Power Sheets: First Impressions

I promised to let you know what I think of Lara Casey’s Power Sheets. My box arrived yesterday, and my first impression is that it’s living up to all the hype and enthusiasm I’ve seen on YouTube.  I think I’m going to find this to be a most helpful tool in facing the New Year.

For one thing, the product itself is sturdy as well as beautiful. Heavy paper to write on — and she urges you to make a mess of it, not limit yourself to your best and most beautiful .  .   sturdy dividers. Lovely stickers — and I am not a sticker fan. (Confession: I’ve already used stickers. My favorite are the gold foil arrows that help draw attention to salient or memorable points in the explanatory/inspirational text leading into our personal reflections.)

But the really important point is that these evaluation and planning prompts aren’t trite. They invite one to go deep, to think long and hard, and honestly, about a particular question.  I’ll be revisiting the pages over the next few days and trying to go more deeply and broadly into each one.

This is a workbook that invites deep reflection and conscious planning. And, I must say, realistic goal-setting.  I appreciate this more than I can say. Lara even has review and evaluation re-visits on a monthly and quarterly basis; this is not a one-off, trivial News Years Resolutions exercise.  She also has a video series that she emails to you when you order, that goes through the book in very manageable segments.

There are also YouTube videos in abundance that show you particulars of what the product looks like and what the prompts are. My favorites (so far) are Elyssa Nalani’s and Ashyln Writes.  You can do a basic search for PowerSheets in the YouTube search bar and come up with loads more. They’ll also have links galore in the info box.  I won’t add more here.

But, yes, I recommend this product. It’s pricey – I would never have bought it had I not been deadly serious about making some changes. But since I am that serious, I’d say the money is well spent.

Life adjustments – Getting Well

I love Advent. It’s the beginning of the liturgical year, in the liturgical churches, a full month before the calendar changes over, but even more, Advent is a season of preparation. We need to reflect and prepare for the big events of our lives, and probably for our lives, themselves.  Yes, I’m quite certain of that.

For too many years I’ve drifted on the currents, had no particular plan or purpose. Vague generalized ones, but not particular. The reason for this is understandable: when I was growing up, and later in my marriage to TFP, plans were the prelude to disappointment. All those broken promises!  And again, and again, there was that open and subliminal message that I was too unimportant to have any legitimate purpose in the world, apart from being TFP’s “beard.”  That’s a message that cuts deep, long after we’ve realized the lie it is. I’ve just been drifting along, feeling pretty helpless to change things.

Also, I just have a temperament that does well under still and quiet, not trying to push or force events or answers.

But it does have its limitations. If we’re not happy with something — a job, a piece of furniture, a relationship — then we either make changes or we become the victims of our own inertia. Resentments can fester, precipitating a crisis that might have been avoided had we taken initiative early on in the dissatisfaction.

I have decided it is time for some substantial changes. There are things I want that I can’t achieve in my present circumstances.  I am 62 years old; I want the remainder of my life to be fruitful, joyful, productive, and spiritually and emotionally rich.

That’s Step One: Decide to make a change.

Step Two, for me, at this time, is to take time to very particularly evaluate just what it is I DO want. It’s not enough to say, “I’m ready for a change.” Changes can be for the worse, not just the better. I want to have a clearer understanding of what motivates me, what I truly care about, what  — well, since my Catholic faith is important to me, I couch it in these terms: what I perceive God wants from me, and for me.

I’ve ordered a couple of resources to help me work through those great existential questions. When they’ve arrived (later this week, I expect), I’ll do an evaluation here for your benefit. This particular one — Lara Casey’s Power Sheets — has gotten a lot of good mentions on the YouTube channels I have been watching. I’ll let you know if the product lives up to its reputation by my expectations.

Step Three — and these can be concurrent (they are for me, right now) — research your options. Want a new career? A new home? Research the options, and the costs, and the risks, and the values.  Knowledge is a form of empowerment, and one that I believe will allow us to step out in confidence in the new direction we’ve chosen for ourselves.

 

Protecting Our Children

From Drag Queen Story Hours to surreptitious school indoctrination to open promotion of public policy changes — even masquerading as a normal children’s activity — our children are in danger.

We work so hard to protect our children from perversion and exploitation — and that is not an easy job when our gay spouse is actively in the lifestyle and exposing our children to God only knows what — and the whole of official public culture is going utterly mad and trying to exploit them, too.

