Menu Close

Life with My Fundamentalist Baptist Grandparents, John and Ann Tieken

barbara tieken 1940s
My Mom, Barbara Tieken, 1940s

My mom was born in 1938 to John and Jeanette Tieken. John owned a farm in Missouri. He was also a pilot and an airplane mechanic. I don’t know much about my mom’s childhood, but three stories come to mind. (Please see John.)

Mom had a younger brother, Steve. Their dog had puppies that John didn’t want. Instead of giving them away, John forced his son to put them in a burlap bag, take them down to the creek, and drown them.

Mom told me towards the end of her life that John had repeatedly sexually molested her. (Look at the picture of my mom above. This is the little girl John molested.) When Mom confronted him about his crimes, John, now a Fundamentalist Baptist Christian, pleaded the blood of Christ over his SBC — sins before Christ. As you shall read later in this post, John did a lot of sinning post-Jesus too. John told my mom that “God had forgiven him and so should she!” No apology, no attempt to make amends. Just cheap, meaningless Christian cliches. This would be John’s approach throughout my life with him. Not one time did I ever hear him say he was sorry or wrong.

John was a violent drunk during my mom’s childhood. His wife Jeanette was an alcoholic too. (Grandma would later quit drinking cold turkey. I had a close relationship with her.) Their alcoholism created such dysfunction for my mom and her brother that a Missouri court took them out of their home and placed them with their grandparents.

John and Grandma divorced. John then married a woman named Margaret. They too would divorce. Mom had a close relationship with Margaret, corresponding with her for years. I remember reading several of her letters. John left Missouri in the 1950s/1960s and moved to Pontiac, Michigan (Waterford Township). He married a Fundamentalist Christian divorcee named Ann. She had a son named David who was a few years older than I.

Sometime in the 1960s, the alcoholic John Tieken was gloriously saved by Jesus at Sunnyvale Chapel — an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) congregation without the label. (Sunnyvale is now defunct.) My first memories of my grandparents come from this period of time. As I pondered what to write for this post, it dawned on me that I only have two good memories of my grandparents. That’s it. Try as I might, I can’t recollect any other good experiences with them. There are reasons for this as you shall see in a moment.

John may have been saved and alcohol-free, but he was still a violent man — at least to some family members. My siblings and I would stay with the Tiekens during the summer. One day, David, who was an avid high school baseball player and fisherman, was sitting at the dinner table with the rest of us. John said something to David and he smartly replied. John stood up from the table, and with a balled fist he struck David in the face, knocking him off his chair. I would also face his wrath one summer day. My younger brother and I were playing in the garage. We found an old Bell telephone, which I proceeded to take apart, doing what boys do. When John found out, he beat the living shit out of me; the worst beating I ever received besides the one my Dad’s farmer brother gave me for moving his beer. There would be many violent outbursts from John over the years, reminding me that Fundamentalism and violent temperaments don’t go well together.

One deep, dark secret in my life comes from my childhood with the Tiekens. As I mentioned previously, my siblings and I would spend time in the summer with them, both by ourselves and with our mom. Ann would have my brother and I get in the bathtub to take a bath. While bathing, Ann would come in and show us how to “clean our genitals.” She “taught” us this lesson several times. It would take years for me to realize that she was sexually molesting us.

I did say that I had two good memories of John and Ann, so I will share them now. John, a pilot, and mechanic, was the co-owner of T&W (Tieken and Wyman) Engine Service at Pontiac (Michigan) Airport. My first fond memory of John was when he took me up in a twin-prop cargo plane he had just overhauled. Boy, was that fun (and terrifying).

tigers indians 1968

My other fond memory dates back to the summer of 1968, the year the Detroit Tigers won the world series. For my eleventh birthday, John took me to watch the Tigers play the Cleveland Indians. I remember John buying me a pennant. On this day, I felt close to my grandfather. Just a grandfather and his oldest grandson enjoying their favorite sport. Alas, this would be the first and last time we did anything together.

