Hello! Welcome to the Quivering Daughters website. Please note that this site is no longer being updated but I hope you find the archives helpful. God bless you.

Mind Control and the Adult Child | Pt. 2

Women raised within authoritarian homeschooling, Quiverfull, or fundamentalist Christian families know that our parents had good, godly intentions for their choice of lifestyle. Nevertheless, as we often discuss at Quivering Daughters, many of us grew up experiencing depression, thoughts of suicide, fear, shame, and other serious ramifications as a partial result of the abuse of authority and the abuse of control. Obviously this doesn’t implicate every homeschooling or Quiverfull family, but if you were raised with such a conservative background and struggle with these issues, you know what this involves. “Abuse” means”mis-use.” We know that addressing the effects of the mis-use of authority, the mis-use of our emotions, and the mis-use of our spirituality and personhood doesn’t mean that we don’t love our families, our pastor or husband or whoever operated outside of their boundaries. In fact, we must invite the light of Christ into these painful places in order to be healed. This means that we must seek truth and expose darkness.
Source
     In the quest for healing from over-control, it’s important to understand how it happens so we can begin  addressing the areas affected. We’ve discussed why the mind is so important, for as Christians, we are to be transformed by the renewing of it so that we can prove good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. No one else can do this for us. However, many try!
     I do not address minors regarding these issues, but our upbringing plays a huge role in why we sometimes feel stuck today. This isn’t to cast blame or vilify parents or anyone else but to simply apprehend the truth about what contributes to our dilemma. Understanding the roots of our struggles will clue us in to practical ways of overcoming them.
     Please note: I realize that much of my audience has an acquired disdain for modern psychology. I hope, however, that the material I present will be a helpful tool to facilitate your journey. As always, also know that I’m not a mental health professional. Please research these things on your own, ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom, search the Scriptures, and pray for God to lead you as you address your past. Again: the purpose of this is not to blame or shame anyone who has, for reasons and convictions of their own, promoted these things. It is to understand what role undue influence, thought patterns, and methods of living have played in our lives ~ with the goal of taking responsibility for ourselves, our beliefs, and recovery.

The BITE Model

A former Moonie, Steven Hassan has spent more than thirty years writing, speaking, and helping others understand and overcome mind control. He is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and holds a Masters degree in counseling psychology from Cambridge College. He has written two books, “Combatting Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-selling Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults” (1988) and “Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves” (2000). He also owns an online resource titled The Freedom of Mind Center.
     Hassan graciously gave me permission to reprint his document “Mind Control ~ The BITE Model” in my book, although it didn’t make it into the final version. His history and grasp of mind control gives him a unique perspective on the ways psychological coercion affects our lives ~ and readers may be shocked to discover unique similarities between what he has observed from destructive groups and the daily lifestyle of many authoritarian or fundamentalist families. 
     This doesn’t mean all of these things are bad or harmful in and of themselves; I hope to facilitate dialogue over each element so we can determine how much inappropriate control affected us and where we might still have trouble as we seek to be made free. So for the next few weeks I’d like to discuss each element of The BITE Model ~ Behavior Control, Information Control, Thought Control, and Emotional Control.

    
I. Behavior Control
by Steven Hassan

1. Regulation of individual’s physical reality

a. Where, how and with whom the member lives and associates with
b. What clothes, colors, hairstyles the person wears
c. What food the person eats, drinks, adopts, and rejects
d. How much sleep the person is able to have
e. Financial dependence
f. Little or no time spent on leisure, entertainment, vacations

2. Major time commitment required for indoctrination sessions and group rituals
3. Need to ask permission for major decisions
4. Need to report thoughts, feelings and activities to superiors
5. Rewards and punishments (behavior modification techniques – positive and negative).
6. Individualism discouraged; group think prevails
7. Rigid rules and regulations
8. Need for obedience and dependency

The floor is open ~ let’s discuss!

