Silent Abuse Through Osmosis

By Zosh

Imagine a world where what you see, what you hear, what you smell, touch, and taste were predetermined by a long dead leader who reveled in all of the above and in fact profited off telling her adopted kin that these things essentially do not exist.

Then imagine that generations upon generations were taught the same principals as if they are rules. This world gives you immeasurable pleasures. Yet according to the now long-dead leader, you are not afforded these simple pleasures. In fact to talk about them in any form is forbidden. It was not always a spoken rule just somehow known.

Then imagine years and years of being force fed this drivel. It sounds like abuse but nary a word for it.

The thing is that this is wrapped seemingly nicely in a bow. There are books that are read, no priests but scripture. A woman whose only form of control was to manipulate others into the belief that whatever senses you are feeling do not exist.

Then look at victims of loss. The guise that this “religion” portrays quickly falls when one becomes victim to loss or trauma. For some of us still stuck in these unrealistic ways, It unlocks the world. The beautiful tragedy that makes this world palatable.

A leader who suffered loss early in her life, the loss of her husband at 22 with child in the womb. My theory is that she never left the first stage of grief. Then passed it on to generations upon generations of people. Giving them the insatiable desire to want, to need, to have, to hold.

We go through therapy, visit shrinks, anything to get past this invisible trauma inflicted upon some of us since birth. Yet every step of the way is sometimes met with the questioning. The guilt. The wonder.

Through seeming osmosis we have become complacent. We are not damaged, rather human, but the psychological torture remains. Hard to speak, hard to define.

12 Replies to “Silent Abuse Through Osmosis”

  1. Your first sentence makes me think of paraphrasing a popular classic TV show:

    “You unlock this door with the key of denial. Beyond it is another book – a dimension where there is no physical sense, no sound, no sight. it is a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, where things become ideas. You’ve just crossed over into : The Christian Science Zone.”

    (Twilight Zone music)

  2. Good description of what CS can do to you!

    It is an enforced way of thinking outlined and regulated by a “long dead leader”. And we were trained what to say and what not to say, and what not to feel. I don’t think I was ever encouraged to “feel” anything. That would be mutiny.

    That’s an interesting thought that MBE suffered loss and did not know how to handle it. So she created a system where hurt is denied, and she passed that system onto generations of followers, only to help make them neurotic.

    I remember going to CS church on Sunday morning and it was like a sensory deprivation chamber. We were indoctrinated with writings from “our Leader” and carefully selected passages from the Bible, chosen to support her “Science of Truth”. Taking a cue from the comment above, it would seem fitting to have the theme music from the TWILIGHT ZONE playing during the service! Do click on that link!

    There are only a few people left sitting in the pews of the remaining CS churches which have not closed their doors. It is puzzling to me that they do not wonder why people are no longer following their “long dead leader”. Might there be something about “CS and it’s Leader” that fell short of being the glorious “Second Coming of Christ” that it claims to be?

    While our comments are justifiable, I also need to offer something. The old timers who I knew in my youth told me that Mrs. Eddy was a lot more human than legend has made her out to be. They say that she was horrified that her followers were becoming abstract and hyper-ethereal, shaping CS into a cult of super-spiritual Gnostic denial of the human. So maybe a lot of CS’s problems came from the escapist-type of people who followed her. (?)

    One thing for sure, she created an inflexible system that had no checks-and-balances for mental health.

    While CS has been a positive help to some people who find it as adults, it is child abuse to raise a child in a religion of Gnostic denial of life. Some will incorporate CS into a healthy life. But many have needed years of therapy.

  3. PS If Mrs. Eddy had been known as a “good mommy”, I would be more encouraged to raise a child under her system of beliefs.

    But be it her karma, or not, all her family relationships seemed to result in bizarre tragedies. Her son was taken from her. She claimed that her husband was murdered by “spiritually administered arsenic poisoning”, from her enemies.

