Remember & Recover – The Scapegoat Dynamic

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I had originally intended on posting more of an update rather than a full blown article. However my plans changed when I came to a realization that what I had originally planned on sharing in my update was a topic that after much research could benefit people who may be fighting the same battle we are, particularly my husband.

Around 8 months ago, my husband was asked by his brother to be the best man for his wedding, which of course he was honored to accept. He began his plans early with saving up money for travel costs and communicating with his new command on taking leave when the time comes and a date was set. This was something he wasn’t going to miss for the world.

In the beginning of this year, my husband received a lengthy text message from his brother rebuking us for in essence limiting contact with his mother, who has a history of treating my husband horribly. Even after we both responded to him with a lengthy explanation, apparently that wasn’t enough.

It was silenced on both ends until we receieved a short message from his mom telling us the wedding was the following day.

Yes, you heard me. The wedding my husband was supposed to be the best man for. The one we saved up money to go to. Was the next day.

In short, we weren’t even invited. And no one even had the gaul to tell my husband that his role as best man was being taken away from him.

He was more than upset, and rightfully so. He became emotionally bankrupt, and within a matter of a day I watched him turn into a guard dog against his own family.

I feel the combination of hurt and betrayal alongside him. We were always ostracized on a general level, but this was different. This was unforgivable. During one of my usual sleepless nights I was trying to figure out how to properly help him heal. He already did the hard part of limiting and ceasing contact, but he still needs to work through the emotions of it all. My husband is one of those people who would rather clean toilets than work through his emotions, so I knew this was going to be a challenge.

It was then that I came to the realization of what was happening. Given the history of the dynamic with him and his mother being abusive and the complete lack of insight from his siblings, it clicked:

This is a Scapegoat Family Dynamic.

The more research I did, the more I realized that this pattern wasn’t actually the result of my husband being a horrible human being as everyone made him out to be. He is the scapegoat child, and he always was.

What is a Scapegoat Dynamic?

one that bears the blame for others and/or one that is the object of irrational hostility.”

-Merriam Webster Dictionary

 

When a parent is deemed to have a narcissistic personality, it isn’t uncommon for there to be a scapegoat child and a golden child. There are plenty of articles and videos that explain this better than I can, but the short explanation of the difference between the two is their contrast in how they’re treated. For example, a golden child’s accomplishments may be raised significantly whereas the accomplishments of the scapegoat may be diminished or even dismissed.

I found an article that details everything pretty well here. It’s written in a mother-daughter format, but you get the idea.

Some background:

I would hear stories of the treatment that my husband had undergone as a child. Some I can’t even repeat. He could do no right, being belittled for even little mistakes and errors. He would be compared to his brothers on how wonderful they were, and how abnormal and different he was, even to go as far as being asked “Why can’t you be more like your brothers?!”. Usually any issues regarding family was pinned on him. It was always his fault.

Even since I came into the picture this was obvious, only this time I was also in the line of fire. He would be thrown out of his home for negligible things that never made any sense, leaving us to fend for ourselves quite often. Even as a teenager he had a bag packed and hidden outside because of the frequency of how often he’d be kicked out. Our engagement was picked apart because his mom wasn’t the first to know, even a miscommunication about the wedding invitations resulted in insults and having financial help pulled out from under us. In fact, it wasn’t until a week before the wedding day that miraculously they were attending.

After we were married, it still never let up. When my husband passed his ASVAB with a 99, we couldn’t wait to share his accomplishment with his family, which was followed by being told we’d “be nothing without family support” and that our marriage would “turn into a statistic”.

We were left depressed and upset.

We always felt like an inconvenience. That feeling never went away after we got married, and it certainly never went away after we moved. His first graduation in the Nuclear pipeline his family came to see him. His mom praised his brothers, and talked about how they were missing a church camp, and how mad everyone at church was for them having to miss it. Following his graduation, after he crossed the stage in his dress whites shaking hands with all the higher ups at his command, he returned to meet us, to be rebuked for not looking at the camera.

We felt like a burden.

We traveled 13 hours to visit them on a family vacation during Thanksgiving. We were rebuked for being unable to afford to fly to California for Christmas. His mom yelled at him, went to her room, and slammed the door. She never said goodbye to us when we left.

We felt guilty.

Each time we tried to move past it. We tried to move on. Eventually it got to a point where until things improved, we needed to limit contact with his mother for our own well being. There was no use in staying in a volitile evironment that we couldn’t do anything to positively change. No text message or fulfilment to every demand was going to change this. We already tried that.

But after being punished for doing just that, limiting contact, I knew any hope of things improving was virtually nonexistent.

When a scapegoat makes the decision to limit contact, it isn’t uncommon for there to be a manipulation of other family members. They will convince those around them that they are the victim, which leads to poor treatment from not just the narcissist, but also the rest of the family. The intention is to draw the victim back in, since the abuser now has no one to pin blame to.

And that’s exactly what is happening.

It’s important to realize that it may never get better.

Rarely does this pattern fully end on its own. In most cases, it only ends when the victim decides to leave the situation and “go no contact” as they call it. For us, this is a pretty bittersweet thing to realize. You want everything to be okay and normal, but the odds of that happening are slim. And succumbing to their demands won’t make things better, it just allows the dynamic to continue.

It’s not your fault.

Narcissists are good at making you feel like it’s your fault. They’re also good at convincing others that it’s your fault. They’ve done this for years now. The latter option would be the abuser having to accept their faults and apologize, which realistically is unlikely to happen. It’s important to remind yourself that it’s not your fault. You are not the cause of blame. You never have been.

Cutting contact is okay.

Sometimes this is the only solution to end the cycle of the scapegoat dynamic. It’s hard, but it’s necessary for your emotional and spiritual well being. This is even more vital if your family is also being hurt. Maybe your spouse and children are also getting the same treatment you did, where your spouse can’t live up to their brother or sister in laws, or your children are being singled out from the rest of their cousins. This was one of the reasons we came to the decisions we did. I most certainly was not an exception to the rule. I know my husband has heard his mom pick me apart on what a terrible wife and housekeeper I am, and I’m sure we’ll also be picked apart for our choices in parenting.

