How “End Times” Beliefs Harm Children

I am one of the many people who chuckled at news stories about Harold Camping’s prediction that the world was going to end on May 21st. I heard about the tongue-in-cheek rapture parties and the celebratory post-rapture looting. And I, like so many others, found myself often shaking my head, wondering how could so many Americans buy into a nonsensical idea.

But I have noticed something else that is not a laughing matter: how the actions of some rapture-seized parents could, unintentionally in most cases, harm their children.

Think about it. How many news stories have you heard where people said they were convinced that they no longer needed earthly goods, and so they gave away everything they owned? In an NPR News story, Barbara Bradley Hagerty reports how Harold Camping’s predictions have inspired people to quit their jobs and leave their families. As one 27-year-old mother told NPR, “Knowing the date of the end of the world changes all your future plans.”

That mother, Adrienne Martinez, went on to say that, based on her belief about the impending rapture, she canceled plans to go to medical school. Instead, she and her husband quit their jobs and moved from New York City to Orlando to devote their lives to worshiping, proselytizing, and spending time with their two-year-old daughter. The couple is expecting another child next month, whom one can assume the Martinez’s believed would be born in heaven.

“My mentality was, why are we going to work for more money? It just seemed kind of greedy to me. And unnecessary,” Martinez told NPR. Her husband added, “God just made it possible—he opened doors. He allowed us to quit our jobs, and we just moved, and here we are.” Said his wife, “We budgeted everything so that, on May 21, we won’t have anything left.”

Now that the prophesy has failed to come true, what is to become of this family and the countless others who also bet away their futures? In this economy, we can only assume that they will have a difficult, long read ahead, as they try to rebuild their lives. But, of most importance to me, how will the choice to risk flinging a family into a state of poverty affect their children? Furthermore, how will those children be affected, as their parents potentially suffer with psychological trauma, trying to come to grips with the realization that their high-stakes belief is untrue?

In my book, Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment, I talk about the emotional difficulties children face when they are taught such notions as Armageddon and the Second Coming. A number of people I interviewed spoke about how, as children, they lived in a perpetual state of fear, because they were convinced that doomsday could arrive any day. Now, this latest threat—that hell would literally break loose on May 21st—brings to light new forms of child abuse and neglect.

Consider what happened on May 20th, the day before the world was predicted to come to an end: Lyn Benedetto of southern California allegedly slit her daughters’ throats and wrists and then her own to avoid what she believed was the coming “tribulation.”  Benedetto reportedly used a box cutter and paring knife in an attempt to kill her 11- and 14-year old daughters and then herself. Thankfully, the three survived. The girls were hospitalized and released to child protective services, and their mother was taken to jail.

We can wonder what kind of mental health syndromes or problems plague parents who jeopardize their children’s lives based on their religious beliefs. We can blame Harold Camping and some media outlets for propagating nonsense. We can laugh at those who take such nonsense as gospel. But, as I point out in Breaking Their Will, it is even more important to step back and question all religious ideas that are generated by, and spread, fear. Such ideas have the potential to lead parents to abuse and neglect their children.

[ADDENDUM: As you will see below, this blog generated numerous comments by individuals who described how the terrorizing “end times” religious teachings of their childhoods were emotionally abusive. The mother I write about, Adrienne Martinez, also commented, stating that her children were not negatively affected by her and her husband’s decision to give up material wealth in anticipation of the world coming to an end. On October 28, 2011, Camping’s website published a statement, saying that “it seems embarrassing” that Campings predictions were wrong, and he apologized for telling people that those who doubted that that the rapture would take place on May 21 probably had not been saved.]

Comments

  1. Trish Taylor says:

    This blog post was of special interest to me. You could probably write a whole book on just this subject.

    I was raised a Baptist, with lots of stories about the “End of the world” dished out at me from an early age. I was already a very anxious child…in fact, I am being treated for anxiety disorder now. So these messages had a profound impact on me, and influenced my life since. They made me susceptible to the message of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and that had a huge detrimental effect on me.

    If you decide to write that book, let me know…. I can give you an earful.

    • I was raised in a 4 square church and was guilted into every choice I made as a child (by my mother the religious fanatic who never followed he own religious orders). I also ended up becoming a very anxious child and adult. I’m in my 30s now and have just begun to control my anxiety without medications. After a considerable amount of education and separation from my mother, I have realized that she was/is crazy and I am an atheist. My children are raised in an atheist house hold and are free to make their own religious decisions without criticism.

