Dear Jupiter, based on what you have described, it is possible that
the type of therapy that would help most would be from someone
who has actual training on cult-exit issues, or possibly, someone
who has been trained in assisting persons from highly dysfunctional
Given what you have been through, you should check any one
you are thinking of working with to ensure they have been properly
credentialed and have a clean record. Its also a good way to activate critical thinking in relation to caregivers--and its NOT wrong to do so. Its a totally appropriate way to take care of yourself.
Yes, it is possible for sexual intrusiveness to take place via emotional
abuse of the kind you've described.
And a pattern of chronic secret keeping can estrange one from ordinary human relationships--especially when being ordinary and human is devalued by the group.
This article may also be food for thought. Groups of this kind flourish in a particular social context in which things are taken on faith and skepticism is considered something negative.
Part of what you are going through in questioning subud may be that you're transitioning from one culture to another.
Here are some additional books
1) [i:7a9684cae5]My Father's Guru[/i:7a9684cae5] by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson. You may find some validation here. The Masson family were into Theosophy and they had a family guru who lived with them--Paul Brunton. It turned out that most of what Brunton said about himself was just not true. When Jeffrey Masson went to Harvard and studied Sanskrit and Asian philosophy at the academic level, scales fell from his eyes and he began to realize that Brunton had made most of his stuff up. Masson also found himself socially unprepared for independent living, and with great embarrassment describes how he floundered when trying to figure out relationships.
What is also very interesting is how Brunton taught the Masson family a very sex negative, puritanical doctrine, but in such a way that a high level of sexual tension existed in the household. Jeffrey himself describes a lot of wierd, intrusive behavior on the part of the adults--and how, when he protested, he'd be accused of being ashamed of his body--when in fact, Jeffrey was being 100% age appropriate in trying to get these off kilter adults to respect his privacy.
2) [i:7a9684cae5]In Search of P.D. Ouspensky [/i:7a9684cae5]by Gary Lachman. This gives an early history of Ouspensky's involvment with Gurdjieff and how he ran his own group in London--the group whose members were the recruitment pool for Pak Subud. There appears to have been a very high level of authoritarianism in Ouspensky's group and a penchant for excessive secret keeping. It is interesing to ask why on earth Joyce Colin-Smith and so many others put up with this and why so many capable adults were
willing to behave so submissively. This pattern continued after Ouspensky
died and the group was taken over by others.
3) [i:7a9684cae5]Madame Blavatsky's Baboon [/i:7a9684cae5]by Peter Washington. This doesnt tell much about subud, but gives a lot of information about Bennett, the man who become interested in subud and was its first important patron in the UK. It appears that Bennett was (IMO) taken advantage of by a number of opportunistic types.
So, one way of looking at it is to consider that a group of this kind is likely to attract a particular type of person, and this will generate a very fraught
atmosphere and create a large scale dysfunctional family situation.
Children of those who are in these groups may find themselves neglected
if the parents are preoccuppied with group matters and too distracted to
be attentive to their children. In some cases, children may try to make themselves appealing to their parents by becoming involved with the group, as a way to get some kind of nurturing interest from the parents and other adults who drift in and out. In this way, a pattern can set in over generations and its very hard to question it and leave.
3) Try and learn about dissociation. Its a state where we split off emotions and experiences that we find unbearable, or experiences that are painful, urgent, for which validating information is unavailable. One often feels oneself in a fog, and no matter how intelligent you are, your intelligence doenst function, because you regress to powerless childhood. The kind of group-bullying you describe from the older women sounds ghastly, and its possible you might have gone into some sort of dissociative confusion in order to cope.
A clinician told me that in dissociation, one can have perceptual distortions, such as foggy vision, things may seem weirdly at a vast distance, or close up, or peripheral vision may be impaired--it may fog up or get smoky at the edges.
Interestingly, Ouspensky, in his book, In Search of the Miraculous, decribed how he followed Gurdjieff's self remembering exercise, and then had a split in conscious awareness in which for the better part of a day, Ouspensky ran errands all over town, with no conscious awareness of what he was doing--a dissociative fugue state.
A modern day psychotherapist would consider this dissociation-but Ouspensky was led to believe by Gurdjieff that this was a realization of the actual nature of human consciousness.
So...if self remembering, taught by Gurdjieff himself could trigger that kind of dissociative experience in Ouspensky, it is very possible these practices might have similar effects on others--whether the group is a 'true' Gurdjieff group or a faux group. Its important to research the full variety of gor
Dissociation cannot be cured by an act of will. It is often tied to body experiences of adrenal arousal, fight and flight response, and can be re-triggered by stress. Cognitive Behavioral therapy is a valuable tool for the right problem, but if you have dissociation, you need to work with a therapist who is credentialed to work on trauma issues.
IMO the big problems in these groups are the excessive secrecy, authoritarian social set up, and constantly having to take someone else's word for it--and that so much of the assertions cannot be fact checked.
It produces a strange combination of sophistication yet one learns to use adult reasoning and critical thinking selectively, by never, ever questioning the way the group is run, its actual history, or its leaders.
More material can be found here:
Problems and pitfals in small groups
Gurdjieff work in general
Some Gurdjieff groups incorporate so much material from psychotherapy that they may fall into the catagory of what have been termed 'psychotherapy cults'