Mom's Sick. Dad's Abusive. I Have Let Go.

Guest post by Jenni Z

My mother is very sick, and no one quite knows what’s wrong. She has flu-like paralytic episodes which leave her weak. Her voice becomes froggy and scratchy. She’s been tested for just about everything, but there has been no firm diagnosis yet.

The sicker she has become the more I have been able to clearly see the depths of my father’s abuse. His nonchalance regarding her medical care is really the tip of the iceberg in an ice-cold sea of psychological and emotional abuse. It has become the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I am the camel.

I couldn’t do it anymore. I could no longer act like everything was fine. That this is just the way he is and I needed to quit being dramatic. At least he’s not physically abusive, right?

Wrong.

So I began to pull back. I started to work on myself. Because I am the only person I can control.

I put boundaries between my parents and me. If you’ve ever dealt with a narcissist you know that isn’t easily done. Any boundary you put up they will barge right through with ‘how dare you do this to me’ entitlement.

The more I pulled back, unfortunately and unsurprisingly, the sicker my mother became. From the time I was a very young girl, she needed me to withstand my father’s abuse. I can see now how unfair it is to impose that responsibility on a child.

I ended up having to cut ties with my father completely. I feel like he left me no choice. I was falling apart. Anxious (still am, extremely so) and constantly afraid. What was I so afraid of? As I thought more about this I realized I couldn’t ever remember not being afraid to some degree.

I finally had an epiphany. A slow epiphany of sorts because it took me all of these years to get to this point. Here I was in my late 30’s, and I still worried about making my parents, especially my father, mad. Walking on eggshells. Trying to do what I could, only to be told it wasn’t good enough. That epiphany helped me realize something.

He can not hurt me if I do not allow him to hurt me.

So what if I make my dad mad? His opinions, actions, moods, and abuse do not have to dictate how I feel. In fact, they can have no bearing on me whatsoever, if I don’t allow them the power.

Though it was extremely hard, I put a shield up against him and his attacks. I blocked him on Facebook. I blocked his number on my phone. I no longer let him in my house. Not that he tried to contact me often. Most of the contact was usually done though my brother or my mother. My brother texted me often to tell me how bad of a daughter I was.

I imagine cutting off contact with him probably made him treat my mother worse. I’m sure he took his anger out on her. I feel tremendous guilt over this. I should be able to protect her. But it is not my duty.

Because I am not the one abusing her.

Though they would have me believe the opposite, I am not the one at fault, and I cannot be held responsible for fixing an non-fixable situation. I have no control over how my mother chooses to live her life. I have no control over how my father treats her. I can’t force her to leave him. Just as I can’t make my father see how abusive he is. I can only protect myself. If I did allow contact then that would, in a way, condone his behavior as I would be forced to I sit idly by and watch it happen. Not to mention he would think it’s okay to be abusive towards me again.

Going from doctor to doctor my mother ended up at the Cleveland Clinic. After going over her records and doing some tests, the doctor asked how her childhood was. It was probably no surprise to the doctor that her childhood was pretty rough. Of course, he wasn’t going to ask how her marriage was with my father sitting right there, though I suspect the doctor knew. He knew how years of abuse can affect the human body.

As it happens far too often, my mother went from an abusive childhood straight into an abusive marriage. She was barely 18 when she married my father. She’s now 65.

She doesn’t think that her illness is psychosomatic. And, who knows, it might not be, but she doesn’t think her emotional health has any bearing on her physical health.

Yet, it does. The body carries trauma. We find ways to cope, to excuse away the abuse. The brain may allow us to forget, tucking it safely away in the hippo campus, but our bodies don’t forget.

I imagine if you add up 65 years of abuse it can do a real number on your nervous system. The weakness she keeps having, the body aches, the scratchy voice; it all tells a story.

Her body is screaming loudly what her voice can’t actually say.

I still maintain a relationship with her, though it is quite different than it used to be. I am no longer the codependent daughter she was accustomed to having.

Letting go and coming to terms with the reality of my family dynamic has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. Knowing I can’t change my father, that I can’t make him see the error of his ways and accepting that I can’t fix or save my mother has been simultaneously heartbreaking and freeing.

Ultimately I had to step away from their dysfunction and relinquish their power over me so that I can heal.

Never Doubt Your Instincts


Enter the doorway into the mind of this incredible Survivor Voice

Jenni Z Official


Jenni Z aka artgirlcreations, is an artist and art journal creator who, through her multi-layered collage work and raw writing, explores ways to cope with her anxiety disorder, as well as the trauma she suffered as a child. Language, art and color lead the way through the muck of her past, as well as bridge the gap to a more mentally healthy future.