If this is how they treat us, how will they treat our children?

Confrontation rarely ever results in anything positive.

Expect to get lashed out at if you want to try to point out their errors. You will be rebuked for challenging their authority, followed by being blamed for the division or wrongdoing. If your trying to defend yourself to family members who have been manipulated, you may not be successful at getting them to hear you. In our case, this is exactly what happened.

Why isn’t it “Forgive & Forget”?

I’ve heard this quite a bit. “Jesus forgave you of your sins, so therefore you MUST forgive your abuser.”

Does this mean that we don’t have to ask for forgiveness when we are in transgression? Does this also mean that we can continue in sin because we’ve already been forgiven? Of course not. Forgiveness should always lead to repentance, which means if someone comes to us asking for forgiveness, it should be followed by a strong attempt to change what caused the wrongdoing in the first place. If a person is not repentant and feels no reason to be, blindly forgiving and forgetting will not change the dynamic. It will not lead your abuser into repentance. If anything, it will show them that what they are doing is okay. AND IT’S NOT OKAY.

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t forgive someone who has wronged you. However, I will say that no one, including the person who wronged you, has the right to demand your forgiveness.

Remember & Recover

  • Remember that this is not your fault.
  • Remember that there may be nothing you can do to change the dynamic, and sometimes the best thing you can do is to discontinue contact with the narcissist and those who have been manipulated by the narcissist.
  • Remember what you’ve accomplished and achieved.
  • Remember that you can heal. You can recover.

Recovery is important for those who have been treated as the scapegoat. Working on tackling boughts of depression or improving self esteem are all things that need to be addressed. Most importantly, getting help so that you don’t continue the cycle in the next generations to come.

We have to take it a day at a time. Healing is a process, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

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Traveling with Cat Across the Country Alone

travel cat

 

When my husband graduated from bootcamp, he was shipped off to South Carolina, where we would probably be for the next two years. We were told after much haggling back and forth that he was going to get to take leave to come all the way to California to help me move, and we’d all live happily ever after.

Yeah, that didn’t happen.

I was left with our car and two cats, of which I was in charge of moving by myself at just 20 years old. A paranoia of a young female traveling that far alone was enough to keep everyone concerned, not to mention with animals and no one else able to travel with me.

So, my cats and I took to the road. I made it to South Carolina in four nights, five days, and after all that time spent, here are my best tips if you’re stuck in a similar situation:

Driving & General Tips

Plan the Drive

Plan what route you are going to take, and where you plan to stop for gas and to rest for the night. Be aware of the time of year you’re traveling and what weather to expect. If possible, try not to be on the road more than 7-8 hours a day.

Drive During the Day

This is more for your safety than anything else. For one, you’re more likely to get tired while driving at night from the darkness, and two, it’s a lot safer to get gas while people are out and driving through then at an hour where there’s less traffic coming through.

Stop Every 2-3 Hours to get gas and stretch

This serves a few purposes. This will ensure you don’t run out of gas in the middle of nowhere, and you get a nice break while on the road. This also will let you check on your cat(s) to see how they’re doing. If they’l take it, you can try to give them some treats or some water to tide them over until they get to the hotel.

If you have to use the restroom:

I got this question a lot when I was traveling since that would typically mean leaving the cats alone in the car for a period of time. What I did is crack the windows (It was wintertime when I left, so in the summer you may have to find a way to keep the car running. If you have a spare key, that should allow you to have the vehicle running with one key while locking the car with the other key.), I left a note on the windshield with my phone number and the time I left the vehicle to use the restroom. I also wrote that if I didn’t return by a certain time, that I consented to someone breaking the windows to get the cats. This was on the off chance that something happened to me and I couldn’t get back to my vehicle.

Have snacks with you

If you’re a stickler about stopping for food, I’m with you. I just wanted to get to my destination for the night and I saw a food stop as a hindrance (which is unhealthy!!). The easiest thing to do is to get snacks at the gas stations you stop at. I also took snacks from the continental breakfasts at the hotels (things like apples are good to take with you!) and ate them as I needed them.

Have some type of defense with you

Gender aside, this is always good to have when traveling alone. Things like pepper spray or a pocket knife are good options. Just keep in mind that what can be used to protect can also be used against you, so be knowledgeable in your tool of choice.

Have a contact buddy

Having someone you can check in with to let them know your travel updates is always a good idea. Even someone you can call while you’re on the road (provided it’s safe to do so) can help you pass the time and stay alert.

Social Media 101

Don’t post your location or your travel route on any social media platform. Nothing is private anymore in this day and age, and you can never be too careful!

Tips on Choosing Hotels:

Pet Friendly

The hotel chain I recommend hands down is La Quinta Inn & Suites. They don’t have pet fees, and the hotels are actually halfway decent. Very comparable to a pet friendly Holiday Inn if you’re familiar with those. If you plan to travel with pets often, check out their Returns Program! It’s definitely worth it.

Indoor hallways

Again, this is both for your safety and for the safety of your pets. If you have a cat like mine, she takes great pride in trying to escape. This saved me a lot of trouble with her running into the hallway and having nowhere to go as opposed to her running outside and never to be seen again.

Getting settled

This may be common sense, but when unloading your bags into the hotel, your cats will go first before the luggage. I left mine in their carriers until I was able to get their litter box set up, and then released them to walk around while I set up food and water. Similar process when you’re departing the hotel, only your cats will be the last to go into the vehicle.

Traveling with Cats 101

Before Traveling
Pull food 2 hours before, and water 1 hour before hitting the road

Believe it or not, cats can actually get motion sickness just like humans! This is help the chances of that occurring, as well as allow them to (hopefully) eliminate before you hit the road.

