How does one get over the guilt?
Well, my question is, how do you as a parent get over the guilt of allowing your children to be abused by other members of the family. Point in question is when I was in the Miami home with Dominique & Lily, Lily made it her personal goal to abuse my daughter Esther, 8 y/o, and Jonathan, 2 y/o. The home was trying to copy the Jumbo style where all the kids were herded like cattle into age grouping, so you only saw your kids for maybe 2 hours a day and @ meal time. My daughter was told not to tell me what she was doing. On one occasion she threw my 2 year old son into a wall because he was crying and on a daily basis would beat my daughter until she was black & blue on her butt and backs of her legs. Because I was in the main house and Lily was in her special house for leadership. Her actions drove my daughter Esther to going to the medicine cabinet and drinking isopropyl alcohol and taking entire bottles of aspirin & tylenol in hopes of being able to get sick so that she could be with me. When children got sick they would have their mother take care of them & Esther knew this. the really sad thing about it is that Esther didn't tell me that this abuse was occurring until she was much older & we were no longer in the family. She said that the relief of being out of the family was enough to satisfy her, but the emotional scars that were left didn't heal until much later, if at all.
Many folks say that abuse didn't occur, but I personally witnessed horrible abuse in the form of corporal punishment with hangers, belts, switches, you name it, and also the verbal & emotional abuse. A child placed on silent restriction for 2 weeks cuz he has a devil because he talked back to an Auntie or Uncle, that's a bit extreme. Or what about when my husband had sex with a 12 year old girl, Miracle, when we were in Puerto Rico in 1980. She's the daughter of Rain & Rejoice. It's positively disgusting that the family denies these abuses and tries to villify all of those that aren't in the family any more. I've spent 13 years in christian counselling, etc. to try & recover from the 18 yrs. of abuse and brainwashing. The sad thing about those still in the family is they are totally oblivious to their demise and mental states.
Lynn - I am so sorry to hear about your terrible time and lasting scars from your F. experience. I am glad, however, that you are getting good counseling. It's great that you got out and have given your children a chance at a normal life. Good for you. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. It's hard to not think about the past and what happened, but you have to deal with it and then try and move on as best you can.
I do not think the parent should get over the abuse their children suffered. The parents are responsible. It is the parent that has parental responsibility, a not only moral, but legally binding duty to care for their child. I find it hard to believe that any parents in the family did not know their children were at risk of abuse. If they did not see it, it was by wilful blindness. The parents would have read the letters and heard about, even seen first hand, abuse that was happening in the Family. There would be no reason to suppose that their children for any reason would be treated any different than the other children. It is the child that is the victim, not the parent. The parent should have to live with remorse and not expect forgiveness from their children. It is because of the choices of the parent that the children were made to suffer. The child will have to live with the abuse they suffered for the rest of their life. The child will have to do so because the parent neglected their duty to care for their child.
Both parents and children need to be able to get on.
The children need to be able to move on and forgiveness is part of the process. Not for the parent's sake, but for their sake. To live with anger and hatred is destructive, viz Rickie as an example of the destructiveness of hatred and unforgiveness in the life of a victim.
This is not to diminish the responsibility of the parents and the abusers.
You may feel that noone deserves forgiveness, but we all have things that we need forgiveness for, and to offer forgiveness for. It takes time for lots of people to be able to forgive.
As someone who has worked with mental health sufferers for a number of years now being able to forgive is a major step towards recovery for many people who are struggling with anger and hatred.
It's easy for someone who wants to remain anonymous in their reply to give such a judgmental comment, but obviously this person never lived in a "real" family home where all the children were divided into age groups & placed under the care of others. My daughter, Esther, was not just cared for by someone else, but in a different house on the property, so don't judge unless you know all circumstances. I was only allowed to see her & her other siblings for 1 hour every day and often that was supervised so this particular person's behavior would not be exposed. AS with all children who are abused physically or sexually, she was told not to disclose what was happening or she would cause me a lot of problems. My daughter resorted to drinking isopropyl alcohol & taking pills from the medicine cabinet in hopes of being returned to me in the house. This is only a taste of what was going on. My daughter has forgiven me in a very, very real way & we share a wonderful relationship now. Healing has occured, but I still struggle with the anger that I feel toward this woman, Lily ( married to Dominique, that's all I know).
