Sunday, May 31, 2015

What TLC's Duggar Family and Charlie Manson's Family Have in Common

Lately I've taken to watching NBC's new show "Aquarius" It's set roughly in 1967-1968 time frame and deals with the Manson Family's early years. Plus it's a good solid cop procedural, and you know how I love a cop procedural show. The two lead cops are a straight-laced 1950s style cop named Hodiak and his younger hippie-esque counterpart Shafe. And yes, some of the stories are mixed up with law enforcement and the Manson Family.

It's not 100% true, nor is it 100% fiction, which makes it even more intriguing to me. I was a kid during the Manson area and as a teenager became fascinated with the Manson Family, particularly in light of the era I lived in of sex, drugs and rock and roll. I could see how middle class kids from dysfunctional families could be caught up in the mystical bullshit constantly spewing from master-manipulator Charles Manson. Had I been the right age in the right place I can see where I might have been sucked in too.

The actor playing Manson, Gethin Anthony, on "Aquarius" played Renly Baratheon on "Game of Thrones" my favorite show and he somehow has managed to get the speech cadences and accents of Charlie down perfectly while being believably menacing at the same time. Of all the guys that have played the role of Charlie Manson in various productions Gethin manages to be much more believable than the others.

I admit, I'm getting sucked into this by NBC because they took the Netflix approach with this series, releasing every episode on Xfinity On Demand immediately after airing the first episode on their broadcast channel. I've been zipping through the episodes like an addict.

But, as I'm watching this I'm reminded anew that Bill Gothard, Jim Bob Duggar and Charles Manson all have something in common. They all are master manipulators leading apocalyptic cults. They all base their bullshit brainwashing on the Bible and they all twist what's actually said in the Bible to suit their own agendas.

So, okay, perhaps I'll give Jim Bob a pass, after all I have always gotten the vibe that he is following his wife Michelle. Plus he's also under the headship of Bill "Grabby Hands" Gothard. He's more a follower than a leader. A Tex Watson to Bill Gothard's Charlie Manson.

Earlier in the year I read a book on Manson, one of the few that is a genuine scholarly attempt to look objectively at the life of Charlies Manson and what shaped him. The name of the book is "Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson" by Jeff Guin In the book Guin points out that Manson spent many of his early years and teenage years attending a fundamentalist type church and took many of the methods to manipulate others straight from his years in the church. He learned his methods right from the pulpit, combined with early exposure to strange Biblical interpretations and the counter culture of the 1960s culminating into a strong manipulator that got others to do his dirty work.

So how was The Family like the Duggar family?

1 - Women solely exist for sexual pleasure and to take care of men.
2 - No birth control is allowed.
3 - Both are patriarchal groups
4 - Isolation of group from the outside world. A closed system.
5 - Indoctrination of followers to a belief system anyone outside of the group can see is harmful.
6 - Bible verses twisted to uniquely fit leader's need to keep everyone obedient.
7 - Women kept unnaturally child-like.
8 - Biggest threat to followers to insure obedience is being cast out of the family group.
9 - Communal living with most possessions being shared.
10- Free thinking or questioning the leader is punishable.
11- Sublimation of ego required.
12- Group controlled by fear mongering by leader.
13- Women have no rights to their own bodies or personal autonomy.
14- "Us Versus The World" group thinking.
15- Women are required to have a joyful attitude all of the time.
16- No disobedience to the leader is allowed.
17- Women not allowed to say no to sex.
18- No protection against sexual abuse for the children of the group.
19- Molestation of children by family members.
20- No legitimate educational opportunities for children. Education is denigrated.
21- Natural home birth is upheld as the ultimate goal of motherhood.
22- Children are handed off to others in the group to raise instead of each mother raising their own children.
23- Women do all of the work of running the home.

I know I've missed a few, but these are the ones that jumped out at me this morning. Don't believe me about the total control the patriarch exhibits? Just take a look at how Jim Bob Duggar deals with catching a son masturbating.

