Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism

Training up this child – Part 16 – Call me when you’re sober

16 Comments

Note: All of this is written with Beth’s permission.

The moment I heard Beth’s voice, my head completely blacked out and was flooded with millions of questions at the same time. I blurted out the first question that came to my mind: “What in God’s name are you doing, Beth?”. A big sigh came from the other side as she went to explain the whole story.

Beth had been struggling with the movement for about 3 years at that point. At first, she started doubting things in the bible. Some things just didn’t make sense to her anymore. How everything set up women to be unable to deal with the real world. That women are sinful, much more than men. That they can’t really have a relationship with God but need a man for that. She started wondering why God would allow a soul to be born into such a miserable state.

She tried sharing with her family, but was immediately put down. It wasn’t her place to ask, after all, she was just a woman. Beth was disappointed that her family treated her like that. In her frustration, she turned more and more “rebellious”. She picked up friendships with people outside of the movement. They were still christians, but not radical ones. A lot of her questions seemed strange to them, even dangerous. Their thinking was much more after Beth’s taste and she slowly changed her views on many things the fundamentalist QF movement had taught her otherwise.

She didn’t want to leave her family or make them sad. When they approached her with a courtship, she submitted, hoping that it would turn out well. That it would be a man who was on her side. The opposite was true. Knowing that his daughter changed her mind on many things, that she was rebellious, her father picked a man after his taste. All other men who expressed interest in Beth were sent away, not even telling Beth that there were other guys. The man her father had picked was a maniac to say the least. Note here that I don’t want to make anybody look like a monster, I’m just telling you Beth’s version of the story. According to Beth, he had views that even the fundies considered extravagant. One of the views was that sex is never fun for a woman and if it is, you’re doing it wrong. Pleasure in sex was inherently wrong. It was to make babies, period. The wife was also to fully submit to him. That meant no arguments whatsoever. Beth said that whenever she disagreed with him, even if it was only over dinner, he told her that would have to stop once they were married. Beth came to fear the man, and rightfully so. Their engagement wasn’t romantic at all. He casually told her that he thought it was time to get married. She asked him if he was asking her to marry him, his answer was “No, I’m telling you I’ve decided to marry you.” He grew more and more possessive of her, telling her what to wear, how to wear her hair, what she could or couldn’t do. He gave her a list of skills he thought needed improvement.

During all this time, Beth was still hanging out with her outside friends as often as she could. She ended up falling in love with one of the guys from that group of friends and so did he. While she didn’t admit this at first, a few days after her engagement they ended up kissing. From that point on, she decided to leave somehow. She and her boyfriend worked out a plan where she could stay, what she could do, how they’d save her.

Once they had everything set up, Beth decided to try one last time with her family. She talked to her parents how she didn’t want to marry this guy, how she disagreed with some of their views and what she wanted to do with her life. Her dad freaked out and got all crazy-bible-verse-thrower on her. She however took the phone, dialed her fiance’s number and told the first person who picked up (his mother) that she was breaking off the engagement. Her dad was in a wild rage, screaming the worst things at her, and she screamed back. Beth had set up a time with her friend where she ould come to pick her up, so she held out through the fight until that time came. She ran out of the house and into her friend’s car, who brought her to an apartment where they could live together as roommates. She still lives there.

I was listening silently until I regained some thought. I had thought about what to tell her before I called her, and now was the time to tell her all of my thoughts. I told her how I thought she made a mistake, that there certainly was a solution, that she needed to come back and work it all out. I said she was throwing away her savior for a boyfriend who didn’t really love her – after all, he kissed her, robbed her and her future husband of her purity.

Beth got really angry at that. “You’re telling me about love? You don’t know anything about it. You’re courting my brother, and why? Because he was the first man your dad presented to you. Because my brother is a good enough guy for you. You don’t love him and we both know that. You don’t know what love is because you don’t love anybody. You’re marrying my brother because he’s good enough and that’s as far as you’ll ever get, good enough.”

That on the other hand deeply hurt me. “I DO love your brother. Harry is THE BEST man I can image as a husband. He’s NOT good enough, he is the BEST. I love him and I’m honored that he considers me a potential wife. YOU don’t know what love is because you fell for the first horny bastard who told you that you have pretty eyes.”

You’re free to join me in being surprised that Beth didn’t hang up at this point. I’m telling you, she didn’t.

“Lisa, do me a favour. Take some time and REALLY think about it. Think about love and the feelings you have for my brother. If you can make me believe that you love him, I’ll be quiet for the rest of my life. Just make sure you really test it.”

“How am I supposed to test it?” I said, in a very annoyed and hurt voice.

“I don’t know. Just do something so you can feel if he’s right for you. And then tell me about it.”

I told her that I would have the answer she wanted of me soon enough, made up an excuse to hang up and was saying goodbyes as Beth asked me “Promise you’ll call again. You know I don’t mean to hurt you.”. I agreed and hung up, sitting on Tiffany’s couch, staring once again at the wall, tangled up in my thoughts. After a few minutes of this, Tiffany came in.

“Are you finished?”

“Yeah, pretty much” I said.

Tiffany came to sit next to me, hugged me quietly and stared at the wall with me.

“Tiff, how did you know Steve was the one?”