     Is any of this familiar? What similarities can you find between this list and your upbringing? While there must be responsible regulation in the lives of young children, at what point does a maturing young adult need to take responsibility for their own behavior? How does this list make you feel? Even if you agree with a strict childhood, remember that many quivering daughters (and sons!) live at home until marriage which could mean well into adulthood, yet many of the elements remain the same. What about when it’s a Quiverfull family, and there are children of all ages under the same roof? How should behavior control be handled then?
     Remember that you can post anonymously or use a pseudonym, if you’re more comfortable.


19 comments:

  1. I came out of 15 years of strict fundamentalism and I testify to the truth and validity of the information you are sharing. It has been over a year of healing for me now and I speak with calm assurance here, not out of bitterness. Mind control is very real and is not just in religion. I have studied the effects of how it is used in music, commercials, education, television shows etc. I raised our kids for many years in fundamentalism and as we were beginning to see what it was doing in our lives, we knew it was time to move away from that kind of lifestyle. I have been in the drug recovery ministry for many years as well. My husband was a meth addict for many years and there was a lot of mind control and manipulation in that as well. So I have first hand knowledge of how it worked from that perspective. He has been gloriously healed from meth and began going to a fundamental church with me. Even though I could recognize the manipulation among addicts very clearly, I didn't see it in church. It was laced and weaved in such a way that we felt like we were rejected by God if we didn't do things a certain way or if we chose not to do things the way the pastor said we should. God began opening our eyes to see how manipulated we really were. I began studying about Simon the sorcerer in the Bible and realized he was a preacher who bewitched the people with mind control. With spiritual abuse. I began studying the reformation and how the people were accusing the government/religious leaders of the same things. We are programmed at a young age to accept certain thought patterns and it affects our behavior. The fear of the devil, God's wrath, the pastor's disapproval, etc was forming us into control freaks who didn't want to 'fall' or ruin our families. But God began to show us that fear is not of faith and that control was destroying us. The rules taught to us at church were from the Law and we realized that if the Law was sufficient to keep our lives right…then why did Jesus have to come? Then we discovered what grace REALLY is. We fell all right..we fell back into the arms of our loving Father. Like the woman in the Nestea commercial who falls back into the refreshing pool. We fell into his arms and we were embraced with His love and it was there that we really truly discovered how grace is sufficient, not the Law. And that the law of LOVE was what constrained us close to God and close to one another.

    ReplyDelete

  2. Greetings, Hillary 🙂
    I'm thankful that someone (you) is finally doing what you are doing. When I was growing up, anything went. My husband, was raised very similar.
    I spent lots of time in bars from the age of 8; my dad had a band. My dad was an atheist, my mom agnostic and I thought that Jesus was just a cuss word, until I heard the Gospel in my early 20's. I'd lay in the sun, with a cold beer and listen to J.Vernon McGee; and "Unshackled" and marvel that there was a whole world out there I knew nothing of. It was a clean world, free of dark doings; a safe haven that I could surely trust in.
    Or, so I thought.
    My husband and I, swung the lifestyle pendulum as far away from our childhood as possible. Began homeschooling and gave my husband full charge of our home, which he wanted: finances and spiritual leadership.
    Although I did not sign up for ALL the Patriarchy rules, our life was pretty strict. However, it was FILLED with laughter and fun. I got our children involved by serving others, 4-H; Horse showing/saddle club, our son golfed with retired IBM'ers and gave them classes on their PC's.
    Sadly though, according to my oldest 2, I ruined their life.
    Ten years ago, their father tricked us all to move to AZ from MN. When I realized we had been tricked I moved out of the house because he had me working for the first time in 20 years. I still had six children 8 and under 🙁 he thrust the children into public education which out here, was charter schools. Detrimental. Our children became angry and bitter. The school was cruel to them, and so were the churches down here. Our family began to fight and hate each other.
    He divorced me and defrauded me. He is eloquent in speech and has won many over even in the System which is supposed to uphold justice; but there is none. I found myself supporting 8 children with no child support. He confused and lied to our children and some still think that I was the Petitioner in the divorce. His subtle ways have been very useful to him.
    Can a woman and her children recover from all of this?
    YES.
    God is working his Will…the TRUTH is prevailing. I have had to develop thick coating on my heart to protect it from the LYING arrows, back home, in the churches and throughout the community we live in.
    I live for, and look forward to the DAY when we all stand before Him and true Justice will be served. In the mean time, I am loving my children with all I have. I am looking for ways to use what happened to us to help others. I hope by sharing this, someone will gain more hope for themselves and believe that things can always be worse, and thank God that He has the final say in our lives 🙂

