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JeffSjo

The Ethics of the "Put Down"

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Like other threads I've started, this one could be in the Open section of this site, but I think that the conversation probably will turn to The Way International.

In the decaffeinated section I posted about how my five year old son knows that his mother does not like me very much. I chose not to put her down in front of him for his sake and the sake of the kind of man I would like him to be when he grows up. Once she cussed me out right in front of him, but I think that he was too young for her put downs to have any lasting harm on his life, but I cannot control what she says in front of him, behind my back.

In my former splinter group that as yet I feel needs to publically unnamed here at the Greasespot the craft of the put down was a very effective method of keeping people in line. And I think that these manipulations came from Way Corps training in TWI. In TWI I can recall times when all that was needed to keep people in line was that leadership simply let it be known that a certain person "had spiritual problems." Then it was understood that everyone who was in the group had been warned to stay away from a certain someone.

I can understand that if a person is genuinely dangerous that folks might need to be warned off. After I was kicked out of my former splinter group I chose to let the locals know what was going on inside of my splinter group. Then they knew that the leader had told us that the locals or the government would attack us. Then they knew that the leader has been wrongly predicting the year of the Lord's return for qite a while. False predictions included 1997, 2000, 2002, and 2005 before they kicked me out. I also chose to give the locals several specific sharings so that they would not be fooled by the kind and good appearance that they work so hard to give people. IMO they have to work hard at it because what really goes on inside of that group is as twisted and nasty as anything that I've ever seen in my whole life. I was a little surprised but a little relieved to see that for the most part the locals were already aware that the leadership of this splinter group was nasty.

While I was a part of this splinter group I was certain that they were talking about me behind my back too. But I've always been willing to deal with my own faults honestly. I tried many, many times to discuss my faults with them, especially when I was expecting genuine Christian love and help. But after it became clear to me that genuine Christian love and help was not what they were going to give me, that they were using and exagerating my faults against me. At times I was even forced to speak against flat out lies that were being spoken about me. Ater several times of me stomping their lies into the dirt (so-to-speak) they only talked about these things behind my back, so I never had a chance to stomp them into the dirt more. Now it's anyone's guess how far they might go in order to make a percieved adversary look bad, but I would wish that they had given me the chance to speak DIRECTLY TO THE THINGS THAT THEY SPOKE AGAINST ME. Without me being able to confirm or deny the things that they hold against me, I consider them to be a mix of cowardice and backstabbing. Certainly they've learned to manage people's opinions of me in order to keep people within the group marching according to the company line.

I tried real hard to be up front with them first, only to have them move my wife and son out of my house and then have them kick me out of the fellowship. I think that my speaking about them and warning folks what was going on inside the group was just. If not just, at least I didn't lie.

For the most part now, I relish the opportunity to speak directly to things that are being spoken of me, but for the most part gossipers seem to want to hide, and so do false accusers IMO.

THESE TWO THINGS SEEM TO MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE TO ME WHEN SPEAKING OF OTHERS:

#1 TRUTH

#2 INTENTIONS

The truth of things spoken of others can be nailed down most often I think, but it may not be easy. In politics very often both sides seem to be able to lie just as effectively. In this kind of situation, just like when LCM and Geer faced off in times past, even though things were intense, they both seem to be disingenuous liars to me. In these cases all I can say is,"Good luck finding much of any truth there."

Intentions are even harder to nail down IMO. But when I've heard sharings about how LCM referred to someone as possessed because they were starting to show signs of not wanting to be abused any more, it seems obvious to me that if he couldn't use her anymore he would simply discard her. When Martindale answers to God for these things I don't think things will go well for him!

ANT THOUGHTS FOLKS?

(edited for spelling)

Edited by JeffSjo

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I saw those same tactics used in the remote fellowship I was in, but especially by the RCs (3 in a row). they were the worst at lying about people and humiliating them for not doing or thinking as they were told.

Edited by potato

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"If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

Thumper

from "Bambi"

Dear Watered Garden,

I like the sentiment, but in my particular case, I feel that speaking of these not-so-nice things has been sometimes necessary.

Dear Potato,

I'm not surprised that it was like that for you. It seems to me that when these tactics are used in "God's Name" and they are for nasty purposes that they seem ten times as bad as when they are simply done in a secular setting.

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Okay, tongue removed from cheek.

We are supposed to speak the truth in love. Or at least I am because I'm a follower of Jesus Christ.

A putdown might be truthful and hateful, or loving and lying.

Sometimes the truth needs to be spoken, including situations which involve ex-spouses who have children together, but not in front of the children.

That includes about former in-laws.

WG

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Dear Watered Garden,

I have to agree with speaking the truth in love as a goal. I think that like most things in the bible it has been wrongly applied to situations where it does not apply. Even in the gospels there is a clear track record of the lord's disciples getting it wrong time and time again only to hear from the Lord himself. I think that learning how to do it right is a growing process for all of us.

