Articles from March 2014

My friends tell me Phil is psychotic–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–October 1994, Part 1

From a letter I wrote a friend on October 1:

Everyone says Phil is psychotic, unstable, in urgent need of professional help.  My dad says he’s on the edge.

Even Phil’s friend Dirk, who’s trying to be objective but is Phil’s confidante much more than I’d even want him to be mine, says that pressures of school are probably getting to him as well as problems with me.

His home life is probably the biggest cause of this “psychosis,” especially since he lives at home instead of on campus.  Arguments are the way of life there, and it’s doubtful whether his parents even love each other anymore.

[When I asked Sharon, a Psych major,] if he was having another nervous breakdown…she said, “No, it’s a psychosis.”  She says he was already acting weird last semester.

(Maybe that’s why my friends started to not like him, even though the semester before they tried to get him to do things with us, and seemed to like him.)

Dad says he’d better find some counselor to talk to or maybe his priest, before he goes over the edge.

…Why do I keep falling for guys with problems?  I don’t even know about the problems until later, usually.  Why do the sweet guys I find keep turning out to be jerks?  I like weird, not psychotic!

For months my guy seems like a rare find, and then all of a sudden he changes on me.  I plan to send my story to [a magazine] as a warning to other people: Don’t get a “spiritual” marriage that isn’t legal!

I don’t want to regret the special times when Phil and I have “been” together, but I have been starting to.  I don’t know what to think of myself as: divorced or “fallen”?

I hope we do end up together, because our spirits have joined [Evangelical belief] and I don’t want to explain to my future husband that he’s not my “first.”

…Nothing makes any sense anymore.  My life was going along great and I knew where I’d be after graduation.

Now I don’t know what’s going to happen anymore.  I just want to leave this place, this whole world, but there’s no way I can myself without sinning [suicide=sin].

I feel like Job when he said, “Why does death come to those who don’t want it, and some seek for death and don’t find it?” (paraphrase)

I’ve been turning to my friends for a place to keep my sanity and make life bearable.  I don’t feel so lonely as I would have.  I’m not always inclined to do a whole lot, but I force myself to get out and do things.

This is one benefit I see in today’s more open society: Spiritual marriages and even sleeping with a boyfriend have become more “acceptable” than they were when I was in college.

I do see a spiritual marriage as real if the two people are truly joined in their hearts, and would no longer advise against it, unless it would cause problems with your religious leaders.

I don’t think I’d have such a moral quandary if I went through this now, in 2014.  But in 1994, I felt like I’d fallen morally.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

“The Rapture”: Left Behind Review, Part 3

 

Previous parts of this review

As the Slacktivist blogger has noted, in the first book (Left Behind) we read that young Chloe somehow got from Stanford to Chicago to be with her dad, even while the Rapture’s aftermath made travel virtually impossible–meaning she has accomplished an amazing feat all by herself.  But we don’t see how she did it.

On pages 249 and 257 to 259 of this book, we finally get to see how she did it, and yes, she is quite resourceful.

Yet another example of what should have gone into Left Behind, rather than endless phone conversations and other frustrating filler, but did finally make it into this last book.

On page 261–after several of the early books, before her death, depicted her as dumb and narcissistic–we get a surprising revelation about Hattie:

Hattie Durham enjoyed the delectable secret that she was not quite as ditzy as she seemed to be.  How people reacted to her–particularly men–she had recognized so many years before that she couldn’t remember not using it to her advantage.

Women seemed to baby talk to her, as if because she was a beautiful blonde she couldn’t have a brain.  And men seemed to talk to her with their eyes, as if their gibberish was meaningless, which it often was.

It was, however, not true that Hattie was other than calculating.  She had largely charmed her way to senior-flight-attendant status just after her twenty-seventh birthday–no small feat–but these jobs were not just handed out.

She had had to study, to be a quick learner, to gain favor with passengers, fellow crew members, and superiors.  They didn’t give such a title to a body, a face, a hairdo, and makeup in uniform.

