Dysfunctional Family Christmas and Giving the Wrong Gift

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dysfunctional family christmas
the wrong gift

The Ghost of Dysfunctional Christmas Past ~ Part 2

How come I could NEVER find the right gift for my Mother? I never seemed to be able to make her happy. My Christmas gifts  as well as any other gifts I found for her never had the desired effect one wants when giving a gift to someone.

There was always this disappointment she showed when she opened a gift from me. Her face would fall. She would look uncomfortable. She wouldn’t say much about whatever I had chosen for her. I agonized over what I would get her, and then I worried about it until the day I gave it to her. I dreaded her reaction. I guess I was hoping that her face would light up. I was hoping for approval.

I got so that I HATED thinking about what she might like for a gift and what I should get her. There was so much anxiety around gift giving that I couldn’t actually concentrate on the celebration itself. There was so much “obligation” around all these events that I didn’t understand back then.

My mother never made it easy for me by pointing out or mentioning a specific gift she wanted. It was as if my “guessing what the right gift would be to get for her” was part of what would make her happy. It was a though if she “told” me what she wanted, that would ruin it. In order for the gift to be “special”, I had to come up with the idea on my own, or be a mind reader.

My mother collects Royal Doulton Figurines. Not the cheap kind either. The ones she likes cost upwards of $250.00 each. One year I decided to get her one. It was a lot of money but I really wanted to make her happy.

It worked. She loved it. FINALLY I had done something right after YEARS of giving her a disappointing gift and feeling like I had let my mom down. Her face lit up! She approved! It was an exhilarating feeling of success for me!

There was only one other time I recall where my mother was pleased with me choice of gift for her. It was when I sent her a huge amount of roses to correspond with the number of years she had reached on her birthday. (I can’t remember which birthday, but I know it was over 60)  

When I began my journey out of the foggy darkness, I realized that my Mother sees gifts as a reflection of “love” or a measurement of love.  Gifts “prove” her value. If the giver spends a lot then the giver recognizes her value. Gifts define her. It isn’t the thought that counts in her mind. In addition to that, it’s not only about money and the monetary value of the gift but how well the giver has “guessed” what would please her.  When the relationship is dysfunctional however, it is really hard to guess the right gift.

It seems as though according to her belief system, the gift actually “proves” her worth. The gift proves the givers love and understanding of her.

There is another side of this picture. My mother didn’t give gifts to me in the same way she wanted to receive them for herself. Once again this is an example of how controlling and manipulative people live by two different sets of rules.  The rules that apply to her, and the rules that apply to others.  I always say that narcissistic, controlling and manipulative people don’t ‘love’ by the same rules that they demand love. If my gifts to her defined my love for her and her worth in my eyes then I thought it would stand to reason that the same was true for her when she gave a gift to me. 

When it came to me and the gifts that my mother would choose for me, the gifts always seemed practical or convenient.  She hated those kinds of gifts for herself, but she bought them for me. It seems odd to me that she would buy me gifts that would have disappointed her; gifts that would have “defined her” as less than worthy of a major splurge gift.

In the fog of dysfunctional mother daughter relationship, I could not sort this out.

If my gifts to my mother defined or proved my love for her and made a statement TO her about HER worth in my eyes then it would stand to reason that the same was true for her when she gave a gift to me.

Today I realize that her gifts to me were in fact another way of keeping me defined as less valuable than she was.  Upon closer examination, if my gifts defined my love for her and her worth in my eyes, than judging by the gifts she chose for me, it would stand to reason the same belief actually WAS true for her.  In truth, she was giving me gifts according to her own belief system. She believed that I was not worthy of thought and consideration in the way that I had to prove she was worthy of thought and consideration.

Her double standard (in her view) wasn’t odd at all. It was actually a truth leak about the way she regarded me as “less” than herself.

And in some dysfunctional families, this devaluing belief system is reflected differently for each child! In other words, one child gets the best and most expensive gift imaginable while the other child gets socks.

I don’t miss any of that stuff anymore. I don’t miss the anxiety of choosing a gift for her; I don’t miss bracing myself for the reaction from her; I don’t miss her disappointment or her false definition of love that wrapped around the whole Mothers day, birthday, and Christmas gift giving thing.

It took me years to get over my fear of giving the wrong gift. It took me years to get over my fear of opening gifts too.  I was so afraid that I would react the way that my mother did, I was more focused on my reaction to a gift than I was ON the gift itself! Once I found the truth at the roots of those fears, each passing year has become easier. I don’t buy gifts OR give gifts out of obligation anymore. I don’t believe gifts are a measurement of love. And since my definition of love has been redefined and I know what LOVE is and what LOVE is not, I don’t live under those two different sets of rules anymore either.