In TWI it seems to me that speaking the truth has often been discouraged in favor of lies and cover-ups. Since I believe this to be true I also think that any pretense of love in this situation is a lie too! I mean really, how can a sane Christian think that it's o.k. to honor Wierwille's memory at the expense of TWI victims. IMO that is not love, it's b.s.

I'm with you 100% about speaking things in front of the children. It is sad to me that out of nowhere my five year old tells me,"Mom doesn't like you very much dad." But for my ex-wife, truth has been what my former splinter group leader has said for a long time, and he often said it at my expense and deliberately so. He deliberately moved my wife to hate me, as she once told me she did with a stealy glare and a cold voice. I answered her,"I know, that's the problem."

(edited for grammar and spelling)

Edited by JeffSjo

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<snip>

I'm with you 100% about speaking things in front of the children. It is sad to me that out of nowhere my five year old tells me,"Mom doesn't like you very much dad." But for my ex-wife, truth has been what my former splinter group leader has said for a long time, and he often said it at my expense and deliberately so. He deliberately moved my wife to hate me, as she once told me she did with a stealy glare and a cold voice. I answered her,"I know, that's the problem."

</snip>

this makes me so, so sad. I'm not the praying type any more, but I do pray that your wife and child will be delivered.

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Jeff,

So what if they talked behind your back? Doesn't that reflect more on them than on you? If they didn't give you the opportunity to defend yourself against the things they said, doesn't that reflect more on them?

As far as your son, many parents put their children in the middle, which is wrong. Unfortunately, your wife is hooked up with people who "demonize" anyone who is not a part of their group, so that is how she wraps her mind around how she speaks about you in front of your son. Your wee one may be fooled by his mother's bad mouthing, but just hang in there - these things have a way of working themselves out.

Why try to second-guess someone else's intent? You can't arrest on intent unless it's acted upon.

As you found out, you didn't need to have a talk with law enforcement - they already knew what was going on with your splinter.

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<snip>

As far as your son, many parents put their children in the middle, which is wrong. Unfortunately, your wife is hooked up with people who "demonize" anyone who is not a part of their group, so that is how she wraps her mind around how she speaks about you in front of your son. Your wee one may be fooled by his mother's bad mouthing, but just hang in there - these things have a way of working themselves out.

</snip>

sadly, they don't always work themselves out. when one parent is determined to win and views the kids as a tool to get what they want, all kinds of irreparable damage is done.

so it's more than just "hang in there"... it's "keep fighting for your child's well-being".

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sadly, they don't always work themselves out. when one parent is determined to win and views the kids as a tool to get what they want, all kinds of irreparable damage is done.

so it's more than just "hang in there"... it's "keep fighting for your child's well-being".

Yes they do always work themselves out - just not always how we plan for the outcome. Jeff must learn to live within the parameters of the situation, seek wise counsel, and document all these instances of his ex wife's conditioning their child against him. That kind of documentation can be used in a court of law to retrieve his son from that environment. Jeff can prove that he is able to provide a more emotionally and physically stable environment for his son if he is willing to do the work.

Jeff can also do some things now - such as have a private conversation with his ex and tell her that he has made a decision, for the sake of his child and the child's relationship with his mother, to not disparage his mother in front of the child, and ask that she do the same. If she chooses not to go along with his (Jeff's) request, he (Jeff) will interpret that as a deliberate action on her part to psychologically damage the child and he (Jeff) will take any action that is legally appropriate to protect his child.

Jeff can also expose his boy to more normal activities, such as regular church, team sports, and the things that regular people do. It will not take long for his son (who sounds very smart) to rebel against the constraints of a cult mentality, which might cause mommy to start acting out. Then he can get his kid out of there a lot quicker.

The damage becomes irreparable only when you believe it is so. The truth is that the brain and the being of humans is far more resilient and able to redirect than ever imagined. The same thing that sucks people into a cult mentality can be used to release someone from the mentality.

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Yes they do always work themselves out - just not always how we plan for the outcome. Jeff must learn to live within the parameters of the situation, seek wise counsel, and document all these instances of his ex wife's conditioning their child against him. That kind of documentation can be used in a court of law to retrieve his son from that environment. Jeff can prove that he is able to provide a more emotionally and physically stable environment for his son if he is willing to do the work.

Jeff can also do some things now - such as have a private conversation with his ex and tell her that he has made a decision, for the sake of his child and the child's relationship with his mother, to not disparage his mother in front of the child, and ask that she do the same. If she chooses not to go along with his (Jeff's) request, he (Jeff) will interpret that as a deliberate action on her part to psychologically damage the child and he (Jeff) will take any action that is legally appropriate to protect his child.

