Pages: 123Next
Current Page: 1 of 3
residual affects after a cult escape
Posted by: freedom fighter ()
Date: October 18, 2007 12:23PM

I would like to say some concerning the residual affects of the abuse once I escaped the cult I was in for the first 28 years of my life. After leaving I wasn't eager to get on with my life. I was suffering from tremendous amounts of fear,guilt, and sadness. I feared that they would come after me. I was guilty for just disappearing and leaving my brainwashed brothers behind. I was sad for all the losses. Experiences that are "normal" for others such as dating, going to a movie, having friends, having a career, going to college, etc., were completely forbidden in the cult. My brothers were too brainwashed to leave. They also had been forced into a prearranged marriage within the cult.

After I left I was in shock. I felt like a foriener in a strange country. I didn't know how to feel happy, free, joy. I went through the motions of survival. Get a job, try to make friends, go to a bar for the first time. I got on with my life. Got married to the first guy that was available and gave me attention. Had a child. Eventually got divorced. I still didn't know how to enjoy life because it was so distant long ago as a child that I remembered freedom. The clamps of the cult didn't come down on us tightly until I was around 11 years old, even though my mom new this person(CULT LEADER)since I was a baby. I'm 42 now and just realizing what it is that kept me from joy. Appreciating the moments in life that are current was impossible for me. I realized that I had to admit to myself that this abuse was hell.

Its impossible to put in words the disgust I have for the cult situation and the fact that they still have my brothers duped. I always felt that there was something wrong with me. That I would never be free from feeling like I had to hide my past. That I never seem to fit in any where. Its a lonely path healing because few understand the depth of the mental and emotional abuse. I didn't understand the depth of the abuse. Who but a psychologist would want to hear all the hell that went on anyway. I found a person finally (who wasn't a psychologist) that I could bare my soul to. Someone stable,mature, and intelligent about people and the world.I went out on a limb risked my reputation and future career to get past my fears and cult ways that were seared into my soul. I told my story to this person. Stripped off all the walls I put around me and explained from the heart what had happened to me and my family. He understood. He didn't flee. I was free.

I believe that there is no form of abuse that can hold a person back from enjoying their life. Abuse comes in many forms. It's sneaky and devious. Preditors know how to trick. They are dark. If there is one ray of light in someone that hasn't been snuffed out it's like a tiny flashlight in the darkness. It gets you around til the sun comes up.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: residual affects after a cult escape
Posted by: becker ()
Date: October 18, 2007 10:10PM

I so know the feeling.....I met someone about 3 years ago and I love him very much but I didnt tell him anything about my past till about a year ago..I called him in the middle of the night to tell him that I had been in this crazy group(then i still didnt call it a cult)....and guess what he still wants to be with me and even wants to marry me!!!!!!

it was such a lonely road and even now it can be lonly at times because no one seems to understand...sometimes my boyfriend still dosent quite understand ...him and the few friends that know always wonder why I didnt just hit the cult man went as far to say why I let him do these things to me.No one seems to understand that you think you deserved it and would dream of doing something to hurt the leader.Now when I think about it, if I would have hit back then the other followers would have beaten me to an pulp.....

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: residual affects after a cult escape
Posted by: freedom fighter ()
Date: October 19, 2007 01:10PM

I stopped telling people about my cult background because they didn't understand why the hell I didn't just leave. I also stopped talking about it because some people got so angry they wanted to kill the cult bitch. That's what I call her. She doesn't deserve the respect of calling her cult woman. My sister told her coworker about our situation. He was an arson investigater on the side. He was so pissed off at this cult leader that he told my sister how to burn down the factory, he would do it for her and that he'd waste her too. Of course we were never interested in taking revenge, but it's amazing how many reactions were recieved as a result of telling our story. Two people I knew also would have liked to kill the cult leader. I'm a peace loving sort so I got a bit nervous and tired of hearing all this so I quit telling people. When I was going to get married my husbands friend told him, You're going to marry that psycho? The word cult certainly has a stigma attached to it. It's really hard to shake off that feeling that you are branded with the word cult member on your forhead. Most people I'm sure don't judge but peranoia sets in I believe because of all the abuse from the cult.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: residual affects after a cult escape
Posted by: Cactus ()
Date: October 20, 2007 10:50PM

I sympathize with your experience. Cult leaders use and abuse their members. No one can comprehend the cult experience or residual effects without first having experienced them personally. Most of my family can't relate to my experience either.

