"Therapy" cult I was in
Date: February 23, 2020 04:34PM
First post, I am not sure if this is the right thread!
I was in a cult, or at least a cultish group, until 4 years ago. I got trapped in it for 2 years. During that time, there was a physical, sexual, verbal and emotional abuse. There was also some kind of brainwashing going on, but I don't fully understand the how of it yet. Feel free to point out a possible explanation. I am just new to researching cults and realizing I was in one.
A friend raved about this "group" for me. Said it would completely transform me, and that everyone in the world needed to experience it. Being naive, young and abused, I fell for the trap. I was seeking an answer, an explanation, and a life-changing transformation because I was miserable, vulnerable, and confused.
The group was full of people who had been through traumas. That was I guess why the cult leader chose them. We were all brought in by current elite members, who acted very sweet and empowered. You could call this a cult disguised as an empowerment group, kind of like NXVIM, as well as a "therapy" "healing" and "transformative" group.
One of the things this group did was a so-called therapeutic exercise, in the leader's home basement suite. It was taunted as way better than counseling or any other mental health 'help". It was "superior" to everything, and will be the only change will truly have. It was secret, no one else could know. Everyone else is an outsider, less than us, they just don't know the secret yet, they would think we are crazy, put us in a mental hospital (well I'll bet!!). I won't explain detail too much, but it was physically exhaustive. We were told to scream, shout, kick, and then do periods of breathwork and yoga, to "open" us up, and "force" the trauma out once and for all. We were told that there was no such thing as abusive people. We were encouraged to get all the rage out, even if that risked physical harm, which it did cause. And we did. There was a lot of screaming and kicking and punching sobbing (went on for hours). It would have been very strange for an outsider to see, but it was just us, and we all participated, until we were extremely tired and our mouths were dry from all the screaming and sobbing. We were re-living the traumas as well, so I guess you could call that re-traumatization. We were told this was good, exactly what the leader wanted, and that it would 'heal us' once and for all. That therapy would never help us like this would. Little did I know, I just hadn't found a good counselor yet. When I left that night, I felt empowered. I felt stronger than ever, and quite haugthy, like I had reached an enlightenment and achievement most people will never know about.
The leader encouraged members to directly face and confront their traumas and difficulties, all in that room, that eventually, if they did this enough, they would be freed of their pain, healed like nothing else.
The times I was in that basement felt incredible. Almost like I was high. I confronted my "traumas" in that room over multiple times for 2 years. I would be re-living the pain, I would be screaming uncontrollably (yes, UNCONTROLLABLY). I felt like I was facing all my pain, all my vulnerabilities, head on, and truly believed I was healing myself from these issues in those nights. Of course, 4 years later, I realized that did not help me heal at all - therapy, real counseling, has helped significantly. I don't know why it felt so good. The effects of the "therapy", such as feeling on top of the world, empowered and "healed" faded pretty quickly, and I felt like my old, vulnerable self again.
Wondering if you folks have more info on thought reform techniques, especially involving strenuous physical exertion, yoga, breathwork and brainwashing that could explain this strange catharsis members had. Also maybe if you have been through a similar "therapy" you could not feel so alone.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/23/2020 04:40PM by sashah.