It feels like something out of a weird dystopian novel, but this is the world we live in.  Don’t be in denial.  Be savvy.  It’s time to be ready to engage in activism. Write letters to local, state, and federal representatives protesting the victimization of our children. Refuse to take “No” for an answer.

Any business that promotes the LGBT-P agenda, boycott.  Any public place hosting an event, organize a protest, a prayer vigil. Visit your children’s schools.  Contact your state representative and express your concern that children should be protected from unwholesome premature sexualization.

Be prepared for a vigorous fight.

 

An Open Letter to Milo Yiannopoulos

Dear Milo,

I watched, and thoroughly enjoyed, your interview with Michael Voris, last week. Good job! Once again I was impressed with your ability to think on your feet, to retain a truckload of specific data and be able to draw from it on the spot, and to make connections between sometimes seemingly disparate ideas or realities.

I’ve enjoyed your work for several years, now, perhaps because of your complexity and your courage in facing your self-contradictions.  I don’t always reach the same conclusion you do, but I always feel instructed, invigorated, and really impressed by you — in a very positive way.

Now, in the last few minutes of the Voris interview, the conversation became very personal. I was deeply moved by your willingness to “go there,” to be transparent about the contradiction between how you live and what you believe — and demonstrate such a deep understanding of!

I don’t expect you to be familiar with my work but for eleven and a half years I was married to a man who is now, and has been for more than 30 years, in the gay lifestyle. I’ve watched my children used as ammunition, and emotionally and spiritually warped in power plays, and since you brought up being a “stepdad” now, this is what I want to broach with you.  As I’m 61 years old, and you are younger than my children, I trust you will forgive the “maternal” tone:

As a stepdad, what are you doing to help foster a sense of respect and appreciation of your “stepchild/ren’s” mother?  It’s up to you to do that. It’s up to you to see to it that their dad models for them appreciation and respect for their mother.  Don’t cheat her out of that. And don’t make loyalty to you and the gay cause a condition for approving of them. Let them love their mother; encourage it and foster it.

Further, what are you doing to foster in him/them a level of comfort and ease with people of the same and the opposite sex? Kids raised with gay parents have the deck stacked against them, in terms of self-identity and -understanding. You’ll have to make an effort at this, I don’t think it will come automatically, but you need to be sure the kids witness you in friendships with straight men and women, not just with other members of the gay community. This is absolutely essential for them to have even a chance to grow up to be emotionally whole.

Okay, that’s it for now. I’ll step off my soapbox and give it a rest.  Take care, Milo — and know you have a friend here who is praying for you regularly and would always welcome you for a cup of coffee or dinner, if you’re ever in my neck of the woods.

God bless you!

Laura

What can the straight spouses of gay parents do to protect their children?

by Moira Greyland Peat, child of gays and author of The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon

LastClosetCover

(Laura’s Preface:  I’m honored and grateful to God that I can call Moira my friend.  I met her through mutual friends, and we struck up an acquaintance which has grown into an important – for me – friendship. I don’t know many people who manifest the courage and faith this woman has done, although I think it’s a matter of standing up and being strong or go through life being a victim, weak and defeated; this is an option that is simply antithetical to what I know of Moira’s spirit.  Both her parents were gay, and quite notorious for it. She suffered terrible abuses from both of them, and now has joined the growing ranks of Children of Gays who are speaking out in prophet voices to tell all the rest of us that, despite the gay-controlled rhetoric, homosexuality is bad for children.  She’s generously written this for Surviving the Rainbow, and I hope she’ll be writing more.)

What can the straight spouses of gay parents do to protect their children?

I have been asked to respond to this question, and I admit I am at a loss.  This question is not about Spouse A being right and Spouse B being wrong.  It is about humanity splitting itself in two, usually for completely stupid reasons, and the devastation  it wreaks upon the children.

When a spouse, usually a wife, discovers she is married to a man who has decided to pursue a gay lifestyle, she is already enduring her own heartbreak, shock, and betrayal.

Not only will her children be enduring the likely destruction of their home life, but they will be asked to endure a culture shock which will force them to confront adult questions that no child should be forced to endure.

It is bad enough to know your parent has left your other parent for an ordinary relationship.  When your parent abandons his former faith, his wedding vows, and his cultural norms and values, the child is in a position of having to choose, which amounts to choosing one’s left hand or one’s right hand.

Socially, children will generally choose the path which minimizes the negative repercussions.  It is understandable both to want to avoid conflict and to want to continue to be a “fan” of the straying parent.

