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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Winner - by Dr. Leona Stucky

Dr. Leona Stucky’s
The Fog of Faith

Stops today at Bring on Lemons with an inspirational guest post!

The Fog of Faith

Paperback: 340 pages
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Prairie World Press (May 25, 2017)
ISBN-10: 099864742X
ISBN-13: 978-0998647425
Amazon Link: click here

About the Book:
After the trauma of a savage attack, a farm girl recovers physically, but her identity, faith, and relationships are shattered.

This is the true story of Leona Stucky’s childhood on a Kansas farm, surrounded by a loving family and the simple tenets of her Mennonite community. Violence enters her world in the guise of a young man who seems normal to everyone else but who Leona knows to be deranged in his obsession with her.

His unrelenting abuses take root, and Leona must deal with them utterly alone. Her pacifist father cannot avenge or protect her, nor can a callous justice system. Even God is impotent.

Leona is cast into a bewildering life of disgrace and poverty—with a baby, a violent husband, and battered faith. Through a series of page-turning events, she hacks through the bones of her naïveté to confront harsh realities and to probe the veracity of religious claims.

The Fog of Faith is a suspenseful and morally unflinching drama of shame and survival, as well as usable and unusual wisdom.

This edition includes thoughtful questions for readers and groups to further explore their own stories.

Guest Post: THE WINNER

The Direction of Destruction – Winning
Blog by Dr. Leona Stucky,

Power struggles often provoke couple or families into therapy, especially when one person wins most of the time. Typically, the more one person wins, the more dysfunctional the couple or family will be. No one likes to lose all the time and winning often comes at the price of damaged relationships.
So I ask each family member, “What does winning mean to you?” Frequently members will say, “It means I get my way. They let me get what I want.”

“Does winning come at a heavy price?” Now they look confused. The ones who seldom win often struggle because the typical winner is a poor loser and will make their winning experience miserable by using resistance tactics or displacing disappointment. Other than that, they aren’t so sure what the price of winning might be. But, to some extent, they have already expressed it. They all felt locked into unsatisfying dynamics, feeling resentful and unhappy, even the winner.

In the abusive relationship I described in The Fog of Faith: Surviving My Impotent God, most readers felt, at the start of the story, that I’m the loser and my partner is the winner. But that, in the long run, was not the case.

Whenever people persistently force their will or their way onto others, whether by physical or psychological ploys, they are paying a price for winning that will, in the end, be too high for them to be happy. Too high to allow them to gain a solid and satisfying sense of who they are. In those situations all parties are injured and the winner is also a loser.

In my case, though Ron could get what he wanted almost every time, his achievements made him less attractive, less satisfied with himself and with me, and less knowledgeable about the things that matter most to us humans – like being loved, being in tune with another, being capable of enticing another, being right for relationships. By winning, he lost the sense of being a warm and good human being. It made him feel bad and, soon enough, it deprived him of everything he thought he had gained, and more.

Famous Examples
Bobby Bare, the writer and composer of The Winner, tells of a young upstart challenging an older wiser guy who is a known successful fighter. Rather than taking it to the street, the winner reveals to the younger man what winning means – like losing a few teeth when you break the other guy’s bones, wooing the other guy’s wife only to discover you can’t stand her, and being drug into defending your title whenever a young-hopeful wants to take you on. After a litany of ‘winning’ consequences, the young man leaves the bar convinced he doesn’t want to be a winner.

Mark Twain, in the shortest story he wrote, The War Prayer ( made a similar case about winning war. Those who start war with patriotic fervor and a flourishing prayerful appeal for winning, he suggested, are expounding half-truths.

What if the prayer they uttered included the other half and sounded like this, “O Lord our God, help us tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief;. . .”

Sometimes realizing the full impact of winning makes us smart enough to choose another course.

Mark Twain was aware that The War Prayer might create a furor among his following. He published it after his death. I’m guessing that today some blog readers are willing to explore what winning means to them, and that any furor will be manageable.