Get them a carrier

This is really all up to you. I know some people have had good luck with just putting their cats in the backseat, but since we have one cat who’s pretty temperamental this was not an option. It’s also a safer option in case you get into an accident. If you’re going the carrier route, get one that’s big enough for them to be able to turn around comfortably since they’ll be spending a significant amount of time in there.

Things to put in carrier:

  • A bed, or some type of fabric that won’t slip around. You can get beds at local pet stores that are specifically sized for whatever sized carrier you choose.
  • A pee pad, just in case! We needed these more than I thought we did.

Things to have with you:

  • Have treats, and a way to administer water to them. You can actually buy water droppers that look like the bigger version of the one’s that go in a hamster cage. I don’t recommend tying them to the carrier, since they tend to leak, especially if you’re going over bumps an turns.
  • Put together some “Poop-Kits’ to have with you in case you need to pull over and clean up a mess. Include a couple plastic bags, some gloves, paper towels, wet wipes for your hands, and an extra pee pad. Toss anything dirty into one of your bags and tie it for easy disposal.
  • If you have any calming agents, carry those with you just in case. Try to administer them to your cats an hour before you hit the road, but always have them with you if you just in case.

Things to pack for the hotel:

  • I put together a “kitty suitcase” if you will, which saved me a lot of time! I included wet and dry cat food, bowls and plates for their food and water, a blanket with our scent on it, cat litter, and a litter box. What I found helpful in transporting the litter and litter box was after I finished cleaning it I would dump the excess litter in a garbage bag, tie it, and throw it in the bag with the litter box and scooper. I was able to conserve a lot of litter and transport it easily this way, plus with no smell!

How I feel about pets flying:

I know that some people have had really good luck in flying their animals. Since I have never done so, I can’t speak for personal experience. What I will say is that because of my anxiety alone with my cats being stuck in a carrier for an extended period of time without me being able to make sure they’re okay, I will probably never have our animals fly as long as I can prevent it. I’ve heard too many horror stories to where if I ever had to put them on a plane without me with them I don’t think I’d be calm enough to make the flight.

My Thoughts on – Created to be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl

thoughts on CTBHH

 

I was recommended this book in a Facebook group I’m in for Christian Women. Ladies in the group raved about it and how much it helped their marriage, so I decided to go ahead and pick it up myself. I originally wanted a hard copy of the book, and I wanted to start it as soon as possible. I figured I’d check the local book stores in the area to see which places carried it.

I first went to Barnes & Noble, and when I asked about the book, they told me they do not carry any work of the Pearls in store, and that I would have to special order it through them in order to receive a copy. First store: a flop. I then went to a local Books-A-Million, thinking I’d have better luck there. When I inquired about the book, I was given the same response: they didn’t carry the book in store, and I’d have to special order a copy.

Now I became curious. In the rows of Christian books they offered, no one carried any work done by the Pearls. My next stop was my only other option; a Lifeway Christian Stores™ across the street. This is a Christian store for crying out loud, they HAVE to carry it, right? Nope. I looked and looked and found nothing, and when I asked an employee regarding the book, they informed me that their work was not permitted to be sold in their stores, online or in store. Now THAT got my attention.

I posted in the Facebook group questioning why I couldn’t find this book, or any of their books, at ANY bookstore. Their response was that because they talk about biblical submission and child rearing, that no one would carry their works, and I’d have to ether order the book from their store or through iBooks or equivalent. Fair response in this day and age, so I went into my iBooks and bought the book.



 

This book is directed toward wives regarding their role within marriage and how to be a helper to their husbands. She divides men into three different types, and shares how a wife can effectively serve her husband depending on what type of man she is married to (more on that further down). She states that “most men are a mixture of types, but usually stronger in one”. (Page 89)

My overall thoughts are mixed. To anyone who doesn’t support, believe, or agree with biblcial marriage roles, everything in this book with stun you. It will sound ridiculous and almost asinine. If you are someone who does, or if you’re trying to learn more about them, some of the content in this book could be dangerous, especially to someone who’s impressionable.

Where I Agree
She encourages women in their role as a helpmeet.

She starts her book encouraging her reader about their role as their husband’s helper. I don’t have any quarrel with this. I think it’s a great thing to be encouraged in. When we become a helper to our husbands, it paints a beautiful picture of Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:23)

“Every day, I remember to view myself as the woman God gave this man. This mind-set helps me be just that: a gift, a playmate, his helper.”

-Page 46

She doesn’t avoid the topic of submission.

“It is far better that a job be done poorly by your husband than to be done well by you.”

-Page 22

As harsh as this quote seems, it is a perfect picture of the difficulty submission can be. I may be a better driver than my husband, and I may have more experience, but if he asks to drive somewhere, I need to submit to that. Submission isn’t for the things you and your husband both agree on, it’s more for what you disagree on.

When submission doesn’t exist in a marriage, there tends to be a power struggle, especially when the husband and wife both disagree on a consistent basis. Does this mean that a husband shouldn’t ask for his wife’s opinion or be considerate of her? No. Your wife needs to have a voice in what her needs are when a decision is being made, but the final authority is the husband. So while on the surface some of her words sound demeaning, I do see where she’s coming from:

“You are not on the board of directors with an equal vote.”

-Page 22

She eludes to serving a husband being comparable with serving Christ.

“When you are a help meet to your husband, you are a helper to Christ.”

-Page 20

 

“You serve Christ by serving your husband, whether your husband deserves it or not.”

-Page 54

This is difficult for some to consider, but the comparison is pretty accurate. Just as we are to serve Christ willingly and without argument, I see the same would go for a marriage. Are there exceptions to this? Yes, there can be. We are human, we are not infallible. I plan to get into more detail as we go on, but for the majority of cases, this statement falls true.

Where I Disagree
We have to earn our husband’s love.