She Was Raped. They Made Her Apologize To the Church. It Was 1984.

As I am working on writing the sequel to Cult Child, entitled Rise of Sila, I am again having moments of struggle, pain and even avoidance as I write out and re-live more child abuse memories.

Writing out traumatic memories is an intricate process. Telling someone a brief story of our experience is far different than the hours of detailing each ticking second of a memory. When writing, we must recall every possible sound, conversation, smell, surroundings and anything more we can remember, in order to write a book which allows our readers to be inside each experience with us.

As I am writing I understand how much I was never able to make sense of about growing up in Sam Fife’s Move of God cult; until I became a teenager. While my mother remained silent, my brother and sister did not. As I grew older, we had deep conversations, many questions were answered and peculiar situations happened to us which kept us bound together as siblings who, while not always getting along, each held pieces of our childhood shattering in a way that kept us feeling a base protectiveness of each other.

Many sad revelations came out in our conversations.

One explanation would come from my sister. I had a very convoluted understanding of love. I believed it quite normal for an adult man to be interested in teenagers and young girls, who after beginning our menstruated cycles, were now future wife material, able to breed children, future generations for the cult. It made biological sense to me, seeing as how I had been educated, not about sex, but about my duty as a female, which included mainly the honor of being chosen by a man and bearing his children, living for God and being a good wife.

Even worse were the predators like my sister’s rapist. He raped her under the guise of deep lies and promises of a rescue that she could not critically think through. He kept her in a state of hope and fear, a narcissistic criminal who preyed on an innocent and highly naive young girl. She could not deduct that he was married, had multiple children, and furthermore, she had no knowledge yet of what he had done to his own daughter. She was a victim of a very cunning and predatory man.

It would be in later years that I would find out the truth of what was done to my sister on multiple levels. A man named Buddy Cobb was the go to man for The Move of God for over 30 years after its founder, Sam Fife, died in a plane crash in 1979. When my sister was raped, Buddy Cobb flew to Alaska on one of the cult’s private airplanes specifically to “handle” the situation with my sister.

What Buddy Cobb did to my sister was nothing less than abhorrent.

We were sequestered into our cabin. I write about this in detail in Cult Child. They held Elders meetings to decide what to do about my sister. During this time, as a young teenager, I did not understand or have much of a clue about what was going on. No one explained anything to me. My sister would barely speak at all, staying curled up in the fetal position on her mattress in our cabin, usually facing the wall, telling me to leave her alone if I tried to talk to her.

The details of what happened to her will be told in Rise of Sila, but I will share a summary of the horrific shame she was put through. The final decision came down the line from Buddy Cobb. Not only were we to be expelled from the cult, but my sister was about to be forced to do something that no rape victim should ever endure. Decided by the Elders, under the leadership and advisement of Buddy Cobb, my sister was made to stand up in front of a congregation of over 200 adults.

She was forced to ask for their forgiveness. She was forced to confess that she was a Jezebel, a whore of Babylon.

No wickeder of a human could exist after someone as low as her, according to them. She was too much of a sinner to be rescued. She was such a slut, so vile, that it was more likely she would influence the other girls.  This wasn’t just a demon which could be cast out. No, she was truly a problem for the men on the cult.  She would more likely seduce man after man. For the record, my sister later went on to graduate college and be married to the same man for over 25 years, completely opposite what they predicted she would “be”, a girl who would never commit to one man. They were wrong.

With my brother having already run away, my teenage sister “seducing” grown men, me being “rebellious” and too non-compliant (argumentative), we just weren’t a family who was an asset to the cult any longer. With a “heavy heart”, Rick Alloe, my sister’s rapist, stood and confessed that he was weak and had allowed himself to be “seduced” by a teenage whore. They too were “exiled“, so we thought. We would later find out they merely migrated to live near another cult compound in the South, and their family would remain intertwined inside of this cult into the present times. One of the Alloe’s daughters, Debbie, married one of the original cult investors, a man named Doug McClain.

My mother and her best friend made my sister’s life hell. How could she do such a thing, destroy our families like that? Rick Alloe’s wife, Peggy, would never speak to my sister again. Post cult, when my mother and Peggy would talk on the phone, my sister would quietly exit the room.  At first I didn’t really pay it much mind, but as we grew closer, and as I learned more, I understood, and the abhorrence of these women with their cultish, deviant behavior grew stronger.