John and Ann were devout Fundamentalist Baptists. They attended church every time the doors were open. John became an in-your-face soulwinner — a bully for Jesus. No matter where he went, he felt it his duty to witness to people, often embarrassing family and friends. He was also a big proponent of loud prayers before meals at restaurants, letting everyone around us know that we were born-again Christians.

I enrolled for classes at Midwestern Baptist College in the fall of 1976, as did my future wife, Polly Shope. Midwestern was located in Pontiac, Michigan so this put me in contact with John and Ann. Polly quickly learned, as I had long known, that the Tiekens were domineering and controlling. By the time we started our junior year of college, we had distanced ourselves from them.

I saw John and Ann maybe once a year — Christmas at my mom’s home — from 1979 to 1986. By then, I was pastoring Somerset Baptist Church in Mt. Perry, Ohio — a fast-growing IFB congregation that eventually reached a high attendance of 206.

John and Ann came to visit the church twice in the eleven years I was there. One Sunday, John thoroughly embarrassed me in front of the entire congregation. The building was packed. This was during the time when the church was growing rapidly. After I preached and gave an invitation, I asked if anyone had something to share. John did. He stood and told the entire congregation what was wrong with my sermon. I wanted to die (and murder him).

The last time John and Ann came to visit was in 1988. We were living in Junction City at the time. After church, we invited them over for dinner. John spent a good bit of time lecturing me about my car being dirty — the beater we used to deliver newspapers. According to John, having a dirty car was a bad testimony.

After dinner — oh, I remember it as if it were yesterday! — we were sitting in the living room and one of our young boys got too close to John. What did he do? He kicked him. I knew then and there that, regardless of his love for Jesus, he didn’t love our family, and he would always be a mean son-of-a-bitch.

From this time forward, we had little to no contact with the Tiekens. Sometime in the late 1990s — I was pastoring Our Father’s House in West Unity, Ohio, at the time — Ann called me a few days before John’s seventy-fifth birthday and said she was having a party for him and expected our family to be there. When I explained that we couldn’t attend (it was on a church night and Polly had to work), Ann launched into a vitriolic tirade, telling me what a terrible grandson I was. Vicious and vindictive as always, Ann told me I had a terrible family.

Finally, after forty years, I had had enough. I told her that should have worried about the importance of family twenty years ago. I then told her that I was no longer interested in having any contact with them. And with that, I hung up the phone. I had finally learned to cut these toxic people out of my life — almost.

A few years later, I heard through the family grapevine that John was dying from colon cancer. I traveled three hours to Pontiac to visit him. Why? I don’t know. When I entered his hospital room, Ann wasn’t there — a small favor from God, I thought at the time. John was sedated and unable to communicate. I stood there for a few moments, with tears trickling down my face (as they are now). And then I walked away. He died a short time later. I did not attend his funeral. I knew it would be a masturbatory celebration of John, the Fundamentalist Baptist soulwinner. I had no appetite for yet another lie.

I never expected to see Ann again. When I said I wanted nothing to do with John and Ann, I meant it. They had caused so much pain in my life. I had no interest in my children knowing anything about them (and they don’t). In 2003, I began pastoring Victory Baptist Church in Clare, Michigan — a Southern Baptist congregation. Unbeknownst to me, Ann had remarried and moved to Clare. She lived five minutes from our home in White Birch — a gated community outside of Farwell. What are the odds, right? Was God punishing me?

Ann attended a nearby Southern Baptist church. One Sunday, I looked out the church door while I was preaching and saw Ann sitting in the parking lot with her husband and David’s son. (David was murdered in Detriot in 1981, at the age of twenty-six.) After the service, I briefly talked to her. The next Sunday, Ann visited Victory Baptist, and after the service invited us over to dinner later in the week. I didn’t want to go, but I thought, what kind of Christian am I? Surely, I can forgive her and let the past be the past.