This is where I feel like, if not careful, this book can be harmful in understanding what exactly the role of a marriage is:

“Never demand that a man love you and cherish you because he ought to. Earn every smile and shared moment. Cultivate his love for you.”

-Page 31

This one struck a cord with me. She talks about how we are to earn our husband’s love and how we are to never take his love for granted. For one, you cannot demand that anyone love you. I get it. But to feel like you need to earn your husband’s love seems a little misleading to me. Do we have to earn Christ’s love for us? Do we feel the need to compete with other Christians to ensure we are still pleasing to Christ? My first inclination tells me no.

It’s your fault if he reacts negatively.

“Your life will be full of dumped-trash-bag situations. Your husband will be selfish. He will be unkind. He will not respect your rights. He will be foolish. He may be cruel, and that son of Adam may actually walk in sin. But he cannot victimize you unless you react outside of the wisdom of God.

-Page 60

Is most of this true? Yes. BUT let me say this: If your husband intends to victimize you, there is nothing you can do to cause it, stop it, or change it. Period. I have a feeling she’s going in a more of a “keep your side of the street clean” direction to ensure any evil intentions won’t be overshadowed by an inappropriate reaction, but to say a husband cannot victimize his wife unless she is at fault for an unbecoming reaction is, to me, completely false. Is it easier for the follower to fix the problems? In most cases, yes. That does NOT mean everything is their fault. That’s a dangerous idea to have.


 

The Three Types of Men

In order to continue moving forward, I’ll need to give you a brief summary of the three types of men she outlines in the book:

Mr. Command Man: Described as dominant, controlling, and sufficient unto himself. He is a natural born leader who expects his wife to “wait on [him] hand and foot” and “does not want his wife involved in any project that prevents her from serving him.” Her advice to women married to a Command Man is to give him honor and reverence on a daily basis. A wife of a Command Man should “obey his every (reasonable and unreasonable) word.” (Pages 84-87)

A Command Man “who has gone bad is likely to be abusive”. She writes this immediately after:

“It is important to remember that much of how a Command Man reacts depends on his wife’s reverence towards him.”

-Page 86

I’ll be honest, to me, this is frightening. She is literally saying that a husband’s abusive behavior is determined by the amount of reverence his wife gives him. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Some may argue that this is an example of 1 Peter 3:1, but this verse is geared toward unsaved husbands, not husbands who are abusing their wives.

YOU ARE NOT AT FAULT. YOU ARE NOT AT FAULT. YOU ARE NOT AT FAULT.

Mr. Visionary: Described as dreamers who tend to focus on the goal or task at hand with a sense of tunnel vision. They tend to be inventors, activists, and great communicators. Expect rash, crazy decisions, and “learn how to be flexible” and “enjoy the trip”. He is said to need a wife who is “good, wise, prudent, and stable” with a “positive outlook on life”. A wife of a Mr. Visionary should “[lay] aside her own dreams and aspirations and [embrace] her role as a help meet to her man.”. (Pages 87-94)

Mr. Steady: Described “as an eternal rock, caring, providing, and faithful”. He “does not make snap decisions”, nor does he “try to tell other people what to do”. He is “cautious” and he does not expect his wife to “be his servant” or “perform miracles”. She advises wives to not confuse his “gentleness” with “weakness”, but to see it as his “strength”. He is said to need a wife who should not take “his goodness for granted” and will not try to change him, taking up tasks to fill her time so as to “give her husband joy and satisfaction in her productiveness”. (Pages 94-102)

You are a helper, NOT a partner

“Adam commenced his rule of the planet before God created Eve to help him in his life’s goals. Adam didn’t need Eve’s consent. God gave her to Adam to be HIS helper, not his partner. She was designed to serve, not to be served, to assist, not to veto his decisions.”

-Page 106

She writes this in response to a letter she receives about a wife who’s husband purchased a farm without consulting her first. She is now left to fulfill the chores that come with owning a farm, and is, nicely put, beyond exhausted. “I know I must be submissive, but I truly do not want to do this. This is not my dream.” (Page 106)

Does Christ has to get the church’s permission in order to make decisions regarding the faith? That would be a tad ridiculous. However, the tone is almost similar to if she was referring to a slave, not a wife. This wife being referenced is being made to stay in a miserable situation, and she is telling her to basically deal with it because her job is to serve her husband. Is a spouse not to be a partner? Can a wife be both? When people get the idea that Christians see women as slaves to be owned, this is what they’re talking about.

It’s probably your fault

Also, if you have a newborn with a fever and other sick children, and your husband comes home wondering why the “house is a wreck” and “when [dinner will] be ready?”, here’s her response. She refers to this women as ‘Jill’:

“Dear Jill, It is your duty, your job, and in your best interest to serve your husband.”

-Page 166

She goes on:

“No one would dispute that Jill’s husband is insensitive, but two wrongs do not make a good marriage. One ‘right’ can make a BIG difference in a marriage and change that selfish old guy. Always keep in mind that your job is to do a good job serving him, so planning ahead is a must. If Jill had done better at her job, her husband would not have been such a jerk.”

-Page 166 

Again, let me reiterate: If your husband is an insensitive jerk, there is NOTHING you can do to change that or make it better. To say her husband’s insensitivity was her fault is completely dangerous. This mindset could put you in danger. I know that sounds serious, but if the situation was more concerning than an insensitive husband, this mode of operation could harm you.

My Serious Concerns

As if outright victim blaming isn’t enough, there’s more:

Pain during sex is not an excuse.

“Don’t talk to me about how uncomfortable or painful it is for you. Do you think your body is special and has special needs?”

-Page 191

WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?!

IF YOU HURT DURING INTERCOURSE, GO TO THE DOCTOR. SEE YOUR GYNECOLOGIST. And if your husband is inconsiderate of your health in this area, YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO ENSURE YOUR SAFETY. PERIOD.