What amazes me is how often we’re told that blondes and other beauties are treated as dumb just because they’re pretty.  I’ve never based my opinion of another’s intelligence on how attractive she is or is not.

Several of my best friends in college, all very intelligent, were also blondes.  The only time I heard them called a “wind tunnel” (when sitting next to each other) was by Shawn, but he knew they were smart.

Hattie certainly is not helping herself–or women’s lib–by pretending to play into the stereotype.

Another revelation is that Hattie never intended to be a cheap fling for Rayford: No, she was in love, and wanted him to give up his wife and marry her.

On page 271, Raymie realizes that the judgments are giving him a “crash course in church history.”  Yet we go from second-century martyrs Polycarp and Papias to fourteenth-century Bible translator John Wycliffe!

Where’s everything that happened in church history in the intervening 12 centuries?  Or does it not count until the beginning of the Protestant Reformation?

All of chapter 26 (other than the breakaways to scenes in Heaven) is what happens on the plane after the Rapture.  It is full of emotion, fear, and how the flight crew handles the sudden disappearance of dozens of passengers.

It also goes more into how Hattie and Rayford relate to each other, when they had planned to take their relationship to the next level, but instead were thrust into this crisis.

Where was this in the first book?

On page 309, we get into the thoughts of Rayford’s co-pilot Chris Smith (and soon find out why he killed himself in Left Behind); we read, “[The disappearances weren’t] going to be something he could watch on TV and gas about with his poker buddies.”

Er–what?  What th’ heck is “gas about”?  What generation used/uses that term, because it sure isn’t Gen-X or the Millennials?  If you’re going to use slang, shouldn’t it at least be from the 21st century?

We also learn about Smith’s wife, plain Jane, a good woman–whom Chris cheats on at every port (including recently with Hattie, as we learn on page 317).

Chris also has another wife and family (yes, a bigamist).  He thinks, “And [Jane] was a servant.”  What? a servant?  What, your wife waits on you hand and foot?  Some guys are never satisfied….

On page 319, Raymie, who has a big globe in his heavenly mansion, uses the globe to go back in time to watch the beginning of the world.  Sure enough, he starts in the Garden of Eden, and thinks, “It had all been true, the biblical record, and Raymie could immerse himself in every incident and see as it played out.”

Take that, evolutionists!  Even with all your fancy science, which has been proven to be correct again and again, yer wrong!

As we continue, the description of events on the plane is, yet again, what we should have seen in Left Behind.  Where was all this adventure and emotion back then?  I feel cheated!

On page 341, the apostle Paul is next up to be judged.  He “seemed eager to meet Jesus.”

But–Wouldn’t he have already met Jesus when he died and went to Heaven?  That’s how most of the Christian denominations seem to teach it: that when you die, you go to Heaven (or Paradise, the “holding tank” before the judgment), but not soul sleep.

Are the authors now telling us the correct teaching is soul sleep, which belongs to Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh-Day Adventists, not the Christian mainstream??

The end of the book leads into the second book of the series (Tribulation Force), as these last three have been prequels to Left Behind.

And then we get the author’s note, where we are assured that the authors’ version of the End Times is correct and anyone who would tell you different is a false messiah and false prophet deliberately teaching error and led by Satan (p. 348).

Which would include a large number of Christian denominations, including the most conservative ones, Catholic and Orthodox.

So we must follow the authors’ two keys to understanding the Second Coming, which are “You must take the Bible literally, including prophecy” and “You must keep in mind that there are two stages to the Second Coming.”

Never mind that both keys are just plain theologically WRONG.

And, of course, when the authors are asked why the books are “the most popular fiction series ever,” they say it’s “based on the Bible’s forecast of the last days,” “which many find fascinating”–and, of course, that’s “aside from Jerry’s incredible fiction-writing gift.”

Er–his what?  If it’s so incredible, then why is it mocked by the Slacktivist and so many others across the Net?  Why have I often felt like, “Why, again, am I slogging through these books?”

