Melting Memory Masks

By | October 3, 2014

Trigger warnings: child abuse, self-harm

Hey, girl, open the walls, play with your dolls, we’ll be the perfect family. -Melanie Martinez

~eight years ago~

“Mom, dad, I’ve been hurting myself since I was four. I’ve kept it a secret for ten years, and I don’t think anybody else in the world does it. I want to tell you because we’re going to film for TV, and I might lose control in front of the cameras. I don’t want to make our family look bad.”

“Are you still doing it?”

“No. I quit a few years ago.”

“Then your sin is forgiven. We’ll go ahead with the filming. Just don’t tell anyone.”

Picture! Picture! Smile for the picture! Pose with your brother, won’t you be a good sister?

~seven years ago~

“Mommy, stop hitting him! He’s only eleven!”

“Do something, Cynthia! I’m scared…she’s not stopping!”

~a few days later~

“What happened to him? Did he get in a fight with his brother?”

“No. Mom got mad and slapped him. She wouldn’t stop, so I pulled her off of him. He’s wearing makeup so you can’t see the whole bruise and where he was bleeding.”

Everybody thinks that we’re perfect; please don’t let them look through the curtains.

~six years ago~

“I’m going to sit here while the producer interviews you. I’m here to help you remember to say what’s true.”

“Okay, daddy. I trust you.”

Don’t let them see what goes down in the kitchen.

~five years ago~

“Mom, look! I watched ten kids and cooked food and cleaned the house while you were gone!”

“You didn’t do the dishes?! You don’t appreciate that I was gone shopping all day. I do so much work around here, and I can’t be gone for a few hours without coming home to a mess! I need to work in a clean kitchen, and it’s your fault I can’t! I don’t ask for much!”

Places, places, get in your places

~three years ago~

“Is it that cutting thing again? I thought you were over that.”

“I’m scared because I want to kill myself, daddy.”

“Are you sure you’re not just trying to fit in with your college friends, pretending to have problems like theirs?”

No one ever listens, this wallpaper glistens

~two years ago~

“You’re not telling your therapist that you’re having problems with self-harm and depression, are you?”

“No, mom. I’m there because I’m angry with my two older sisters for turning their backs on God and being rebellious, and hurting my parents.”

“Good. I don’t think that’s really something to tell your counselor about.”

Throw on your dress and put on your doll faces.

~one year ago~

“I remember when you were spanked with a belt every day, even though you didn’t do anything wrong most days.”

“So you remember that, too? Weird…I asked mom why they did that, and she said it never happened. I thought there must be something wrong with me.”


~this year~

“Do you remember that one time that mom slapped your face until you had cuts and bruises, and I had to pull her off of you?”

“I know it happened because you and our other siblings were there, but I don’t remember it.”

“You blocked it out?”

“I guess so. Anyway, she said she was so sorry, and it would never happen again.”

“Did it happen again?”

“Yeah, but I was asking for it then. I was a disagreeable boy when I was going through puberty.”

“Don’t you think maybe moms shouldn’t hit their kids over and over until they bruise?”

“Our parents aren’t that bad, Cynthia. You need to stop saying that they’re abusive.”

I see things that nobody else sees.

  • Alicia

    I’m in tears and my stomach hurts. I’m so sorry, so, so sorry that it didn’t stop. Nothing ever changed. I fear for the rest of them. I love you. I don’t pray anymore, but I sure hope someone can finally stop them from hurting all their children in so many ways. I hope someone finally believes us.

    • Susan

      We believe you. Hugs.

  • Miriam

    This made me cry. So many unprotected, scared children hiding behind those plastic perfect family masks. Thank you for being honest.

  • Jessica Rastad

    Oh gosh Cynthia, this is awful. I am so sorry you had to go through this. I have been reading your blog for a while and am really impressed with how you show such love and compassion and have the courage to learn new things and challenge views you held previously (or views you had been taught previously). I am the oldest of 4, and I can not imagine the pain you are going through not being able to see your younger siblings, what your father is doing is cruel and not christian at all. I understand he is probably dealing with his own hurts right now, but I have NO patience for parents who push their children away. My half brother is going through a similar situation with his father (my ex-stepfather), although the ‘problem’ is less about Jimmy disobeying authority/not following patriarchal doctrine, and more about him being more of a sensitive intellectual kind of guy, rather than a ‘tough guy’. I pray that your parents will see the err of their ways and work toward change and healing. In the mean time, take care of yourself and surround yourself with good people. Remember, you are important. As for the cutting, I used to do that as well, and what really got to me was when people would act like it was the cutting itself that was the problem. Cutting is a symptom of a bigger problem. Don’t focus so much on not cutting, just focus on being good to yourself. It helps me to think about the way I talk to myself and then say, “would I ever talk to my little sister like this?” The answer is usually a “heck no” as I would never want to hurt her. I am sure your sibling know how much you care, and hopefully your inability to see them will be a short term thing. I will be praying and sending positive thoughts for you and your family. Just remember, you keep being you, and those who judge/dislike that do not belong in your life until they learn to mature.

  • Lunochka

    I feel strange saying “thank you”, but in a very real sense, I do feel gratitude that you are standing witness to these things you saw. The act of saying “this happened” stops the coverup cold. You can’t sweep dust under the rug if the rug is gone, can you?

    You’re taking up a rug. The dust must remain where we can see it.

  • Andrew Roblyer

    I am so proud of who you are Cynthia. Your bravery and strength in writing about your experiences is incredibly moving and powerful. I am so sorry that this happened to you and your siblings.

    If you start getting backlash from this, know that you have friends who care deeply about you and with you…you’re not alone. Love you, sister. :-)

  • lana

    And your dad has the audacity to post about how Patriarchy is bad?! like really?
    Following the Pearls? Disgusting!

    I see your dad posting responses saying that you are lying and all this other crap.. hes got 4 daughters that have turned their backs.. maybe he needs to re-think his parenting? Seems like he was against patriarchy only to further his own agenda!

    He sure tries to keep you from publicly talking about this.. and GOOD FOR YOU! that you arent backing down. It seems like hes really trying to stop you ladies from speaking, and of course thats because of his image.. they arent doing a very good job at “loving another child” hes got an image to put out there and books to sell.. and no ones gonna buy his books if they know he was abusive..
    lots of “love in the home” going on hey? especially that they are shunning you ladies too!

    Their titles are hypocritical!

    I admire you so much for getting away! You are super smart, well read and seem like a wonderful person!
    I hope that you can find a way to keep your siblings safe! :)

  • AnonyMaus

    Many hugs to you.

  • Emily

    I believe you. I am so so so sorry this happened. What you describe here is evil and wrong. Sending you kind thoughts as you continue to process this and stand strong against the backlash.

    I lived bits of it, too. You aren’t alone. I believe you.

  • Sira

    This makes my heart hurt for you, for your siblings, and makes me rage to think of what I would love to say to your dad. Best wishes to you as you’re recovering. Hugs.

  • chloe

    Love you girl. You are beautiful and brave and you are in my heart and prayers. I’m so sorry no one ever saw – but we can hear you now.