I have found great encouragement by keeping in touch with others that have escaped, defected or got booted out of the group. Some of us recently contacted newspaper reporters and told our stories. Most of us withheld our names. This expose has raised the awareness of the community regarding the group's predatory practices. When the light comes, the bugs all flee away.

In fact, when the group leaders moved to a new city a few years ago, they began purchasing homes near a private college campus. This has been their MO, to target young college students to grow their group numerically. The college student newspaper printed 12 articles about this group's leaders who had the boldness to even purchase a home next door to the college president! As a result of this expose, the group has shifted their focus from that college and their students. Numerically, the group has not grown as the leaders would like. There is hope for your brothers and others that are still held in that group.

Likewise, in every community, you'll find many genuine and loving people. I know the feeling of being suspicious and fearful of trusting anyone. My hope is that you will find a group of friends or family that will be your support group. Consider turning or converting your residual anger and disgust into the rocket fuel to do something positive. Knowledge is power and you are certainly not powerless.

Many others that have also left the same group that I was in have now blossomed. One girl has gone on to be a well known international Christian musician and singer. Most of the adults have found solid, loving churches and healthy friendships based upon love. Our feelings may not be accurate, but each of us can be a resource and help to those that have left the group after we did. We no longer have to believe the lies.

Cults can only survive in the presence of darkness and secrecy. You are now free of that enslavement. Nothing is holding you back. Be encouraged. Like many others that had similar experiences, our difficult pasts may have made us a better person today.

Options: ReplyQuote
The essence of the cult experience
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 21, 2007 02:14AM

The essence of the cult experience is, IMO, not just unrequited love.

It is unrequited loyalty.

Most cult education guidelines note that cultic groups are often condensed around a charismatic leader.

I would add...a charismatic and ungrateful leader. A leader who mysteriously has the ability to elicit gratitude & loyalty in followers, yet is incapable of showing reciprocol gratitude and loyalty towards those same followers.

This is easier said than done, but a core part of recovery is learning to find friendships and relationships with people who actually reciprocate the loyalty you show them and who dont constantly feed you with bliss and promises.

Very shallow even cruel people can have the ablity to romance us, whether erotically or spiritually or even politically. Shallow persons can, mysteriously, have the capacity to be highly inspirational.

But this ability to trigger bliss and inspiration is not the same as long term respect, loyalty, or intimacy. Folks like this are no different than dope pushers, except they've found techniques that trigger the same addictive emotional states produced by substances criminalized by the DEA.

But despite this talent at triggering addictive emtional states and manipulating group dynamics, these folks cannot reciprocate the respect and loyalty they elicit from devotees.

All too often, if we expect them to give us care and loyalty, they find ways to re-frame this as evidence of our unworthiness...destracting us from recognition that they are the ones incapable of ordinary adult gratitude and loyalty.

That's the acid test.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: residual affects after a cult escape
Posted by: freedom fighter ()
Date: October 21, 2007 02:32AM

