There is no pain like the pain of your own children rejecting and deliberately ignoring you all year, but especially at Christmas. My ex-wife lives in the house that I gave her surrounded by our children and our grandchildren. She is the hero while I am the goat, the lowlife that deserves nothing but to be utterly ignored and thought of only with contempt.
And how does this connect to Baptist fundamentalism?
One of the tenents of Baptist Fundamentalism is to be ‘separated from the world.’ How this actually played out in my life was to prevent me from doing ‘normal’ things with my ‘unsaved friends.’ During the age most kids are supposed to be developing their own thoughts, their own values, and emotions, I was forced into the life press of ‘being separated from the world’, ‘being a witness and testimony everywhere I go’, and ‘being a light in the darkness’.
Normal social-emotional development during the middle school to high school years goes like this. . .
Middle-Schoolers and High-Schoolers
Ages 11–15 years
- Start thinking more logically
- Are introspective and moody and need privacy
- Value friends’ and others’ opinions more and more
- May test out new ideas, clothing styles, and mannerisms while figuring out where/how to fit in
Ages 16–18 years
- Strive to be independent and may start emotionally distancing from caregivers
- Start trying to discover strengths and weaknesses, at times seeming self-centered, impulsive, or moody
- Show pride in successes
Spend a lot of time with friends and may be interested in dating
By around 12 or 13 years old, I was starting to think a bit more logically and question the young earth account of creation that I’d been taught. I even had come to realize that Scofield held the Gap Theory view, and I mentally leaped at that as well. Until the press of complying with my fundamentalist preacher Dad squashed that out of me by bringing up counter arguments against it.
I was taught that my best friends should be my saved friends from church. This was difficult since the only guy my age didn’t go to my school, and I only saw him 3 times a week. My other ‘friends’ made fun of me at times for the separation stance and beliefs that were pressed upon me by my Dad. His influence was far more powerful to me than the normal connections with my friends.
As a result, I learned to grow up as an outsider looking in, feeling rejection, mockery, and loneliness as normal feelings. The only time I really felt safe was when I was at home. Going outside to school, felt like I was leaving my safe fortress and venturing out into the wild. Being emotionally vulnerable. Being less than. Being socially awkward. Being unwanted.
And after a lifetime of living this pattern, it carried on into every relationship I established. Along the way, there was a confluence of delusional expectations for ‘the perfect woman and wife’ with the family modeling of Dad being the King of the house, along with the ‘Biblical profile’ of the man, woman, and childrens’ roles in a family. When these attitudes and thoughts were combined with utter ignorance of finances, addiction, and general naivity, the explosion was a disaster in personal relationships that just destroyed everyone, including myself.
And so, this Christmas, I type this alone, unwanted, and rather despised by those that matter the most to me.
Because because the biggest mistake I really made was actually believing and doing what I was told. Just like this wonderfully written article, “Our Biggest Mistake: We Did as We Were Told”
And in so doing, I drove off the main highway of life, into the lonely, desolate chasm of a relational leper. Unclean! Unwanted!
A soul with a large, kind heart that has been broken into thousands of tiny, small shards. Unwanted! Unneeded!
One who is alwasy on the outside looking in. Wanting inside, but afraid to participate for fear of social failure.
Merry Christmas 2019! I hope yours is way, way better than mine.