Domestic Violence and Fundamentalist Christianity

I was the victim of domestic violence in my home, growing up. I was a battered child.

I was also the daughter of two extreme fundamentalist Christians.

My mother was also the victim of domestic violence, though she thought that was acceptable. Dad hit her in the face so hard one time, that he broke her dentures. Blood from her mouth flew across the room. She had the temerity to accuse him of something. She didn't often get hit: she most often simply submitted to whatever he wanted. But the threat was always there. Her victimization of domestic abuse most often took the form of emotional and psychological domestic abuse. She also could gauge his mood, and use the children as a shield, to vent his unrelenting anger at the world and the people in it.

I've written a lot about that elsewhere, in the "Stories From My Life" series. I don't particularly want to go into the details of being a battered child in this hub. We want to explore the relationship between my parents' religion and their attitude towards "discipline", which, in a different religious culture, would be called "child battering". We want to explore the relationship between Fundamentalist Protestant Christianity and domestic abuse.

Both my parents had a particular and peculiar narrow vision of what was right and what was wrong. It was confusing. For instance, they saw nothing wrong with beating a newborn baby until it ceased to cry and disturb my father's rest during the night. They evidently had no clue the baby needed to be fed at regular intervals through the night. That was "Discipline". They had no problem with letting my sister Faye almost die from bee stings, a consequence of her disobediently crossing the road. That was "Discipline". They had no problem with Dad issuing routine beatings to all his children, on "general principles". That was "Discipline".

OK, enough, you get the idea. Yet, they professed to be Christians. They talked a good line, about the love of Jesus and the love of God for sacrificing His only begotten Son to save our sinful souls. We saw very little (actually none that I can remember) love in action in our home.

The religion they practiced tended to focus on the darker aspects of Christianity. They focused on the sufferings of Christ on the cross, His torments. They focused on the torments of hell for unrepentant sinners. They focused on how BAD people were, how we were all born in sin and would die in sin, did we not repent, and suffer the torments of hell in the lake of fire forever!

There was no carrot in front of the donkey's nose: it was the devil with a pitchfork prodding the donkey from behind, all the way.

They also blamed EVE, for letting sin into the world. We were all children of Eve. They also had a peculiar relish in eschewing the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Whore of Babylon, and the adulterous woman that Jesus saved from stoning. It was impressed on us as girl children that any immodesty on our part, the least bit of natural human curiosity about the opposite sex, was shamefully our fault and could lead to dire consequences here on earth in addition to damning us to hell forevermore. My mother was excessively modest, appearing to be frightened of and uncomfortable inside her own body. I think she wished not to have a body at all, and wished no one else did, either.

This religion was rigid about the Ten Commandments. Enforcing these behaviors in their children with excessive "Discipline" was the RIGHT thing to do. I truly felt my parents' God was Discipline, that's why I keep capitalizing this word.

 

It wasn't until I became an adult that I realized how much we had suffered from the battering behavior of our father and the acquiescent, compliant, enabling behavior of our mother. I learned that what we suffered, both physically and mentally, as children, was called "battering" and it was generally socially unacceptable. People by now had realized what damage it caused to the self-esteem and development of its victims and were against it.

All while we were growing up, this behavior appeared to be acceptable, or condoned or maybe even recommended by the church elders. "Spare the rod and spoil the child." Yes, that's in the Bible. We accepted this behavior on the part of our parents without question as children. We suffered in as much silence as we could muster. We toughed it out, as best we could. We had no other milieu to compare it to, until we went to school. Then, indeed, we did notice a difference. And we weren't able to specifically identify it or understand why our plight made people so uncomfortable until we reached adulthood.

We also accepted Dad as the head of the family. His word was law. The hierarchy went like this: the children were subject to Mom, Mom was subject to Dad, and Dad was (supposedly) subject to God. In practical fact, Mom referred all matters of "disciplining" the children to Dad, who was always ready and eager to beat us with a cane or kick us in the butt or slap us up side the head, anyway. In practical fact, Dad was a law unto himself in that household. His word was law. Whatever he said, went. And Mom was fine with that, because she thought she was doing her duty as a Christian wife to obey her husband in all things. What an evasion of responsibility on her part that was! She could never see it.

Mom was abused, herself, in many ways. Dad was always, always, talking her down, calling her "stupid", "incompetent"; he criticized her in every way possible; he emotionally battered her in front of the children. He established dominance, or maintained dominance, in his household in this way: by being so punishing, so abusive, so unpleasant, that no one wished to go against him and bring down untold suffering upon their hapless heads.

So when I came across this excerpt, from "The Repentant Fundamentalist" by James C. Alexander, it seemed so familiar to me:

  • The most obvious is physical abuse. It is difficult to make a conclusive statistical connection between fundamentalism and domestic violence . There are numerous anecdotal cases of fundamentalist husbands hitting their spouses. Also, virtually all fundamentalist churches recommend spanking as a normal, frequent method of child discipline, and all "fundamentalist experts" advise using an object to spank and to spank until profuse crying ensues.
  • Another type of abuse is psychological. Here the wife is under constant pressure to submit to her husband. She is under constant scrutiny and the always a candidate for criticism.
  • The woman is constantly reminded that she must submit to her husband because the Bible says she must.

So there we have it. The fundamentalist church condones hitting the wife, to "correct" her, and that's part of the husband's marital duty. The fundamentalist church advises to beat the kids with an object until they cry, "profusely", which leaves a lot of room for the indulgence of domestic violence on the part of a husband who has those proclivities.

I'm not saying that ALL Christian Fundamentalists are wife-beaters and child-batterers. I just wish to point out that women in a Fundamentalist Christian household who are subject to domestic violence may very well have a special challenge to alter their life situation. They can't find any help within their church or their congregation. Their own mind-set works against them, to be able to assess what is acceptable and what is not. There are many far-reaching implications to the belief that the man is the head of the household and his actions and words are indisputable, infallibly correct, and beyond challenging.

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Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 3 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you for the comment, Simren. Forgiveness was much easier once out of the situation and no longer at risk. It is very hard to forgive someone while you are exposed to the kind of fear of that person that we had of our father.

I do believe in Christ. I believe His teachings, and I'm glad that you do, too. I love all the times Jesus healed people; how caring Jesus was, and what a tender and loving message He brought to the whole world.


Simren 3 years ago

Dear loving paradise,

I know your last comment was 4 months ago but I just have a few things to say.