My older sister was raped and victim blamed in a cult. It was 1984. Now, the unearthing of sex abuse and religious child trafficking is blasting into the news and social media. This is not a new horror. No. It has existed for decades; centuries. Have we simply come into a time of reckoning through the adult victims and the release of technology?

There is no consolation for having been through the levels of child abuse we kids suffered. No amount of restitution would make the pain go away.

Yet, restitution is due the victims all the same. Criminals who quietly stood by, knowing abuse was happening, should be held to their day in court. While the descendants of these rapists and their silent, aiding and abetting leaders want to live comfortably, reserving a false memory of their ancestors, not wanting to face the truth of what their families did to us, we will not allow this hiding any longer.

Before Buddy Cobb’s death in 2017, his granddaughter, Angie, brilliantly pegged him on the abuse. She asks him the same questions in two different scenarios. He gives the same answers, that the abuse is just evil having its day, and nothing happens that is not God’s will. When I first saw this video, I dealt with nausea having to see this man’s face again. His face has haunted me my whole life; the darkness of his eyes; the wicked smile; the arrogance and lack of caring. As a sensory child, my memories of him are filled with avoiding being near him and a crawling of the skin at his presence. While I have struggled to remember many of the eyes of those who abused me, I always could remember Buddy’s eyes, hooded and piercing, seemingly mocking and daring one to cross him.

His children would like us to think that these were the answers of a man who was aged and suffering with Alzheimer’s. Knowing Alzheimer’s as I do, I say that all the more then, he was speaking the truth. One of his children tried to say that the granddaughter was under the influence when she filmed it.  I say even if she was, she still asked the question, and he still answered.  Twice.  In two different settings.

Maybe his mind had returned to what we children experienced and how they as adults handled it, shuffling pedophiles off from farm to farm, working us into exhaustion, beating children and blaming rape victims while protecting criminals. Broken bones and bruises? God’s will. Child rape? Just evil having its day. Regardless of any excuses being given in regard to this video, these responses are those of a man whose mind is extremely sadistic.  The look in his eyes and specific hand movements are psychologically revealing to me.

Buddy Cobb Hand Signal

There are no excuses to be given. There is nothing which can be said that will erase the truth of what was done to me, my siblings and dozens of other children in Sam Fife’s Move of God.

The church is being called to answer. No longer will we allow Christian ritual abuse to be slid under Satanism as if only Satan can be a wicked entity. If there is a God, loving, omnipotent and omniscient, I dare say, he is indeed, a sociopath entity who has fed children to his supposed fallen son, allowing evil to have its day, and that, my friends, according to the followers of the Bible, is simply God’s will.

Christians no longer get to say that this is not “true” Christianity. Yes it is. That is akin to saying a dictionary is not a real dictionary. The Bible is a book. There is no changing it’s existence. There is no changing the horror stories it holds or the sick mind control enacted based on its teaching.

Until humans wake themselves up to what has been done to their minds; to their judgment and sick moralistic ties to a book based out of blood sacrifices, incest, cannibalism (communion), exorcism and child sacrifice, I fear there will be no reprise for children continually born into the generational curse of religions. The after affects of being raised in such arenas leave adults with anxiety, depressions, low self esteem, false senses of wholeness and often a sadistic deviance in regard to children.

No longer will we blame victims for what has been done to them.  No longer will we divert the issue of CRIMINALITY into an issue of religiosity.

As human beings, we have a responsibility to stop allowing adults to treat children like my sister was treated.  Young minds are malleable and often naive. The church must be held to their cross for the foundation they have built which has allowed for this apathetic mindset to exist. The church must be held accountable for the deviance their morality concepts has created; concepts built out of stripping humans from their innate right to be free, think free and not be harmed.

No child is ever responsible for their abuse. There is nothing they can wear, say, do, think, or breathe which ever makes them the blame. There are only wicked adults attempting to hide from accountability.

One Badass Redhead

Click the graphic to visit Rachel’s website

In this journey of traveling the grid of the internet, I’ve been privileged to connect with a variety of individuals.  Through these connections, I have learned, found support, grown and joined the ranks of strong survivors who are shamelessly telling our child abuse stories with the intent of helping others.

When I met Rachel Thompson, owner of Bad Redhead Media, on Twitter, I resonated deeply with her writing.  In her books, Broken Pieces and Broken Places, she passionately pours out the rawness of her pain in a writing style akin to painted, language art.  I was immediately hooked.

