Saturday, July 26, 2008

Explaining Botkin Syndrome Triangulation (Part III of III): Relationships and Implications

Relationship Triangulation in Botkin Syndrome

The evangelists of the Botkin model of family promote enmeshment with daughters, using their children to gratify adult psychological and emotional needs, and in some cases, physical and financial needs. Daughters are taught to defer to the father primarily but also to the wishes of all men, as reinforced by the Botkin teachings concerning relationships with brothers. All women are restricted to roles that define them as the helpers (“ezer” in Hebrew) as well as subordinate. This teaches both young women as well as young men alike that the fairer sex has one purpose only: tools to be used to meet the needs of men. It is not only just an issue of prescribed or limited roles for women, but their very essence defines them as lesser creatures: tools and objects for the purpose of service and meeting needs.

The subtle and psychological implications of this are profound. The boundaries between sexes become virtually non-existent. This is not to say that those who intend the paternalistic protection of their daughters out of love purpose these negative outcomes at all. I believe it is an oversight wherein the followers of this teaching become blinded so that they cannot anticipate these implications. As with all idolatry, the fruit and final product produced often ironically yields the very opposite of what was originally intended. Consider Romans chapter 1 wherein idolatry of man (worship of the creature over the Creator) will actually produce gender ambiguity. There is quite a bit of this notable within the movement already, while preaching gender priority actually produces men with very effeminate characteristics and behaviors. The group has become so culturally irrelevant and detatched, they do not even recognize this growing evidence of the effete. Also, there appears to be a developing trend of estrangement between grown children with their patriarchal families, characterized in some patriarchal groups (not necessarily formally connected with the Botkin teachings) by rebellion, depression, self-punishment and suicide.

The book “So Much More” focuses upon the critical nature of the father and daughter relationship, teaching both spiritual and physical salvation for daughters through service to fathers. This might not be so troubling if there was an equal attention devoted to the relationships between daughters and mothers, but mothers are rarely referenced in this capacity within patriocentricity. Fathers have all the priority, and mothers seem to be pushed off to the side. Victoria Botkin, mother to Anna Sophia and Elizabeth and wife to Geoff Botkin, is rarely referenced, photographed or discussed in the literature. The mother and daughter relationship is rarely discussed if at all.

In regard to triangulation, what we see is an unhealthy relationship triangle where father and daughter are aligned, but husband and wife as well as daughter and mother are not.

Following the example presented in the writings of Dr. David Stoop, the implications for other relationships are quite notable, primarily the adult child’s relationship with a new spouse. (I can attest to this difficulty personally, as both my spouse and I had enmeshed relationships with our mothers.) Parental enmeshment destroys intimacy and relationships between husband and wife like nothing else. Within the synoptic Gospels, Jesus tells us that not only can a house divided not stand, but it is also impossible to serve two masters. If one attempts to serve two masters, Jesus said that one will love one master and hate the other. The “multi-generational faithfulness” concept as taught by the Botkins may work for the initial family, but it will undermine the relationship between the new husband and wife.

The next implication of enmeshment involves what Pia Mellody identifies as an inevitable gender-related “Love Avoidant” pattern. According to her model that expands upon the triangulation model of family therapy, enmeshment (covert incest) produces a “Love Avoidance” toward all members of the sex of the parent with whom the adult child shares enmeshment. If these fathers so control and derive non-sexual need satisfaction from their daughters, the daughters will be love avoidant with other men. They will have intimacy difficulties with their husbands, compounded by the competition that is created with the father-daughter relationship that they carried with them into the marriage. In an attempt to stress appropriate gender relations as Biblical and “kingdom architecture” (as the Botkin girls define it), they are actually promoting a milieu that drives women away from men.