The Status of Learning Domestic Discipline (updated)

Hello LDD readers,

Some of you may be wondering what is going on with Learning Domestic Discipline, and with us personally. Although we felt those matters could be explained when we returned in early September, it has become clear that some people have taken our absence as an opportunity to gossip about us and our website, spread completely untrue information, attempt to defame Learning Domestic Discipline, leak personal information, and the list goes on.  You may have noticed that the blog content has been temporarily removed. We did this for two reasons. One, we want everyone who visits our site to read this. Second, we had planned on shutting down Learning Domestic Discipline, and this was part of that decision. More on that later.

Last month we announced our plan to return to LDD in early September, a date that we determined based on a number of factors. Very shortly after that announcement we received more bad news from Chelsea’s doctors. As many of you know, she has been battling some very serious health issues since January. After the birth of our son, the doctors were able to run a series of tests that they were either unable to do or uncomfortable doing during our pregnancy. The results of those tests showed that Chelsea has stage 4 cancer. This was something that we hadn’t planned on sharing with the DD community. It’s something we wanted to deal with privately as a family, and it is something we have been dealing with for the past two months. However, as the situation continued to worsen, it left us with two choices: either continue LDD as normal (or as normally as we could), or step away from LDD during Chelsea’s rather intense treatment. We chose the latter of those options since family is more important to us, thinking everyone would be able to handle our choice. We were wrong.

In mid/late July, Chelsea’s treatment schedule changed for several reasons and we realized it was going to be more intensive than we originally thought, and more intensive than what the doctors had originally planned. This, obviously, has taken a tremendous toll on our family. Our oldest son can no longer attend preschool (because of germs he could bring home which would complicate chemotherapy) and we had to move again to be closer to Chelsea’s treatment center (so she could still do outpatient treatment), just to name a couple of things. Although we were sad to leave North Carolina and all of the relationships we had formed there, we accepted that this was just another part of life we would have to face head on and overcome. Between having a new baby, getting a cancer diagnosis, and arranging a huge (out of the country) move, we are adjusting as best as we can. This year has been hell and unbelievably difficult for our family.

Another major decision that we made in late July was the decision to close Learning Domestic Discipline. At that time, we began the lengthy process of closing LDD down permanently (which is NOT as easy as you may think), and we were planning to make that formal announcement in early September when we returned. Our decision to close LDD was based solely on Chelsea’s health, despite what you may think or have heard through the “gossip mill.”

Recently, things have changed. Not from a health perspective, unfortunately, but we decided if we were going to leave Learning Domestic Discipline for good we wanted to go out on our terms (not everyone else’s). The decision to shut down Learning Domestic Discipline affects FAR more people than the small group who are using our absence as a way to gain attention and create drama. The decision to shut down Learning Domestic Discipline would impact a large number of people all around the world. We have never wanted to let anyone down and, sadly, we know recently that we have. We apologized for it earlier this summer when we made the decision to step away from LDD and our sentiment remains the same today. Operations at LDD haven’t been the same this year and that is never what we wanted for you, us, or LDD. As we thought about everything, we came to the conclusion that four and a half years of our time put into LDD is too much to simply throw away. We’re already giving up a lot in our lives due to Chelsea’s diagnosis. We don’t want to give LDD up, too. So that, combined with the fact that we refuse to let our reputation be tarnished due to completely false, dramatic rumors and backstabbing “friends”, we have decided to bring Learning Domestic Discipline back. We’ve decided to commit ourselves to it and continue with this community and the goals that we created four and a half years ago.

With that being said, we’d like to take a few minutes to address the rumors referred to earlier and give our side of the story. But first, let us say that we had NO intention of ever “calling out” people or even addressing these matters publicly at all. Why some insist on making these matters public (especially knowing that they are false) is beyond our understanding, but we digress.

The first matter is in regards to “Crush” and Amy, former friends of ours. First, we’d like to say that we did reach out to “Crush” and Amy privately (via phone) prior to posting this in an attempt to resolve issues, and we hadn’t received a response as of the time this was posted.

In June of 2014, we hosted the first ever LDD Retreat. “Crush” and Amy were among those in attendance. During the retreat, concern was raised when Amy started exhibiting erratic, dangerous, emotionally unstable, and wildly unpredictable behavior. We also had an incident where someone else’s personal property went missing after a period of time when only “Crush” and Amy were at the house. These concerns, among others, prompted us (and all other attendees) to question Amy’s emotional and mental stability. We later approached “Crush” and Amy with our concerns and were assured (many, many, many times..) that Amy was receiving professional treatment/counseling, and that she was progressing and doing well. As such, we remained friends, but we made it perfectly clear to them that any similar issues to those exhibited at the June retreat would require us to take further action. We made it perfectly clear to them that we reserved the right to terminate all of their involvement in LDD activities and entities, and that they would not receive any refunds if Amy’s erratic and unstable behavior continued to make us and other LDD members uncomfortable. They agreed and understood that they were engaging in all LDD related matters under these parameters. They made the choice to continue participating in LDD entities based on their belief and acknowledgment that Amy was, in fact, receiving help and that the help she was receiving would lead to her being able to behave in a more appropriate manner.

