Friday, January 22, 2010

Submission Tyranny begets Sinful Generations

Submission Tyranny frequently attacks children as well as their mothers. When males are told they are the authority in the household, and they choose to misuse that authority, the children fall prey to the male notion of male supremacy. Bible passages that teach children of abusive males to obey their parents bring forth intense fear of their fathers, but a wide range of emotions toward their mothers, including contempt, distrust, anger, close bonding, and love. Their reaction toward their mothers is largely dependant upon the actions, teaching, comments, and example of their fathers as well as the statements and teaching of their church leaders.

Children who attend complementarian churches that stress the authority of males, often end up with no recourse, no safety and no one to turn to when they have harsh, demanding, and impossible-to-please fathers. Some of them turn to their mothers for help, but when the mothers are also held in bondage by their church leadership, they are unable to do much beyond lend a sympathetic ear.

These children, with the help of church leaders and their fathers, are likely to understand Ephesians 6:1-4 something like this:
children obey your fathers in the Lord, no matter what: for this is right. This is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth instead of getting zapped by God.

Honor your mothers every Mother’s Day, unless your father tells you not to.

And ye mothers, do not provoke your children to rebel against their fathers: but when they come to you for sympathy, tell them to obey and subject themselves to the harsh demands of their fathers, for their fathers are attempting to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Children with this teaching, grow up with an erroneous view of God. They think of God as an angry, punishing being, similar to their own fathers.

When these children reach adulthood, many of them, especially boys, tend to copy their dads and take the authority teaching, which gives males permission to abuse, to the next generation. Many girls from these male-authority homes go into their own marriages with no self-esteem and expect to be doormats for their own husbands. Children who make these choices frequently stay in their male-authority churches.

Conversely, some children decide God is a tyrant and they want nothing to do with him or with the church and its tyrant leaders. Still other children decide the tyranny is the result of organized religion, and choose to maintain a close relationship with God, but divorce themselves from any and all churches.

Sadly, it is very difficult for children from male-authoritarian homes to figure out how to have loving, respectful marriages. As a pastor said to me, when people date, they have many role models to choose from. But after they marry, and things happen, their knee-jerk reaction tends toward copying the actions and reactions they saw over and over from their same-sex parent.

Thus, the current male-authority teachers, who all too frequently excuse abusers, are birthing and training the next generation to become wife and child abusers. By refusing to allow wives and children to leave their abusers, and by punishing them if they do leave, these male-authority teachers end up teaching children that domestic abuse is acceptable to God. That generation will practice domestic abuse in their homes and train the next generation to practice it, too. And on and on, generation after generation.

When are churches going to stop insisting that the sin of abuse will beget righteousness? When are they going to stop insisting that wife submission is the glue that holds marriages together? When are they going to stop insisting that "husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church" means husbands must have authority over their wives? And when are they going to stop training the next generations to be wife abusers and beaters?

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit


  1. Waneta I have the same problem except my abuser was my mother [and she horribly abused both me and my brother, in every way including sexually], in her days of being a rebellious Catholic to Sorcery to Christianity--

    he is no longer Christian--was at one time, even a youth pastor, he is really messed up and so am I...I am now having to work out, through so much distorted lens,that goes SO deep,

    about how I see God. Scriptures can really trigger and I find myself hating God, really hating, I've recently had to come to face this truth--and now I'm having to relearn WHO God is--going through a wilderness period with Him to do just that,

    not only does abuse distort, its also after it germinates its poison [iniquity] in us it becomes a 'hiding' place too for iniquity to hide in us so we have that 'excuse' to hang onto to NOT give God control,

    where I'm at now--having to deal with that, or Him dealing with it,

    it's Iniquity---and in us, if we are to truly be transformed, it has to go....distortions and all.

    This is NOT easy, I am finding, because the 'flesh' is also in the way--

    I don't understand it all--because I am not working through it to get to really Know GOD and dump the living this mental Idealism, of Christianity--

    the 'false religion'

    and its kind of scary because the doubts come flooding in, IS this God or is this the enemy wanting to isolate OR is it just me in a pity party--

    but, truth is, those inquities are in us and we act on them--act out--why so many sins are hard to let go of,

    until we get to the Root of why they are such Strongholds.

    Its time for me to lose the, just Realized that--they are strongholds.

    Ha, love it when He does that--confirms like that.



  2. How true your comments are!!!

    We think we are so smart as humans--even when we have a background in Psychology, HOWEVER people are more guided by their role models in childhood, and a book on personality development seldom changes things.

