not very often, though. My butt and thighs would sting for a long time after a Roy Lessin spanking ritual, so I’d go into the bathroom and use my mother’s mirror to look at my behind. I remember seeing red stripes crisscrossing my buttocks and my thighs. At times, I had old marks underneath the new marks. My parents conducted several Roy Lessin spanking rituals a day when I was a young child. I remember a teacher at school asking me one day why I didn’t just sit still. I couldn’t tell her that it was because the marks on my butt hurt so bad sitting in the little wooden chair.

Now that we’ve established what a Roy Lessin spanking is and what it felt like to receive one, let’s move on to wrong attitudes. I’d like to begin by telling you a story of what it was like having an adult, in this case your wife, address my “wrong attitude.”

One day my parents were moving. I was four, and woke up to a house that I no longer recognized. I asked my mother what was happening. Whatever answer she gave, I didn’t understand. She sent my brothers and me to your house, where your wife Char was to baby-sit us. On the way out the door, I saw our small parakeet Chirpy sitting in his cage outside our house near some bushes. Now, Chirpy wasn’t supposed to be outside. A dark feeling of dread came over me. I was frightened as I walked to the car, looking at Chirpy frantically chirping in his cage next to a stack of boxes. At some point, at your house, Char put all of us down for a nap. The confusion and fear filled me, and I wondered if I’d ever see my home again. When the room was quiet, my emotions burst out of me. I cried. Char came in and told me to stop, and I couldn’t. So she performed one of your spanking rituals. I went back to my napping spot. I lay there for the remainder of my nap–unable to sleep, afraid to move, filled with emotions of dread and fear so large I thought I’d explode. But I had to make Char believe that I was cheerfully obeying her. I put on whatever face I could to convince her, and pretended to be asleep. I had to pretend I felt different than I did inside.

There are two points I’d like to make about bad attitudes. The first is that, as you can see above, adults do not have “powers” that allow them to read the minds of children. My parents made this mistake over and over again. They weren’t much better at reading my mind or how I felt than your wife was that day I stayed at your house. You see, parents make mistakes. There’s no getting around this. But when a parent uses a force as violent as a Roy Lessin spanking, mistakes are truly damaging, especially when the spanking ritual involves breaking the child’s will–or breaking any part of a child’s psyche!

The second point about “wrong attitudes” is that you tell parents that their children will be happy with your mode of discipline, or even prefer being spanked. I want to say that I didn’t experience that joy. I built myself a cheerful, obedient shell. I lived in that shell, only peeking my head out when I felt safe, for 30 years. It took me another seven years to actually try taking the cheerful, obedient shell off–only to run back into it when something felt like the “old fears of my childhood.” I have not been happy living in this shell, constantly pretending to be happy when I felt miserable inside. When I think of a happy child, I think of a child who feels free to express their ideas, thoughts, and emotions. I think that a parent’s job is to teach a child how to express their emotions, not hit them with a stick until the child displays the emotion of the parent’s choosing.

You write about parents disciplining children for disobedience. It seems pretty simple. The parents set up some rules and the children follow them. When disobedience is based on a child doing or behaving just as the parent asks, following those rules becomes much harder. As your teachings played out in my growing-up years, I found that I violated more rules than I could keep track of. Not only that, one of the rules was to follow through without my mom or dad asking a second time. So perfection became the rule, and perfection was something I failed at miserably. Even in the cheerful, obedient shell, I was not completely safe. The life lesson I took away was that there is no such thing as second chances. I took this lesson to school, and found that I was afraid to try. Not that my parents didn’t encourage me–it was just that if the encouragement didn’t work, which it often didn’t, they’d spank me for getting letters backwards, words wrong on spelling tests, and so forth. Basically, they spanked me for not trying hard enough. I haven’t even mentioned the hundreds of other issues they spanked me for. I learned how to live helplessly. Not only did I face my own internal disappointment at not getting something correct, I faced a Roy Lessin spanking at home when I wore out my encouragement. I grew up thinking that I was mentally handicapped. Later, as a grown adult, I found out that I’m dyslexic–something a Roy Lessin spanking would never cure.

For most of my life, I worried that I’d remembered all this wrong. About eleven years ago I called Char and asked her to listen to while I recalled a Roy Lessin spanking for her. I described to her in as much detail as I could remember the beatings I endured again and again. Char told me that my memories were exactly what you and she had taught my parents. I had not remembered wrong!