Be sure to check out "Aquarius" and the NBC site for the show. There's lots of interesting things at the site, like this blog about 1967. I've been loving the soundtrack as it's the soundtrack of both that time frame and my childhood.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar will be appearing on Fox News to be interviewed by Megan Kelly over their son's sex crimes. It takes place Wednesday at 9 pm est. Feel pretty sure it's going to be the biggest pile of bullshit since the last time Charlie Manson turned on the charm to seduce girls into joining The Family.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

This Cat Is Way Way Out Of The Bag

I've lost the last week and few days to the news that Josh Duggar sexually molested five girls in the space of something like two years. Every hour or so there's newer spins on what happened and greater detail, meaning I have to stop and update NLQ or I'm busy combing through the piles of comments to remove the nasty ones.

It's been a very hard time for me personally because between seven and nine years old I was sexually molested by the family dentist, who I didn't know was also molesting another family member several years older than I.

The news of Josh Duggar's doings and reading through the police reports only to discover that four of his victims are closely related to him has been so hideously triggering to me that I've taken to having a few refreshing adult beverages in the late afternoon. It's either that or the whole banging my head on the wooden desk.

When it happened to me I didn't have actual words to describe what was being done to me to my mother. She thought that every time I cried and freaked out over having to go to the dentist that I was afraid of it hurting or it was 'nerves'. She took to giving me a small corner off one of her Miltowns (Meprobamate) to sort of zonk me out before the appointment. She never realized that all she did was increase the attacks on me now that I was no longer crying and resisting. I lay there like a zombie while he did what he wanted. What happened to me got terribly worse until she suddenly stopped taking me to that dentist. I've never worked up the courage to ask her why we stopped going, but I'd have to reveal to her what happened to me and I'm not sure at this point it would serve any purpose.

If I, as a young girl in a non-religious family of backslidden Catholics that only visited church for marryings, buryings and holidays had no good words to describe to anyone in my life what was happening in the exam room at the dentist office then what chance did the victims of Josh Duggar's abuse have? They were all raised in the carefully sheltered world of ATI and Quiverfull Christianity, where the idea of consent is non-existent, and the idea of sexual predators was taught wrapped up in modesty and pointing towards non-Christian strangers, not people in the family unit. What chance did those girls have to report what was going on? None, because to report would be to open oneself up for criticism for possibly luring the lustful behavior in some way.

What happened for me is that while I did finally get therapy and help for my molestation in my thirties after years of internalizing the message that I was somehow 'dirty' or 'damaged'. The other thing is that when I started having children I was hyper vigilant to an extreme. I wouldn't allow Margaret to go anywhere without knowing all the details in extreme. Once I was putting the school chaperones through the verbal wringer before a four day trip to Holland to the point where one of the suggested it might be better if I chaperones rather than allow Margaret to go alone.

I attended every doctors appointment and insisted on going into the dental examination room with each of my kids. I insisted they stay within view of the house when they played outside, many times gardening so I could keep an eye on the kids outside. Margaret still complains about my rules about being home by dark even into her teenage years. Yes, I was a bit overbearing because of what happened to me.

Betting that one of the things that will happen to the victims of Josh Duggar will be that they develop into hyper-vigilant mommas too.

In Touch did one very wrong thing in how they exposed what had been whispered and gossiped about for ten plus years, they did such a horrible job redacting the police reports it was beyond obvious who the victims were. Even with one of the victims suing to destroy the reports it's too late, we all know, and a cat that should never have seen the light of day is now out of the bag. No among of destroying the documents is going to help, no carefully tippytoe-ing around the issue by those online, it's happened. I suspect knowing that everyone realizes is going to make the victims even more hyper-vigilant. It didn't have to be like that.

Even animal victims of abuse, not sexual abuse but abuse never the less, develop a hyper-vigilance. It's draining always being on high alert. My Siamese kitty Pedro was all of perhaps eight weeks when I picked him up at the animal shelter. They told me he was feral, starved and filthy when they found him. I believe after his being part of our family for the last six years that Pedro was abused too. He is still to this day very frightened of raised voices and feet. You can see it in his body posture many times that he's in hyper-vigilance mode most of the time.

The week plus I've been dealing with my own triggered emotions, updating NLQ so often I now have carpel tunnel issues with both hands including the one I had the surgery on nine years ago and developing a taste for alcohol in the afternoons, I've also had to deal with Pedro and his surgery and post-surgery care.

Pedro has cancer, but they think they removed it all. It would never have been found if not for my obsessional vigilant self. I brought him in initially because I kept feeling a growing lump on him. Which made me think about parenting and sexual abuse. Keeping your eyes open to changes in not just your animals but your children can go a long way to stopping abuse. If your child starts behaving in a manner that suggested something is wrong it's better to look at the why instead of ignoring it.

