from Banshee - Tuesday, September 07, 2004
accessed 2052 times
Warning: The following article includes several exaggerations, slight overstatements, and various generalizations, exploited for the purpose of making a point, and for engaging reading. And because it’s more fun for me.
The recent poll that asked us who we blamed for our abuses was a bit difficult to answer, mainly because my answer is far too tangled to fit into one of the four choices given. The closest answer—and I believe this was already brought up, but what the heck—would be more like, “All of the above, and more, including myself, society, the hippy movement, Fate, and even the Cosmos because sometimes I like to blame it too!” And if it had asked who we blamed the MOST, it would still be hard to answer, because I honestly don’t know.
While the subject was running around in my mind, because I hadn’t tied it down yet, I read something that got me quite bothered. Which, in turn, progressed to wanting to write my thoughts on paper. If they don’t make sense to you, that's okay; they don’t make sense to me either.
Once in a while my sometimes demanding, sometimes morbid curiosity sends me over to the linked FG site, exfam.org. Once there, I spend usually all of 38 seconds browsing the heading topics, and then another 22 wondering what made me click on the link in the first place.
Initially, in trying to sort out my complex sexually-abusive past, I thought it would help to read some of the posts on their site, or its sister sites. I wanted to know what the FGs that have left TF had to say about the crap that went on in TF, and more to the point, their role in it. Enlightening? Yes. Helpful? Well, let’s just say that now I hardly ever go on, and if I do, it is only for that aforementioned 60 second lapse of judgment--or brain function.
But in the last few days, a discussion on the exfamily.org board caught my eye, mostly because there were a couple of posts in there from some SGs. Reading some of the FGs comments in this discussion turned out to be quite “interesting” (read: fury inducing). The topic of this “interesting” (read: this pisses me off) discussion is actually a quite frequently regurgitated one on these FG sites. Namely, that they are ALL innocent.
Now, I like to believe myself to be a fairly rational, level-headed individual (disclaimer: this theory has not yet been proved.), but, quite frankly, reading these type of posts sometimes leaves me wondering if half of these FGs aren’t bat-shit crazy! Or there is just an extremely high percentage of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in ex-COG members. Maybe something in the water.
I know this is not the first time the FGs have brought up these points. In fact, if we were to judge the issues by the aggregation of their combined testimonies, it would lead us to deduce that:
a) Not one of them knew what they were getting into when they joined. They had no idea what TF really was.
b) They were all brainwashed, to the man, within the first 6 months of joining. From that point on they have no recollection of ever having an independent thought again.
c) They all had horrible abuse rained on them, including being forced to have so many children.
d) Not one of them—not one—ever participated in any abuse of any children whatsoever. Never saw any. In fact, if they had ever seen any abuse of any kind, they would have packed up and walked out right then and there.
e) They never read any of the pubs.
And the sum of this algebraic equation, (thank you, Uncle Dan!) is that, because of these factors, they are all actually victims as much as we SGs are, and more importantly, as such, should not be seen by us as the oppressors, abusers, or facilitators of our abuse. They’re our buddies! Our comrades! Equal-opportunity at its finest!
Yeah…not so much.
As a defense structure, there are quite a few holes:
a) “COG Who?” Joining a group that you know nothing about or haven’t checked out or investigated is kind of like signing a 10-year contract with a company that hasn’t even told you what you’ll be doing, or accepting a job at a company you haven’t even confirmed to be in existence. It doesn’t make you look like a victim; more like lacking brain cells.
b) “Brainwashed Babes:” Now this may have some merit. Many FGs I came in contact with in TF wouldn’t know an independent thought if it came up and slapped them in the face while simultaneously standing on their toes. Or, if they did know one, they immediately changed its name to “Oplexiashraph Panplexicon”, initiated a public exorcism against it, and spent the following two weeks confessing about it in daily reports. While the ability for the human mind to be brainwashed may be debated, of this I am sure: its ability to be indoctrinated, and its ability to be duped. Here is where I believe our minds were on fundamentally different paths. Being born into this cult, SGs were forced on the path of indoctrination and many ended at destination Brainwashing. FGs, having chosen to join, jumped on the train “Duped”, first stop: Indoctrination. Next station: Ignoring Reality, then Acceptance, and from there to Indoctrinating Your Children. (If you’re wondering, those still on this train have long, long ago past the station of No Sane Return.)