I welcome your comments. Please feel free to share.

Happy Holidays everyone; Bright blessings, hugs and squishes to all;

Darlene Ouimet

Related Posts ~Part one to this post ~ Dysfunctional Family Christmas and Being Alone

 The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

 

119 response to "Dysfunctional Family Christmas and Giving the Wrong Gift"

  1. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 1st May 2012

    Hi Everyone!
    I want to point out that we have a new page on emerging from broken. I am introducing a new EFB and survivor community event called “Freedom ROCKS” You can read all about it on the freedom rocks about page (button under header graphic) to see what it is, how it came about and how you can participate!

    I have also created a new category (called “freedom rocks”) for this event and all the posts, stories and comments will be found in that category. I hope you will check it out. The first post by Larualee is published and can be viewed here: https://emergingfrombroken.com/what-freedom-rocks-means-to-me-by-lauralee-hunter-rivet/

    If you belong to or run a survivor community or if you have a like minded blog of your own, please share this positive and self-empowering event!
    Hugs, Darlene

  2. By: LES Posted: 28th April 2012

    This is my mother….I have agonized over gifts for years. She can buy me garage sale items, but I have to spend a lot of money for her to like a gift. She has asked for the receipts in the past so that she can return it, blatantly tells me she does not like a gift, tosses it quicker than a hot potato, etc…what a horrible experience, hoping to get it right, and always failing. I am going to be approaching her soon to set up a boundary around gift giving. NONE. I don’t want one, because there are strings attached, and I don’t want the heart ache of giving one and having it be rejected.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th April 2012

      Hi LES
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken
      Good for you ~ this sounds like a healthy boundary. Glad you are here, thanks for your comment
      Hugs, Darlene

  3. By: SMD Posted: 17th February 2012

    Laurel,
    I just found this site myself, last month. It has been a great way for me to vent & process all the damage done to me. Darlene’s posts are very insightful & well written. Welcome Sister!….Look forward to reading your posts. Peace out!….SMD

  4. By: Laurel Posted: 17th February 2012

    Wow! I am so happy to have found this site! I feel like all of YOU get it and I thought I was the only one batteling these deamons! The “relationship” I have with my mother is by far the hardest, most draining thing I have ever endured. After 48 years of this, just last month I have finally been pushed to the point that I may have to severe this toxic relationship! This story of the gifts hits home. I live out of state and my college-aged daughter and I flew “home” to see my mother for an early Christmas. Walking on egg shells like I always do, I thought the weekend went well, we exchanged gifts that she seemed to like, etc. I have been a single parent for most of 20 years and so I work hard to buy gifts that are special, meaningful and things she would like…never inexpensive! Long story short…she decided a month after our visit she was mad about “somehting” that was out of my control. A week later all the gifts I have bought her last Christmas were thrown in a box and sent to me, NO note, No call, NOTHING> The act of meanness is took to do that is something I cannot tolerate any longer. I am happy to have this new “sisterhood” to share with!
    God Bless All of YOU!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th February 2012

      Hi Laurel!
      Welcome to EFB ~ It used to shock me when I met someone else that had a similar story to mine, but now it shocks me about how common it is!
      I am glad you are here too!
      Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: SMD Posted: 29th January 2012

    Darlene, I can relate so much to your relationship to your mom. I’m 43 now, but over the years, she has put me down and made we feel guilty for things i did not have to feel guilty about. For example, on one of her birthdays, i bought her a chocolate diabetic cake, since she was a newly diagnosed diabetic. I thought this gesture was thoughtful, however, when my mom saw the cake, she lashed out at me. She said, why did you get this?…I can’t eat it, even though, i told her it was diabetic. She said, i should have gotten real cake, so her grandchildren could have a piece. My kids & my sister’s kids were there, when she cut it for them & did not have a piece for herself. I had a piece & told her it was good. Anyway, i learned never to do that again. I was very upset with her reaction and then doubted myself. Emotionally i was beaten down, but intellectually i knew it was her not me.I think she equated my gift as worthless, because it was related to the diabetes that was causing her to be sick. I know that now, but could not understand that then. I have always tried to give her the benefit of the doubt & understand, since she always had it harder in life. She had a father who was an abuser- verbally, physically & sexually to his own family. You could say he was a molester & pedophile. I came to this conclusion, after fitting the pieces together, after my mom’s aunt’s shared their observations & stories with me. There was more to the abuse & damage, that i didn’t know, until one of my aunts validated, what i already figured out. My mom has always protected me from these horrible truths but in doing so made the secrets that much more unreal in my mind. Sorry i’m rambling, this is the first time i’m writing about this and processing it, as i go along. Needless to say, i don’t get the emotional support i’ve needed over the years and i suffer from severe reoccurrent Depression, Anxiety and a newer diagnosis of NOS Personality Disorder!…I do believe my mom is responsible for laying down a weak foundation, but despite that i have struggled in my heart through years of therapy to cut her out of my life & i continue to hold on. I say that I do it for my kids to know their grandparents. My dad is a whole other story. I have lots of stories about both but i will not go there right now. I just wanted to get out my thoughts out and to say this is a great supportive place to share. I can relate to everything being said in this blog. It is validating to me!…Thanks for sharing

