Cynthia Jeub, one of the stars of Kids By the Dozen, has accused her parents of abusing her and her 15 siblings not only physically but also emotionally.
The 22-year-old and her parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s close friends Chris and Wendy Jeub first gained prominence on the reality series Kids By the Dozen, a TLC show about large families.
Recently, Cynthia decided to break her silence about what the cameras didn’t capture — and open up about what went on behind the closed doors of her parent’s strict, Christian home.
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“I was physically abused, and I don’t just mean that I’m opposed to spanking,” she wrote.
“I didn’t know I was abused. For every violent incident or when my parents lost their tempers, I had three options. First, I could blame myself and assume I deserved it, or that one of my siblings deserved it. Second, I could see this instance as isolated and minimal, totally out of character, and thus erase my logical ability to recognize patterns. Third, if the first two options didn’t work, my parents apologized profusely and demanded forgiveness, which means I could never bring it up again.”
She went on to clarify some misconceptions about what it’s like to live a life of domestic abuse.
“The life of abuse isn’t full of anger, getting thrown and smacked and bruised, and being yelled at and torn down. That’s only a part of it,” the Colorado native explained.
“You also feel special and needed. You don’t feel like life is hell, even if it is, because you know how to force a smile. It feels good to damage your own health and wellbeing for your abusers, because you’re told that you’re doing what is right. You fight for acceptance and admonition, because you’re always getting small tastes of it, and it’s always just out of reach.”
In the blog post, she writes that it wasn’t “safe” to open up about her situation until now.
#WhyIStayed my survival mechanism was convincing myself that my parents were right to abuse me and my siblings. #WhyILeft I was forced out— Cynthia Jeub (@cynthiajeub) September 9, 2014
#WhyIStayed my survival mechanism was convincing myself that my parents were right to abuse me and my siblings. #WhyILeft I was forced out
“I wasn’t safe to talk about my family life until now,” she said.
“I had to get a new bank account, so my dad could stop financially abusing me with easy transaction-making access. I had to get my own car so my mom could stop using rides to my much-needed mental health therapy as reason to tell me I was ungrateful if I stepped out of line. I had to buy my website’s domain name from my dad so he couldn’t delete my blog for prying the mask off my family’s face.
“These stories have always existed. I was taught to tuck them away as if they never happened. To speak of them would be unforgiving.”
So far, Cynthia has received support from at least one of her siblings, 20-year-old Lydia, who retweeted a fan who bashed their father.
The family’s patriarch, Chris, tweeted a link to a YouTube video allegedly responding to Cynthia’s claims, but quickly removed the video.
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And according to Cynthia’s post, this is just the beginning.
“There’s so much to tell,” she wrote. “I’m assuming that those of you who don’t know anything about my family can use Google to fill yourselves in on what I’m referencing. My parents love the spotlight, so it’s not hard to find the pieces.”