Tiff thought about it for what must have been ten minutes, just to tell me “I don’t know. I guess you just know for sure and that’s how you know. If you know that stones are hard and the sun is yellow and that this guy is right for you, and all of those three things are equally true to you, then you know it’s the one.”

(For the curious readers: Beth and her boyfriend are still together up to this point, and very happy together. They don’t have marriage plans yet. Thanks to Beth for allowing me to post this part of the story.)

16 thoughts on “Training up this child – Part 16 – Call me when you’re sober

  1. Sounds exactly like my sister. And she is mostly free now.

  2. Wow, and you threw it all back at her. I would have done the same thing, back then. That’s one thing that helps me understand the girls who are still in, and who are hard core. Because I was there. I get it. I was you.

    • Yes, it was a long process for me, seeing what I was trying to hide from myself, still very deep in the mindset and very scared of the world outside. I still strictly believed that God WOULD punish her and me as well if I didn’t act that way.

  3. I have just spent the last hour or so reading all of your posts. You are a brave young lady! . We were so close to jumping into this movement, I am soooo thankful we saw the light. My husband and I are a team, happy, in love. We love Christ, we believe in Grace. We try not to judge. I wear pants now and have shortish hair and listen to secular music, lol! Keep sharing, I am on pins and needles waiting to read what happens next. You will be a hero and a wonderful role model to many girls struggling with this.

    • I understand how appealing the movement can look from outside. Happy marriages, happy people, happy and wellbehaved children, everything looks so sunny, but that’s exactly what the QF families are about – a sunny cover with lots of dirt underneath. Looking “godly” and being a role model to the world is such a central principle that within the home, it doesn’t matter what needs to be done to achieve that.
      Thanks for you comment… Very encouraging for me!!

  4. Wow. WOW! What you wrote about the man that Beth was supposed to marry….. What a terrifying life to be forced into a marriage with someone so controlling and lost. Please tell Beth how amazing it is she stayed true to herself and her own knowledge of what was the right thing to do. And keep the stories coming! I keep checking my email to see if you’ve posted the next “chapter” yet!

  5. Wow, you have done an amazing job so far. Keep up the good work! it sounds like you and Beth were everything friends are actually supposed to be. When your series is finished, I hope you don’t mind me linking it.

    • Having a friend with the courage to stand up against you when you’re wrong really is great luck. I think Beth just knew how I would react because it’s what you see all the time in the movement. Sometimes, or a lot of times, it’s not even the moms, dads or brothers who pull you really deep in, it’s the girls who are so brainwashed themselves that they attack anyone who’s not agreeing with them.
      You’re free to link anything on my blog at any time by the way!

  6. He casually told her that he thought it was time to get married. She asked him if he was asking her to marry him, his answer was “No, I’m telling you I’ve decided to marry you.”

    Yikes!
    Congratulations to you for getting out. (Even if your Harry didn’t sound quite as bad.)

    At first i couldn’t really believe that there really were any people as creepy as this guy. (Warning, blasphemy) Now it, well, it’s not making sense to me, but i can believe that the letter writer a) is real and b) didn’t even think what he wrote was creepy.

    • Oh I know that article/letter and I do think it’s authentic. I don’t believe it’s that rare either, just most people like to keep silent about it. Number one rule in the movements, don’t tell anybody about the really weird things you do. Funny, isn’t it? They think it’s right and biblical, but they won’t admit it when they’re being asked. Got plenty experience with that.

  7. Awwww. Tiffany is adorable haha. And Beth is awesome. =) And I’m not even going to say anything about her fiancee. I’ll just stare like this: O.o

  8. not sure if you still believe in God or not, but it seems an awful lot of coincidences that your best friend was your potentials sibling, that you had the avenue to witness real love between believers and gain a confidant in them as well.

    I hope you all are in better places, I cried reading about your childhood and it made me cherish my daughter (who is the eldest) all the more.

    thankyou for sharing

    • Actually, I don’t think that multiple marriages between the same families are very uncommon. I guess that just comes with having limited contact to other families. You just kind of stay one group. Beth actually became my best friend because our parents were really good friends and she was roughly the same age as I was. It was great to have a friend outside the family. Not that I didn’t like being friends with my sister, but, you know, sometimes sisters can be very mean, or be in completely different phases, so being best friends can be very tricky and exhausting. I think having someone whom you would meet from time to time and then share lots of events that happened in between, you know, just having lots of stuff to talk about, that was very refreshing too.
      As for real love, I do believe it exists everywhere. Fundamentalism may be wrong in promising everyone a “heavenly marriage”, but that doesn’t mean there’s plenty of real love. I realize I draw a somewhat bleak picture on my blog. Maybe that’s because you simply happen to remember the bad things more clearly. I want to point out that a good share of the young couples and newlyweds I met during my life at home seemed very much in love. Actually, I cannot recall a single wedding I attended where the wedding couple (and many other married ones, young and old!) fell into a sort of lovebird flash. So yeah, I don’t believe that my upbringing per se damaged my ability to believe in love – I very much do!

  9. I am from a conservative Christian denomination (not Baptist) and I am so amazed at this side of Fundamentalism. It sounds like someone wanted to mesh Amish and Baptist together, which is absurd. I am happy you believe in love and that you are healing. I look forward to the rest of the series (if you plan on finishing it) and how you got to where you are today.

  10. I can see why you love Beth! I love her too.
    🙂

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