    ReplyDelete

  3. Familiar? Absolutely.

    My parents were wonderful and consistent in many ways when my siblings and I were small. Unlike many children from patriocentric families, my parents virtually never yelled or disciplined excessively or in anger. They were calm and consistent. They did expect complete obedience, but I remember feeling very secure and loved as a small child.

    The problems came when they maintained the same level of control over their teens and adult children that they had over their toddlers. As a 20-something engaged to be married, I experienced all the control you described.

    1. Most of the friendships I had were sabotaged, and the few I had were very controlled. I was constantly called home from friends' houses (even while doing wedding planning).

    There were very narrow parameters allowed for dress and hair style. I wanted to pierce my ears before the wedding but was terrified of the repercussions.

    Food and sleep were not controlled as extremely, although even as an adult I was told what time to go to bed.

    I had very limited opportunities to earn money. I didn't have a car because I didn't have a job and couldn't pay for it. I didn't have a job because I didn't have a car. (And while my parents didn't forbid me to get a driver's license, they did not in any way encourage it.)

    We were allowed to have fun in the confines of certain permitted activities, such as making music together or crafting. Virtually all social fun was forbidden or discouraged, or there was just an excuse for why we could not attend.

    Grace (con't in next comment)

    ReplyDelete

  4. I mean by saying, "things can always be worse" is that, I spent a lot of time studying WWII. THAT helped me put things in to perspective. Corrie TenBoom, Anne Frank are inspiring; talk about being tricked & stripped for rights… also, "A Long Way Gone..memoirs of a boy soldier" by, Ishmeal Beah..talk about a wrecked childhood! but he made good from it!

    Just because "Things can always be worse", doesn't mean that, "Things will never be better."
    Once we have to tools of Truth, honor and hope" we can prevail and do anything!

    ReplyDelete

  5. (Grace cont'd)…

    2. Even as adults we were expected to participate in homeschool devotional time and all family bedtime activities and holiday rituals.

    3. Required to ask permission for even minor activities, much less major ones.

    4. I kept my thoughts and feelings mostly to myself, but my parents expected to know about ALL activities, even when I was an adult. Every phone call, every correspondence, every errand, every interaction with someone outside the family.

    5. This can be summed up in 2 words: emotional manipulation.

    6. We were told that we were free to disagree ("as long as it's done respectfully") but any divergence in opinion was met with emotional and relational consequences (i.e. silent treatment).

    7. We had rules or expectations about everything. If you can think of it, we probably had a rule or expectation about it.

    8. Total, unquestioning obedience was required even as adults. I was completely dependent, financially, relationally, and emotionally. My parents expected 100% unquestioning submission to their authority until I married, at which moment the authority would be transferred to my husband.

    *******

    So yeah, it's familiar.

    Grace

    ReplyDelete

  6. OH yes, sound too familiar! My family had never heard about this patriarchy movement until I was about 20, but they did so many things that just totally fits in! We were always controlled, like Grace mentioned…in EVERYTHING! We were not allowed to do almost anything. Our friendships were controlled, dress standards, we once had a huge issue over ear piercing… I was considered a rebel for asking the reasons why they did this. My siblings were all compliant, but I was the bad one, the bad example to my younger siblings. I always questioned them, and that was considered capital sin. When I was around 17, I met the most fantastic guy in the whole world. Someone who understood me, loved as I am, and just made me want to live! He came and asked my Dad's permission to start a relationship with me, and my father threw a fit. He told this guy who is now my husband that he did not deserve me and that when he thought the time was right, HE would look for someone for me. My now husband continued to love me and pursue me, although me were forced to cut all ties, about 2 years later, he asked my father's permission again, and was bombed with so many rude and cruel words once again..I suffered so much during this time, both emotionally and physically. I could not eat and I was under so much pressure from them daily, I finally was not able to handle it anymore, I left our visibly "perfect" home never to return. A couple months later, I married the love of my life, against my family's wishes and I have never been happier! I have the most amazing guy in the world and he has helped me to love again and laugh again…I am on the road to healing!
    ~ J

