Tag Archives: Bullying

Be a One Woman Riot

25 Feb

When I was a kid, if my siblings and I argued or made too much noise, we were put on silence. Silence meant we were not allowed to speak or make any noise. If we found a way to communicate through spelling letters through sign language or motioning, we might even be put on frozen statue. Frozen statue meant you were not to move at all. No touching or laughing or smiling because a smile meant you might be up to something. If you did not obey the rules of silence and frozen statues, then you could be beaten with the Persuader. Such was the “fascist regime” of my childhood. And while I loved my parents, I hoped to leave such control behind by the time I reached adulthood.

Of course I didn’t realize when people can no longer control you with the belt, they will guilt and shame and shun to push you into doing what they want. Even as a young adult, I rarely spoke to my siblings about what happened in our childhood because to do so was considered breaking the ultimate rule of family togetherness. Family togetherness means you never speak of the past—not even to each other–all must be forgiven and forgotten.

Family togetherness also means you never, ever speak about the family to outsiders. And in case you are wondering, I’m doing that right now. I’ve been doing it for seven years and I have had less phone calls from my parents than you can count on one hand. Every year, I get an email from my mom acknowledging that I was born on my birthday, but my attempts to have a real relationship with them is very limited—not because I don’t want to have one, but because they feel I have broken the rules of family togetherness and they basically have no interest in my life.

Simply speaking about things that happened over thirty years ago makes me a monster to them, but I am writing a memoir—not out of anger toward them (actually I hope to portray them with love and compassion) but because my childhood was unique and strange and it was very hard for me to grow up when I got out into the real world.

Speak the Truth Healing Fowers, Cherilynclough.com, https://www.etsy.com/listing/509653965/speak-the-truth-giclee-print-8x10-or?ref=shop_home_active_1

Prints Available in Etsy Shop, Accessories at Red Bubble

So why can’t I keep quiet? Because if I don’t speak up, no one will ever have known that I was alive or what happened in my life. No one will know what it is like to have Mt. St. Helens blow up your life and be isolated from other teenagers and denied an education while you wait for Jesus to come. I have to speak it because it was not just their lives that were affected by their choices, it was my life. These are my stories, not so much theirs, but they do play a major part.

I’ve mentioned how the current US administration brings on my childhood PTSD. It’s the authoritarian rule. In the past no matter which party was in office, it was not a huge deal because presidents from both sides respected the U. S. constitution and at least made an effort to treat all people as equal. But my PTSD was most recently triggered this last week by the treatment of the press by the White House.

I took some journalism classes in college and the first thing we were taught is the press is the watchdog on the White House steps and to imagine it being muzzled reminds me of many fascist regimes throughout history and the losses of freedom including religion. The worst part about this is that so many, even within my religious community, seem unable to see this.

My sweet grandma always kept a diary. I call her sweet because whenever I walked into the room, she made me feel like I was the most important person in the world. And she wasn’t playing favorites, I’ve seen her greet my male cousins and brother and my sisters in the same way. I think it could be fair to say she was kind to even her son in laws who really never seemed to respect her very much. There was a lot of eye rolling because she didn’t cook much and she did CPR on cats at least twice to save their lives. It’s true she talked to cats and raccoons and skunks and birds. She was like a Grandma Doolittle and many people were nervous about the skunks she fed on her back porch. It could be said about Grandma that she walked with skunks and angels.

Grandma talked to Jesus and about Jesus every day. And for decades, she kept a diary. The contents were often mundane about the weather or her pets, but sometimes they told stories of her faith in God and how he came through for her. She lived through her parents’ divorce which mortified her and separated her from her siblings and she endured the great depression and worked as Rosie the Riveter during WWII and endured many sad events such as losing her first born child at birth. Grandma lived a life of faith despite her pain.

When Grandma hurt her hip and ended up in elder care, my parents took all those decades of diaries and burned them in a big bonfire. They took away her voice before she was even dead. My siblings and I were appalled when they told us but no one confronted them because we knew it would make things harder in our family to get along.