On page 350, LaHaye refers to his “nonfiction prophecy books”–I don’t think “nonfiction” means what you think it means….

Then he writes that “after you compare them” (the Rapture and the Glorious Appearing, as described in his books) “you will realize that they cannot possibly be describing the same event.”

Er–I’ve read many other books, including the Bible, and realized that they cannot possibly be describing TWO events.

And now on, FINALLY, to the LAST book!  Yippee!

[11/27/13-12/5/13]

Find all my Left Behind book reviews here.

 

Fierce anger against Phil and PTSD from the abuse–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–The Long, Dark Painful Tunnel, Part 15

My friends were disgusted with how Phil had been treating me.  This included at least two guys–Mike and Charles–so it wasn’t just the female perspective saying he was an a**hole.

I later learned that James, too, thought he was a creep, and that Phil and Persephone deserved each other because she was the most negative person he ever met.

Sharon said Phil was domineering and possessive.  It was funny because he or his “friends” had been saying I was possessive!  I sure couldn’t remember being possessive.  She (the Psych major) said he had a psychosis, and that his whole family was psychotic, so she tried to stay away from them all.

Though I still had trouble letting go of all my feelings, I think this time I got so angry that I lost all the love I ever had in my heart for him.  Though at times the feelings returned, in my heart it was over.

The times I wanted him back, were probably denial of the truth, or fear of ending up alone.  His true self had been shown to me in vivid technicolor.

I hope I haven’t done too much ranting in these blogs, but I felt I needed to show what happened, just in case one of you finds yourself in similar situation.  You don’t have to stay there.  I also wanted to tell people what really happened.

I’ve read that women who’ve been abused in some way often have trouble with anger management.  That might explain why I got incredibly angry with Phil–more angry than I ever was with Peter or Shawn–and to this day still struggle with residual anger.  My friends and family heard me say things about Phil that they never heard me say about anybody else, and it shocked them.

Quoted from Abuse in a Christian Marriage:

“The feelings you’re likely dealing with Crystal are anger, pain, betrayal, fear, trauma, sadness, shame and more. These are very common feelings for abuse victims, and in order to get past them they have to be acknowledged and dealt with.”

Also see later on, “Healing from past abuse.

What also didn’t help me get over the anger: Recently [this was written in 2006], Dr. Phil McGraw said on his show that if a woman does not feel heard, she keeps saying it over and over until she does feel heard.

I did not feel heard, so I said what I needed to say in letters.  Still, I got no apology, just a guy who acted like I had nothing to be angry about.  Why on earth did I not want to say hi to him when he said it to me?  Gee, why do you think?

It’s hard to forgive and let go when someone never acknowledges they did something horrible to you, when they never show remorse.  Years later, it still burns you up, no matter how much you pray for the strength to forgive.

The only thing to make forgiveness easier is to finally receive an apology.  Even if it takes many years, that’s still better than never.

Bullying causes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, lower self-worth and feeling helpless.  It is a psychiatric injury, which traumatizes a person.  

When a bully is supported by his friends, when authority figures aren’t interested in stepping in–even resorting to blaming you for the bullying, when the bully “gets away with it”–this makes it much harder for the bullied to reach “closure.”  

Here are listed traits of complex post-traumatic stress disorder and of psychiatric injury; I especially identify with these traits:

  • An overwhelming desire for acknowledgement, understanding, recognition and validation of their experience

  • A lack of desire for revenge, but a strong motivation for justice

  • A tendency to oscillate between conciliation (forgiveness) and anger (revenge) with objectivity being the main casualty

  • A constant feeling that one has to justify everything one says and does

  • A constant need to prove oneself, even when surrounded by good, positive people

  • An unusually strong sense of vulnerability, victimisation or possible victimisation, often wrongly diagnosed as “persecution”

  • Feelings of worthlessness, rejection, a sense of being unwanted, unlikeable and unlovable

  • A feeling of being small, insignificant, and invisible

  • An overwhelming sense of betrayal, and a consequent inability and unwillingness to trust anyone, even those close to you

  • The person is by now obsessed with the situation (or rather, resolving the situation), cannot switch off, may be unable to sleep, and probably has nightmares, flashbacks and replays

These things either have affected in the past, or still do affect, me.  [This was written in 2006.]

