Review: Daddy's Girl's Guilty as Hell

What a remarkable book Susan Ni Rahilly has written about her odyssey through her past in the Catholic Church (caps intentional). Daddy's Girl's Guilty As Hell -- The Lonely Legacy of Catholic Guilt: A Woman's Soul Imprisoned is newly out on Kindle.

One of the things I've noticed in my counseling practice lately is that Catholicism, or as Ms. Ni Rahilly would write: catholicism, is (I just had to go back and change the spellcheck capital C to a small c!) ... catholicism is up for contemplation in the Universe. Person after person coming to me has either a catholic past in this lifetime or another. Particularly women.

That should come as no surprise to anyone in tune with spiritual life these days, but what is a shocker is the depth to which the catholic religion sinks its women. That is what Ms. Ni Rahilly's book addresses -- in spades.

I want to be very clear here: the major legacy of catholic guilt is loneliness. Bone-aching, dense, probably can't-be-gotten-any-other-way loneliness.

What the church has systematically done with its members, especially female, but also male (and she's about to start the men's version of the same book) is to isolate them so effectively, and make them so other-referred [vis-à-vis self-referred], that it is impossible for them to experience their own sovereignty or their own souls. There's no other word for it -- it's agony -- or, as the Catholics would say, purgatory. Take your pick.

She writes: "I believe that part of being catholic is to have inherited patterns; ways of being
and thinking and behaving. Generation after generation of catholics have passed these down to us. The way we behave has been passed on to us, as though it were imprinted in our genes, our DNA structure. catholic ways have been passed on without question, and accepted without question, affecting our lives today.

"My father passed the catholic way of being on to me.

"I had no choice but to accept it if I wanted to be accepted in the family."

It was this acceptance she so craved, and did not ever get because the church set her up. She could never, ever be the good girl she was asked to be. She could never be "holy enough."

How's this for a litany of what was wrong with our author growing up?

"All this stuff I had to be guilty about included being born, being female, being bad, being good, being sad, being happy, being without, trying to get and have things in my life, being selfish, thinking too much about myself, not thinking about other people enough -- often it didn't seem to matter what I did, as it turned out not to be good enough anyway and I would just end up feeling bad about being me."

Is it any wonder -- thinking thoughts like these, and having nowhere outside the system to get a reality check -- that our intrepid author had a nervous breakdown in order to wake up? What else is a soul to do?!

Now go to Amazon and look at the author's picture. Is it not the picture of a beautiful, healthy, sovereign soul? Doesn't she look like someone who knows her own mind? Goes out into the world to get what she wants? Asks and receives?

It wasn't always this way.

Ms. Ni Rahilly's bio on her Amazon page reads in part:

"Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher, founder of suZenyoga. Susan lives in West Cork where she writes and teaches. Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation)."

Her Self was hard-won, and well worth it. She lived through her father's mentally ill abuse, the death of a childhood friend, myriad unhappy relationships, and her own collapse.

Her bio goes on:

"Susan is currently planning a revised edition of Daddy's Girl's Guilty As Hell to include men's experiences of guilt, and a more universal experience of the effects of inherited guilt outside the Catholic religion. Susan says: "I've been being asked for years now to write this update--in fact my own brother was the first to ask me when the "mens'" book would be coming out...."

Susan Ni Rahilly has written a template for anyone recovering from catholicism, or religiosity of any kind. When you read Daddy's Girl's [or Boy's], prepare to be transformed.

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