    I was raised seeing her as the survivor of a very difficult and unjust circumstances, which made her into a strong person, and led her to the “Truth”.

    However she teaches us that we create out own lives out of our own thoughts. It seems that what should be good for the student should be good for the teacher.

    It doesn’t add up.

  4. Thanks, Zosh:

    You’ve really, in an organic way, described much of the craziness I went through, as a child, and into adulthood, in Christian Science. The inner feelings of being in this religion, the mental confusion you are in, and go through, for days on end. You write about “years and years of being force fed this drivel.” That was my case. My mother preached C.S. to me, while using it as a cover/excuse to work against me. She resented me. Maybe she thought she could justify using “Malicious Animal Magnetism” because she thought I deserved it…If you don’t think that growing up around that is a nightmare, you’re not breathing. Adding to that, she could turn around, and be very sweet, adding to the confusion. She was, in reality, a very disturbed woman. But growing up around that, as a child, I really had very little knowledge of how to cope with it.

    You’re right. Generations of people have been taught this, based on the writings of a long-dead woman. One of the reasons people in Christian Science believe so whole heartedly is that they believe “Science and Health” is “God’s Final Word to Mary Baker Eddy”. They are unaware of the virtually unreadable nature of the first edition, the endless rewrites she did of the book. There may be an eloquence to the book, but it is an eloquence born out of her hiring an uncredited minister to help her with the grammar, and clarity of her writings.

    And of course, the basis of it all is Quimby. Without him, she never would have come up with Christian Science.

    You say: “We go through therapy, visit shrinks, anything to get past this invisible trauma inflicted upon some of us since birth. Yet every step of the way is sometimes met with the questioning, The guilt. The wonder.” I know that feeling well. I know the feeling of seeking out shrinks. And this was in the pre-Internet era. Younger people who are recovering Christian Scientists may not appreciate a time, really not that long ago, when, if you needed help, or answers, you could not simply do a Google search, for, say, “recovery from Christian Science”, and immediately have links pop up to help you in your search.

    I lived in the pre-Internet, and speaking personally, you really were quite on your own, in terms of seeking help for the mental confusion, depression, torment, that Christian Science can produce.

    So I sought out a shrink, and all with an overwhelming sense of guilt in the process. “Psychologists/psychiatrists are DANGEROUS! I’m betraying Christian Science! I’ll get screwed up! Better retreat into Science and Health, back to “safety”. Even though reading it is causing such mental confusion, depression and torment on a daily basis.

    So I finally work up the courage to seek out psychological help, only to find they can’t offer me much. They’re really not familiar with Christian Science. They’ve really not had Christian Science clients. So few C.S.’s go to them, because in Christian Science, shrinks, like medical doctors, are to be feared, because they’re “dangerous.”

    So, how do you explain, to a shrink, who is not familiar with C.S., the problems you’re having in C.S. anyway, the depression, the mind control, the strange, alienating feelings you get from it? You bring all the baggage, all the guilt for working up the courage to come to a shrink seeking help, because of the effects of Christian Science on you, only to find that they really can’t help you, due to their having so little knowledge or experience of what the religion is about.

    In fairness to the profession, I didn’t seek out that many people at the time. Had I done so, I probably would have found someone who could have been of some help.

    Anyway, thank you for your post. Again, you’ve really encapsulated so much of what I have felt over many years.