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 30th January 2012

      Hi Sonia
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken
      Thank you for sharing your cake story; it is a great example of exactly what happens and what I am talking about. Your very thoughtful gift was rejected and you were made to feel “wrong” and even “stupid” for thinking of it. I was stuck in the spin of wrong and stupid for years! (I was about your age when I started to realize it!)
      I overcame all the diagnoses that were given to me. You have found the right place, you are not alone here. Please feel free to share as often as you like.
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: mary Posted: 5th January 2012

    Kellie, dangling carrot, love that, I say Lucy and the football same idea. My family enticed me back but I know now it was only to parade around the fact that I was part of the family again and made it look like they were alright to the rest of the world. I am NC for good this time. I went, I saw, I tried and experienced them for the last time, there is no change, they are more depraved then ever. I don’t need anymore convincing!

  7. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 5th January 2012

    Hi Kellie
    I am all too familiar with those kinds of manipulative messages. (lets ALL do what I want messages) and that lying thing; The final straw for me was when my brothers wife told my brother that I told him something about my childhood and then he told my mother, and then for the next 8 months they all talked behind my back and finally my mother “confronted me” about it. I was so sick of all the lies and the divide and conquer tactics my family uses. I asked my mother why it took her SO long to ask me about what I said and WHY did she assume that whatever ever my brother said etc. was the truth. Most of what was said I said was actually true, and I admitted it, and I said that I had a right to talk about my childhood ~ but no one seemed to see it that way.. lol but it was the stuff that was twisted around (as always) that made me mad. No one ever asked me in all that time but they were all talking about me/it. I finally saw the blatant way that everyone got me to comply and I had had enough. The two things that I made clear that day were that I was sick of the trouble making and running all over talking to everyone but me about me, that my mother did (and brother) and that I had not lied about the other stuff I said but no one even asked me and I was sick of my mother always assuming that everyone else was telling the truth. That was my first time really standing up for myself and speaking the truth without fear about the consequences. There was no contact for about 5 months after that. That was the beginning of me taking my power back.
    thanks for sharing, Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Kellie Posted: 4th January 2012

    haha. Gifts. Got me thinking about the last few years. My mom brought me kind of odd things — sweaters that I wasn’t going to wear. It’s the thought that counts, that’s true. But, I guess in the lack of excitement I showed when opening the gifts (this is a deep dark hole for me — the need to show them my appreciation by faking excitement — I stopped that years ago), she told me, two years running that if I didn’t like the sweaters, she would just take them home. The first year I kept the sweater. Ran across it a few days ago and just shook my head. The next year, I let her have the damn sweater. I didn’t like it, true. But, if it’s the thought that counts, what does it say to someone when you give them something and then say, “I’d love to keep it!” (chuckle, head shaking).

    I don’t know if I will ever make up with my mom after last year when she raked me over the coals and then told a big whopper to my dad and a mutual friend, ensuring that the friend gave me up for good. Every time I think about it, I just think, “Why?” I never got anything out of the relationship that overshadowed my pain and disillusionment and feelings of owing her something and for what? So she could lie to me some more, lie about me some more, be more disgusted with me? No thanks. My dad sent out a happy new year message this week and said he was going to embark on a journey of forgiveness and he wanted everyone to join him. That’s code for, Kellie, I don’t want you to be mad at your mom any more. But, I can’t help it. I just don’t want her in my life any more. I don’t know what the future holds, but I hope that I will finally learn to be true to myself and stop allowing people to hold out the carrot of hope of acceptance only to jerk it away again making me feel like a fool in the process.

    Here’s to us, the ones who never had a chance. May God bless us all.

  9. By: Tamara Posted: 3rd January 2012

    This “gift” thread has included so much. I too have studied the Hebrew and Greek meanings of words in the bible. I love God – hate religion. I went through a lot being involved in ministry. I don’t have bitterness and I have learned so much.

