A Bad Man

“Sociopaths are incapable of feeling shame, guilt or remorse. Their brains simply lack the circuitry to process such emotions. This allows them to betray people, threaten people or harm people without giving it a second thought. They pursue any action that serves their own self interest even if it seriously harms others.”    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/036112_sociopaths_cults_influence.html#ixzz2LGdaUKiP

“I don’t want you bringing your mother’s world into my world” – My father said variations of this statement so many times when I was a child that I really began to believe that he had or owned a world… that it was his. I began to think of my mother’s house as a different world than the world that my father claimed to own and rule. The world he ruled was a rundown two bedroom single wide mobile home that he, his wife, and three children all shared. The contrast between the worlds was magnificent. My father’s house was full of yelling and walking on eggshells that I never seemed to tread carefully enough. My mother’s house was one that contained very little discipline, but it also was an atmosphere of complete acceptance and freedom. Neither environment was ideal for children, but as a child, it is obvious which one any child would run for if the opportunity arose.

My father couldn’t stand my mother, and his hate seemed to have no limits. My step-mother, at times, appeared to be battling her hate, but I’m not sure that she ever won. My theory is that dad thought he was self-righteous in his hate, while my step-mother seemed to be tormented by the things she did and said very shortly after doing them. I think she hated herself for not being able to control the emotions that consumed her. I say this as objectively as I can –  that people like this shouldn’t ever be around children. The demons you battle are not an excuse to make your children or other people’s children suffer.

My mother got to keep my brother and I for two weeks during our summer break, and my mother tried her best to make sure that it was full of fun things to do. She saw us very little during this time of our lives, so she seemed to always make a point of making our time with her a positive one. One summer she had a woman and her daughter stay with us. The girl was a couple of years younger than me, and I can’t remember her name but I do remember the two of us playing together that entire two weeks. The little girl had other friends that would come over at times to play, and it was at this time that the little girl and I got lice. We were treated immediately by our mothers and everything went back to normal for a couple of days until it was time to return to my father and stepmother.

My mother mentioned to my father that their had been a lice problem and that he may want to double-check my brother and I before letting us back into his house. The little girl I played with had gone back around the other little girls that gave it to us in the first place. My mother knew there was a chance that we probably had got it again, but since it was time to give us back to our father then she thought all she could do was warn my father and stepmother.

A sociopath’s primary concern is his own well-being, and my father became livid. The speeches about how this was his world began to increase daily. His hate filled comments about how only someone as low as my mother would do something like this to “him” began to be directed toward me particularly. The only reason I can think of is because my hair was very long and I was a girl being raised like something extremely similar to a holiness girl. I say similar because I can’t recall my father ever declaring to be one denomination or another. I wore blue jean skirts down to my ankles, my hair was down my back, cutting my hair was a sin, wearing makeup was a sin, and if I put on pants… I might as well already be in hell.  My brother’s head was shaved immediately, and I became quarantined. My father seemed to hold this incident against  me like I had exposed him to lice intentionally. I would like to remind my readers that I was still 9 years old almost 10 when all of this was happening. I didn’t even know what lice was until this incident occurred. This didn’t seem to matter. I had wronged this man. I had brought something undesirable into his world, and I was going to be punished for it.

My father asked me one time why I ran away from home. I ran away from home many times, and he only caught me a few of them. I replied that “The devil made me do it.” He believed me and started to pray over me. I don’t think he ever considered that he was the devil who drove me to running.

My escape from this hell was a couple of friends that I had at school who seemed to accept me as I was. I didn’t have to try to be anything else for them, and this was a breath of fresh air. When I started getting phone calls at home from one of these friends, another hell began to brew. I don’t know if it was because my father saw that it made me happy or if it was some other twisted reason, but I became a target once again.

If you are ever under the control of a sociopath and you find that you can’t escape in the foreseeable future, do not ever show outwardly that something gives you joy besides them. Because they will seek with everything they have to destroy the source of that joy. It has everything to do with how much they can control, and very little to do with anything else. It was around this time that I began to realize what my father was. In my nine-year old mind, it equated simply to – a bad man.

