Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism


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Please note that I don’t hate the Duggars or question their life choices. From what you see on TV, the Duggars are a healthy and good family. Though having that many kids isn’t for everyone, I think the way they handle certain things is something others can learn from.

I used to love and admire the Duggars. There wasn’t really agreement about them in our family and friends circle or even at the church. Some said their daughters were too worldly. Others said they shouldn’t have gone on TV. Others again said it was a great mission that they were working on.

Thought I hadn’t seen many episodes back then, I still loved them. I looked at my family and saw that we weren’t remotely like them. The Duggar family members look so happy, so content, so joyous. In my family, there was fear, anger and constant struggle for basic things in life. I don’t see that fear in the eyes of the Duggar girls.

I wondered why the Duggars were so different from my family. Since I left the movement, I began to realize that they didn’t have to face the same struggles we did. We didn’t make a bunch of money from our own TV show, with which we could build a house, have Dad around most of the day and be free from financial problems. I don’t blame them for making money the way they do by any means. They made the right choice. This show pays their bills, and that gives them time to work together as a real family. They did what was best for the kids, and I think anybody who frowns upon that needs to get real.

But back then, since we didn’t have a TV and I wasn’t very educated on media business, I didn’t realize that. It never appeared to me that they could be paid for making the show – don’t laugh at me, hehe. I really had no clue.

So, I began to “research” what caused the Duggar’s happiness. Unfortunately, I used the bible. That’s not exactly the book you want to look at when analyzing a TV show like I did.

First, of course, I worked with P31. I analyzed my mother. I realized that she fit into the P31 pattern pretty well, except for the happy part. She wasn’t cheerful. She didn’t smile at the future. She didn’t even smile at the present! Why was that?

I figured it was partially because her husband didn’t praise her in presence of the church elders. My dad actually never said anything positive about her. He didn’t even talk about her in any way. He hardly ever used the term “we”. It was “him”. He did everything, and we, as a family, were only a piece of him.

Why did he not give her praise then? I stumbled over yet another idea. My mom might not be submissive enough. I checked her behaviour for a few days after that. It lead me to believe that this just couldn’t be the cause. My mom was so submissive that you couldn’t tell she was there until you fell over her. She never talked back. She never made one single decision. Not the tiniest one!

Everything she said had the feel of a question directed to her head, my dad. Shall I make breakfast at 7? Should I wear a blue blouse with the white skirt tomorrow? Does Lisa need to eat up or might she stop now?

Long story short, no matter to which bible character I compared my family members to, I couldn’t find faults. I just couldn’t. We did everything the same way. We were so biblical, you could’ve written our behaviour down and would’ve ended up with the bible.

I started to dislike the Duggars. Why could we not be the same? Why don’t we kiss each other? Why don’t my parents kiss? Why don’t they shower us in laughter and I love yous? They were so perfect, it was a disgust to me.

Now that I’m out, I can look at the Duggars differently. I now know that they had a choice to make their lives really good, and they took it. Everybody else would have made the same decision, and those who wouldn’t, well, I’d straight out call you dumb as a rock.

I still think there has to be more to it than just the money. The Duggars have different views. Their girls are allowed make up and pretty clothes. The shirts the girls wear would’ve been rated too tight in my family. The girls can express themselves. They are partially encouraged to get an education. They go out. They are allowed to go out without their parents! They have a freedom I never experienced.

I’m jealous, but not in a bad way. I’m so happy that for some families, the things that made my life miserable work for others. Call me crazy, but that allows me to keep a spark of faith in God and the Bible. It can’t be all that bad when there’s healthy, happy families living by it.

I feel that I need God at this point, but I’m so clueless how to deal with him.


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