And so we went. Things went fairly well until Ann decided to let me know — as if it was a fact that everyone knew — that my dad was not really my father. I showed no reaction to this revelation, but it stunned me and cut me right to the quick. I knew my Mom was eighteen and pregnant when she married Dad, but I had never before heard what Ann was telling me. Why did she tell me this? What good could ever come of it? Two years ago, I took a DNA test, confirming that my father was actually a truck driver from Chicago. So Ann was right. But the fact remains that this was not hers to tell; that she did so to hurt me. I never saw Ann again. Last I heard, her husband died and she was in a nursing home.

Members at Victory Baptist were excited to find out that I was the oldest grandson of Gramma Clarke (her new married name) — a fine, kind, loving Christian woman if there ever was one, they told me. All I ever told them is that things are not always as they seem.

Years later, Ann did a Facebook search on my name and “found” me. She sent me a message that said:

What ? An athiest ?? Sorry Sorry Sorry !!!What happened ? How’s Polly & your family??

Nine years, and this is what she sent me. I sat down and wrote her a letter. You can read it here.

I wrote:

I don’t wish you any ill will. That said, I don’t want to have a relationship with you, especially a pretend Facebook friendship. Ooh Look! Bruce got reconnected with his estranged Grandmother. Isn’t God good!!

Not gonna happen. I have exactly zero interest in pursuing a relationship with you. It is too late.

My “good” memories of you and Grandpa are few and far between (and I haven’t even mentioned things that I am still, to this day, too embarrassed to mention). You really don’t know me and I don’t know you. And that’s okay.

Life is messy, Ann, and this is one mess in aisle three that no one can clean up. I have been told that I have a hard time forgiving and forgetting. This is perhaps a true assessment of me. I told Polly tonight that I am quite willing to forgive but it is hard to do when there is never an admission of guilt or the words I am sorry are never uttered. How can there be since the blood of Jesus wipes away every shitty thing a person has ever done? Talk about a get out of responsibility for sin card.

I am sure you will think I am just like my mother. I am.

You know what my last memory of my Mom is? After I tearfully and with a broken heart concluded my 54-year-old Mom’s graveside service, Grandpa Tieken took the “opportunity” to preach at us and tell us that Mom was in Heaven. Just days before she had put a gun to her chest and pulled the trigger. We all were reeling with grief and pain and Grandpa, in a classic Grandma-and-Grandpa-Tieken moment, decided to preach instead of love.

A comment by Amy B actually provoked me — in a good way — to write this post tonight:

I’m astonished (and impressed) that you feel no bitterness towards your grandfather. I hate his guts, and I never met the man!

I certainly have plenty of reasons to be bitter towards John and Ann (I refuse to call them Grandpa and Grandma). Not wanting to write a tome, this post is just a summary of the heartache and harm caused by John and Ann. I am sure some Christians might think that my unwillingness to forgive them is a sign of bitterness. That’s the problem with Christianity and its demands that we forgive people no matter what they do to us, Fake, syrupy “love” demands they “forgive” regardless of the pain and trauma caused by others.

I reject this kind of thinking. I don’t owe anyone forgiveness, though I have asked for forgiveness and forgiven others countless times. In the name of God and in accordance with the teachings of the Bible, John and Ann showed nothing but contempt for me, my mother, and my younger siblings. We never measured up. They used money and gifts to manipulate us, demanding that we conform to their exacting Biblical standard. Imagine my surprise years later when I learned that Ann was a Valium addict. Even she couldn’t measure up.

John and Ann were big fans of Bill Gothard and his Institute in Basic Life Principles seminars. Year after year, John would badger me about attending the Detroit seminar, saying he would pay for it. I always said no, thinking that I could see no discernable difference IBLP made in their lives, so why should I bother?

