“The Duggars: Abuse and Conservative Religion”

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Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar; Josh Duggar (inset)

The article I’m going to post is about half a year old, and was written following the sexual abuse scandal involving Josh Duggar (the Duggar’s oldest son) of the reality show 19 Kids and Counting.   I haven’t watched all the episodes, but I firmly believe that sexual abuse as well as malignant narcissism is a huge problem in the Duggar family.   Josh is probably not the first abuser.  His parents, Michelle and Jim Bob, are both very controlling and both use their ultra-conservative religion to control and shame, and isolate their kids from learning anything on their own.   The fame and fortune from their reality show no doubt provides a ton of narcissistic supply to both Michelle and Jim Bob.  I see many of their kids as scapegoats and flying monkeys.   Josh seemed like he was a Golden Child.

I’m posting this article now because it’s still relevant. Sexual abuse is not going away anytime soon and has been with us probably as long as human beings have been around.  What do you think of the Duggars?  Do you think Jim Bob and Michelle genuinely love their children, or are their children just props in the narrative of moral and religious “perfection” they’re selling to the world?  Will any of them ever dare to break free of the prison of their huge, dysfunctional family and its narcissistic rulers?

The Duggars: Abuse and Conservative Religion

Until a few weeks ago, I had no idea who the Duggar family was. To my surprise, it appears that many people in North America have been following this conservative Christian family. Further, the Duggar’s seem to be very influenctial among various Evangelical Christian lobbying groups. It seems that they have become a sensation because of their reality TV show, 19 Kids and Counting. Even as I read some things about the family in the news in recent weeks, it seemed to me that the Duggar’s were faux celebrities much like the Kardashian’s and Paris Hilton: they never really did anything but yet they seem to be famous.

I received an email from one of my colleagues, a psychologist in another part of the country, who asked what I thought of the Duggar’s and the current sexual abuse scandal. It was her question that prompted me to learn more about the family. While I have clearly never met the Duggar’s nor have I watched their TV show, what I found in the press seemed to fit the pattern of domestic abuse.

Read the rest of Lou’s article here.

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This TV movie about child abuse was way ahead of its time.

Today I was thinking about a TV movie I saw back in the 1980s that has haunted me ever since. I decided to watch it again tonight (you can watch the entire movie on Youtube–it’s in seven parts; I have posted the first part). It’s called Mary Jane Harper Cried Last Night and was first aired in 1977. Susan Dey (of Partridge Family fame) played an abusive, alcoholic mother to a 4 year old girl and she becomes completely unhinged. The movie is extremely triggering and may be upsetting to some.

There are several things about this movie that I found quite interesting.

— Rowena (Susan Dey) seems to have every symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder–but a case could also be made that her symptoms could well be untreated severe PTSD caused by the abuse she suffered at the hands of her own parents. This movie illustrates why I think BPD is really severe PTSD caused by chronic childhood abuse and could make a good case for that.

— Rowena’s parents are both textbook examples of malignant narcissists. Her mother is cold, rejecting, gaslighting, and blames her daughter for her unhappiness, as well as pathologically envious of the attention she receives from her father, who sexually abused her (and apparently still does).

— Rowena’s psychiatrist is a narcissistic jerk who coldly dismisses her from a breakthrough therapy session at the moment she recalls and re-experiences a long forgotten memory of being locked in a closet as a small child. This turned out to be an extremely cruel (and unwise) thing for him to do.

— In the almost 40 years since this film was made, not much has changed. The child protective system is still hit and miss at best and often tragically incompetent.

— It’s a fascinating and convincing study of the way the pathology of abuse infects succeeding generations.

The movie, being made for TV, isn’t perfect. There are a few holes in the plot and certain scenes just seem contrived. I also can’t help thinking of “Dean Wormer” from the movie Animal House whenever John Vernon (the head doctor) is onscreen. But the acting, especially by Susan Dey and the little girl who plays her daughter Mary Jane (Natasha Ryan), as well as the caring doctor who stands up to the Powers That Be and tries to protect Mary Jane, is top notch.

Have You Ever Been Hurt by a Psychiatrist? (Guest Post by Alaina Holt-Adams)

WARNING: The following may be triggering for many abuse victims. This article is especially harrowing because a therapist is supposed to help us cope and heal from trauma already endured, not add even more trauma. This is one of the most disturbing stories of an abusive psychiatrist I’ve ever read. And this psychopathic monster’s abuse was inflicted on a child of fifteen.

