**Please note: this post is intense and contains information that is painful to read.
Dr. Dobson’s Dare to Discipline brings back some painful memories for me, not because of anything directly related to it though. We had and still have a very loving family. My mom quit her job to stay home with us, we moved to the country. My dad was hardworking, but often took time out to spend with us, reading Bible stories or a family movie night. They are loving parents, they truly wanted the very best. And yet, as we all do their foundation had cracks. Mom grew up with two working parents, left home and married very young. Dad grew up in an image conscious, physically abusive home.
Further, my dad, a Vietnam vet was not a healthy person himself. It is hard to see these things about your parents, even with pretty clear evidence. My Dad’s lack of health is evidenced in that he molested me several times between the ages of 9 and 12 and continued to violate proper sexual boundaries between father and daughter until I was in my early 20’s.
It is hard for me to see these things and even harder to say them. Yet, perhaps because of denial, it was not hard to bear. I loved him, he asked forgiveness, I gave it , every time. When I first heard about Stockholm Syndrome I totally understood it. The hard part to deal with was his daily lectures. I wished he would just give us the reasonable spankings described in Dare to Discipline.
My mom was a yeller but there was something entirely different between my mothers anger and my fathers. When my mom yelled it was an understandable response to frustration. She was venting her feelings. When mom yelled I felt guilty and motivated to “hop to it”. There was no fear.
Dads, lectures on the other hand, twisted my gut into knots. I felt pressured, pushed and threatened. I wanted to please him but he never was. I felt guilty and ashamed. I wished he would just. stop. talking. There was no release from judgment, no punishment to atone for it, no action I could choose to rectify it. I hadn’t done wrong (even if I had) I was wrong.