Dear Lord, Please help Theresa!
Theresa wrote here:
I am 22 years old and just about to finish college. I came to this site because I’m trying to make sense of my own experience. I grew up in a home like what you and Vyckie describe, and my mom left the year before I left for college.
A friend thought your site would help me but instead I feel more frustrated and hurt the more I read. Please understand that I don’t have any desire to hurt you or anyone who comes to this site but I’m at the end of my rope. I need to say some things I’ve not felt free to say either to my mom or my dad, and I’m hoping that saying them here, among people who have some connection to the world I grew up in, will help.
My dad was almost exactly as you describe Dale, and like Dale, he went through a period where he lost his way. My mom was like you, she didn’t come from a christian background and went after my dad because he was strong and handsome, not because she respected his values.
While my brothers and sisters and I were growing up, we didn’t know our parent’s history, other than that mom’s family weren’t christians and thought the way we lived was wierd.
For us kids, and for me looking back on it, it was a beautiful rich life. Not rich because we had a lot of money, but rich because instead of spending half our time watching TV and playing video games (like all my college friends) we experienced the real world every day. I loved working with the animals on our farm, seeing things grow and knowing where our food came from. Seeing sunrises and sunsets, hearing the sound of the wind in the tall grass, and reading great books. People scoff at homeschooling, but all I have to do is look around me. I have a handful of friends at the university who were homeschooled. They are kinder, more respectful and tolerant than anyone on campus. Most of the public school kids are self centered and lack any real compassion for anyone. They preach equality and tolerance but they are mocking and cruel toward people and ideas they don’t know.
I don’t know what I believe anymore. As I said it all blew up the year before I left home for college. My mom stunned us all by saying she had to leave. The more she tried to explain the more upsetting it was for us. I mean, she spent our ENTIRE LIVES teaching us teaching us to love and respect our father, that love was far more than a feeling. It was an action, something you do and it’s when it’s hard that it counts the most. When my sister and I pointed that out to her she said someday we’d understand.
What kind of answer is that? My siblings and I were given the choice either to be with mom (and leave the home and life we loved – not to mention our dad) or only see mom occasionally because she moved to another state. My sister and I (we were the oldest) begged her to at least live close by, but to no avail. Of course we chose to stay with dad because that was our home, and at the least, we kids didn’t want to be split up.
Every day as my dad struggled to work and care for the little kids (one 3 and one 5) and us, I got more and more angry with my mom. I love my mom, but I’m still angry.
I’m angry because she left US, not just our dad. If she and dad couldn’t live together, fine, but whatever went wrong between them wasn’t our fault, especially not the little ones. She didn’t have to move so far away, but she did and that was her choice, and it hurts because my brothers and sisters and I paid (and still pay) a high price for her to have peace of mind.
I’m angry because my mom blames my dad and “patriarchal christianity” for everything. She doesn’t take responsibility for teaching us our entire lives that it was right, then suddenly telling us it’s all wrong. What the hell are we supposed to think?
I’m angry because my younger siblings look to me and my sister more as their mom. When I was their age I had a great mom. She wasn’t perfect, but she loved me and was THERE. Again, I’m not saying she should not have split with my dad, I don’t know about that, but she didn’t have to move so far away. For better or worse she made the choice to have them, they didn’t ask to be born. But having done so, they need their mother.
I’m angry because this is the part that’s overlooked on all sides. My dad is not innocent, my mom is not innocent, but my brother and sisters and I are. Yet, we’re getting punished. Perhaps my dad lost his way for a time (my mom leaving snapped him back like nothing else could). But he didn’t leave, and he didn’t leave us for someone else to take care of, nor did he demand that we either leave the home and community we loved or rarely see him. Two wrongs don’t make a right (as my mom used to say).
I’m sorry if any of what I’m saying here is hurtful to anyone. But these are my true feelings. I just want people (not just the “quiverfull or ex-quiverfull people) to see that divorce exacts the highest price on the kids. And if you can’t stay together, then for god’s sake, don’t move away. Stay involved in your kid’s lives, otherwise you’re divorcing them too.
My heart goes out to you!
I can’t really say what motivated your mother leaving? I know that it is really really REALLY hard but I hope that the Lord will give you the grace to be able to forgive your mother. Not for her benefit, but for your own benefit and welfare. I know that for a time, I really wondered if my own children would be better off without me? Had I left (for me it might have been by suicide), I would have rationalized that it was really better for them, that somehow I really was the bad person, horrid mother, bad christian my husband said and they really would be better off if I was out of their lives. Like your mom said, you really don’t know what it was like in her shoes. I can’t even tell you how emotionally and physically draining is the lifestyle, and especially when the one who made vows behaves more like an adversary and critic than a supporter.
But, I am thankful you commented. Your comment helps me personally. It was very good to hear your perspective and to know that even though I sometimes hurt when I am so utterly spent taking care of their needs yet they take me for granted or find fault with me, yet its not their fault they have not been role modelled showing appreciation nor respect for me and it doesn’t make it true that I am some worthless baggage they would be better off without.
I don’t know if it would help, Theresa, but there’s another blog about Quivering Daughters: http://quiveringdaughters.blogspot.com/
I’m glad that you were able to go away to college and continue your own life despite the issues in your family of origin. I pray the Lord will bring healing and comfort to your heart and to the hearts of each of your siblings and your parents.