I recently received a viewing of my uncle's domestic violence and divorce hearings, about 2 hours of footage disseminated by said uncle in full to family in an emailed plea for financial support and to "set the record straight about the court's obvious bias and the manipulation of my ex-wife." I've never seen someone so disillusioned. He really thought the court's tapes would paint him in the best light.
This guy hasn't made more than $600/month in 20 years and forced his ex-wife to never seek employment because of their Christian family values. All 8 of his minor children have restraining orders against him, and he'd voluntarily ended visitation before that (while still arguing to claim them as dependents). Has never paid child support. After the separation, the old home burned down due to fire hazards that were named in a previous hearing with some evidence pointing to arson. He had kept all the family's photos, and they burned too. And on, and on, and on. It's grotesque.
He represented per se, and I have never seen someone come across so poorly, so unprepared. The judicial disdain in the courtroom was palpable. He tried to explain how the "physics" of knocking his wife over and prying their sobbing daughter out of her arms were actually not as violent as it sounds. That the force he exerted on her must have been equally returned by her according to well-known scientific principles, and so she abused him just as much as he had abused her (if not more since she initiated the action by keeping their daughter from him in the first place, he says). Kept offering a photomontage of his children as evidence. Called the proceedings a modern-day example of Hitler/Stalin-esque kangaroo courts when the photos weren't admitted.
I won't even talk about the emailed jeremiad he sent.
You, dear reader, might be assuming this is a drug situation. Or mental health. Or blind hatred. It's not. This is just another example of my white trash Evangelical family (as I wrote about in my last Pubski contribution).
The shit of it is, nearly everyone in my family supports him. Whole-heartedly. My cookie-baking, British-royalty-loving, Rick-Steves-reruns-watching grandmother has written his ex-wife hate mail. Several times. Wife-initiated divorce in this culture is ungodly, sinful. The near unanimous consensus is that his ex-wife should have stayed with him, that she's lied to ruin his life and poisoned his kids against him as well. Not even my mother's spoken to her nieces/nephews to judge the situation from their perspective, and like...there are a lot of witnesses to the shit he's done. Eight kids. Yet, this is entirely framed in Biblical wife-husband terms, and Evangelical patriarchal norms means that argument's been won by male figures since Abrahamic times. Divorce is recent and secular, not Christian.
I'd cut them all off if I already didn't see them so irregularly. I know my family's crazy. I know religion has caused it. I barely got out. But now I have an excellent job, a fantastic and supportive wife, and in our early 20s we have the makings of a life on our own now. We want kids, and we definitely don't want them exposed to this lifestyle.
So Hubski, does anyone else have a background in this culture? Something similar? Does anyone have advice for cutting out a truly dysfunctional family? What are your stories?