Thankyou for your positive advice. I'm on the brink of seeing the light so to speak within my experience. I'm persuing a career in law enforcement and I want to shed the last hold that this cult past has on me. With all the insight on being entrapted in bad circumstances I figure I have a lot of resources within myself to tap from. I have always felt that if I could just get over the post tramatic stuff that creeps in I'll be home free. I have had others' encouragement and it's always what I've already told myself. One must find their own strength and beleive that it's possible to overcome and shed any form of abuse. Easier said than done but I'm determined to enter into law enforcement. My experience, so far with the police officers that I have met, is wonderful. It's such a positive group of individuals all with a common focus. It's the first time I felt a part of something bigger than my own selfish problems. I feel when you finally devote yourself and time in helping others, that is when healing comes and old problems drop away. I do feel alone in a way. I do have a few family members with our common experience. However, I want to branch out. It's hard though. I haven'y met anyone else yet with a cult escaping experience. It's been 14 years since I left the cult and just now getting on the internet and checking out cult forums. I didn't realize how much I was trying to just get on with life and not admitting to myself and others how bad the abuse really was that we had to endure for so long. I always felt in some way that I was crazy for feeling such intense feelings concerning that cult. I tried to push it away and get on with life. It all came back in a big bang when I found out that law enforcement requires a standard psych. test in order to become a cop. I'm finding out I'm not crazy just deeply sad about all that has happened.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: residual affects after a cult escape
Posted by: freedom fighter ()
Date: October 21, 2007 03:07AM

I know all too well the inner workings of a cult and it's cult leader.

What I find amazing or rather perplexed about is how some get totally duped and others made it out. I think I know why I wasn't tricked into fullblown brainwashing.

I was around the age of 11 when this woman really started to get her claws into us. I always saw,even at 11, how many double standards and inconsistancies in what she was preaching. I resented my mom for starting to relay what this woman was saying to her. I quit talking to my mom about anything that I was going through at school, etc. I do beleive that was the thing that saved me. I took on that same attitude with the cult leader. I secretly rebeled. I literally lived a parallel existance for so long to survive.

I felt I raised myself because my mom was caught up in all her own crap from this cult.

I only stayed for so long because I knew I would lose family members and a couple friends as a result of leaving along with all the other threats of being ostricised, never having success in the outside world, falling into total darkness. Even though I never believed that, it's bound to penatrate and fuck you up emotionally if thats all you hear growing up as a kid. I went through a process of mourning before I finally left.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: The essence of the cult experience
Posted by: yasmin ()
Date: October 21, 2007 01:09PM

That's interesting Corboy.Loyalty is a powerful dynamic.

I suppose for me, the essence of the experience is about decision making ability.If someone is revered as an enlightened leader, then you (as a group member), believe that what they say, and what they think, is better than what you say and think . And that you need to correct your thinking to think like them.
Too much power ( in my opinion) for any human being to be given. And very unhealthy for followers to hand their thinking and decision making abilities to someone else.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: The essence of the cult experience
Posted by: yasmin ()
Date: October 21, 2007 01:29PM

Maybe the reason for the different dynamics (loyalty versus decision making) is different backgrounds: I was raised as a child in the group, so I suppose the experiences and emotions of recruitment are not present in quite the same way.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/21/2007 01:32PM by yasmin.

Options: ReplyQuote
Loyalty and Gratitude
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 21, 2007 09:29PM

I am still sorting this out. And Yasmin is right. There's a huge difference between
being recruited into a cult, versus being raised within a cult.

Those recruited from the outside have had some exposure to norms different from the cult, whereas those raised within a cult will have internalized the special norms of the group.

I still think it worth focusing on loyalty rather than love.

Love is a very subjective emotion and love relationships can be hard to evaluate because one may be in long periods of hardship, but the emotions and bliss make it feel worth while.

But loyalty involves allocation of resources. Its much easier in loyalty to track whether there is reciprocation, or if one person is being consistently bled and drained....and worse, being made to feel guilty for even having misgivings.

In the many stories Ive read and heard about dysfunctional relationships and groups, it seems that unreciprocated loyalty and ingratitude on the part of the leader show up again and again.

The leaders have a talent for making followers feel infinitely obligated and grateful...but in a crunch, the leaders show themselves incapable of loyalty and gratitude. THat is when the leaders are unmasked for what they really are...tiny kids in adult bodies who are incapable of the loyalty and gratitude that are the foundation of adult, peer relationships. Cult leaders are great at manipulating extreme emotions, but consistently flunk at ordinary adult skills, such as open, non manipulative communication.

