A Parents’ Lame Response

This is the response I received from my parents after I wrote them my letter. I used the links you’ll see throughout the letter to disseminate their comments (my comments are numbered). Both of my parents have consistently used these 20 diversion tactics over my 41 years of life, and I believe, from conversations I’ve had with their siblings, that they were behaving this way in their teens as well. It is a sad excuse for a parental response to a child that they hurt. However, I never expected less, and I wrote my letter to benefit my siblings, not my parents. I hope as my siblings mature and become their own individuals that they will see exactly how mentally ill our parents are. Here we go!

Alexa,

Bill and I want to share with you what we believe, and have always believed, and try to let rule our lives:

1)This is first and foremost an unnecessary and inappropriate response to what I wrote and has absolutely nothing to do with the issues. This is misdirection at it’s finest. As well as projection and changing the subject to evade accountability. 

*http://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2016/06/20-diversion-tactics-highly-manipulative-narcissists-sociopaths-and-psychopaths-use-to-silence-you/6/ 

2)The next lot of bullet points is just word salad, circular conversations, ad hominem arguments, projection and gaslighting to disorient me and get me off track should I ever disagree with them or challenge them in any way. Or my siblings, at least. This doesn’t work on me anymore.

*http://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2016/06/20-diversion-tactics-highly-manipulative-narcissists-sociopaths-and-psychopaths-use-to-silence-you/3/

3)Who cares what they believe? It is their actions that have told who they are and what they really believe.

4)My parents just wanted to control a new narrative, by taking the high control point of instructing a child. This is also one of their long, draining monologues, or a nonsensical conversation from hell.

– We believe in the Divine Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

– We believe God is the only true God and is the 1st person in the Trinity

– We believe God has always and will always exist

– We believe God created the world and everything in it

– We believe God established this with boundaries and order

– We believe Jesus Christ is God’s Holy Son, was born of a virgin, sent by God to atone for all mankinds’ sins; therefore He willingly gave His life to redeem everyone who will accept Him

– We believe Jesus Christ rose the third day after He died and is seated at God’s right hand

– We believe Jesus Christ is the 2nd person in the Trinity

– We believe Jesus Christ is the only way for mankind to regain a right relationship with God and to live eternally with Him

– We believe the Holy Spirit is the 3rd person in the Trinity and was sent to instruct, teach, and guide us

– We believe The Holy Bible is God’s written word to mankind and is wholly True

– We believe each person has been given the opportunity to choose the Trinity and that God does not force anyone to do so

– We believe God extends grace and mercy to us anew each day but we have to accept it and walk in it

– We believe Satan seeks to kill, steal, and destroy

– We believe there is a Heaven and a Hell

– We believe there is a final Judgement Day coming

These beliefs are Judeo/Christian beliefs and are what Bill & I taught each of you.  We also taught that each of you must at some point in your life decide where you stand before God and “work out your own salvation”.  This usually takes place when a person reaches 16-20 years of age.

Every parent has the privilege and responsibility to pass on to their children the standards they believe in and to set boundaries and rules to govern their homes. What each child does with those standards/beliefs is his /her responsibility once they can reason and account for themselves.

– We do not believe one person should have “control” over another person (the use of manipulative methods to persuade others; a person who attempts to dictate).  While we believe God intends for parents to govern their homes and be orderly, He wants to be King to each and every one of us.

5)This is not how they behave. 

*http://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2016/06/20-diversion-tactics-highly-manipulative-narcissists-sociopaths-and-psychopaths-use-to-silence-you/13/ #20

– We do not believe in a “patriarchal” lifestyle (a social system where men dominate women and children in order to control them).

6)This is not how they behave, and their children exhibit all the teachings of the patriarch system. (My sisters didn’t even talk to me about any of this without going through their husbands.)

– We do believe God intended for homes to consist of a father, a mother, and children and for parents to instruct and train them.

– We do not believe in “forcing” anyone to believe as we do.

7)The use of force is not physical in this case, but they know this! They are deliberately misrepresenting my thoughts and feelings to the point of absurdity.

*http://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2016/06/20-diversion-tactics-highly-manipulative-narcissists-sociopaths-and-psychopaths-use-to-silence-you/4/ #5

– We believe every year a child gets older, some of the boundaries should be relaxed or removed.

8)This was not how they behaved in my late teens. If someone’s reaction to you setting boundaries or having differing opinions from your own is to threaten you into submission, whether it’s a thinly veiled threat or an overt admission of what they plan to do, this is a red flag of someone who has a high degree of entitlement and has no plans of compromising.