My father was still extremely paranoid about the lice even though I had been treated beyond the recommended amount, and so I was periodically checked for lice by my stepmother. She resented me for having to do this even though it was my father that was making her do it. Psychology amazes me. Somehow my father got it in his head that I was still getting lice at school, and that I was getting it from one friend in particular. She was the friend who called me at home, and she was also poor. It is beyond hypocritical what he did next. He decided that she was the reason that I was still bringing lice into “his world” and that if he found out I was hanging out with her again, he was going to shave my head.

I’m not the sort of person that stops hanging out with someone else because they are poor especially since I was poor myself, and I seemed to understand this at nine years old when my father didn’t.

The day I got my head shaved, my father said, “I’m going to take away what you seem to think so precious. Being popular.” I’m not entirely sure what universe my father was from, but I was anything but popular. I had one friend that made me happy at school, and this happiness was obviously unbearable for him. May God help him find some peace.

We were going to a public school now, and I was in the 5th grade. Fifth graders can be horrible creatures if their parents do not know how to raise children, and I was bullied and outcast relentlessly. I was always in the library checking out books to escape society, and the school librarian got the principal to call my stepmother and ask what my home life was like because I never smiled. My stepmother told me that if she got another phone call like that, she would hit me with the belt and give me a reason to not smile. She was embarrassed. I get it. She should have been. Any time you have to threaten a child to smile… there is something seriously wrong with you. Just a reality check people.

This was just the beginning of a two-year episode of being forced to go to a small town southern school wearing holiness outfits with my head shaved. If you don’t quite grasp the seriousness of that hell for a kid, then continue to read my story in my next blog.

I bet you are wondering by now how I’m so normal?

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”  2 Corinthians 5:17

Many of my readers may think that I couldn’t possibly think of myself in a healthy light after all of this, but if you don’t know already, then you should know now. There is no healthier light to see yourself in than Jesus Christ.

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Now and Forevermore: My Freedom

“They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.”    http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html

I went to this private Christian school in North Alabama when I was in the fourth grade.  My siblings and I only attended for one year, and we were told by my father that the reason was that it wasn’t a good enough school. I found out later through my step-mother that it was because of how expensive it was.

The private school was in another town so we had to ride a school bus with green seats. I will forever remember those seats because of one little girl that was pulled into the ever growing social clique that had one goal – to completely harass and haze my older brother. I stood up for him mostly while off the bus. I was nine years old and the older kids in the back scared me like they scared everyone else – but if the bully was my size, then they got what was coming to them (thoughts from my nine year old mind). I can’t stand bullying. To this day, it makes me want to take drastic action. My ever growing supply of self-control has kept me out of trouble.

Back to the little girl: She must have been in the first or second grade because I remember her being about half my size. She had short light blonde hair and was really nice to me. I remember her acting like she looked up to me – always wanting to sit beside me on the bus, waving to me after she got off the bus. For the most part – a pretty nice kid. One afternoon on the way home from school, she pulled out a permanent marker and began to write “C— is gay” in several different places all over the back of the seat in front of us.  C— is my brother. I tried to get her to stop, but she wouldn’t listen to me. I ended up taking the marker from her and scribbling out all of her ignorant comments.

The next morning at the bus stop – the bus driver was standing outside the bus waiting to speak with my step-mother. She told my step-mother about the comments on the seat. Apparently, I didn’t do a good job at trying to mark them out. We got on the bus and about halfway through the bus ride, the bus driver stops the bus at the high school building and walks back to where I am sitting. She says, “The little girl told me everything so you might as well confess.”

And I was like – Okay… I marked out her writing. She was calling my brother gay.

“She said that you made her do it, and that you both wrote the comments.”

And of course I said, “Well maybe she hasn’t studied what God says about lying in her Bible class yet.”

For some reason, this didn’t go over well and I was escorted to the principal’s office.  The little girl talked to the principal first while I waited in the hall. In my young mind, I truly believed that I had nothing to worry about. I was going to tell the truth, and everything would turn out alright… but the thing about truth is – If no one believes you – you are truly screwed.

The little girl came out of the office and wouldn’t look me in the eyes. I was called into his office, and I tried smiling at him. He didn’t return the smile.  “We take name calling very seriously around here, young lady.”

“I know. I didn’t do it.”  Now that I recall my choice of attitude – it probably didn’t help matters. I more than likely came across as sure of myself because I was. I know that I didn’t do anything wrong and that was that, but being sure of yourself in a private Christian school is looked down on for some reason. They read that sort of attitude like you are being rebellious or you are trying to defy authority. The only thing I was rebelling against was being accused of something I didn’t do.

