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EternalGeekExposed
Evan
United States
Lived, learned, and loved.

This is a second account where I feel safe being involved in the LGBT community. My main account is :iconeternalgeek:. However, I ask you to please, PLEASE not discuss LGBT topics there or link anything on that account back to this one. This is my alias where I can be safe in who I am. Thank you for your understanding.
  • Mood: Rant
I am not sending you a card or a gift for your birthday this year. You will undoubtedly notice the absence of communication and might wonder why. You probably have a pretty good idea, but you will also probably come up with embellished reasons for my silence: I am mentally ill, or I am bitter against the family for being righteous, or I am unable to deal with disagreeing viewpoints, or I am just doing it to hurt the people who love me. I've heard these accusations from you or the rest of the family at various times, so I figure they'll likely make another appearance. I also figure I'm not likely to change your perceptions. For that reason, I'm not planning to send this letter. However, I am going to write it so that I can state my reasons in my words, without your skewed viewpoint being imposed on it.

It's been about a year since we had much of any communication. I offered you an invitation to my wedding. I wanted to let you know that you were welcome to be there, although I acknowledged that I didn't know if you'd be interested, given our theological differences.

You responded by saying you wouldn't be able to make it to my wedding "this time" because of a list of grievances that you shared. This included claims that I had accused you of "various things" (I have no idea what that means), you don't like my fiance (classy), there would be people there that you don't know (um... yeah, it's MY wedding... it's not going to be all YOUR friends), I had not kept in contact as much as you wanted me to (how the fuck was I supposed to know that when you never call me either?), I may have spread rumors about you (false), and I asked you not to talk about my fiance (also false). Your email was full of hostile language and snark, and you wrapped up saying that "for future reference" I should reconcile with you before I send invitations to things (translation: I should anticipate and appease your unspecified and un-communicated demands before I can expect to get your permission to live my own life.)

I already wrote you a response, detailing my issues with this communication, first and foremost being that you NEVER discussed any of the vague issues above with me prior to this communication, and several things you listed are blatant lies. When I called you out on this, you at least admitted that the "rumors" were completely unsubstantiated (whereas, on the other hand, I have solid proof that you have spread rumors about me amongst mutual friends). You didn't address that I've never asked you not to talk about my fiance, apart from asking you not to criticize or talk badly about her. Indeed, it was mom and dad (and their stupid Christian counselor) that insisted that I was not to ever make mention of my relationship around them and I seem to recall you thought this was reasonable and appropriate (hint: it's not.)

Also "this time"??? Are you serious? Oh, and when I responded to you and told you that didn't appreciate you being so disrespectful, you whined that "I thought I was allowed to be honest" and "actually, I think your wedding invitation was just baiting me to reject so that you could vent your anger on me." What? WHAT? Where the fuck would you get an idea like that from? Yes, if someone invites you to their wedding, the OBVIOUS reason is that they are trying to lure you into being rude and reject them so they can get angry. You are so delusional it's almost funny, but mostly it's enraging.

After all of that, I barely got an acknowledgement of the birthday present I sent you, and the only other communication we had was you complaining about me publicly on Facebook with mutual friends and then blocking me when I asked you to keep those conversations private. My wedding came an went, there was no acknowledgement from you. No communication. Nothing.

And now, a couple of months ago, you sent me a postcard with just normal messages, like nothing is wrong. I'm sorry, but if I was legitimately pissed off enough at someone to throw their wedding invitation in their face, use it as an excuse to sneer at them and put them down, gripe publicly on Facebook about them to some of their friends, and ignore their wedding, I would NOT be sending them happy little postcards as if nothing happened. If I was legitimately pissed at someone enough to treat them like utter SHIT the way you've treated me, I would not be on friendly postcard-writing terms with them.

