Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Growing Up With Hate Disguised As Love

Written By Don Shetterly

As a kid, we went to church, every Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night and any other day there were activities.  Church services and prayer meetings were the norms for our lives.  Days and meals were planned around it.  No one was exempt from going, and you were expected to be there.

In each prayer meeting or church service, the participants (our family included) talked about loving one another.  We talked about how we were somehow different from all the rest of the population.  We talked about how we were holier than all the rest of the people living on the planet.

We tried to be good people and do the right thing most of the time.  We sought to be honest, upstanding, loving, kind and generous when we could We put our offering in the collection plate and sometimes I saw my dad give their entire life's savings while we starved, but we were doing it in the name of all that was holy.

Not Gossip - It Was Prayer Requests...

We didn't mind the gossip that went on in the church because we didn't call it that.  Instead, we referred to it as prayer requests.  We'd offer up prayers in the circle while many would raise eyebrows at hearing the news of various participants.  That was okay though because we were praying about it of course.

We would get back in the car to leave the church service or prayer meeting and boy that is when the discussion of the prayer requests (a.k.a gossip) would start up with intensity.  It was as if there were only a few minutes to discuss it.  I would listen as my parents talked without a pause.

It would bother me, but you didn't dare stand up and say anything for fear of being beat.  You couldn't expose the error in what family was doing because you got it when you got home.  I just had to sit there and listen to it while it made my stomach turn.  Yet, we were a loving family who was special and went to church.  Gossip was something others did.

With the same breaths of love and kindness, we would turn our attention to all those that we disagreed with from our neighbors to other members of the church.  The minister, of course, was not exempt with this, but because it was in the secrecy of our car and home, no harm was done.  After all, we proved that we had love for one another.

Didn't Know Our Actions Were Hate Filled...

If people thought differently than what the ruler in our family proclaimed as the law, we despised them and distanced ourselves from them.  You could say that we hated them, but then no one would have admitted that in this moment or at any time.  For we were Christians.  We were called by God so we could not have hate.  We didn't know that our actions were hate filled.

Never mind the domestic violence and child sexual abuse that was going on in the family.  Never mind that the thought of sparing the rod and spoiling the child was enacted to the extreme.  These were regular parts of our family while we acted as if we loved everyone and hated no one.

I escaped from that life, and it was not easy to leave it behind.  Because of other situations in my life with healing from Conversion Disorder, I had to walk away from my entire family to save my life.  I was cast out as a son that was brainwashed by psychiatrists who didn't know that his family loved him.  I was shoved aside until I came to my senses.  All the loyalty that had been demanded of me throughout my life was now cut off because I no longer lived by the family code I grew up with as a kid.

My Family Still Practices Hate...

To this day, I see those in my family who still practice the hate.  They disguise it as love, but the hate has blinded their hearts.  They no longer can tell a difference.  It is sad observing it from outside the family.  Some days, I can barely believe this is the family I grew up in.

I see things happening in the world and our country which reminds me of those years I have longed to forget.  The one-way loyalty and the hate disguised as love.  The superiority of some as they lift themselves up over the ones they have trampled.  I see a disdain for what is really the truth, hidden by everything under the sun that is not.

If you tried to confront anyone about this, they would laugh and spit in your face.  Yet, the same people puff themselves up as the arbitrators of truth, justice, and love.  Instead, the judgment shown by most people towards others, even the ones that cloak it with some love, is one of the most hurtful things you can do towards another.

I grew up in the church and the family that judged everyone while we smiled, hugged them, and told them, "I Love You!"  We thought we were the best that life had to offer.  We thought we were right and everyone else was wrong.  As I've put distance in my healing from my family, I realized just how wrong we were.  We were not only part of the problem, but we were the problem.

No one wants to look hard into their own life and see the garbage then need to throw out the window.  No one wants to acknowledge their actions and thoughts and words as being not only part of the problem but the problem facing this world.  Everyone is quick to judge everyone but themselves, and I weep at the sadness of this behavior.

Living life in this world is not always easy but the more we hide our heads in the sand, duck behind the knowledge of truth, the more we make it an arduous journey.  We're not as great as we proclaim because a great life is seen through actions, not words.  We can speak the words, but if we do not live the life that we preach, we are nothing more than a clanging gong.

What is in our heart and mind and body is what we display to the world.  We can mask our hate and project it on to everyone else, but until we go in and search our own heart and mind, we will be part of the problem.  Let us open our eyes and become aware of what we truly do, not what we say to convince the world.

I work each day to de-program my mind from the brainwashing I endured as a kid.  I work each day to love others through my heart and actions, not just the words I write or say.  Every day, I strive to release all the toxicity and poison that was pumped into me as I was taught the truths of life.  I am the only one that can change how I live my life now.

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