She's terrified of her own mind

She’s Terrified of Her Own Mind

The Ugly Truth

My Hubby reminded a while back about something that happened within our first few months of marriage. It was the first tip off to him that something was terribly wrong with how I viewed our relationship and the role I played. He didn’t know until that moment just how twisted things were in my mind.

I had called him at work, just to ask him if I could make a specific meal for dinner AND if I could take the car to go the grocery store. I wanted to make sure I had his permission to make this meal AND go to the store. I remember he sounded kinda irritated on the other end of the line. Worry started to creep in, and I didn’t know what he was mad about but I assumed I had done something wrong. Later that night he came home and told me that he couldn’t believe I had interrupted his work day just to ask him if I could do something so normal. Mad isn’t the word I would use to describe how he was feeling. It was disbelief. He didn’t understand where this need or idea had come from in my mind.

The memory fades for me there, but Gregg tells me that it was in that moment he realized I had been failed. No one had taught me how to think for myself. EVERYTHING had to be run through the filter of the authority over me before I could make a move. Why? Because as a woman, I was too emotional, too delicate, too vulnerable and too naive to make decisions on my own. I had been trained to be terrified of my own mind…to believe that I was not capable to survive without the authority of a man. So, if I asked and got permission it would somehow insure that I wasn’t making a mistake. At the very least, if I did make a mistake I could always just fall back on the knowledge that I did it with my “authority’s” permission, so the consequences wouldn’t be as severe.  Pretty sick and twisted right?

On The Other Side Now

Eighteen years and LOT of growth work later, and I am no longer that woman. I am free of that cult and ALL of it’s teachings. It’s been a journey of epic proportions. My husband has been by my side the entire time too, and the beauty of that is something few women in my situation get to experience. I’ve since watched so many other women, some from the exact same background as mine and others from different cults/oppressive homes/abusive situations, all embark on this journey. One thing I see that we all have had to overcome is the mindset that we aren’t capable. This one still creeps in on me from time to time…as recently as this week as I’m preparing to embark on a project (you’ll hear about it soon!!). We have to retrain our brains to believe that we CAN do small AND great things without a man hovering over us, micromanaging every step, thought and action we take. This story we’ve been told and have continually repeated to ourselves over and over has to be starved out and then uprooted completely. I’ve watched these women, newly liberated, still flounder about over such menial decisions, and it breaks my heart. They are terrified of their own minds!! They haven’t been taught how to critically think. Why?? Why would men want women who can’t function without them??

The answer is horrific, honestly. Women who truly believe they aren’t safe without a man ruling over them, will rarely leave, even in the worst of situations (case in point…Josh and Anna Duggar.). If they leave, how could they possibly be safe? Not only would they be out from under the protection of a man, but ultimately out from under the protection of God. Yes, that’s what we were taught. Fear keeps women quiet. Fear keeps women playing house. Fear keeps women from being a threat. If a women does decide to leave her childhood home, church (in my case, a cult) or her abusive/oppressive marriage, they are shunned, lied about, and left with nothing. Many have been taught no other skills other than how to keep a home running smoothly, so if they do leave they don’t even know how to provide for themselves.  I’ve watched it happen more times than I can count. The most painful to watch was my own Mother. The lies, and absolute garbage that was spread about her was despicable. She was even preached about in a sermon in another city by a preacher who hadn’t even spoken to her. The gossip train is rampant against these women and it reaches all over the country. How do I know…because the statement this man used from his pulpit was the exact same statement I said to someone in a totally different state at a completely different church to someone I thought was a caring friend genuinely wanting to know how my Mom was doing. Boy was I wrong. So Heartbreaking. The goal is to make the woman as miserable, lonely and guilt ridden as possible so she comes back to the “fold”. Good ol’ manipulation at it’s finest.

My Why and What YOU Can Do

Why do I share all of this? Well, I realized that in order for you to know ME and understand why I’m doing what I’m doing here, you have to know my story. I have to get raw and real with you. Every time I have shared even the tiniest bits of my story on my private social accounts, the response is overwhelming. The number of women that have messaged me privately, saying “ME TOO!!” is shocking. I knew it was time to invite all of you to sit down with me and talk. If you don’t know where I started, you can’t see how far I’ve come. You won’t know why I’m someone who actually can help you on your journey.  My whole desire with Bravely She Shines is to be a place of refuge, healing and growth for all women, but especially ones, who like me, have come out of these situations. My speaking out and sharing my story gives a voice for women who are otherwise silenced by fear and oppression. By hearing, reading and seeing another woman’s story, it lends courage to the ones who don’t yet realize their own strength. My vulnerability in sharing these intimate details is like a lighthouse in the dark for the ones trying to find solid ground in a sea where they truly believe they are all alone. This world is a scary place to someone who doesn’t believe they can think for themselves and are terrified of their own minds.  So that’s my why. That’s why I’m sharing this tiny glimpse into my past with a story that truly was the start of my journey out of a cult and into the freedom I now have.

If you’ve read all of this, thank you! Being vulnerable isn’t elegant or entertaining. If anything I’ve shared here is something you’ve lived and you find yourself floundering for solid ground, please reach out. You are NOT alone, and you don’t need to walk this path by yourself. If you don’t relate to what I’ve shared here, first of all, I’m SO thankful for that!! Secondly, maybe someone you know is living this and you aren’t even aware of it, so please share it! It could be the one thing they need to read today to give them the courage to remove themselves from an awful situation. If you want to learn even more about what women in these situations face, check out my post Men Are Killing Women From the Inside Out.

Together, we can be a collective light that Bravely Shines to illuminate the path others are struggling to find.

Be a Lighthouse

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