I am now sixty-five years old. What am I to make of the terrible wound John and Ann left on my life? Some family members, mainly my uncle Dave’s family and my mom’s younger brother, Steve, view John and Ann differently from the way in which I do. Were their experiences so much different from mine? I don’t know. It seems more likely to me that Evangelical Christianity, with its dysfunctional teachings about love and forgiveness, keeps them from honestly giving an account of their experiences with John and Ann Tieken. The blood of Jesus continues to cover up trauma that caused untold heartache and harm.

I don’t blame them for doing so, but that’s not the approach I take. Instead, I value responsibility, accountability, repentance, and restitution. John and Ann wanted forgiveness without these things, and I am not going to give it to them. That I write about my life with John and Ann Tieken infuriates some people in my extended family. They want me to leave the deep, dark secrets of the past buried in the sea of God’s forgetfulness. How do we learn to do differently if we don’t tell our stories? I want my children to better understand me as a man. What better way to do that than tell my story — painful warts, and all? I want my grandchildren to know me as I am, not as a caricature or a facade. These experiences have made me into the man I am today. When people confide in me, speaking of the trauma they experienced in their lives, I understand. I am a deeply marred and wounded man, but I survived. That’s the key. I SURVIVED! I wish Mom were alive today so we could toast our survival together. Instead, the most important person in my life, save Polly, is dead, having killed herself at age 54. When I think of John and Ann Tieken, I can’t help but lay much of the blame for her suicide at their feet. They could have loved Barbara and her children, but they chose not to (or loved them in a warped Evangelical way). They could have helped by giving of their time and money, as Jesus would have done. Instead, they judged and berated us for not measuring up, withholding material help because we weren’t doing things the right way. Mom’s life was a mess. John and Ann could have lent a hand, loving her as they were commanded to do so in the Bible. Instead, they micro-judged every part of her life, raining judgment on her head, and when I got older they did the same with me, my wife, and our children. Is it any wonder that I wanted nothing to do with them; that when John died I felt nothing; that when I hear of Ann’s demise, I will likely feel the same? Whatever feelings I might have had for John and Ann Tieken died two decades ago. They are little more than a chapter in my autobiography now — that is except for the ugly marks they left on my life. These deep wounds will never go away. All I know to do is keep telling my story, and when I feel John and Ann closing in, call my therapist and say, let’s talk.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

39 Comments

  1. Avatar
    BJW

    John and Ann deserved prison for their sexual crimes. I’m just sorry that these people caused so much pain to so many, to you, your mom, and your family.

  2. Avatar
    michaelbsmithjr

    I read the “Dear Ann” letter once every couple of months. This particular post answers a whole lot of questions. I get the toxicity of the relationship. I am still a believer, even though I understand and respect the fact that you are not. I do get it. I still love God – some of His “people” – not so much.

  3. Avatar
    GeoffT

    I can’t get past the John molesting your mum bit without hating the guy. Some things in life can be forgiven, but not this. Jesus or not. Had he given some indication of regret or guilt over the issue then at least he would have revealed some humanity, but clearly even this was beyond him.

  4. Avatar
    Kel

    Thank you for being so honest, Bruce.
    As you often say, your life is an open book now.

    My experience with heartless and hypocritical fundamentalists is not as extensive as yours. Thank goodness, I’ve never had to deal with such wicked people as John and Ann.

    Nevertheless, reading your experience helps me to process and validate my own feelings. Your story teaches me that the problem is, sometimes, not me being a lazy or bad person who refuses godly correction.

    Rather, some Christians are indeed terrible and manipulative people, who fully deserve all the contempt coming their way.

    Every now and then, I still find myself grieving for the life I could have enjoyed had I not been surrounded by conservative Christianity. But your blog, your stories, and your regular readers always make me feel less alone.

  5. Avatar
    Dr. David Tee

    What a waste. You do nothing but spread hatred towards people no one but you and your family have met. This is a travesty for several reasons:

    #1. it is only one side of the story
    #2. the people you talk about can’t defend themselves
    #3. the people you talk about do not know you are talking about them
    #4. it is full of look at me, I am a victim attitude.