This "guests" comments is so typically family and judgmental. I'm not looking for sentiment, but sound advice from fellow ex-members.
My opinion agrees with "guest". You should never get over the abuse that you let your child(ren) suffer. You deserve the scars and burdens you carry because your children bear them as well. Only they didn't have the choice. You did. Feel lucky when your children forgive you. What you should do is continue to do whatever is in your power to ensure that this will not happen again. This is in my opinion the only path to resolution.
In my situation it took my parents leaving the cult before I started speaking to them. I will speak to them more than once a year if they renounce the corrupt and despicable religion that caused the pain that we all have to deal with or take some significant action against child physical and psychological abuse at the hands of and in the name of the perverse religion that is Christianity. I'm not saying this is the path you and your children should take, it's the one I've chosen.
Jack, it's pretty funny to see you so ignorant of other religions. Almost all other religions have extremes to them - cults, sects, sick people, dictators, etc. I think you should take some time to get out and see the forest. Your statment might as well include all religions. I think you fail to realize that not everyone is like you and there are people who value religion and morals and ethics. There is a balance. Religion does many people good and keeps them sane and from commiting crimes. Some people just are sick - religion or none. Even religions that have do not have a god, have weirdos and strange cults. It's part of humanity. Unless you built a utopia like the one in equilibrium, these things will probably not cease. If it's not one, it's the other. I am not saying that we should succumb to it. We can choose for ourselves.
None of us have been exempted from the damaging effects of delusion, manipulation and abuse, in some form or another. Human nature and society, as a whole, sees to that. Whether we suffered at the hands of an ignorant believer, or worse still, happened to be one of the duped, the end result is the same; beaten-down, broken people. It is doubtful that any of us would have knowingly chosen a life of lies and mistreatment. To strive for a better life and accomplish a noble work, but then to find the sacrifice not only worthless, but used to promote more lies and abuse is a sad burden to bear. It's true, life isn't fair. Myself, I think that time has been my greatest ally,... and then learning to live in the moment, honestly.
I think you should take some time to get out and see the forest. Your statment might as well include all religions. I think you fail to realize that not everyone is like you and there are people who value religion and morals and ethics.
My statements DO include ALL religions and no, as my statements indicate, I do not fail to realize that everyone is not like me.
I'm not saying this is the path you and your children should take, it's the one I've chosen.
Religion may do some people good and "keep them sane and from committing crimes" but so can being into a sport, the military, or being a workaholic or a drunk. Except with these examples you don't have to look down and discriminate on people not in your club, social group or bar.
In 1863 Henry Dunant because of his christian convictions was moved to start the International Red Cross.
Out of a deep sense of her christian conviction Emeline Pankhurst became the leading light of the UK Women's Suffrage Movement.
A Methodist lay preacher by the name of Keir Hardy founded the British labour party.
Elisabeth Fry started the prison reform Movement in 18th century UK because of her religious convictions.
The UK's first Social Services were founded by William Booth's Salvation Army.
Child Labour laws were the fruit of the work of people of Christian convictions, principally because of the tireless work of men like Lord Shaftesbury.
William Wilberforce was the leading politician in UK who campaigned for the abolition of slavery. He believed that the slave trade was contrary to God's laws. Within 46 years of the start of the slave trade in UK Wilberforce's bill to abolish slavery throughout the empire was enacted.
The US civil rights movement was born out of religious belief and led by the Baptist preacher Martin Luther King Jr.
15 of Nobel prize winners for peace have been people, or groups, motivated by their religious convictions.
Some of the main leaders of the German anti-Nazi resistance movement during the Third Reich were people of religious conviction, many of them lost their lives--few of them are ever credited with anything.
