Quoted from:Children of Scientology: Life After Growing Up in an Alleged Cult
For many raised in the church, escape presents a singular problem. “They have an identity to go back to,” says one former Scientologist. “We’re trying to discover our identity in a vacuum.”
Rolling Stone Ash Sanders
Abigail’s fall from Scientology was long and difficult. When she got a job at her mom’s secular healthcare company, she used Hubbard’s business principles to whip the employees into shape, banning water-cooler chat, instating a uniform policy and riding people to keep their productivity “stats” up. Unsurprisingly, she made few friends, and her efforts didn’t work. In her relationships, things weren’t much better. Believing the Scientology notion that all miscommunication is based on some sort of transgression, she’d try to resolve fights by getting boyfriends to confess their sins to her.
Everyone is sharing their stories now, and the more people talk about Scientology, the more they talk in Scientologese, sentences stuffed with acronyms and corporate-sounding inspirational phrases. However much they might dislike Scientology, its jargon is their native tongue. Some even say it’s a relief to talk without code-switching, or worrying that they’re talking gibberish.
There’s a reason why the language is so central to the belief system, and so hard to shake. According to psychiatrist and thought-reform expert Robert Jay Lifton, new lexicons are common in cults — and often essential. He calls the practice “loading the language,” and includes it as one of eight core features of high-demand groups. When the group breaks to smoke, I ask Shelton for a second opinion. Forget the question of emotional repression for a second. If there are words for these feelings already, why not use them?
“It makes us feel special and unique,” he jokes. “If we used regular English words, then anyone could do this!” But he agrees with Lifton’s idea of cult idioms as thought-terminating cliches. “It gets people thinking in the cult leader’s system,” he says. “It literally makes it harder to think outside the box.”
Dr. Matthews agrees, pointing out that many high-demand groups have jargon around emotional repression. Some fundamentalist Christian cults use the phrase “keep sweet,” she says, meaning “stop whining, stop complaining.” She adds, “Jargon like that rewires the brain.”
Training in Dissociation in the Guise of Improving Communication Skills for Audity
Silverman needed that map. As a kid, she struggled with mental health, and often had periods where she’d dissociate, leaving her brain and come back minutes or hours later, having partially or completely forgotten what had happened. She just knew that people thought she was bad, and she worried they were right. Scientology didn’t help.
Whenever she got sad, or “griefy,” she followed church protocol and did Training Routines (TRs). According to the church, the exercises are “drills” to improve communication skills. In one, Silverman explains, two people are supposed to face each other for hours without moving or reacting. In another, she says, a person attempts to sit, calmly, while their partner yells things at them to make them react. According to Silverman, their purpose isn’t to create calm auditors or clear communicators. The goal of some TRs is to “exteriorize,” to have the soul leave the body and watch it from the outside.
“And what is that?” she asks. “That’s dissociation. That’s building the muscle to dissociate at will.”
She now suffers with diagnosed D.I.D., or dissociative identity disorder, and says that when she comes back from an episode she is sometimes sitting up straight, hands on knees, in the TR position. Silverman knows that she would have had mental-health issues regardless of her upbringing, but she also believes that a good doctor would have helped. Since Scientology is opposed to psychiatry — viewing it as a cover for “human-rights abuses,” and “an elaborate and deadly hoax,” according to a representative for the church — Silverman never got that good doctor.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/27/2020 11:59PM by corboy.