    It is just narcissism at its best. ‘Oh I am a victim, woe is me’ and all you are trying to do is glean sympathy from people. No one cares about ‘your story’ as it is textbook neurosis and only you are perfect in it.

    You are not helping anyone because you keep them in the same attitude you have hatred towards others and you never solve any problems. You just help people sin more.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      I will leave it to others to respond to you. If anyone doubted what kind of man you are, they know it now.

      And here’s the thing, you are predictable. I predicted to Polly you would write a comment like this, and you did.

    • Avatar
      Astreja

      Fuck off, Derrick. Take the plank out of your own eye – make actual restitution to the people you have victimized before you start mouthing off.

      Someone who has experienced harm at the hands of another person has an absolute right to talk about it at any time, regardless of whether the perpetrator is alive or dead. You’re just a narcissistic, legalistic, hypocritical POS who criticizes non-believers constantly but can’t be arsed to hold believers responsible for their bad behaviour.

    • Avatar
      W.W. Jacobs

      Oh, this is hilarious, Derrick.

      You have bemoaned your belief that only one side of your own story is being told. You’ve been given repeated opportunities to tell your side and have turned them down, while continuing to whine about people not being afforded the opportunity to tell their side of the story.

      Actually, to be fair, you haven’t turned them down. That would require acknowledging them. You just choose to ignore said offers.

      You destroyed a wheelchair-bound woman’s telephone, in part, to punish her for communicating her grievances against you, concurrently cutting her off from anyone who might assist her in defending herself against you, and you now bemoan people’s inability to speak in their own defense.
      You seem to find plenty of value in being out of the line of fire when you are the topic of conversation elsewhere. The aggregate value you’ve placed on it is in the neighborhood of $40,000, I believe?
      I don’t have enough time remaining over this entire holiday weekend to talk about your “look at me, I’m a victim” mentality that has been on display over parts of at least three different decades.

    • Avatar
      Sage

      Ahahahahahaha.

      You were using irony as humor right? Obviously you were looking in the mirror when you wrote this but do not realize you were looking at yourself.

      This is common among fundamentalists. Many assume everyone else experiences life as they do, so they project their own experiences on others, and then attack those experiences as if the other person is evil. They have no understanding that they are only talking about their own understanding, not the reality of the other person.

      Perhaps you should just understand that others experience life differently than you, and you have no clear understanding of their experiences. You can only listen and accept their explanation, and not assume you know better.

      You of all people should not be judging others.

    • Avatar
      GeoffT

      What’s the other side of the story to a father sexually abusing his daughter (somehow worse because of the cute picture, though that’s just me being emotional)? He appears not to have denied it, given his insistence on having been forgiven. But as is becoming clearer, you and the truth have long been separated.

    • Avatar
      Ben Berwick

      How hateful must you be, to write the diatribe above (especially given your own history)? It’s Bruce’s website, he is entitled to tell his story, how he wants, and you are under no obligation to read it, much less respond.

      Bruce has always been nothing but honest, he does not present his posts as anything other than his personal recollections, and he does not ask for sympathy. You on the other hand, describe claiming to ‘speak the truth with love’, write up these angry character attacks, on top of deceiving and lying on a regular basis. It’s clear that between Bruce and yourself, one of you understands the Bible, and it isn’t you. Practice what you preach, if you can.

    • Avatar
      steveastrouk2017

      Its verifiable, from court records, that they were violent alcoholics “Their alcoholism created such dysfunction for my mom and her brother that a Missouri court took them out of their home and placed them with their grandparents.”

      You know, verifiable, as your bible isn’t

  6. Avatar
    Sage

    No one is owed forgiveness, regardless of forgiveness by any deity, or demand of forgiveness by any religion. Some things simply do not deserve forgiveness.

    Christians think you should forgive by default. I think that, at a minimum, forgiveness must be requested. Even the Christian god demands this step before forgiveness.