Unfortunately, malignant narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths are attracted to the mental health field because it gives them an easy way to take advantage or further abuse the hurting, the vulnerable, the abused, and even children. Be very careful when choosing a therapist. Sometime soon, I’ll be researching this topic in more depth and write an article about red flags to look out for.

The author has been so afraid to come out about this experience she asked me to let her write it as a guest post here rather than put it on her own blog. I am more than happy to do that, because I think her story can help expose the abuses that still go on in the mental health field and it may be of help to others.

Have You Ever Been HURT By A Psychiatrist?
By Alaina Holt-Adams

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I found this photo through an online memorial site. A single comment is posted under the picture. It says: “This man was my biological father, but I never got to know him. He didn’t want me and I never saw him. RIP.” The comment is signed: “Anonymous.” *

Out of respect for this monster’s adult child, I will refer to him as “Dr. Smith,” which was not his real name.

Handsome fellow, wasn’t he? Tall, dark, and aristocratic. Going by the date printed on this photo (which I cropped off because it was printed next to his name), Dr. Smith was in his late twenties when this picture was taken. He looked basically the same when I knew him twenty years later, with just a touch of gray at his temples to lend an air of wise sophistication, in sync with the leather elbow patches and carved pipes that were all the rage for image-conscious psychiatrists in the late 1960s.

His deep, softly hypnotic voice and sympathetic manner were even more compelling than his Rock Hudson good looks. With soulful gray eyes that seemed to read your innermost thoughts, everything about him said: “I Care Deeply About You And Your Problems.”

But everything about him was a lie.

If anyone ever fit the description of a charming, successful, suave sociopath, this man certainly did. He almost killed me — literally, almost murdered me. I believe he gave me the drug overdose on purpose, because I had told a nurse about the “good doctor” sexually abusing me.

Of course, I wasn’t believed. I was only fifteen and I was a mental patient. Later I was told that many other patients had accused this man of raping them, male patients as well as female. But he kept getting away with it because he was a “great and wonderful doctor” and “above reproach.”

The truth about this evil man finally came to light the last time he raped me, the night when he almost murdered me. A nurse told me later that she had heard me “screaming bloody murder” inside his office. She had tried to open the door but it was locked. She said the doctor told her through the door that I was in a deep hypnotic state, reliving a terrible trauma.

Hypnosis was his specialty. At first, all he used to put me under was a swinging pocket watch. He switched to giving me an injected drug to “enhance” the hypnosis, after I pushed his hands away when he tried to molest me. As the drug took effect, I became too weak to fight him off. That was when he would molest me. Probably because of the drugs he gave me, I have only vague, partial memories of the rapes.

That last time, as he was slowly injecting an amber-colored liquid into the vein inside my left arm, the doctor told me: “If you ever again tell anyone about what I’m doing, I will stick you in a hole so far you will never see the light of day again.”

Suddenly my chest hurt. I mean, it really HURT! I felt like a giant hand was squeezing my heart. I clutched at my chest and told Dr. Smith that my heart was hurting. He let go of the syringe and took my pulse… then he quickly injected all of the remaining drug into my vein.

The pain in my chest seemed to explode at that point. The pain was bigger than I was, bigger than the room we were in, bigger than the whole hospital. When I could not take the pain any longer, I passed out. What the doctor was doing to my body lying spread-eagled on the floor of his office, I could not see or feel.

After it was over, he woke me and told me to go back to the ward. I stood and almost fell over. “Kiss me goodbye,” he commanded. I shook my head no. “You will never be well until you stop repressing what you really want,” he said. That was the last time I saw him.

I felt like I was floating as I walked out of his office and across the street to my ward. I had the eerie sensation of only being in the top half of my body. My legs were moving up and down, taking one step after another, but my feet and legs did not feel like they belonged to me anymore. They were like the legs of a puppet and I was making them move by pulling a string.
As I walked onto the ward, my body crumpled to the floor. I seemed to be floating in the air, looking down at myself. The two nurses on duty rushed out of their office. They knelt beside my body. I was floating above them, looking at the back of their heads. I heard one of them say, “Her lips are blue.” Then the other nurse said, “I can’t find a pulse!”

Suddenly — Z*A*P! — I was back inside my body. I sat up with a jolt. I felt very dizzy.