What this confirms to me is that you have no legitimate reasons for treating me like shit. None. Your excuses have all rung hollow, your complaints have all be built on lies. You are nothing but a manipulator. I've seen through you by now. Remember all of the times that I would call you after not hearing from you for weeks just to say hi and you'd yell at me for not calling sooner? Remember how many times you'd wait for me to be on the phone with my girlfriend and you'd decide you wanted me to go for a walk RIGHT NOW and if I said "sure, after I get off the phone" you'd say "no, I'm going NOW" and then give me the cold shoulder for the rest of the night because I dared to not be on your schedule? Remember how you demanded that I apologize for having a private phone conversation with my (at that time) boyfriend because you felt you ought to be included because "it's so hurtful that you would have a conversation with a mutual friend without me"? Remember how you demanded that I apologize for inviting you to an event that I had planned with some friends because I had DARED to pick the activity and invite people without consulting you first? Remember how you told me that you would NEVER hang out with me and my girlfriend together because you believed us to be immoral, and then railed at me for not inviting you to a movie that I was going to with my girlfriend? Remember how you sent me emails with hateful anti-gay articles attached and, when I asked you not to, you scoffed at me for being oversensitive and so easily offended by "truth"? Remember when you told me you were not going to go overseas with me and then called me back a few days later demanding to know why I was telling other people LIES about how you weren't going overseas? Remember all of those times that you demanded I apologize for crimes I didn't know I had committed, over and over and over and over and OVER, trying to make me feel like shit about myself because I couldn't figure out what was so fucking wrong with me and why I couldn't ever do ANYTHING right by you?

In the context of all of this history, your behavior around my wedding invitation makes perfect sense. You are a manipulator. You love to see me beat myself down, apologize to you for crimes that I don't understand, promise to do better, constantly be abasing myself. That's what you like. I guess it makes you feel good.

Well, you can take that attitude and go to hell with it. I am fucking done. And that's why I'm not sending you a card or gift this year. Because I'm not going to pretend like things are okay. I'm not going to keep abasing myself for you. You know, you could be a pretty awesome sister sometimes. We had great times together. We had a connection. But you severed it. It's not my fault. YOU are the one that decided to treat me like shit. You're the one who refused to acknolwedge the pain you were causing. You are the one who always demanded apologies but never offered them EVER. You are the one who used one of the most important single moments in my life as leverage to try to put me in my place and beat me down and treat me like shit and make everything all about YOU.

Fuck you.

I don't know what the hell is wrong with you and I don't see much point in speculating. If you need help, I hope you go find it. If you just need to sit and reflect on yourself I hope you do. But I'm not going to be there for you. I'm not going to help you. I'm not going to touch you with a 10-ft pole. You know fucking well that you're acting like a total piece of shit, and I refuse to engage with that anymore. Figure yourself out somewhere else. I don't want to see you, hear from you, or acknowledge you until you're ready to act like a decent human being. And, quite frankly, I don't know that you ever well.

Fuck you and everything you stand for and, most importantly, stay the fuck out of my life.

Sincerely,
Your Brother

Activity


  • Mood: Rant
I am not sending you a card or a gift for your birthday this year. You will undoubtedly notice the absence of communication and might wonder why. You probably have a pretty good idea, but you will also probably come up with embellished reasons for my silence: I am mentally ill, or I am bitter against the family for being righteous, or I am unable to deal with disagreeing viewpoints, or I am just doing it to hurt the people who love me. I've heard these accusations from you or the rest of the family at various times, so I figure they'll likely make another appearance. I also figure I'm not likely to change your perceptions. For that reason, I'm not planning to send this letter. However, I am going to write it so that I can state my reasons in my words, without your skewed viewpoint being imposed on it.

It's been about a year since we had much of any communication. I offered you an invitation to my wedding. I wanted to let you know that you were welcome to be there, although I acknowledged that I didn't know if you'd be interested, given our theological differences.

You responded by saying you wouldn't be able to make it to my wedding "this time" because of a list of grievances that you shared. This included claims that I had accused you of "various things" (I have no idea what that means), you don't like my fiance (classy), there would be people there that you don't know (um... yeah, it's MY wedding... it's not going to be all YOUR friends), I had not kept in contact as much as you wanted me to (how the fuck was I supposed to know that when you never call me either?), I may have spread rumors about you (false), and I asked you not to talk about my fiance (also false). Your email was full of hostile language and snark, and you wrapped up saying that "for future reference" I should reconcile with you before I send invitations to things (translation: I should anticipate and appease your unspecified and un-communicated demands before I can expect to get your permission to live my own life.)