    The gift giving impossibility rings true with me. My mother grew flowers wholesale for a living so flowers were not an option for a gift. She hated/was allergic to all perfumes – no fragrance related items. She hated jewelry all types from macaroni to rubies…I am an artist but paintings were not her taste. One time my grandma spent many hours and love painting a huge painting that my mother liked. My mother HAD to have it. I remember her hiding it in our attic as soon as she got it and asking my NM where is the painting??? It wasn’t good enought to hang. How selfish! Other people would have wanted htat painting. Even now she has an oil painting that I started of my neice and nephew. When I was visiting my sister my mother had possesion of it somehow. (I did not give it to her). Anyway she said you can finish it tomorrow I will buy you some paint – like I can turn it on and off. I think I was a senior in highschool and painted it as a gift to my sister-in-law. It was one last little thing my NM could use to torture me with. She gave or threw away every gift I ever gave her but somehow managed to get her hands on a painting not meant for her – it ticks me off…oh well.I must say that all of the postings here are Gifts that I receive with a glad and thankful heart.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 4th January 2012

      Hi Tamara
      I love God. I hate lies and false teaching. I hate false teaching about everything, not just about God. I hate lies that are meant to control people and meant to twist people. I no longer have bitterness (yay for freedom!) and I have resolved to keep talking about the lies that keep people in prison.
      Your story about your mom ticks me off too. 🙂 About the torture stuff… one day I thought HEY, maybe that IS the motive! To make me crazy. I was always so willing to believe that none of that stuff was actually conscious… but today I know different.
      Many of the postings here are gifts for me too. Thanks for putting it that way and thanks for being here.
      hugs, Darlene

  10. By: Mimi Posted: 3rd January 2012

    Thanks everyone!! Hope the New Year is treating you right thus far. 🙂
    Love to everyone,
    Mimi

  11. By: Octoberlove Posted: 2nd January 2012

    What a thread! HATE giving gifts to NM! Hate giving gifts to anyone else if she’s around!

    My ESF actually came to me one year for NM’s birthday and begged for help with gifts. We came up with what we thought were 3 perfect ones.

    Now she uses those gifts as the reason she separated from him. Lovely additional guilt trip for me, don’t you think? (Yes, she knew I helped)

    New to this site and finding it wonderfully validating and supportive!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd January 2012

      Hi Octoberlove
      Welcome to EFB. I am so glad that this site is resonating with you too. Please feel free to share as often as you like
      Hugs, Darlene

  12. By: Jen Posted: 2nd January 2012

    Mimi,

    Darlene has made some great points and I just want to acknowledge them as being true for me too. Once I realized that the relationships with my family were very one-sided and I was being used over and over, it was quite simple to say and do what needed to be done for my own peace of mind and peace in life. While I continue to wish things would have been different, my family members made their choices long ago and even given opportunities to change over and over, they continue to be controlling and abusive. There’s no love there. I was their garbage, it just took me a long time to acknowledge that hurtful fact. I finally just quit playing the games. The decision was painful for me for awhile and I did grieve the “loss” of quite frankly something I never had to begin with. It’s maddening to see that now but one always holds on to hope beyond the call. The bottom line is that I needed to be faithful to myself and trust what my insides were screaming at me by that point.

  13. By: Mimi Posted: 2nd January 2012

    Jen,
    Thank you so much. It’s often so hard to see the forest for the trees. I’m praying about the issue of telling her my thoughts. I fear it will either make her angry, or broaden the gap, thereby pushing her TOWARD them even more. Or, maybe both. I think I have to be mentally and emotionally prepared for nothing at all in return if I approach the situation. It’s hard to let go of expectations, but I would have to for sure in this situation. Her heart is hardened toward me from what I can tell. She still communicates, but it’s seldom, and it’s fairly cool and neutral. Such a sticky situation!! Thank you for commenting Jen. I appreciate it so much!!
    Happy New Year to YOU!! ~ and to everyone!
    All the best,
    Mimi

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 2nd January 2012

      Mimi
      Sometimes it is darkest and most difficult before the dawn. Sometimes the seeds are planted but they don’t sprout right away. It was like that for me in my personal journey to freedom.
      I know that this is really hard, but it sounds like if she is already not communicating often and seems cool etc. you have nothing to lose. Sometimes love looks harsh but it is always about the motive. When I question myself (even in this blog when I get attacked) I ask myself what my motive is for my action. Is it for control or to be right? or is it out of love and the definition of what is BEST. That is the difference between control and abuse, and love.
      Hugs, Darlene