  • Mikayla

    If your parents are so abusive, why haven’t you reported them to DHS yet? I ask this genuinely.
    C, I know things with your family aren’t perfect or even always healthy. I know it is therapeutic in a sense for you to share this with others to let them know they aren’t alone. I know you are trying to be a voice and help. But publicly shaming them and only focusing on the damage is behavior I do not respect. If you have “friends” that barely know your family and support you on this, cool. If Alicia supports you because she still hasn’t reached forgiveness for your parents’ lengthy mistake they made with her, awesome. I’ve known your family for 13 years and you’ve known mine. We both know that, yes, our parents haven’t handled a lot of situations as well as we think they ought to have. But the way you are going about seeking healing through this (numerous blog posts, social media, etc) is actually unhealthy. All you seem to be doing is causing hell for your siblings (because you know this hurting/pissing your parents off… Which means they could be taking it out on the siblings, if they are the way you just described). That as well as growing bitterness and anger within yourself in the name of honesty and truth. I know it is really hard to talk about, because the wound is REAL; its deep and its awful. But talking about it on any form of social media is essentially just what everyone else does and its pretty pathetic.

    As you well know, I spent the past year working in the inner city of Kansas City. During all this, I received a lot of healing and different perspectives of life, my childhood, and myself as a person now. I know life isn’t always sunshine and butterflies but you’re too brilliant of a person to stoop to this level of melodramatic negativity. I’m disappointed. When I read your blogs lately I think to myself, “Great… Here she goes again…” Your frequent and intense focus on how messed up everything is in every aspect of life only frustrates and turns me off from hearing what you are saying. Whereas before, I was inspired and encouraged. I looked forward to what you would say. You had an authenticity about you that was admirable. You were real but also respectful and wise. I miss that. You are no longer “being real”. You are being hurtful. You’re not breaking the cycle, but enabling it by attaching a different label on in order to make it socially acceptable, and even encouraged. Maybe you’re not aware of how you are being hurtful. Maybe you are but find it justifiable. Regardless, there’s my two cents.

    • Naomi

      Mikayla, I don’t know you or Cynthia. Nor do I know whether Cynthia is handling this situation the best way or not. That is for Cynthia to decide. However, your efforts at shaming Cynthia into silence is a key part of perpetuating an abusive system. You don’t have to be an abuser to help cover it up and thereby be an accomplice.

    • shade ardent

      it is the very truth that needs to be spoken. and it’s ugly.

      this was abuse, and it was never acceptable. calling it pretty words like ‘discipline’ and acting like it was sanctioned by g-d makes it repugnant.

      i am glad this is being named.

    • Cynthia

      Mikayla, I don’t know if you mean to sound negative right now, but to address your concern that I’m not being healthy about this – we haven’t talked in months so you probably weren’t aware that I’m in mental health therapy, I have a community of people who keep me accountable (not just giving mere affirmation), and I will report my parents the moment I have tangible, recent evidence. Unfortunately the authorities need to see bruises and the ones in question have healed.

      • Jenn

        Cynthia, you can report “historic” abuse events, and hope that when the CPS investigators go to the home they are able to document some bruises. I also think the podcast would be good evidence.

        That said, as I said in another comment, reporting to CPS is a sticky concept. Sometimes it helps…and sometimes it makes things worse. Before you make a formal report I would be certain that you have a plan for placement of all of your siblings if they are removed from the home so that they don’t have to go into unknown foster homes.

    • Eleanor Skelton

      Mikayla, so many people told me those exact same kinds of statements when I was moving out of my parents’ house and they were trying to forcibly make me attend Bob Jones University instead of my state school. I’m getting to the point where I’m going to tell my full story eventually. If there are enough voices, we will no longer be silenced. Our scars have stories and the stories matter. Saving face doesn’t matter anymore. It just enables the abusers.

    • Alicia

      Mikayla, I’m glad you’ve found something to make your life better. You may think you know my family, but you didn’t live there. Something needs to change within that household and no one wants to do anything about it. Cynthia has found the courage to speak out. CPS or DHS won’t do a damn thing until there can be something documented or proven. It’s taken a lot of courage and strength to even do this, expecting Cynthia to call a state or government service while still in the home is ludicrous, especially given how we were taught to fear these things. You are welcome to your opinion, but it’s not helpful. As for me, you don’t know me and you don’t get to decide why or how I support my sister. MY life is none of your business. I think we’ve been through this before in a public forum actually and I only know you by name and as a young child and you know me by what you’ve been fed to believe and know. Stay out, you aren’t welcome.

    • Susan

      Cynthia— your parents deserve more than a mere public shaming , as this disgusting commenter calls it. They deserve jail time. Sociopaths. And this person ‘a primary concern is public shaming? Way to miss the whole point.

    • Beth

      Mikayla, your comment *COULD HAVE BEEN WRITTEN BY AN ABUSER.* In fact, your attitude and the very words you wrote EMBODY the spirit and attitude in the homes in which this type of abuse occurs!! You do not know what spirit you are of!!!! I will give you a clue–IT’S NOT A GOOD ONE!!!! In my opinion, abuse of the SOUL (mind, will, and emotions) is FAR WORSE than physical abuse, because those wounds and scars in the soul are harder to see. It sounds like their was plenty of BOTH physical and soul/spirit abuse in this home! Abuse of the soul is more painful and harder to heal, and it INVITES ignorant comments such as yours!! I pray and hope what you said WAS in ignorance. If not, please DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN until the veil has been lifted from your eyes. I AM SERIOUS! I am OUTRAGED by your lack of compassion and HYPOCRISY (i.e., scolding Cynthia for what you call “public shaming” all the while publicly shaming HER for having her OWN feelings on how SHE was treated. ) WHO ARE YOU to even comment on that when you have NOT walked in her shoes. If I were Cynthia, I would TAKE YOUR COMMENT DOWN AND BAN YOU FROM THIS SITE based on YOUR ABUSIVE COMMENT ALONE. — (By the way, I am a 47–year-old MOTHER, and I HOPE you are as young and immature as you sound, because then their is hope that you will grow out of your self-righteous, ignorant, arrogance. And YES, I am judging righteously based on YOUR words. I am highly offended by them.–Matt. 18; Proverbs 31: 9-31). Repent MIKAYLA and be saved and plead with God to give you a compassionate, understanding heart, full of love, and He will.

    • Colleen

      Spoken like a true ignoramus.

      Cynthia, catharsis can only be defined by YOU; no one else. Please know that your utilization of social media is very healing additionally to all of those out there who are still trying to find their voice.

      With regard to the ignorant question about Social Services, as someone who has worked very extensively in Child Protective Services, as well as been a foster parent; I can truly say that in most counties, it’s a long dead-end road. Resources, money and authority are ultimately very limited in comparison to those necessary in order to really change a child’s life and keep them out of harm’s way. Unless every agency had the money and authority to pull custody permanently from all parents who show themselves unwilling to protect their children, CPS will always be at best a Band-Aid.

    • A.JoyBird


      Cynthia is being more real now than she has ever been. I’m sorry you don’t recognize her and I understand why you don’t. You see, she has spent most of her life living as someone other than her authentic self. It’s what happens when children are brought up the way she was. She is not causing any harm by uncovering and becoming her authentic self. The way her family and people who know the family are behaving toward her is exactly how abusers and controllers behave – when the truth gets out. It is textbook, unfortunately.

      I don’t know Cynthia or her family yet I recognize the family abuse dynamic and know this whole process quite intimately.
      Cynthia is breaking out of her “stuck in survivor mode”. For people who are still stuck, controlled, experiencing Stockholm Syndrome, etc. it’s difficult to understand and can be scary to watch. I encourage you to support Cynthia for what she is doing is a lot of hard mental and emotional work to heal. Someday, you may need a friend like Cynthia. Someone who has made it through this process to becoming her authentic self.

