Yesterday, my daughter asked me if I have PTSD. Her reasoning is that I tend to not remember my past until I go through old letters or paperwork documenting my life. For example, my son is applying for disability so I have been going through old files for medical records for his case. I came across old report cards and reports from child psychologists and school psychologists. Boy, did the memories flood back. All three of us are bipolar, with other stuff thrown in, but we were not diagnosed or even under good care back then. I was either too manic or too depressed to even know how bad it was. I never got them to school on time; forget homework; they didn't even bathe regularly. I don't remember what we ate. I made good money (I was a programmer) so I don't think we went hungry. My daughter remembers empty cabinets and lunches of popcorn.
My point is this: there is a lot I have blocked out from my past, and that includes from my childhood. I am aware that there was a lot of weird dynamics going on in my family. A lot of shame and guilt and anger. And neglect. There was a lot we weren't allowed to see or do because it was "bad" or "sinful." My father had an obsession with privacy and modesty, an unnatural obsession. And it gets worse.
So when I saw the posts on Purity Balls, I thought I would throw up. The thought of my father "protecting my virginity" or being my "boyfriend" makes me physically sick. Even the declarations of love and adoration make me queasy. Is it me or is it them? I would love nothing more than for these evangelical fathers to be emotionally strong and stable so that they never take advantage of their daughters. But I feel that this ritual covenant between father and daughter could blur boundaries for the girl, make her feel safe when she is not, and give the father perceived rights to take liberties.
We shouldn't need Purity Balls. Fathers should protect their daughters Anyway. This whole thing is just creepy.
I am not an expert on bipolar disorder... I just live with it. This is my blog of hope and encouragement.