  14. By: Jen Posted: 2nd January 2012

    Mimi,

    What you have just written does not sound to me as if you are confused about the sitaution with your sis at all. You see many red flags but seem afraid to come to the conclusion in your head that you have already come to in your gut. Something is not right about these people, their intentions and their faux Christianity. I think your letter to family is a good start at clearing your on conscience which is sometimes all we get in life. Reconciliation isn’t always possible when hearts are hardened. That said, if you feel a stir in your heart to write/say something to your sister, then you should. Just so that you’ll have the peace that comes from “sounding the alarm.” Whether she heeds your words or not is God’s concern at this point but you can at least have the closure of knowing that you didn’t just stand by, watch and say nothing when your gut was screaming about all the red flags.

    Best wishes.
    Jen

  15. By: Mimi Posted: 2nd January 2012

    Wow!! Thanks to you all for sharing your experiences and offering comfort. I truly appreciate it.

    I chose to write my sisters (2) and mother a letter to launch the new year. I told them 2012 will be about seeking truth and uncovering lies in order to effect some healing within me. At the end, I apologized to all of them for anything I may have said or did in anger over the last year and our lifetimes. I just felt God leading me to do it. For my own peace and to make sure my bases are covered, so to speak, so I can start out fresh this year. The sister who moved away was the only one who responded and she said, “we serve a big God and he will carry you when needed. Praying you through.” It was at least a response, albeit a bit proud from my perspective. She’s been the spiritual leader in our family really. Assumed that she knows more than the rest of us ~ by everyone, myself included. She moved to the “bible belt” and her statement to me was, “I don’t want to sound proud, but, my kids are needing to move forward in their walk and they’ve outgrown what’s offered here.” She said she felt sort of stagnant as well and needed more. So, she moved to a place where her youngest (10) was called names by her teacher this year, her middle (16) confessed she is made fun of at school, (something to do with her status in band) and her oldest just completed her first semester at a renowned Christian college. She’s also really struggled. When they went home, her oldest two posted on FB that it was even harder to leave this time. But, my sister insists her kids are happy. Her husband brought their kids here on xmas eve to see their cat that we’re keeping for them. He pulled my husband and I into our spare bedroom and had a total meltdown. He sobbed and sobbed and said he couldn’t take trying to hold it all together for their kids. I said, well, move home. He straightened up long enough to say, oh, it’s not that, we’re all happy about moving and we’re glad the kids are happy. What the heck?? Makes no sense to me. I am at a crossroads now. Should I tell my sister what I have observed about the couple several years ago when they had their church here? I fear they might have sucked my sister in so they can send her overseas. Or, they’re using her for her analysis knowledge, which is what her degree is in. They’ve actually fired all their staff at once before. Appointed her to different responsibilities then said, “God changed his mind, we don’t actually need you for this task”. She has done some analysis work for them, but I think it was free. But, at the same time, when my sister and her family came home at Christmas, their car broke down and the missionary pastor paid $200 for them to have a rental car for a week. UGH!! I don’t get it for sure. I just know something isn’t right. I also am torn between telling my sister what I believe about them, and just letting it go, but, I don’t want them to be hurt in the long run. I have prayed that my sister would see the light and their truth would be revealed. Since that hasn’t happened, I wonder now if I’m totally off base. CONFUSION!! Whew!! Thanks again to each of you.
    xoxo,
    Mimi

  16. By: Pam Posted: 1st January 2012

    Mimi,People who like to control others have a deep need to do so and there may be no other reason. A religious atmosphere is a perfect place for these types to find followers. Personality cults form in churches all of the time and it isn’t always the preacher that is at the center. I’ve seen lay people form a following and go against the leadership. People in church behave like people do everywhere and struggle with the same problems that all people struggle with. Too many people join churches and don’t take the time to study their Bibles but choose to trust what others say is in it.

