Religion And Abuse Went Hand In Hand For Me (pretty Long, Sorry For That.)

I grew up in a Mormon family. Ever since I was really little, my dad was always the dominant person in the house, chosen by God to be the father of our home. Even from a young age, it became obvious that the males in our family were favored. They got to do cool things like hike and camp and get leadership positions in the church, while I was stuck in Achievement Day Girls learning to cook and sew and be a good wife. Even at the young age of 12, all I was taught to want was a return missionary as a husband and kids around my ankles and then being told how lucky I was because God gave me the "sacred opportunity of bearing life".

Growing up, I had a different view of life. I didn't want to get a degree in college as a back up plan just in case the husband couldn't work or we needed more money. No way! I had passion! I wanted to go to college and get a degree so that I could have a career and do what I loved to do. I didn't want 10 kids and to support my husband my whole life. I didn't want to take a backseat just because of my sex. That being said, I was also very submissive and still am. Nobody argued with mom or dad, and your opinion was their opinion. If you did have a different opinion, the answer was "Go pray and repent." because mom and dad were hand in hand with God and the church.

When I was 6-8, I and my other sisters were sexually abused by my older brother. It was a real mess, and it ended up with me not being able to see my brother for 2 years. Apparently, through the church and God, he came back a changed child of God or whatever the hell and could live with us. We were encouraged not to talk about it and to forgive him because he had repented and God said he was alright now. He became the amazing person in my parents eyes and they just adored him. I felt so helpless, alone, and ugly. Why was I still hurt? Why had the scars still not faded?

I went along with that religion for a while, always doubting, always having unanswered questions. I did what they said though, got the highest honors in Achievement Day Girls, Young Women's, and Seminary, and was a steadfast church goer, though towards the end of highschool it was more by force than anything.

I dated one guy before Jon. It was the first time I really was able to communicate sexual desires and talk about how suppressed I really felt. I never ***********, never touched myself, and seldom watched ****, because of the fear of being caught. I never had sex with this guy or did anything sexual with him, and though we broke up over four years ago, today we are still friends.

Then I started dating Jon. Jon and I were really close friends for a few years before we even started dating. When we started dating, I let Jon know that nothing sexual was to happen between us. He agreed, respecting my religious background. It didn't stay that way long though. I really loved him, and he really loved me. We were very open and caring to each other. When we did have sex the first time, it wasn't lustful or dirty. It was loving and special. He never forced me to do anything I was uncomfortable with.

Then I told my parents, and **** really hit the fan.

I was told that I was a disgrace, I had broken trust, let myself be disrespected, and that I had to feel "true Godly sorrow" before they or the church could forgive or trust me. My mother told me that my level of betrayal was as hurtful and disgusting as my brother's when he was raping us. She often stressed how I had "gotten what I wanted" and how spoiled I was. I got this kind of treatment from almost all of my siblings as well, often being asked if I was even the same person they used to know anymore and how I could betray them. The emotional torment I received lasted heavily for six long months, and now it still continues on.

All contact was cut off between me and Jon. He was threatened with being put in jail (even though he's only a year older than me) and was often talked down to and stalked by my parents so that they could see if he slipped up at all or was trying to contact me. Not only that, but I was socially isolated from all of my friends. I wasn't allowed near a computer, phone, or any kind communicative device.I had to have someone in the room with me at all times, except the bathroom, and I was moved to a different town my senior year. I was also often threatened to be shipped off like my brother was.

Between the heartbreak of missing Jon, having no friends, moving, and the emotional torment, I was completely broken. I shut down. I didn't say anything when my parents would pull me in their room, yell at me, and then end with how much they loved me. I didn't respond when I would get the cold shoulder or the sad looks. Some days, I wouldn't get out of bed unless forced, all the while my parents telling me how much they loved me and being concerned about me. I was so confused and I hated myself. My parents would rip me to shreds then tell me about their, and Jesus's, unending love for me. I couldn't even recognize the emotional abuse until I was well into my senior year and getting ready to move out.

When the torture lessened, I was still kept on strict tabs. I was only allowed to talk to people they wanted me to. I was only allowed to go places I had to be. When I got some money and bought a computer and Kindle, they confiscated them until the day I moved out. They also took about 3/4ths of the money I earned, saying I owed them because of what happened with Jon. There was even a time when I got a scholarship check for 400 dollars and they took all of it, saying it was to help with my education and it really belonged to them anyway. Even when I was moving out, they were asking me to give them my hard earned scholarship money that has sustained me through college. I wasn't allowed a cell phone, bank account, driver's license, and my parents had the passwords to my email and Facebook.

