Duggars, Ex, narcissists

“He’s just a little boy… let’s not condemn him to a life of fundie drudgery yet!”

Yesterday, I was hanging out in the Duggar Family News Facebook group when someone shared a cute picture of two of the Duggar grandchildren. I believe it was a picture of Josh’s second daughter, Meredith, and Jessa’s eldest child, Spurgeon. I think both kids are very cute, but Spurgeon appears to be especially adorable, despite his unfortunate name, which alternately reminds me of sturgeon or spooge. A lot of the people in the Duggar group called him “Spud” for short.

Anyway, I posted that I think Spurgeon is super cute and will be a “heartbreaker” when he gets older. Innocent enough comment, right? It’s the kind of thing people often say about attractive children. I didn’t realize what I wrote was controversial, but apparently, it was.

Here’s the conversation that ensued:

I was a bit non-plussed that my original comment, that I think Spurgeon is a “cutie” and will be a heartbreaker, turned into a prediction of the boy’s future. Spurgeon is only four years old; he turns five in November. And yet people in the Duggar group are already condemning him to a lifetime of being his grandfather’s “slave”.

“Here’s you some candy…” (actually, I have seen the candy challenge done by a lot of Mormons, too.)

Frankly, I find that thought very depressing. People in the Duggar group follow the pregnancies of the Duggar children with intense devotion and seem to cheer whenever a new pregnancy is announced. However, it seems that a fair number of them believe that the offspring of the Duggar “kidults” are doomed somehow. What a sad and limiting thought that is. Basically, a large group of people strongly believe that these kids have no minds of their own and no ability to make their own choices.

And yet, here’s Jill Dillard, wife of Derick Dillard and once considered the biggest Kool-Aid drinker of the bunch. She’s sending her son, Israel, to public school. She has a nose piercing, wears pants, and has even been photographed wearing shorts, sleeveless tops, and swimwear. Yes, it’s true that she and Derick are no longer welcome to come to the Duggar compound uninvited, but they are clearly making their own choices.

Jeremy and Jinger Vuolo, likewise, were able to escape Arkansas and live on their own out in California. They’ve been married a few years now, yet Jinger is only on her second pregnancy. She wears pants, has cut her hair, and colors it. It’s obvious that Boob no longer completely runs her life.

And finally, there’s Joy Anna Forsyth, who married her husband Austin a few years ago. Austin makes his own money flipping houses. It looks like they’ve largely removed themselves from the hopelessly dull Counting On series and are putting up their own videos on YouTube, for which they probably get paid directly.

I think these two might be living their own lives now.

But even if I’m wrong about Jill, Jinger, and Joy Anna, and their lifestyles are still completely under Boob’s control, I still think it’s within the realm of possibility that Spurgeon or any of the other Duggar grandchildren will bust out on their own and make their own choices. It’s happened in many families that are mini-cults.

Look at the people who have managed to escape Warren Jeffs, and other FLDS sects. I know I read a lot of books by women who were once sister wives– Irene Spencer’s excellent book, Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist’s Wife, comes to mind. She was the second wife to Verlan LeBaron. Her sister wife, Susan Ray Schmidt, wife number six to Verlan, also wrote a book called His Favorite Wife: Trapped in Polygamy. I’m sure many people thought that Irene and Susan were trapped for life in the Colonia LeBaron FLDS polygamist nightmare, but they weren’t. They escaped and made new lives for themselves. There is absolutely no reason to believe that any of the Duggar grandchildren or children can’t also escape. In fact, if I were a betting woman, I would bet there will someday be a scandalous tell all about life as a Duggar. I bet there’s already a book in the works as I type this.

If there’s one thing I have learned from Bill’s experience with his hyper-controlling, narcissistic ex wife, it’s that people who are caught in these kinds of controlling groups DO sometimes wake up and take control over their own lives, even if the source of control is a close relative. My husband’s daughter did not speak to him for many years, mostly because her mother told her not to and she’d been fed a lot of lies. A lot of people thought it was hopeless that Bill would ever speak to his daughter again, let alone know his grandchildren.

I always somehow knew younger daughter would eventually come around. I figured she would do it before her older sister would, simply because she had a stronger personality. But I knew it would happen someday that she and Bill would speak again. I’m grateful that my initial predictions weren’t completely what came to pass. I figured she’d get in touch to spite her mother, because I was under the mistaken impression that she was just like her mom. I thought that she would try to use Bill, like her brother did. It turns out that, as far as we can tell, she’s much more like Bill, which is a wonderful blessing.

I still have hope that older daughter will also come around someday… but if there’s one thing Bill and I have BOTH learned, it’s that being “disowned” is not the end of the world. Yes, it’s extremely hurtful to be cast out, but the pain is definitely survivable. Some people truly would rather go through the pain of being disowned than surrender their free will to someone else. Many people are determined to make their own decisions in life, and choose to break out of extremely controlling family systems and do what they want. There is absolutely NO reason to believe that one of the Duggar grandchildren won’t do that.