For the wife with an angry husband

I pulled her excerpts on this topic, most of which I find appalling:

“Always avoid ‘provoking’ him, except, of course, to provoke him to love and good works.”

“Although this explosive anger is emotionally upsetting and certainly not pleasant, it is a man-thing that a smart woman can learn to deal with in a wise manner.”

-Page 269

Explosive anger should not be put off as a “man-thing”. Not only are we now blaming the victim, we are also justifying acts of anger that should not be justified. If you have a husband with an explosive anger issue, seek help!! No, not every single man does this. Do not normalize this!

“It is common for the wives to be the cause of their husband’s bitter anger.”

“Your first concern should be to ascertain your part of the problem.”

“Once you are able to recognize the source of his anger and the contribution you make in words and attitude, you can make changes that will stop fanning the flames and allow him to cool down.”

-Page 270

NO NO NO NO NO NO.

YOU ARE NOT THE PROBLEM. YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL OF HIS ACTIONS AND REACTIONS. Can we provoke our husbands to worsen a situation? Yes, as with any relationship dynamic. Is it our fault? NO

Patriarchy comes first

“First, the chain of authority must remain intact, even to the point of allowing some abuse.”

“Lady, you were created to give glory to God. When God puts you in subjection to a man whom he knows is going to cause you to suffer, it is with the understanding that you are obeying God by enduring the wrongful suffering.”

“To those of you who are enduring verbal and physical abuse, we realize that statistically you are likely to remain with your husband. It is therefore important that you understand how to speak and conduct yourself in a way that will maintain your physical and emotional safely and ultimately win your husband.”

Micheal Pearl’s Excerpt

-Pages 297-298 & 306

I don’t even know what to say, other than please, if your in an abusive situation, get help. I have an entire page devoted to this here with resources and phone numbers you can call. Your safety, and the safety of your children go beyond maintaining the chain of command.

Sexual Abuse – Foolish Counsel

There’s a portion of the book where she discusses the steps to take if your children have been sexually assaulted by their father. She advises to “call the authorities”. (Okay, I can agree with that one.) She says to “pray he gets at least twenty years in prison, so that the children will be grown when he gets out”. (Because that’ll fix everything.) But here’s the part I find more than dangerous:

“Visit him there, and be an encouragement to him. Get him books and tapes (how old is this book again?) on good Bible teaching, and let him see the children three or four times a year in the prison visiting area. Children heal better from sexual assaults when they know the perpetrators (even their fathers) are punished for it.”

-Page 194

No. 

First of all, when something this traumatic happens to a child, the last thing you want to do is put them in the prescience of the abuser. Until they are older, and they can make their own decisions as to whether that is something they want to do, whether it be for closure, forgiveness, etc., your job is to protect them. There is nothing wrong with trying to be an encouragement to your spouse if you feel inclined (I don’t know a lot of mothers who would be if their husband’s molested their children, but that’s my opinion.), but DO NOT bring your children into it. Get them help, counseling, therapy, whatever they need in that area, DO NOT take your child to the foot of their molester. 

In Summary

I can’t tell you whether to read this or not. While I do see some encouraging things in this book, I worry about the impressionable mind of a young girl being recommended this work, only to feel marginalized, degraded, potentially open to abuse, and feeling at fault for things beyond her control. I worry about the children being neglected at the expense of appeasing the father in the picture. Biblical submission should never be this degrading. It is not slavery, that’s missing the entire point.

I’d say if you read this book: Proceed with absolute caution and wisdom. 

Steps You Can Take to Get Your Home Back in Order

home to order

 

We’ve all been there: You suddenly look around and see that your home is in complete disarray and it slipped right under your nose (unless that hasn’t happened to you, in which case I’m a little jealous). Maybe you get sick, come home from a vacation, or life just gets ahead of you. Suddenly you look around and your tidy home is now in shambles. It’s a lot easier to pretend the mess isn’t there and tactfully avoid it, but we all know it needs to be done at some point.

So, where do you start? I’ve tried multiple different task checklists, and here’s my go-to one I’ve put together! This is not a deep clean, but more of a quick way to prepare for guests or even to make a deep cleaning session a lot easier to complete! Of course what works for someone may not work for another, but if you’re in the search for some new ideas to help you tackle your home, here are the tricks I use:

Start with the trash!

Make your way through the house and find any trash lying around. You can take a trash bag, a bin, or anything really, and fill it with the trash you find as you go from room to room. Receipts, wrappers, napkins, empty containers, etc. If the trash bin is full (for instance, the bathroom), empty it and keep going. You’d be surprised on how much cleaner things will look!

And now the dishes.

If your husband is anything like mine, he likes to leave dishes around the house. Sometimes I find them well later than I should! Take all the dirty dishes and put them in the sink. If the sink is full, set the dishes next to them on the counter. You’ll get to these in a little bit, so having them all together will make things quite a bit easier when the time comes.

Take care of clothes!

Any clothes laying around? Throw them in the hamper! If you notice a hamper is full, go ahead and start a load of laundry.

Get a declutter basket!

You can go as far as getting a completely different basket, or even use a laundry basket. Take it and go throughout your home and find the items that are out of place, or things that need to be put away, and toss them in your basket! Put your basket aside for later.

Do the dishes!

It’s finally time to wash the dishes you put in the sink. If you have a dishwasher, separate your dishes into two piles: dishwasher safe, and handwash only. Place as many things that can go in the dishwasher as you want. After to finish loading the dishwasher, work on handwashing. If you fill the dishwasher, go ahead and run it.

Time to organize!

I’ve broken this up room by room since each room has its own different needs:

Living Room: Straighten up coffee table, end tables, or any surfaces you have. If you have throw blankets and pillows on your couch, get those organized too. If you have time, a quick dusting never hurts!

Dining Room: If applicable, clean off dining room table. Organize to fit your needs, whether you have a centerpiece, a tablecloth, place settings, etc.