  • shade ardent

    i am so glad you are you and that you are telling.

    this is your voice, and your story.

    it’s always your story, to tell how you want to. and to anyone who says you should be telling in other ways, or focusing on the good, i say this:

    silence is complicity.

    this is your story, and i bear witness.


  • Mikayla

    Naomi, my biggest point is that if she wants to do something about the abuse, she needs to get actual help. Get people involved who can DO something about it, not just agree and type words of encouragement over a keyboard. I’m not shaming her or telling her to be silent. She knows me well enough to know that much ;) I know from my experience that sharing my brokenness and pain social media is actually a lot like being silent… It doesn’t heal the wound nor does it ensure it won’t happen again. Its basically a bandaid over an oozing wound.

    • Darcy

      You really are no one to judge what will or will not “heal the wound” for someone else. For me, writing my story and putting it out there has been hand’s down the best healing thing I have ever done. Just because it didn’t help you, doesn’t mean it won’t help anyone else.

    • Lunochka

      Mikayla, I say this with as much compassion as I can muster: do you understand the process required to get a child removed from its home in the state in question? And it’s an honest question, one I’d like you to research. I’d like you to find out what the authorities where you live require in order to revoke custody, even temporarily, never mind completely sever parental rights.

      I’d mail you my textbook on generalist social work practice, which actually does a fabulous job of showing the many, MANY actions between “child is hurt” and “parents are out of the picture forever”, but that sucker is huge and I love it too much.

      • Mikayla

        I am extremely familiar with the process, actually.

  • Eden

    You are so brave to discuss this publicly. Don’t let people shame you out of exposing the evils behind this lifestyle. Wishing you light and healing at this difficult time.

    As for whether it hurts your parents, I don’t think the feelings of child abusers need to be considered by their victims. This is your story to tell and let no one silence you.

  • Melissa

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are so brave to put this out there. I hope you are able to heal and be there for your siblings who aren’t old enough to have a voice.

    “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. ”

    -Maya Angelou

  • Mikayla

    No, I’m not meaning to sound negative. I’m glad you are getting help about all this… Really glad! That takes away a lot of my concern. I truly hope you will- whether its evidence on you or one of the kids. I love your sibling so much.

  • Jo

    I am so sorry. I have lived this reality, and I can tell you that you can find the strength to stand up for yourself and recover. I did call CPS on my parents. I also called the police once. That was the day my father trapped me in bathroom and was hitting me over and over again in my head. I was forced to lie to the police when they came to the door, with threats that the authorities would take all of us if I didn’t lie. At least he never laid a hand on me again after that. My father was a minister, entrenched in this world. My mother pushed and wanted this world and was far more abusive than he. When I was 19, my father realized what he had done and asked forgiveness. He also changed and never laid a hand on any of my younger siblings again. No one believed any of us when we would speak of the abuse for years. My sister showed bruises to people at church and school and no one believed her. I ran far and fast to escape being hit, and people thought I was crazy and histronic.

    No one gets to dictate your anger, your processing, and your choice to stand up and speak. The odds of anyone doing anything about the abuse is slim. I think you know this. Memories are suppressed and children will lie to protect them, even if new bruises are left. Their public image and scope of influence will help them play the game and they will almost certainly escape efforts to protect the younger children. I’ve done that as well. However, you and your sisters are a force to be faced, and a safe haven for the others as they leave if they want to escape. Get angry. Get REALLY angry. It’s the first step to healing from what was done to you. My peace came when I became a mother, when I realized I could be the mother I never had, and I could break the cycle of abuse for my own children.

    • LA_Mom

      Thank you for sharing. Sending you so much love and light and gratitude. We might be sisters, our stories are so much the same.

  • April Kriha

    In the words of Anne Lamott, paraphrased…write about your life. If people don’t want to have negative things written about them, perhaps they should have treated you better. Love and light to you.

  • Darcy

    Don’t let the gaslighting drown out the truth. Don’t let the nay-sayers silence you. So many of us have heard it all before: “But I knew your family and I know you’re lying!” They don’t know $#^%. We were good at hiding. We were good at pretending. So good that our best friends had no idea what was really happening. “You were so encouraging once but now you’re just bitter and I’m disappointed.” Let them be disappointed. Who cares? They do not define your identity, they cannot control your feelings. They obviously had expectations of you they built up in their own mind and that is not your fault. Their verdict of your story and emotions is not the score card on your life. Everything they’re saying against you is ringing in the ears of hundreds of us who have dared to speak up. I am angry for you, having been angry for my own sake, I feel it now for you and for every person who has been called a liar for daring to talk about the ugly things. You are not alone.

    All the lonely people crying
    It could change if we just get started
    Lift the darkness, light a fire
    For the silent and the broken hearted

    When the walls fall all around you
    When your hope has turned to dust
    Let the sound of love surround you
    Beat like a heart in each of us.

  • Amil Zola

    You are a brave human and a very talented writer Cynthia. Many of us who have followed the patriarchy and your father’s blog saw through the masks many years ago. There wasn’t much we could do about it, he deletes any criticism as soon as he sees it.

    Hopefully your siblings can be saved and healed. There are many of us cheering all of you on, you cannot see us, nor feel our hugs but we’re with you.

  • Katie J

    You know what is the absolute worst feeling in the world? Not being believed. It’s much worse than a book to the face. It hurts more than being lifted by your hair. It’s scarier than knowing your raging, unpredictable parent is headed straight for you. It’s more humiliating than their erratic behavior in front of your friends. When you finally speak out- with just a hint of what’s going on at home- and someone raises a suspicious eyebrow, it’s devastating. You learn that no one cares. You learn that your life doesn’t matter. Your fear and safety are of no importance. Even having people tell you over and over again how wonderful your parent/s are is a clue to just keep quiet, for clearly no one would believe anything bad about them. It doesn’t matter anyway; you don’t believe you’re worth anything better than the treatment you’re receiving. When you finally realize, “Wait- this is WRONG,” it is crushing to have someone scoff at that. Telling someone to not discuss their pain anymore because you I sick of their drama (that’s certainly how it came across) is shaming, whether it was intended or not. These sorts of abuses and hurts need to be talked about over and over and over ad nauseum for the healing to even begin. Some of us best express that in writing. Some of us in private; others public. You do seem like a genuinely nice person from what I can tell by this limited context, but you are certainly telling Cynthia (and the rest of us) to keep quiet. If you need to stop reading Cynthia’s blog, then so be it, but I’m guessing Cynthia NEEDS to keep writing it.

    • Mikayla

      One person says something people don’t like to hear and everyone tells that person to shut up, and that they are the one shaming. How very ironic… =(

      • Megan O

        The difference being that being “shamed” for a comment is significantly less harmful then being shamed for outing an abuser. Sorry your feelings were hurt.

      • Naomi

        I’m so glad you brought this up, Mikayla. I wonder if the reason the response to your initial post seems ironic to you is because you don’t see how uneven power relations affect the ability to speak and be heard. The idea that Cynthia should not talk about her family’s troubling dynamics in a public forum is a long-standing notion that has been extremely effective in perpetuating abuse in families for generations. This is how an entire community of generally decent people become complicit with only a few abusers’ actions. Of course it isn’t stated as such; instead, there is talk of “family privacy” or “family business” or “airing dirty laundry.” Anyone who breaks these social norms becomes a pariah, a scape-goat, cast out by the community who simultaneously laments the “pain” this exposure brings to the abusers.