Throughout our friendship it became evident that Amy’s emotional instability was not improving. In fact, it got worse. After numerous consultations with them, we concluded that her emotionally unstable behavior was not a result of anything domestic discipline related. They credited her unusual behavior to her stress levels and her “spiritual warfare with God.” At that time, we concluded that our consults would not be helpful to them since her instabilities and erratic behavior were unrelated to domestic discipline.

Shortly thereafter, we received numerous complaints about Amy’s unstable behavior from several LDD Network members, and from members of the general domestic discipline community. We were also made aware of disturbing things she was saying about us (and Chelsea personally), including comments that our unborn baby was a “product of the devil”, that she hoped Chelsea died, among other things. Several of Amy’s emotional outbursts and meltdowns also ultimately resulted in the compromise of our personal information. When we learned of these things, Clint made the decision that not only could we no longer have them involved in any LDD related activities/entities, but we could no longer have them a part of our lives. They took this decision personally and horribly, which is an understatement. We felt it was a decision that had to made to protect ourselves and the community in which we built.

As part of removing them from the LDD community, we canceled their network memberships due to Amy’s erratic behavior and numerous member complaints, and we discontinued all future consultations with them. It was evident that specialized professional counseling outside of the domestic discipline realm was what she needed, and we desperately urged “Crush” to get her that help.

After these actions were taken, “Crush” and Amy formally requested a refund for the Beginner’s Retreat, which we did not grant them. The refund was not granted per our mutual understanding and agreement discussed prior. That agreement was, once again, that if any issues like what occurred at the first retreat were to be exhibited again, we reserved the right to forfeit their reservation without a refund. They chose to sign up anyway, reassuring us time and time again that Amy was in professional counseling and was “getting better.” We later found that to be absolutely false.

The behavior exhibited by Amy over the past several months (and beyond) is behavior that we, in no way, can allow at either retreat or in any LDD entity. When “Crush” and Amy learned that they wouldn’t be getting a refund for their cancelled Beginner’s Retreat reservation, they asked for a refund of their lifetime membership. Under different circumstances we would have granted this request, however they used nearly 16 hours of consults (and paid “extra” for 4 of those). Therefore, that left a large number of consults not included in their lifetime membership that we would have to bill them for. If we refunded their lifetime membership, we could not allow the large quantity of consults we conducted with them to be free. The difference they would owe would be several hundred dollars. We also felt it was unreasonable to request a refund for a product they had been using daily for nearly a year. One doesn’t buy a product at Walmart, use it for nearly a year, lose it at their own fault, and go back to Walmart expecting a refund. It doesn’t work that way, and this is the same principle/situation.

Finally, “Crush” and Amy requested a refund for the “main retreat” in September, which they signed up for under the same pretenses as the Beginner’s Retreat (which was understanding that we reserved the right to cancel their registration if we felt Amy became a serious threat to herself, and others, at this retreat like last years). Once again, due to what we observed and were told over the past several months and beyond, there is absolutely no way we can safely allow her to attend any retreat. We made this decision based on what was best for LDD, ourselves personally, and the other retreat attendees. Had these instances never occurred, we would have been more than happy to refund “Crush” and Amy. However, we will not change or go back on what we originally told them regarding our mutual understanding and agreement, and we will not allow her unstable behavior to become an issue with LDD entities any longer. One doesn’t buy a movie ticket, get kicked out of the theater 20 minutes later due to their disruptive behavior, and expect the movie theater to refund them, especially if they are aware beforehand that if they choose to buy a theater ticket and exhibit behavior like that that they will not receive a refund. Again, that’s not how it works, and this is the same principle/situation. Accountability must be taken.

We regret that we had to publicly address this matter and had no intention of doing so. But, it got to the point where it became obvious that they were using our absence as a way to spread lies about us and our website, thinking we wouldn’t return and/or take the time to give our side of the story.  “Crush” and Amy will not be getting any refunds from LDD for the reasons stated above no matter how many names they call us, aliases they create, complaints they file, etc. We understand they reject this decision (and subsequent explanation) and are hurt and angry as a result of it. The ending of our friendship was hurtful for everyone involved, and hearing about the things Amy had said or done as a result of her outbursts became even more hurtful. Although we wished we could have resolved or discussed this outside of the public spotlight of blogland, they chose not to reach out to us (despite having our contact information) and ignored our attempts to reach out to them.