Bathrooms: Wipe down sink and toilets. Replenish with new towels if needed.

Bedrooms: Make bed. Organize surfaces.

Kitchen: Wipe counters, oven, and sink. Organize your counters if needed. Take out trash.

Sweep!

Use can use a vacuum too. Hit the hard surfaces first, and then move onto the carpets if you have time. I highly recommend a Shark Cordless Vacuum similar to this one. (Sweeping for me was always a pain because I’d always catch something I had missed and it would drive me nuts! This little sweeper saved me.)

Remember that declutter basket?

If you’re expecting company, you can throw that in a spare room and come back to it later. Once you’re ready, go from room to room and put the items in your basket in their proper places. Stash your bin for the next time you need it!

An Introduction to a Series on Roman Catholicism

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For those who don’t know (I’m not sure if I’ve shared this yet), I grew up as a Roman Catholic. I not only grew up in the faith, but I also was actively involved as well. I went to Catholic school from Kindergarten to 8th Grade with the exception of 7th Grade, which I did at a Public school. I began as an Altar Server at 10 years old serving at Sunday Mass, and then went on to serve at funerals and weddings. I went on to become the Altar Server Coordinator, which gave me the responsibilities of training servers, scheduling servers for special Masses, and taking care of the Albs (the garment Altar Servers wear) and other items in need of care. This gave me a seat at the Liturgy Committee to inform other members of needed information and ensuring outgoing information gets passed along to other servers.

I became a Catechist Teacher after I received my Rite of Confirmation my Sophomore year of high school. I taught 7th and 8th grade Catechism and assisted in Confirmation classes years I and II. After being extremely active for almost 9 years, I left the church.

I struggled with hopping from Catholicism to Protestantism for years following. My abrupt leaving contributed to this. Those who weren’t Catholic were pressuring me to leave, and those who had left the church were telling me to take my time. Being newly 18 the tension between outside friends and family at home was too much. I ripped off the band-aid while the wound was still healing, and because of that, it took much longer to heal.

I realized as I continued to talk to other Protestants that there was a lot of false information regarding the Catholic faith being passed on. Stereotypes and just plain false information that, after teaching for a few years, I knew was wrong. My efforts in trying to educate others went in one ear and out the other. It seemed to be easier for people to carry a false knowledge of Catholicism than to learn the facts down to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It was easier to others to hyper-focus on something they knew nothing about because of reasons unknown to me. Most practicing Catholics barely know enough about the faith to educate other people, but when other well intentioned Christians spread a false reality of the faith, it detours others within the church who are still trying to realize certain truths, and the people who are trying to help them.

We can talk until and sun goes down about whether Catholicism is “actual Christianity” or not. Before you make your judgement on that, I want you to remember the similarities between the majority of Protestants and Catholics:

We all believe in the Trinity of God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We all believe in the deity of Jesus Christ.
We all affirm the Nicene and Apostle’s Creed. (Between Protestants and Catholics, the word “Catholic” used in both creeds carry different meanings in what they’re referring to. In Protestantism, catholic is used with a lowercase “c”, meaning its root translation from Greek, Latin, and other languages to mean universal; or referring to the universal church: the body of believers. However, Catholics affirm both creeds using a capital “C”, referring to the Roman Catholic Church as the only true church ordained by Christ himself. All other parts are affirmed by both sides, respectively.) 

“We believe in one God,
      the Father almighty,
      maker of heaven and earth,
      of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
      the only Son of God,
      begotten from the Father before all ages,
           God from God,
           Light from Light,
           true God from true God,
      begotten, not made;
      of the same essence as the Father.
      Through him all things were made.
      For us and for our salvation
           he came down from heaven;
           he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary,
           and was made human.
           He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate;
           he suffered and was buried.
           The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures.
           He ascended to heaven
           and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
           He will come again with glory
           to judge the living and the dead.
           His kingdom will never end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit,
      the Lord, the giver of life.
      He proceeds from the Father and the Son,
      and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified.
      He spoke through the prophets.
      We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
      We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
      We look forward to the resurrection of the dead,
      and to life in the world to come. Amen.

-Nicene Creed

 

“I believe in God, the Father almighty,
      creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
      who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
      and born of the virgin Mary.
      He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
      was crucified, died, and was buried;
      he descended to hell.
      The third day he rose again from the dead.
      He ascended to heaven
      and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
      From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
      the holy catholic church,
      the communion of saints,
      the forgiveness of sins,
      the resurrection of the body,
      and the life everlasting. Amen.”

-Apostle’s Creed

 

Are their differences? Absolutely!! I will cover those differences in future posts in this series topic by topic, which will come over time. This series is not being produced to cause division, but rather to spread the correct information to help others in broadening their understanding of Catholicism that’s accurate to what the church affirms and teaches.


I plan to cover key Catholic doctrines, including the papacy, elevation of Mary, Sacraments, Saints, and original sin, biblical illiteracy within the church, and why that is the case, three main councils, including the Council of Trent (1545-1563), Vatican I (1869-1870), and Vatican II (1962-1965), Evangelism, and much more! My primary sources will be coming from the most recent version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and other previous versions when necessary, the Vatican Library and Archives, with my secondary source being Catholic Answers.

 

 

It’s Fall, Y’all!

pu fall

 

Well what a month! I’ll make this one quick, I promise! To start, we had yet another hurricane this year that prompted a forced evacuation. Since progress had to be put on hold, so did our upcoming move as well. We technically were supposed to move to Virginia around this time, but thanks to Irma, we’ll be here a little while longer.

My husband and I had our birthdays this month (we’re 3 days apart). We did dinner to celebrate. He got me a Fitbit™ this year and I’m pretty impressed with it so far! I can usually reach my steps goal just by a nice full day of housecleaning.