I wish there were words that I can put into sentences to justify or reason for what has happened to you since childhood, but there is none. Its one of the biggest questions of the universe, why do bad things happen to good people? and most importantly why do bad people get away with doing bad to good people? I can sit here for hours telling you verses upon verses showcasing Jesus' love for you, and for everyone here but it just would not do justice. I want you to look at the stars or the moon tonight, just know He put them into place and He loves you more than all of those wonderful creations. I am wondering if you are with Christ now in your heart, I know that is avery personal question especially to ask here. I am a senior in high school and i am doing my thesis on domestic abuse,and i came across this. I know I am young but I am so in love with Christ. Hes my bestfriend. I have not had a rough childhood as you, and I have not suffered as you but I.. I was just hoping that you would talk to Jesus one day and see Him the way I do. I will always always always be praying for you. I am so disgusted at somethings I am reading on the comments. When Jesus was on the cross, dying and suffering blood from His feet and hands, you know what He said? He called upon John,one of His disciples,and while on nailed to the cross asked him to take care of His mother who was one day going to be old. He then called upon His mother, Mary, and told her John would be taking care of her for the rest of her life. I mean who does that? What kind of human while suffering and being tortured calls his friend to take care of His mom? I know i have not seen the evil in this world like you have but just know He loves YOU so much, and im not tryna be a weirdo Christian that screams PRAISE JESUS every 5 minutes, although my heart desires that all the time;)..but I have seen that His love conquers all. And I also pray and hope you can one day forgive your father. I once met a man at a Christian camp once, actually a set of pastors and they all had huge testimonies,and one said his father used to beat his mother and daughter and he would always seek to protect them but constantly failed. After he met Christ he forgave his father and now has decent relationship with him. I mean, thats gotta mean something right? This guy saw his sister beat and his mother too, and he was here.. At Christian Camp.. Talking about how to let go all of the pain. And I am SOO proud of you, I mean such an inspiration,its awesome how your writing here and helping so many other young women. I know your father is deceased but all things are possible through Him. I just, i mean i look at all the trees and the way the wind moves the leaves..and I just,I can't even imagine breathing without Him you know? I mean thats gotta mean something right? To be so in love with a Companion that your stomach actually aches without Him? Why is it possible to love a human, and give them every belief that they are totally worth everything, when you can’t love a God that has loved you all along. I mean we give all these things to a person, our believing that there the one or they love us back or even give them our self worth,to A HUMAN but why not to a God you know? That just has to be something supernatural. God never promised a happy life, He said there would be trials...but He never said you would have to go through them alone. He loves every piece of you,and understands the pain and the suffering and low-selfworth feelings and all those times you cried He's seen them. And I dont even know what im saying all i know is that i just neededto let you know Hes always there okay? I know im only 17, and I know your in abetter place and hopefully with Christ but I just had to write this:))

P.S : I know its really long but please read! :))

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,m neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.- Romans 8:38-39


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you for the comment, and I hope it does serve it's purpose well.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota

Dear Paradise~thanks from the bottom of my heart for sharing your painful childhood with all of us. I think it's so good that you wrote about it so others can be educated, especially those living in it and being confused as you were as a child. It really bothers me how people use the bible to get away with their sicknesses and abuses. God surely never intended his children to be abused and I'm sure it's painful for the creator to see how words in the bible are so misconstrued and misused. God Bless you for writing this very important article.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment, you're so right about that. We learned to separate the abuse of the Lord's words by Church Elders and abusive and santimonious parents, from the actual meaning of the words in the New Testament.


forEVer 4 years ago

It's good that there's a forum like this. Many of us who grew up in the ugly grip of church-sanctioned abuse, but still believe, find ourselves friendless. It's difficult to explain this sort of background to those who did not grow up with it.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

I'm sorry for you. I know at least a little bit, first-hand, what you go through every day.


Joann 4 years ago

My dad is an emotionally abusive control freak with very little patience and a short and frightening temper. He thinks that, because I am developmentally disabled and live here at home, he can control me and treat me like a child. He never sees anything good that I do. Instead, he only sees everything that I do wrong, thus tightening his control over me to the point that I fear being punished if I don't do anything perfectly, so in his eyes, I am a bad person, mainly because I am not a dog lover like he is. He tries to make me into something I'm not, calling a friend of ours over breakfast at a restaurant a few months ago "the daughter my mother never had (my mother being his wife). He simply will not treat me with dignity and respect. I am not a human being in his eyes (one time he told me I needed to learn how to be a human being). Instead, to him, I am someone who doesn't matter at all. In fact, just this afternoon, I was in the living room having a brief conversation with my mother, and I could hear my dad quietly breathing in a sarcastic manner just because I was speaking. My dad doesn't want me to use my voice if he isn't interested in what I have to say. His dogs (and the neighbor's dog that we babysit) bark and carry on, even while I'm trying to sleep. I am not a morning person, so I need my sleep. But if I complain or try to get the dogs to shut up, my dad yells at me to leave them alone, and sometimes he tells me they're not bothering me when I know that they are. It seems like no matter what I do, it either isn't good enough, or I am simply doing something wrong or bad. I hope God forgives my dad for his treatment of me. Otherwise, my dad will fry in Hell.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Good for you, J.C.


J.C. 4 years ago

I used to go to a fundamentalist baptist church when I was twelve and thirteen. But after that I never stayed.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you for your comment, and, most of all, thank you for understanding that I wasn't attacking Christianity, at ALL, but instead the abuse of the words of Christ our Lord to validate domestic violence. I don't mind at all you posting this link. I hope everyone who needs to receives the message.


SparrowMinistries 4 years ago

Dear Paradise, I followed your link from my own hub page about domestic violence within the church. I would call myself a fundamentalist Christian. What your parents did was, as I am sure you now know, not consistent with the fudamental teachings of Christ. I was not able to read all the many comments this hub generated, but I am sure most of what I would like to say has already been said, such as, husbands love your wife as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for HER, and Fathers do not be harsh and do not embitter your children. God loves us and rejoices over us with singing. I am learning more and more how we as Westerners have superimposed our cultural beliefs and practices upon the Bible to make it say what fits US instead of conforming OURSELVES to its teaching. I would like to recommend to you and your readers a teaching by Andrew Wommack where he extricates our harsh interpretation and cruel practices from the true and pure intention of God toward us, His beloved in Christ.

http://www.awmi.net/extra/conference_videos/minnea...

I hope you don't mind.

This teaching is so liberating and free from the hideous distortions with which some people have mutilated the Word of God and justified unspeakable crulety such as you experienced. You are a wonderful writer. I am grateful to have found your work. God bless you and smile brightly upon you. Thank you for exposing this shameful distortion and perversion of God's wonderful Truth.


calico Stark profile image

calico Stark 4 years ago from Earth for the time being

My heart goes out to you! This article made me feel and that is what a good writer does. There are those Christians out there that believe that love is most important and rear with a gentle spirit as Christ commanded us to do. I pray that all your wounds be healed from the inside out. You are strong and have great purpose! God bless you sweetie! Proverbs 4:5,6


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, Pintoman. It's a line that's not so fine, between discipline and abuse. I think a person's natural mercy towards their own children should restrain them from abuse, but it doesn't happen that way. So maybe those particular people should not be parents.


