Tag Archive: Child Abuse


Oh Shit!

Yesterday I finished reading a Kindle book by Ram Dass that appears not to be available on Amazon anymore, so I am glad I got it when I did.  It is called ‘Ram Dass, The Essential Collection’.  Towards the end he recounts this story which someone gave him on a Xerox (not sure what that used to be but I’ve heard of it).

If you are unhappy —

Once upon a time, there was a non-conforming sparrow who decided not to fly south for the winter.  However, soon the weather turned so cold that he reluctantly started to fly south.

In a short time, ice began to form on his wings, and he fell to earth in a barnyard, almost frozen.  A cow passed by and crapped on the little sparrow.  The sparrow thought it was the end, but the manure warmed him and defrosted his wings.  Warm and happy, able to breathe, he started to sing.

Just then, a large cat came by and, hearing the chirping, investigated the sounds.  The cat cleared away the manure, found the chirping bird, and promptly ate him.  The moral of this story: 1.) Everyone who shits on you is not necessarily your enemy.  2.) Everyone who gets you out of the shit, is not necessarily your friend.  3.) If you’re warm and happy in a pile of shit, keep your mouth shut.

That reminds me, I read Jonathan Livingston Seagull a couple of decades ago and I want to read it again.  I’m not sure, I think it is about majority bullying of people who are different.  If not, I heard in another context that seagulls pick on non-conformist seagulls.

This is a personal thing:  in the kind of Church I went to hippies got a really bad press.  Flower power, hippie dippie, a bit soft and idealistic.  Running away and buying a van with mum and dad’s money while supposedly rejecting and reacting against materialism (OK, that one is still a logical problem for me).  But Ram Dass was a professor of psychology at Harvard University, arguably the top university in the American Ivy League.  He was doing experiments with a man I heard of during my degree, Timothy Leary, with LSD before it was made illegal.  They threw Timothy Leary out, they asked Ram Dass to give up the experiments and stay.  He made it clear he would not give up the experiments and they lost him.

My kind of Church would often say some educated people are not that bright.  Maybe it is too much of a challenge to get involved with them and what they have to say.  It is a stance, insulting and dismissive, taken by people who do not want to think about it or want the people they are involved with to think about it, more often than not.  These people say, and I have seen the videos, we had special meetings in which they were shown, smack your children, fight with the dog and order it to go to the dog basket, show it who is boss.  I heard a big leader in the prosperity movement talk about kicking his dogs, as if it is OK.  They write books which praise a dentist who, when confronted by a little girl who was in the habit of taking all her clothes off as an act of defiance, allowed her to do it then made her walk back to the car naked.  used to think that was OK and the way to go.  Was it a James Dobson book?  I think so.  The videos were.  Ram Dass was and is a spiritual seeker like the rest of us.  He has not lost his mind, he has found another way.  I can’t say much more at the moment in my situation, my feelings are in turmoil and it won’t come out right.  So sorry, I think I have just ruined what was meant to be a purely pithy and humorous post.

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Spiritual Rape

I noticed that ‘what is spiritual rape’ was a search term used to arrive at my blog, so I put it in myself, to see what came back.  I looked at the first 14 pages on Google and my blog wasn’t there, but I found this blog post https://hemofhisgarment.wordpress.com/spiritual-rape/.

I have been looking back at some of my posts which definitely make me look as if I am mentally ill, and I have been thinking that they might invalidate anything I have to say.  But this post that I have posted the link for says that mental illness is a common result of spiritual rape as the person becomes confused and paranoid, and the writer says they believe that mental illness is an evidence that this sort of abuse has taken place.

So if my tortured posts are evidence of trauma and abuse I hope my readers will value them as such and not dismiss everything I have to say because of them.

I don’t believe spiritual rape takes place only in the church.  I believe psychiatry itself is spiritual rape, and it can and does happen both in the home and in the world in general.  If I am disappointed in the post, it is because of its failure to recognise this.  I have experienced serious trauma in my family, in the church and in psychiatry, and in the world at large.  I don’t know which has been worst.  I hope you will read the post yourself and see what you think.

Coffee With My Nurse

Every Thursday one of my nurses and I go out for coffee, it’s part of the social inclusion programme.  He’s a nice man, his name is Pete.  He helped me out practically when I first moved in here.  We talk about a lot of things, including religion.  This week religion came up because I said I hadn’t heard anything about Raif Badawi this week.  Raif is the writer and activist in Saudi Arabia who has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for his blog on free speech and liberalism in which he criticised some of the clerics, which was taken as an insult to Islam.  (For a petition by Amnesty International seeking to get this stopped please see here).

Pete said it was terrible what was being done in the name of religion, and said the Church used to do the same thing with its witch trials, for example.  The subject of demon possession came up, and I told him about my experiences of being told either that I was demon possessed or that I was ‘heavily demonised’.