The nurses helped me to my feet, then walked me back and forth, holding me upright between them. Hours seemed to go by as they walked me from one end of the ward to the other. While we walked, they chatted with each other the way friends do, talking about their lives, their children, and their husbands.

Finally my head cleared enough that I could speak. I asked if I could go to the bathroom. It was hard for me to talk, my mouth felt like it was full of cotton.

One of the nurses helped me into the bathroom, while the other went back to the office. The nurse stood beside me and watched as I pulled down my underwear. It was obvious from the condition of my underpants that I had been raped. She went out into the hall and called the other nurse to come and look at my underwear.

They must have reported everything to the police. Two male detectives in suits came to the hospital the next day and questioned me. I never saw Dr. Smith again. I don’t know if he was arrested or if he lost his license or what happened to him.

I do know that he committed suicide the following year.

To this day, any time I am given an injection by anyone, for any reason — by a dentist, a nurse, male or female, it doesn’t matter who gives me the shot or why I’m getting it or where it is being given — every time, I flash back to this. And I feel like I am being murdered all over again.

Years after this happened, even after I knew he was dead, when I tried to tell this story I would hear Dr. Smith’s hypnotic voice inside my head: “If you ever again tell anyone about what I’m doing, I will stick you in a hole so far you will never see the light of day again.”

Even today, more than four decades after his death, I am struggling with whether or not I should post this. Telling the truth about what this evil man did to me isn’t going to kill me…. right? I am NOT going to end up “in a hole so far that I will never see the light of day again” — am I?

Intellectually, I know that Dr. Smith’s hypnotic threat has no power over me today. But my heart is pounding while I’m writing this.

His anonymous child who never got to know him was lucky. And I am lucky, and deeply grateful, for those two nurses who saved my life.

BUT… unbelievably… several hospital staff people, including another psychiatrist, actually BLAMED ME, a fifteen-year-old in-patient, for “luring the good doctor with my sexuality” and “ruining the life of a wonderful man.”

I will (try to) write about that in a future post.
~ ~ ~

PS: In case anyone reading this wonders why a lonely, love-starved, hormonal 15-year-old would push away the hands of such a handsome man when he was touching me inappropriately, the whole truth is that I was flattered and excited the first time he rubbed my arms and shoulders and lightly ran his hands down the front of my dress when I was under hypnosis. Although Dr. Smith was older than my parents, he looked much younger, and he was also single (divorced) at the time. I was young and needy and naive enough to believe that the Cinderella fairy tale was true — that a handsome charming Prince could fall deeply in love with a poor little nobody, at first sight. When Dr. Smith first touched me, on the outside of my clothes, I actually thought he was doing it because he was falling in love with me. I was so starved for love and attention that I did not try to stop him, then.

But shortly after this, Dr. Smith was gone on vacation and a nurse said he had gotten married and was on his honeymoon. When he returned to work, he brought his beautiful bride to the ward one day. My heart was crushed then, as I realized that he did not love me and he was not planning to “rescue” me from the hell of the mental institution. I was raised in a very strict religion, so sex with a married man was a huge no-no. That was why I pushed his hands away when he tried to touch my genitals, and I told a nurse about what the doctor was doing. But even before he married his second wife, I never in any way “enticed” him. I was very shy and inhibited, and he was my doctor, more than three times my age. The thought of enticing him never occurred to me.

BUT — even if I had allowed him to have sex with me — which I did not — with him being my doctor and me being a mental patient, him in his late forties and me only fifteen years old — under those circumstances, it would have still been RAPE, regardless.

Rape is never about love or even about sex — it is all about evil power and control, as his almost-murder of me ultimately proved.

And psychiatrists and medical doctors and therapists are not gods. Some of them aren’t even human.

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The author of this post, Alaina Holt-Adams, has a blog here at WordPress, Surviving Complex PTSD. You must be signed in to view it.

* There was one other photo Alaina sent me to use, but it has a trigger warning and I was unable to open it. I will see what I can do.

“Children of God”: demonic cult disguised as Christianity

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David Berg, founder of the Children of God.

Talk about wolves in sheep’s clothing! David Berg, a malignant narcissist extraordinaire, who believed himself to be the Last Great Prophet of God and called himself “Moses David,” founded the hippie-like Jesus cult, the “Children of God” (a/k/a “The Family”) in 1968, as part of the well-known “Jesus movement” of the late 1960s. The Children of God (from here on, abbreviated CoG) believed in millennarianism, the “last days” and Biblical prophecy. Like almost all Christians, they worshipped Jesus Christ as their lord and personal savior. What’s so bad about that, you say? It’s just garden variety fundamentalist, evangelical Christianity, right?