      • Thanks for sharing your personal story, Rebecca. I’m sure many survivors could learn from your experiences both as a victimized daughter and as a mother who wants to give her children what she was denied.
        Janet

  2. While I understand fully the wording, “Thankfully, the three survived.”, I am not sure I find it preferable that the girls survived their mother’s delusional attack. I can’t help but think of the lifetime of psychological trauma they girls will have to endure from their mother’s example of fanatical, delusional religious beliefs, and especially from the memory and emotional scarring of the experience of being cut with a box cutter by their own mom. I also imagine kids will be forcibly separated from their mom who committed a crime by doing so, and even though that is an appropriate consequence for the mother’s action, their separation from their mother will be experienced as a trauma by the children also.
    Ughh, the power of delusion, especially fear inducing delusion is such an awful thing. Those who spread it by to the masses willingly like, Harold Camping, all the way down to Billy Graham and other evangelical Christians, commit a most wicked act.

    • Janet Heimlich says:

      Dear Kat,

      A friend responded to my blog the same way, saying maybe it was not such a good thing that the children who were injured by their mother survived. I can understand the desire to save those kids more agony. But there is another way to look at this: Sometimes tragedy puts an end to abuse, because outside authorities take notice that something awful is going on in a household. And while child protective services makes mistakes–usually a result of being underfunded–they frequently do a good job to keep victims connected with their biological family members/abusers while also keeping them safe. (I also understand that the injuries to the girls were not serious.)

      Secondly, these kinds of extreme cases publicly shed light on problems that society tends to be blind to–the fear-mongering of religious leaders, mental illness that is ignored because the individual is simply considered to be intensely religious, and, as you point out, the potential for the public to become deluded into believing outrageous ideas because those ideas are infused with religion.

      I will follow this case to see how things ends up and report back. But, for now, I wanted to share what I see as potentially positive outcomes.

      Best,
      Janet

  3. In a world where religion is so important to people, I know to tread lightly. However, I wonder how many adults really think about those Bible stories both old and new testament. From the time before I could speak, my parents read me all the Bible stories. I was horrified that God killed all the animals in a flood. They never did anything to God. Then there was all the wars that resulted in God’s people slaughtering women, children, and animals. I was horrified. I asked my father one day if he’d offer me as a sacrifice like Isaac was will to do with Jacob. The answer left me terrified–he wasn’t sure. I was about six. Then there was “We’ve all been left behind” movie shown at Church when I was about seven. I had nightmares about that for years and years after wards. When I grew into my womanly body, there was Paul and all the other followers of Christ who had nothing uplifting to say to me.

    I could go on and on. I’ve always wondered if anyone else faced a mountain of anxiety, night terrors, and depression for after these and other Biblical stories. I thought maybe I was just weird. It was such a relief to leave conservatism or fundamentalism or whatever you want to call it. I no longer live with a constant wonder if the end is now and hearing “I’d wish we’d all be ready. There’s no time to change your mind. The time has come. And, you’ve been left behind.” It’s been 33 years and I can still hear that song playing over and over again. Sometimes it’s the wounds no one else sees that eat you up inside.

    • I wont get into floiding the earth and chikdren being killed because its clear why he did tgat, everyone of the the world was completely horrible. But as far as night terrors yes, i had them about end of times and bad anxiety. it wasnt until i set out on my own path searching for the truth and finding it that i have beat that anxiety. there is way more proof that God is real over anything else abd to deny it makes me scratch my head wondering why peopke can be stared in the face with proof and still deny it. but once i understood the end of times from the bible i was no longer scared, it became something i looked forward ti.

      • Tell me about this truth you found. And this proof? I’ve looked for this all my life, and came to the realization that faith is faith, and you either have it or don’t. But there certainly isn’t any hard proof that I have ever seen, and I have looked harder and with more fervor than anyone I personally know. I am all ears.