I read your book a few weeks ago. I was again surprised to realize I knew and remembered your teachings very well. After the years of growing up around your family and hearing you preach at Outreach, your book brought back your painful teachings and the painful memories I’ve been trying so hard to live with. I kept wanting to grab my cheerful, obedient shell because to this day I feel scared when I think of all the Roy Lessin spankings and teachings.

Both Char, during my call with her, and you, in your first book, talk about spankings having a higher purpose in saving the soul. You reference Proverbs 20:30: “Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts.” Those “blows” left horrible marks on my body that made sitting difficult and bathing with soap sting horribly, and they terrified my spirit.

Feeling terrified isn’t the only outcome I live with. Ten years ago a gastroenterologist diagnosed me with IBS, a condition I’ve had since I was around three years old. Because of the fierce anxiety I felt because of the Roy Lessin spankings, I had terrible chronic stomachaches and diarrhea while I was growing up and as an adult. Five years ago my psychiatrist diagnosed me with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and I began to work through my deeply rooted fears of my parents and the Roy Lessin spankings. Later a physician associate (PA) diagnosed me with asthma and severe allergies from a poor immune system, a result of my chronic anxiety. The same PA told me that I’m at high risk for colon cancer because of the years of IBS as a result of my anxiety. Roy, these problems are all due to my parents implementing your teachings using Roy Lessin spankings to correct a multitude of childhood blunders and attitudes. I can’t imagine why a parent would want these outcomes for their child. I may have looked happy and acted lovingly towards my parents, but I was emotionally and physically sick inside! Your teachings gave me no option but to live a horrible lie of looking happy when I was miserable.

For almost every day of my life, I fear people. If people like my parents, and friends of my family such as you and Char, would hurt me this badly, what horrible things would others do to me? I was supposed to be safe with my family and friends growing up! I especially fear men in authority roles. I occasionally look even at people I know, and who I know to be safe, with terror just because they’ve spoken in a tone that reminds me of those early times. I fear making mistakes. I choose not to have children of my own because a child’s screams scramble my insides.

Remember all those sermons at Outreach that you, Don Leetch, Dean Kerns, and a few others delivered? I still hear children screaming as their parents spanked them outside the church sanctuary during Sunday morning service during those sermons. I remember the screams of my siblings. I remember on a Friday night, someone was preaching and a dad took a baby outside for a spanking, and a neighbor called the police. We stopped the church service, and you went out with your bible to explain to the officer why it was fine for the parent to spank their baby. All of us inside prayed that the officer would understand and not take the baby away.

As a grown woman I still fear Roy Lessin spankings. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night begging my husband to “not let them get me.”

My father and I have talked several times about Roy Lessin spankings. He has asked for forgiveness, and is horrified by what he has done. These conversations have been incredibly painful for both of us, and I’m now 37 years old! I believe that he thought he was doing the right thing. You were a leader in the church he believed in, and you were his friend. Our families socialized together. This was not some teaching he picked up somewhere, and then went off to make the best of it.
I hope that by this point you begin to see how your simple, sweet words about raising children are actually harmful. Perhaps you’re wondering if I want to have a dialogue with you, and talk about what you really meant by your early book. Perhaps you’ve adopted a policy of grace, and now recommend that parents spank less and not on bare skin? The truth is, I don’t want to know. If I needed justification or reasoning for your teachings, I could use your book as a reference. What I’d like you to do is reconsider your position after carefully looking at how your teachings affected me. Would a loving parent really want to raise a child to fear people, to wear a cheerful and obedient shell, or to live with PTSD and other ailments? I hope the answer you come to is No. I hope that you realize that hitting a child for any reason is not loving. Then, I hope, you join the cause to end corporal punishment in the homes of children. I came into this world a happy, healthy baby. For no other reason than the Roy Lessin spankings, I now fight for my physical and mental health. Please help others and me so this doesn’t happen to any more children. Help end corporal punishment. Help end child abuse. If Jesus said, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42), I can’t image that God would condone such behavior in people who claim to be loving parents.

Sincerely,
Bethany A. Fenimore

Roy Lessin, author of “Spanking: Why, When, How”  with Lydia, Joey and Char, circa 1978.

Beth Fenimore: “I remember knowing my mother was watching me and telling
me to smile for the photographer. I felt intimidated by my mother to smile.
No matter what facial expression I had, my eyes seemed to show my anxiety.
Looking at this photo now, I feel deeply sad.”


Beth Fenimore: “As a kid, I was on the watch  for the moods and emotions of others.
I was usually distracted with anxiety wondering if I had done anything
wrong that would cause me to get a Roy Lessin spanking.”

SOURCE