Sometimes Always” by The Jesus and Mary Chain played often before, during, and after the second time Phil and I were together: A guy breaks up with his girlfriend.  He comes back, she refuses at first, then takes him back.

I liked to mentally sing along with the female singer when she said, “You went away; you can’t come back.”  When Phil came back to me, I identified with the line, “You went away, but now you’re back.”  I also liked the image of the groveling ex-boyfriend.

On the 29th, I wrote in the new Journal my friends and I started,

There’s also this emptiness, like a part of me is missing.  Especially when I’m alone and doing mechanical, everyday things.  “Meaningless, everything is meaningless.”  (Ecclesiastes)

It makes friends and (Mike will recognize this) “future hope” so important.  [I think “future hope” must have been a term from Intro to Christianity class, probably meaning Heaven, hope that things will get better.]  The emptiness starts to go away a little bit.

Maybe this is really a cry for help.  You guys’ll have to keep an eye on me.  I’ve found myself not caring how close the cars are on the drive[way]s, and it’s scaring me.

I’ve been through bad times before but gotten through them.  [namely, Peter and Shawn]  Things always get better.  But how long until they do?

…Someone who accused InterVarsity of being a clique [Dirk] also said that maybe I should pull away from it.  He couldn’t have been more wrong.

I need InterVarsity–an oasis of spirituality and learning how to get closer to God.  My faith is really being tested since a couple nights ago.

I feel like God told me one thing but the exact opposite is true.  Which can’t be, because God doesn’t lie.  He wants me to trust Him, even in all this when I can’t figure out what He’s doing or if He’s even doing anything.  I’m sure somebody should be able to relate.

For years, He’s been telling me time and time again, “Trust Me.”  Which is so hard to do, when it should be so easy to trust someone as trustworthy as God is.  That Psalm 13 really fits.

(For those of you who weren’t at Pearl’s Bible study last week, that’s what we studied.  David crying out to God in desperate circumstances, and finally saying that he knows God will help him.)

I saw a poster in Counselor Dude’s office that asked, If you couldn’t write, would you die?–In my case, I think so.  There’s just something about putting words on the page that makes life worthwhile for me.  Another reason why I think this journal is such a good idea.  Probably also a reason why I write such long letters!

Written October 2011:

After doing more research into abuse and narcissism, thanks to dealing with two narcissists who abused and maligned me in 2010, I now believe that Phil’s first breakup with me was not intended to be permanent.  

I believe it was actually his attempt to control me.  Because I wasn’t submissive enough, he wanted to force me to submit, to show me that the consequences of not submitting meant losing him–to break my spirit.

And it worked, for a time.  For the week he was back with me, I was afraid to do anything that would make him go away again.  I was very submissive, giving in to anything he wanted, no matter how baffling (going to Thailand for a year), outlandish or distasteful (oral sex, which he knew I hated, and he had not washed himself, so it smelled awful).

Even during the two weeks between the first breakup and week back together, I was submissive during our negotiations:

For example, he asked if I would object if he started smoking and drinking, and I said I would not.  During the negotiations, if I started saying or doing things he didn’t like, the rage wall went up again, and he would ditch me, go off and tell Dirk what I was doing wrong, etc.

During those two weeks, Dirk (Phil’s puppet) came to me and told me to distance myself from my friends.  So Phil was, once again, trying to control me by separating me from my friends, the ones who saw him for what he really was.  

And when we got back together but I “screwed up” by not “supporting” him as he bashed me to my friends, he left again.  It disgusts me to think of how submissive I was just to hold onto this controlling man.