      • I am also curious how you can to believe that killing people is just as long as they are horrible. It’s always interesting to observe that the most moral people I know tend to be agnostic or atheist. I don’t know any that would kill another person (especially children) because they are ‘horrible.’ I have come to believe that it must be because they use their own moral compass and critical thinking rather than ancient texts with with wild stories that can be easily interpreted to one’s liking,

        I am not saying there isn’t a God. If fact, the more my anger and pain goes away, the more open I am to the concept. I will say, that I have not seen any evidence that any one religion has it figured out, Mainly because to come to a sound conclusion you must rely on testing and consistency, which is in direct conflict with relying on faith alone. If there is a God, I have never seen evidence that humans have the capacity to understand It. If there is a God, all religion would be humans’ failed attempts at understanding something we are not capable of understanding.

  4. oh pleeeease!! lol you are trying to categorize MYSELF & MY HUSBAND as bad parents? meanwhile, you coyly throw you book titles in the midst of this rubbish, hoping people will be so appalled at the exaggerated made up and TEXT BOOK diagnosis’s you seem to have reckoned by the “story” you may have heard or read. with out knowing me personally, you assume i’m plagued by jeopardizing issues that could put my babies, my GOD given blessings, at risk??? lol this is a joke dude. i hope you enjoy the profit you make off this garbage… and for an update for all you people who may be wondering, my family is doing wonderful by Gods grace. He has truly been showing us to TRUST in HIM, ALONE, by providing for us. The Biblical timeline does end on Oct. 21, but, if He does NOT return on that date, it’s okay. He is STILL God. And this time we do have a plan ‘b’. My baby boy, Michael is a very happy, beautiful, joy!! And we still play Bible reading to them and hymns. No one was wrong with May 21. The part that was wrong was US, humans trying to figure out how it was going to happen and putting an hour on it and telling ppl there will be suffering etc. God proved He is merciful and takes NO pleasure in the deathof the wicked. If you are NOT saved, your reward is here…so live it up. May 21 was the END of Salvation. The door was SHUT. Oct 21 is the fulfillment of the Feast of Ingathering. It will all happen suddenly, no one will witness anything. Therefore there is NO point to tell anyone about it. But, what I’ve learned from May 21, is that I must entertain the possibility of ‘what if’… solely because I am NOT GOD, and cannot dictate or expect Him to do anything based on what I say… Oct. 21 is just another significant date that seems to be the last day. And, I mean, LOOK around!!! does anyone REALLY think the world can sustain itself for even another 10 years??? i don’t think so. but, yeah, for the record, we were not “proselytizing” & my blessings (children) are the happiest babies you will ever meet. What kids can say they’ve had mama & dada 24/7 for their whole life??? thanks for wondering about me… if it was mal intentioned or not.

    • christian j pasquariello says:

      Wrong again.

    • As someone who had similar parents to how you describe your current situation, I can assure you that these teachings that you continue to teach (hopefully not at this point) causes irreversible damage that is almost impossible to detect now. I looked like a happy, adjusted child too. If they don’t know any different, of course they will have some joy in life. It takes almost a lifetime for victims to figure out what that deep-seated self-loathing comes from. And they will likely never tell you. Because they likely will believe it’s their fault. And even if they did, you would likely not believe them anyway, or would chalk it up to the devil’s cunning plan to destroy your family. But it will be your fault. I have never told my parents that I have PTSD, and have endured years of psychotherapy and suicidal thoughts. I have never told them how the anxiety, fear, and feeling of helplessness has instilled in me a fierce anger, depression, and eternal sadness. Only now at 36 years old have I managed to unchain myself to a degree, and only the will the protect my own son has enabled this. Not God. Not my parents. I am responsible for taking my life back, and part of that has been detaching myself from my parents, moving far away, and only allowing a very surface relationship. My heart aches for you and your children.

  5. I am 25, and my parents were religious fanatics. They abused me, beat me me, and committed all kinds of atrocities in the name of Christianity. I became an Agnostic until I broke free of the chains of my past and faced the real problem. I think the problem here is not the religion, it is the sin and the ignorance. I am a Christian. I have children. I do not beat or emotionally traumatize my children in the name of Christianity or otherwise. Misinformation and manipulation are the root of the problem in regards to the story of the woman who slit her children’s throats to save them from the tribulation. I do not believe that any woman who calls on the name of God to excuse the murder and horrific attempt to slaughter her children was ever a Christian at all. There are loons, freaks, creeps, and fanatics everywhere. Ignorant crime does not negate the truth. People need to stop looking for an excuse to justify their weaknesses. I have been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder because of my parents but I do not hide behind it. I refuse to let it dominate my life or rule me. It is a STATE OF THE MIND people. Grow UP!!!! Be responsible! Educate yourselves, you don’t have to go to college or school to educate yourself these days! Stop looking for excuses and prepare yourselves for the truth, only then will you be set free of your mindsets and past experiences.