And finally, it’s fall!! I may or may not have got a little crazy at Target this month getting fall decor. I didn’t didn’t do too much last year besides get some mini-pumpkins at the grocery store so I wanted to see what I could find that wasn’t perishable. Needless to day Target didn’t disappoint and I highly recommend it.

The Best Chocolate Brownie Cake

cake

 

There are loads of recipes like this one out there. I did a lot of playing around to discover what really works out, and so far every time I’ve served this cake, it disappears in a heartbeat (just ask the pastor at our church).

This cake is very rich, but very easy to make. I don’t want to call this Scratch Baking since I do use box mixes in this recipe, but it’s definitely a fantastic dessert. I’ll also include a photo of the box mixes I use for accuracy.

 

cake3

 

The Best Chocolate Brownie Cake

Ingredients for Cake:

  • 1 Box of Chocolate Cake Mix (See above photo.)
  • 1 Box of 13 x 9 Brownie Mix (See above photo.)
  • 1 Box Family Size Chocolate Pudding Mix (See above photo.)
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 cup of oil
  • 1¼  cup of water

Ingredients for Ganache:

  •  1 12oz bag of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • ½ cup of Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2-3 TBSP of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 heaping TBSP of Nutella

 

1) Preheat oven to 400°. Combine Oil, Eggs, and Water. Then add all 3 mixes until well combined. Spray the bottom of the pan with cooking spray and sprinkle flour on the bottom of the pan to easily remove it once cooked. Pour mixture into a bunt pan and bake for an hour and 15 minutes or until thoroughly baked in the middle.

2) Let cake cool for 20-30 minutes before attempting to remove it. While it is cooling, Pour the Heavy Whipping Cream into a bowl or pan and microwave or heat the cream until it begins to boil (in a microwave, about 2 minutes). Add Chocolate Morsels, Vanilla Extract, and Nutella and let sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the Chocolate Morsels and Nutella to melt.

3) Stir the Ganache mixture until all ingredients are combined. Remove cake form bunt pan onto a pan with some sort of edge to ensure the Ganache doesn’t spill over when pouring. Once removed, pour the Ganache on the cake until the majority of the cake is covered. If you have excess after the outside of the cake is sufficiently covered, feel free to pour it in the middle of the cake. This makes it to where when you cut the cake, the chocolate will spill out, and who doesn’t want that?!

4) You can leave it as is, or add sprinkles or any other type of topping of your choosing.

The Line in the Sand

ASP

 

My husband has Aspergers. If you don’t know what that looks like, I can tell you it doesn’t look like a “normal” marriage. This isn’t something that is regularly talked about, or understood by a lot of people. I used to think my husband was just an inconsiderate jerk, but the more I began to research it, I realized that his mannerisms fell consistent with Aspergers from his childhood to today. Everything began to make sense. It didn’t make things any easier, but it did shed some light on an issue I knew nothing about before.

I hope this article can shed some light on behalf of the spouses who are married to someone with Aspergers Syndrome. It can manifest in different ways in different genders, so I can only speak for my experience in my own marriage.

I also want to share that just because someone has Aspergers, it does not mean they’re abusive.

They Have Difficulty Verbally Communiting

Communication isn’t easy with someone with Aspergers. It’s sometimes hard for them to articulate verbally on an emotional level. They may be able to express complex information such as Math and Science related topics, but they struggle with sharing emotions or feelings.

They Lack Empathy

They can’t relate to you. They can’t put themselves in your shoes, which makes them extremely hard to talk to. They’ll come off as narcissistic because they can’t empathize with you if you have a problem beyond their experiences or understanding. They tend to end up changing the subject to something about themselves or their day because that’s all they know what to talk about.

They Like It Their Way

When things don’t go their way, they will go into control or command mode. They will do what they can to change the situation to suit their control. This tends to look like manipulation by doing something in order to gain control of the situation to change the outcome. It can be as small as how food is cooked, how the house is cleaned, to even what kind of friends you choose. This also includes things they don’t want to do. If they don’t want to do something, not a lot is going to change their mind to encourage them to do it.

They Justify Inappropriate Behavior

This is in my opinion the most serious. They can’t see the difference in situations that cause them to react in inappropriate ways. This can show as verbally lashing out when upset or physically retaliating in response to something. Because it’s justified in their eyes, they usually won’t apologize for what they’ve done. Even if they learn that their behavior is inappropriate, a new related scenario could spark the same response.

My therapist was able to explain this like a child who pushes down another child for making a noise he didn’t like. In his mind, what he did was completely justified; someone got on his nerves, so he reacted. He is taught the appropriate response if a similar situation arises again. He then goes to school the next day and someone is talking too loud in front of him, so he pushes down that child. He cannot differentiate between the two situations in the way he responds.

They Can’t Pick Up On Social Cues

They sometimes don’t realize that certain language or comments aren’t appropriate for the given situation because they can’t read the other person’s verbal or body language. Anything “implied” or not straight forward tends to not get processed. For instance, if you tell them “I’m fine” in most cases that implies the opposite. Someone with Aspergers may not be able to read that as such. This can also show as having your phone out during inappropriate times, such as during a meal or a movie.

They Are Always Right

Going back to the lack of empathy, they have a difficult time understanding the point of view of others. Instead of listening, they usually try to convince you that they’re right. This can also make it tough for them to decipher humor or jokes. For some, even the word “No” isn’t well received.

Everyone Asks If You’re Okay

They come off controlling and insensitive. If it’s all you know, it’s hard to see it as anything other than normal. So when other people see their behaviors and mannerisms that appear controlling and abusive, they immediately show concern for your well-being. To you this is just “how he is” but to others on the outside looking in your safety looks at risk. It’s difficult to keep friends because they tend to get driven away.

You’ve Considering Leaving. A Lot.