Jeff can also expose his boy to more normal activities, such as regular church, team sports, and the things that regular people do. It will not take long for his son (who sounds very smart) to rebel against the constraints of a cult mentality, which might cause mommy to start acting out. Then he can get his kid out of there a lot quicker.

The damage becomes irreparable only when you believe it is so. The truth is that the brain and the being of humans is far more resilient and able to redirect than ever imagined. The same thing that sucks people into a cult mentality can be used to release someone from the mentality.

I agree with all your advice, but I disagree with your initial terminology. being an active participant in your child's well-being is far different than the passive "these things have a way of working themselves out". they really don't have a way of working themselves out, what happens is the manipulative parent works circumstances and the kids to their own ends - THEY work it out - so the last thing you should do as the other parent is be passive. it's a tough situation. I almost lost my son, permanently, because of how aggressively my ex went after me. kids take a lot of collateral damage. I won't list other things my child went through because of who lurks on this board, but I will tell you, there is irreparable damage. I still keep fighting for the best outcome because I have to for the sake of my kids.

Edited by potato

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Just to fill you guys in some more.....

My ex and I agreed to keep my son away from these bastards within our divorce decree. When the mediator that the courts appointed heard my side of it he asked if that the same kind of restrictions that applied to keeping children away from child abusers were applied to our divorce decree would be adequate. I answered,"It's not perfect, but it will do."

My son loves me, and I love him. My ex hates me, in her own words too. But for now the situation that my son is in seems acceptable to me. But thank you both for giving me some things to consider.

The thing about this splinter group is that when they talked behind my back they also exercized control over my wife and my friends. It is a very toxic mixture of extreme control along with a twisted and warped view of life and the ministry. It was a very, very hard thing to face for me, and it damaged me quite a bit.

My son is doing quite well in spite of his mother's opinions I think. It's always good between us. He talks to me about it, and I don't bash his mom. I think he knows that I'm the one that he can talk to. I'm trying to stay on top of it however.

Edited by JeffSjo

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Just to fill you guys in some more.....

My ex and I agreed to keep my son away from these bastards within our divorce decree. When the mediator that the courts appointed heard my side of it he asked if that the same kind of restrictions that applied to keeping children away from child abusers were applied to our divorce decree would be adequate. I answered,"It's not perfect, but it will do."

My son loves me, and I love him. My ex hates me, in her own words too. But for now the situation that my son is in seems acceptable to me. But thank you both for giving me some things to consider.

The thing about this splinter group is that when they talked behind my back they also exercized control over my wife and my friends. It is a very toxic mixture of extreme control along with a twisted and warped view of life and the ministry. It was a very, very hard thing to face for me, and it damaged me quite a bit.

My son is doing quite well in spite of his mother's opinions I think. It's always good between us. He talks to me about it, and I don't bash his mom. I think he knows that I'm the one that he can talk to. I'm trying to stay on top of it however.

I'm glad to hear that. there are so many times I've held my kids while they cried over something their dad did or said, and just told them that it hurt me they were going through it and they didn't deserve to be treated that way. they'll grow up healthier by being validated, I think. I've never subscribed to the popular bandaid "your daddy loves you in his own way" bull****. I never make excuses for him, and I don't bash him, but I do tell my kids when something's not right. I want their expectations about love to be realistic, based on respect, and not see them grow up thinking someone loves you just because they say they do then treats you like garbage.

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also, you can be very loving and honest with no words -- i mean, while they're real little

as they grow and have questions, then you have to use loving words

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Jeff, I think you're doing about as well as can be expected. Matrimonial separations are difficult at the best of times, and often get treated as "possessions" to be handled in some arbitrary manner. With the added complication of cult-abuse as well, it is horrendous. Your son will see the difference between you and the people his mum hangs out with.

Always encourage him to speak to you openly and never disparage what he says. You can let him know (as you do) that you disagree with others' behavior - even his, if necessary - but without making it nasty. It's really your opportunity to show "no condemnation" to him.

Be ready to take immediate action if you think he is being abused - physically, sexually. Let him know this, without of course encouraging him to make things up.

How old is the lad?

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Jeff, sounds like you're doing everything you can. Continuing to keep the lines of communication open and letting your son know that he can talk to you about everything - count on you to support and defend him - and, most importantly, never seeing the bad behavior your ex and that group exhibit in your life....

Children are very perceptive and they do notice those things. There will be bigger differences in the two as your son continues to grow. A friend of mine had a similar non-TWI situation with a very nasty ex. His son is 16 now and prefers to spend time with his dad instead of his mom because of how unpleasant it is to be around his mom. Despite all her attempts at the opposite, she has strengthened their bond and weakened her ability to impact her son.

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Thank you all very, very much.

It's really good to have your feedback.

My five year old son and I will doubtlessly be better of for it, and it's good to hear you all confirm the things that are in my heart to take care of him.