    I see what you ae talking about in my daughter's boys clearly. The 12-year-old has become a smirking and sauntering "supreme being" thanks to his dad. People who knew him in high school tell my daughter, "I can't believe you married that arrogant jerk."

    She did, thinking she could help him because his parents had kicked him out and he was saying he would be better off dead. My daughter, lovingly, took up the challenge for 15 years. While he was away on a Coast Guard ship half the time, things were tolerable. When he came home and changed jobs for a full time presence, he was a monster to live with.

    By this time she knew what she had, but still had hopes he would change. When the second son came, things got worse rather than better. That child became the child not wanted. He could never measure up to his older brother no matter how hard he tried. The 3 year difference made no difference to an abusive father who did not know how to encourage each child on his own merits.

    It was in this his own upbringing kicked in. He was hated by his mother. When his brother came along, that boy could do no wrong! My son-in-law hated and recognized it, but he was treating his second child with total derision just as he had been treated.

    His demons began to rise and he turned to marijuana and cocaine to ease the pain. It was a poor choice. My daughter reconciled herself that the weed kept him mellow. She had no idea until recently that he had gone far beyond weed.

    Now her dilemma hit her in the face. She knew he was not going to get better, but she didn't want the abusive agony of leaving him. She hung tight and had twin boys by him. Now she had 4 boys becoming more and more like their father. She would let them have their way in order to keep peace in the house and not incur the wrath of an explosive father punishing and tyrading.

    She left him 2 years ago when she discovered the cocaine pariphanalia in the house. He promised to get treatment so she went back. It was another 2 years in Hell until she decided recently it was over. He had beaten every door in the house. He could never find time to put up the swing set for the boys nor a fence for the dog to keep him out of the street. He had destroyed any love she had for him. He was a poor role model. He was using drugs again. Only recently she found out it was a $500 a month habit.

    As predicted, he exploded when she filled out the separation papers. She had to take out a protective order. We had the Deputies there when he refused to sign the papers. It was a nightmare, and could have been the stuff murder/suicide headlines are made of. He was threatening, not only her, but her mother and me. He almost got tasered as he got within 2" of my face and raged at me.

    Now, it is about over, but not without him raging and pushing the limits of the protective order. I am grateful she had the courage to confront him and do the right thing for herself and the boys. The separation papers now read "no unsupervised visitation."

  3. (cont.)

    It is a shame when male dominance rules and a man's love for his wife and children takes a back seat to his selfish desires not to be disturbed, and to look at sports programs to his heart's content. He has set and example of pulling off clothes and scattering them as they lay without doing anything to help with child rearing or house cleaning. He is the typical self-centered male cheuvenist. My daughter is madder than I have ever seen her. That anger is her salvation and that of her sons.

    It seems there are certain cultures which promote this kind of behaviour. It is particularly prevalent in "male honoring" societies like the Italians / Middle Easterners / South Americans. There momma is revered, but daddy is the king and he tells everyone what to do with little emotional input to the marital relationship.

    Further, it is acceptable that he has affairs as long as he provides for his family with sufficient money. This is total depravity and insanity for a woman wanting to be a good mother and loving mate. All it does is perpetuate the kind of environment which was a part of Old Testament living. Men then valued a good donkey as much as a good wife. If it came to choosing the value of the donkey over the value of his wife, the donkey might often win!

    How crazy! How stupid! How sick!

    Waneta and friends--you made a wise decision, just like my daughter, to leave the insanity behind. I hope, somehow, people will come to grips with how crazy it is. Sadly, as long a women take it, I don't think anything will really happen.

    Life is made for joy and peace--not terror and abuse.

    I am proud of you wise women. Keep your chins up, for you are seeking God's way, and not the corrupted way of male dominance mixed with abuse!

  4. "I don't understand it all--because I am not working through it to get to really Know GOD and dump the living this mental Idealism, of Christianity--"

    Welcome to my blog! Right now the best way for you to get to know God, is to know His heart when it comes to abuse. He is NOT for abuse, no matter who does it. There are so many Bible passages that speak to this truth. One of them is Isaiah 58. Abusers think they are getting by with their nastiness. "Be not deceived, God is not mocked, whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (from memory, so there may be some errors.) Abusers do not hear your pleas for mercy, and the Bible says God does not answer their prayers. Peter says husbands are to honor their wives so their prayers will not be hindered.

    Jane, our anger at God is usually because we are blaming Him for the sin of the people who are actually following Satan's ways. It is not God's fault that you were abused; it is Satan's fault. God weeps and is angry right along with you. (and me.)