I already wrote you a response, detailing my issues with this communication, first and foremost being that you NEVER discussed any of the vague issues above with me prior to this communication, and several things you listed are blatant lies. When I called you out on this, you at least admitted that the "rumors" were completely unsubstantiated (whereas, on the other hand, I have solid proof that you have spread rumors about me amongst mutual friends). You didn't address that I've never asked you not to talk about my fiance, apart from asking you not to criticize or talk badly about her. Indeed, it was mom and dad (and their stupid Christian counselor) that insisted that I was not to ever make mention of my relationship around them and I seem to recall you thought this was reasonable and appropriate (hint: it's not.)

Also "this time"??? Are you serious? Oh, and when I responded to you and told you that didn't appreciate you being so disrespectful, you whined that "I thought I was allowed to be honest" and "actually, I think your wedding invitation was just baiting me to reject so that you could vent your anger on me." What? WHAT? Where the fuck would you get an idea like that from? Yes, if someone invites you to their wedding, the OBVIOUS reason is that they are trying to lure you into being rude and reject them so they can get angry. You are so delusional it's almost funny, but mostly it's enraging.

After all of that, I barely got an acknowledgement of the birthday present I sent you, and the only other communication we had was you complaining about me publicly on Facebook with mutual friends and then blocking me when I asked you to keep those conversations private. My wedding came an went, there was no acknowledgement from you. No communication. Nothing.

And now, a couple of months ago, you sent me a postcard with just normal messages, like nothing is wrong. I'm sorry, but if I was legitimately pissed off enough at someone to throw their wedding invitation in their face, use it as an excuse to sneer at them and put them down, gripe publicly on Facebook about them to some of their friends, and ignore their wedding, I would NOT be sending them happy little postcards as if nothing happened. If I was legitimately pissed at someone enough to treat them like utter SHIT the way you've treated me, I would not be on friendly postcard-writing terms with them.

What this confirms to me is that you have no legitimate reasons for treating me like shit. None. Your excuses have all rung hollow, your complaints have all be built on lies. You are nothing but a manipulator. I've seen through you by now. Remember all of the times that I would call you after not hearing from you for weeks just to say hi and you'd yell at me for not calling sooner? Remember how many times you'd wait for me to be on the phone with my girlfriend and you'd decide you wanted me to go for a walk RIGHT NOW and if I said "sure, after I get off the phone" you'd say "no, I'm going NOW" and then give me the cold shoulder for the rest of the night because I dared to not be on your schedule? Remember how you demanded that I apologize for having a private phone conversation with my (at that time) boyfriend because you felt you ought to be included because "it's so hurtful that you would have a conversation with a mutual friend without me"? Remember how you demanded that I apologize for inviting you to an event that I had planned with some friends because I had DARED to pick the activity and invite people without consulting you first? Remember how you told me that you would NEVER hang out with me and my girlfriend together because you believed us to be immoral, and then railed at me for not inviting you to a movie that I was going to with my girlfriend? Remember how you sent me emails with hateful anti-gay articles attached and, when I asked you not to, you scoffed at me for being oversensitive and so easily offended by "truth"? Remember when you told me you were not going to go overseas with me and then called me back a few days later demanding to know why I was telling other people LIES about how you weren't going overseas? Remember all of those times that you demanded I apologize for crimes I didn't know I had committed, over and over and over and over and OVER, trying to make me feel like shit about myself because I couldn't figure out what was so fucking wrong with me and why I couldn't ever do ANYTHING right by you?

In the context of all of this history, your behavior around my wedding invitation makes perfect sense. You are a manipulator. You love to see me beat myself down, apologize to you for crimes that I don't understand, promise to do better, constantly be abasing myself. That's what you like. I guess it makes you feel good.