One more thing regarding the Beginner’s Retreat — in July we made the decision to cancel the Beginner’s Retreat due to the health diagnosis we received for Chelsea, and due to the fact that it would have fallen literally right in the middle of her first round of treatment, which was out of our control. There were 12 couples registered. We refunded all of those couples with the exception of “Crush” and Amy (see above). There has also been one other couple that we have heard didn’t receive a refund, but we are unsure if that couple is an alias of “Crush” and Amy or if we legitimately overlooked someone. If we genuinely did, we would love for that couple to reach out to us in a method other than Twitter (which we are no longer checking due to us focusing on Chelsea’s heath) so we can get that straightened out. We have received no emails or any other correspondence from them outside of Twitter, which we find highly unusual given their “outrage.” Other than that couple (who we are unsure even exists) and “Crush” & Amy, all couples have received a full refund (quite awhile ago). The rumors of “no one receiving refunds” or “Clint and Chelsea refused to refund everyone!” are ridiculous and completely false.

And, finally, the other rumor that was going around blogland in our absence was in regards to Chelsea’s identity. In the process of a person (another “friend”) trying to uncover as much personal information as they could about us without our knowledge or consent, they discovered another name for Chelsea. The explanation for Chelsea having “two names” is very simple, and something we thought most who knew us personally did know. We later realized it was possible that we hadn’t told everyone (because, to be honest, it really doesn’t matter to us and is unrelated to DD and LDD). Chelsea’s parents were never married and had Chelsea very young. Chelsea’s mother named her something different on her birth certificate. When she was 4 months old, her father (and later stepmother) took custody. Several years later, they had Chelsea’s name legally changed to Chelsea. As a result, Chelsea is legally able to go by either name (since she has a birth certificate in the name her mother chose, but court papers indicating she can legally go by Chelsea as well due to her father changing her name as a child). While she primarily goes by Chelsea, there have been instances in which she has used the name her mother gave her, typically in matters related to her moms side of the family. We also admit that we used Chelsea’s maiden name as a “pen name” for LDD related books to keep our last name private. Since our children have relatively unique names, we didn’t want their last name published on the internet. There has never been a “lie” about Chelsea’s name and her family’s history and her “birth story” are things that we really never felt needed to be shared with the entire world, but apparently we were wrong about that as well.

Over the last four years we have personally met countless domestic discipline couples, we have invited couples into our home, we have introduced our children to a number of different couples, we have shared private information, and the list continues. If we were “completely fake”, “liars”, and “scam artists”, which is what the 2-3 people creating this rumor mill have alleged, then we would have never done any of those things. We would have never let numerous people into our lives to that extent. We have been open and honest about ourselves, and domestic discipline, in a way that no one else in the community has before. If we had anything at all to hide, we never would have opened up our lives in the way that we did.

We created Learning Domestic Discipline as a place where the domestic discipline lifestyle is honest, raw, open, and real. We stand by that goal today and stand by the fact that, despite what others may have told you, we have always remained those things. We have put avenues of our life available, publicly, online for the entire world to see and we’re talking about an industry that involves some pretty controversial stuff and an industry that attracts unstable people at times. We didn’t hide from this four years ago, and we’re not going to hide from it now. We’re not going to let people with hidden agendas, dramatic behavior and quite frankly ridiculous and malicious intentions ruin our goals that we set out for ourselves and the community.

We have learned a great deal from the recent events that have transpired. It is very difficult to trust anyone in this community and although many had told us that, we chose to see the good in people. We believed that if we treated people with respect, they would do the same for us. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case recently by a select few. Some (not all) people in this community do lie, they do thrive on drama, they will leak personal information and they will back stab you as a way of coping with their hurt and anger. Those are lessons that we will definitely carry with us as we proceed with Learning Domestic Discipline. The statement made above about Chelsea’s health will be the only statement that we make in regards to it as that is information that we never wanted made public in the first place. If personal posts seem a little less personal for a while, we hope you understand.

With all of that being said, we have made the decision to return to Learning Domestic Discipline on September 8th, 2015 for the simple reason we stated above. We’ve had to dramatically change our lives as a result of Chelsea’s illness, and we don’t want to change this aspect of it too. We have a LOT going on in our personal lives but we aren’t going to give up on the 4+ years of work, effort and time we have put into this community. We’d love for you to join us as we move Learning Domestic Discipline forward with the countless number of projects we have for the future. We do, however, respectfully request that if you are a part of the small group who believes in dishonesty, disrespect, backstabbing, and creating drama that isn’t there, that you step away from Learning Domestic Discipline. We are aren’t going to tolerate that nonsense here anymore.

At this time, our focus remains solely on Chelsea’s health and our family. While we are committed to returning in September, we sincerely ask for privacy and space until that time comes.

See you in September.

-Clint & Chelsea