    There are a number of laws God put in place for the protection of women, and by extention, for the protection of children. One of the beefs I have with those who proclaim male authority, is that they ignore those passages. "Not Under Bondage: Biblical divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion" by Barbara Roberts goes into detail about that.

    I realize that abuse from your mother is a different slant, but the principle applies.

    Also, I was at a conference this past weekend, and the speaker said something I have never heard from the pulpit. He said children are to honor their parents to the extent that their parents honor God. When your mother was abusing you, she was NOT honoring God. "We ought to obey God, rather than men." (or women.) The Bible tells us to be kind, merciful, loving. Abuse is none of these.

    God, our Father, is loving. He wants to gather us into His protection and comfort as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. For right now, it is ok to run to Him for comfort, to learn His heart where abuse is concerned. Later you can pursue getting to know Him better in other areas. God bless!

  5. "I see what you ae talking about in my daughter's boys clearly. The 12-year-old has become a smirking and sauntering "supreme being" thanks to his dad. People who knew him in high school tell my daughter, "I can't believe you married that arrogant jerk.""

    Your daughter's boys are a very good illustration of my post. I very much hope she got them away from their dad's influence in time, so they will not take abuse to the next generation. You have your job cut out for you, Gene! You are their male model now.

    One of the things I understand is that the children of women who stay with their abusers, are more likely to see abuse as "normal" behavior. But those whose mothers take a stand and leave the abuser, have a better chance of deciding against abuse themselves. After all, they have an example of someone who stood up for what is right, who said "Enough!" Your daughter's example will show them how to refuse abuse in their own lives.

    Hang in there. It may still get worse before it gets better. Satan doesn't like to lose. He reminds me of a snake. Even when the snake's head is cut off, it still tries to kill.

    There is a story about a man who cut a poisonous snake's head off, and then tried to find the head because he knew it was still dangerous and could kill. He couldn't find the head, even though he looked and looked. Finally someone spotted the head hanging onto the man's shirt. His pocket had protected him from the poison of the snake's fangs.

    In a similar fashion, your son-in-law is powered by Satan, and Satan will not give up attempts at destruction without a fight. Please, don't let down your guard just yet.

    And you are right, your daughter's anger is good at this stage. It will help her stay on target and help her do what needs to be done. I hope you can help her to not be too hard on herself. She is is NOT the first person to be taken in by an abuser, and she certainly won't be the last.

  6. Jane & Waneta--

    I used to think Satan was somewhat made up.

    Now that I have lived most of my life, I am convinced he is very real. His greatest delight is to deprive anyone from a relationship to God and their fellow man. Also to deprive us of joy / peace that passes understanding.

    The basic definition of Sin (harmartia) is "separation." It can be separation from our Spritual Creator / others / our own true self.

    Rest assured, Satan already has a lot of people who are disconnected. As anger in this country rises over the economy, that is another kind of sin.

    I am convinced Satan does not worry that much over people he already has in conquest. He works hardest on those of us who have faith and try to keep it despite the cruelty of mankind and situations of life.

    One of the measures of your faith is how hard Satan works to deprive you of it. Take it as a compliment that you have faith, if life is harder on you than many others.

    Also remember: "Faith is a verb." It is not a thing you have, but a way your live in trust that God wants to prevail and will, with our trust constantly that he is working a higher purpose in our lives.

  7. Hillary,
    Welcome to my blog! And thank-you for your encouragement.


    "I am convinced Satan does not worry that much over people he already has in conquest. He works hardest on those of us who have faith and try to keep it despite the cruelty of mankind and situations of life."

    Perhaps that is why those who are devout are the ones who insist Satan is real.

  8. Great post!

    My husband's abuse towards me (and his latent misogyny) can all be traced to his resentment towards his MOTHER!

    Why his mother when his Dad was the one "in charge"? I think because he was close to his mother in the early years, and yet when Dad was abusive (though it was never called that) mom just went along under the false Christian paradigm of wifely submission. In other words, he never trusted Dad, but he trusted Mom and she betrayed him!

    It was at Kathy and Joel Davissons' Marriage Intensive that we first heard of the connection between making a substitute mother figure out of your wife and domestic violence. It seemed oversimplified.

    But at the tail end of what I will refer to as an abusive incident, I blurted out to my husband, "Why do you hate me? I'm not the one who sent you away and abandoned you when you were only six years old!" and he fell on the floor sobbing from the depths of his being, then it was clear that it was an accurate diagnosis of the problem.