Thousands of people work tirelessly for the improvement of the conditions of the poorest and most despised people groups purely out of religious convictions. Millions of lives have been saved, and continue to be saved, because of the men and women who are motivated by compassion and mercy which comes because of their religious beliefs. Many of these people go unnoticed by the world's media, often working in dangerous places at great personal risk. Numbers of them die either through sickness contracted as a direct result of their work, yet others are killed (such has been the fate of many peace workers in the middle east).
So to reject all the more positive aspects of religious belief out of hand is to besmerch the work of thousands of individuals who throughout the ages have brought health, improved standards of living, prosperity, education.
The printing press was invented as a means to promote religious knowledge, the very first books to be printed included the Bible itself which, as we know, the Catholic Church leaders sought to suppress by burning literature, destroying printing presses and executing thousands of people in the process.
A few of the Yanks in this group...
Sojourner Truth (Isabella Baumfree), was a former slave and God ordained preacher who worked to abolish slavery and for women's sufferage. She was a powerful orator who wrote some of one most famous speeches in American English, "Ain't I a woman?"
Lucretia Mott was a Quaker miniter and leader of the anti-slavery and women's sufferage movement. In 1840, Mott attended the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London, England. The men who controlled the convention refused to seat her and other women delegates. Mott responded by pledging to work diligently for women's rights. In 1848 she and another reformer organized the first women's rights convention in the United States at Seneca Falls, New York. Out of this meeting came a series of resolutions demanding increased rights for women, including better educational and employment opportunities and the right to vote.
Dorothea Dix was a Unitarian who volunteered to teach a Sunday School class for women inmates at the Boston, MA, jail in 1841. Within the this jail she observed prostitutes, drunks, criminals, retarded individuals, and the mentally ill were all housed together in unheated, unfurnished, and foul-smelling quarters. When asked why the jail was in these conditions her answer was, "the insane do not feel heat or cold". After witnessing these conditions she took the matter to the courts and began a reform movement for the humane treatment of persons with serious mental illnesses.
In 1933 Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin founded the Catholic Worker Movement, grounded in belief in the God-given dignity of every human person. Today over 185 Catholic Worker communities remain committed to nonviolence, voluntary poverty, prayer, and hospitality for the homeless, exiled, hungry, and foresaken. Catholic Workers continue to protest injustice, war, racism, and violence of all forms.
Religion..."to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." For the Christian believer, that seems pretty clear cut. I would even dare to suggest that most religions support and encourage this application of faith.
Nevertheless, whatever belief system one chooses to embrace, there is no guarantee afforded it that the powers that be will not manipulate the ideology or its followers, even play on their fears and prejudices, to accomplish their ends. Of course, religion hasn't got the market cornered. Influence and affluence are quite seductive and intoxicating, but especially when shrouded in religous garb.
At the risk of being cast as the devil's advocate, perhaps another glance at history might add some balance and clarify the point concerning Christianity specifically.
For instance, the Ku Klux Klan boasts "christian" roots and an obligation to separate from "ungodly" Jews, Catholics and races other than whites.
Fundamentalist Christians will site numerous scriptural references to rationalize discrimination against women and children as well as persecution of gays or any perceived threat to their constricted idea of truth, for that matter.
As far as the holocaust, interest in the horrific crimes committed, not only against Jews, but Catholics, gypsies and millions of other "undesirables," was minimal until it was impossible to ignore any longer.
The environmental damage our world has suffered, its natural resources plundered and polluted, the exploitation of the disadvantaged poor worldwide, are explained away with the "taking dominion" strategy and the all purpose Protestant work ethic ploy.
The humiliation of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, whether it occurred in Abu Graib, Auswitz, Salem, the Inquisitor's palace or the local parish have everything to do with the Christian religion.
Colonialism also shared its particular forms of abuse, slavery and entitlement, similar to the attrocities of the crusades. Let's not exclude the rape and massacre of whole "nations" and their cultures, in the name of God, or as we Americans like to call it, manifest destiny.
The point being, we are each responsible for ourselves and accountable for the truths we hold dear. Working it out, now that can be tricky.