c) “We Had It Rough Too:” This is true. Many FGs suffered many, many horrible things in the name of Berg and his warped God. I empathize. I do, really! You know, “been there, done that” and all. But I don’t understand their reasoning for adding being forced to have us to the list. Do they really want to hear, “You’re goddamn-fucking right I wish you hadn’t spawned us out into a life of a sex cult like there was some kind of fucking ‘Who-Can-Have-the-Most-Babies-in-the-Shortest-Time-With-the-Least-Amount-of-Care’ competition too?”
d) “Abuse? What abuse?” This is where I get really confused. So who the fuck was doing all this abusing? Of course I’m not expecting that anyone would stand up and say, “Yes, I did spend 6 months fondling that little girl on a daily basis.” Or, “Okay, so I spanked him with a metal pole for a couple of hours. I mean, come on, I was told to!” Granted, there aren’t too many people who would walk into a police station and hand over the knife they just killed their wife with. You can tell I’m overreacting here, but sometimes I feel like I’d rather just tear my fingernails down a blackboard rather than read one more post saying that they never saw, heard of, nor participated in any type of abuse whatsoever. How do these people explain the abuses then? Were we all just attacked by leprechauns that we imagined had faces with names like Uncle Methuselah Nutmeg and Auntie Peace in the Midst of the Storm Sunshine Charity? (Seriously, those kinds of names cannot just be made up. I mean, Mahershalalhashbas? Really?) Or, maybe…we were just abused and neglected through the process of osmosis. Ah, that could explain it.
And when these FGs all claim that if they had EVER seen ANY kind of abuse WHATSOEVER or ever even THOUGHT that their children where in danger of being abused that they would have hauled ass out of there…it just leaves me wondering why then didn’t TF completely empty out about, oh, 22, 23 years ago? How is it even physically possible for any adult to have been in TF for any length of time whatsoever and not to have ever seen any abuse, heard of any abuse, read of any abuse, seen any “special” videos, read any of Berg’s letters, never spanked a kid, never saw any kid not being schooled, never saw the lack of food, etc.? Were there really THAT many comas in TF? Because I don’t remember having to pray for them while hopping on one foot in a circle, speaking in tongues to a goddess and using some sort of keys for something. I do remember praying once for someone’s second testicle to drop though. (Was it just me, or did anyone else feel like they needed therapy after reading those monthly “Worldwide Prayer Lists?” I mean, did I really need to know about Uncle Josiah’s bleeding hemorrhoids?)
My advice to the FGs? In the words of Thumper’s father’s brother (assuming he had one, of course): “If you can’t say something truthful, don’t say ANYTHING AT ALL.” Thank you.
e) “Pub Free Zone:” Well, all I can say then is: they sure PRETENDED awfully well! Standing ovation! Oscar worthy performance! ‘Cause they sure looked like they were reading them, and they sure quoted them like they were reading them, and they sure put them to use like they were reading them.
I’m not trying to paint a picture with only one color. I know that there are varying degrees of culpability and innocence. I know every FG has their own personal story of what, why, where, when and how. And I am not saying I think as SGs we should hold every single FG accountable for every abuse suffered. The main point of this, which of course got lost in the pretentious delivery, is that I guess I’d just like to see a few more sincere “I’m sorry”s rather than so many “It sure wasn’t me”s. Of course, I could also just stay off the FG sites all together, thereby saving my fellow SGs from having to read any more tedious blathering.
Note: This of course is not mean to include, nor to insinuate any inclusion, of any FGs who, like James Penn, have taken the courageous and honorable route and have freely and readily apologized and are doing the most they possibly can to make restitution.