Pintoman profile image

Pintoman 5 years ago

Fine writing, sad story. Fundamental is not the problem. You are a fundamental writer because you follow grammar and punctuation perfectly, therefore you are a terrible writer. That doesn't make sense. A "Christian" that doesn't understand what discipline is, or what love is, does not grasp the fundamentals, and is not a fundamentalist. We need some other word for them. Spare the rod, spoil the child, those exact words, are not in the Bible. The bible speaks of discipline, which is a good thing. You are a disciplined writer. That doesn't mean you were beat until you wrote well. Like I said, fine writing, sad story.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you so much for the comment and for your moral support. It is much appreciated.


Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

Jo_Goldsmith11 5 years ago

Bless your heart! I felt that I was reading my life while growing up. I think you are very intelligent and brave. Yeshua was watching over you. I am so sorry you had to live like this. My biological father was just as cruel. My mother finally gained courage and strength to get out of the relationship. Once she left that church. She spent all her days, trying to heal from all that hate. I know God is of love, and not hate. Thank you for sharing. May the angels watch over you night and day. May you find healing and comfort in truth and in Yeshua's purest of love..:-)


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, Multiman.


Multiman 5 years ago

Totally a great hub voted up!


DREAMMING OF WILD CHRISTMAS 5 years ago

People will use the bible to justify anything they are doing. Not just abuse. Woe unto them.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Emmy, I really mean it. You are articulate and use words well. HubPages could use you. You'd find a lot of understanding, loving people here, and a lot of true Christians in their souls.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks again for the comment, Emmy. You should write your own hub, if you feel so inspired.


Emmy 5 years ago

Thank you.

I have to say thank you because I showed a couple of my friends this webpage and one of my friends I grew up with already had an idea about my family and what went on and was a little surprised that I would write about something so personal online, but my other friend was a amazed by this even though he knew my father was harsh and hard on some levels he didn't know the extent of what it was like and this really shed light on what the atmosphere is like in an abusive home.

You talk about feeling less anger as you grow older and it must be different for me because I feel more strongly against this mentality than I think I did when I was younger. My focus after my divorce was on what it means to be a strong and spiritual woman which brought me back to how I was raised and it included instructions on a woman's "role" in the family and in life. I feel like I'm rewriting my beliefs from out of the mindset -or brainwashing if you please- that women are subordinate even though I don't think I was fully on board with that philosophy. There are little details that come up that I'm working out like smaller pieces of shrapnel after the larger wounds have healed. I do look at how my sister imitates my mother in the way that the man in the house hold was the punisher and she would defer to him.

After her third divorce now in her mid-forties (all three marriages were abusive -one to the point that he was imprisoned-), she seems to have changed her submissive attitude to becoming more independent and went to school, graduated top in her class and got a skilled job. Yes, she married young to get out from under our father's thumb.

I'm looking at how long it has taken for my sister and I to grow up in a sense and become self assured and confident people. There are pains my brothers have shared too about what went on when we were growing up.

Somehow I want to make sure my children are raised not only differently but wisely, and I'm trying to figure all this out.

There is so much that I've learned even in the Bible that blows chauvanism right out of the water. Like when Paul visited a man who had three daughters who all propheside which takes away my father's belief that the man is the only prophet in the family. For example.

The lost books of the Bible includes the Epistles of Thecla who was a Christian woman who refused to get married and accompanied Paul in preaching the ways of Christ. This was taken out of the Bible by a Pope because it contained dangerous teachings that would show women not only to rebel against their families but arranged marriages. Makes one wonder from Pope to father of the family whether if it is about preserving the truth as much it is about the power to control people (especially women in order to keep them "in their place")

Food for thought...


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

I don't have the cure for domestic violence, either. I seriously wish I did. I hate to think of children suffering; of mothers suffering, behind the great wall of silence.

At least when we speak about it we are working to break down the wall. Let some light of awareness in; maybe neighbors will care enough to get involved in what's going on. (A BIG maybe!)


Emmy 5 years ago

Yes, I agree. Although, like I said my father IS behaving better and I can see him correcting himself in family settings these last few years. Partly I think he doesn't lash out at me (in particular) because he knows I don't tolerate that sort of behavior from him anymore. He will treat my mother better when I'm around too. I don't actually seek validation from my parents (in a way I already got it). What I'm trying to do is evaluate how I was raised in this culture that shocks my non-christian friends I think all the more than my christian friends to hear about how it was like growing up in that sort of family. It only seems to confirm to my friends that christians are fanatical nuts. How can I prove them wrong? The fact is, from my experience, I can't (period).

As a child I secretly wished my mother would divorce my father because life was so much easier without him around.

I've long since figured out that my parents have made their choices for how they wanted to live their lives and I made mine and we go on in our separate directions, but there are times that all of a sudden -without expecting it or thinking about it- in seeing something or hearing about something reminds me of my past like a punch in the stomach and I wonder about how people come to the point of thinking that sticking their daughter's head in a toilet to potty train her was good parenting or how you said that spanking an infant until it stopped crying not aware that it was hungry. I remember the same sort of spanking where I was spanked for crying after being spanked for whatever I did wrong until I stopped crying. These were things that happened that I knew was wrong even as a child thinking that it didn't make sense to tell someone to stop crying by spanking them all the harder.

It is good to affirm the spiritual healthiness of forgiveness, but I think it is also good to acknowledge the flaws of violent behavior being accepted in the name of religion. It is better to let the secrets out so that the darkness doesn't hide them and they can be revealed for that they really are.

Of course, christianity isn't alone and there are plenty of abused people that aren't affiliated with any religion.

The verses I put out was more on the biblical character that was meant for how christians were meant to behave as opposed to how a chauvanistic man may think he has the right to punch his wife senseless in the eyes of God. But, who is perfect...? (let him throw the first stone)

I think my father did respond to my ability to not take crap from him. Nor did I do it maliciously as I was being instructive to him. I don't go quoting the Bible to just any body. I quote it for those who might want to learn what it actually says instead of what their preacher likes to spew. Some places I've gone the preacher only talked about the length of girls skirts and another about how we all have a worm in hell with our name on it. WHAT!? Show me that in the Bible! I can preach a preacher under the table with their egocentric approach to ignorant teaching and people just follow them like blind mole rats that can't read for themselves. Thanks to my father I do know the Bible inside and out. My parents have become less the issue than the anger I have toward fundamentalist christian culture. I had a fundamentalist christian boyfriend that slapped me once across the face and believe me that was the last time he ever tried that.

I should be grateful that my father wasn't a pediphile or a flasher or an alcoholic. You are right.