        At the risk of speaking for others, those of us who have reacted strongly to your post here have become very aware of these dynamics and how they hurt people. On the scale of harm done, your dismay at having your ideas rejected here really does not compare to the extent of harm that Cynthia and her family have experienced. Rather, your comment is perceived as being part of a larger social norm of shaming anyone who dares speak up about the community’s collective sins. Being intolerant of intolerance is no philosophical quandary once we become attuned to the voices that exploit the benefits of pluralism (“I’m free to raise my children any way I want!” for example) in order to deny those same benefits to others (“Don’t you kids talk about that [abuse]!”). Your comment does not exist in a vacuum but is part of a much larger social system that many of us have very consciously rejected.

        Cynthia’s parents have claimed a very public role for their family that depended on a particular image the children were expected to project. Thus when the children no longer identify with this image, it is a public event. Pretending their family dynamics are suddenly a private matter is disingenuous and merely helps perpetuate the false image the parents have apparently been projecting for some time.

        • Andrew Roblyer

          Naomi, this was beautifully put. I may borrow some of this language in the future when explaining this concept to folks, if that’s alright.

          • Naomi

            I’d be honored, Andrew!

        • Beth

          Wow! Naomi, I am speechless at your ability to communicate so clearly what is happening on this thread or post. I am still reeling at Mikayla’s comments because they so PERFECTLY embody and embrace the culture and environment in which my own abuse occurred. Without attitudes like hers, far fewer children would be subjected to the atrocities of soul murder (yes, that is what I call it) which Cynthia and I and so many others have endured (and ARE enduring). Many children do not survive. Cynthia will make it, as have I, because we are finding our voice. That is key, and it’s the most difficult hurdle to cross–learning to speak the truth. Mikayla’s comments strike at the very HEART of that healing process. Thank you again for your words Naomi. I truly hope you are blessing the world with your passionate articulation of these concepts in MANY areas–not just here. You have a gift. Please let me know when you write a book. :)

          • Naomi

            That is too kind of you, Beth! I’m glad you found my words helpful. My heart goes out to people like you and Cynthia because I was part of the first wave of homeschooled children in the early 1980s and later walked away from my family’s conservatism in the late 1990s. I know how difficult it is to go against the pressure of everyone who has ever mattered to you, yet knowing that you will lose your mind if you stay. Going to college and later on to graduate school was a big help to me in beginning to understand these dynamics. A book? Maybe someday. :) In the meanwhile, I wish you all the best!

          • Sissy Jimma

            “soul murder”, same description I have always used. Is akin to the stained glass mind I believe victims and survivors alike are left with.

    • A.JoyBird

      I agree. As soon as I could write, I started writing notes on pieces of paper on days my parents raged and beat us kids for no real reason. I wrote the date, who was beat and the method… Belt, hairbrush, ping-pong paddle, extension cord, etc. I then stuck these notes in books on our bookshelf. I did it because the parents had started denying the abuse ever happened.

  • Kathryn

    When I saw your family on TV years ago I thought that there was more to your family’s story than your parents were telling. It takes a lot of courage to tell the truth when so much effort has gone into hiding it and you’re brave to do so. I’m sorry you had this happen to you and I believe you. Truth is a powerful thing, that’s why telling it is such a threat that people want to silence you.

  • Kayla

    I’ve known you guys for a long time – thus everything written here is still sinking in, and I’m not quite sure what to do with it. It’s frightening and stunning and confusing all at once. Your posts cause me to stop and reflect on things, or to challenge something of the norm that isn’t right. There seem to be loads of people on facebook (and here it would appear) that are offended by anything that truly challenges that ‘christian homeschool’ community. Don’t get me wrong, there are alot of good things about it, and I was blessed enough to experience so many of those good things. But concepts like ‘practice makes perfect’ and ‘act like an adult’ are things I think were taken way to far especially with children who should be learning about themselves and feel safe to grow, expand, think and ask questions. Secrecy is painful, and harmful to young souls. I made a comment to one of your brothers a month or so ago that I could tell that all of you siblings really loved each other, and took time to spend with each other, and I admired that. I really do admire your love for your siblings.
    I’m not exactly sure what I’m trying to say, and where I’m going with this. I don’t think many people release just how complex the web of all that you’re going through is, and just how hard it is to find solutions or ‘ways out’ when each path seems to add another strand to the web. I hope and pray that you and your siblings are freed from all these trials – and soon.

  • Bethany

    I know this is painful and hard to do, but you are brave for doing it. Here to support however I can.

  • Sheena

    You are exceptionally brave. We hear you. We believe you.

    The internet’s full of resources for you; I’d start with Recovering Grace. Many people “in the world” want the best for you and your siblings; we can help as you need.

    Take care of yourself.

  • Mandated reporter

    What is your goal in exposing your family? Is your goal to reconcile? Is this a cry for help? As a mandated reporter in the public school system, I have made reports to CPS if I have had any suspicion of abuse towards a child. As a result, cps has followed up and checked up on that family in person. While the system is far from perfect, don’t you think reporting this would be a good idea when you first see the abuse so that they can document this? I also work as a counselor with victims of all kinds of abuse including physical and sexual. Some of their family members have turned a blind eye because no one wants to acknowledge or talk about this-it is gruesome stuff. However, if your counselor is working with you, the biggest thing is to work on your own heart so that you don’t continue to fester with anger or bitterness. These things you don’t forget, but you definitely can move on with them and if you have a relationship with Christ, then He alone is your hope.

    • Also A Mandated Reporter

      As another mandated reporter, please, please talk to your school about getting better training on child abuse. Accusing an abused child for not reporting their abusers shows a shocking lack of understanding of the psychology of trauma. The problem in a situation of abuse IS NOT the victim’s “own heart.” That is repulsive.

      • mandated reporter

        Re:another mandated reporter
        When did I blame the victim? Perhaps you didn’t understand my point. As someone who works with counselees, it is important to work with the whole being-the physical, mental and spiritual component (the heart). So of course I am concerned about the victim’s heart because as someone has been the victim of a sex crime, it’s the heart that takes the longest to heal. Additionally, I encouraged Cynthia to report this to CPS so that they can document each time. And if you’re a mandated reporter, then you know that CPS takes some cases more serious than others and will need to see a history sometimes to act. That was not an attack on Cynthia at all, that was encouragement to exhort her to report this for her brothers and sisters. To not encourage someone to do this would be like not telling a blind person that they are approaching a cliff.

  • Andrea

    I think you were 14 years old when I first saw you on TV. You wore a dress like on Little House on the Prairie, but you were so articulate, enthusiatic and intelligent I liked you very much :).

    Over the years I have followed your family through the blogs and something about your dad did not sound sincere. Other big families seemed sincere in their beliefs, your family seemed to be very image conscious and trying to tailor their message to the audience and wanting them to buy their products.

    I am so sorry Cynthia that you and your siblings face this. I believe you because things just never felt right about your family while I did not feel the same with other large families.

    You are a brave, bright, beautiful girl and are supported by many you never know. Just remember that you are not alone.

  • Ashleigh Zedicy

    Hello Cynthia! It is so sad to think that your father and mother actually did these things to you. We looked up to them for a while… met him a few times, emailed many. We lost contact somewhere along the way, and its so sad that beneath that shiny exterior were parents who could be so cruel.

  • Jonas

    Oh god.