Well, yes and no. Berg gradually began to incorporate very un-Christian, unbiblical principles into his cult and even re-wrote the Bible as he interpreted it. He believed sex was a God-given tool meant to be used by humans to get closer to Him.

Many religions accept sex as a good and beautiful expression of love within the confines of a marriage or a close and committed relationship, but in this cult, promiscuity and “free love” was okay, because it was a way to commune with the Divine. It was okay for a woman to masturbate and “come” for Jesus. They were encouraged to be “God’s Love Slaves.” Baby Boomers and younger members of the Silent Generation who had already become used to the idea of free love and sex with multiple partners were at first attracted to this “understanding” guru who loved Jesus but encouraged them to indulge in their carnal desires.

But it was their Generation X children who were about to really be exploited.

Illustrations in CoG literature and its Bible were cartoon-like (in the Jack Chick style of cartooning) and sexually explicit. Some involved children and S&M scenarios. Some of the illustrations are shown in this documentary series, so if you’re offended by sexually explicit drawings or pornography, you may want to be aware of this before you watch the videos.

Families were regimented, children were raised separately from their parents and raised by nannies (similar to the way the Hebrew kibbutz is run). Children were raised communally by nannies, while their parents spent their time focusing on their spiritual (sexual) relationships with one another and most of all, with Jesus.

But things got even worse. Eventually children themselves were drawn into the depraved sexual activities of this cult, and were encouraged by Berg to be used sexually by adults, even as young toddlers, to “connect” with one another and in the process become closer to God Himself.

Survivors and especially the adult Gen-X children who grew up in this destructive cult were badly damaged and suffer from PTSD and other serious mental conditions, and in some cases committed or attempted suicide.

Here is the video series–it’s in seven parts, but I have only posted the first installment. From there, you can click on the rest. This is very scary stuff.
The cult still exists today under their new name, “The Family International.”

Here’s another video that focuses more on Berg and the cult itself, rather than survivors who are trying to cope with the aftermath.

The most evil man I have ever seen

Here’s another addition to my Museum of Narcissists:

This devastating documentary (from 2000) about Melvin Just, a psychopathic sexual abuser who systematically destroyed all his daughters and his 3 stepdaughters (and killed a nurse but was never charged) paints a graphic picture of highly malignant narcissist who seems as thoroughly evil as the devil himself. His wife, dying of lung cancer during the time of filming, appears to be a malignant narcissist herself, not much better than her husband. She may have been under his thrall so long (and was such an enabler) she became evil herself. Psychopathy is contagious.

The pitiful daughters and stepdaughters are shells of what they could have been; they all are addicted to drugs or alcohol and appear to be living in grinding poverty. They all seem like they’ve died inside–their cynical laughter and hard attitudes cover scars so deep they can probably never heal. These are all wasted lives. One of the older daughters, Ann, was highly intelligent and read a lot, including books about famous psychopaths. She made the connection and identified her father as a monster just like the killers she read about. But even though she seems less damaged than her sisters, she suffers from depression and suicidal ideation and has tried to attempt suicide several times.

Melvin Just is one of the most evil people I’ve ever seen. During his interviews he shows absolutely no remorse for his heinous actions and keeps denying any wrongdoing. He also has the opaque, dead, black eyes that very malignant people are known for. It’s hard to look at him even in video without feeling like his evil could somehow infect you.

The way the daughters react to his funeral at the end is both hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time. These are incredibly tortured women.

Can a psychopath ever be cured?

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I watched a fascinating documentary, about a 6 year old girl (Beth Thomas) who had been severely sexually abused and neglected and was diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder, a precursor of psychopathy. The little girl is remarkably callous when she speaks about wanting to kill her younger brother and her adoptive parents and shows little emotion. However, because she is only six, she is also honest and candid. She is shown a few years later and has become a normal, loving child.

Psychopaths generally cannot be cured, but in some cases like little Beth’s, early intervention combined with removing a young child from an abusive home can reverse the course of psychopathy before it’s too late. Today, Beth Thomas is in her 30’s and is a registered nurse who works with her adoptive mother, Nancy Thomas in her company Families By Design, which promotes Attachment Therapy to improve the parent-child relationship.
From all accounts Beth shows no signs of narcissism or psychopathy. This is what she looks like today:

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