Why would you put up this hub if you altogether forgot your past? Because you didn't forget your past. It still hurts on some level and you wish that it will help that sort of thing from continuing and help someone else find closure. It is good to repeat to yourself about forgiveness if you need to hear it. In a way saying to someone who still feels the sting of hurt to forgive and forget can sound like a shutup and move on.

Well the next step is how to bring people out of the abuse in the guise of holy righteous living.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

It was hard to let go of anger when I was young, but now that I've gotten older, I've grown up a bit, and it gets easier as we go along. We get a wider perspective and are able to accept people as they are, not as we wish them to be, even though sometimes letting go of the anger seems like we are being unfair to ourselves: our anger was justified to begin with and it was never acknowledged as justified or validated by the perpetrators of such childhood harm to ourselves.

Believe me, looking for validation is a lost cause. It won't happen. So let it go, move on, have a great life. Living well is the best revenge. You don't need to carry that baggage. You can set it down.


Emmy 5 years ago

There is so much more I can say about this and I'm grateful for you putting this out there and interacting with all who leave their comments in a thoughtful and considerate manner. I like how you said that you are living a far happier life than what you father lived. This is exactly how I feel that I have an inner peace that my father seemed to miss out on especially with his relationship with the people who are supposed to be closest to him. Now that he is older, I think he is beginning to see that at some point his children will have to take care of him and he is behaving a little better. *shrug* ;)

Yes, forgiveness is the way and it is the greatest way to achieve freedom from anger, but it is one of the hardest things to do as far as fully letting that anger go and coming to the point of being willing to forgive. But we should all forgive everyone's weeknesses and being constantly annoyed and judgemental and being a daily "ragaholic" is a weekness.

Ephesians 4:26-27 In your anger do not sin... and do not give the devil a foothold.

Ephesians 4:31 Get rid of bitterness, rage, anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.

(for abused inner children)

Ephesians 5- Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us...


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Great comment!! Thank you so much. I can perfectly relate to your agonies at the dinner table, the endless rant, trying not to have that baleful light of Father's eyes rest on you...I can relate so much to your suffering as children, because we all experienced it, too.

We must forgive to move on ourselves to a better, happier, more loving and peaceful life. I think both my parents were old-fashioned to the point of being throw-backs and really had no clue about parenting as we know it today. They took their responsibilities towards us seriously; they did provide food and shelter for us, and they didn't abandon us for drink, or anything like that.

So they deserve thanks for at least that much sacrifice on their part on our behalf. I don't think it was easy at all for them to BE parents. Sometimes, with that lack of self-control you mentioned, Dad didn't quite seem grown up, himself.

Still, I would have thought some natural love would restrain them from the worst of their abuses, but no. they didn't see it that way.


Emmy 5 years ago

This is a remarkable story that I really needed to read at this time in my life. So much of what you went through I went through too. My father has been and still is a long standing elder in a fund prost church. His whole life is a reflection of the upper-middleclass American "christian" culture. He was unrelentingly critical of his wife and children calling all of us stupid and we were to stay stoicly quiet during his ranting. It was particularly stressful for me as a child sitting at the dinner table like a normal stable family should appear and being afraid to open my mouth to speak or praying that no one else would speak at the table to rouse my father's wrath. My mother admitted to me that he hit her early on in their marriage and she had to stand her ground and say she would leave if he did it again (... not sure if that was completely effective). He definitely hit all of us as children and my oldest brother bore the worst of it as I guess he was an example to the rest of us that we would get the same if we spoke out. Strangely we had ways of getting in the way of my father during his fits of anger and saving each other from him. It was hard at times to go to church and have people approach us telling us how good and wonderful our father is. My father over the years had releaved his philosophy that the male of the household is the only prophet and has authority from God alone and no one is to speak against him for that reason. Similarly my mother felt it was her wifely duty to submit to the "head" of the household and allow such abuse to continue as a normal everyday part of life; although, she would remind us to not tell "your father about this" sort of secrecy to keep things calmer at home.

Interestingly since Dad would read the Bible every night to us after dinner at the dinner table, I learned a lot about the Bible and Jesus's teachings and many of it I found the flaws of my father and our pharisee-esque family. In time I actually stood up against my father and I rattled back the words he engrained in us over the years. This was the best way to get him to listen was to throw back the Word that he liked to throw at us. As he got older, he ended up being more open to listening. He realizes he doesn't have the power over us like he used to, but I don't think he has completely changed because he still shouts at my mother and my mother continues to humor him to the point of babying him. Now that I have a son, I find that my Dad may get impatient with him. During those times I have flashbacks of my childhood and I feel ready to take a chair to my father's head. But, for the most part I avoid him and I do find myself getting mad at him and my mother and having to work through the anger to let it go and forgive them all over again. It is hard. What I want is to raise my son in a loving atmosphere that I never had. In the Bible it may say "spare the rod and spoil the child" or even if you punish your child "he will not die", but that is sometimes the only focus Christians have about parenting. Where does it say tickle and kiss your child... let them know everyday that you love them through acceptance? It does say in the Bible "fathers do not over exasperate your children" in Psalms (I believe). The Fruits of the Spirit is another very good example of how a Christian should act; Love, Joy, PEACE, Patience, Faithfulness, Meekness/Kindness, Goodness, GENTLENESS, last but not least SELFCONTROL. And, it says that not only a woman submit to her husband that a husband submit to his wife for they belong to one another (1 Corinthians 7:4) then goes on to say in verse 15...live in peace...16 How do you know, wife ,whether you will save your husband? Or How do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

It didn't say beat the living daylights out of your wife and kids to make them your slaves. There is even a part in that chapter that says ... your children are holy.

There are other places it talks about husband giving his life for his wife as Christ has given his life for us. That women are to be treated as co-inheritors of the kingdom of heaven. That Yeshua (Jesus) says that a wife is not the property of a man but he is one with his wife as if they are of the same flesh.

I've dated fundies and found abuse there and married a liberal "christian" only to find that he hated God when church people weren't looking. There is so much confusion out there. I decided to get away from the fundimentalist groups and try different fellowships and liked Religious Society of Friends for their emphasis on equality and integrity and a personal relationship with God... but at times I felt they lacked a strong Christ focus which is ok for them, but I want something more sure of Yeshua being the Light. I can understand why people don't want to be associated with Christians and I don't evangalize for that reason. Perhaps I'm wrong but I've become more Universalist in my beliefs that God will right the wrongs and the misunderstanding for all people during the Judgement day and for those who are left out of the loop on Earth will have a second chance on that day.