My parents really wanted me to stay at home and go to college there, because they said they would take care of me. Tch, heck with that! I moved out! I entered college with 100 dollars, no bank account, no car, no license, and no cell phone. My parents also took me off of their insurance (their free Medicare insurance, mind you) because, in their words, I could "obviously take care of yourself on your own without our help anyway". They won't help with money at all and I am deeply in debt because of that. Though they do send me care packages from time to time, which is nice I guess.

I had kept in touch with Jon anyway, which was super difficult and really stupid, I'm aware. After moving out of the house, I moved in with him and we are still happily together. I'm never EVER going back to that god awful religion. EVER. I'm working on my degree in Music Performance and plan on getting a doctorate.

I still have a hard time with depression. The guilt trips, emotional abuse, lying, and lack of support from parents still continues, though things are getting better little by little. I just don't know how to deal with this anymore and I feel like I'm not worthy of Jon in many respects.

I guess the moral of this incredibly long and probably sob story sounding-ish story is, don't you dare let religion or family or anyone make you feel like you are worthless. It's abuse. Get out of the situation. Get help. Stick up for yourself. Don't be like me. Don't end up like me, please. Do yourself that favor.

Any suggestions from anyone? What do I do now that my family is warming up to me a little? How do I react?
JustMeAndHappyToBe JustMeAndHappyToBe
18-21, F
2 Responses Nov 28, 2012

My girl (not meant condescendingly) I can relate in a way to what you have written here. Reading stories like this sometimes make me ashamed to be a man. It is obvious that religion/men/dominance/power make for a terribly corrupting combination. My heart goes out to you. If I had the ability I would like to be able to take all of that trauma you experienced in childhood away from your mind but I can't.

I hesitate to give advice because it may turn out to be wrong and from what I have read here you seem to be a strong person who is on the right path. You have learned many useful lessons so early in life. You are an adult now and hopefully free to make your own way. I encourage you to carry on with your studies and keep in mind that you are an awesome person all by yourself. You do not need a man to complete you. a man should compliment you.

One good thing that your parents taught you by default was how NOT to raise your children. My parents taught me a similar lesson. I do not blame my mother for anything because she was dominated and indoctrinated and did what she thought was the best thing. My father I have not seen or spoken to in about 21 years because he is still a religious fanatic. If he attempts to approach me without an apology and a promise never to speak of religion again then he will very quickly have a swollen red mark on the side of his face in the shape of my hand. I am afraid that I cannot give you an unbiased opinion on how to make friends with your parents.

i have a 22 year old daughter and I made certain not to put the "fear of god" into her. I explained the pitfalls of religion but told her that she should choose as she pleases and should always think for herself, blind faith is a stupid thing. She is now a qualified Geologist with an Honours degree in metamorphic rock at 22 yrs old. She started work in January and is already earning 3 times more than I ever did.

Look after yourself my girl and do what you want to do in life while using the hard lessons learned at a young age. Good luck and take care.

While it's obvious your parents were heavy-handed (cruel, even) and did not "correct you to the proper degree," they succeeded in protecting you from contracting a venereal disease, a life of abject poverty (teenage single mothers suffer so much because of all their disadvantages) and, had you gotten pregnant, having to face the choice between murdering your unborn child or giving it up for adoption. (Jeremiah 30:11)

Yes they should have been much more loving and, yes, they should have gotten you all the professional care you needed after being victimized by your brother, however, they did save you from a world of pain and needless suffering.

How should you react with your family now? Make peace with them. (Matthew 16:15; 5:23,24) In a loving, peaceable manner, explain to them how much they hurt you. Express to them as well, how sorry you are for hurting them.

Make peace with yourself then go make peace with your family :)

All the best!


P.S. If you don't mind my asking, did you ever get professional care for the trauma your brother caused you?

You're misusing those terms (and mangling the English language in the process). Helping an inexperienced girl put things into perspective is anything but "disgusting and disrespectful."

No, I never got professional care.

My parents did not protect me in any way. I would argue that being open and blatant about sex is the only way to truly keep your children safe. What children need, and what I needed, but never got, is to know how to be safe if they ever do have sex. I'm truly grateful that my partner taught me to be safe and that we have never had STD/STI or unwanted pregnancy problems.

In fact, they inserted me into a world of needless pain and suffering. I did make wrong choices, but their reaction and treatment of those choices has been so detremental that there's no way to construe it as helpful.

I've tried many times to make things better with my family. The treatment I've received in return has been less than helpful, you could say.

Thank you for your concern though.

@Just

You're so welcome :)

Please, please, please get professional care. The kind of cruelty you were inhumanely subjected to will never let you go until you do, k?

I will continue praying for you :)