    Darlene, I was asked to teach children after about a year in church. I took it seriously and began to study in the same way you describe. I found a few things I disagreed with but I just kept quiet. Then I started teaching adults and studied even harder. I ended up with my theology being so different that I could no longer teach in my church with a clear conscience. What I’ve found since is that each denomination uses about 100 or so verses that support their denominational position and ignore the rest of the Bible. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is impossible for people to have theological unity unless, lay people accept the theology supported by those few verses, without question, and without their own seeking out of truth. The Bible is a spiritual book and God speaks to each of us spiritually and individually as He works personally with each of us.I do agree with you about equal value (I assume of children?). Jesus taught that we should become like children and that they are important. That’s very different from what many Christian traditions teach. Jesus is Truth and if I have to lie to fulfill a traditional teaching, I know that tradition is wrong (it may fit another’s situation)and I look for the answer God has for me. People who weren’t abused as children won’t find exactly the same answer because they don’t have the same need. Our experiences in life cause us to apply the facts (that don’t change)differently. When God gives us those personal messages they are wonderful to share with people who share our experience and need the same answers we’ve found but to others, they are hearesy. God is awesome when we allow Him to be God but when people think what God has said to them personally, should be forced on everyone else, it stifles the Holy Spirit and creates an empty tradition. People want to shrik-wrap God down to a size they can easily comprehend and what He gives to feed us spiritually and help us grow becomes a straight jacket that inhibits personal growth and causes a world of pain. That’s my view, anyway.:0)

    Love,
    Pam

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 1st January 2012

      Hi Pam
      Great points. I found similar things to be true! About the teaching re: equal value ~ I think that the overall message of Christ was about equal value for ALL people. Men women and children. He tried to get the power mongers to give up their status (power) but they didn’t want to. Still the same today. I was an adult when I realized how many people treated me as less valuable. It was a continuation of how I was always treated as a child. And many men bosses and even some girlfriends treated me as less valuable. I think that the misuse of power is at the bottom of all of this. We live in a pecking order system and I think Christ taught against that all the time too.
      Thank you for these comments Pam. I totally relate!
      Hugs, Darlene

  17. By: Tracy Posted: 1st January 2012

    I was in a “Christian” Cult for a while too – it’s sad how so many people use religion to exploit the vulnerable. It took me a long time to find a place where I feel safe, and while it is a Church I never thought I’d be in, I am healing here, and that is a good thing.

  18. By: Jen Posted: 31st December 2011

    Mimi,

    Stick with your resolution and read the Bible in context, in it’s entirety for yourself. When I did this, I found tons of wrong teachings by “prominent” Bible teachers whom I’d invested in. Similar to Darlene’s revelation that healing comes from finding your own truth, or finding The Truth, you must come to a conclusion about who God is and what He truly wants for mankind for yourself. Leaning on someone else’s interpretation only leads to sorrow…speaking from experience. The road leading to Jesus is walked in humility, love and truth. No one who is arrogant, thieving, or double-minded can truly know God or do His will. Once you understand this, you will see right through the sham you sister has fallen for. And why do these people want your sister anyway? My guess is that they need to be worshipped more than they need their money. They have a false humility cloaked in the guise of religion. Your sister must see something she wants in them. One can always take the advice of Paul who realized that he could have all the wisdom in the world, all the knowledge of scripture in the world, but in the end the only knowledge that mattered was Jesus and the work of the cross. Remission of sins and peace with God is the most important message. After that, the only thing that trancends time and space is love. If your actions on this earth weren’t motivated by love, nothing you have accomplished matters in eternity. God always sees that our true motivations are exposed in the end. All secrets are eventually laid bare. Pride goes before the fall.

    Wishing you well.
    Jen

  19. By: Mimi Posted: 30th December 2011

    Jen and Pam,
    It’s so interesting that you would bring up the points about reading the bible and making our own conclusions. It is my new year’s resolution ~ to read and determine for myself with the leading of the Holy Spirit; not the leading of people and how they interpret it. Not even the famous people whose teachings I’ve often invested in.

    Thank you both so much for your support and encouragement. I have dug around the internet trying to come up with anything at all on these people. They plant bible schools overseas. They also find people to move overseas to head up the schools, etc. But, I notice they haven’t moved their own family. They appoint others. I honestly can’t figure out what they need from my sister. Her husband makes a very meager wage, but I know my sister gives a lot of money, probably over her “ten percent” to this couple and the church they attend. They do seem to be “going into the nations”, but something just isn’t right. The pastor “husband” once plagiarized a message almost verbatim. My sister and I had gone out of town to hear a speaker who’s moderately successful in terms of being well known. My sister heard of him through the missions couple. His message was good. A few weeks later, this missionary man gave the same message at his little church here. I think it’s a matter of opinion if that’s acceptable or not, and my opinion is ~ if you don’t give any credit whatsoever to the person who “owns” the message, nor ever even mention his name, it’s unacceptable. He used a few uncommon words and phrases and repeated them word for word just like the original pastor said them. It was unsettling; my sister turned her head. I don’t know what to think. All I can say for certain is they know my brother in law makes little money, they certainly won’t get rich off him, and I can’t think of any other reason why they want to draw them in. Flattery?? I just don’t know.
    Thank you both again for taking the time to respond and for listening. It means so much when we’re confused and hurting.
    I wish you both and everyone else a super fantastic New Year. Again, insights more than welcome…. if Darlene allows me to stay off subject here??
    xoxo,
    Mimi