Silence. Silence from one party can mean sadness, anger, disconnection, or even death. But forced silence is another thing altogether. Forced silence is a form of control to murder another’s voice. Or even another’s right to determine the truth by hearing more than one side of the story.

During the Women’s March I saw a video of a group of women singing a song by MILCK. My husband played it for me because he thought I would like it and when I heard it, my eyes immediately filled with tears. This is why I must write on. I can’t stop my blog or my memoir as hard as it is when I have no family to support me in telling my story, I will press on because Jesus cares.

Jesus never asks us to keep quiet about our pain or to ignore injustice. Jesus comes to each of us with love and forgiveness, but he always, always leans in to listen to our pain. I have a friend who had an abortion decades ago and she is still feeling ashamed about it. I asked her if her little boy ran over his pet turtle on his bike and was feeling horrible about it, would she care about the turtle who was not in any more pain now, or for her child? She said her child of course.

Jesus is like that. He knows we have all messed up big time at some point in our lives, but he cares more about our hearts than anything we have done wrong. This is true for parents as well as children.  But the one thing Jesus doesn’t ask us to do is be silent when we have been hurt. We are free under God’s government to share our stories and to tell our stories because this is how we overcome (Rev. 12:11).

So I don’t know about you, but I am nervous about this changing of the guard from a land of freedom of speech and diversity to a land where we are threatened to be quiet if we have a different opinion or color of skin from the powers that be, this is not how God runs his government. Jesus runs his government on freedom for all and he says we will know the truth and the truth will set us free.

If you have been shamed and abused, don’t worry if someone scapegoats you and calls you a monster. Don’t let them shut you up. You are not alone. You are one of many. Tell your story. Embrace the messy truth, speak the honest truth and cherish the value of your own voice. I’m doing it for myself, but I am also doing it for Grandma and all the women before us who were forced into silence. Let’s not be quiet. We can each become a one woman riot! Viva la resistance!

Put on your face,
Know your place,
Shut up and smile,
Don’t spread your legs,
I could do that

But no one knows me, no one ever will,
If I don’t say something, if I just lie still.
Would I be that monster, scare them all away
If I let them hear what I have to say?

I can’t keep quiet, no oh oh oh oh oh oh
I can’t keep quiet, no oh oh oh oh oh oh
A one woman riot, oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

I can’t keep quiet
For anyone

Cuz no one knows me no one ever will,
If I don’t say something, take that dry blue pill
They may see that monster, they may run away
But I have to do this, do it anyway

I can’t keep quiet, no oh oh oh oh oh oh
I can’t keep quiet, no oh oh oh oh oh oh
A one woman riot, oh oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh I can’t keep quiet

Let it out let it out
Let it out now
There’ll be someone who understands

Let it out, let it out
Let it out now
Must be someone who’ll understand

Let it out, let it out
Let it out now
There’ll be someone who understands

Let it out, let it out
Let it out now

I can’t keep quiet
For anyone,
No, not any more.

-Written by Connie Lim and Adrianne Gonzalez

Why Spanking is Bad for YOU

1 Jul

This post was inspired by the way a neighbor treated his little girl this week. 

Hey Struggling Parent,

It doesn’t matter what they did or didn’t do, this is about you. For whatever reason, your blood pressure is up, your blood is boiling and you want the release of making your child feel pain so they will do exactly as you tell them in the future. But hold on a minute, lay your weapon down and consider the long term impact of what you are about to do. This violence you are about to commit will not only affect your child, but it will affect you too.

Maybe no one ever told you, but spanking is not good for your health. Hitting your child in anger–whether with your hand, a wooden spoon or a belt is going to affect you both for the rest of your life. Take a moment to breathe and count the cost.

When you punish in anger, you release an inflammatory cascade in your child and in your own body. Science has shown how anger brings out dangerous hormones that could make you sick. When you hurt your child in this rage, you are hurting yourself as well.