    Now I know for a fact it ripped his mother's heart out to send her boys away to boarding school, but she "submitted" wholeheartedly when the day came- telling these bewildered and hurt little boys that their "loving" God required this of them and that as "loving" parents their decision was non-negotiable and to be respected and accepted as "loving". Any wonder he resents her?

    All this to say that the false emphasis on wifely submission screws over boys as well as girls and does set them up to be abusive to their wives. Even when they truly want to be loving and good, they do find themselves chained to the past.

    There is help out these for men who want to change, but so many of these little boys in grown up bodies are too afraid to admit they need help. And so they suffer, and those around them suffer even more.

    I applaud you, Waneta, for your efforts to spotlight this very real problem that the church pretends doesn't exist. Current teaching on marriage isn't just conducive to domestic violence, it is INDUCIVE to domestic violence!

    My husband really wants to be healed and whole, able to be a loving father and husband. He is getting the help he needs at Life Skills International (Paul Hegstrom)
    and he discovered that he needed to change at Joel and Kathy Davisson's Marriage Intensive

  9. Aren't we a conflicted bunch of "smart people."

    I shall never forget looking around the classroom in Abnomal Psychology at Emory University in 1966. As I looked at srange expressions and vacant eyes, I thought to myself, "This is a room filled 80% with crazy people. If these people become licensed Psychologists, it would be like a person with a cough going to a Dr. with tuberculosis for help. He will kill them before he helps them find a cure!"

    The best description of crazy people came to me from a black woman who cooked supper for our church. After a little wine she bought along with the church Wednesday Night Supper supplies, she was shelling corn cobs with a razor sharp knife. She asked me, "Mr Scarbor--you ever meet them people with dancyeyes?"

    I asked, "What did you say, Anna?"

    She said, "I was talking about them people whose eyes go up and down up and down! You know, they got dancy eyes!"

    "Oh," I replied, "Now I know what your mean. You are totally right! I have had many courses in Psychology, I have spent time working at the State Mental Hospital in Raleigh, but no one has put it quite so simply: If their eyes dance up and down, watch out!"

    Most of us are not nearly as smart as we think with "book learning." Despite our attempts to figure out why we are personally crazy, it usually goes back to our parents and our upbringing: those who have crazy parents can easily become----crazy!

    It is caught like the plague and continues to kill people!

  10. Gene,
    Yet the people who feel called to counsel others are frequently the ones who were so hurt themselves, that is WHY they want to help others. Without their pain, we would have very few counselors.

    But weren't you saying you also had education in counseling? So...does that mean you claim to be crazy, too?

  11. Who defines what Crazy is?

    IF you really ponder that one, we are ALL CRAZY. LOL

    Gene brings us something that is worthwhile to consider though, because through out the time of humanity, genocides have been Always, based on the belief that the 'ones done away with' are inferior, crazy, a pollutant, you name it, demonized,

    and what Is interesting Gene, is that Bakunin, Russian anarchists [see note] claimed that one day, the scientist 'elites' would be the worst butchers-vanguard depots of them all. Was he right?

    Look at us today, with our technology and genetics and science, marketing [using psychology] and cults [using psychology] and mass movements [using psychology] of some kind,

    there is Good that comes out of the sciences but there is horrendous Evils that come out of the sciences,

    something that many don't take into consideration enough. Whenever we can remove Dissent, and whenever we can 'define' what is good and what isn't, who is and who isn't,

    into an us verses 'them', and then back it up with Action, using power, systems, science, to rid the world of the 'pollutants',

    we're headed for serious trouble. Because the thing is,

    like with Hitler, today its the Jew, tomorrow its the Catholic, the next week its the Gypsy, etc etc etc,

    if we begin to do the same with 'who is crazy',

    with the group think---watch out.

    And its really, already happening, with the squashing of 'dissent'. And what is the means, labeling them 'crazy'. Hysterical, better term, women have been told they are 'hysterical' and what gave that demonization the power of all powers?

    Men of mental sciences....

    lest we forget.

    In solidarity,


    note: it's no surprise, Bakunin was right, Science was one if not The major tools, used in the Soviet [and other totalitarian regimes] to control the masses, e.g. media, mind controls, psychiatry and so forth...many anarchists were killed for not 'conforming'. Today, we not only see people killed, but if they do not conform,

    we just drug them until they do....look at the field of science today, and the numbers of children on drugs [pharmaceuticals] today, for uh, being 'defined' Crazy

    something to think about.