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 31st December 2011

      Pam, Mimi and Jen
      I just caught up with this conversation. (Mimi, yes of course you may continue this conversation on this post. All of this is relevant and important to recovery) I was drawn pretty deeply into the christian “cult” full of false teachings soon after my kids were born. Lucky for me, I was really into truth seeking even then. I started to study the bible when a few of the teachings didn’t sit right with me. I ended up doing intensive study for 8 years on greek and hebrew word origins. I started arguing with my teachers about the way the message was being taught and preached. I wasn’t popular. (back then it hurt me to be shushed; today I refuse to be shushed… LOL ) I thought the private Christian school my kids went to was abusive. I kept it to myself out of fear. BUT when I started to do my own work all my study paid off as the true message became clear to me. The message that I am talking about in really the same message Jesus taught. (but there is so much anger and hurt over how abusive the church usually is, I don’t mention that stuff very much because it makes people leave before they hear the message of true healing) Jesus was the first to teach equal value. Once I figured out what happened to me, and validated the damage that was done, everything became so much more clear. I have actually met few people in the Christian world that really “get it” and try to live it. The lust for power and control is always in the way. (not to mention the huge topic of how abusers get victims to carry on their false teachings teaching others to be victims of the whole false message. )
      Hugs, Darlene

  20. By: Jen Posted: 30th December 2011

    You are so right, Pam.

    If people would just pick up their Bibles, truly seek God and The Truth and actually read it for themselves, in context from start to finish, it’s amazing how quickly a faker could be discerned. There are many modern day Pharisees (hypocrites hoping to prosper financially off God) these days. Nothing has changed since the beginning of time, as you said well.

    And you are also right about being good to yourself right now. Christmas is hard….

    With love,
    Jen

  21. By: Pam Posted: 30th December 2011

    Jen, I agree 100% with what you just wrote. I came across someone on the internet teaching that the Bible is the mark of the Beast. I thought, if it weren’t for the Bible no one would know not to follow people like you. There are so many fakes out there. It’s no wonder people have bad feelings about Christianity. I guess it has always been that way but it is hard to cope with.

    Pam

  22. By: Pam Posted: 30th December 2011

    Mimi, Beware of people who appear perfect because they aren’t and usually, under that perfect persona there is a manipulator. I’ve known religious leaders like you describe them too. In fact, I fell under the spell of a couple much like what you describe. I always thought I needed changing anyway, so I was ripe for the picking by people who appeared to have what I wanted and also, wanted to change me. They wanted to make me over into their own image and my reasons for falling under their spell was about my sick psychology and wasn’t spiritual, at all. You are right to be wary and angry. I do believe that their true colors will begin to show at some point and perhaps whatever is wrong inside of your sister will heal and she’ll no longer be drawn to them. I’d look for that underlying cause in your sister. In a way, it was my fall out with these people that put me on the track of getting to the bottom of my brokenness. I hope it will work out that way for her too.

    I know all about delayed reactions. I was doing pretty well on Christmas Day and thouroughly, enjoyed my kids and gradkids. It’s thinking about everything I’ve been through in the last five years or so that pulled me down. I’ve never hated anyone but I’m struggling with feeling hatred toward my family. I guess I have to accept it and work through it but it is new for me. That is probably kind of weird considering what some people have done to me in the past. So maybe it is a good thing. I just want to be to the end of this healing thing but I have a feeling it may never be completely finished.

    I went out and got a new hairstyle for the New Year. It helped. Be good to yourself, Mimi.

    Love,
    Pam

  23. By: Jen Posted: 30th December 2011

    Hi Mimi,

    I am sorry you are hurting right now. I haven’t spoken to my sister in over 10 years now (she lives 2500 miles away) but has visited my mother often (before she moved down to where sis lives). Such a joyous family I have! I feel your anger and frustration though. I have been able to let mine go for the most part thankfully but I realize our situations are different.

    Regarding the “missionaries,” they sound like a Christian cult to me. I am a Christian and I study the Bible daily. I took God very seriously after my son died because that made me question every single belief I had at that time. Anyway, leaders looking for “followers” are usually cultish. We follow Christ. People begging for bucks are also ones to be leary of. The fake “falling” in the spirit charade would make me sick as well. We do not need any of that to find and feel Jesus. God’s will for our lives is that we be saved and become an example and ambassador for Him in this life that His love may reach others. Anything beyond that “plan” is pride. The book for 1 John should serve as the standard of determination as to whether one be a true Christian or a faux one. There is nothing in that book about “oozing scripture” equating being a child of God.

