Showing Compassion To The Deceived
This blog has always tried to argue against false teachings without making those using those teachings feel condemned. That is a delicate balance and not always possible to achieve. It is not at all pleasant to find out that the choices one has prayerfully made are considered to be abuse by many people. And upon discovering that one has in fact made a terrible mistake and has fallen into an abusive lifestyle is gut wrenching. Not only does one have to come to grips with the fact that one has been deceived and spiritually abused, but one must face the fact that one has been abusing his or her own children. Often, by the time this discovery is made serious or even irreparable damage has been done to the parent/child relationship. Someone posted to my Facebook wall the following:
I just wanted to share my status update with you. Since learning the dangers of TTUAC a year ago, I have had the hardest year of my life. Right now things are getting a lot worse. I have had a response from another mother who is in the midst of the same pain right now.
TTUAC is not just abusing children. It is also abusing the parents who so desperately seek out the answers. It is my hope that I can reach out to others who have been hurt and abused. Not just the children, but the parents who have loved them and lost them.
Here is what I wrote:
On the day that you were born, I gave my life to you. I vowed I would do all in my power to love you, to protect you, to bring you up right.
In my search for answers, my desperate plea for knowledge of how to give you my very best, I was led astray.
I have said I am sorry. I have tried to make amends. I have made massive changes in my life.
But you will not forgive. You have taken my apologies for the things I have done wrong, and used them as a catalyst to twist and poison everything and everyone.
I did things wrong. Every parent does. I look through the scrapbook albums of what I thought were happy memories, and all you can talk about is your crap childhood.
In all I have done, I have done it for you. You are my child. I love you more than life. I gave you my all and you chewed me up and spat me out.
There is nothing left. I cannot go on. You have taken it all. You have taken your sisters and been spoon feeding them lies. My fragile heart is broken. It cannot take any more. I am empty. There is nothing left.
I am sorry for the things I got wrong as a mother. But I am not sorry for my intentions, nor for the things I got right.
And as for sharing this on Facebook? Well, I hope others will see that things can go so horribly wrong. That those we love more than the world can suck the life from us. That there are parenting books out there – particularly Christian ones – that offer the answers. But they are full of poison that is not truly based on God’s word.
And that those words lead to death. Sometimes to those who had so desperately sought the answers that would avoid this very issue.
One day you will hopefully understand. The love, the journey, the conclusion.
With much prayer healing can take place, although it can take years. With healing comes forgiveness and a renewed relationship. Let us pray for those in this situation.
This same person posted again a few days later, saying,
The dangers in calling a spade a spade….
I used to follow the Pearls methods. These methods are abusive. By strict definition, that makes (made) me an abuser. But I inherently object to this term. Why? Is it just guilt? I don’t think so.
In my search for answers and my need for as much information as possible to make changes, and to reach other parents, I have often felt like I’ve been kicked in the guts by well-meaning people who just want to help kids.
I am glad there are so many groups out there warning of the dangers of these and other ‘christian’ child training books. The Internet wasn’t around when we first started. Maybe if it was our whole family would have been spared a whole lot of pain.
But back to my problem with being called an abuser. In the accepted use of the word abuser, the following ideas come to mind:
Abusers are too lazy to come up with other forms of discipline.
We searched and prayed, asked and attended courses on how to be good Christian parents. In fact, following TTUAC takes a LOT of diligence. Truth to tell, it was my laziness that probably spared my girls a lot more pain than they had. (and I spent years with the guilt of thinking the problems we had were because I wasn’t 100% diligent in applying the rod)
Abusers don’t really care about their kids in a sacrificial way.
I would have given anything for my kids. I did not believe in going off to do ‘my own thing’ just to get away from them, or spending time at the pub drowning my sorrows or living it up.
Abusers have no remorse.
I felt remorse many times over the years. But I learned to bury those ‘sinful’ feelings that came with hating the rod!
Abusers care more about their own wants and needs than their children’s.
I threw all I had into trying to create happy memories for my girls. Big birthday parties, making the backyard into a village, taking them to clubs 180km away for the pleasure and learning experience, making clothes and costumes, homeschooling etc. Things they believe were just to create a facade of a happy family. Things that I thought were part of a happy family.
Abusers take no responsibility for their actions.
Right now this is a biggie for me. My apologies are falling on deaf ears. I have lost one member of my extended family, and things are pretty tense with others. I hate that now, when I have been learning the mistakes I have made, when I have stood up in public and declared I was wrong, that this is when things are all crashing around me.
Parents who have followed (are following) these methods are not abusers by this definition. Sure, we were the ones that made bad decisions to follow these people in the first place. But we made these decisions out of genuine love. Not to the same extent – our children had NO say in the matter – but we are victims too.
And unless we start to speak about this side, we may find that parents are simply not emotionally able to face themselves as abusers, but may be ready to see how falling victim to a cult mentality (that is so accepted in our churches that it doesn’t raise an eyebrow) has twisted the truth of Gods word and destroyed their families.
Hoping and praying that more parents will be able to break free of this bondage. Thank you for standing up and taking on the fight.
Abuse is such a loaded word. She is right, when we hear that word, we do tend to think as is written above. It is good for us to take this into consideration and try to not kick people while they are down. This is why I am careful not to attack people, only the teachings. We must show compassion and grace to those who are in error in the spirit of Galatians 6:1
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
Thank you for reminding us to have compassion for the parents who regret using these methods. God loves them too, in addition to their wounded children — and he even loves the parents still using these methods (which is more than I’m capable of most days). His heart is one of forgiveness — and I hope that Facebook poster realizes that it may take a LOT of time for her kids to work their way through their wounds to a place of forgiveness. But there is hope that they may get there someday!
So heartbreaking to read. . .
And, I do think there are so many parents who are loving, thoughtful, well-intentioned who are led into abusive actions. . . Knowing these families, it is easier for me to separate “abusive actions” from “abusers.” Either way, though, like this writer ways, both children and parents are victims.