Your child is connected to you through a bond of trust, but what you are about to do will break that trust. Do you really believe you can afford to lose their faith in you just because you want to feel the release of your anger?

If your child is not adopted, your child carries your genes. When you beat your child, you are in a way beating a part of yourself. Do you feel you deserve this?

Have you ever been bullied by someone bigger than you? What are your feelings toward that bully today?  Do you want your child to have those same feelings toward you for the rest of their life? Your child will never forget the way you made them feel.

Have you thought about the impact your violence will have on this impressionistic soul? Do you realize if you pursue this course both of you will be change forever? Once you do this, the person God created your child to be will be forever altered and your relationship will never be what it could’ve been.

Let me repeat this just so you understand, the child you hit will be forever changed and you will never know who they might have become if you had chosen to discipline them in love instead of violence. The world and your family will suffer the loss of some of your child’s potential because you had a need to punish them instead of disciple them.

Yes, that’s the truth–discipline is to make a disciple out of someone. If you use violence to do this, you will make your child twice the child of hell that you are now. Do you want to disciple your child to bully and harm others? Statistics show children who are hit, will hit others and the cycle will continue to the third and fourth generations. Have you thought about how insane it is to hit your child for hitting others? Children grow up to do what you do–not what you say.

And the ultimate price for you might be the loss of relationship with your adult child. Because when your child reaches middle age and wakes up to all their pain and addictions and traces the root of their lifetime of fear and never feeling good enough to the way you made them feel, you will find yourself shut out.

Precious Child, cherilynclough.com, http://www.redbubble.com/people/littlered7/works/21360855-you-are-precious-affirmations-from-abba?c=317908-affirmations-from-abba

Prints and Accessories Here

If in your anger and passion you think you can just take the easy way out and slap them around until they jump when you say jump, think again. You will simply be teaching your child to be afraid of you. And ultimately afraid of God. Do you want to ruin the precious faith of your own child? Can you really risk losing them in this life and for all eternity?

In the future, you might wonder why your child can’t get over it or why they won’t forget. You might feel they are blaming you for all their problems or playing the victim. Let’s get this straight. A child you choose to hit, who is smaller than you IS a victim. They might choose to overcome this evil done to them and become a survivor. They may even thrive, but once you’ve made them a victim of your violence, that damaged little child might live on inside of them for the rest of their life.

Perhaps you too were once a victim. Do you really want to continue this pattern? If your child is young, it’s not too late. Right now, you can take them by the hand and teach them a better way in love.

You have all the power because right now you are much bigger than them. You have all the power and you can stop it now before this violence damages both of you.

Just. Lay. Your. Weapon. Down.

And hug your child with unconditional love.

Thank you.

PS If it is already too late and your child has been damaged and grown up and has now shut you out, there is one way that might open the door to a relationship again. It involves humility, honesty and empathy. If you can offer these three things to your adult child and treat them with the respect you wish for yourself, you might be able to reconcile. It won’t be easy, but it could be healing for both of you.

On the other hand, if you only care about being right, then you are a selfish narc and don’t deserve a relationship with your child.

To Spank or Not to Spank?

29 Apr

One of the biggest reasons I struggle with my parents is because they still feel they have the right to tell me what to do–what kind of music to listen to, how to vote, how to spend my money and how to worship God. For the first twenty years of my life, their will was imposed on me through what they called “The Persuader”—my father’s belt. I received my first spanking when I was one week old and my last on the day I left home at nearly twenty.

No one thought of my parents as mean. They didn’t look like evil parents, but they believed breaking my will was needed for my salvation. No one who knew us realized I was belted because I was isolated from society by not going to school and having visitors to our home was a rare occasion.

I would love to say the spankings I received were because I lied or stole or hit someone, but no, my list of crimes included everything from listening to John Denver and Amy Grant, to wearing tinted chapstick, to rocking back and forth to music. Sometimes I was belted for not moving fast enough when we were moving. And oh yeah, my worst belting occurred when I was seven for whispering to my sister in church.