*http://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2016/06/20-diversion-tactics-highly-manipulative-narcissists-sociopaths-and-psychopaths-use-to-silence-you/6/ #8

– We believe each parent will stand before God Almighty and give account for these things.

9)But in the meantime, here on earth, they can continue on with whatever they want.

– We do not believe in name calling or speaking negative things over our children.

10) This is a patent lie, since not only did they do this to me, but also to another of my siblings, that I know of. Narcissists weave tall tales to reframe what you’re actually saying as a way to make your opinions look absurd. They also use smear campaigns as a preemptive strike to sabotage your reputation and slander your name so you won’t have a support network to fall back on. 

*http://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2016/06/20-diversion-tactics-highly-manipulative-narcissists-sociopaths-and-psychopaths-use-to-silence-you/4/ #5 & #11

As parents we have made mistakes, unwise decisions, gotten angry, been wrong, spoken too quickly or harshly at times, and made bad judgment calls, gotten our feelings hurt, and not been discerning enough.  For these we ask your forgiveness.  However, we have never deliberately set out to control our children, do them harm, or let others harm them.  Sometimes parents simply do not know what to do or how to respond.

11)This is generalization and blanket statements, which invalidate my experiences. Rather than taking the time to carefully consider a different perspective, they generalize anything and everything I say, making blanket statements that don’t acknowledge the nuances in my argument or take into account the multiple perspectives I used. Better yet, why not put a label on me that dismisses my perspective altogether? Also, this totally ignores what I said in my letter, that I have already forgiven them. It wasn’t forgiveness that was the needed answer, but acknowledgment from them for their actions and words in my life.

*http://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2016/06/20-diversion-tactics-highly-manipulative-narcissists-sociopaths-and-psychopaths-use-to-silence-you/4/

We have wanted all the children God gave us and have never spoken otherwise.

12)This is in direct contradiction of my childhood memories. Even if this statement is true, the feelings I felt were the results of her actions and words towards me. When a child hears over and over that her mom can’t wait for her to be grown enough so mom can do what she wants, or she can’t wait for her to be out of the house, then that child believes that she isn’t wanted. They used a lot of destructive conditioning. *http://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2016/06/20-diversion-tactics-highly-manipulative-narcissists-sociopaths-and-psychopaths-use-to-silence-you/7/ #10

– We are happy with the person each of you married and would never set out to undermine your homes.

13)Again, I would never have thought this by their actions and words. This is gas lighting, and they did quite a bit of name calling before and after I married my husband (they did this to one of my sister’s husband, too).

*http://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2016/06/20-diversion-tactics-highly-manipulative-narcissists-sociopaths-and-psychopaths-use-to-silence-you/7/ #9

Alexa, we want only the best for you and your family. Our desire is to have a healthy relationship with each of you.

14)I can only hope this is true, but unfortunately I’ve never had a healthy relationship with them, and I haven’t ever witnessed anyone else having one with them either. This also smacks of technique #16, boundary testing and hoovering. 

*http://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2016/06/20-diversion-tactics-highly-manipulative-narcissists-sociopaths-and-psychopaths-use-to-silence-you/11/

It has taken us a while to respond to you because we do not wish to cause you distress or give you the impression that we take lightly your hurts.

Mom and Papa

15)Evidently, I’m too sensitive for all this, and the fact it took over a month for them to respond, tells me that they were very calculated in their response. 

*http://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2016/06/20-diversion-tactics-highly-manipulative-narcissists-sociopaths-and-psychopaths-use-to-silence-you/12/ #18

16)This entire letter is a triangulation technique, since it involves my siblings. 

*http://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2016/06/20-diversion-tactics-highly-manipulative-narcissists-sociopaths-and-psychopaths-use-to-silence-you/10/ #14

It also is using technique #15, which is bait and feign innocence. I grew up with #15 being used almost daily, particularly in my teens. 

At no point in this letter did they respond to any of my numerous questions, or the molestation at age 9, or sexual harassment from my dad or in the cult by Bill Gothard.

Here is my response, which I sent a couple of days later, after my tongue had a chance to settle down. 🙂

“Oh, Okay. Well, my letter wasn’t an opportunity for you to “instruct” me. Sadly, the correct parental response was missing. So, I think I will take a break for awhile. If we happen to be going to the same events as each other, I will be kind and loving, and I will not speak about you, at all. I ask that you do the same.  Alexa”

I have gotten to the point in all of this, that I wish they’d just pretend like I’m not their daughter. Take my photos off their walls, not talk about me, just act like I’m another someone out there that they see occasionally. Unfortunately for them, all their talking and maneuverings have caused my kids to want nothing to do with them. I’m tired of the angst, my husband’s tired of the angst, we’re all tired of the angst! No more! Ain’t nobody got time for that!

