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Unprepared for Parenting (Ezzos, Pearls, Etc.) *Public* Support and information for those affected by the Ezzos, the Pearls, and other punitive and adversarial methods of child-rearing.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:02 AM   #1
HealthymamaHappymama
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Default Dealing with my parents

I wasn't sure where to post this...I've been struggling for a long time with how to handle/deal with my parents. I grew up in a cult like home church that believes in cutting people off/ex-communicating for various reasons.(They believe they are the only true church and everyone else is going hell). They currently don't associate with my brother and his family because they choose to not be members. I however don't live near a "congregation" my husband was never "converted to there church". So even though over the past few years I've tried to push the issue that I don't want them to send my church sermons, that I've attended other churches, etc. They have not cut me out yet....even though I honestly was hoping they would. I got married almost 6 years ago(moved across the country) and have been realizing all the brainwashing and abuse that went on in my life. I'm struggling with a lot of anger towards my parents when I realize how they would have treated/punished me when I was a baby and also how they treated/punished me when I was older. I have a 2 year old daughter, most of these "angry" moments happen when she does something and I realize how different they would have handled it than how I am choosing to handle it. I'm trying not to ramble
Basically there are 2 main isssues with my parents. Their parenting of me and my brothers. They used a few resources I'm sure but they talk about a book called "what the bible says about child rearing" They also gave me a church cd that talked about how I needed to spank to break my childs will including for things such as moving for a diaper change. I grew up living in fear of my parents. I was very depressed but also thought they were right in God's eyes so I just thought it was normal. At one point there was an apology when I was like 20(about 10 years ago)...but it wasn't for everything. As they still belive in all the breaking a childs will and "training" them like animals. There wasn't anything done to really make amends or heal any damage. I was confused that he could be wrong(even though it felt wrong) but my dad always portrayed to us that God was telling him what do to. I also didn't realize all of the damage at that moment because I was still apart of the church and believed that was the only way to be a Christian. I wasn't married and didn't have kids which has brought up a lot of issues. I realize to a point that this is all past stuff and they can be sorry and maybe we can move on. But I wouldn't leave my daughter alone with them. I dont' feel close to them. I have never had a good relationship with them. So there isn't something I'm longing to get back to. I didn't feel loved growing up I didn't trust them or confide in them then or now. I don't miss them.
Now that I said all that hopefully I can clarify my other issue. Parenting aside because I dont' know if I need to even deal with those issues with them personally. I am not a part of there church, and since they haven't cut me off yet. It's either because my husband was never converted so he has "never left". Or they think he is holding me back. I've been hesistant to cut them off because I felt like I was being just like them. But now that I have my own kids(2 year old and I"m pregnant) I am feeling more inclined to that because of my childrens safety. I am realizing more every day how much I don't know about God/Jesus being a Christian. So I'm conflicted with is it not right for me to cut them off...but it seems ok to avoid other negative influences in ones life. It's because they are my parents and I think I'm worried what people will think. Right now I feel we just "pretend to like each other". We don't argue, fight, etc. I stopped putting forth effort awhile ago. We've never been big communicators, but I would say we prob email 3-4 times a year. I saw them when we went home to visit last time, but I chose places like my grandparents to have the main family get together(because I felt safe there). I avoided even talking about why I wouldn't leave my daughter there becuase it was easy to say our friends want to meet our daughter. They came to see us after we had our daughter, and my mom came out one other time. Both visits I felt had ulterior motives. One of which I was kind of confronted but not prepared....or froze up.
I'd love to know if anyone else has gone through anything similar or has suggestions. I realize if they cut me off it would be easier. I'm not sure how to go about future encounters. Just pretending to get along gets old. I feel like it's wasting my time and energy. Right now I live far away so there isn't as much conflict as there could be or possibly will be depending on where we move next. Well my toddler says I've typed enough Thanks for any encouragement or advice!
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:15 AM   #2
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Default Re: Dealing with my parents

Can you talk this through with a counselor? I haven't been in this situation, but if maintaining a distant/cordial relationship is too much, maybe you could slow it down even more. Take it down from 3/4 emails a year to 2/3 and visits maybe once every year or two. The longer you go without communicating the less stress to deal with. And maybe what you need more is learning how to detach and not let them take up space in your head in between communications. It would free up that negative energy for those who truly do care for you. A counselor could help you with that.
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Last edited by Amy; 04-17-2012 at 06:17 AM.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:33 AM   #3
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Default Re: Dealing with my parents

It is interesting how parenting your own children sheds light on your own upbringing - and that can be heartbreaking if you realize your parents made some foundational errors of judgment, especially if it seems like those mistakes were avoidable or involved misplaced priorities. There's something about holding your own child and thinking, "wow, I could never do that...why did THEY do that?" That is a very painful experience.

As to structuring a future relationship with them, it sounds like you're torn--you don't have an intimate relationship with them and don't feel safe when you imagine what that would be like, but on the other hand you don't want to cut them off if to do that is a blind following of the same toxic pattern of disagreement = disapproval = rejection = disfellowshipping.

I think Amy has a good suggestion for you--what you're describing is some big stuff, and talking it through in counseling might be very helpful.