Don't Shut Up, CherilynClough.com, http://www.redbubble.com/people/littlered7/works/13999494-dont-shut-up?c=540504-survivor-girls

Prints and Accessories Available Here

My mother told me her father spanked her only two or three times and he very gently spoke to her about what he was about to do and why. She told me several times in my childhood that she hated when Daddy punished me out of anger, but that was the situation most of the times I was belted.

Despite all of this, I didn’t grow up bitter or hateful toward my parents—I hated myself. I was bad. I was the loser who didn’t live up to their expectations. I spent the first twenty five years of my adulthood, buying groceries and paying power bills and doing whatever I could to help them. The truth was I loved my parents then and I still love them today, but I don’t agree with their methods and I refuse to let them tell me how to live my life any more. If they want to have a relationship with me, they will have to accept me as I am because I am through trying to play a game I could never win.

One day when I was forty-five, I was still telling a lie they taught me—that I was home schooled. It wasn’t a conscious lie, it came so naturally to say it, I said without thinking and then I screamed. I told someone I had been home schooled because this is what I had been taught to say. As a teenager, I had to say it or I would be belted. As an adult I had to say to protect their reputation and stay in good rapport with them.

That day I went home and screamed at myself in the mirror. I realized I had been trying to please them for over 45 years and a lot of was because I was taught to submit to their will. Even my issues with God came from these beltings. If the biggest person can bully others to do what they want, then why would I trust God who has all power in the universe?

The last time I saw my parents, I tried to explain how much these beltings have affected my life. My words fell on deaf ears because they believe they are right and I am wrong and they back it up with scripture because according to Christian tradition, the Bible says we should spank children. I know I’m not the only one who has childhood post traumatic shock because of beltings. People write me every week to tell me their stories and most of them include being beaten into submission in the name of God. One reader says she ended up in a fetal position on the floor with family members yelling at her. All of this was done in the name of religion and love.

Recently a landmark study about spanking has shown spankings are not as effective as people once thought. This study covered fifty years and 160,000 people. The term spanking in the article was not referring to beatings, but a swat on the butt.

This study has incited arguments all over social media with lots of people who didn’t even bother to read the study saying, “I was spanked and I turned out just fine.” The truth is if they said this without reading the study, they didn’t turn out fine. They are mere sheep following the crowd because the spankings they had in their formative years, taught them not to question and think for themselves.

One guy said he was spanked and he turned out just fine. I didn’t say anything because I’ve known him for years. I have seen him punish his little children in an anger fit and yell that they deserve a spanking. I also know his temper and anger are part of the reason his wife left him. He thinks he turned out all right, but why is he still trying to control his adult son? It’s a sad thing to see the damage done to this father son relationship because this man feels he still needs to wield power over his children.

There are two groups of people who will argue for spankings–narcissistic parents and religious parents and heaven forbid they meet up in Religious Narcia. The first narcissistic group of parents have to be right. They used physical violence over their children to bully and control them. Narcs feel justified in hitting their kids into submission because the world revolves around them and they feel they shouldn’t be bothered to take time to patiently discipline their children.

The second group are religious people who were spanked and taught to spank and feel it is God’s requirement to spank their child. Despite the fact it’s a misunderstood quote, despite the fact that Jesus never modeled spanking children, many of us have been spanked in God’s name. Even angry and abusive parents have justified beating their children supposedly for their children’s salvation. So what is this misquoted verse?

Whoever spares the rod hates their children,
but the one who loves their children
is careful to discipline them.
-Proverbs 12:24

This verse definitely supports discipline but there is a marked difference between discipline and punishment. Discipline teaches and corrects, while punishment gets even for a behavior. If all the parents who used spanking to discipline thought about it, they might realize there are much better ways to train and get a point across than hitting their child. But it’s easier to hit them than reason with them. Being a parent is hard work and many feel they don’t have time to reason to they hit their children into submission.