Especially if there is abuse involved, you end up tossing around thoughts of how you’re going to be able to keep going day by day. You see other marriages and begin to realize that you never get a “Thank You” or a “Please” when they ask you to do something for them. No one asks how your day went. No one tells you when you look nice that day, or congratulates you on an accomplishment. You can’t come to them for emotional support because they just can’t provide it. You can’t draw the line between what’s unacceptable and what’s downright abuse in your mind. You begin to sound like a battered wife with “If I would have just…” comments because maybe you triggered a response. You can’t draw a line on whether you’re safe or not, because you can’t even draw the line between Abuser and Aspergers. You can’t take in other people’s input because they just don’t understand. You feel as if you’re the only one who can understand the why’s and how’s of how they function.

It’s Hard To Pray Sometimes

You feel alone. Because you feel as if no one understands. Even in prayer, it feels as if you’re fighting a battle alone that you can never win. You pray for strength to get through each day. You pray for wisdom to examine yourself and your marriage. You pray for patience when things become challenging.

You don’t know what else to do sometimes, so you just pray.

 

” For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Psalm 30:5

 

Simple Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

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After coming upon some boneless chicken breast a few months ago, I decided that I wanted to try to come up with an easy but tasty Chicken Noodle Soup recipe I could depend on. My husband HAS to have meat in all his dishes, so I knew a tiny amount of chicken would not do. I didn’t realize when I was playing around this is idea that it would be as good as it is!

The good news is, it’s simple and flexible! My version has a LOT of chicken, and little vegetables, simply because that’s my husband’s preference. It’s a very basic recipe and has a lot of room for flexibility. This is my base recipe:

Simple Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 1½ – 2lbs of Boneless, Skinless, Chicken Breast
  • 6 or more cups of water or Chicken Broth
  • 1-2 cubes of Chicken Bouillon (Use one more if you used water instead of Chicken Broth.)
  • 1 Cup sliced Carrots or to preference (Feel free to add more veggies if you prefer more.)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1¼ cup of pasta noodles (I use the pot-sized thin spaghetti noodles, but any type of pasta will work fine.)

 

1)  Place the chicken and carrots in your crockpot with 3 cups or more Chicken Broth or water and turn your crockpot on low for 6-8 hours or until the chicken is tender enough to be shredded with a fork. If your carrots are not completely submerged in the liquid, they may brown on the parks sticking out of the broth. They will taste just fine, but if you’re going for presentation, ensure the carrots are fully submerged.

2) Once chicken is fully cooked and shredded, Add the other 3 cups of chicken broth (or more or less if you like your soup more or less broth-based) and bouillon. Stir until bouillon is well dissolved and combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3) Add your pasta noodles and keep on low for around 30 minutes or until pasta is fully cooked. If you need to add more broth after the pasta is fully cooked, you can do so.

The Next Generation of Christian Women

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When I started working on planning this series, one of the things I did was ask my husband if there was any topics on his mind that he wanted me to talk about. He pondered the question a little bit, but this topic was the first that came to his mind. It caught me off guard. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but this definitely was not it. After giving it some thought, I realized how important this was, and how actively avoided it is in today’s society.

When we talk about modesty of clothing within our younger generation of women, we tend to hear stories of women being body shamed in schools, being forced to change clothes, or girls getting harassed or violated by men and the blame being put on her choice of clothing. I think what we need to realize is those two issues are very different from each other. Encouraging modesty and pulling a girl out of a class because of her clothing are very different in terms of their motives. That principle isn’t telling a girl to change because she’s a temple of the Holy Spirit.

 Simply put, women are not being taught the importance of modesty at a young age.

Most churches these days won’t talk about this in fear of the backlash they may receive. The problem with that philosophy is that if the church doesn’t teach them, and if their family doesn’t show them, then the world will. If they don’t learn starting at a young age how important they are as a vessel of Christ, they’re going to learn how to be a vessel of the world, and what the world values in a woman, which is contradictory to what Christ values.

Can this point be hammered too extensively? Absolutely. Some churches will be the wardrobe police, and forget the purpose of what modesty is all about. But where’s the happy medium?

Your Body is a Temple

We hear this verse from 1 Corinthians 6:19 all the time, and it’s so true. But I think we hear it so much to the point that we tend to forget what it’s saying. We forget to remember that our bodies are supposed to be a temple of the Holy Spirit, and THAT should be what drives us in our choices of what we put inside and onto our bodies. This is what should dictate to us how we should dress and how we should portray ourselves. It shouldn’t be the world and what it values in terms of modesty.

Modesty is Subjective, BUT

Just because modesty is a subjective topic, doesn’t mean it’s not an important one. We live in a society where a woman is judged based on her level of attractiveness, and a lot of that can be swayed by her appearance and how she presents herself. It may have nothing to do with how covered or uncovered she is, or how much jewelry she wears. If churches don’t begin in reiterate this point of the importance of how we should present ourselves to the world, then we’ll just become impressionable at the first compliment we receive.

We Can’t See the Other Side

It’s hard for a woman to wrap her head around the concept of temptation in men. In doing so, women tend to hear that they are less valued or just a sexual object, when in reality that’s farther from the truth. Our clothes don’t dictate our value, nor do they justify acts of violence made toward us. This doesn’t change the fact that men have a God given desire for the female body, and anything revealing that can cause a man to stumble. It’s hard to get this point across because it’s difficult for us as woman to not take this so offensively. This may be easier for a grown married woman to understand, but I can tell you that when I was a teenager I probably would’ve scoffed at this idea and went on my way. Should this be a driving force to push modesty? No. Is it on the list though? Yes.

In Conclusion

As the modesty series, as well as this post, comes to a close, realize that before we nitpick certain clothing types or the clothes other women wear, that modesty is subjective from a biblical perspective. We as women in Christ still need to reiterate how important modesty is, but in a way that’s encouraging as opposed to condemning. We can’t shy away from teaching modesty on our younger generation of Christian women simply because we fear how it could be perceived. It’s important, and it’s vital.

Don’t forget that above everything, and you are a vessel for Christ!

 

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

I Corinthians 6:19-20