  5. Mrs. Eddy was always complaining about “enemies”. So did my Christian Science mother. Any difficulty she had was a result of “malpractice” and “animal magnetism”, which she constantly accused me of. When I was 19, one day she picked me up from work and immediately started sobbing and saying she was clear that I had come into this world to destroy her but she just wanted to know why. She would say she had meditated to know the cause of her constant problems with people and difficulty making a living (she was a sales person on straight commission) and she would see my face. To my knowledge none of her Christian Science Practitioners, including her teacher, ever helped her with her paranoia, instead they encouraged it to make her dependent on them. The answer she got was that I needed to come into Christian Science and receive class instruction. I did become Christian Scientist for awhile in my late teens to early twenties during which time her paranoia was worse than ever. I got a job with someone she went to church with and my boss told me I needed to go by my mother’s way since she was helping me financially. She was always adamant that we not see a doctor, obtaining Christian Science exemptions so my daughter would not have to receive vaccinations to attend daycare. When I was able to get a job with insurance, I did have my daughter fully vaccinated, although both parents discouraged me, insinuating that I was cruel because the injections would make her cry. My mother scared me off of the clinics with free vaccines my co-worker encouraged me to go to and I was afraid that if I didn’t accept Christian Science I would receive no further help from her which was very frightening to me as a teenage single mother. If I had had my dad in my life I know now that I never would have had to go through the abuse I suffered at the hands of my child’s father, as I remember that my dad quietly observed during a visit that he should have gone to jail for getting me pregnant. But my mother would not accept his help with me even though it would have saved me from physical beatings and constant verbal abuse from a young man who was not ready to become a father. After I got pregnant, she said “he’s your man now”. I believe this was because she was apprehensive about the cost of the doctor visits and eventual birth of my child. She would not accept my dad’s input, regardless of the cost to me. She had already dismissed him as evil, with the encouragement of her Christian Science “church ladies”, consigning him to heartbrokeness and despondency. So I came back to my mother’s after having my baby and for a while was forced to accept Christian Science.

    1. My mother also instilled in me a belief that my daughter would die if I defied her, specifically if I got into a relationship with a man. Her Christian Science church friends encouraged her in this, saying there is a direct line of communication between mother and child, meaning my sin would be transferred and my child would be punished for it. This ignored the logical conclusion that there was a “direct line of communication” between my mother and me. But my mother had convinced them I was evil like my dad. There was such a culture of man-hating among them. When I later married and moved to another city, I was paralyzed by the fear that my daughter would be abducted and murdered, which I now see as the result of years of brainwashing. I practically suffocated my daughter which only made her rebel more. Now she is grown with a family of her own and there has never been a question that she would accept Christian Science. I remain thankful that she made it through her teenage years despite me.

  6. Sandra, My heart breaks for you and your relationship with your mom, your child’s dad, and your own dad. And the relationship between your parents. Wow. I am so sorry. Those church ladies are disgusting, arrogant people. I wish I had helpful words, but I am just so sad that these horrible people can profess to express “the highest form of Christianity” then do horrendous acts like that. I hope you and your daughter are in a safe place now and that things are better. Also, that your dad is ok now. Best wishes.

  7. I am a 40 year old man who was raised in cs. I lost my mother to cancer when I was 17 when my parents refused to accept conventional treatment until it was too late. I spent the last 15 years as an IV meth user and have been clean now for two years. I am dealing with major depression and panic attacks and I don’t know what to do. I am terrified of my state of mind and of doctors. I’ve never had one. This may not be an appropriate forum but this is my first time reaching out and I need help. No one seems to understand. I am angry and afraid.

    1. Cris – you are NOT ALONE. So many of us have dealt with depression, panic attacks, anxiety, and even drugs or substance abuse of various kinds. We were all terrified of doctors at one point. That’s what we were taught. <3 We Ex CS people understand. We are also angry, and getting over our fear a bit every day.

      You're not alone. We are here for you. Please get on Facebook and join our online Facebook forum. And – I am grateful Admin K sent you an email. <3 Admin K is phenomenal.

  8. Cris, I believe there’s help out there for you. I always tell myself that it’s not that Christian Science is wrong. It’s that it’s nothing. I wasn’t given any real kind of religion or spirituality to hold on to. It’s taken a long time to pull myself together from the wreckage of a CS upbringing. There are good people and good books to hold on to. I’m glad you found yourself here. It’s a good place to get to the truth.

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