The most important thing to note about this bible verse is to realize what a rod actually is–it’s not a switch it a belt. It’s a shepherd’s rod. To fully understand the meaning if this verse we need to consider how a shepherd guides his sheep. He leads and prods them and rescues them with the rod, but he doesn’t hit them with it. If he started hitting every wayward sheep, he would have chaos. Sheep are followers and not very smart. They need rescuing and guidance, but beatings won’t help with either of those goals.

This rod is NOT used for spanking.

What is used for? To guide, to prod, to rescue and lead. The fact that so many parents defend spanking with this verse and ignore the non-violent words and lifestyle of Jesus, reveals their Christianity is not about Christ, but human tradition. Using power over small children to hurt them because they don’t do what the parent wants is not only cruel, but it’s unchristian–as in unChrist-like.

There is another well quoted verse which mentions the rod from the 23rd Psalm:

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

Apparently this comforting rod of the great shepherd is not to beat us when we are in fear of death. It’s very obvious this rod is not used for spanking. There is no comfort in a beating or a spanking.

Probably one of the worst arguments for spanking is the one that we can reason with older kids, but the youngest and most fragile in our families should be spanked. This argument takes the stance that babies who can’t talk or reason need spankings to communicate to them. Intelligent parents must surely contemplate what they communicating to their helpless baby by hitting them. They are saying, “I am the boss. Your needs are to be put on hold for my comfort. You are to conform to my request for quiet or whatever the spanking has provoked.

Someone shared a story with me from Astrid Lingren who wrote Pippi Longstocking. It was about a pastor’s wife who felt her little boy needed a switching. She told him to go out and pick a switch for her to use. He was gone a long time, then he came back crying with a rock. He said he couldn’t find any good switches, but she could throw this rock at him.

I cried when I read that story because it doesn’t matter if you hit with a stick or a rock, it hurts and it hurts deep inside the child’s psyche. Please don’t say that hitting is okay as long as you don’t beat them, you never know what is happening to their heart. And it only takes anger to go from a gentle spanking to a horrible beating. It does damage to children to realize their parent who they trust and adore intends to hurt them. That is the part of many of us that is broken. As the child grows up and leaves home, it will come out in all forms of violence against self through addictions.

Jesus is very fond of young children. He says to let them come to him–not so he can hit them, but so he can bless them. Jesus also has very strong words for anyone who harms a little child.

While he was dying on the cross, Jesus spoke of his abusers and said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do,” but he has much harsher words for those who harm children. Jesus said it would be better for them to have a millstone hung around their neck.

This millstone is not retributive justice as some might mistakenly think–this is Jesus describing the terrible condition and lack of conscience it takes to harm a child. Jesus is basically saying if you stoop this low, there is very little hope for your salvation–not because God wants to kill you, but because the act of harming others changes you and it could make you contemplate suicide and/or lose your salvation.

We can’t take these words of Jesus lightly. They’ve been used against all kinds of evil, but perhaps our Christian tradition of justifying hitting God’s most vulnerable and precious children has seared the consciences of many to imagine they are doing the work of God–when in fact they are doing the work of the enemy and harming their children.

If you are still reading this, you must surely understand by now that the rod is not used for hitting. That God does not ask us to spank children. That Jesus wants us to discipline and teach children to live non-violent lives, but that won’t happen unless it starts at home. We now have a very large, long term study which shows the long term effects of hitting children is not a viable option. It doesn’t work. It only damages them far into their adult lives. We now have no more excuses for ignorance and continued spanking of children.

One thing most ACoNs know for sure is what happens in childhood, never stays in childhood, but according to Jesus, what happens on earth never stays on earth. Jesus says the angels of all little children look into the Father’s face in heaven–which means that all of heaven is watching and fully aware of those who choose to hurt children. If the Father sees a sparrow fall, then how much more does he see a child spanked?

Jesus also said whatever we do to the least of these, we’ve done to him.