    I’m so sorry. You have my love and support. And as one who has struggled with self-harm I get it. I grew up in the homeschool scene, speech and debate. In fact, I nearly was kicked out of LOGOS in Denver for a variety of things. I’ve seen this shit happen. As a trans woman recently out I wish to God I could say I get it. But not deeply. Only cerebrally. Know you’re not alone. Know you are brave. And one girl to another, stay strong. We’ve got your back. <3

  • Rayelle

    Cynthis, I assume you arent a Christian since this entire post is completely counter to everything we Christians are taught about love, mercy, grace and forgiveness. We are to cover each others sins. You dont want aqll your junk posted publicly. Someone posted that you, Cynthia were reading the Satanic Bible. I have never read it but since the devil is completely selfish and you have been completely selfish in your postings here I guess you are following the satanic Bible? I think it would be easier for people to accept and understand your motives here if you just said that up front. I mean really why in the world would you want to post your familys private lives. To shame and hurt your parents apparently. To cause hatred, and division among your siblings. To get some sort of selfish narcissistic needs met by people saying * o poor girl*? WHich I am sure you will hear alot of after I post this….. Your family sounds like most familys….. only you left out any good. Are we to believe that you never had loving parents? Did they never delight in you? Has your moms faults really warrented this kind of hatred, and slander….malicious untrue gossip????I know the crap you have posted is not true. AT ALL. I know your parents have loved you and your siblings to the moon and back. I know you have been incredibly blessed. YOU DONT know that. You are selfish. My heart breaks for your parents, siblings, and you. You have helped no one. You have added fuel to a world full of people who are looking for a reason to accuse people like your parents. No they arent perfect. Yes they have made mistakes. SO have you. SO have I and every other family….that is no reason to blast it all over the net for a little sympathy. This stupid o poor little victim crap is no where worth the pain and heartbreak you have caused yourself and your family….. I CANNOT believe you have done this to you and your family. How selfish can you be!?!?!?

    • Megan O

      Rayelle, if you actually think “most families” beat their kids until they bruise, my heart breaks for YOU. Its NOT normal to grow up that way, and its not ok, and no amount of praise and love during the good times makes up for, or justifies abuse.

      Secondly, where in the bloody hell do you get off deciding whats true in SOME ELSE’S LIFE? Not that Cynthia needs any justification, but it doesnt strike you as a little odd that all 4 adult girls agree with this post? Any parents who could produce 4 adult children that feel this way had something very wrong going on. It is not for you to decide someone else’s motives. Also, your attitude is what silences victims and allows a culture of abuse to continue.

    • Eleanor Skelton

      Rayelle, how dare you pretend to know what happens inside our families when you never lived in them.

      You never lived in mine. You weren’t there when my mother dragged me to the back bedroom, forced me to strip to my underwear and beat me with my father’s belt far more than the usual beatings and (even with my high pain tolerance) begged for mercy and thought this would be the day that I died. You weren’t there when she yelled back, “Don’t you dare tell me when to stop!” Or when my father had to make her stop.

      I don’t know how you know Cynthia, but there is NO F****** WAY you could know her family unless you were one of her siblings. Just as there is no way you could know mine.

      You accuse Cynthia of being a satanist because of 1) reading a book you’ve never read but disapprove of (not a great move) and 2) being “selfish.” …I have to wonder if you’ve actually read much of the Gospels. Jesus spoke the hard, cold truth to the Pharisees, and it was something they didn’t want to hear. He exposed them, showed that beneath their religious masks they were nothing but whitewashed tombstones. Jesus’ mother and brothers didn’t always approve of what he did or said, either. He didn’t “cover sin” as you are suggesting.

      I don’t know by what authority you get the audacity to say these things, but publicly airing the truth is not wrong. And that is all Cynthia has done.

      Damn it, you make me angry enough to post my own story sooner than I’d planned…

    • Mythoughtis

      Christians are not to let abuse go on, and ‘cover the sins’ the of abuser. Allowing sinners to be in your company, caring for them, worshipping with them is not the same thing as standing by and not stopping them when they abuse the littlest ones, the defenseless ones that Jesus has entrusted them with.


      You are standing up for yourself, your siblings…. and a host of people you have never met. If even one other family sees themselves in this and stops, then you have done more than you could ever accomplish by being ‘private’ and quietly reporting it to DCFS. We are to shed light on these kinds of issue, not bury them

    • Beth

      Rayelle, I don’t even know where to begin. Have you READ the Bible? With this comment alone, you successfully ignored and tossed out at LEAST half of what is in it:

      >>Cynthis, I assume you arent a Christian since this entire post is completely counter to everything we Christians are taught about love, mercy, grace and forgiveness. We are to cover each others sins.<<

      Our Lord God, Jehovah Jirah, continually communicated "mercy, grace, and forgiveness" to BROKEN SINNERS; but to the self-righteous, hardened and CALLOUS SINNERS, HE PREACHED THE LAW. You must take the WHOLE of His words, not just the parts you like. Jesus never said, "Come to me and stay the same!" and His harshest rebukes were for those who harmed children. He even loved the PHARASEES enough to SPEAK TRUTH to them.

      You are equating *Love* with keeping family secrets as I was trained to do as well. This is not love. As an adult, am required to approach them about their offenses in the spirit of Matthew 18, and in the event that I am not heard, I take a brother…and so it goes.

      Also, I am wondering what you do with this verses like Matthew 10:35 and Luke 12:53? God NEVER told a child to put parents in place of Him, and much of what you see in the Patriarchy movement and families such as Cynthia's is that the family is put in the place of God (doing no wrong) and they demand full compliance and WORSHIP, (though they would NEVER call it worship, it still is). This is a form of idolatry and the CHILDREN in these families are sacrificed (emotionally and physically) on its alter, metaphorically speaking.

      There is no LOVE in your post and in your words to Cynthia, and the most loving thing I can do for you is tell you the TRUTH. I don't wish for anyone to go hell in their ignorance because I was too afraid to speak. That is not love, that is cowardice. Jesus told His disciples and us that we will recognize other Christ followers, the true believers, by their love. And I love what Megan O says: It is NOT normal to beat a child until they bruise, though I maintain that gaslighting and emotional abuse is far worse and much harder to recover from–due in large part from comments such as your own.

  • Deborah

    As a Christian, a homeschool mom and just general concerned person, this is sad and shocking. I pray this stops or has stopped. However, as someone who has worked in the social services system extensively, I also pray that that is your last resort. If you think the abuse in your home is bad, if your siblings are placed in foster care, there is almost a guarantee of sexual abuse against them and other forms of neglect and abuse. That system is FAR from perfect for protecting children. I pray you have a trusted pastor or counselor who can lead you through a Matthew 18 process of confronting your parents, bringing them to repentance and having someone within the church put in place for accountability. Praying for you all because this will be a difficult road. But also a road that CAN bring glory to God and bring restoration to y our family.

    • Also A Mandated Reporter

      Foster parent here. Yes, the system is broken. Yes, there are terrible foster families. But they are not all terrible. Stop perpetuating harmful stereotypes with the intent of silencing the author.

      • deborah

        As I’ve said MANY times I’m not trying to silence Cynthia. But I can quote statistic after statistic as well as anecdotal personal sleuths that tells that unless SHE is going to step up and parent all her siblings if they are removed from the home, the likelihood of them being perpetrated on is HIGH. As many as 90% of children in foster care act out sexually. Guess who it’s on? Other children in the home. I hope she WILL get help but I’m praying with everything in me that the jeub children don’t end up in foster care. Tragedy compounding tragedy.

        • Jenn

          The stats I’ve read say that 25% of children in foster care will be abused physically or sexually in the foster home–not 90%. And while 25% is shameful…when we consider that the majority of children who wind up in foster care really are being abused in their home of origin…then the truth is that they are less likely to be abused in foster care than in their homes of origin.

