Updated: Sep 3, 2019
So, I took a break from blogging for the past few weeks. I was concerned that my posts about my cult upbringing had me coming off as more of a “victim” than I had intended.
That is to say that they showed any shred of victimhood whatsoever.
In the process of worrying about how I was being perceived, I got a much clearer lens on the process of recovering from gaslighting.
Recently, I started to notice that I have been teaching my daughter not to accept everything I taught her as automatically being a fact. There was always an underlying message there of “don’t trust me just because I’m your mommy.”
Now that she is turning 4, she is really starting to own the question “why?” And although she hasn’t asked the question itself yet, she has been building up to it over the past few weeks.
“Why shouldn’t I trust my mommy?”
Oh… uh… I think I may have screwed this up.
After a bit of reflection, it became clear to me. I’m teaching my daughter not to trust me because I shouldn’t have trusted my mommy.
My mommy lied to me EXTENSIVELY from the very start of my life. Not just the Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, and Easter Bunny lies like all the other kids get. No, my mommy’s lies were things like,
“Your daddy is rebelling against God”
“your grandparents are most likely being controlled by demons”
And let’s not forget the ever popular, “Jesus hates people who eat pork.” (Not just obvious pork like ham sandwiches and pork chops, but insidious pork like biscuits or crackers made with lard, or eggs that shared a frying pan with some bacon grease.)
Mommies are the kind of people who will talk you out of that $20 your aunt slipped into your birthday card or tell you that doing your project for history class isn’t as important as memorizing bible verses.
Your mommy will lie to everyone outside of her church about anything and everything, and do it with a million-dollar smile on her face because she is doing exactly what God wants her to do.
Mothers will tell you that everything that you remember from your childhood is just a lie that Satan put into your head or that it is something that God requires of the people who serve him.
So, the biggest lesson of my childhood was this;
MOTHERS ARE DANGEROUS – DO NOT TRUST THEM.
Gaslighting isn’t just lying and denying. A really big part of it is projection.
Traits that my mother had, she denied she had, and told me that I had, still cling to me even though they aren’t mine.
Hypochondria, greed, elitism, bigotry, narcissism, and gullibility are traits that I see in myself much the same way an anorexic sees 250 pounds on their frail 99-pound body. Scores of professionals have assured me that I do not exhibit these traits, but nonetheless I remain vigilant against any thoughts of buying myself anything nice or being confident that people might actually like me for any reason.
I can’t say with any certainty if my mom only started gaslighting after she joined the cult or if she joined the cult because she was already the kind of person who would fit right in with people who were very comfortable living a life of lying about lies.
I’m not even sure that I care.
Over the past few weeks I worried that my fact finding and presentation came across as a plea for attention and pity rather than my need to confirm that;
1. These things are not only true, but they happened to me and thousands of other people like me, and were accepted as perfectly normal.
2. The things that happened were wrong and should not have happened.
3. The matter is settled, and it is safe for me to now move forward.
Who do you trust when your own mother throws your personal concept of trust into disarray?
Do you trust your other family members when there is a 50/50 chance that they are being controlled by demons? Do you even trust your own mind when there is that same 50/50 chance that the demons have already got to you and the doubt you are experiencing now is the start of a long road of evil deeds and personal suffering? How the hell do you even deal with all of those thoughts as a 6-year-old girl growing up in 1979 Dallas, Texas?
The end result was that I grew up with uncertainty as my default setting.
And I was well on my way to passing that same setting on to my daughter, even 30 years after I freed myself from the mental prison of Armstrongism.
There is really no better way to describe that other than, “that’s pretty fucked up.”
Going forward, I will still be teaching my daughter to think critically and bring insight to each situation she encounters, and I will also be making sure that she knows that her mommy is someone that she will always be able to trust.