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4 thoughts on “A Parents’ Lame Response

  1. Alexa, you (like me) are a firstborn, and most firstborns are natural problem-solvers. We’re the fixers who try to bridge the gaps when things break. Some things cannot be fixed. Trying to find that combination of words that causes a breakthrough with your parents is like trying to describe color to someone blind from birth. Your experience is made up of your perceptions, what you saw and heard and felt as a child growing up. And to be fair, perceptions are not always a complete picture of the truth, but they are YOUR truth.

    I have three sisters and the four of us are about five years apart. We grew up in same house and went through the same family issues together but we each remember them very differently. Sometimes they have brought up things they remember and I’m just incredulous, because I have zero memory of those things, or I remember them so differently I feel like we must have lived in alternate universes. What one of us remembers as hurtful the others have no recollection of. And much of what you remember your siblings were not alive for or not old enough to remember because of that huge age gap. That doesn’t make your recollections wrong. You just all remember things differently. What crushed your spirit as a child might have rolled right off a sibling with a different temperament.

    The dynamics of being part of a large family are enormous. A naturally compliant child has a temperament to please his/her parents. A naturally strong-willed child pushes against every restriction like they are fighting for their lives. A melancholy temperament and a sanguine go through the same experience and respond differently.

    And the perspective of a parent is totally different than that of the child. As parents we’re paying bills and keeping up with the ins and outs of finances, church, community, etc. Your parents didn’t set out to break their children, they created what they thought was the best environment for raising them, based upon all their own life experiences. They did the best they could with the tools they had, but we all know that can fall flat so easily when we’re overtired or stressed or just distracted by something.

    I have a thousand regrets over things I said and did (or didn’t do) with my kids. But one thing they all say they clearly understood was that I loved them passionately and was their fierce protector if I felt anyone was wronging them. I wanted so much to be the perfect parent, but life is crazy and none of us is ever going to do the job perfectly. My kids saw me fail at parenting, and they heard me apologize with tears and hugs. I know the agony of wishing I could have sucked those words back that crushed their hearts when I responded less than lovingly.

    But I saw your parents in action with your siblings, and I cringed many times at their child-raising techniques. I heard firsthand some of the negativity your father “spoke over” some of the kids. He thought it was motivation for them to change, but it was ugly and hurtful and downright mean at times. I knew that he loved his family, but what he called loving I would have called brainwashing with a whip. I perceived your mother as dutiful, but never as loving or affectionate. She was so rigid and controlling without natural affection or warmth that I felt she was a zombie who had packed away her emotions so she could be the ideal parent.

    Overall I called their style “parenting with a dash of stockholm syndrome.” You remember it as a prison camp, but most of your siblings only remember it as a protected nest because they had their minds squeezed into that mold from day one with your parents’ version of the Gothard teachings. They were told from birth that it was loving discipline, and they don’t know how to see it for what it was. At least not yet. Some of them will have a breakthrough (or breakdown) and will struggle for that middle ground in their lives. Others will never understand, and sadly, those parenting techniques will be repeated in their own child-raising.

    So even though your parents or your siblings may say or think that you are crazy for expressing the things you remember, I am writing this to validate what you experienced. Your memories and hurts are real and you are NOT crazy or delusional. But there will probably never be a breakthrough moment with your parents when they suddenly hear you with their hearts. Find a way to “forgive them, for they know not what they do” so you can be at peace. They didn’t set out to damage you, and they can’t fully appreciate how their parenting caused this. Maybe they were damaged themselves by their own upbringing and are carrying that over as well. They don’t feel they need your forgiveness, but you need to forgive them for your own peace and well-being so you can move on.

    Sending you hugs, sweet Alexa, and prayer for complete healing from these scars.

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    1. Thanks, Rose! Fortunately for me, I have, did and do forgive them. 🙂 I do realize that they were most likely hurt as kids and I do know that their parental examples weren’t the best (from my own observations of my grandparents). I forgive, but I do not forget. To forget is to be abused all over again. At some point in everyone’s life they have to take responsibility for their own stuff. I certainly don’t blame any of my bad actions on my parents, but take responsibility for them, ask forgiveness, and do my best to not repeat them. I have never witnessed my parents do this, with their children or anyone else. My way of moving on from my past is to write about it, to help others in similar situations, but I know that I will probably not ever have a healthy, normal relationship with my parents. I actually don’t desire one or need it anymore. That need has been fulfilled already by others. Thank you for your thoughts and kindness! I appreciate the validation!

      Like

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