Well, you can take that attitude and go to hell with it. I am fucking done. And that's why I'm not sending you a card or gift this year. Because I'm not going to pretend like things are okay. I'm not going to keep abasing myself for you. You know, you could be a pretty awesome sister sometimes. We had great times together. We had a connection. But you severed it. It's not my fault. YOU are the one that decided to treat me like shit. You're the one who refused to acknolwedge the pain you were causing. You are the one who always demanded apologies but never offered them EVER. You are the one who used one of the most important single moments in my life as leverage to try to put me in my place and beat me down and treat me like shit and make everything all about YOU.

Fuck you.

I don't know what the hell is wrong with you and I don't see much point in speculating. If you need help, I hope you go find it. If you just need to sit and reflect on yourself I hope you do. But I'm not going to be there for you. I'm not going to help you. I'm not going to touch you with a 10-ft pole. You know fucking well that you're acting like a total piece of shit, and I refuse to engage with that anymore. Figure yourself out somewhere else. I don't want to see you, hear from you, or acknowledge you until you're ready to act like a decent human being. And, quite frankly, I don't know that you ever well.

Fuck you and everything you stand for and, most importantly, stay the fuck out of my life.

Sincerely,
Your Brother

This thought just hit me like a pile of bricks, and I need to sound off on it really fast.

In evangelical culture, it is often repeated that love is not an emotion. Love is an action. If you google search for those words, a slew of Christian articles pop up. Christian courtship books, books about relationships, evangelical talking heads have reinforced this message. My family said it over and over. Until maybe yesterday I had just accepted this paradigm without question. It made sense. Love isn’t an emotion, it’s so much more than that. Love isn’t a feelings towards someone, it’s doing something to them.

This was rooted deeply in a rejection of emotion and desires in general. After all, feelings are fickle, cheap, short-lived. Feelings are deceitful, like the heart. Feelings are sinful, the lust of the flesh, the pride of life. Wants, needs, feelings, desires… all of these are to be crucified. But love is to remain, so love is not a feeling. Love is action.

And this is why whenever my mom would say “I know this doesn’t feel loving to you, but it is love” I believed her. This is why, whenever I was mistreated, belittled, rejected, and disrespected, I excused it as “just their way of loving me.” Their way of loving, despite the fact that it did not feel loving, had validity because feelings could not be trusted but actions were love. Their way of loving allowed them to consistently wield the power to define what love looked like, regardless of whether I liked it or not.

Accepting that paradigm meant that I could not accept their love while simultaneously rejecting their actions. Each time I tried to insist that I needed them to treat me differently, the answer would be “but we love you. We love you.” And love is action, not a feeling. Whether or not I felt unloved was irrelevant. Whether or not I was hurting, I was scared, I wanted to die, it didn’t matter because those were feelings and feelings can’t be trusted. Love can.

And over and over, I accepted this paradigm. Even as I tried to argue that abuse could be committed with loving intentions, even as I argued that I wanted respect, even as I tried to make them understand that what they were doing was hurting me, I still internally accepted the idea that love is an action as valid and, as such, I had no real ground to stand on. The best I could do would be to quibble over which actions are love, which is a very difficult argument to win since it is so subjective and situation-specific. From me, love looked like trying to still have a relationship with my family after all of the hurt they had caused. From them, love looked like emotional manipulation. Who was I to decide if that was or was not love?

But that’s exactly why the idea that love is an action is so wrong. It gives all of the power to define love to the one loving, not the one on the receiving end. It allows one person to decide that any action done with a feeling of love, is love. In fact, actions can be done with a feeling of hate, and it can still be called love.

I do believe that my family loves me. I think they love me very deeply. But love is an emotion. They can have very deep feelings for me and still act hatefully. They can want the very best for me and still be unbelievably cruel. They are right to say that actions mean more than emotions. But they are wrong to say that love is an action.

