• Noisy wrote a new post, Abuse of Abuse, on the site Skepchick 2 months ago

    This post has been cowritten with Maria Walters. It includes discussion of domestic abuse, especially emotional and psychological abuse.

    Last week, the news reported that the editor-in-chief of Christianity […]

    • I’m not surprised at Mark Galli’s rather circumscribed and naive characterization of domestic abuse. From what I hear, the model of the family that Evangelical Christianity promotes is inherently abusive. The father is supposed to be the master of the family, and wife and children are expected to obey him unconditionally, no matter how unreasonable his commands. The only protection they have from blatant abuse is the father’s restraint. And even if the father’s abuse is so blatant that other men in the community notice it and feel forced to step in, the victims are expected to still be loyal to him and to forgive him on demand.

      BTW, this view was pretty much in the mainstream when I was a child, and the laws and practices of society were set up to make it hard for abused women and children to escape an abusive husband/father. We have feminism to thank for the fact that it is more practical for more women, at least, to separate from an abusive spouse. Children, however, are as stuck as they ever were. (Even if CPS steps in and removes abused children from the family, the places CPS puts them in are frequently no better than the original family.)

      Evangelical Christianity also seeks to cut women and children off from contact with anybody outside of their cult, lest they be contaminated with “wordly” ideas.

      • Ugh, I can’t imagine what it’s like for kids going through CPS. I know in NH the state version of that was found to be failing kids significantly, and had to be overhauled.

    • That’s like a checklist of the things my wife went through in her previous marriage. And to say it can’t be all that bad, that marriage lasted a year and almost a decade on, she’s still feeling the effects of the belittling, gaslighting, and micromanagement.

      • Big virtual hugs to your wife!

      • I’m not surprised that she’s still suffering from PTSD. My childhood left me with (complex) PTSD, and it still warps my daily life, 50 years later. (Fortunately, I now have a trauma-aware therapist, but it’s still very slow going.) If she was in an abusive relationship for a year, it’s probably Complex PTSD (see Judith Herman’s Trauma and Recovery), which the usual treatements for PTSD from isolated incidents don’t work for very well.

        No parent ever has to do this perfectly, but consistent patterns of care, responsiveness, and communication are crucial to healthy emotional development. Issues arise when a caregiver is repeatedly neglectful, unpredictable, or causing fear in some way. This “disorganized attachment” leaves children without an internal sense of security, leading to some of the same effects seen in victims of more acute forms of trauma.

        Pretty much describes my childhood. My parents used corporal punishment (belt, switch, etc.) up until around when I was 6, but that didn’t do anywhere near the damage that the constant blaming and attacks on my self-esteem (couched as “correction”) and unpredictable “love” (my mother was pretty narcissistic) and emotional neglect did. I always say “I learned distrust on my mother’s knee.” And the emotional assault was reinforced in every other part of my environment (school, church, camp, scouts, etc.) There was nowhere I felt safe. I didn’t start learning to be human until I got away from home and from my home town. (Not that I feel like I’m a human even now.)

        • Good therapists are PRICELESS. And yet not always easy to access or find.

          • I kind of lucked out. I was actually looking for someone experienced with gender transition, as I was transitioning from male to female. As it happens, the gender transition was fairly easy, but my PTSD kept coming up. (Since it was probably the biggest determiner of who I am, it was hard to avoid.) And it turned out that she was also trained in a lot of the trauma treatment techniques. Perhaps not such a surprise, since most LGBT+ people have suffered serious trauma.