Watching the heartbreak of the abandoned parent is awful, but cannot silence questions about the whole situation.  If Mom was abandoned, thinks the child, did she do something wrong?  After all, our parents are both right, they have to be, or the entire world is split in two.

Most likely the children will feel forced to choose, even if this choice has nothing whatsoever to do with either objective reality or with their own interest.  Male children may choose to side with the father, because it is emotional suicide to reject the primary male figure in their lives, even if he is tarnished beyond belief.

In my own family, my brother chose my father over my mother, which in some ways made sense, because he was kinder and less cruel.  In other ways, it made no sense at all, because he brought home a long succession of teen and preteen boys for sex, and he endlessly pressured my brother to have sex with them—and with him.

I also chose my father in some ways, because he was less cruel than my mother.  But ultimately, I chose neither one, because neither one chose me.

We learn how to be people from our parents.  When our parents choose sexual folly over keeping the home together, children learn that sex is more important than people, and much more important than we are.  If our father rejects our mother, we learn that women are unimportant and can be abandoned on a sexual whim.  If our mother rejects our father, we learn that men are disposable.

Most catastrophically, if our father decides to “become a woman,” it can provoke terrible anguish in the children.  For both girls and boys, their father is literally gone, and “replaced” with a human who is doing disgraceful things for reasons which make no sense to a child.  In a boy, it can cause them to fear that their own masculinity can be lost at any moment, and that they might inadvertently be turned into a woman.  In a girl, it can make them conclude that no man will ever want them, because if their own father abandoned their mother and turned into a female, it must be because they have failed.  Deep down, that failure will always be present, even if unspoken.

In my own family, where my father did not actually choose to “become a woman,” he absolutely refused masculine and feminine gender roles, which left me feeling like I was a nothing, neither male nor female.  I was “less than” any boy, because he preferred boys for sex and denigrated girls for “wanting relationships.”  If I was a girl. i was “one of them,” those foul creatures rejected by my father.  Of course, my attempts to masquerade as a boy were never enough.  I became adept at fencing, but any kind of fighting was too stereotypically masculine for my father, so again I had failed.

When a father leaves, either physically leaving the family, or by abandoning his gender for his sexual whims, the sun falls out of the sky for the children.  Their very existence as males and females is called into question.  Also, the mother is devastated by her own perceived failure and deep, deep grief.

If there is a custody battle, the children are figuratively torn in half for reasons that will never make sense.  The wife is likely to be devalued even more in a divorce from a gay man than in an ordinary divorce, partly because of the legal climate, and partly because she will blame herself for failing so deeply as a woman that her man abandoned manhood and straight love altogether rather than remaining with her.

The children will naturally fear being abandoned by a gay spouse in their own future.

The original question was this: is there anything an abandoned wife of a gay man can do to protect her children?  The answer is no, and a qualified yes.

We cannot stop the pain.  We cannot stop the grief or the feelings of abandonment.  We cannot stop the nightmare or the moral outrage. We cannot even stop the gay parent from allowing his new “friends” from terrorizing, molesting, or even raping the children.

In such a situation, what hope can I give?

We can stay aware that our children are hurt, and that their hurt must be handled as more important than our own.  It is important as much as possible, to not allow them to see our grief in all of its fullness, not to allow them to think we are forcing them to take sides.  Their relationship with their father is about learning their place in the universe, not about us.

What we must do is to remain a safe place.  We have to be the one they can express their doubts and fears to.  If they have to defend their father, they will be silencing their own agony to do so.  This means we must be Switzerland, not taking any side but theirs.  If their father commits a bad act, we must listen attentively, and respond from the perspective of helping them, not persecuting their father.

Even if their father is the worst villain imaginable, they will never abandon him.  I know this, because my own father is a serial rapist of children, and I am the one who put him in prison for molesting an eleven year old boy in front of me.

I cannot abandon my father, even though he blamed me for his imprisonment, and he most certainly abandoned me.  If that is my position as an adult, how likely is it that a child will be able to abandon a father for much smaller crimes?

We abandon our own hearts.  We do not abandon our parents.  All we can do is teach our children to pay attention to their own discomfort and encourage them to protect themselves against anything which feels wrong.  We can also teach them to speak up firmly, even when they are afraid.

In a way, it feels like I am trying to explain to a fish how to be comfortable while being eaten by a shark.  My advice might reduce the pain slightly, but we did not cause the injury, and we cannot prevent the pain altogether.