ETA: Welcome to GCM! I hope you'll find lots of good support and friendship here!
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:45 AM   #4
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Default Re: Dealing with my parents



Do you have a good church now or a good place to learn about Jesus? Jesus is kind and loving and he loves you. You need to learn that, like internalize it, not just know it with your brain. You could also read a book about grace. One book I love is Believing Christ by Stephen Robinson.

As far as dealing with your parents, it doesn't sound like they want to change. Have you read the book Boundaries? It might help you with this situation. I think they do need to know clearly where you stand IF you want to continue a relationship with them.

As a suggestion, you might want to ask one of the admins to move this thread to a non-public forum. A public forum can be seen by anyone, not just members of gcm, and it can come up in google searches. Just if you're worried about anyone reading this.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:45 AM   #5
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Default Re: Dealing with my parents

I'm so glad to "meet" you

I really agree with Amy and katiekind; I think a counselor could really help you work through some of those old feelings and also to learn how to set some healthy boundaries for yourself and your family. Working through all that old ick is so amazingly complicated, ESPECIALLY when it's surround your own mother and father . Keep in mind you don't have to make a decision right now for the rest of your lives. You can take some space, back off, and re-evaluate as you go. But I want to really encourage you that it's okay to take that space as you need it. There's a big difference between shunning someone because you've decided that they are not good enough and putting up boundaries for your own safety because someone has proven to be unsafe.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:51 AM   #6
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Default Re: Dealing with my parents

Quote:
Keep in mind you don't have to make a decision right now for the rest of your lives. You can take some space, back off, and re-evaluate as you go.
That's a good thought.
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Old 04-17-2012, 02:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: Dealing with my parents

Quote:
Originally Posted by HealthymamaHappymama View Post
I've been hesistant to cut them off because I felt like I was being just like them. But now that I have my own kids(2 year old and I"m pregnant) I am feeling more inclined to that because of my childrens safety.
Well, just based on how you described your interactions with them right now, it really doesn't sound like your children's safety is at risk.

You're not living near them. Their only interactions with your children are with you present. They're only contacting you a few times a year anyway. I don't think that they're a huge risk factor for your children at the moment.

You can absolutely refuse to allow them to have the children there without you, and protect your children that way.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: Dealing with my parents

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerynne View Post


Do you have a good church now or a good place to learn about Jesus? Jesus is kind and loving and he loves you. You need to learn that, like internalize it, not just know it with your brain. You could also read a book about grace. One book I love is Believing Christ by Stephen Robinson.

As far as dealing with your parents, it doesn't sound like they want to change. Have you read the book Boundaries? It might help you with this situation. I think they do need to know clearly where you stand IF you want to continue a relationship with them.

As a suggestion, you might want to ask one of the admins to move this thread to a non-public forum. A public forum can be seen by anyone, not just members of gcm, and it can come up in google searches. Just if you're worried about anyone reading this.

Thank you. I don't really have a church home right now. I was going to one but started to feel too many similarities to what I left. I do go to a womens bible study there and it's a mix of women that don't all go there. So that is helping some right now. I'm just realizing more and more that I don't know as much as I thought and I am struggling with Jesus is love. I feel confused a lot and overwhelmed with not having a lot of time to really study out what the bible really says.
I should pursue seeing a counselor again. I saw one for a while a couple years ago, and that helped me so much. It was when I realized a lot of what I grew up with was something I didn't agree with.

You are right when you say my parents don't seem to want to change. The only reason they would communicate with me at all is to win me back to their church. I've seen the cold shoulder they have given to others including my brother and other family members. They aren't really mourning for them to come back very long. They seem to move on quickly.

Another concern I have is as my kids get older that they will try to convert them. I've seen that happen and the kids then shun their parents. I also realize that I can't control everything, but that is def a situation I see my parents attempting.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:48 PM   #9
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Default Re: Dealing with my parents

Quote:
The only reason they would communicate with me at all is to win me back to their church. I've seen the cold shoulder they have given to others including my brother and other family members. They aren't really mourning for them to come back very long. They seem to move on quickly.

Another concern I have is as my kids get older that they will try to convert them.
Oh wow. I'm so sorry. That's awful. I don't blame you a bit for your feelings and concerns.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:18 PM   #10
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Default Re: Dealing with my parents

We have a book study going right now in the Bible Study Forum on The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse you might be interested in.

It doesn't sound like you have much contact with them right now as it is. I think in your situation a conselor would be a great idea to help you walk through all these feelings and discoveries.
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Old 04-24-2012, 01:48 AM   #11
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Default Re: Dealing with my parents

Quote:
Jesus is kind and loving and he loves you. You need to learn that, like internalize it, not just know it with your brain.

This is so, so true....in fact, its good enough to put up a sign on your wall saying this. Maybe over your computer....

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Old 04-24-2012, 05:14 AM   #12
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Default Re: Dealing with my parents

My heart goes out to you. I was raised in a similar, eerily similar fashion. I broke free by being "bad" and have to deal with the fallout of that. I've watched my sisters ,who remained partially connected for years, break free through their marriages, parenting, and Godly kind pastors at other churches. It is gut wrenching. I think they'v eall (and I sure have) have gone through the anger, the not contacting, the minimal contact, etc.

A good church with a Godly pastor/priest will be HUGE in showing you how much God loves you. And that will be healing. I will pray for you in this journey.
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