Boob can’t control them all forever, and who’s to say that someone even more narcissistic or toxic won’t come along push him out of power? There are simply too many of them. Even Fred Phelps, creator of the damnable Westboro Baptist Church, was eventually ousted from his own family created church fiefdom. It takes a lot of energy and strength to control people, and the older and weaker a controlling person gets, they more likely it is that they’ll eventually be pushed aside by someone younger and stronger. Everyone– even Jim Bob Duggar– has a match. Moreover, most of us have never met the Duggars and only know about them what we’ve seen on TV and read in the media.

I truly hope that any of the Duggar children or grandchildren who want to live life on their own terms will eventually be able to do so. I refuse to sell any of them short. I disapprove of making predictions about how a child will turn out, particularly when the child is as young as Spurgeon Seewald is. He’s only FOUR. A whole lot can happen in fourteen years, when Spurgeon will be considered an adult. Let’s give him a chance to grow up a bit before we make predictions about his future.

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Duggars

The message here…

I have not made it a secret that I follow the Duggar Family News Facebook page and am a member of its private group. I don’t comment very often, nor do I follow what goes on there obsessively. I could fill a whole day doing that, since both locations are very active and popular. I probably read two or three posts a day.

We just celebrated Christmas, so there have naturally been a lot of Duggar “Christmas” posts. There’s also at least one more baby on the way. John David Duggar and his wife, Abbie, are expecting a daughter this month. So besides Christmas posts, there have also been baby shower posts.

I used to watch the Duggars on TLC. I quit watching when the show became unbearably boring. My hiatus lasted a couple of years. I started watching again when the Duggar women started pairing off. Back in 2014, Jill Duggar was “courting” Derick Dillard. I initially liked Derick, who was a college graduate living in Nepal. He seemed intelligent enough and genuinely appeared to love Jill, even if her dad made some ridiculous requirements for him to meet before he would sign off on him being allowed to get to know his daughter.

Jill and her dad, Boob, flew to Katmandu to hang out with Derick and after a few embarrassing control moves, Boob gave the two of them permission to wed. In those days, Jill was evidently one of Boob’s favorite children. I heard a rumor that it was because she was obedient and quick to tattle on her siblings, but there could have been other reasons. Hell, maybe she was always a “black sheep”, as she appears to be now.

“Pickles”, the lady who runs the Duggar Family News page and its group, has noted that Jill has apparently become persona non grata. She’s no longer featured on the Counting On show, which initially was just about her and Jessa, who is married to Ben Seewald. Jessa, fans will remember, was the first to court, but Jill and Derick married before Jessa and Ben did. And Jessa, who always seemed to have a reputation for being disobedient, now seems to be the golden child. What happened?

Back when they weren’t black sheep…

Well… it all seemed to start when Derick started attacking fellow TLC star Jazz Jennings on social media. Jennings is transgendered. That’s pretty much all I know about her, since I’ve never seen her show. But Derick was making disparaging comments about Jennings, which drew some negative heat to the Duggar clan. Derick was eventually kicked off the show over it. He probably could have come back if he groveled enough, but then he seemed to get upset over another huge issue… not being paid for his work. (Edited to add in 2021– now we know that Derick and Jill didn’t WANT to be on the show… and now that I know more about what happened, I can’t blame them at all.)

In 2015, it also became public knowledge that Josh Duggar had molested four of his sisters and another female back when he was a teenager. The Duggars covered it up for years, and when the secret was finally out, the fallout was pretty epic. Of course, a lot of us thought they’d finally be kicked off TV, once and for all. Alas, it was not to be.

Anyway, years later, it’s pretty obvious that Derick is no longer in Boob’s favor. It was revealed on Duggar Family News that Derick and Jill are no longer allowed to visit the Duggar compound unless they have specific permission from Boob. Other news outlets have picked up the story, that Jill has now apparently become a black sheep. Back in May, when her sister Jessa unexpectedly gave birth to her daughter, Ivy, Jill had to get permission to tend to her. Before she was persona non grata with her family, Jill was supposedly training to be a “midwife”. Others in the family had already gone to the wedding Jessa and Ben were planning to attend when it was suddenly time for Ivy to make her entrance into the world. Clearly, Jessa needed help and Jill was available, but instead of arranging it among themselves, like most normal adults would, Jill had to ask her daddy. I wonder what the rest of the family thinks about this.

All of this appears to be happening because Derick has been very outspoken on a number of topics, to include his displeasure that he and Jill reportedly weren’t paid for their appearances on Counting On. Apparently, Boob is the only one with contracts involving TLC and he’s the one being paid. Derick, as a normal adult with a family to support, was thinking he and Jill should be getting paid for their work on the show, rather than Boob doling out the money as he wanted. I’m no fan of Derick Dillard’s now, although I do think he has every right to be upset about the way Jim Bob handles his adult children.

