what cult were you in?
Date: October 01, 2007 06:52PM
I've written most of this before, but I was born in Subud, an eastern religion based on Sufism whose early membership came from Bennett and Gurdjieff. I'm 3rd generation, and my parents met through the group - my mum claimed to have a vision of a man standing in her room and laughing at her. She described it to a friend who said it sounded like my father. They were married ten days later. My mum was pregnant with my sister within 3 months, and I was born just before their 3rd wedding anniversary. My the time I was born my mum had realised she'd made a mistake and had to justify everything by way of crazy lies about further visions, etc. It was a loveless and chaotic marriage which they continued the charade for just for the sake of spirituality - my dad lived and worked 500 miles away and had plenty of well-known affairs.
Subud encourages people to start businesses which my father did, and became very successful. His business partners were treated as FAR more important than his family - he remortgaged the house to give money to them and they later betrayed him, kicking him out of his own company, buying our house cheap once we were evicted etc. We lost everything - and my parents split up at this point, sending me to stay with other members at the other end of the country because neither my mum or my dad could look after me.
I was told on one hand by the women who looked after me that I was special and gifted even though they simultaneously tore down my self esteem and took every single non-cult interest and said it was banned (Subud prohibits "mixing" - interest in other beliefs aside religion), and claimed that all my desires were the result of demonic lower forces. All my music, books, career goals, were the result of my inability to fight the lower forces - my spiritual weakness, my baseness. Throughout my life I was told that I wasn't even a human being, that I was more mineral and vegetable. I hadn't even made it to animal class, let alone human (I was still just a teenager at this point). I had two nervous breakdowns, tried to kill myself countless times, self-harmed and ended up with an eating disorder yet still attended week after week, trying to take on more and more roles to show my spiritual willingness but just resulted in me becoming more and more used by them, more and more vulnerable to increased psychological and spiritual abuse. After seven years of actively being involved in all their activities, having recruited others and acting like a bloody guru myself, everything eventually collapsed when a friend of mine took her life and those I worked for turned on me once too often. I experienced great difficulty trying to leave - endless phone calls, 3am "visits," senior members saying they "just wanted to chat." Both my parents (who are now divorced and remarried - my dad has had 3 wives, perfectly acceptable to them) cannot stomach the thought of me leaving. My mum even now doesn't fully believe I've left - she's in denial, she has a high ranking job and has been dreadfully abused but still tells herself that it's all just a test from the Almighty.
It's been nearly a year. The last month has been really good because I finished my degree and have had time to reassess things. I've had time to disassemble everything and put things back together, remembering who I was as a child, remembering all the things that on one hand they claimed to support in me whilst simultaneously tearing down everything and trying to replace it with their self-delusion and lies. The worst thing is remembering how I was simply a conduit for them, a walking advertisement who was neurotic on the inside but bright and smiling and singing their praises every time it mattered. The worst thing was feeling that my own problems were MY FAULT, and if I were just more surrendered / open / involved then everything bad would go away. They ALL believe that... it's awful to see, truly heartbreaking.
Leaving was the hardest thing in the world. Worst for me was coping with all the emotions I thought were demonic. I truly believed that I was the only person in the world who felt fear, who daydreamed, who had certain thoughts. Realising how I'd been led to believe that I was totally different from the rest of the world, but actually I was just the same.. that was amazing and terrifying. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy really helped, as was this website and others (a group called Inform here in the UK gave me loads of information). I had to mentally debunk every single lie, I had to cut myself off from everybody in order to see who the real friends were. The initial desire to trust everybody, to look for someone else to save me... I also found myself lying a lot, mainly to myself. Still half believing their lies. There was a moment in CBT about a month ago where I just broke down in tears and told him everything about what I'd been coerced into believing at my most vulnerable. Now I'm just coping with the fact that my entire childhood was a scam - senseless bullshit of which so many thousands of people from different groups everywhere have had the same or similar experiences.
But hey, I'm still alive, right? I can't account for those lost years, I can't understand everything and also I'm not going to burn in hell forever if I can't forgive everybody in this lifetime. I'll do my best, because just for the sake of my own peace of mind I don't want to be angry forever, but I just need to give myself time to go through the rollercoaster as and when it hits me.........