    The Bible says that no man knows the day, or the hour of his return – which makes anyone who believed Camping either ignorant or unsaved.
    Your demeaning mannerisms and “tongue-in-cheek” summary of how End Of Times beliefs harm children was not only unnecessary but stupid. If you were educated on what you were talking about it might help your cause. The REAL harm is the dumbing down of the Church. The lukewarm teachings are overwrought with Political Correctness and over-run with the Liberal Agenda. Real Christians do not know the day, or the hour. Real Christians know that child abuse and murder are not only against the 10 commandments but against the moral fiber of the family unit and the Body of Christ. Real Christians will continue to get a bad reputation because of idiots like this woman, and from the looks of things will soon be undergoing great persecution by our newly established Muslim rule here in America. The great thing about Christianity is that no matter how much it is undermined, abolished, forbidden, hated, or mocked it will prevail. There is nothing that anyone, or anything, can do about that.

    • D. Joy,

      Thank you for submitting these thoughts. I think they are very insightful. If you are on Facebook, you might be interested to join my closed Facebook “Child-Friendly Faith” group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/childfriendlyfaith/ I am sure you will find many like-minded people there. Thanks for being an advocate for children.

      Best regards,
      Janet

    • You speak of misinformation, but there are over 30,000 Christian sects. They all believe they are the One True Sect. Every religion claims to be the one true religion.

      The problem with religion is there is no evidence to show which if any is the truth. It’s all misinformation. There is no more reason to believe in Christianity then there is Islam or Buddhism.
      Every person who goes around saying the world is going to end, or “God hates fags”, or pick your favourite style of abuse, believe they have the special understanding of the word of God.

      The problem is religion gets a special pass and undeserving respect in society. It shouldn’t.

  6. I want to start by saying regardless of people agreeing or disagreeing. I felt as though i could sincerely relate to this article. Although my story never went as far as breaking news. In my opinion i was brought up on some serious unrealistic ideals that deeply affected how i viewed the world. It was pretty intense to say the least.

    A familiar statement I often heard in my youth was “you better have your heart right with the Lord, you never know when Jesus is coming back.” That statement scared the SH out of me. How do you know if your heart is right with the Lord? If i cant communicate with him or see him how do i know if were all good? I don’t believe a young mind can truly comprehend faith. I dont know if i understand it now. Either way, this statement created a sense of inadequacy, confusion but ultimately fear. I felt as though every person I loved was saved but me so i tried very hard to please God.

    When i was young we lived in a simple brick ranch style home, very midwest. My bedroom was on one end of the house and my parents was on the other. I can remember being about 7 or 8 years old and waking up in the night in panic mode thinking everyone had been “raptured.” I can remember my legs feeling numb and my heart thumping out of my chest as i walked from one end of the house to the other. Once arriving within a few feet of my parents bedroom door and faintly hearing my dad snoring a sense of relief would come over my body. Yet not enough for me to go back to my own room. NO, No.. I slept on my parents bedroom floor every night from around age 7 to 12. I can remember my dad getting me all settled on the floor and I would ask him to hold my hand as i slept just so i could just feel someone there. So he would hang his arm over the bed and i would hold it as i finally dozed off. My dad was very loving and kind he was just very sure of his beliefs. With that said it would probably be appropriate to question why your 12 year old daughter still sleeps on your bedroom floor.

    During my teenage years i was disheartened by the idea that we were in the “end times.” If we are in the end times that means i may never get to enjoy the gifts of this life time. I wanted to experience life. I wanted kids, to grow old, see the world. How would i ever be able to have these things if it was all going to end soon. How can someone ignore these wonderful earthly desires for an afterlife that no one really has experienced?

    After years of televangelical pastors screaming “THE MARK OF THE BEAST!! Armageddon is NEAR!!” in the background as i did my homework. I eventually moved on and started my adult life with the scars of religious fanaticism at its finest. After 27 years of this indoctrination I recently came to realize that organized religion is not for me. Letting it go has given me peace. I do believe in a creator. I do believe in reason, without it nothing is clear for me. If judgement is upon me from a divine being, I believe that i will be accepted for exactly who i am. From the messed up things to the wonderful things that have shaped me, i will not be left behind. I have good intentions, I am kind and I love others not because of religion but because that is what keeps humanity going. In that I am Free.