Love and Logic has great ideas on non-violent parenting

Here is information about that Spanking Study

‘Twas the Night Before Freedom

19 Dec

‘Twas the night before Freedom, when all through the house,
Siblings were arriving each bringing their spouse.

Memos had been sent to the family with care
In hopes Flying Monkeys would become more aware.

The Golden child was gleeful, while others felt dread
‘Cause visions of inheritance spun in her head.

The Scapegoat with coffee, sat down with her cat
To review all her boundaries in case of a spat.

When out on the porch there arose such a clatter,
The family jumped up to see what was the matter.

Out in the kitchen, they saw a blue flash,
Then out went the power with one giant crash.

The headlights shone bright against the new fallen snow,
And lit up each sibling with an unnatural glow.

When, what to their worrying eyes should appear
But the form of the parent who had raised them in fear.

From the belt in his hand, to the disgruntled bark
They knew in an instant it must be the Narc.

More rapid than gunshots the judgments they came,
While his children once broken, were each called a name:

Now! Lazy, now! Stupid! Now Sloppy and Slacker!
Who’s gonna go get my wine, cheese and crackers?

The host stood embarrassed and hung his shamed head
The scapegoat seethed anger for all the Narc said

With years of resentment she let out a sigh
Family fighting and politics made her want to go cry.

Disgraced, her siblings said nary a word,
But the scapegoat decided to let her voice be heard.

She started off softly, but it grew to a shout
As she opened her throat and said, “Get the fuck out!”

The Narc turned to martyr and drove off in spite
While the family sat stunned as on came the light.

She yelled one more thing as the Narc made his flight
“Happy freedom to all–it’s our God-given right!”

-Cherilyn Clough

(With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

Being Yourself is NOT Selfish

9 Oct

Somewhere in Religious Narcia, a narcissist started the rumor that anything with the word self in it is selfish. They claim individuality is wrong so only those who give up self for group-think are morally right. This fallacy isn’t biblical and comes from black and white thinking–or rather no thinking at all, since it’s merely a repetition from the accuser of the brethren to steal our God given uniqueness.

We live in a universe where every snowflake and flower is a one and only. Yet Narc parents want to steal their child’s distinctiveness. In Religious Narcia, people are often told to train their child in a certain way to make them conform. Narc parents take this personally because they view their child as an extension of themselves. What could be more selfish than stealing someone’s individuality? But that’s exactly what Narcissistic parents do.

The saying on this art has touched a tender part of my soul, but I still haven’t found the author. When I created this piece I was making it for myself. It’s a reminder that it’s not wrong to be myself despite what I have been told all my life about selfishness.

I was not surprised to find comments about selfishness coming from several directions. My guess is that such comments come from several sources–narcs who want to use us and how selfish is that? Flying monkeys who repeat what the narc says without thinking about it. And then there are the religious people who over spiritualize everything and miss the point.

My guess is the latter group is not made up of people struggling as ACoNs* so they just don’t get it, but if they would apply some empathy and try to imagine what it was like to grow up with a parent who wants to control you day and night, they might understand a little better.

My Own Person Sunflower, cherilynclough.com, littleredsurvivor.com

Prints and Accessories Designed for ACONs Available Here

The point of such a statement is that Narc parents suck the individuality out of their children. Even after they leave home, “Narents” push their religious beliefs and political agendas on their adult children because they still see their child as their mirror. They want to see their own reflection in their children instead of accepting and loving them for who they are. Narc parents would rather destroy their adult child’s sense of self rather than know them for who God created them to be.

And it’s not just Narents who do this–sometimes it’s a narcissistic spouse. The warped Christianity of Religious Narcia suggests it’s selfish to be yourself when others wish for you to change, but nothing could be further from God’s design. Here are the facts from the Bible:

  • You were created in God’s image (Gen 1:2,27).
  • God planned all the days of your life (Psalm 139:16).
  • You existed in the mind of God (Eph. 1:4).
  • God has plans for who you will become (Jer. 1:5).
  • You have your own unique gifts (1 Cor. 12:14-22).