    And even then no one is required to forgive. There are a few people in my life who will get no forgiveness. Others can be forgiven, but they have a lot of work to do before that happens.

    It is perfectly fine to stop associating with toxic people, even family members. Your example of dealing with these people is a good example for others.

    Thank you for sharing this Bruce. I have no doubt it was very difficult.

  7. Avatar
    W.W. Jacobs

    M’kay. You both only have one problem: Chapter 14 of Romans.

    Derrick (“David Tee”, incidentally, was essentially his nickname in college, akin to everyone on Jersey Shore referring to Paul DelVecchio as “Pauly D”) … anyway, Paul (the guy formerly known as Saul, not the reality-television guy) cautions the Romans (and the two of you) to not be a stumbling block for others by engaging in behavior that might cause others to cast aspersions on your moral authority (for lack of a better phrase). You know, like eating food your target audience might deem unclean even if you don’t, not drinking if your target audience eschews alcohol even if you don’t, not dismissing identity theft or domestic violence as mere trifling matters of semantics when your target audience calls them felonies, that sort of thing.

  8. Avatar
    ... Zoe ~

    “Dr. David Tee
    15h ago
    What a waste. You do nothing but spread hatred towards people no one but you and your family have met. This is a travesty for several reasons:”

    Zoe: Because it hits close to home David?

  9. Avatar
    ... Zoe ~

    David: “You are not helping anyone because you keep them in the same attitude you have hatred towards others and you never solve any problems.”

    Zoe: Good grief David. Measure others hatred by first examining yours.

    I have read Bruce’s story about his family history many times over many years.

    Every time I read it I feel:

    1). my heart stop,
    2). the tears flow,
    3). I ache at the core of my being
    4). I am left speechless

  10. Avatar
    ... Zoe ~

    David: ” #2. the people you talk about can’t defend themselves”

    Bruce: “When Mom confronted him about his crimes, John, now a Fundamentalist Baptist Christian, pleaded the blood of Christ over his SBC — sins before Christ.”

    Zoe: Here’s John’s defense David. It’s all under the blood David.

    And so it continues to this day . . . sin until the cows come home, it’s as Bruce said: “The blood of Jesus continues to cover up trauma that caused untold heartache and harm.”

  11. Avatar
    BJW

    Dr T’s lashing out is the essence of “hit dog hollers.” He projects his hatred onto us, and also his lies and dishonesty. Then he can point all the fingers and chant “saved saved saved.” How very narcissistic of you, Dr T.

    See, dude, most of us are here to open our hearts about the failure of the Christian church, in the form of the IFB movement, but it applies to any fundamentalist church and religion. I’m not an atheist, but at this point in my life (63) I feel like I’ve met more honest and thoughtful atheists than Christians. Although I do admit that I know several good, decent Christians, and am friends with several pastors who are also close to the Christianity most beneficial for our society. You know, all that love and acceptance and helpfulness towards the poor, the foreigner, widows, orphans, prisoners, and in fact, anyone despised by their fellow man. You know, David, those icky gays and trans people, immigrants, all of them would be loved by a true loving god. Yours is a complete failure.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      I think she would too. It’s been 20 years since she killed herself. I still miss year. Every year, I go to her grave by myself (my grandmother is buried there too). I think about what might have been . . . Only our three oldest sons remember her. I suspect she would have loved the rest of our children too, especially the girls. And the grandkids? That would have been heaven on earth for her.

  12. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Bruce, I have to confess that I had to wait before reading this post because I knew “Tee” would leave a horrible comment. I like to be right…most of the time.

    That said, I can’t help but to feel rage toward John. He not only ripped through people’s lives like a tornado, he demanded forgiveness. If that’s not a textbook definition of a bully or an abuser, I don’t know what is.

    Such a notion of forgiveness is one of the problems I have with Christianity: It places the burden on the victimized rather than the victimizer.