    I hope that anyone going through this fear or anxiety about doomsday can just take a deep breath and enjoy the here and now. Instead of worrying of Jesus’s return and if you are saved. Or, Instead of thinking of this as a “testing ground” think of this life as something to be cherished and live it fearless and open minded. Instead of doing something nice for someone to secure your eternity do it because it is a “gift to give.”

  7. This is why I don’t believe in God or any religion. All religions do is cause division among men, scam people out of money, distract people from believing in science and rights for their fellow man, and kill people when they’re worried about doomsday or vaccines. Stick with atheism. That will make you
    much happier

  8. I grew up with a very religious mom. As a child in the 1970s’s I dreamed of being a secretary or airline stewardess when I grew up. About this time mom got into the endtime prophecy. In my junior high years I dreamed of moving into a highrise apt in Chicago and working in an office. I had lived in Chicago for a few years as a child before we moved to Texas and lived in the country were I was isolated after school and all my time was spent either outside or in the house with mom listening to her radio preachers. Around this this time mom began listening to an evangelist which is still around today, he travels with a big tent and his followers give him their money. He was obsessed with prophecy and me being a preteen, I heard this end of world stuff so much that I believed it. I was told there was no future and that I might not grow up. Jesus would be back before I finished highschool, when that didn’t happened, the date just kept changing and I kept believing it because it’s hard to get stuff like that out of your mind and I , too was very anxious and being an only child who spent very little time outside of school with other children, I payed more attention to world events. I gave up my dreams of the future and set my priorities. I was told I couldnt have sex outside marriage. I knew I want to get married and have a family one day. I realized though there was no time to do it all, and why did I need to start college when I wasn’t going to be able to finish. I graduated highschool, and ended up marrying 3 years later to a man I didn’t care for because I didn’t have time to find mr right. I married in 1987 and had a child in 1991, the marriage ended before the child was born. I had to hurry though because the rapture would occur before 1990 , then before 1993, etc. It didn’t matter that I picked a bad man because the world would end soon so it didn’t matter. I could get an education, a career, marry and have a family, there was not time.

    So here I am in my early 50’s, divorced for over 25 years and working at a grocery store in a dead end job. I have no skills and can’t keep a relationship (having my mom is now eldelry living with me doesn’t help at all) and have a grown daughter that is mid 20’s and married and educated and very sucessful. I envy her much as she has the life I wanted but because I was brought up to believe there was no time to do it all, I picked marriage and family and now really don’t have either. I’ve been out of high school 34 years and if you would have told me that i’d still be here today back then, I would have laughed at you. I didn’t come to my senses until a few years ago as it’ s very hard to get these things out of your head. Now it’s too late for me to get an education, have a career and marry because i’m in a dead end job and make only enough to survive and am taking care of my mom who is fairly healthy as she is only 77, however she is emotionally needy and still a fanatic. I resent her most of the time because she planted a seed in my mind that kept me from preparing for my future and sucess

    • Dear Eileen, I want to first thank you for sharing your story. My heart goes out to you. It is completely unfair that you were robbed of life’s opportunities and instilled with fear as a child. You anger toward your mother is completely understandable. I started a nonprofit called the Child-Friendly Faith Project. If you feel it would be helfpul to be part of a community of other survivors of religious child abuse/neglect, please let me know. If you are on Facebook, we have a closed group I’d love for you to join. There are many people there who personally know of your struggle and I’m sure that would want to offer emotional support at least. The name of the group is “Child-Friendly Faith.” Please stay in touch, Janet Heimlich

    • Hello Eileen, I’m so sorry to hear your story. I understand the resentment and the feelings of lost years and opportunities. It sounds that you were successful in raising a happy and independent daughter.

      Having been brought up in a religious community that was heavily focused on the End Times I can empathize. I wish I could say something more encouraging.
      If you are looking for further community around this I found lifeaftergod.org a good place to start for support.