Let them see that you are not rejecting yourselves, nor will you reject them, even if they side with their father.  It hurts, it is appalling, but it is unavoidable.  Any boy around eight or nine is going to detach from Mother to a large degree and seek out his father as his primary role model.  If his father is a horrible role model, telling him that will not alter his need for his father at all.

What you can do is to make sure your sons have better male role models in their lives, whether sports coaches, teachers who will mentor them properly, or relatives they have cause to admire.  I did mention not telling them that you are doing this, yes?  Just do it, and do not say why.  The last thing they need to hear is that you are rejecting their father, because any rejection of him will feel internally like a rejection of them, no matter what you intend it to be.

My own sons identify strongly with their football coaches, thank God.

Above all, let your children know through your own conduct that being normally male and female is good and right, and that they have the right to be themselves, even if some people might want them to change into something else.

I wish I had more comfort to offer you.

All my best to you,

Moira Greyland Peat

“We are still married”

Email from a young woman:  “Do you ever write about women still married to men struggling with SSA?” (Same-Sex Attraction)

There are a couple of reasons I haven’t, to date.  The obvious one is that I don’t know many women who are knowingly married to men with SSA. And of those whom I do know, roughly 1/2 have ended up divorced.  One of the still-married ones is going to talk with me soon (after some family member’s surgery is completed and life slows down a bit for her) — and I expect to learn a lot from her.  Yes, the conversation will be made available here when we’ve had it.

The other reason is that I’m pretty sure my attitude isn’t one people want to hear. Why?

Well, in order to be successfully married, both parties have to be fully committed to the marriage:  the creation of a new family unit, the intimacy and the bonding and interdependency with this other person. Both have to take the responsibilities of their role in the marital union deadly seriously.

Now, my experience is that men with SSA have a hard time with responsibility and self-denial.  And self-denial is 100% of the nature of marriage, for both the spouses:  we serve the good of our spouse, not our own. We embrace a wholly new identity as the “one flesh” creation with our spouse. SSA men, in particular, have a hard time with this.  The SSA spouse has to be willing to suspend his own biases and prejudices in favor of this mystical reality of the nature of marriage. He has to reject the onslaught of messages that he’s “entitled” to gratification, or having his needs met, or that he’s somehow a privileged class because of his SSA.

Moreover, the SSA spouse has to be determined to renounce his “right” to have sex whenever and with whomever he wishes; he has to be fully engaged in  his volitional decision to be faithful to his marriage vows.  It’s been the experience of my friends and acquaintance whose husbands were ambivalent, who even flirted with ambivalence — they end up separating/divorcing as the husbands yield to the same-sex attraction. And the unhappiness and difficulties that precede that separation are just heart-breaking.  I believe a divorce from a SSA spouse is a lot more complicated than a regular divorce between OSA couples, especially when children are involved.

And when we live in a society that glorifies homosexuality and insists that sexual gratification is the most important part of life, it’s hard to defy those “norms” and to stand for traditional moral values and the sanctity of marriage.

And the straight spouse has to be even stronger, and wiser, and more mature than him. She has to accept the uncertainty that this man she’s giving herself to is going to be serious in his declarations and that he’s sincere in his desire to get well, to grow into a full union with her, spirit and intellect, not just the perfunctory sexual obligations.  She lives daily with the risk that he’s going to break over and fall. She lives with risks to her physical health if that happens.  She lives with enormous risk to her mind and heart, even if he doesn’t break over — because what if he never reaches a point of being able to really, truly, love her with a mature man’s love?

SSA men are deeply wounded. We might well call it a catastrophic wound, it goes so deep.  His sense of himself as a man, emotionally and spiritually and psychologically, far more than physically, is poor. He’s probably been belittled, he’s almost certainly been exploited by older men exploiting his need for affirmation in his maleness in order to gratify their lusts.  Emotionally, psychologically, his development is compromised, even more than an alcoholic’s (an alcoholic’s emotional maturation is arrested at the age he begins drinking). The behaviors  and the persona that help him get along within the distortions of the gay community are not authentically masculine but a false mix of the masculine and feminine.

He is probably very fragile, psychologically and emotionally. I keep hearing of anxiety disorder, depression, and narcissism being rampant in the gay community, and common among SSA men married to women.  Now, as women, it is our nature to care for others, to help, to serve. . . but often our care is exactly what our SSA husbands would resent.  They are afraid of failure, of their inadequacy . . .  but when we try to make things easier for them, when we try to “help” them, they hear only the amplification of their own self-doubts:  I am not good enough, I have to have a woman do all this for me.  I am weak and worthless. 