    In addition to my rage toward him, I feel grief about your mother. I would have liked to have met her, if for no other reason that she raised you.

    On a lighter note: I looked at the scorecard. A 1968 matchup between Denny McLain and Luis Tiant? About the only better pitching duel I can conceive from that time is Tom Seaver vs. Bob Gibson!

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      You would have loved my mom. Meeting her would have certainly given you a better understanding of me. I was 100% Barbara’s son. 🤣❤️ The only thing I got from my dad was my business smarts.

  13. Avatar
    Troy

    Bruce, I’m glad you had two good memories. I agree with Dr. T a bit, I like to consider both sides of a story, but one thing IS clear is that John and Ann were failures as grandparents and it works as a polemic. I suppose one salient fact that can be extracted, if you’re an asshole before joining the IFB you’ll be an asshole after. Look at Dr. T, so hung up in being religious that he forgets that how well we treat our fellow man IS the measure of a man.

    • Avatar
      BJW

      I don’t think John and Ann were just failures. Sexual abuse places these people in the criminal and evil category. Good people can fail, but these people are not good at all.

      • Avatar
        Bruce Gerencser

        Correct. I’ve had a plenty of failures in life, but the bent of my life has been towards good. When I said I only had two good memories of John and Ann, I meant it. They were not good people. I could have shared plenty of other stories about them, not one of them good. Ask Polly about John and Ann. She despised them. Not only did she have a front row seat 💺 to how they mistreated me, she had her own bad experiences with them. 😢😢

      • Avatar
        Troy

        I don’t think John and Ann were just failures either. I’m certain Bruce pegged them exactly as the monsters they most certainly were/are. In the interest of fairness to those who can’t offer a defense I was suggesting at the bare minimum they were failures of grandparents, because without cross-examination and gathering the other side of the story I’m reluctant to fully convict them. Why am I like this? Because in my experience when people have told me what a terrible person so-and-so is, I’ve always given them a chance. Since I’ll (fortunately) never interact with John or Ann I suppose the controversy is moot anyway.
        That said Bruce’s intense hatred of them is incontrovertible proof that they failed as grandparents.
        (I hope this clears that up)

        • Avatar
          BJW

          Sure. I feel so much horror at the behavior of this couple. Admittedly, I grew up in a middle-class home where we bickered and had misunderstandings etc, but my parents really loved us. But when I hear of such egregious behavior I can’t, I just can’t understand how people can treat those who they should love so evilly. They know it’s wrong, as they present themselves to the world as super Christians. I guess that is the essence of malignant narcissism.

  14. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    Bruce, you were right to ex ise those toxic people from your life. Who knows, they may have tried to sexually abuse your children if they’d had access.

  15. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Using a regular computer to comment here. I couldn’t do it before now, but after seeing what ” Prof.” Tee Hee wrote, I had to bring up the fact that the forgiveness John claimed he had from Jesus, and his blood, was not done according to the Bible’s OWN standards of ” fruit meet for repentance.” John never tried in any way to make amends for what he did , had no Godly sorrow for what he did, and restitution was never brought up either !! He should have done time for what he was doing-Ann too, and did any other adults around at that time know what John did– and why didn’t they step up to rescue your mom and call the cops on John ?? And get her away from him ASAP ? The Gospels had examples of those who repented, it sounds like John never did. So, if the Bible was to be taken literally, John may never have made it to Heaven, but it”s opposite. The Teikens were unrepentant criminals. Granted, John got plenty of help to be the vile creep he was he did”t get that way BY himself. His own parents had to be harsh nightmares, in their own right. Ditto for Ann. In any case, THEY were the narcissists here, not Bruce, Tee Hee.. Shame on you for even commenting in this segment. Clearly, you are not qualified to !

Want to Respond to Bruce? Fire Away! If You Are a First Time Commenter, Please Read the Comment Policy Located at the Top of the Page.

Bruce Gerencser