“Why would a little girl like that lie to me? How would she know what “gay” is? She said that she doesn’t even know who your brother is.”  All of these questions were thrown at me like daggers, and even as a nine year old little girl, I knew I was in for it. He had already made up his mind. I was the older student. It was automatically my fault.  So at that point I stopped talking and stared him down. Whats the point in talking to someone who thinks they already know everything there is to know about you? He must have taken my silence as a confession because he said that he was going to call my parents, and that I was going to scrub the back of that seat with a rag and cleaner until it was all off, or my parents were going to have to pay to replace the seat.

I was thinking – Could you just like cut out my spleen, and sell it on the black market instead of calling my dad? But I knew it was all over. I considered running away from the school campus when no one was looking. I considered calling my mom and asking her to come to my defense. I considered crying in front of the principal and begging for another way to solve this “problem”, but since I knew he would take that as a sign of guilt, I just sat silently.

It’s one of the strangest feelings in the world – being falsely accused. This amazingly strong feeling of resentment for all authority figures rose in my chest, including God. Why didn’t He make that poop face of a principal believe me? I was telling the truth, so He should be on my side… right? I scrubbed and scrubbed the back of  that seat until the fumes from the cleaning solution made my nostrils burn.

If there is one thing I know for sure that my father hates, it’s having to spend money on someone besides himself. I wasn’t completely aware of this then, but now that I understand how deep this money thing goes inside of him – I understand a little more now than I did then where all of his rage was coming from when I got home that day. It was still an unholy amount of rage bottled up just for a child, but now I think if the school hadn’t tried to make him pay for it – then it might have not been so bad.

My father had several  forms of punishment waiting for me. For some unknown reason my father used running up and down the hill of our driveway as punishment for me and my older brother when he was mad at us. To my knowledge, my sister was never punished in this way while I lived with him. My sister was also my step-mother’s biological child, so I later assumed that he didn’t punish her this way because it wouldn’t have gone over so well.

Last year, I read in the news that a grandmother in Alabama punished her granddaughter by making her run around the house they lived in until the grandmother said she could stop. The little girl passed away from the heat and dehydration, and it was ruled as child abuse. I’m only bringing this up because several neighbors reported seeing the little girl run around and around the house and no one ever questioned it. It should be considered abuse before someone has to die from it. To me, this is common sense. Most children do not run around in circles in that kind of heat for fun.  Get off your couch, go over there, and stop it. It’s easy as one, two, three to save a child’s life.

So I ran up and down the hill without any water for a while, and I didn’t stop because I was told that I would get hit with the belt if I did. Our neighbor had a field of corn across the road from our yard, and he would sometimes drive his tractor up our driveway to get to it. He was driving towards me so I got off to the side of the road and ran in place until the tractor passed. When I got to the top of the hill, my father jerked me up by my arm and hit me with the belt until I lost count. I used to count because it takes the mind off the pain. I was told that I knew better than to stay on the road when someone was driving on it. I’m hit if I do – I’m hit if I don’t. I didn’t care after that.

My final form of punishment was to sit at the very front of the bus where the bus driver could watch me for the rest of the year, and if I talked to anyone I would be hit with the belt when I got home. To further my humiliation, my brother, the one I defended, was to sit directly behind me and make sure that I didn’t talk to anyone, and no one talked to me. Even he didn’t believe me. No one was on my side. What had I done to deserve that? The principal was one thing, my father was his usual self, but my brother? My little sister? I was in a world all by myself. I was completely isolated. I’m an introvert so it wasn’t really the no talking punishment that I resented. It was my freedom to sit anywhere I wanted to being taken from me for no reason. I have always valued my freedom. I hate to be controlled with a passion. I was a very angry little girl. I’m sure that my eyes were darts. I’m sure that my words were blades during this time of my life. If the world was out for blood, then so was I. No one else cares about the truth or the reality of the situation, so why should I? So many negative life lessons were going to be taken away from this. Someone much bigger than all of this was going to show up a few years later and turn all the negativity into victory, all the bitterness into forgiveness, and all of the anger into Love. I never felt after all of this transformation that no one was on my side. In fact, I believe without a drop of doubt, the very opposite.