It is completely possible to feel love for someone while your actions destroy them.
Because love is only a feeling, it is meaningless to me unless it is demonstrated through actions that make me feel loved. And that’s the difference. If we accept that love is only a feeling, then we must by necessity give the recipient of our love some amount of control over how that love is demonstrated. The recipient gets to define what actions make them feel your love.

And this might seem like a minor distinction, but to me it is so important. Love is not something you can do to me. Love is only something you can feel about me. The actions that you choose to take based on that feeling are separate. They are not love. I can acknowledge and desire your love while simultaneously utterly rejecting the actions you take to demonstrate it.
Love is an emotion, not an action
Yup, thoughts.  Um... not much to say right now.

Be civil in the comments or I will ban, as usual, blah blah.
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I left this review on Amazon after purchasing a 1-cent copy of this book to verify for myself some of the stupid bullshit that made up my ‘sexual education.’  Amazon wants me to rate the book, so here it is.  Note: I don’t tackle the deeper problems of gender essentialism or unhealthy attitudes about sex here since I wanted this review to be palatable to potential buyers.  Most of these potential buyers will be semi-conservative Christians, so I wanted to discuss the book’s shortcomings within that framework.  Besides, the review is already too long!

Rating: 1 star

I understand that many Christian parents will feel themselves in a bind when it comes to educating their students about sex, puberty, anatomy, and influences that a teenager may face at school and in their neighborhood.  They may want to find an education book that reflects their values while still having a straight talk about sex and bodies.  Preparing for Adolescence claims to provide just that, so I can see how it would be attractive.

DO NOT BE FOOLED.  This book is packed with misinformation, shame-inducing language, even outright cruelty, and does very little to enlighten teenagers about their bodies, sex, or even modern challenges facing teens.  I’m going to break this down into a few topics that the book addresses and bring up some of the serious problems.  Full disclosure, I was homeschooled with this book as my only sexual education apart from a few side-discussions added by my mother (which, while limited, were still MUCH more informative than this piece of rubbish).  As a result, I was woefully ignorant about sex, bodies, normal behavior, bodily changes, attraction, STDs, and more until I entered college.  Needless to say, that is NOT a safe situation for any teenager.

PUBERTY:  This is primarily what my mother purchased the book for… to explain my sister’s and my changing bodies, as well as explaining the process that boys go through as well.  I am very glad that she gave us her own personal lecture about menstruation, because Dobson does not even provide the bare minimum of knowledge about these topics.  His discussion of menstruation reads like a weird fairytale, describing it as a miraculous and exciting time when a girl’s body prepares for pregnancy (he calls the uterus as a “special pouch” for holding a baby and the vagina as a “special opening” for the baby to exit).  So much for having a mature discussion.  He spends a couple of pages rambling on about how miraculous and wonderful pregnancy is and how it is the most “amazing thing that ever can happen”, but entirely fails to mention what a tampon is, fails to mention that girls may experience cramping, does not discuss what a normal flow is, does not discuss the emotional changes that can happen, does not discuss any other symptoms a girl or woman might experience during her menstrual cycle (like bloating, discomfort, breast soreness, appetite changes, etc).  He does say that girls should ask their mother if they think their period is abnormal, but since Dobson never explains what is normal, I have no idea how he expects a young woman to know when she has cause to be alarmed!  I know I certainly didn’t!  The ONLY other thing he mentions in the female puberty section is that girls will develop larger breasts.  He fails to explain that women will grow body hair, may get acne, their body fat distribution may change, etc.  Apparently knowing about the miraculous-special-amazing-super-delight-miracle of menstruation and enlarging of breasts is all women need to know!

But the section for boys is not any better.  He describes this much more briefly and without all of the fairytale language (which makes me think that “special” is the word Dobson tends to repeat when the conversation he’s having makes him uncomfortable).  He describes growth spurts, growing body hair (something he neglected for girls), and changing voice.  He also says that your “sexual organs will grow to look more like that of an adult man’s”  but he never explains what that actually means or what that will look like.  He also fails to even mention the word TESTICLES anywhere, so presumably a boy will have a startling surprise when those descend.  There are no pictures anywhere in the book, so neither sex will have any idea what the body of the other sex looks like and, in my case, I never really even knew what my own body looked like because I was too nervous and ashamed to look down there.  But we’ll get to that, when Dobson discusses…

SEX:  I think a large reason that Dobson is so attractive to Christian parents is because he holds conservative Christian views, but he actually discusses sex in his book.  Supposedly.  Let’s see what he actually says about it.