I hope and pray that the victims in this mess get a chance to have real therapy with a counselor skilled in childhood sexual abuse recovery.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Indigestion and Casseroles

Haven't been posting because life has been rather boring. I've been recovering from pneumonia, it's all codeine cough syrup, antibiotics and laying down when I don't absolutely have to run the dishwasher or washer dryer. As usual Jim is pissed with me because his simple cold of one week has turned into a three week ordeal of lung infection for me. He just doesn't get it how sick I am. My doctor said that the trip to Costa Rica put stress on my screwed up immune system and weakened it, resulting in this crap. Feeling better but my voice is still really screwed up.

Have only ventured from the house that isn't drug-obtaining or food shopping related exactly twice. Once to go into DC with Jim to watch the Nationals play with his coworker and friend Tom. We had a blast even if the day was rather warm. When I was off scoring a frozen margarita Jim was walking around the stadium. In his upper deck wanderings he ended up right behind a guy that caught Bryce Harper's third home run. Jim almost caught the ball. But I think he was more thrilled by being shown on ESPN and the news coverage of the game.

The other excursion took place last night to a picnic for Jim's Sunday School class. I figured it would be a good, not-so-threatening, way to see if I was still highly triggered by our mainstream church. Jim has been begging me to return even as I swore I would not. Here's what I discovered....

The people that had been Christians and part of the church for quite a while were fine, but the one lady and her friends who were new Christians who'd only been at our church a few years and part of the group involved with the mess over the worship leader and his wife made me almost sick with their behavior. 

The main culprit is also the main one that seemed to spearhead the snubbing of me and saying ugly things. This lady, and I use the term loosely, said all sorts of nasty things over the course of the picnic, revealing her lack of any maturity.

She started out talking about her love of wine and drinking, over and over again in such detail that finally the man studying to be a pastor had to explain to her that the Methodist church didn't approve of boozing it up.

Then she moved on to talking about the home group she leads, how horrifying it is, how hard, how much she hates it. She sometimes goes into the bedroom to have a quick glass of wine while it's going on in order to survive it. The main problem seems to be that she cannot remember where in the Bible scriptures are to refute what the others attending are saying. She copes with this tension by the secret drinking the bedroom, by texting her friends about how 'awful' it all is and by complaining about it.

If there's one thing I know about it's awful home groups. The last two years of our time at the old church Jim and I were the local home group leaders. Which meant my personal bete noire, Tom Smith and his wife, were frequently in my face at home group. I didn't like it much, but handled it, I dealt with it without complaining to anyone more than my own husband. I didn't run and hide, I didn't drink, I didn't text my friends to whine, I pulled up my big girl panties and dealt with it!

This is a fifty year old woman we're talking about behaving like this, not some twenty-something out on their own trying to navigate the ridiculous bullshit of being an adult.

Finally she started telling everyone in great loud detail about her period and how she needs her wine for her awful period. At that point in the evening the student-minister and I got up from the circle and walked away to talk about our children. I could see from the red faces of some, including the two of us, that there were some attending that were made very uncomfortable by her words.

Lucky for Jim he was engaged in a serious conversation with another friend of ours and missed the drinking/bleeding/crazy. He said he wondered why several of us got up and left and why so many people seemed red faced. I had to tell him later all the horrible he'd missed.

Later it came out that she's going to go to work at the art studio I once worked at, with the sociopath that runs the joint and expects everyone to wear a business suit, teach art classes for free AND read her mind. Myself and one of the others there had both worked at the studio and tried to warn Ms. Wine that the owner was a psycho but I could see our words went into one ear and straight out the other. So.. she's in for quite a time.

Part of me is meanly gleeful knowing that this woman I don't much like will be working for the craziest employer in our tiny town. Clash of the dumbasses.Yeah, I know, I'm going to hell for thinking that way. Gotta admit it, but I would love to be a fly on the wall when she starts working there.

Considering shooting an email off to the pastor to let him know that he really should not allow new Christians without any education or experience to lead small groups like that. I'm so glad I'm not in church any longer. I think I'd rather keep communing with the divine, or not-divine, alone without potluck dinners, gossipers, immature people, and assorted others.