Love and Peace,

JEFF

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Jeff,

Keep up the good work. My boys were a bit older when I divorced (10 and 11). There were no fellowships or splinter groups involved (ex and I were both out years before) but she had some, let's just say, issues and went ballistic pitting the kids against me. Especially a year later when I got involved with the woman I'm now married to.

If you don't stoop to her level it will have a very positive effect. Also if you show that you are not hurt or worried that "mom doesn't like you very much" it shows the kids that people can have their own opinions and it won't affect your relationship with your son.

Two things young kids want to know about in that situation are 1) that the break up is not their fault - they have a natural tendency to think it is. And 2) that you are going to be there for them and be their parent regardless of the marriage breaking up.

You can (and should) tell them these things explicitly (and repeatedly) plus by not putting him in the middle of what's going on with your ex you show him that you mean it. It also helps to show (and tell him) that he's entitled to feel anything he feels - but that's different from acting on anything he feels. Help him give names to his feelings and make it safe for him to talk about them so he can act appropriately and separate his actions from his feelings.

Something else - if you are the more stable parent, at different stages he may feel the need to cling more to her or favor her. This is normal and actually an indication that he knows he can trust you not to disappear but he may not feel that way about her. It doesn't feel good when this happens but it often indicates his reliance on you. Of course it's usually non-conscious and something he can't articulate, which makes it more frustrating but hang in there.

I don't know if your ex is abusive or has real problems that affect your son. If that's the case you may need to acknowledge that some things are not right in her life. You have to do this in a way that walks the fine line between explaining to him what's going on (in age appropriate language of course) and yet not putting him in the middle of "your stuff". If that's happening you probably want some advice from a professional about this.

I have read of a study with abused kids about why some abused kids grow up to be abusers themselves, and some do not. They concluded that the difference was if a kid had an adult who knew what was going on and could talk about it - maybe an aunt, or teacher - even if that adult couldn't stop the abuse. The adult became what was termed an "impotent witness" and was able to give the kid some perspective that the fault was totally that of the abuser and allowed the kid to deal with it and mature more normally.

Hope this helps and as I said -keep up the good work. Remember you're in this for the long haul. In just two years you'll see how different a seven year old is from a five year old (and you'll have mellowed as well) but remember you're laying the foundation for a great relationship with your son that lasts decades.

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<snip>

Something else - if you are the more stable parent, at different stages he may feel the need to cling more to her or favor her. This is normal and actually an indication that he knows he can trust you not to disappear but he may not feel that way about her. It doesn't feel good when this happens but it often indicates his reliance on you. Of course it's usually non-conscious and something he can't articulate, which makes it more frustrating but hang in there.

</snip>

absolutely wonderful post, and I had to highlight the above because it is SO TRUE!

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this makes me so, so sad. I'm not the praying type any more, but I do pray that your wife and child will be delivered.

Dear, dear Potato,

I just wanted to say that even though I didn't respond to this post of yours yet, it really, really blessed me. Thank you.

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3 Cents reads my mail. :)

Yes, your child may work harder at pleasing his mother, because he is worried that she might reject him the way she rejected you. If you are the custodial parent (and sometimes even when you're not), he might test the boundaries more with you, because he is not afraid of you rejecting him. It doesn't make dealing with him any easier, just understandable.

On the other hand, him telling you that his mom doesn't like you, makes me think that he is one smart little guy, who will grasp that things are slightly different at Mom's house and at Dad's, and who will figure out how to take the best of both of you and leave the rest behind.

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My son is doing quite well in spite of his mother's opinions I think. It's always good between us. He talks to me about it, and I don't bash his mom. I think he knows that I'm the one that he can talk to. I'm trying to stay on top of it however.

Jeff, I'm skipping right from your comment here to my reply... I was in a similar situation (thrown out of twi and divorced from a still-in spouse who was really angry with me over the whole mess). He didn't actually HATE me, but he was very close-minded in his opinions and was very upset with me for a long time. It didn't take my then 7yr old very long to figure out who he COULD speak openly and honestly with, and who he COULDN'T. It is sad that your son has to see his mom behaving badly but the fact that he has your good, level-headed example to contrast it to will serve him very well as he grows up. My kid is a young man now and has turned out pretty well (if I do say so myself). Just keep doing what you are doing, and it will be fine.

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Thank you The HighWay and Shazdancer,

This weekend my boy once again impressed me with his ability to think for himself. It seems like a good thing too. I'm going to do my best to see that he doesn't get the wrong lessons out of the things that he sees and it seems to be going o.k. so far, thank God.

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Jeff, you seem to be getting some good advice here.

Couple of things occurred to me:

1. You can really help him develop his critical thinking skills (sounds like he's doing pretty well for a five year old)

2. He can see the close-mindedness of his mother's group and if he takes it to heart, he will never fall into a cult, or into cult mentality, himself!

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