He starts with a full paragraph, explaining that many people are shy about the topic of sex or avoid it, but that he’s going to treat his readers like adults and be open with them and withhold no information whatsoever.  He then explains what sex is in two sentences.  And that’s it.  Two sentences.  Those two sentences explain that a penis becomes hard and straight, a man and woman lie together and the penis goes in the vagina, they move some, and then they get a “tingly sensation”.  That’s it.  He does not mention ejaculation.  He does not even have it in him to use the word “orgasm” or explain what that is.  He does not make any allusion to the idea that orgasm may be difficult or easy or that sex should be done carefully to ensure that it is comfortable for both partners, since it can otherwise be painful.  And, fundamentally, his entire 2-sentence description flew over my head when I was a pre-teen reading this book because I still had no idea what a penis really looked like or how it can get “hard and straight” or how to get it “in there” or anything else that might help me understand.  Dobson claims to withhold nothing and treat his readers maturely, but there is nothing here that actually would enlighten a kid that doesn’t already know everything (and thus would have no need for this book).

So, after the first paragraph explaining that he will withhold nothing, and 2 sentences explaining what sex is, what does he spend the rest of this section on?  Misinformation and shaming!  To his credit, he first states that partners may have sex often or not, depending on what works for them, which I think is a good thing to note and is sometimes overlooked.  But then he spends a couple of pages explaining how dangerous and horrible sex is if you have it before marriage.  Now, I’m not going to complain too much about his aversion to premarital sex here, because I am sure many readers would agree due to personal convictions.  Rather, what I take issue with is the WAY that he addresses it and the disproportionate amount of time he spends on it.  Two sentences to explain sex… multiple pages about how terrible premarital sex is.  And Dobson goes to horrifying lengths in his attempt to scare kids away from sex, relying on ignorance, misinformation, and outright lies.   He claims that if you’ve had sex already, you will NEVER appreciate it with your current partner and will never be fulfilled (how horrible must that be for rape or abuse victims to know that they will never be able to enjoy sex with their life-long partner???)  He claims that people who have premarital sex will often experience a change of personality to become cold and bitter and miserable (so having premarital sex is not just bad, it will turn you into a bad person!).  He also warns of STDs that could kill you or make your life miserable (although he goes into very little detail) but never actually explains how to avoid them aside from “you and your partner must never have sex until you marry.”  Well, that’s nice, but you can only control your own behaviors, not your partner’s.  So what if a young man or woman meets a partner that HAS had sex before?  There is no discussion of how to protect yourself, get tested, or anything.  Just “getting an STD could be a DEATH SENTENCE” and then “but you don’t have to worry about it as long as you and your partner both have never had sex.”  How is this remotely safe for a teenager?  And throughout all of this discussion, he never once mentions redemption.  He never mentions forgiveness or renewal or being able to rebuild a happy life even if you “messed up” and had premarital sex.  Nothing.  Just “if you have premarital sex, you will never appreciate sex with your current partner, you will become a cold, miserable person, and you might die.  So don’t do it.”  This is just blatant scare tactics and manipulation based on lies and it is a horrible and unhealthy message for children to absorb.