(For more on the above-described situations, see here.)

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

 

Different kinds of abuse–same feelings: How Mark Driscoll reminds me of Tracy, Phil, and others

One reason why I read blogs and articles of all different kinds of abuse, is that I find the reactions of the abuse victims are the same everywhere.

Of course you’ll have differences here and there: Being molested by a parent is not the same as being psychologically manipulated by an ex-boyfriend, for example.

But everywhere you find the same common themes: loss of trust, hurt, pain, confusion, longing for the abuser to acknowledge the abuse and make up for it.

The other day, I read this account of narcissistic abuse and a smear campaign at Mars Hill Church:

My Story by Jonna Petry

Her husband was a pastor with the church for a time, until he was abandoned and smeared by Mark Driscoll.

In this and in other stories I’ve read about abuse at Mars Hill Church, I was struck all along by things that sounded very familiar, in my own experiences with narcissistic abuse, from exes (especially Phil) and from Richard and Tracy:

  • A person/place who at first seemed like God’s gift to you.
  • Pressure to conform.
  • Shunning someone you are told is bad.
  • Abuse and getting kicked out for questioning, disagreeing, speaking up about problems.
  • A person who throws tantrums and verbally abuses you for the slightest offenses, even when the offense is only in his own mind.
  • A smear campaign.
  • Others encouraged to shun you.
  • A kangaroo court in which you have no real chance to defend yourself.
  • Others put through the same abuse if they stick up for you.
  • A “conference” which is meant not to hear your side or your grievances, but to coerce you into agreeing that the abuse against you is justified.
  • A refusal of the abusers to admit they’ve done anything wrong.  As Driscoll and his henchman wrote to Jonna and her husband, “We still believe we have done nothing wrong.”
  • Begging others to help, but no one will.
  • Discovering this abuse is a pattern, that it neither began nor ended with you.

The hurt, pain and confusion as you long desperately for reconciliation:

In shock and heartbroken, Paul and I tried desperately that first half-year to bring about some level of reconciliation.

We so longed to be restored to our friends, to have our name and reputation exonerated, and to have peace in our relationships.

This had become our family that we loved and served and ministered to as our own dear children and as brothers and sisters. These were our dear friends.

How could they do this to us? Words do not adequately describe the shock, horror, betrayal, and rejection we felt. The weight of the loss was excruciating.

The PTSD and shaking of faith:

During this whole season since the firing and the months that followed, I was emotionally and spiritually devastated.

I was often tormented by fear. I had nightmares and imaginations of someone trying to physically harm Paul, me, and the children.

If Mark had had ecclesiastical power to burn Paul at the stake I believe he would have.

I literally slept in the fetal position for months. I stayed in bed a lot, bringing the children in bed with me to do their schoolwork.

I became severely depressed and could hardly bring myself to leave the house except when absolutely necessary. I cried nearly every day for well over a year thinking I must soon cry it out, right?

But, the sorrow was bottomless. My faith was gravely shaken. How could a loving God allow this?

Later it became clear that I had typical symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression and that these reactions were common in someone who has experienced spiritual abuse.

Spiritual abuse occurs when someone uses their power within a framework of spiritual belief or practice to satisfy their own needs at the expense of others. It is a breach of sacred trust.

Christians are commanded by Jesus to love one another. When that is projected, articulated, enjoyed and then treacherously betrayed, the wounded person is left with “a sense of having been raped, emotionally and spiritually” not by a stranger, but by someone who was deeply trusted. (See Recovering from Church Abuse by Len Hjalmarson)

At the beginning, Jonna wrote,

This past summer I saw the movie, “The Help,” and a seed of courage was planted in my soul. One of the last lines of the movie:

“God says we need to love our enemies. It hard to do.  But it can start by telling the truth. No one had ever asked me what it feel like to be me. Once I told the truth about that, I felt free.”

This story is an earnest attempt to speak the truth in love that freedom and new life may flourish.

