I'm a 3rd generation cult survivor and I left under difficult circumstances six months ago. I'm struggling so much right now. I'm in cognitive behaviour therapy but my psychologist isn't really an expert in this. I'm trying so so hard to get better (I'm 23), but I suffer from really bad depression and cannot make sense of the things which so many people find automatic and ordinary. I am just caught in a dreadful tangle of confusing feelings and I have nobody to turn to. All my family is still in the group and try very hard to reel me back in. But I can see the dreadful state they are in too - my mum has had numerous psychotic breaks and is barely capable of looking after herself. I've been doing well, I've nearly completed a Masters degree, but the questions of self worth are suffocating me and I'm finding it near impossible to live a normal life right now. I sleep dreadfully and have had nightmares EVERY single night for months and months. I've just learned to function at a very low level, but this isn't a life, and I want mine back. I can go days or weeks being fine, but then it will all crash down again - I don't know what to do.
Hi Jupiter, it can be really hard leaving a group you were raised in. The love of parents, yet the disagreement with their religion can be a hard one to negotiate. Someone told me that 83 % of kids raised in groups leave when they are adults; getting the sense that something is not right as they get older. Emotionally, time ,outside support ( even something light hearted like a chess group or hiking group where you don't have to share much but can just have fun)can help. Suspect this is just a part of the recovery process, and it won't always be raw and painful like this: over time you can make your life more how you want it to be.. Am really glad you are doing a masters degree at 23: in many ways sounds like you have got parts of your life together. You might want to check out the born or raised in a cult thread: some common issues. Also there is a place called Wellsprings ? I think that has affordable care where you can stay for a couple of weeks and they only focus on cult stuff; May get some support and answers from people who are more understanding of your situation. Don't speak from personal experinece of them, but the website looks good. Good luck <Yasmin
Thank you both for the advice & resources. Yasmin yes I feel that my life is getting together, but at the same time I want to keep Subud behind me and it's hard, because every day I find out something more disturbing and weird about the whole culture. I feel powerless on so many levels, paranoid on so many levels - invisible, worthless, invalidated, and ugly. I am in CBT and I know this will take time. But every time I take a positive step I feel dirty, whatever I do on my own feels pointless without someone there to nod or scowl depending. I get so frightened laying in bed at night, and the stronger I am, the worse the pull back into the darkness becomes. I know that sounds a trifle melodramatic, but emotionally I'm all over the place. Some days I'm great, others I'm just not... I don't know how long this will take. I know I'm not alone but it feels like it... I'm so confused. Sorry for the ranting. Jupiter.
Please do know that neither I or anyone here would ever scowl at you. You are a hero for breaking the mold, escaping the group, and taking back your identity, and laying a claim to your self esteem. Give yourself kudos for all that you are accomplishing and know that you are a good person and worthy of love and acceptance.
I left the cult I was in 19 months ago and I had nightmares almost everynight and disturbing dreams on the other nights for the first year and then they started tapering off. I have not gotten consistent professional help yet but I am heading in that direction. I did sit down with a wonderful therapist named Roseanne Henry out of Littleton, COL (are we allowed to say names?) :oops: She was so helpful even just talking to her that one time was so relieving. She suggested I start by reading about cults and educationg myself on cult recovery and stuff.
I have found that FOR ME I can start to read up it and then I have to stop for a while... anyway. Posting on this message board is another step in my recovery so... I have good days and bad days and talking to people who really "get it" is a huge help for me...
Colleen Russel in Mill Valley, California specializes in recovery from cult influence. She does 2.5 hour biweekly group sessions at a very reasonal price. She's EXCELLENT. She herself was in a cult for approximately 20 years.
It's been a while since the last reply but Jupiter do not rely on CBT. Look for a therapist who will talk to you and allow you to talk without giving you a new set of "rules". It's scary once you leave the group but the only reassuring thing is genuine human warmth. It does exist, look for it in the people you have contact with and hang out with those who have the most compassion rather than those who make the most sense.
Just want to offer support and encouragement. Life has gotten 100% better for me, just in leaving, but there are residual effects like you describe. I have it too and I like what others have said about finding people who care and will just let you talk it all out. Not easy to find, but they're out there.
My husband didn't have any personal experience but he had a friend whose parents were strict evangelicals. So, just that minimal exposure helped him to understand where I was coming from.
I often wonder about the children from the group I was in. I pray for them now..