Psalm 121

 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Training Days

“Sociopathic individuals are extremely self-confidant, intelligent, charismatic and persuasive of others as well as themselves. They inspire those around them and create a dysfunctional culture, – often dizzy and disoriented by its success. Success is proof of the accuracy of any claim they make. Words and sometimes bizarre ideas become a substitute for reality. They surround themselves by supporters who worship them and believe they can do no wrong. These loyalties persist even when their world collapses around them. The community admires them. The system of justice seldom pursues them.

These people tend to embrace a particular and often limited belief system to the exclusion of others. They have no doubts. Typically these belief systems have an internal logic. Actions based on the belief system often produces the desired and predicted outcomes. Their views do not stand up to criticism when alternative understandings are used. Views applicable to some activities in society may be given universal relevance and applied to activities where they are clearly inappropriate. These views or their application should not be acceptable to society but society frequently identifies uncritically with their logic and fails to challenge them.”   http://www.uow.edu.au/~bmartin/dissent/documents/health/sociopathy.html

The blog title comes from one of my favorite psalms: Psalm 130. The tagline comes from Luke 6:27.

I was raised by someone who very much matched the above description of a sociopath. I grew up in a domineering world where I made up this game inside my head that had only one goal: to avoid my father and step-mother. I would win some days – most I would not. It kind of looked like a video game but more like a cartoon. It was a maze that my character with a long blonde ponytail swinging behind her would navigate precariously. Every corner that she turned was either a huge sigh of relief or her back was against the wall waiting for the next outburst.

I didn’t know anything about sociopaths or spiritual warfare at the time. I only knew that I didn’t want to be around them. The days that I got locked out of the house were the good days. To be out of the house was a good day. I would run through the woods playing games with my siblings, escaping into our endless world of make believe and fantasy. Something I remember with clarity is that in these games we played, there was always a good guy and a bad guy. There was always just the right amount of “bad” in the games that would set our day in motion, and it would not end – we would not let it end until all the bad had been done away with. We were heroes every single day in our games, and helpless victims in our reality. Little did we know that these games that we thought were silly, childish, make believe – were actually training for the world that we were born into. As a child, nothing makes you hesitate from being the hero. It seems perfectly natural to take on the bad guy, the dragon, or the monsters in the forest. Almost as if when you first come into the world, you are closest to the original design you were intended for. I can tell you from experience that every time you turn around there is somebody or something that wants to take that idea away from you. It doesn’t want you to think you are a hero. It doesn’t want you to tackle the bad guy without an ounce of fear in your eyes. As a child, you are, at times, the most terrifying thing in the world to these somebodies and somethings – so they must do everything in their power to make you forget.

I would talk to God sometimes because our household was a very religious one. I would say -” No way I’m gonna live my life like this. I don’t want your religion. I don’t want your anger or fear. I don’t want your judgement because I want or need a haircut or because I want to wear pants because it’s cold outside. I don’t want you.”  It would be four years later before I heard a reply, “That’s not Me, and I totally agree.”  I had a serious attitude problem. Everything about my home life was completely unacceptable to me, and I was being reminded continuously that this is how God means for the family to be: my godly father cornering my step-mother and screaming at the top of his lungs, at times, for hours. Me in my bedroom with a book praying his voice would give out. “God, can’t you at least make it to where he can’t talk ever again?” My brother trying to go down to grandpa’s house for a little while so he could escape the constant harassment of his step-mother and father. “Dear God, if this is what you want then with all due respect, leave me the hell alone.” His reply four years later, “This is the opposite of what I want, and with all due respect, I’ll never leave you alone.”

This blog will be a kind of memoir in blog fashion. I am laying out all the ugly so that the Beautiful that has been after me my entire life can be seen because it definitely outshines all the rest. I don’t wish for readers to feel sorry for me or get angry at anyone mentioned during this series. Anger fixes nothing, and I am more than blessed now by realizing what it was I gained during these dark years of my childhood. I am the Victor through Jesus Christ. I have brought my enemies to their knees through Love and Kindness – And this is how the story continues to go. My hope is that at least one soul will read this and begin to believe that they are not alone in this world or the next if they will only cry out.

“Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.”   Psalm 130: Verses 1 and 2.