At the end, she wrote things which encourage me to continue telling the story of Richard/Tracy–and express the same hope I hold, that one day my abusers will recognize their abuse and change:

In Acts, Chapter 20, the Apostle Paul pleaded with the Ephesian elders to pay attention and guard the flock.

This admonition, along with the mounting stories of abuse and misconduct coming out of Mars Hill Church, has added to our conviction.

We believe that to remain quiet now would be unloving and disobedient to God. As my husband stated earlier–if we fail to remember our history, we leave it for others to re-write. And, unfortunately, some of that has occurred.

And, in Mark’s own words from his book, Vintage Jesus:

“People are not perfect. As sinners we need to be gracious, patient, and merciful with one another just as God is with us or the church will spend all of its time doing nothing but having church discipline trials.

“It is worth stressing, however, that we cannot simply overlook an offense if doing so is motivated by our cowardice, fear of conflict, and/or lack of concern for someone and their sanctification.

“In the end, it is the glory of God, the reputation of Jesus, the well-being of the church, and the holiness of the individual that must outweigh any personal desires for a life of ease that avoids dealing with sin biblically.

“Sometimes God in his providential love for us allows us to be involved in dealing with another’s sin as part of our sanctification and growth. It is good for us and for the sinner, the church, and the reputation of the gospel if we respond willingly to the task God has set before us.”

What happened to us was very wrong. The way it was publicly described by Mark and the elders at the time was completely exaggerated and deceptive. The way the media and blogs have since reported on it has many holes and errors. Now it is open and plain to everyone.

If Mark and the organizations he leads do not change, I fear many more will be hurt, Mark and his family included.  To not speak is to not love or care and shows no thought or consideration for those who have been wounded and those who will be in the future.

We are witnesses. There is a pattern. There is a history. There is an ethos of authoritarianism and abuse.

Mark is the unquestioned head of Mars Hill Church and the Acts 29 Network. His elders have no way to hold him accountable. Those under him likely fear him and want to garner his favor so they don’t dare say nor do anything that might anger him. This is tragic.

Perhaps at some point, with enough outcry and exposure, Mark will come to his senses, own his harmful behavior, and get the help he needs to change. I hope so. Our common Enemy can make terrible use of our weaknesses and blind spots.

Our Lord’s harshest words were for leaders who used their status, power, the Scriptures, and God’s people for their own self-aggrandizement. Surely this is not what Mark meant to do.

We are all in this together, no matter what kind of abuse we suffered, or from whom.

We did not deserve it, and need to learn and remember this.  We need to put the responsibility for the abuse, and our subsequent hurt and pain, where it belongs–on the abuser–and take none for ourselves.

And we need to NOT look at each other and think, “I got it worse than you, so why should I bother with your story and pain?”

We also need to learn from each other, take courage from each other to speak up and tell our stories, and heal each other.

 

So Chris has re-friended me on Facebook….

I’m not sure what to make of this.  Three years ago, Chris (my “replacement” as Richard’s BFF) unfriended me on Facebook without a word.

I feared Richard had filled his mind with poison about me, as he filled mine with poison about Todd.  I sent Chris another friend request, but he ignored it.  I became even more depressed, and wrote my first blog post on this subject, Fighting the Darkness.

And now, THREE YEARS later, he has accepted my friend request.  I don’t know what took so long, what changed his mind.  He hasn’t said a word still, and I don’t want to kick it by saying anything.  Spy?  Flying monkey attack?–Or maybe even realized I was not the person Richard and Tracy wanted him to think I was?

Just…weird.  Fortunately, Richard and Tracy are blocked on my Facebook, so I can’t see them post anything to him–though I can tell when comments are missing from blocked people.  Just count the number you see vs. the number FB tells you is there.

I’m not going to unfriend him.  It was, after all, my request which he finally responded to after 3 years.  I don’t want him to notice and start asking questions.  Just wait and see if things become clear.

 

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