Being an independent author, I equally latched on to her amazing marketing book, The BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge, geared toward toward supporting the budding author in learning how to market on their own.  I took the challenge, and I learned!

I recently had the honor of talking with Rachel on my radio show, Survivor Voices Show.

Click below to listen as she shares her life, her story of child sex abuse, her triumphs and how she masters focusing on self care, writing and growing her brand.

Click below to listen to Rachel’s Interview through Survivor Voices Show on YouTube:

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show and her live Sunday broadcast Off the Cuff. She is an advocate, poet and artist.

I See You

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Liz Ianelli

I met her online, but I feel like I have known her forever. We have conversations like sisters, laughing and saying whatever we want.  We understand each other’s brash language and sarcastic thinking.  I feel so happy to have this connection.  Child abuse survivors understand other child abuse survivors.  We have our own way of conversing.  We joke about off color things. We find the macabre fascinating and nerd out on unexpected subjects.

Liz Ianelli was sent away as a teenager.  For 993 days she suffered.  Now, she rises out of the ashes to speak for those who cannot.  Liz sat down with me and shared her story on my radio show, Survivor Voices Show.

Click below to listen:

Liz’s story and incredible artwork was recently featured in ICSA Today’s 2017 Fall Quarterly Journal. After over 80 deaths of her fellow survivors, many of them suicides, Liz decided to begin the #ISeeYou campaign to inspire others and let them know they are not alone in their struggle. She rallied up her fellow survivors to make videos sharing their stories and what we deal with on a day to day basis as a result of being abused. Soon, survivors were sharing their stories. Liz hopes to continue rallying survivors, asking them to make videos as they feel comfortable.

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show and her live Sunday broadcast Off the Cuff. She is an advocate, poet and artist.

Liberation Point: Survivor Voices

I recently listened to the story of a woman who escaped a life in a fundamentalist religious cult.  I am always drawn to those who were children in cults, as I find the most comradeship with their stories, often similar to mine.

She is standing at the podium, poised, articulate and dressed in a dark suit.  She tells her story slowly, unfolding the pain of the cult survival which drives her passion to grow an organization supporting people just like her.   She speaks of her struggles to adapt, the experiences which she will never forget and the scars it has left upon her family.

“My worst day as a free soul is far better than my best day in captivity.”

Samie Brosseau

Samie Brosseau

I have tears as she shares.  I am her.  She is me.  We are the faces of random strangers we pass in the street.  We know nothing of their lives, but they could be us.  We grew up sequestered from life.  Our normalcy was reversed as we learned to become accustomed to being hurt.  We were refused a connection with our own authentic being and free will.

Yet, we have survived, and now I sit here so proud of who we have grown to be.  I listen as she bravely talks about the work she and her partner have done in just a short fifteen months. They have helped eight cult survivors transition into a life they would otherwise be floundering inside of.  Eli Weiss and Samie Brosseau work on event fundraisers to garner funding to provide real-time support for cult survivors.   I hear the echo of their voices’ repeated passion of being “ON THE GROUND“; understanding crisis, and what is truly needed.

“On the weekend, a couple of us will hop in the car and just drive, you know? They get to experience what it feels like to do what they want to do. They get to connect, and we laugh. We just talk about regular life. That’s how they want to be treated. Accepted.  Just like they’re people, because they are.”

Eli Weiss [on supporting cult survivors]

Eli Weiss and Samie Brosseau

I am watching from the wings as child cult survivors, now adults, are swiftly rising.  They are creating storms with their voices and healing as they exhale.  They are standing up for themselves.  They are refusing to bend.

We must pay attention to what is happening right now within our communities.  Every day, children wait for us to notice; for us to speak up.  Every day another child wonders if there is someone out there waiting should they become brave enough to run.

Oh, yes, we are here waiting for you with open arms. It is the time of the Experiencer, and we will all rise together through support, open communication and sharing.

Click the logo below to visit Liberation Point and find out more about their organization.

https://www.liberationpoint.org/home.html

 

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show and her live Sunday broadcast Off the Cuff. She is an advocate, poet and artist.

GASLIGHTING: The Movie That Should Make You Shudder

Gaslighting

GASLIGHTING is a twenty minute film packed with a raw and candid look into the true-life story of a teenage girl named Brooke, played by Hannah Walters, who has suffered sexual abuse as a child. In just a short twenty minutes, her whole life unfolds. With a mother who is caught in a domestically violent relationship and rearing three other children, Brooke is often left in the care of questionable adults who use her compliance and fear to their advantage. The child welfare system continually fails her. Held silent in mental fear, she is victim blamed by teachers, her own mother and a court judge. In essence, for Brooke, there is no safe place.