      Best wishes,

      Pietje

    • Hi Eileen, I’m in my later 50’s now and although I was concerned about doing the most I could do to help others rather than just myself (bible teachings including last days teachings) I did go back to a state college and you can too and it could be a great time-it’s hard work too though, at any age! I got college credits from my own personal “experiential learning” which I had gained while I was raising my own child by myself. Even as a diligent bible student I pushed my child as hard as I could to get through college but she really took her time in spite of my efforts. But I’d only worked for 8 months in my new chosen field when I suffered a life-changing medical events which took years to come out of. I still have today, the rest of my life (?) and all my past living. When I look around I see that everyone has some life experiences they wish they hadn’t. I DO focus on gratitude (bible teachings) and my friendships. There are more older Americans in college now than ever! Carpe Diem!! ~Robyn

  9. Alicia Koback says:

    I want to say that you are not alone.
    That many many of us believed the ‘end time message’ and were brainwashed into living for its coming instead of fulfilling our dreams.
    I am your age. I only gave up my beliefs a few years ago.
    I felt used and disillusioned and dumb for believing so long.
    That brought depression and self loathing.
    I got counselling and realized I must be responsible for myself.
    I want to encourage you to talk and tell this all to a trained counsellor who is not of a religion.
    I want to encourage you to take a night course or free lessons on up to date computer skills and apply as a secretary to jobs that would admire an older person with life experience in a secretarial situation.
    I would encourage you to make friends with women that will uplift you and help you when your down.
    I would encourage you to try to find your Mom a home where she can live , maybe with other seniors so that you can visit but not always be together.
    I wish I lived close to you because I would be your friend.

  10. John Wilwerding says:

    Dear Eileen,

    I understand these desperate feelings, I also recommend seeking psychotherapy from a provider who has no religious affiliation to help you. Regret is a painful depressive thing looking back at how the influence of others formed our own. But, you breath, and have escaped the worst form of abuse, psychological. You are a loveable person no matter your perceived naivety. I encourage you to not look back on your life, share what left of it with another who is also free of the same abuse. The love and happiness created between two people can be more fulfilling than any grand career.

  11. I grew up in San Fife’s Move of God cult. I write about this in my book, CULT CHILD, and yes I want people to read it. Because it is written in first person. The reader will be inside of the mind of me as a child, ages 3-14, being mind controlled and abused by religion. Teaching a child that they can be raptured any moment is death training. I grew up holding a constant impending sense of doom. Then one day as an adult I realized it was the same sense of doom I carried as a child waiting to “did” aka be raptured, coupled with the intense fear of NOT getting raptured with my family because I’d done something wrong somewhere and wasn’t good enough. That doom was so programmed into my system that Inwas feeling it about almost everything in life.

    This is without question a mind shattering existence for a child to be reared disallowed to think for themselves. .

    If someone thinks they’re okay because they were hit or reared in a controlling way, most often they’re not okay. The level of alcoholism, addictions, behavioral projections, are all indications to me of how much many people have not healed.

    This is a topic near to my heart. There is healing through acceptance of truth and science.

  12. Trish Taylor says:

    I was the first person to comment on this post back in 2011. What I would like to say to Eileen is, it’s never too late to start over. I came out of the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult when I was 40. Went to school and got a degree, went to work for Postal Service, then the State of Texas. I’m now nearly 70 and I can truly say that I’ve been happy these past 30 years.

    The most depressing thing in life, to me, is feeling like I don’t have any choices. I’ve finally learned that you do have choices, not that they are all necessarily good ones.

    When I was 40, married “the man of my dreams”. Turns out he was an alcoholic, although I was too naive to realize it at the time. He eventually got bad enough that he went to treatment and then attended AA meetings. I got into Al Anon. If you have no other way of getting counseling, an AlAnon meeting is the best bang for your buck, no matter if you have and alcoholic/addict in your life or not.

    Since I was still hurting from the religion, I didn’t appreciate the “God” overtones of the 12-step meetings. But I finally defined my “higher power” as my AlAnon group, and that worked just fine. Those wonderful ladies certainly helped me feel more power than I felt by myself.

    I learned so many important things in a 12-step program. One of them was the philosophy of “Accepting the things you cannon change, Changing the things you can, and knowing the difference.” I learned that you don’t have to like your current situation, but you absolutely must accept it to be able to respond to it constructively.

    A counselor asked me the question once, “If you could wave a magic wand and make your life exactly like you want it, how would that look?” Once you really sit down and decide what kind of life you want, you have to start taking baby steps in that direction.

    The frightening religious philosophy has ruined the first 50 years of your life, don’t let it ruin what remains of it.

    Life can get better. You are stronger than you think.

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