    I think you are right on to listen to your gut on this one. Pray your sister sees through the sham before it’s too late.

    With love,
    Jen

  24. By: Mimi Posted: 30th December 2011

    Pam,
    After the dust has settled and my sister being here 5-6 days without contact, it really hurts again. Her husband and kids came to my house, but she didn’t. I was getting to a point where I had put the pain of our distance in a place where it wasn’t so easily accessible. I can’t say for sure if it was in a healthy place, but, nonetheless, it was less present. Then, she came through town, visited some family and friends, then left. I didn’t think it bothered me. But, the blueness of yesterday and today says otherwise. I wake up thinking about her. I’m angry that I don’t mean anything to her. I’m angry at the Christian leaders who she seems to be following (500 miles away). Then continue to encourage her and her family. They have no idea what it’s like to rip people from their families. They have their family right there with them, who cares if my sister does. And, what is their interest in my sister and her family anyway? They actually even started planting seeds for my husband and I to move there too. After my sister and I had a disagreement, they haven’t said another word to me about it. Of course, they still send their monthly envelope with a newsletter about how they’re carrying out God’s plan. I have never sent them money, but they still keep pushing the envelope (haha)!! Anhow… whoa, way off subject here. Sorry. You can tell I’m a little charged with emotion about this now that they’re gone. I’m glad they’re gone on one hand because the anxiety and potential pain is gone with them. On the other hand, I truly hate that this all has happened. If they hadn’t moved to begin with, I think my sister and I would be where we always were. Best friends. It saddens me so much ~ that chapter of my life is closed. I try not to be angry with the Christian couple that “gently coerced” them, but I sure am. I can’t take it. I want to act in love; but the sinful side of me wants to rip them a new yadda yadda yadda!! I can’t figure out why they needed my sister and her family to move there. My sister seems enamored by the young, thin, beautiful, perfect, stylish, Godly, wealthy, missionary couple. They ooze scripture, but my spirit clashes with them. When they lived HERE, they ran a small church that never got off the ground. They ended up leaving and at their farewell service, held in a different building in a church they merged their congregation with, only my husband, myself, my sister and her family attended the farewell service. (from their congregation). Once upon a time I went to an altar call at their little church. The woman put her hands on my head to pray and then thrust my head back so I would fall into the arms of the people waiting behind me. My foot went back to catch me and she thrust me in the direction where my foot couldn’t catch me and I had to sit down. I sat there in total awe and confusion. Anyhow, I am sorry to get of subject, but I really needed to spill a little today. Thanks to everyone. Insights on the missionary couple are always appreciated. 🙁
    love,
    Mimi

  25. By: Pam Posted: 30th December 2011

    Mimi, I guess that’s why I’m here because here, I’m not alone.:0)I heard from one neice this year and it was a Christmas Newsletter. I lost my whole family when I required my parents and sister to treat me with respect. No one has talked to me or asked for my side of the story. It was the same way when I was a teenager and a pedophile talked me into leaving home and living with him. No one pursued me, no one even checked into who I was with even though it would have been very easy for them to do so. Everyone waited for me to call and if I’d have been murdered, no one would have known or bothered to find out. Eventually, I did reconnect with my family back then and no one cared about what had happened to me, what I’d been through, it was all about my poor mother. I’m sure it’s that way now. In our last conversation, I asked her why she didn’t try to save me from that man and she said it was because she didn’t have a driver’s license. She said that someone would have come to get me if I would have asked. If the creep would have killed me, there would be no possibility of my asking but that never crosses her mind. In her mind, I did it all to hurt her because it is all about her. She said I need to forgive, Billy. My sister said he was just a young man confused by the sexual revolution. A confused 28 year old, divorced, with a child, working in a porn theatre and sold drugs, seduced by a 15 (almost 16)year old. I’m sure my mom had a great Christmas, sucking up the sympathy. That’s what she used me for from the time I was born. I was too small, sick and such a burden. Poor Charlotte. She did so much to take care of that girl and look at how she was treated by her. The little whore. Now she can’t forgive and leave the past behind. Poor, poor Charlotte. Sorry, I can just hear them and it makes me angry. I hope by next Christmas, I’m not even thinking of them. I know they’ve never really thought about me. It is good to finally have that certainty but it still hurts sometimes. Thanks for letting me vent.:0)

    Love,
    Pam

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