Mar. 15th, 2011

Family

Mar. 15th, 2011 07:46 am
So I've been thinking a lot about my family, prompted partially by rereading the book Quiverfull, and had a long productive conversation with my therapist about this.

She said that it'd be reasonable to call them a "cult with only one disciple". I'd come to pretty much the same conclusion myself.

Let's look at some of the facts:
* I was indoctrinated from a young age, ~3
* The indoctrination was reinforced with violence and the message that it was God's will that I withstand all abuse silently and through prayer, not through attempting to stop it
* I was taught that anyone in authority has received that authority from God and should not be directly challenged, but to follow Joseph's example and find freedom from excelling in slavery
* I was not allowed outside without my parents at all, until the summer before my senior year of high school when I would take a bus to the gym
* I was not allowed to have a job until after high school
* I was not allowed to visit friends
* I was not allowed to have friends over
* I was not allowed to call friends on the phone
* My parents insisted that I live with them while I was in undergrad
* I had the money from my first job confiscated by my Father

I could go on but the pattern is pretty clear: my life until after high school, and for a few years afterward, was marked by absolute control and isolation. In this state of isolation, there was violence, indoctrination, and the message that the world outside of their bubble was far more dangerous than any of the things they did to me. I had to submit to their authority because it was for my own good and because it was God's will. My entire life had to follow from God's word. Every thought and action had to be to serve Him. Yes, my father did monstrous things in his mental illness, but I had an obligation to God to withstand it all without complaint. To do otherwise is to rebel against His authority and plan.

You see, God had a plan that was going to make everything right and make all the suffering worth it, but if I didn't have the right spirit of faith then God would not help me because I wasn't letting Him. Also, I couldn't question the nature of this God or my faith. I did that once as a child and it didn't go well. All my morality and decisions had to be derivable from the axioms and inference rules of Scripture.

So, yeah, I think it was pretty cult like. I wish I had a better way to explain the constant fear you live in. Not just fear of others, but fear of your absolutely depraved nature ruining God's plan so that your suffering will never end.
To be honest, I feel so frustrated and burned out that I just want to say "fuck it" and give up on Zen. On the other hand, I converted to Buddhism before the I was introduced to the teachers of the monastery. I learned a great deal simply from diligently sitting daily and studying books by Zen teachers whose style made sense to me. The two biggest influences on my practice have been Daido and Dogen.

Maybe I'll just try rereading some of these books and taking up daily sitting again and, hopefully, I can truly separate my practice from the ill that was done me.

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