If this film makes you cringe, cover your eyes, gasp or even cry then you are one of the good ones. This movie is a raw depiction about how a child protection system, justice system, parents, teachers and caregivers continually fail children who have been abused.

GASLIGHTING is a perfect example of what society must fix in order to bring about change in our world. This movie is a reminder that the planetary social construct can no longer ignore the horrors being wrought upon the most innocent of its inhabitants, our children.

Children deserve to have a safe space. Children deserve care, love and protection. GASLIGHTING will remind you of something incredibly important. That teenager you can’t stand, who you think is so horrible, is most likely in even more emotional pain. Beneath their sullen silence, the lashing out, the self-harm and inability to communicate, is a child needing someone to listen to them tell us why they are broken.

As a survivor of sexual abuse I can assure you that this ripping of innocence shatters the very core of a child. I am a firm supporter of anyone working with children being required to go through an intensive course on recognizing the signs of child abuse. GASLIGHTING should be added to the list of required viewing.

Anger is not a base emotion. Pain is. Anger is the projection of that emotion. When you see anger you are really seeing pain.

Watch GASLIGHTING here:

Gaslighting

Please support  GASLIGHTING by leaving a review or donating to the work involved in utilizing this film for global education.

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show and her live Sunday broadcast Off the Cuff. She is an advocate, poet and artist.

LOCKED IN: by John Huddle

At the 2014 conference for the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), I was in a conference filled with cult survivors. We were sitting in a large circle, some of us child survivors, some parents who had been lured, yet all of us had one commonality, we were victims. We shared openly, and a comradely connection swept through the room.

There was a man with a great sense of humor who seemed to interject at just the right time with softly funny quips that seemed to break moments of heaviness.  He had a gentle smile and kind demeanor.  John Huddle, survivor of Word of Faith Fellowship cult and author of LOCKED IN, ended up spending time with our group of survivors.  It was a great connection of healing and realizing that none of us were alone.  I was thrilled to meet another author, and we exchanged our books with each other.

Huddle’s book, LOCKED IN, opens with a young John, innocent minded, with a heart to do good in his community, a working man who volunteered at his local church.  He meets a like-minded woman and soon marries.  Life seems fulfilling, with Christian oriented goals of giving and helping in the community.  But this simple life quickly takes a turn when a woman named Jane Whaley enters the scene. John’s church, formerly led by Gerald and Linda Southerland, merges with the Whaley ministry and morphs into what would be re-titled as Word of Faith Fellowship.   Jane Whaley rules her congregation with an iron fist.  Her intensive and extensive set of rules are strenuous, dictating everything from styles of dress to her members’ employment, relationships, how children should be disciplined and much more.  In time, John and his wife have a family, but as his family grows, so does the sadistic, abusing and controlling environment and rituals set out by Jane WhaleyThe congregation travels to Brazil on recruiting trips. Over time, John becomes conflicted.  He struggles to come to terms with the truth of what he is embedded in.  Eventually, John is forced to make a decision that will ultimately change his life forever.

LOCKED IN is an excellently written, compelling and fast read.  Well-crafted with a style that can be related with, LOCKED IN allows the reader to follow the slow unfolding of religious based mind control on an adult.  The question of how an adult is slowly lured, turned and trapped into an abusive cult is lain out with brilliant precision.  With an informative forward by Lorna Goldberg, L.C.S.W, Psy.D, former President of International Cultic Studies Association, and quoting cult experts such as Janja Lalich, PhD, LOCKED IN tells the story of how innocent humans are preyed upon by swindlers who use religion to extract everything they can from their victims.

I recently had the honor to guest host one of their broadcasts and sit down to talk with John about the experiences he details in LOCKED IN.  John also discussed the current court case involving assault victim, Matthew Fenner by members of Word of Faith Fellowship.  Click below to listen to John’s interview.

John’s blog is a hub which details the history and the current drama involving the criminality of WOFF.  To stay abreast with the current events of the WOFF criminal case, follow John’s blog.  Word of Faith Fellowship has been deemed an extremely brutal cult and is currently charged with human trafficking of its Brazil members.

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show and her live Sunday broadcast Off the Cuff. She is an advocate, poet and artist.