Jesus said to love our enemies, but any request that requires us to act without freedom is not love. Caving to please a bully is not love because it neither serves us, nor the bully and it certainly doesn’t glorify God. Sometimes we need to use tough love even with our enemies.

As children of God, our first responsibility in serving Him is to be who He created us to be. If we fail to express our individuality, we shun the gift God gave to this world when He created us. When the flying monkeys descend and accuse us of not honoring our parents, we need to remind them our first Parent is always to be honored above our earthly parents. It helps when we distinguish our Heavenly Parent from our earthly parents.

The biggest threat to an ACoN’s individuality comes from the narcissist who wants to use them for narcissistic feed. The big conflict for many ACoNs comes down to whether they will be who the narc wants them to be–or step into the individuality that God has given them. It’s sometimes hard to take a stand but we have to remember we are not their kind of people. God can’t use us if we shun His design for our lives because we are trying to please others.

So NO, self-care is NOT selfish. Self-respect is NOT selfish. Self-control is NOT selfish and sometimes the hardest self-control ACoNs struggle with is to be themselves. Without our authentic selves, we have nothing. Self-love is NOT even selfish because love begins with understanding who we were designed to be so we can recognize what we have to share with the world.

To be yourself in a world that is
constantly trying to make you something else
is the greatest accomplishment.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

*ACoNs Adult Children of Narcissists

So Long Flying Monkeys

15 Mar

Who doesn’t like a monkey–unless it’s a flying monkey. I don’t know about you, but I love to go to the zoo and I could watch the monkeys for hours. Monkeys see and monkeys do. They love to imitate and respond to facial expressions. A few years ago, one of my nephews (who shall remain unnamed) went to a zoo with us where you could get in close to the monkeys. He began to make faces at this monkey and the monkey was sick of people making faces at him I guess, because he threw his poop at my nephew. It was sad and funny at the same time. Sad for my nephew, but also a good example of how monkeys behave. Someone in the family joked, “Monkeys see and monkeys doo-doo!” And that’s why we have issues with flying monkeys–they like to throw crap around.

This could be due in part to their choices to act before thinking. Acting without thinking causes bad habits like imitating others and responding with a defensive attack. Many a flying monkey has had a self-righteous attitude when they come over to tell you that you should be nicer to the narcissist. Sometimes they even use Jesus. Yes, I mean they actually use Jesus, because there is a huge difference between following Jesus and using Him and some Christians have it mixed up.

Flying Monkey Cards, Cherilyn Clough, LittleRedSurvivor.com

Cards Available Here

Here are three tips on how to disable those flying monkeys and send them on their way.

1. Run All Flying Monkey Comments Through a Filter
Okay, sometimes you are still connected to someone who is connected to someone else who has been damaging to you. It’s a tricky situation because you love this flying monkey and they really don’t mean any harm they literally can’t see what you have experienced and because you love them and their children you don’t want to shut them out.

This is often the case with siblings who grew up with completely different childhoods under the same parent due to favoritism or different expectations due to age differences. One might have been the golden child who could do no wrong or one could have been the irresponsible child that the irresponsible narc parent is most like so they have this bond. You cannot mess with the bond. And you would not want to have that bond either–this is how the filter can help you. Do you really want that same type of relationship? No, I don’t think so.

It’s like different witnesses seeing different things at an accident. So what to do? Filter, filter, filter. If she says the narc was super nice to her, but you had a different experience, then you can allow her grace to live in that world. It’s not hurting you to let her have her happy thoughts. It’s really okay to disagree with others, but it is NOT okay to let them shame you or guilt you for having your own feelings and memories, so keep that in mind. Change the subject. Or agree to disagree.

2. Educate Your Monkeys
Yeah, easier said than done, I know. But if it is in any way possible to educate a monkey, you might take away their venom. Sometimes flying monkeys know less about the truth and are just saying whatever they’ve been coached to say. This might be an uninformed aunt or church lady who thinks your narc mother is a jewel. Well she wasn’t there when you were pinched and belted by her, so in this case let her off easy, but inform her.