    ReplyDelete

  7. I did not grow up a fundalmentalist.
    I did grow up in a home described in every aspect you have listed above.
    The purpose?
    To become my mothers robot. To mold me and control me to make me into herself.
    I always thought my mother must be mentally ill. When I look at the list, I can see that she was using a sophisticated, systematic approach to groom me.

    Many of the above listed were enforced with abuse beyond thinking or imagination.

    I spent years, at least 12-13 unwinding myself from the control she has had on me.

    I ran away with terrorized fear at age 18,and then at age 24 shut that door on her completely and have never seen her since.(All this with teh help of others)

    If I were to see her again now, I would need strong medication, and therapy. For real.

    I have learned to function quite normally, and realease myself from all the weird mind control things.

    Religion, was used as a basis of control also, we did attend Gothard Seminars for 3 years running in my early teens which just gave more reinforcement. Hence the Umbrella of Authority.

    I tried running to the pastor but that backfired in my face.

    I know what it is like to be trapped with no way to turn. Being a good kid, obeying every psyhcotic rule, religious/non religious. Fearing for my life.

    These rules transcend some sort of line and melt into all sorts of abuse like above. It is all about the power and as a child,teen, adult I knew I had none, and had no hope to, unless I bucked the rules and paid the price.

    In the end, I paid mentally,physically monetarily, spiritually to gain back some control.

    It was worth it.
    Even though I still have big issues in some areas of my life. I have me. ME, ME ME ME. And nobody controls me unless I let them.

    All I am saying is this list comes disguised ino many different forms and yet have the same basis. What I find ironic is that to me satan uses the same tactics to deceive people across many different cultures/religions and abuses. Even in the occult the tactics are the same. Prisoner of war,and the elect mind control groups they are all the same. The deception is immeasureable.

    I got sucked in again to a degree while raising my 4 children. I read the books by Mary Pride. I homeschooled, although, I could see something familiar about these groups and held back. I did not commit myself to the beliefs I was reading and seeing. It was so subtle almost hard to dechiper, even though the pattern was so familiar.It was so easy to slip into.The lines that were being crossed rose up fear in me. I quit. The kids went to school. I prayed for truth. The truth set me free. My eyes were opened. We now have no formal group or church we belong to. Freedom.

    ReplyDelete

  8. I did not grow up a fundalmentalist.
    I did grow up in a home described in every aspect you have listed above.
    The purpose?
    To become my mothers robot. To mold me and control me to make me into herself.
    I always thought my mother must be mentally ill. When I look at the list, I can see that she was using a sophisticated, systematic approach to groom me.

    Many of the above listed were enforced with abuse beyond thinking or imagination.

    I spent years, at least 12-13 unwinding myself from the control she has had on me.

    I ran away with terrorized fear at age 18,and then at age 24 shut that door on her completely and have never seen her since.(All this with the help of others)

    If I were to see her again now, I would need strong medication, and therapy. For real.

    I have learned to function quite normally, and realease myself from all the weird mind control things.

    Religion, was used as a basis of control also, we did attend Gothard Seminars for 3 years running in my early teens which just gave more reinforcement. Hence the Umbrella of Authority.

    I tried running to the pastor but that backfired in my face.

    I know what it is like to be trapped with no way to turn. Being a good kid, obeying every psyhcotic rule, religious/non religious. Fearing for my life.

    These rules transcend some sort of line and melt into all sorts of abuse like above. It is all about the power and as a child,teen, adult I knew I had none, and had no hope to, unless I bucked the rules and paid the price.

    In the end, I paid mentally,physically monetarily, spiritually to gain back some control.

    It was worth it.
    Even though I still have big issues in some areas of my life. I have me. ME, ME ME ME. And nobody controls me unless I let them.