Also, Yeshua said that it would be better for him to throw himself into the sea with a millstone around his neck than to cause a "little one" to sin. He went on to warn the disciples to becareful of their actions. Luke 17.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Good comment, thank you. I really can't reconcile the loving heart of Christ with some of the fundamentalist practices, either.


svogt12002 profile image

svogt12002 5 years ago

I just wanted to ad that, if it has not already been mentioned, that there is a very large group hiding domestic violence and BDSM behind the scriptures. They susbscribe to what they refer to as Christion Domestic Discipline. In one of the last articles, two men describe the best way to tie down a woman who does not take her disciple well. It was upsetting to say the least. More upsetting are the women who feel they should be disciplined, spanked, put in time out, etc.. This is just a cult in my eyes, and a way for people who aspire to BDSM and S&M to make what they do right in their twisted minds..


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Oh, yes, Duchess. Thank you for the comment, and you're very welcome.


Duchess OBlunt 5 years ago

Paradise7. I am always amazed at your willingness to share your story. It is sad to read of a child (or anyone) being so mistreated. How on earth you managed to survive with such strength amazes me.

Thank you for the courage it must have taken to share this. I know others who have had similar experiences who will not talk about it. I think there might be some healing in the sharing - no?


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Mnay blessings back to you, JR, and thank you for the comment.


jrsearam profile image

jrsearam 5 years ago from San Juan, PR

I am always amazed by courage such as yours. Thank you and many blessings to you and yours. JR


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you for the comment, BK Creative


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

I like what Mary McCleod Bethune said about brutality. She said "Forgiving is not forgetting, it is letting go of the hurt" and I find myself wondering how the South African people can 'forgive' the savageness of apartheid - I don't feel I could but they share the philosophy of Dr. McCleod - they had to let go or their oppressors would have won and continue to win. I remain amazed that they can rise above it.

But there is never a reason to apologize for being a victim - and we have to stop that mindset here in the US - where it is the victim's fault for 'allowing' herself to be raped, punched, murdered, beaten senseless etc.

I'm glad you can speak on this brutal topic because only then will change happen - when it is put out there. No hiding behind any doctrine - brutality is brutality.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you so much, Winsome. I will.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

Jesus made it clear that laying hands on a child was for blessing not harm. We don't start parenting with enough education or training and it is a shame that God's operating manual is so misinterpreted sometimes. “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them.” . . . And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. (Mark 10:14-16)

Your attitude of forgiveness and understanding of your father's hard life is an example of what Jesus does for us every day. I commend you and am thankful you have allowed healing to come into your life. =:)


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you very much for the comment and the song, me.


It's just me profile image

It's just me 6 years ago from Alaska

This will sound silly but I love this song and it helps me break free of paralyzing thoughts triggered by my PTSD caused by my ex who was a "good christian husband"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFJu8DCH_b0


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, interenet writer, for that most insightful comment.


Internetwriter62 profile image

Internetwriter62 6 years ago from Marco Island, Florida

I want you to know that the God your parents worshiped was not in anyway the God of the Bible. Yes, the Bible teaches that women must submit to there husband, but it also teaches that it is the husband's duty to love her as himself. Let just say, no one beats himself up. Yes, the Bible does teach disciplining one's children, but you have no right to abuse your children, the Bible must be interpreted correctly, anything else can lead to dangerous behavior.

The things that are done in the name of Christianity are so wrong. That is why, it says in scripture that many will come to Christ, and say "didn't I do this for you or that for you" and God will tell them "depart from Me I never knew you." Your father is in real danger of going to hell and yet, he thinks he has front row seats to heaven. That is sad. You really need to pray for your parents, if they haven't passed away.

Jesus always spoke of mercy, Christianity is about love and mercy. We are even to love our enemies and even though it wasn't practiced in Jesus' day, Jesus welcomed the little children.

Those churches that teach such heresies as the ones your parents were taught, are a real danger to families and especially to innocent children. I'm glad you were able to survive and get out of that horrible atmosphere.

Very insightful hub, I hope it helps others who are the victims of abuse.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you so much, listener!


Enlydia Listener profile image

Enlydia Listener 6 years ago from trailer in the country

Pardise...your writings were recommended to me by another writer (Rafini) because I was featuring writers of true stories...I also wrote about childhood emotional abuse...mine also had elements of Bible beating...though I was not as physically abused as yourself, I know what it is like to be under an authority who did not seem to have "the Love of God". I will be reading more of your stuff...Blessings


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

It is two opposite points of view which are very difficult to reconcile. I appreciate, though, the input and feedback for this hub and the time you both took to leave comments.


SG 6 years ago

I have read the book Philip and the nasty bits are there; I am however waiting to see the evidence behind it.


Philip Stephens 6 years ago

To SG: Read the Bible yourself and stop classifying every confessing Christian into one group which has utterly twisted scripture to lord over other people.

While the Bible says for a woman to submit to her husband, it also tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. Christ became low, took on the weight of His Bride, and sacrificed His life for her. Any godly husband who lives according to scripture is going to treat his wife like an absolute queen. As for his children, fathers are commanded to not provoke their children to anger.

All things done by the believer (including discipline) are done on the basis of love as is with our God. If they are not done with love, then it is not at all of God.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, mega. I don't know what the real motives are. The religion is just a smokescreen. Lots of religious people DON'T abuse anyone...the real reasons may always remain at least partly a mystery to someone who is not so tweaked.


mega1 profile image

mega1 6 years ago

Its not just in the fundamentalist religious commmunity - people of all faiths and philosophies have used their beliefs as a crutch and to justify so much violence and abuse. I can't say my own experiences of abuse came from religion - or even from ignorance - the people who abused me fully knew the wrongness of their actions and indulged in it anyway - then displayed remorse and contrition and it was a vicious, vicious cycle. In a way, it is easier I think to forgive people who have been led astray by a religion or dogma that allowed them to be so mean - at any rate I haven't come even close to your level of forgiveness. But these experiences and traumas do need to be understood somehow and we do have to move on in our lives, whether we can forgive or not. Please don't stop writing about your life, I think you are doing the good work you intended very well.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Hmmmm, don't know how to respond to this comment, SG, so I'll just let it stand.


SG 6 years ago

MagicStar, I fully understand that you are being supportive of me and I absolutely appreciate that, but I do not agree with you. Every christian I have known believes that there are other christians that are not 'true' christians. The reality is that if you are going to call yourself a christian you really must be a fundamentalist, because otherwise you are just taking it upon yourself to water-down and alter the book you hold up as being the 'word of god'. The fundamentalists by defintion are the 'true' christians.

Further, in reading the bible it is quite clear that christianity is not largely about love or forgiveness and in fact it exhorts people to allow their children to be sexually abused, to murder their own children and to hate anyone who doesn't actually believe in the god that they believe in. Have a read of it and you will see that those passages are in there; not nice at all. Also the experiences of many other atheists, especially in America is intense hatred from christians, which is extremely sad.

Having said all of this, none of the above is why I am an atheist. In fact I am an atheist for the very simple reason that there is absolutely no evidence of a supernatural being called a god.