This is the tricky part because growing up in a narc family you were told to keep the family secrets, but don’t–just don’t keep the secrets any more. You are now grown up enough to own your childhood and your choices so educate, educate, educate. Tell your story–just remember that the narc has lied about you over and over to others and you may not be able to educate all flying monkeys–some flying monkeys are just plain bullies.

Don’t try to win over the haters,
you are not a jackass whisperer.
-Brené Brown

3. Refuse to Play With the Flying Monkeys
It seems harsh. It feels awkward at first because you are an empathetic person, but when it comes to triangulation therapists from the dawn of time have been warning us to stop talking about other people with other people. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 18 said to go directly to the person you have a problem with.

The flying monkey somehow imagines he is the only person not to blame because he listens to everyone–that’s why he is such a big part of the problem. Listening to everyone does not make you empathetic–it only makes you a part of the gossip chain. The flying monkey is really an apathetic person because they are not concerned with what hurts others as much as positioning themselves politically on the right side.

At the heart of every dysfunctional family lies triangulation and boundary violations. Boundary violations come when someone thinks someone else does not have a right to their story or feelings. Triangulation furthers the abuse because nobody can know what’s really being said behind their back when no one will be honest to their face. Flying Monkeys contribute to both.

The best way to get rid of a flying monkey is to stand up for your boundaries and tell them that you will not have a conversation about anyone else. By the way, I did this a few years ago and you will not believe the peace and silence that followed. I highly recommend it.

Parental Bullying for Religious Reasons?

12 Oct

I rarely post anything of a political nature, but this falls into the dysfunctional family and emotional abuse category. Glenn Beck recently told his viewers to shove their children against a wall to reinforce their religious beliefs.

“Well, they’re going to cry,” Beck says. “I’ll hurt their feelings. PUSH ‘EM! Because if you don’t do it now, it’s going to be much worse when they’re pushed and they’re shoved and they’re shot. Push them! Teach them! They need to know the truth, and they need to be pushed up against the wall once in a while, so they know they can defend themselves, they know they can survive, they don’t run around like little girls crying at the drop of a hat! PUSH ‘EM!”

As a child who was physically belted to conform and emotional derided if I disagreed, I can tell you it won’t work. Shoving, belting, calling names, blaming– all of these things activate and flood the fight or flight center of the brain. It won’t teach kids what to believe because the thinking center will be bypassed when the flight or fight is activated.

Using force to teach children to comply with your religious beliefs will only teach kids to act without thinking out of fear at the first sign of trouble. Letting the lizard brain do your thinking is usually a bad idea. This will create followers instead of free thinkers. I think history has proven over and over what happens when a group of people act from the fear instinct instead of thinking for themselves.

Bullying your child will only alienate the adult children from their parents someday. They will never stop remembering the way you made them feel. Unless you someday take responsibility for what you have done, you will continue to have a broken relationship.

I have friends raised this way who rarely if ever take their children to church. Some cite a feeling of nausea when entering a church due to being bullied as a child. Others became Atheists due to abusive and controlling Christian parents.

As to preparing them to survive against being shot, this is certainly not a true Christian martyrs stance. Jesus said whoever loses their life will find it and whoever saves their life will lose it. The gospel of Jesus does not teach us to protect self, but to serve in love.

If a parent follows Beck’s advice, they will be taking advice that contradicts the Bible and may be causing their children to stumble away from God.

do not provoke your children to anger
by the way you treat them.
Rather, bring them up with the discipline
and instruction that comes from the Lord.
-Ephesians 6:4, NLT

But if you cause one of these little ones
who trusts in me to fall into sin,
it would be better for you
to be thrown into the sea
with a large millstone hung around your neck.
-Mark 9:42, NLT

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Can’t Get Saved by the Lizard Brain

Here is a video clip of Glenn Beck, can you see Jesus using such a tone with children? Once again we see the pattern of how people become like the god they worship.