  • K. Elizabeth

    I believe you.
    I wasn’t a part of the homeschooling movement, but I was the girl who didn’t believe abuse was happening, who dismissed her sister as “unforgiving” (and wanted to hit her when she first said the word “abuse,” which as a friend pointed out, probably indicated that something was very wrong anyways). I was furious at her for speaking up, but now I am glad she did.
    You are brave and loved.

  • Mrs. Byrnes

    Because it is definitely implied; are you actually saying that the melanie martinez video depicting vulgar and cruel atrocities actually illustrates what you saw, heard and experienced? The association of her song with your poem is very intense and is communicating to the world that you and your siblings suffered violent and criminal treatment. Is this true? This is what is being communicated. Also, do you believe that this is the best way to resolve pain, hurt, disappointment and anger? Please clarify… we all love and care about you and your family. Love you…Mrs. Byrnes

    • Also A Mandated Reporter

      She describes being beaten by her parents.

      That is cruel and vulgar. It is criminal. I am not sure what part of this is unclear.

  • Kate

    Cynthia – I don’t have time to write out the words that I’d like to, my heart is just too full.

    I completely, COMPLETELY support you in sharing your story and exposing the abuse you endured. Your parents have set themselves up as leaders and public faces of the homeschooling, quiver-full, and NCFCA/STOA community, and as such, they deserve a public exposure/accountability. I had a conversation with your dad just a few months ago when he told me that he worked so hard to help families within NCFCA/STOA that were broken, mine included.

    Don’t ever stop standing up for what’s right. Take time to heal and take time for yourself. Self-care is never a bad thing. I’ve always admired your strength and courage, and I know you’ll push through this as well. If you need anything, you’ve got a network of survivors who are willing to help.

  • Anna

    Reading the comments here is interesting, most folks are shocked and have a heart full of grief and support. It’s wonderful.

    I didn’t have the same reaction, all I can think is: “Another one? I expected it. Me too. Same here. ” The abuse is so widespread it feels like the same story over and over again. I’m numb to the horror now.

    • Elijah

      I know how you feel. Same here.

  • Samuel Martin


    I was deeply moved by what you said.

    I wanted you to know that many people who (like my own parents) used corporal punishment on me (us), they thought they were doing the right thing. That is what they have been told and taught by religious leaders.

    But now, many are coming to see the error of their ways. Such was the case for my own parents. Before my dad died, he basically agreed with everything that I’ve written in my own book. I am very thankful for that.

    He like so many others did not know what he was doing was wrong. We can say the same thing for his dad, who hit him too.

    But these days, a new approach is out there. A new connection with the Spirit of God and this new approach is bringing healing to so many and ending family violence for ever.

    Thank you for your courage and for speaking out. I hope that God will bless and keep you.

    Samuel Martin
    Jerusalem Israel

    PS. I hope that this might bless you. It is from a father of six who gave up spanking after reading my free book –

    • Also A Mandated Reporter

      Please don’t use this girl’s blog and disclosure of abuse to promote your website.

  • Robyn

    The truth will set you free. The truth must be spoken. Anyone who tries to shut you up is complicit in abuse. You are not alone.

  • A Mom

    In total agreement with Samuel Martin.

  • Micah Jeub

    Hey I’m Cynthias lil brother Micah Jeub and she is making this stuff up. she is just lying. Cynthia is dealing with mental illness and needs prayer.

    Go ask my sibs how much they agree with Cynthia.

    • Cynthia

      What part of what I said do you think is a lie, Micah?

    • Beth

      Micah?? Really?? I have more reason to believe this is one of Cynthia’s PARENTS posing as one of her siblings in order to heap more abuse and shame on Cynthia. It is exactly the type of thing abusive parents like this would do. A brilliant ploy, but obvious. Micah probably has NO IDEA this post was made in his name by either Mommy or Daddy. Either that, or he had the CRAP beat out of him in order to control him into leaving this post himself.

      My OWN parents have worked tirelessly at gathering allies and convincing anyone and everyone that I have a “mental illness” all because I stopped worshiping at their feet. I stepped out of the family SYSTEM, sick as it was, and this infuriated them. It is TYPICAL of emotionally abusive parents such as this to turn siblings who are easier to control and loyal AGAINST the siblings who have chosen to escape. My parents do this with money and “treats.” There is GREAT monetary reward in keeping the secrets and maintaining the family image. I chose LIFE over death and money.

      MICAH….if this IS you, and you are speaking for yourself, just ask God to REVEAL THE TRUTH to you and the LIES that are being told. He will. Do not assume that something is true about Cynthia just because your parents have said it. Your best defense right now, if you are still living at home, is to keep an open mind and heart, and keep crying out to God for mercy and TRUTH. THIS will set your free in the long run. And YOUR experience within your home MAY be completely different then some of your other siblings, including Cynthia. That is not her fault. Perhaps she was treated very differently than you have been treated. That is not cause to attack her. Just keep your eyes, ears, and heart open.


      • Jenn

        So true about parents turning siblings against each other. When things finally blew up in my family when I was 16 my sister and I moved in with a teacher from school–which was presumably a temporary arrangement until our family could be “fixed” through therapy. To make a long story short, we did therapy, and were basically kidnapped from the first therapy appointment and returned to our parents’ house. Next day was a school day, and my sister returned to the teacher’s house at the end of the day, while I decided to see if my parents were going to put their money where their mouth was in changing.

        EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. after school for the one week I stayed at home my step-mother made me call my sister up and tell her how wrong she was, and that she should move back home, and blah, blah, blah.

        Of course we were public school students. So the next day I’d go to school and tell my sister “you know she’s making me say that stuff, right? Just stay at the teacher’s house while I test the waters at home.”

        Like I said…it lasted one week. I’ll spare you all the details, except to say that on a bitter cold Saturday night in February in Syracuse, NY I dragged two garbage bags of my belongings up our rather LONG driveway to wait for my high school principal to come pick me up on that country road that I’d later find out he didn’t really know where it was located. And I’d also later find out that he left his son’s engagement party to get me because he was scared he’d be finding my dead body. And I never went back to that house again.

  • Micah Jeub

    Hey I’m Mcah Jeub and Ummm Cynthia is just lying. you don’t need to believe her. Cynthia is dealing with mental illness and needs prayer.

    Ask my sibs if they agree with her.

    • Jinger

      Micah, you are saying this because you are a pawn in your parent’s own sick ways.

    • A.JoyBird

      The mental illness is a result of the abuse she has suffered at the hands of your parents. It is not a character flaw to be prayed away. Acknowledging the abuse and writing about it are a part of her healing of process. She has every right to her healing process.

      Where is your compassion and empathy, I wonder ? There is no love in a house where siblings side against another and mock her in a podcast. A sibling who has been self harming and in the process of healing herself, none the less. Ganging up on your sister and calling her a liar, what is it you are hoping to accomplish? Shaming her into what ? Stopping her healing process ? Pretending abuse is normal, again? She’s been there, done that. She obviously had Stockholm Syndrome all of her life until she started healing and uncovering the reasons for her illness. Now that she is leaving the grips of Stockholm Syndrome and healing, many more memories will come to the surface. It’s a normal part of healing from child abuse. I hope some day you will heal and find empathy for your siblings.

      Four of your siblings say the abuse has happened. Why would they lie about this? What do they gain by lying?