What really interests me in this hub is the fact that someone has made the connection between christianity and domestic violence which I think is quite obvious on reading the bible. Those who consider themselves christians and disavow violence do that in spite of their beliefs, not because of them. That is why I do not condemn all christians out of hand; some are able to rise above their beliefs. However, this really makes me wonder if they have thought their beliefs through and actually read the whole of their bible?


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, Upal, for the comment.


upal19 profile image

upal19 6 years ago from Dhaka

It is pathetic to read all those. I think those days are gone. people have gained more freedom but now we miss the combined family atmosphere.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you Pamela99 and I wish you all the well in the world.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Paradise, What a sad and touching hub. It is amazing to me how people can twist the words of the Bible to justify being abusive. I know the road to recovery is hard and long, as I've been abused also but haven't had the courage or desire to write about it yet. Thanks for having that courage. The hub was excellent.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you so much, MagicStar for that wonderful comment. YOU are a true Christian and know what it means, and for that I'm very thankful.


MagicStarER profile image

MagicStarER 6 years ago from Western Kentucky

Hi, Paradise: I was reading the comment by SG, and it makes me so sad, that these "Fundies", who call themselves "Christians", but really are no such thing at all, are turning people away from God with their abuses, violence, hatred, and lack of love and tolerance toward their fellow humans. It is very sad that others are seeing this behavior from these so-called "Christians" and believing that that is how Christians are supposed to act. A TRUE child of God can be known by their fruits: Patience, love, longsuffering, tolerance, generosity, mercy, kindness, etc. Anyone who does other than this is NOT a Christian, but a Pseudo-christian, and is taken over by the forces of evil, and not outwardly expressing the personality of God, who is love.

That said, I was also a battered child. Not only from my real father, but then again, by my mother's second husband. On top of being abused, I also suffered through the additional burden of being the oldest of 7, and was obligated, by the whole situation, to be responsible and the protector and caretaker of my younger sisters and brothers. My whole childhood involved making sure they did not get hurt, and trying to nurture and protect them. Even at age 3, I knew it was all wrong and tried to do what I could to love my little brothers & sisters and mitigate the damage being done to them. I remember hiding my baby sister in a closet with clothes piled on top of her and telling her to stay in there - she remembers it, too. I was trying to keep her out of my father's way so she wouldn't get beaten. She was just a baby.

My father was not a Christian. My stepfather was a Fundie. As a small child, I found God on my own and knew that the abuse was not a Godly thing. I knew it was wrong, because God was LOVE, not hatred and abuse. I guess I was lucky in knowing this, because I did not go through the additional trauma of believing that the abuse came from God.

These are very deep things to talk about. And hard to put into words. The one thing that Fundies have all mixed up, is that even though the Bible does say that the father is the head of the family and should be deferred to, it ALSO explains that the father should treat his wife and children with love and kindness, the way Jesus treats his family.

THAT is a TRUE Christian way. Respect and love all the way around!!! Not abuse and beatings!!!

To SG: If you ever come back here, please know that REAL children of God do NOT do these things. Please don't let the fakes deter you from the love of God.

Love! :)


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you for that positive note. There are many people, thankfully, who feel as you do and would never in a million years harm their loved ones.


Mortgagestar1 profile image

Mortgagestar1 6 years ago from Weirton,West Virginia

One of the most romantic & erotic epic poems ever written is in the Bible. " Song of Songs " It transcends ethnicy, prejudice, & cultural diversities. Great read for Valentine's Day.

1 Corinthians 13 is the epitome' of love. Having traveled via the military, I learned from many other faith's and have found Christianity's center of forgiveness and Love as the centerpiece to be the most logical and spiritual between lovers.

The Bible is a great roadmap and schematic to deal with interpersonal struggles. True men love their women and God!!!


seanorjohn profile image

seanorjohn 6 years ago

Thank you for sharing this. Many people will be helped by this.God bless you.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, Cynthia. My intent was an increased awareness, and certainly not to offend anyone, and you understand that so well.


CynthiaF61 profile image

CynthiaF61 6 years ago from Tennessee

Thank you for your boldness in writing this piece! I was doing a search on Christian Parenting and came across your article. I don't think that your writing should offend anyone, because you are sharing your experience, not accusing a certain group of people. I know that there are people who will be greatly helped by reading your writing and will get help because of it.

keep up the good work!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you for the comment, frogyfish, you are so true and insightful in what you say. I'm still so conflicted--I WANT to believe in a loving God, as evidenced by Jesus Christ and his so loving, tender, caring ways for all the sick and poor people of the earth...but then I remember, and it seems to me so much harm has been done in HIS name...I think He'd be ashamed that we misinterpreted his Word so dreadfully. Not what He intended at ALL!!!!!


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 6 years ago from Central United States of America

I am so sorry for your abuse, yet your courage and strength show through now. Your statements are correct: But it needs to be said that 'All who claim My name are NOT all My children', to paraphrase scripture. Much of disdain for Christianity is because of this so-called double standard - but I call it sin and evil.

Will visit again and get encouraged; blessings to you also.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

I understand how you feel, SG. I have found both good and bad in both atheists and Christians, so it's not accurate to generalize or to establish a stereotype. I hope I didn't do that with this hub.

But believe me, I still do very much understand how you feel.


SG 6 years ago

Paradise7, I truly feel for you and am pleased to hear that you are doing well now. It is absolutely horrible what you have had to live through; it makes my heart ache. I have some understanding as I too am a victim of domestic abuse, from my husband. I escaped 18 months ago and the underlying theme of your story does not surprise me at all. To be perfectly honest this is the sort of behaviour that I have come to expect from christians and I would imagine other religious people, although I have less experience with them.

When I finally escaped after twenty harrowing years, the people who lined up first to kick me while I was down were my christian ‘friends’. One of these was my friend from birth who has never spoken to me since and who has my husband to her house regularly and recently for xmas day!

The only people who have stuck by me in any way are the atheists. I have come to see this as the way the world is. It is the atheists who actually experience the reality of life and do not hide behind imaginary friends. They see the reality of a situation and are supportive of people in equal quantities. Not only are they supportive of me, but they are reasonable with my husband which is as I would have it. They are not judgemental in the way that those with a belief in sky-gods are. The people who hide behind this cloak of unreality can just make up anything they like to justify whatever nastiness and brutality they choose to impose on those around them. I would not turn my back on a stranger in the situation I was in, not even on a christian, but this is what these people did. They have caused untold damage and in demonising me, I believe they ultimately have done my husband no favours either. But of course, they lack the insight to see that.

Never again will I pursue any sort of friendship with anyone who believes in a sky-god. Live and let live, but I do not want any of them close to me; I can do without the treachery.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

John, thanks for your comment and I found in it food for thought. Yes, indeed, you're right, the fundamentalists of any religion, the rigid fanatics of any religion tend to put women and children down and keep them down, with violent and abusive behaviors, both physical and psychological. It is indeed more like a subculture than a theology.