    All I am saying is this list comes disguised ino many different forms and yet have the same basis. What I find ironic is that to me satan uses the same tactics to deceive people across many different cultures/religions and abuses. Even in the occult the tactics are the same. Prisoner of war,and the elect mind control groups they are all the same. The deception is immeasureable.

    I got sucked in again to a degree while raising my 4 children. I read the books by Mary Pride. I homeschooled, although, I could see something familiar about these groups and held back. I did not commit myself to the beliefs I was reading and seeing. It was so subtle almost hard to dechiper, even though the pattern was so familiar.It was so easy to slip into.The lines that were being crossed rose up fear in me. I quit. The kids went to school. I prayed for truth. The truth set me free. My eyes were opened. We now have no formal group or church we belong to. Freedom.

    ReplyDelete

  9. Yep, throughout my entire life growing up Everything was controlled. Living outside of the home (including college) was not acceptable. I had no friends outside of the family.
    Clothing was scrutinized before going out, short hairstyles were strongly discouraged.
    Was often told that I could lose the weight I wanted to lose if I had more self-control. Often insinuated that I was eating to much.
    No thinking outside of the box was allowed. Was allowed to have a job for a short time (although the money I earned was not my own) But when I was needed at home I was told to quit.
    Bedtime was 8 PM till I was 17, expected to wake up and make breakfast at about 6 AM.
    My only individual leisure time allowed, was reading books. Obviously family devotional time was required attendance. Had to ask approval for anything and everything and if what you had asked for was in any way outside of "acceptable" you ended up in a several hour discussion on why you were wrong. Expected to share every thought and feeling with my parents, privacy was non-existant.
    Behavior modification, absolutely. Corporal punishment was used into my teens and after I was "to old" for that what little "priveledges" I did have were taken away as punishments.
    No individualism except what my parents wanted to utilize, endless rules and regulations. And obediance was demanded and supported by "biblical" reasoning.

    Thanks for talking about this! I have also found that phsycology has been a huge help for me as well.

    ReplyDelete

  10. Sorry I did not realize I posted that twice!

    ReplyDelete

  11. Wow! I've never heard of BITE, but I've always told people, "I was told how to act, how to think, how to feel, how to believe…" In my life, the other three were more detrimental than the first. My parents weren't the type to control my behavior and choices as I became an adult or punish over choices they didn't agree with…but there was a lot of pressure in the other three departments – which of course the hope is that by the way you think, feel, and believe, you will behave the way they want.

    After 14 years of marriage, I'm still trying to learn to feel. That has caused a lot of problems in our marriage because my husband is such a "feeler." I don't know what my own feelings are still.

    ReplyDelete

  12. Yes, these do sound familiar. Not to the extent of the previous commenters, though.

    ReplyDelete

  13. Shall I go down the list? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

    While I was able to leave home in my teens (by sheer grace), I still feel as though my behavior was controlled far beyond what was appropriate or healthy. My siblings and I were expected to act as adults from very early on. I was babysitting my younger siblings, cooking meals, and teaching myself school by age 10, and any "childish" behavior on my part was considered sinful, so I can relate in part to feeling like I should have been granted the dignity to be myself.

    By my mid-teens, I was expected to be mother to my siblings while our actual mother worked… yet I was not allowed to choose my own clothes, buy my own toiletries, visit my own friends, read my own books, save my own money, schedule my own days, pursue my own hobbies, or keep my own private thoughts to myself.

    You asked at what point a maturing young adult needs to take responsibility for her own behavior, and perhaps that point is when she is expected to BE an adult. In my mind, responsibility and freedom have a symbiotic relationship, and it is deeply unjust to ask one without granting the other in equal measure.

    ReplyDelete

  14. This blog is so healing and healthy for me, thank you! I am 55 and find my old fear based thinking hovering around like a phantom amputated leg or arm. Even though I have severed the spiritual body part from my life, the phantom lurks from my many years in authoritarian churches.
    I felt such guilt if I had a drink of wine or used a swear word, whoops, I needed to ask God not to leave me for that! Balance is my daily quest like a thirsty desert traveler.

