Last week I received this very honest and despondent comment from someone on the comments thread of another article. I have kept even their pseudonym anonymous because I did not obtain direct permission to publish this as a separate post, and given the nature of the comment, I simply thought it considerate. (I know that I don’t ask permission from other commenters to publish their contributions in articles, but the nature of those comments, compared to this, is usually quite different).
I have added my response to the body of the article, but I would love to get your counsel and opinions and ideas as well, because you have all, I think, experienced similar things, and each of us offer unique and personal insights which may very well be extremely enlightening to both this person and the rest of us.
And so, my brilliant readers, one and all, please add your two cents, or even a tithe, to this fellow victim of the philosophy which kills and wrecks, but which will never ultimately vanquish. I say up the individual! And let them who cry out for life and the God-ordained right to pursue the interest of the SELF without fear or shame or harm be validated, elevated, promoted, and affirmed, both by us and by the Divine, who continuously observes the distinction between Himself and His children, whom He loves because they are uniquely THEMSELVES, and their LIFE is theirs to live; and this the most beautiful gift!
I am a survivor of a calvinist takeover in my church, and a husband who has became a narcissist. This has been a slow fade for about 10 years. He started attending a mens bible study which was teaching biblical manhood. He was taught that men were the head of the house, and their job was to make the wife and children submit. Even if the wife protests, she really does not mean it because she desires and want to have someone rule over her. Of course, this was packaged with a beautiful bow. It made the men think that having a family was like being the CEO of a company. The family did not have feelings or opinions, but they were to be managed like a company. I would try to express my feeling, hurts etc., and he would justify his behavior, twist and turn his words, lie, tell half truths, and finally say that I am unforgiving which means that I am the one with the problem. I would go away, pray, read my bible, cry out to God to change me and help me forgive him. I have even asked him to pray for me that I would be able to forgive him. The whole time he was guilty of the accused action , but he would never never never admit it. He let me suffer for years. How could someone say that they love you when they are willing and causing your suffering. I began to think I was crazy. I lost myself. I became depressed and gained a lot of weight. I was involved in a church that had a calvinist pastor who lied when he was hired. He knew the church he was going into was not reformed. The church ended up splitting, we left, but the abuse continues on. My job (according to this theology) was to never talk bad about him to anyone and to make him look good. I did my part, but I have recently found out that he threw me under the bus to my kids. He turned them against me by using brainwashing and subtle hints to accomplish this. If he wanted them to clean their rooms, he would not just tell them he would say, “Your mom is so tired, and you should not make her do all this work blah blah blah.” My kids were convinced that I was complaining to him, but I never did. He is a coward. This theology tears people and homes apart. They may look beautiful on the outside but the victims are just shells because the narcissist has snuffed out every bit of life from the family.”
Welcome to the blog, and thank you for sharing. I know how hard it is to talk about these things and how difficult it can be to put into words. I think you will find many understanding voices on this blog; almost all of us, like you, have witnessed first hand the destruction Calvinism can wreak upon a church, and not the least of the fallout is the obliteration of individuals and their families, as you well describe. Indeed, the individual and the ones they love most are a purposefully chosen target of this vile doctrine.
I am terribly sorry for what has happened to you. But know this: you are not alone. Many of us have had our families and our psyches wrecked by this deceptive philosophy, and for as many as it spits out and destroys, that many are able to rise from the swaths of smoldering ashes it leaves behind as it attempts to cast the individual into the abyss of oblivion; an objective which it cannot ever truly or finally accomplish, as its foundations are dry sand, and brittle are the pillars which bulwark its assertions. For its assertions need only a speck of the light of reason cast upon them, and the rest of the philosophy quickly flames and withers. It burns bright for a moment, but it is the fire of mere kindling; for there is no substance to sustain it, so it is quickly snuffed out, offering neither lasting heat nor light. Of this I am convinced.
And you must further understand that by simply questioning the lies…by seeing, though perhaps not altogether articulating, the contradictions and observing the massive discrepancies between what is taught and what is observed, you already know more than those who abuse you. You are already beginning your journey to recovery. Don’t stop. Don’t give up. And never forget that what you are rejecting, having witnessed its very real destruction and felt its very real pain, has nothing to do with the Christ they pretend to promote. It is a lie. It is unworkable. It is death worship. NEVER forget this. No matter how cleanly packaged and scrubbed the philosophy may be presented to you, it is no angel of light. On the contrary, It is an evil which rejects both God and man, and those who demand you concede its rule over you have NO interest in YOUR life; indeed, they reject it out of hand. You exist to be exploited and consumed for THEIR good pleasure, nothing more. And even if they themselves are too intellectually lazy or vacant to apprehend the depths of its evil, the reality is that by that very small, first glimpse of its dissonance, you have shown that you are absolutely not. And though that first glimpse may seem small, you are already intellectually and philosophically and theologically and morally miles and miles ahead of those who sell their souls to Satan, and exchange truth for lies just to acquire a little comfort, a little momentary power. They exchange perpetual heaven for brief flash of self-importance and the illusion of metaphysical superiority. But you are NEVER obligated to participate in their make-believe; the cartoons which pass for legitimate interpretations of reality. On the contrary, reason and morality demand that you reject it as patently false, and pursue, happily, your SELF as the only legitimate, God-affirmed metaphysic.
You are on the right track. Just never forget that YOU are good and YOU are SUPPOSED to exist as YOU, and that YOU and the pursuit of YOUR own life are necessary to truth, reason, and reality. YOU have nothing to be ashamed of. YOUR reflection in the mirror is God’s perfect will for you. Pursue that, and LIFE, even life eternal, shall be your reward.
Blessings to you,