The other reason for subjecting you to this hodgepodge is because I’d like to hear how other SGs feel about this, about the FGs, and how they deal with things. Obviously, I feel a certain way: I feel that as SGs and FGs, we will always be different. Although we are “fellow ex-members” as one FG put it, I consider us to be very different types of ex-members. Regardless of how much the FGs believe that they are victims, it is not the same. We were born into the twisted world of Alice Berg in Crazyland, where nothing was ever right side up or upside down, but increasingly complex vortexes of sliding planes and parallel dimensions. And when the overplayed “I Was Just a Teen” card is used, to me, it just really doesn’t fly. Regardless of how young an FG was when they joined, regardless of how “brainwashed” they felt they were, every one of them had 15 to 20 years of normalcy to counteract the heaping plates of lunacy being served every day in TF. We started out at zero. We never even knew that there was anything else to eat. Only what they fed us. And they were the cooks. So, for me, I don’t think I can ever really see us as “fellow” victims. Victims of the same cult, yes, but victims for completely different reasons.
Even though those are my general feelings, it’s also never black and white. It’s only shades of grey, and many times I don’t even know how to react to issues regarding FG ex-members. Sometimes my heart conflicts with my brain. (For those intellects reading: I mean this is the purely metaphorical sense.) Especially when it comes to my parents. My mother in particular. She is no longer in TF. She hates TF and all it stands for. She blames TF for many of the struggles she has faced in the years since leaving, and all of the struggles while in. She spits at the name of Berg (no, really, she does.) and has spent many tears in remorse over her life and the choices she has made. But she also feels that her biggest error was in being duped; that she really became a puppet to the master and lost all ability to think on her own. This, compounded with fear, a baker’s dozen of children, and a host of other factors kept her, in her mind, prisoner for so many years. I understand, and sympathize with her pain.
And yet…she was one of my abuse perpetrators. She knew adults were taking me at 11 and 12. She even arranged the circumstances once or twice. She says now that it was my stepfather that made her do it. This I believe. He was one of my main abusers, and I know—firsthand—that he pushed for much of my sexual…um…“experiences.” I’ll leave it at that. (No, it’s not that I don’t want to horrify you; I don’t want to horrify myself.)
But it will still never penetrate my brain how it was possible for a mother to become so deeply indoctrinated (more like seeped in shit) that it superceded Nature’s own basic motherly instinct. I am not trying to be condescending. I will freely admit that I was indoctrinated for so long, that it took me past my teen hood to fully open my eyes and split, but even while in, I would have died before I would have let anyone touch one of my children, and I often went head to head with people who tried to tell me what to do with my kids or, God forbid, they tried to discipline them. So what force, what programming, made our parents so very different??? I don’t think I’ll ever know. My mother still has never given me a clear—even a vaguely understandable—reason. So although she has apologized profusely, and although I have forgiven her, when she starts going on about her abuse and being a victim, I start walking to that blackboard. Maybe that’s why I’m particularly impatient with FGs claiming to be only victims. Or maybe I’m just a bitch.
The greatest tragedy about all of these issues with my mother is not even the nightmares that I lived through. It is the aftermath of them that haunts me; the loss of what might have been that never will. (Look, I’m not trying to be sappy, it just comes out like that.) I love my mother: she’s my mother. I will always be there for her in whatever way I can (even if at this point in my life that support can’t be monetary). But when I look at her I don’t really see her as my mother. In many ways our roles are reversed, and most of the time I am the one caring for her. I am her counselor; I am her ballast. I am the shoulder she cries on. But I can’t cry on hers. I have never been able to talk to my mother about things important or things difficult in my life. I can’t share that part of me with her. I think that on a subconscious (or maybe quite conscious) level I don’t trust her enough. I think there is too much past to overcome in that way, and I will always hold part of my heart back from her.
On the other hand, with my stepfather, I would quite readily press charges against him if I could. I’m hoping one day he will be within reaching distance, and by that time will have enough money so that I can sue his ass for damages. A girl can dream, can’t she?