The time I was told I was demon possessed was when I was a 12 year old girl in 1973.  I had lost my frightening father to suicide the year before.  Two of the elders of the church I was going to told me that I was demon possessed because I stared too much.  I suppose I did stare.  I stared particularly at one of them, because he was my father’s age and musical like my father, and I wanted to be a part of their family, informally.  He was a father figure.  The other elder – no, deacon – his wife told me that the man I saw as a father figure just saw me as a silly little girl.  They must have thought I fancied him or something (he was 38, I was 12, he was married with 3 children).  When they first tried to pray for me they decided I didn’t want help and told me I wasn’t to go back until I wanted help.  I think they also told me I couldn’t have communion.  The second time they prayed for me the deacon was bothered that I had practised a prayer instead of just praying on the spot, but the man I saw as a father figure said he felt good about it.  Apparently they saw a mouse which I didn’t see, and they told me the demons had gone into the mouse.  All I knew was that I wasn’t allowed to get close to the people I wanted, and I was hurt and upset, and frightened.  That fear left me briefly about 20 years ago, but it quickly came back when I was disrespected at the church I was going to in London.

At the church I went to in London, St Barnabas, Woodside Park in North Finchley, soon after my first experience in a mental hospital, I was so traumatised I was shouting when I was afraid.  I asked the vicar, who at that time was John Coles, what he would tell God when He asked him why he called the police on me, and John said he would say that he was dealing with someone who was ‘heavily demonised’.

I told Pete about both of these experiences and he said about the first one that I was obviously traumatised and they should have been dealing with trauma, not performing an exorcism.  He said it was child abuse, which I agree with.  David Shearman once told me he had been angry when he found out about it.  Unfortunately his anger did not relieve my pain and fear.  I lived for years worrying about demons, and looking into the mirror and seeing something evil in my eyes.  I can’t remember what Pete said about the second time, in London, that I had this forced on me.  But he said it all sounded medieval.  He also said that he thought people were like a piano, with all the notes available, and you just decide what you are going to play.

My worry is, have I misrepresented the Church?  They meant well, didn’t they?  Although I find that hard to believe, given how much anger was expressed.

I looked up the two people involved when I was 12.  One of them died in 2012 (the man whose family I wanted to be part of), and the other is an elder in a Christian Fellowship somewhere.  I didn’t recognise him but I recognised his wife, easily.

Bad Experiences

I was 11 when my father died at his own hands.  I don’t really know if it was suicide, it might have been a call for help and attention that backfired.  I know it left me without a strong hand at home.  The family fell to pieces.  I stopped going to school because I thought, ‘I don’t want to go so I’m not going’, and no one challenged that strongly enough.  My mother didn’t have enough authority to get me to go, and I was being bullied at school, so I lay in bed reading mainly Christian paperbacks.

My first experience of a Pentecostal church came when I was about 12 or 13.  A van with a megaphone came round my street advertising a crusade, and I decided to go.  It was an odd experience, with people saying loud ‘hallelujahs’ and ‘praise the Lords’ while a person on the platform was speaking.  I thought it was rude.

Eventually a man came to my attention who was the same age as my father and was also musical, as my father had been, and I used to watch him as he played a Hawaiian guitar.  I used to want to be a part of his family.  I let it be known that I liked him, and eventually one of the leaders or the leader’s wife told me that he thought I was just a silly little girl, as if I was sexually motivated (bearing in mind he was 38 and I was 12 or 13).

Very soon after this they decided I was demon possessed because I stared too much.  One week they told me I wasn’t welcome unless I wanted help, and that I was to go away and only come back when I wanted help.  I went back the next week, and they prayed for me to cast demons out,  It wasn’t pleasant, they found fault with me for praying a prayer that I had practised.  The man I liked was one of the people praying for me, another male leader was another,  They told me the demons had gone into a mouse they had seen but I hadn’t.  They left me afraid and traumatised.  I used to look into my own eyes in the mirror and think that I could see something evil in them.  I kept praying that God wouldn’t let me become demon possessed again, because I believed the things they had said to me.  I just needed a father figure, and I was completely misunderstood.

I’ve never really recovered from that time, the pain has never really gone away.  There was a woman at Talbot Street, where I ended up going shortly after David Shearman came to the church I’ve been talking about, who said I had caused problems in Andrew and David Shearman’s marriages.  When I told David that he said she wasn’t doing God’s work.  I don’t remember that he denied what she had said though.

In London the teaching I received about demons was that they attach when people are vulnerable, as in infancy or at a time of trauma, and that a simple prayer of deliverance was what was needed to remedy the situation, and also prayer for healing and filling with the Holy Spirit in place of the demons.  I believed this teaching.  Some people would say that what some people call demons is actually psychological or psychiatric.  People talk about coming to terms with their demons, not recognising a need or possibility of deliverance, and not talking about real demons in the first place.  The Pentecostal and Charismatic traditions believe and recognise that demonisation and deliverance are real, and these have been my background since I was 12 years old, the background I am now estranged from.  Over the last 20 years I have been accused of witchcraft by other Christians on many occasions.  That’s where I will leave this entry.  It’s all very painful and sore.

Child Brides

I just saw something on BBC News which made me cry.  A beautiful little girl who has been sold by her father to be married to cover his debt.  Although it is against the law in Afghanistan the tribal elders have approved it.  It happens all the time.

I looked for a petition to end it and found one.  It has only four signatures, I suspect because there is nothing the British government can do about this situation.  I don’t know.  Maybe I should do some research on the internet.

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