      You are the Golden Child and not the Scapegoat, and still at home. You have a lot to lose if you go against the grain. Just saying.

  • Alicia

    I’m sorry you feel this way Micah. Hopefully someday you’ll see the truth, I, Alissa, Cynthia and Lydia all have. Consequently, we are all the children who were kicked out and are no longer living in that house. I love you always and forever. ~Biggest Sister Alicia

  • Z

    Hi Cynthia,
    I’ve never commented on a stranger’s blog before, but I felt compelled to do so today. I am extremely impressed with your openness and courage. I have no idea what you have been through or are going through at the moment. But I wanted to reassure you that you are not alone. There are a lot of people out there who are willing to help you. You will survive. You will thrive. You are doing so already.

  • Holly

    There are some real assholes commenting on here. In my experience reading blogs, you get that in this subculture. Anyone who doesn’t understand what is going on should familiarize him/herself with adult former homeschoolers, or homeschool alumni, or whatever we are called. And check out to see that lots of people have stories like this. Cynthia doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

  • Chris Jeub

    Hi Cynthia. Your siblings got together and put together a response to your post. I dropped it in as the 7th episode of Training Minds Podcast. Please listen to it, then let’s get together and try to heal from this situation.

    We love you very, very much.

    • B

      Are you sure you wouldn’t like to get in some more free publicity for your book first?

    • Kate

      It’s really strange that you’re reaching out to your daughter through a podcast in your ministry/business. You can’t communicate directly to her without attempting to bring financial gain and web traffic to yourself? That right there speaks *volumes* about your character and your lack of genuine care about your children.

    • Cindy K

      What happened to podcast #7? It seems to have gone missing. (404 Error: Page does not exist.)

      • Cynthia

        It was only online for about an hour and a half yesterday. It was taken down until further notice for a while, but the 404 error is new to me.

        • All Things New

          You can now find it here:
          TRIGGER WARNING!!!
          Be prepared! his is gut-wrenching and painful to hear! The kids CONFIRM all the abuse happened AS they are MOCKING and laughing at Cynthia, all while making excuses and justifications for the parents (i.e., we deserved it, they apologized, etc.) It’s like they are saying “this is NORMAL” which is evidence of either brainwashing OR that they are trying to survive this toxic environment.
          This podcast in and of itself is a form of emotional abuse and psychological torture on Cynthia, and that, in my opinion, is FAR WORSE then the physical abuse itself. It’s also much harder to heal from emotional abuse, BUT GOD is able to bring a deep healing Cynthia. I am still in that process myself, and I am 46.
          Mr. Jeub, to use dependent children still under your control and power to attack and further victimize the one who is WOUNDED is just beyond evil. To publicly denounce her as mentally ill because she is in PAIN and HAS HER OWN FEELINGS ABOUT YOUR HOME is unconscionable!! YOUR feelings and the IMAGE of your family are NOT more important than this one child’s heart. WHO ARE YOU to treat her tender heart so callously?? Jesus Christ sought out the ONE with the most tender love and compassion any of us can imagine.
          If we are going to start self-diagnosing other people, SEVERAL mental illness labels for YOU and your wife come to mind, but that is vicious and hitting below the belt, isn’t it? You know that it is.
          CYNTHIA…God is El Roi…He SEES. He will not abandon you no matter how bad it feels right now. He has promised “when my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will me up…Psalm 27:10″ I have experienced this. It is truth. Cling to it. I will be praying.

    • Beth

      Chris Jeub…say what you need to say to your daughters PUBLICLY and allow them their privacy and protection. You seem to have no problem with publicity, so let the world see your humility and repentance. Your invitation into a PRIVATE meeting is an attempt to isolate them with you and it is classic “bait and switch” behavior. They owe you nothing if you cannot allow them their own feelings about your mistreatment of them with no excuses and justifications. A simple, “I’m sorry, I was wrong” goes a long way… BUT you don’t think you did anything wrong do you?

    • Guest

      Are these children under the age of eighteen? How do we know they are not just being subject to their self worshipping creepy father?

      I do not believe you love any female.

    • Rebecca Johnson

      They confirmed that everything she talked about happened.

  • Annie

    I think this is very sad. The truth needs to come out. I don’t believe that your parents have abused you or any of your siblings. Families are not perfect. I know that people think that homeschool children are abused some may be but that is not the norm.

    If abuse happens it needs to be reported not written in a blog.

    • Stephanie

      Actually, Annie, it happens far more than people want to realize. It’s closer to the norm then it should be, sadly.
      Cynthia, I believe you and I understand your need to tell the truth.

    • Beth

      Annie!! SHAME on you for calling Cynthia a liar and saying the abuse never happened! SHAME on you for saying outright she is handling her pain wrong by writing it in a blog instead of reporting it! SHAME on you for making this about homeschooling. It’s not. It’s about spiritual and parental pathology. SHAME on you for saying this is about perfection. WHERE did Cynthia say her family or her parents needed to be perfect?
      If YOU have the freedom to call people liars and tell them what they should or shouldn’t do, then certainly you would allow Cynthia the FREEDOM to tell her truth and share her experiences wherever SHE chooses, would you not? OR are you of the same mind as this woman’s parents, and she must be silenced!? Sounds like it.

      • Leah

        Everyone stands up for what they believe and they have the freedom of speech to do so. It’s not your place or anyone else’s place to berate anyone rudely. Just as you express your feelings freely, let others do the same.

        • Phil

          I’m sorry, but that’s total bullshit. “Freedom of speech” does not protect you from other people being mad at you for saying absurd things. Freedom of speech refers to a limitation placed upon a government that prevents that government from censoring critique about itself. When you go on the internet and deny someone’s self-expression (ESPECIALLY when that person is expressing deeply-guarded stories of abuse in their own family, and during their own childhood), you absolutely deserve to be shamed.

        • All Things New

          Leah, you are of the exact same spirit as Annie!! You cannot proclaim, “Allow others to express themselves freely,” while at the same time SCOLD Beth for doing that very thing! This is the heart of hypocrisy, which is what Beth was pointing out in the first place! Who made you and Annie judge and jury over other people’s comments and experiences??!

    • Leah

      I completely agree with you. Keep spreading the truth, girl!

    • Shells

      Dear Annie, Of course not every home school family abuses their children. Of course not. But with all due respect, Cynthia wasn’t making that point. She was speaking of her personal experience, of her family. Not of yours. Just because you didn’t experience it, doesn’t mean that she didn’t experience it in hers.

  • Annie

    Stephanie – I homeschool my children and know many others who do also. abuse among homeschool families is rare.

    • Elijah

      *Unproven Claim* – I assume you base your assertion on personal experience. It’s wonderful that you personally haven’t encountered many abusive homeschool families, but personal experience, which probably only extends to a few hundred families, cannot adequately speak for millions.

  • Stephanie

    I was homeschooled. I know every family isn’t abusive. You don’t see it because yoy don’t want to. Simply because you say you don’t abuse your children doesn’t mean Cynthia wasn’t abused. Everyone’s story is different and religious homeschool families tend to perpetrate abuse more then not. There are thousands of stories out there from abuse survivors. Take the time to listen. Don’t tell them that their stories aren’t true – you weren’t there. You don’t know.