To Be List
In my thirty-plus year psychotherapy practice, I have discovered many patients who developed satisfying lives by being a gentler version of themselves and employing an unusual winning strategy.
• They didn’t enter the fight but rather learned patience to await a suitable solution.
• They weren’t afraid to be goaded-on or laughed-at. They followed their own wisdom voice.
• They often reframed contests to enlist cooperation.
• They genuinely offered care for the other party’s well-being and attempted to experience the conflict from that party’s perspective rather than vilifying or dehumanizing them.
• They avoided battles of wills by using similar coping mechanisms parents use with three year olds, by redirecting and offering other opportunities.
• They offered workable compromises and compassion whenever possible.
• They insisted on fair play and while they were happy to come in first, they were also willing to take-it-on-the-chin sometimes.
• They were aware that projection is often the culprit that creates enemies of others and therefore they realized that many battles could be fought internally and didn’t need external representation.
• When they were angry, they contained their external reactions until, not captive to their amygdala-brain, they regained their rational functioning.
• Thus they presented a strong case for their position but also were open to hearing the other side.

Final Thoughts
When winning means mutual gains and losses, it means enduring satisfaction with oneself and others. It offers a lasting peace.
We might want to ask ourselves what kind of winning propositions our own lives represent. In which direction are we going?

About the Author:

She fit bucking bales into God’s plan, but bucking fear left this Mennonite farm teen begging and now, after 30 years as a professional psychotherapist, Dr. Leona Stucky narrates her unflinching faith-and-violence dilemma in a riveting memoir, The Fog of Faith: Surviving My Impotent God, which spares neither God nor violence against women and has been recommended by MS Magazine.

Dr. Stucky first received a degree in psychology and philosophy from Boston College, graduating summa cum laude, before plunging into seminary, first at Andover Newton Theological School and then at Eden Theological Seminary. She earned a doctorate from Southern Methodist University with honors, and a Diplomate certificate from the American Association of Pastoral Counselors—their highest credential—for teaching, supervising, and offering therapy services. She currently has standing as a Unitarian Universalist community minister.

These professional explorations might have quieted her mind, but the areas where integration seemed impossible became mental sand kernels disrupting many intellectual resting places. Being fiercely honest in confronting contradictions, she honed her wisdom, gained unusual insights, and enjoyed a professional and personal journey that could only be shared by telling the whole story. After numerous failed attempts, Dr, Stucky finally completed The Fog of Faith: Surviving My Impotent God.

The provocative title aptly indicates the unflinching moral dilemmas she reveals. The gripping story reads like a real-life thriller that readers can’t put down. Still, each step grounds itself in nuanced networks of passion, relational complexities, cultural and religious dilemmas, circumscribed choices bound by woman’s poverty, persistent violence, and an untamable resilient desire to redeem herself with or without God.

Find Dr. Stucky Online:

Link to Amazon:

Link to Facebook:

The voice of this woman’s spirit and courage rings clearly as she faces the personal challenges of her faith—when the adversity in life tests the veracity of her beliefs against the reality of terror. This book is an important, insightful book that I highly recommend.
– Michael Paymar, author of Violent No More: Helping Men End Domestic Abuse

Naked with fear, aflame with rage, at once heart-pounding and heart-breaking, this true tale climbs from the wheat fields of Kansas to the promised Heaven above—and down again.
– Robert Mayer, author of The Origin of Sorrow, The Dreams of Ada, Superfolks, and other books

----------Upcoming Blog Tour Dates

Tuesday, November 21st (today) @ Bring on Lemons
Today’s guest blogger at Bring on Lemons is Dr. Leona Stucky sharing her thoughts about the direction of destruction – "THE WINNER" – don’t miss this opportunity to learn from Dr. Stucky and find out more about her memoir “The Fog of Faith; Surviving My Impotent God”.

Wednesday, November 22nd @ BookWorm
Dr. Leona Stucky stops by Anjanette Potter's Bookworm blog with a moving and inspirational guest post about "Recognizing Evil - an Underbelly Job" - readers won't want to miss this opportunity to hear from Dr. Stucky and learn about her memoir "The Fog of Faith; Surviving My Impotent God".

Thursday, November 23rd @ Memoir Writer’s Journey
Kathleen Pooler hosts Dr. Leona Stucky at Memoir Writer's Journey - read Stucky's guest post "Shame - How Culture and Religion are Internalized" and learn more about Dr. Stucky's memoir: "The Fog of Faith; Surviving My Impotent God".

Monday, November 27th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
Leona Stucky is today's guest author at Choices with Madeline Sharples. Her guest post is titled "Public Denial of Violence Against Women" - learn about this as well as her book "The Fog of Faith"

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