John 6 years ago

This is a horrible reality which social workers and therapists will tell you they see the most of among Fundamentalist Christians. That is where the most spouse abuse, child abuse and sometimes incest as well is found. It appears that Fundamentalism of any religion share so many traits that I think it is more of a subculture than it is totally a theology.


Juliana Brook profile image

Juliana Brook 6 years ago

How tragic some people's lives are and especially little children who should be loved a protected. I simply don't understand how an adult can willingly harm an innocent child who is so dependent on them for everything in their lives.

I am a Christian and I do believe in careful discipline of children as we are responsible for preparing our children for life and we need to teach our children that wrong doings have consequences. If we don't teach our children, life surely will and the lessons will most likely be terrible. Discipline should always be loving and carefully applied. Unfortunately so many people have no idea how to discipline and it becomes abusive. I received many hidings as a child, I did not like hidings, but my Dad always disciplined us in love and for actual wrong doings, as a result none of us have any bad recollections of these hidings.

Unfortunately because of cases of such terrible abuse, discipline has become tangled up with abuse and nowadays we may not discipline our children because of this. Personally I believe people need to be taught how to discipline rather than not to discipline. The cases of abuse, I believe have increased 100 fold as a direct result of not being able to discipline. Frustrations rise, tempers rise and then terrible things happen. Even worse is the psychological, verbal and emotional abuse that ensues, the "injuries and scars" of which are never visibly seen, only the consequences of it.

Sadly in the western protestant based Christianity, God has been portrayed as this terrible image of punishment and wrath and we are taught to be terrified of God instead of drawn to Him because of His Love for us. It is a teaching that came from Calvin, Luther and others who broke away from the Roman Church. It was a way to keep people bound to their movement and it is pretty much the teaching in the western Christian world today. It is no wonder society has become extreme and also unbalanced in its views on discipline.

In eastern Christianity (the traditional Early Church), there is not this type of teaching and the entire foundation of the Christian life is completely different to what is taught in western society.

Paradise7 I am so sorry that you and your siblings were subjected to such terrible treatment under the guise of Christianity. I am not too sure what your beliefs are now, just know, that God does not loom over us waiting to beat us for every wrong we do, His is a Loving, Just and Merciful God.

Anyone reading this post and recognising any of these signs, please for the sake of your precious children, do something about it today. To be submissive does not mean you have no say or that your feelings and opinions are worthless. You are equally as important in God's eyes as your husband, your role is just different. Being submissive for example, means that after discussions between yourself and your husband and you do not necessarily come to an agreement, you trust him to make the final decision. This trust has to be earned by your husband, not because you demand it, but because you know that he can and will make the best decision for you and your family (even if he doesn't always). This is where men need to be taught how to become trustworthy, how to make good decisions, how to lead their families and earn their wives respect and trust, but that is a whole subject on its own.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment, and I agree.


Will Benson 6 years ago

Bless you for your strength and courage. Your story may result in someone else being delivered from the hell of domestic abuse.

I generally favor government staying out of our lives but we seem to have money for many other things so maybe it's time for a well funded campaign to actively seek out abuse victims and treat the abusers. Thanks for your brave hub.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you for the comment, Cosette. I'm sorry you suffered with something like that, too. I don't quite know what gets into people, to be cruel to their spouses or their own children, and not recognize that it's WRONG!


cosette 6 years ago

yep. horrible, just horrible. I clearly remember when I was 8, hitting a palm tree with a stick. out came hundreds of yellow jackets, crawling all over me and stinging me everywhere. I ran home and had to sit on the bed waiting for my older sister to come home from school to take care of me because my mother was angry at me for "being so stupid".

you are very brave for writing this. tough, I know. I will read you more when I get a little braver.

(((Paradise)))


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Sharon, maybe you could just print it out and send it to her anonomously. If the children are in danger, don't hesitate--call Child Welfare Services. Let them look into it. Myself and two of my siblings came very close to dying in our household, and it was purely luck we didn't. This attitude towards children is DANGEROUS for the children. Sometimes parents don't know when they're going too far with the discipline, until it's too late.

Everybody knows, and people do nothing, for some complicated reasons of their own, and it nearly cost myself and my two sisters our lives.

As far as your sister goes, she has been brainwashed and needs professional help to get deprogrammed, once she's out of the situation.


Sharon 6 years ago

Thanks for your post. My sister sounds a lot like your mother and I fear for her four children. We have all tried on numerous occasions to help her get away from her abusive husband and there are times when we thought she would finally see the light but then she ultimately goes back to him because he gives her the guilt trip, threatens to kill himself, it is her wifely, christian duty, etc. I'm sure you've heard all the excuses yourself. I used to feel sorry for her but now I am just disgusted with her for subjecting her kids to this. I know they will all be scared for life and as it is her oldest child is already totally screwed up. I wish I could do something to help but every time I do I get ostracized from her family. At the moment she is not speaking to me, my mom or my other sister because we are "unbelievers" and are trying to break up her "happy" family. I fear that one day something really awful will happen. All I can do is try to tell her kids that I am here for them. Thank you again for your story. I wish I could send it to my sister and make her see what she is doing to her children.


Sharon 6 years ago

Hi there


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, Treasures. The scars have healed, pretty much. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. There are many words of warning to quell the violence inherent in our human hearts, and to find peace, sharing, and love for each other, which is there in our hearts, commingled with self-seeking and violence. Those words sometimes fall on empty ears, but not always.


treasuresyw profile image

treasuresyw 6 years ago from Savannah, GA

Wow! What a view of the real. Reading your hub was something. I am sorry for those that have had to experience others that paint this picture of "religion" as a justification to abuse. I do hope that all your soul's scars are healed and that you can help so many others find peace in their lives. Survivor!!!


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blbhhdcn 6 years ago

hello Paradise. This is a very emotional article that you are so brave to share with us. I really do hope you're okay now. Forgiveness is one key to happiness. I wish you all happiness.

I'm happy to know that you printed out my top 10 tips to a healthier life. I'm thnakful and happy that I am able to share very essential information to people like you.

Be well now and take care


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you both, Seetie Pie and Vizey. I learned fairly early on that the only way to deal with things is look the truth in the face and try to make an impartial assessment of things; try to figure out how to make things better for myself and others. It isn't always easy to look the truth in the face, especially when dealing with the past. (Especially MY past.) The more we look at the truth, the freer we are from it. That turns out to be a necessary side benefit.