Many gurus operate on a kingship model. But despite being good at pomp and circumstance, they are often not good kings.

For perspective, it is good to remember that in feudal days, the Lord-Vassal relationship was a based on reciprocity.

The vassal (farmer or soldier) swore to provide taxes and or military support to the lord, in return for the lord protecting the vassals property and family.

If a lord took taxes and failed to give protection in return, he was considered a bad lord. When King John of England consistently violated his feudal responsibilities, his barons became so fed up that they wrote out the kings obligations and required John to sign the document before they were willing to give him their assistance. This document, foundation of Anglo American common law, was the Magna Carta.

All too often groups teach that they or the leader is so special that ordinary concepts of reciprocity do not apply.

That, by itself, is BS...and a big, red flag.

But...the problem is if we are raised in a group, it is hard to recognize that.

Getting back to love that is seemingly unreciprocated. In some cases, there are loving relationships where one person is doing more to keep things going than the other person.

Examples of this are situations where one of the lovers is or becomes a long term invalid and the other lover has the long term role of care provider and protector. Ditto for parent child relationships,especially if a child requires life long care for a special condition)

But even in the case of a love relationship where one person is permanently in the worker/supporter/caregiver role, the person who carries the bulk of the Responsibility cannot give, give give without some nourishment coming back in return. The responsible care provider needs 3 other 'R's to balance the big R of Responsibility....Respect, Respite and Resources.

(Even if not in cults, I think a big cause of distress for many parents, especially mothers, is the feeling of infinite responsibility without the other 3 Rs that make Responsibility worth while...Respect, Respite and the Resources needed to carry out one's responsibilities and feel satisfied with one's efforts.)

Draining and exploitation takes place in any situation, whether a cult or a bad relationship when someone is made to be a responsible caregiver of someone else's life or someone else's mood, but is not given Respect, Respite and Resources in a way that balances this Responsiblity.

And in cults, all too often, the followers feel Responsible and infinitely loyal, while the Leader never actually demonstrates corresponding loyalty or gratitude and manipulates the Respect, Respite and Resources.

Ive often thought that being a cultic guru enables a person to have it all ways:

To be cared for as a small child, by the followers, to be protected from accountability and have excuses made for one's bad behavior and tantrums, just as parents make excuses for very tiny children, yet with this entourage of
baby sitters, the cult leader has adult autonomy, power, prestige and power, but with zero adult accountability for that power.

Years ago in his 2000 year old Man comedy episode, Mel Brooks, playing the Old Man, did a routine in which he played with a part of this fantasy. With Carl Reiner as the earnest straight man, Mel as the Old Gent, explained the secret
of his extraordinary longevity.

Reiner: 'Sir, to what do you owe your longevity?'

Old Man Brooks: 'My development was very low and slow. Very low and slow....
I breast fed for 200 years.'

(Audience totally freaks out)

Reiner: (astounded) 'But...Sir, who did you breast feed with?

Old Man Brooks: 'I used to con a lot of ladies into doing it. They saw, me...they took pity on me...(audience is collectively pissing in its pants laughing and plotzing)....It was a thrill, let me tell you."

Mel Brooks found a way to win the trust of his audience and then, using humor as a container, gets us to imagine this impossible situation....someone possessing adult autonomy, communication skills and powers of seduction to get into the situation where Brooks can regress and persuade 'the ladies' to breast feed him as if he's a baby, though he's actually already adult.

The audience is going nuts from a combination of anxiety and laughter because this is high voltage stuff.

If we are lucky, most of us play with this briefly, fluidly with our lovers, but dont get frozen long term into the roles of adult infant/caregiver.

But in a draining relationship or a cult...people get stuck in this long term and worse, are not allowed to discuss it or become conscious of whatever feelings of exhaustion or misgiving they actually have.

Options: ReplyQuote
Pages: 123Next
Current Page: 1 of 3

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.