SEXUALITY:  I am separating this from “sex” because I want to discuss Dobson’s ideas of attraction and sexual interest.  First, Dobson states that boys will start feeling an interest in girls’ bodies.  He says they will become fascinated with “curves, softness, even their feminine feet”.  Honestly, I find his description of what makes women attractive to men very limiting and a little ridiculous (not all women are curvy and soft!), but I’ll give it a pass.  He then says that girls will not find boys’ bodies attractive in the same way, but rather they will be attracted to personalities.  He later repeats this, saying that men are attracted physically while women are attracted emotionally.  This is JUST NOT TRUE.  Books like Dobson’s led me to believe that women do not experience sexual attraction, only emotional attraction.  This is a very confusing and damaging message to internalize.  It taught me that if I wasn’t attracted to my boyfriend, that was normal and good.  It taught me that if he pressured me for sex and I didn’t want it, that was normal.  It taught me that if he wanted to be physical and I didn’t, that was normal.  I did not realize that I was attracted to women until I was in my 20’s, because I had always assumed that my disinterest and revulsion at the idea of physicality with men was NORMAL.

And speaking of homosexuality, he mentions it only once in this book (which is probably good).  He says “homosexuality is a sign of serious problems, but it is rare and it is not very likely that you will be one.”  If your child happens to feel attraction to the same sex, this is a good way to deepen their shame and hopelessness.  They have a rare condition that is ominously described as a “sign of serious problems.”  How is a child supposed to do anything but hide their sexuality in fear if this is the only thing they are told about it?

Oh, and before I leave this section, I should add that Dobson has a list of questions near the end of the sex/puberty chapter that he says are common questions that young teens might have.  One of them is asking if God will punish them for sexual thoughts.  Rather than answering the question, he simply states that “you will likely experience sexual thoughts as you go through adolescence.  You may feel guilt or shame about this.”  That’s it.  No indication that a teenager need not feel guilty for their thoughts and feelings or that sexual attraction is nothing to be ashamed of.  Just a statement that they will feel guilty and ashamed.  I assume this means he thinks the guilt and shame is normal and good.  Ugh.

GENDER:  Dobson believes in gender essentialism, so he thinks that women and men are inherently very different and their “woman-ness” and “man-ness” is an integral part of their being.  I have no interest in arguing with this, as I assume many readers will agree.  However, I will again take issue with the way that he addresses this.  It is confusing and terrifying as heck.

Dobson discusses this as a side-note at the end of one of his chapters.  He states that it is of extreme importance that boys learn to grow up to be men and girls learn to grow up to be women.  He expresses many times how IMPORTANT it is that boys and girls learn the correct way to be masculine and feminine.  But after putting so much enormous weight on this, he then leaves the reader with absolutely no understanding of what that’s supposed to look like.  He suggests only that a child find role models to try to model their behavior after.  This is not a bad idea, except that how is a boy or girl supposed to know which role models are correctly “masculine” or “feminine”?  Dobson does not care to define it, so teens are simply left with a ringing warning about how improper it will be for them to fail to live up to their gender, but no indication of how to go about it.  And, for the record, these sorts of vague admonishments frequently result in girls and boys feeling guilt and shame if they do not fit all of the stereotypical behaviors of “masculine” and “feminine”, even if the parent themselves had no intention of restricting their children to quite such a rigid set of behaviors.

RELATIONSHIPS:  I could not bring myself to re-read ever page of Dobson’s relationship section because I was so turned off at the beginning, so my discussion here is limited.  All I can say is that he opens up the section by painting an imaginary storyline of a couple that falls in love young and marries.  Apart from the couple being young, Dobson seems to paint them as doing everything right.  They meet, they find they share interests, they really enjoy each other’s company, their families like them, they spend time together, they fall in love, they get married (no premarital sex).  And then, for some reason, Dobson states that they start fighting on their honeymoon.  They lash out at each other and then suddenly feel bitter and resentful.  Rather than making up, going to counseling, or improving communication, he says that their life spirals into a hell of fighting and hating and avoiding each other for the rest of their days, wondering what went wrong, and inflicting pain on their child who will forever know that his mommy and daddy don’t love each other and will grow up miserable.  Wow.  That escalated quickly.

