Ari talks about growing up in the picture perfect Mormon family, and how it all crumbled when she was excommunicated from that family for speaking out against abuse. In this episode, we discuss how Ari lost her faith in the church when she realized that it, too was rooted in abuse and lies, and set on excommunicating those who spoke out against those things. In her discovery, she concluded that the church creates toxic family systems and even abuse cycles. Ari and Adam are parents to 9 kids, and are now cycle breakers.
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- Jeremy Runnells MS Interview
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- Mormon History Timeline
- Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents
- Educated – Tara Westover
- Tara Westover MS interviews (there are 2)
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- The BITE model
I can relate to this story somewhat. I am non-mormon. I lived in Davis County, UT for 9 years from age 13-21. Being non mormon at age 13 in Davis County was very difficult. I felt like the only non-mormon in school and our neighborhood and everything revolved around the mormon church. So, in true mormon fashion, I felt pressure to get married young. All of my friends from high school were getting married at 18 & 19. I didn’t want to date/marry a non-mormon. I dated 1 mormon that was a jack-mormon, but raised in the church. He ended up joining our church. I wanted to marry him and I put pressure on him to do that. He didn’t want to and we broke up.
Shortly after that, another guy from our church wanted to take me out. It just so happened that he had also been engaged to my sister 3 years prior to asking me out. My parents and sister were totally against, because of the way he treated her, but I was totally into it. In the meantime, my dad got transferred to Ohio. I didn’t want to go. I started dating the guy from our church, to which my parents because very angry. I was told that I was forbidden to date him, see him, or even LOOK at him. But, in order to stay in UT and continue my relationship with him, he asked me to marry him and I said yes I was 18. His parents wanted us to be together, but mine were dead set against it.
In the months before we got married and my parents prepared to move from UT to OH, I was put through literal hell with my parents because of their disapproval of our marriage. My mom had all of our relatives and friends talk to me either in person or on the phone to try and convince me to not do this. She talked to my future in laws and my mother in law came over to where I was staying, crying and asking me if I was sure. I said YES! I was all in. Every time I had contact with my parents before they moved, it was a very bad dynamic. I went over one day and my mom said she was going to commit suicide if I married him. She got out a knife and everything. I called our church for help and they called the paramedics. She then told me how much I embarrassed her by doing that. Then, she had me talk to my dad alone. My dad literally sobbed begging me to not do it. I was already in love, and was going to do it regardless. They left for OH in August and I got married in December. They told me they would never approve and would cut me off. That’s exactly what happened the 5 years we were married. No one from my family attended my wedding. I wasn’t allowed to put their names on my wedding invitation. I didn’t get to have my sister as my maid of honor. My dad did not walk me down the aisle. My close relatives did not attend either. All of this was from my mother telling them not to, otherwise it would mean they supported us & me.
I didn’t have contact with my parents for the 1st 2 years we were married. Then, my mom decided she wanted to have contact. So, she would call and hang up if he answered. She asked me to come visit, which I did, but he was not allowed. It was always awkward because it was the elephant in the room.
Thank you for telling your story. I want you to know that you are not alone. So much of your story is my story. If I could hug you, I would.
One thing I told my siblings—we don’t have to live the roles our mother gave us.
Take so much care of yourself and I hope for so many good things for you and your family now and in the future.
Sorry I wasn’t done… Then, I got pregnant when I was 20. My mom completely cut me off then. I had my baby without my mother or any family of mine being present. During the time I was pregnant, I had suspicions of him cheating and it ended up being true. Needless to say, it ended up not working out. Once I decided to get a divorce, my mom was all for it. And contacted me to ask if I needed help. She never (even to this day 35 years later) lets me forget that I made this mistake. I believe that to be narcissistic.
Holy sh!t! Did my mother have another family??? Your mother sounds just like mine! I have C-PTSD and debilitating anxiety and have to medicate and go to therapy (which she says are of satan)… but she’s the victim because I put up boundaries. She has “the wall.” She was negligent and abusive and totally unfit to be a mother but she had to beat her sister-in-law in proving her Mormonness by having the most babies. She pitted the kids against each other and used us for supply and now we are grown with no relationship to one another. She weaponized my patriarchal blessing to control me and reinforce the role she assigned me in the family. She gossips about me. She told me I couldn’t marry my husband because his parents were divorced and would ruin our “perfect” family image even though he was an active RM but he was guilty by association. She had a pretend meltdown at my wedding so my husband’s mom and stepmom had to take care of her instead of celebrating. She yelled at me in the temple when I was uncomfortable getting naked for the initiatory and again when I asked a question about how to wear garments with nylons. Thank you for doing this podcast and being so vulnerable! It’s therapeutic for me to listen to it!!
Why are narcissistic mothers so prevalent in Mormonism?!!
My engagement was almost the same story. My husband had served a mission but his family wasn’t “in it” enough. It truly had the same story of the dress walk after being kicked out. It felt validating to listen to someone having the same story.
Wow. Just wow. So many Mormon Stories resonate with me and feel like my new favorite but yours Ari, yours resonates so much with my experience with the feelings I have experienced with the church. The one you are taught to trust most, the one who will save and care for you if only you…. For you it was your mother and for me it was the mother church. The comparisons are in undeniable. Thank you for your bravery and strength in sharing with us your Mormon Story. 🙏🏼❤️
Absolutely stunning interview. What an extraordinarily fine woman of integrity.
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Ari and Adam. My life has had so many parallels to yours, including a mother very similar to yours, with an enabling father and siblings being pitted against each other. I grew up in the “mission field” and my mom was always saying she, my dad and my family were serving a mission where we lived. My dad didn’t go on a mission because they got married when he was 19. My therapist believes my mom has Borderline Personality Disorder, but I also think she has a lot of the tendencies of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, too. A book that really helped me is “Stop Walking on Eggshells” by Paul T. Mason. It gave me so much knowledge and perspective to help me deal with my mom and the damage that had harmed me and my family. Thank you all again for creating this podcast episode!
Such a sad and difficult story. All the way down to being emotionally abused and manipulated into having 9 children! Nine children! She may not regret having them. But surely she sees the ridiculousness.
Thank you, of course, to anyone willing to share their story. But if I may suggest that for podcasting and long form interviews, if you don’t want to share your whole story, don’t come on or interview. I don’t care about anyones names but the vagueness of this interview just made it not resonate at all.