Vizey profile image

Vizey 6 years ago

It is very hard to live in those moments. It would have been tough for you as well. But that is what life is all about! take care and GBU :-)


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SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA

I always appreciate your candidness. It is good you are able to write about these issues with such sincerity and objectivity.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you very much, Tatjana. Forgiveness and understanding are the key to a much happier life than either of my parents had. And I think it's so unfortunate that sometimes religious words are misused.


Tatjana-Mihaela profile image

Tatjana-Mihaela 6 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

This is very educative article which shows how people should never interprete any religion, neither will of any god, neither should create hell, neither need fo suffering or devil which would justify their own misdeeds...OK, all that happened because they were deeply insecure, unhappy and frightened from life itself. As a product of that illness you suffered as well. The hell they were frightened of they passed on you.

It is sad story. Not all, but many Christians (as well as members of many other religions) are very frightened and are not aware that they actually create the hell here for themselves and the others.

I wish you all the best on your way to happy and fulfilled life...which you obviously have chosen according to your beautiful avatar and penname.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Your comment didn't offend me at all. I hope I wasn't mistaken in my tone to you, I just answered honestly. I know it is often true that the abused become abusers, but it is not always true. And the converse is true also: abusers were not always abused persons. Sometimes it feels like the whole family thing is a lottery.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA

I am sorry if I made some assumptions. I just have heard on other documentaries when kids are abused that there is an increased likelihood of them becoming abusers themselves. I am sorry if my comment offended.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

They came from dysfunctional households. They weren't physically abused. They grew up in the Great Depression, and I think that deep insecurity of where their next mean was coming from ,when they were children, was a big part of their problems. It doesn't justify things, but it explains some things.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA

With that being said there is a darker side to many of the Fundamentalist religions. I think many parents such as yours were probably physically abused as children and told that it was their punishment for being children of Eve, so they grew up thinking they had to do this to their own children. I remember watching a documentary about a woman that beat her son to death with a curtain rod because he would not stop crying, and the judge let her off because he said it was a mistake on her part. It turns out growing up her dad severely beat her, and they had a history of child abuse in their family going back all the way to the Civil War.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments, and your insight into this problem.

I knew I might offend some sincere and devout people who themselves would never in a million years harm their wives or children, and are fine and upright citizens and truly living in Christ. NOT ALL Fundamentalist Protestant Christians act upon the leeway given by this set of beliefs.

Tony Mac also made the great point that it isn't only Fundamentalist Christians who have the extremely male-dominated, insistent on womanly submission, and mortifying to children type of beliefs on the proper way to run a household. Muslims, some African religions, many, many different religions have this flaw, but that isn't too say all the practioners of any given religion abuse that leeway and use the religion to mask domestic violence.


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

wow, that is painful to read. I admire and applaud you for writing it so boldly. I have worked with children closely and can always spot the ones from this kind of environment although cleverly veiled.

'spare the rod, spoil the child' does NOT refer to beating or spanking a child as is so often interpreted. as the Bible was written in the eastern culture, much of it is filled with oriental customs. the shepherd used a staff to help direct the sheep, to lead them. it was never used to beat or hit a sheep as the sheep would run away. the verse is talking about boundaries for the child, not spanking. the parents are to discipline and give the child guidance so that the child can learn. I can't even imagine what kind of thoughts this sent to you as a child. thank you for sharing.


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas

Paradise this was such a smart piece for the Domestic Violence HubMob! It's mind boggling how much pain and suffering is caused by a misguided sense of religion and morality. Some people use religion to justify their bad behavior. Hard to believe, but as you've painted so well, it's true.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Thanks for your bravery in sharing this powerful witness. Women and children abuse is a real problem in South Africa, and I agree it often has religious overtones. I have always had a special problem with those who cloak their controlling and sexist behaviours in religious talk - and it is not only the Christian fundamentalists who do this, those of other religions do also. If you saw the movie "Shine" you would have seen how a Jewish father could almost destroy a gifted child. It is everywhere and needs to be confronted everywhere it occurs. It takes people with the courage that you have shown here to expose this horrible perversion, becuase that is what it is.

Thanks for your courage and sensitivity in putting your story out there for others to know.

Love and peace

Tony


Laura du Toit profile image

Laura du Toit 6 years ago from South Africa

Paradise - Thanks for sharing.

This is very disturbing. To think people use the scriptures and take excerpts and use them out of context to justify their abuse. This makes me sick to the stomach.


vanderhaven profile image

vanderhaven 6 years ago

I appreciate you writing this hub and expressing and showing us that this goes on. It could have been turmoil to you to go into the past and write this and re-live it or you could have been scared off because you possibly could be considered accusatory of the fundamentalist church goers. However, you stood your ground and wrote it knowing that it needed to be out there. I applaud you for that and I am seeing great strength in you and your hubs--Thank you for sharing that with the readers. :)


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

I think you express it well. That always struck me, the very different attitude, the kind and loving attitude Jesus had in the Bible to ALL people, women, children, hurt people, poor people, sick people; how he healed them. And the very harsh and anti-female, anti-child outlook the fundamentalist church embraced.


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia

This is a powerful hub indeed! I have so many feelings about what I read, but I'm not quite sure how to express them. From my study of the scriptures, I've always been impressed about how loving and kind Jesus was to people of all genders and backgrounds (especially women and children) Even during a time where some religious leaders thought (and displayed) little or nothing of women and children, Jesus always displayed a totally different attitude through his words and actions. When I hear of stories like this (and sadly there are so many), it makes me wonder how that aspect of "having the true mind of Christ" can go unnoticed. You are truly brave to share this with us. It will no doubt help others who may be experiencing this now, what you and your family experienced in the past.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you so much, febriedethan, for your comment. I'm OK now and though it took many, many years of being away from that situation, we children managed to make some fair adjustments to the world. As far as forgiveness goes, my Dad, who is now deceased, has it from me at least, just because an abusive man is not a happy man, and I believe my life on the whole has been much more joyful than his.

Thank you, myownworld. It amazes and awes me, how much outbound sympathy you have for others, and what a truly good heart you have and retain, when many of your own experiences have been so cruel. You've written about them with such a gift of moving candor, yourself.

There are two points of view. I expect to find that some Fundamentalist Christians strongly disagree with everything I've said in this hub. All points of view are welcome, and I will not disapprove any comments made.


myownworld profile image

myownworld 6 years ago from uk

What a powerful hub! This must have been so hard to share, but it really touched me, and I so admire you for it. My heart goes out to you...and all children/women who suffer from abuse (emotional and physical); As I always say, 'out of pain... beauty." And your writing is a clear case of that. Sending all the healing and love in the world to you....x


febriedethan profile image

febriedethan 6 years ago from Indonesia

Oh my..I have no idea what you've been through Paradise7, I hope you're in a good condition now and are able to forgive your father. Just hope the best for you, thank you for sharing this, I know it's hard. I appreciate it so much. God Bless You :)

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