As Pickles pointed out in her comments about this issue, Josh Duggar, who not only threatened the cash cow, but also molested his sisters and cheated on his wife, Anna, is still allowed full access to the family. He has been photographed at family events that don’t include Jill, Derick, and their two boys, Israel and Samuel. Josh’s actions are the ones that damaged the family’s reputation the most, yet he hasn’t been forsaken. His sister, Jill, who was one of his victims, has… evidently simply because her husband wants to be paid and treated like an adult… and head of his family.

So what is the message here? It seems that Josh, being the eldest son and producer of six Duggar grandchildren so far, has been forgiven for being a sex pest and philanderer, even though it tarnished the family’s name. Jill, who had always seemed to be in favor, is not in favor anymore, because her husband doesn’t want to be Boob’s doormat and has determined that he and the rest of his family won’t be on Counting On again. So much for the close, “loving” family the Duggars appeared to be back in the day.

To be honest, I’ve mostly lost interest in watching the Duggars on TV. I don’t watch Counting On at all, mainly because I’d have to pay for it and I find it very dull. It’s more fun to read the snarky comments on Pickles’ page and in her group, but even that doesn’t interest me much anymore. Personally, I think it’s time for the Duggars to go away and get jobs that don’t involve their being on television. However… if one of the “kidults” decided to write a tell all book, I’d probably read it. I bet Derick will eventually do just that at some point, once the TV franchise is finally dead. Or maybe Jeremy Vuolo will do it? Who knows? I think it would be best if one of the Duggar women wrote the book… in previous years, I would have expected Jessa to be the bold one, but now I think she’s got her head rammed up Boob’s ass. So maybe Jill will add to her nose ring and pants wearing and tell the world what it’s really like to “grow up Duggar”. It would be the ultimate “fuck you”, and I bet she’d make lots of money… although Boob would probably disown her for good. And frankly, that might not be such a bad thing.

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Duggars

Jill Dillard’s diddling tips…

Jill Dillard, wife of Derick Dillard, was just in the news for offering up sex tips to the masses. I read a couple of articles about Dillard’s advice on how to keep her man satisfied. They pretty much parrot what her mother, Michelle Duggar, said a few years ago about being “joyfully available” to her boob husband, Jim Bob.

In fairness, Ms. Dillard didn’t actually offer explicit sex tips. That wouldn’t be Duggar-like. Instead, she counsels her (female) followers to have sex three or four times a week, pray and fast for their husbands, and make sure they wear makeup and non-frumpy pajamas to bed. Huh? Makeup to bed? That sounds like a recipe for acne. She also counsels her readers to avoid masturbation. Of course, she doesn’t actually put it that way. That would be especially un-Duggar-like.

I think I’d be exhausted if I had sex 3 or 4 times a week. She must have a lot of stamina.

I will admit, I initially just read the articles about this topic. Then I decided to visit Jill’s blog and read the actual post. Some of her tips are good. For instance, I agree that talking to one’s spouse is important. I also agree that a wife shouldn’t act like her husband’s mother… although I can’t imagine a situation in which I would lick my finger to wipe something off of Bill’s face. That’s just nuts. Obviously, Jill has done it to Derick and he’s commanded her to stop. I think her advice about being open about spending habits is also good.

However… just like the articles implied, the overwhelming tone of her post is much like her mother’s advice to be “joyfully available”. It sounds like it’s entirely the wife’s job to keep the fire burning. The one thing I’ve learned in 16 years of marriage is that it’s a partnership. Both partners need to be on the same page. It’s not just up to one or the other.

I’m glad Jill still loves Derick, especially since they both seem to have fallen out of Boob’s favor. Derick went from a seemingly nice guy with a taste for international adventure, to an offensive twit. I used to like him. Now I think he’s an asshole, mainly for his transphobic and homophobic remarks. However, I do have a little bit of respect for him for not putting up with Boob’s shit. Or so it appears, anyway.

I don’t know if Jill and Derick will be adding to their brood. I have a feeling they planned to have more than two children. I remember when Jinger first got married, Jill asked her if she was pregnant within weeks of Jinger’s wedding. I can still picture the shocked look on Jinger’s face after such an intrusive and embarrassing question. Jinger and Jeremy famously waited over a year before they started their baby production, while Jill evidently was already pregnant by the time the honeymoon was over. And now it’s been almost two years since her last baby… an eternity in Duggar spawning years. But who knows? She might stop at two.

I’ve pretty much quit watching the Duggars, anyway. I think I watched the season before the most recent one, but I found it so boring and mundane that I decided not to watch it anymore. Instead, I follow Pickles on her Life is Not All Pickles and Hairspray page and group. The commentary in there is enough to satisfy my curiosity. Aside from that, some of the people in that group are genuinely intelligent and funny, especially with the snark they lay on the fundies.

I don’t think I need to take advice from Jill, for marriage or for cooking… Her foodie posts are notoriously nasty. But I guess Derick must like it… if he’s finally stopped gagging, that is.

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