  12. Good point, Jane!

    What if ADD should actually be called BTD? "Boring Teacher disorder?"

    What if our learning should be more physically active and less couch potato-ish?

    Most of those labeled with ADD or ADHD, are known to have it selectively. When there is something that fascinates them, they can focus well enough.

    Or what if it is caused by all the prescription drugs in our water supply?

    It all reminds me of the childrens book "A wrinkle in Time," where all the people have to do everything at the same time, have to look alike, act alike, think alike. Any dissent is severely punished. Is forcing children to sit still to learn another form of submission tyranny?

  13. When I was growing up, my mom was emotionally dominated by my dad. He would withhold his love from her and would go without speaking to her for long periods. He was very controlling and she was very submissive (they never fought or argued! No one knew it wasn't a perfect marriage). She couldn't even drive a car (no license) until I was about 15 years old. He cheated on her repeatedly, and continued to even after she found out. Even though she was scared, she finally got the courage up (with help from her mother) to get her license, go back to college, and file for a divorce. She reflected on all those years as a time when she essentially treated my dad as an idol and worshipped him rather than God. Her obedience was devoted to the wrong person! I was a teenager during this time and it rocked my world to see our family change and to see my mom get strong. I had certainly been affected by all those years, and had some of my own issues to work out, but I knew change. My sister had already left home by this time, so she didn't get to experience what freedom looked like for mom. I think it is taking her a lot longer to deal with the affects of childhood than for me. I am thankful that I had the chance to learn all that stuff was wrong and I didn't fall prey to it myself.

    Other women my mom's age were dealing with controlling and cheating husbands too. Perhaps there was physical abuse, but I can't remember hearing about it.

    I am very thankful for my husband. He is very considerate and sacrificial. He gives back rubs at least twice a week, and will help with anything I ask. He even offers help when I seem stressed. He seems to take it as a point of pride when I ask him to help with something. We both had to learn to accept some non-traditional roles in our marriage. His work schedule makes it easier for him to father our son and take care of the house (which is great because physically he is so much faster and stronger at it). I was initially jealous when he got to homeschool our son for a year when I was just starting a stressful job. But he had to get used to the idea that I out earn him 5 to 1. I would tell him that someday I might not be able to work and that he will always be ultimately responsible for providing for us. He is admirable of my professional talents, and I am grateful that he can invest so much in our son. I feel very fortunate to have this marriage.
    I am sure that seeing what my mom did made me very aware of what not to get trapped in.

  14. Welcome Anonymous!
    You bring up an interesting point: if we can start to recognize sin when we are still in our years of training, getting it right will likely be far easier than it is for those who completed their growing up years with a sinful doctrine. I am constantly surprised at how much I keep having to revisit and re-enforce the truth for myself. Although I was beginning to see the tip of the iceburg in my growing up years, I still bought the loving husband leader notion. What amazes me is how much I didn't know--that the divorce laws were to protect women, thus evidence of God's love and care for women, and that Jesus told the most important stuff to women first and told them to tell the men. In other words, I somehow had bought the notion that although God may be sympathetic when women cry because they are mistreated, He really didn't care all that much. The best word picture I can come up with is that I thought God saw and cared for women kind of like men may care for their least favorite horse, cow, or dog. They may treat a wound, but do so minimally and without emotional investment. But Jesus showed that He, and God the Father, are emotionally invested in women and deeply care about them. Back then, I knew this on some level, and God directed me very specifically and lovingly at times, yet I didn't catch on how emotionally invested in me God is. How deep, wide and long His love and care is. His love goes beyond wanting to "use" me/us. His love means he wants us to feel deeply fulfilled and deeply connected to Him in whatever mission He asks us to do.

    I agree that women are being taught to look to their husbands instead of to God, and that it is idolatry. In Gen 3:16 God prophesied to Eve that her turning, I take it her yearning, would be directed toward her husband, rather than toward God. Adam's betrayal of Eve, his blaming her for his own choice to sin, on purpose, set a new tone in their marriage. Eve no longer had Adam's love, and she kept pining for it. And he ruled over her instead. This is the story of so many abused wives. As she pines for her husband's love and tries to be more perfect, more submissive, to win him back, she ends up moving into idolatry and often cannot connect with God on anything but a superficial level. So sad. Even sadder the churches insist that wives honor their husbands to this sinful degree of idolatry, and at the same time show and teach the lie that wives, women, and girls are disfavored in God's eyes, and that God has decreed all females are of the servant caste/class, while males are favored with important and higher callings.