This catastrophe is all because… well Dobson doesn’t even really fully explain it, apart from indicating that the couple may have been too young and that their love apparently wasn’t genuine.  But honestly, it just isn’t made clear HOW they could have known that their love wasn’t genuine.  All that is implied is that it was wrong and somehow the couple involved should have just been more godly or something and none of it would have happened.  This is again just blatant scare tactics, trying to frighten teens away from having relationships, without giving them any tools for knowing what actually IS a good relationship.  I can understand if his point is to encourage teens not to rush into marriage or to be selective with their dating partners, but that is not what this story accomplishes.  It simply says “you might feel like you’re doing everything right, you might love and respect your partner, things might seem to be great, but you might be wrong and you will be miserable for the rest of your pathetic lives!” and then leaves it to an emotional, confused and ignorant teenager to try to figure out how to avoid this catastrophe.  Let me tell you from experience: it did not work for me.  What is the point of giving teenagers this horrifying picture of what a failed marriage might look like without explaining to them how to avoid it, besides “don’t marry until you’re in your 20’s?”  Turning 20 does not magically make you know what makes a good marriage partner!!!

DISABILITY:  This part just makes me angry.  Much of the book is devoted to discussing avoiding peer pressure and navigating social aspects of adolescence.  He talks about not being mean to people and trying not to compare yourself to others.  Throughout this discussion, he brings up a couple of children he knew who had disabilities.  I was shocked in re-reading the book at how unkind he is in his discussions of this.  One boy he discusses as having a hearing difficulty, but he felt embarrassed to wear a hearing aid because it made him stand out.  Rather than discussing this dilemma compassionately or actually dealing with the pain and struggle of having people treat you like garbage because of a disability and how horrible that can be, he states that he feels sorry for the boy for being so foolish as to let other people influence his decision to wear a hearing aid.  Yes, he MOCKS a child for feeling shame and pain over the torment that his classmates give him about his disability.  He gets even more cruel when discussing a blind girl who refused to let people lead her from place to place.  He makes a joke of having seen her walk into a pole once, and then again chastises her for being foolish and avoiding assistance because of the way other kids treated her.

THIS IS WRONG.  Look, I agree that a disability is certainly nothing to be ashamed of and that we should encourage children not to feel like there is something wrong with them.  But the way to do this is NOT by making them ashamed of feeling self-conscious or mocking them for wanting to fit in.  Besides, particularly in the blind girl’s story, he makes the assumption that she refused to have people walk her places because she was ashamed.  He does not consider that maybe she had learned her way around well enough that she felt confident and had set a personal goal to travel around school without assistance.  The possibility that she was trying to become more independent, or had been working towards this for a long time, or that her lack of guidance my be an act of bravery rather than cowardice does not seem to even cross his mind.  She is just the butt of his joke to demonstrate that, if you cave in when other kids tease you for being different, you’ll just make a bigger fool of yourself.

Overall, this book is poorly written, woefully unhelpful, full of lies, misinformation, and scare tactics, has cruel and harmful messages for teens, and does not even do a good job of presenting conservative Christian views of sex or adolescence.  PLEASE look elsewhere.  If you have already decided to use this book, PLEASE at least find other resources to supplement it with because your child will not know what he/she needs to know about adolescence just from reading this book!  It is not comprehensive and it is harmful and it is not a good Christian alternative to a proper sex education.
Review of James Dobson's Preparing for Adolescence
Just something I did lately for the sake of my own therapy.  I'm not flagging as mature, but it does contain anatomically correct terms.
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:iconotterwillow:
otterwillow Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I really love your articles on feminism and gay rights, 
I found them informative and very well written Hug 
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:iconeternalgeekexposed:
EternalGeekExposed Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014
Thank you!  I'm glad you found them useful!
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mangafanart184 Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014  Student General Artist
amazing art work :D
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EternalGeekExposed Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014
Aww, thank you!
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:iconmangafanart184:
mangafanart184 Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014  Student General Artist
you're welcome!! :) I couldn't draw still scenery that well :aww:
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llirbwerdnadivad Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2014
Happy Birthday!
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EternalGeekExposed Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014
Thank you!
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MadPrinceFeanor Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2014  Professional Writer
Happy Birthday! :cake:
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EternalGeekExposed Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014
Thanks!  Oh boy cake!
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el-solo Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Professional Filmographer
thanks for the watch :)
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