The hardest thing for a woman to do in the face of such hurt and fear is to stand back and to say, with firm conviction, “You can handle this. You’ve got this.”  Because, frankly, when we see him so anxious and uncertain, we don’t know whether he can or not. A straight man? No doubt! but the SSA man is somehow a more tender and fragile plant and our instincts move us to want to cushion this boy-man from the cold hard world and treat him more like an orchid when he needs to be exercising and developing some hardier stuff.

And when those instincts kick in and dictate the wife’s behavior, she’s met with his resentment and an even deeper threat that he’ll break over and go (back) to the gay lifestyle. Because he resents the echoes he hears in her of all the insults and belittlements of his lifetime. She’s supposed to be his #1 ally? but instead she’s as convinced of his helplessness as all the others in his life . . . and he will despise her as much as, or more even than himself.

So the straight wife has to be a diplomat and a therapist and have wisdom and flexibility and clarity of understanding . . . and I think it’s a helluva lot to expect of anyone. Especially when children enter the picture.  Which is fodder for another post.

God bless y’all.

 

 

 

On Love, Part Three

In my last post, I pointed out that loving turns a spotlight on us.

My marriage to TFP was a desert, emotionally. Sometimes I would try to contort myself into odd configurations to try to get his attention and make him take me seriously.  Sometimes I just fought him. All the things I was told a Christian marriage was supposed to be simply were not there for us, and I was resentful of his scorn and derision of those ideals, as well as of me.

When I was dating my second husband, a bad alcoholic and probably an undiagnosed bipolar, there were a lot of good things going on. What TFP had criticized and ridiculed about me, H2 found cheerful and welcoming and enjoyable.  When I cooked a meal, H2 appreciated it and told me so (and he ate with a hearty appetite).  When I re-arranged the furniture, he said it looked nice — not, “Why did you do that?”  There was a neglected, wounded domestic side to my nature, and H2 seemed to enjoy the fruits of my efforts in that direction, which flattered my feminine ego. The rest of my personality. . .  I was convinced (by TFP, in part) that my complexity was at least partially to blame for my inability to be happy; I was ready to narrow my life down, I thought, in order not to be alone.

But human nature won’t be narrowed down. H2 and I weren’t “equally yoked.”  H2 was straight, he thought I was bright and funny, he told me I was beautiful and he made me laugh and we had a lot of fun together — fishing, camping, and so on.  But I was better educated than he was, and after we were married, the flattery changed to complaining about the “junk” that marked some of the things I like best about myself:  my books, music, art.  He had bragged on how smart I was, before we were married, but afterward he found that threatening — he resented the clutter of my library and writing, in a temper would talk about backing a truck up to the back door and hauling off “all that junk.”  He decided he disliked my friends, even my blue-collar friends like himself, friends I’d had since high school; he only wanted to socialize with his family and friends. He was very demanding in that regard, and I lost touch with people whose company I had enjoyed, before. We had different religious and political values — again, revealed only after we were married.

So — you see, although I had a sort of love for H2, it wasn’t a mature or healthy sort of love for marriage. It was more along the lines of what C.S. Lewis, in The Four Loves, refers to as storge — an affection given to one’s family, or to a dependent or inferior.  It is, he said, the sort of affection a dog might have for the cat doing figure-8s around its legs, “although no self-respecting dog would ever confess to it.”  — or something along those lines; I don’t have the book in front of me.  It’s not at all the sort of respect-based love a woman ought to have for her husband.

Which brings me back to loving, and to what loving DF has taught me about the nature of love — and about myself. Love devoid of respect and esteem might do in some passing and mediocre, inessential relationships, but not in our most intimate, our deepest friendships. Let the romantic element of love be unrequited or unfelt in life’s various challenges; the respect and esteem can still stand strong and vigorous and healthy in the face of all things.

This is important. After the demoralizing experience of having been married to a man who couldn’t appreciate our femininity, who scorned us for being women — after trying to adapt to the impossible in hopes of becoming lovable in his sight — we need the experience of loving, and even more than of being loved, in order to be healed.  Loving wakes us up. It makes us whole. It reveals to us what is real and important about ourselves.  It shows us our dignity, our strength, our beauty, and our worth. It affirms our authenticity while leaving us free to discover just who we are.

After the destructiveness of past self-denial, loving gives us back to ourselves.