    Yes, mind control is slithering like smoke into our churches and many other areas of life. I can smell it from far away now, and know that my evasiveness to being a part of anything smelling like that is not "judgmental" but discernment. Thank the Lord~

    This is a support group for me even though I have never been in the Quiver-full movement, there are many same principals from where I was raised spiritually.

    Thank you everyone for your stories, may we go on to healing and to be healers, repairers of the breach and streets to dwell in. Selah~

    P.S. Here is a slightly sarcastic, humorous article I wrote in one of my venting moods on mind control. 😛 http://www.ehow.com/how_6084510_nice-even-don_t-feel-like.html

    ReplyDelete

  15. One of the first Anonymous', you posted a beautiful tribute and description of your husband that included that he just loved you and accepted you the way you were and made you want to live. That is tremendous. I am curious, how would you describe the qualities that made you want to live? That is a very touching and powerful description!

    ReplyDelete

  16. P.S. Earlier Anonymous, I am glad for you that you were able to meet a supportive husband and to begin to heal from your own childhood pains. Double blessings!

    ReplyDelete

  17. Wow. Just…wow.

    Thank you Hillary for your blog and your book. It encourages me so much.

    As a home school mom, when it became obvious that the model I was following was hurting my daughter, I visited a Christian psychologist. She gave me counsel to loosen up on my daughter in every area. Well, we still home schooled and we still had devotions and we still went to church, but everything else was then optional.

    She chose to dress goth. She spent hours in her room alone, writing in her journal. Even though I never read it and promised her I wouldn't, she wrote in a secret code because she didn't trust that. I let her listen to secular music (country). She wrote graffiti on her walls, and changed the name she wanted others to call her.

    I can't tell you how hard this was for me, especially the music! Not only because of my religious training, but because of my own personal experiences and life choices. But my daughter was not me, and that was the lesson I needed to learn.

    The other hard part about letting her be her own person (trusting the Good Shepherd to be Who He said he was, with no help from me) was the ostracization from the Christian home school community and many in our church.

    Your blog continually encourages me that when everyone else (besides the psychologist) was telling me I was crazy, it was actually the part I was getting right! Keep writing; the church needs your voice.

    ReplyDelete

  18. When to trust your children? (I'm paraphrasing your question, Hillary)

    I grew up fundy and learned a fear-based, distrustful worldview (which has only got worse in Christian teaching in the decades since). I was never trusted to make decent (perfect, "godly") choices as a teen–well, I was allowed to make choices but they were bounded choices with the expectation that I would likely choose badly. When I left home at the end of college, I had to grow up really fast.

    When I started raising my children, I had the good fortune to have trained as a Montessori teacher (a pedagogy that espouses facilitating independent work–actions and thoughts–from as early as possible and respecting the child as a wholly formed individual who can be expected to know the work they need to perform in order to learn what they need to learn). So I held those same expectations at home–I gave them as much freedom and responsibility to choose in as many areas of life as they wanted. It worked out great when they were toddlers and preschoolers. Now that they are early teens, my inbred fears are struggling for expression–I (and even more their father) want to limit their exposure to and interaction with all kinds of things normal to teen years. I am constantly having to remind us both that these are the years when wrapping children in cotton wool is NOT protective, that all the work we went to in the early years in teaching/demonstrating/facilitating critical thinking and good judgment and basic life skills was specifically so that now they would have the wherewithal to move with integrity in their world–perhaps not making choices we would make, but choices we can respect because we know they were not made indiscriminately.

    I guess my answer, Hillary, would be to trust children from the moment they are born, to treat them from infancy onward with the respect and dignity that one would offer a welcome and honored guest in my house (and expect the same courtesy from them), and accept that they come into this world as their own persons with their destinies of which I am only a small (though crucial) part.

    (caveat: this is of course my ideal and I have not and do not live up to this all the time. It is my guiding principle.)

    ReplyDelete

  19. I had a personalized comment written and blogger ate it. GRRR…I'm sorry everyone. Thankyou for your courage and sharing your stories….on Monday we will discuss the I in BITE…

    ReplyDelete

Comments are turned off.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.