  • pat on the back

    Cynthia, I just want to give you a big hug. Try not to let anything get you down. You have more supporters from more places then you ever imagined. I only know you through your parents’ “how to train up a child” b.s., their fundamentalist ways, and the things they follow. I for one second do not doubt your story (and those that are trying so hard to disprove her or “settle things” are just proving even more so they are seeking your silence and a cover up). I mean, come on daddy dearest, who communicates with their child over something as earth shattering as this by using his own pod cast and passes it off as “your.siblings response”? Can you say self promotion? You’ve just shown your true colors right there.
    And, can someone explain to me what a satanic bible is? Just because Cynthia refuses to be abused and keep quiet doesn’t mean she has stopped being a Christian or started reading some satanic bible (spoiler alert: whomever brainwashed you made that up). I know plenty of fantastic christian people who don’t agree with abuse and they read the exact same bible as you (*gasp*). Earlier this year I realized that I no longer fully believe in god and I’m part of an online community with others who are also questioning their faith or no longer believe. 7 months and over 900 posts later and not a single thing about a satanic bible has come up. In fact, the point of our group is that we don’t need ANY bible to be a good person or have morals ( I love the earth and everyone on it because it’s the right thing to do, not to please a deity).
    Sweet Micah, I only hope that one day you will see that Cynthia isn’t doing this to be selfish or because she is mentally ill, but because she is hurt and needs to heal, and this is the path she needs to take. I hope one day you all can be close siblings again and bond the way siblings are meant to bond.
    I know I’ve gotten onto a tangent but my point is Cynthia, that you have supporters from every walk of life, even people you’ll never meet. I wish you infinite healing!

  • Kate

    Just something I would like to say in repsosne to Chris Jeub’s comment –

    Chris, while it is commendable that you want your family to be reunited, I can’t help noticing that you are refusing to take any direct responsibility for your wrong doings. Saying you want the family to get back together is one thing, but what really needs to be done if you want ‘healing’ to take place is for you to admit, openly and without excuse, to what you have done. You need to own your actions, and take concrete steps to ensure that they do not happen again.
    Forgives and reconciliation is a blessing, not a right.

  • Kate

    *excuse my typos

  • Anonymous

    I have found your blog through instagram and just wanted you to know that what you are doing is incredibly brave and even though I don’t know you and live in a different country, I completely support you. Anyone looking for the podcast which has been taken down, I found it on youtube here

    • Cindy K

      In an of itself, this podcast sounds like the typical damage control that abusers spout to minimize abuse. It’s interesting to me that episodes of violence are admitted which most people would find to be inappropriate anyway, but the argument is made that things are exaggerated. Domestic abuse (physical and verbal) is cyclical, oscillating between kindness and conflict — and the kindness and contrition after acting out in violence is always used to soften the victim and guilt them into “forgiving and forgetting” the harm done. There were clear elements of this in the statements of the children who participated in the podcast.

      I made time to listen to several items on youtube last night, and I just happened to watch a recent episode of Dr. Phil featuring a man who used a paddle on his wife as discipline — then staunchly and ignorantly defended his behavior, as did his mother and a grown son who lives outside of the home. The fact that the wife was disagreeable in the esteem of these other family members was offered to soften what the husband had done, remarkably like the Jeub siblings who participated in the conflict.

      I didn’t anticipate hearing any kind of similarities in the Jeub podcast and this Dr. Phil show at all, and I was astounded to hear and see so much self-justification. As this abusive father says, in effect, “If you had a video of my wife’s behavior and if you’d have been there, you wouldn’t see what I did as wrong.” That same sentiment is repeated by the Jeub children, as is the false belief of this “forgive and forget” business. That is a gross misunderstanding and abuse of forgiveness that enslaves people.

      It seems to me that if a parent were more interested in the welfare of their adult child and were acting in their best interests, they would be ashamed if they suspected that their child was mentally ill. Of all the people in the world to be inclined to protect their loved one from harm or criticism, a parent seems to be the most likely one to do so. Yet, here, Chris Jeub comes right out and says, “Our daughter is mentally ill and needs help.”

      I’m very disturbed at the cavalier attitude concerning Cynthia’s self-injury and am shocked that the family would also be willing to reveal this to anyone, let alone the public. I can understand desiring to hide it from a TV show, and if Cynthia brought it up with her parents, I would see it as a cry for help and a way to seek her parents’ attention to the matters leading to the behavior. That makes sense. What doesn’t is this glib discussion of a maladaptive coping mechanism as well as glib references to suicidal ideation. When you’re concerned about a loved one harming themselves, I don’t care what the circumstances are. It’s not something that you mock and laugh about.

      This is gaslighting at its finest, and it’s items like this one that demonstrate just how abusive systems and religious beliefs cause moral disengagement and harm. People lose touch with healthy perspective and don’t even realize how bizarre they sound — and then they make it public.

      When people love you, they try to hide your nakedness. They don’t put you in a storefront and make a spectacle of you, even if they feel insulted or threatened by you. Love in these circles means deadness and duty, and it kills intimacy and relationship. It is the epitome of conditional love that is so rampant in spiritually abusive systems.

      How sad this is on the part of Chris Jeub. I kept thinking, “Good for you, Cynthia, for getting out and away from this system.” And it is a hegemonic system of both religion and of family. I empathize with you and support you.

  • Katie

    I can relate to so much of this. Thank you for speaking out.

  • Alicia

    Deborah, the question I ask is this, what is better? The GUARANTEE the abuse continues in the home by not speaking out, or the POSSIBILITY that A) the children will be removed from the home AND placed in foster care and B) the children will be abused in said foster care? These were thought out issues before these blogs were posted.

  • Alicia

    Leah, have you heard the unfortunate podcast put out by Chris? The children admit most all of what Cynthia has said, they just downplay it because they don’t see it as abuse, just their normal life. I encourage you to listen. I don’t have the website, but it’s on WordPress and YouTube.

  • Lovebug

    Cynthia, I got the same response as you got from Micah from one of my younger brothers after me coming out about abuse that happened in my family. He will see how true it is one day and will thank you. You are doing this for them so one day they will not turn around when they are grown up and ask why you knew and yet you did not do anything?
    You are so brave. Thank you!

  • Clare

    Dear Cynthia, I just listened to the first 20 minutes of your brothers and sisters podcast. I had to turn it off because I was about to cry. I am so sorry that you had to grow up being treated like that, and I’m so sorry that your brothers and sisters have, too.

    Hang in there, Cynthia. You are correct, this is not normal, or good parenting. I am glad you have found your voice, I’m so sorry you had to go through that, and I’m so sorry your family are so awful.

  • Jenn

    OMG. So familiar. SO familiar.

    Have you consider filing a report with Child Protective Services about the abuse going on with your younger siblings? I guess if you were going to do that you’d want to talk to older siblings and/or sympathetic relatives first to see if any of them could take some of the kids into their homes if they are removed by CPS. It’s a tricky thing, reporting abuse to CPS. Unfortunately they seem to mess a lot up. In my case they didn’t take enough action. My parents were actually reported to CPS at least 2 times that I know of for sure, and I’m pretty sure that when we went to family counseling for a while when I was in second grade that may have been a third time–or the first time, depends on how you look at it.

  • Kez

    This post seriously broke my heart. Both for you, my dear, and for my own similar story. The song by Melanie Martinez just hit me so hard too. I pray for you every day. Xoxoxo

  • Dot

    I’m new to your blog. Your story is hard to read because it is so painful but you are a very good writer and mature and wise. I’m happy for you that you got away from our abusive family, I have no doubt too, that you help others who are or were raised in similar circumstance. I’m wondering, has Child Protective Services ever been called into the situation?

  • Maura Hart

    i’m so sorry this happened to you. i hope you are doing better now.