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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: Bronte G ()
Date: October 30, 2007 06:22AM

For it is the leader who is the main focus of the group, who orchestrates its actions and moods, who carries the burden of responsibility for its success or failure, and it is his direction that largely--though not entirely--permits such moments to occur.

That is where the trouble lies.

That statement is made into a reality by many. But it is not really the fact of Subud, because we were suppose to learn to be independent of him, unlike in other groups.
Some may disagree with that, of course. Ths site is all about disagreeing with what we used to know, and finding the truth, as far as I am concerned.

When I asked myself what my attitude should be to the Great Leader, it was that I should see him as "just another person, like myself" That sure got me some flak! How terrible to think I, such a depraved person, could be equally human as the "great Leader! Well, we all are.

Taking him completely off the pedistal was and is difficult.
But I believe in my own self too.
And the article did not leave room for belief in anything. Obviously I need to read the surrounding material.
But if I have to abandon belief in God, or adopt a "normal" Christian social path, then indeed it has offerred "stones for bread"
oh, by the way, that phase was applied as a possible "description" of Subud, given to me from a classmate at school in 1961, and derived from an article on Subud, written by the School of the Rosy Cross in Holland at about that time.

So, do not worship the Great Leader, with or without Armani suits and first class air fares! I don't mind being a bit grateful for some of the bits and pieces of what he did though.

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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: Bronte G ()
Date: October 30, 2007 06:24AM

Took an exit counsellor & years of self-work to get me out.

That was quite an admissin. ANd it comes from yet another ex-member.
Just thought you'd all like to know.

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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: Jupiter ()
Date: October 30, 2007 08:00PM


I'd like to thank you for the objectivity of your reply. I have come to all the same conclusions as you've expressed here - that both my parents were essentially wounded children, that they (and their friends, helpers, enterprise partners) were just simply incapable of seeing their children growing up, having wounds of their own, and so forth. Even now my mum still half believes that I was so sheltered as a child, that her inner guidance protected me from the cruelty of the world, and that my anger at Subud is something nameless, some vague and general spiritual cleansing.

I'm happy to write about the process of leaving, although it has been a struggle. I'll keep it in general terms as I still feel it's important for anyone leaving ANY religious cult. I don't know what life has been like for you but feel free to PM me if you need to talk about any specifics.

For me, I was so desperate to believe in God, and had gone through such a hard time in childhood with my father's enterprises and our house being a Subud house and our complete lack of stability, that I was desperate to believe that everything was a test and that I could pass it by surrendering to God. Despite being intelligent and cynical as a teenager I ended up, in my mid teens, believing desperately that the helpers could really save me, that they really did communicate with God. I believed after a while that I could too, if I followed enough instructions, read enough talks, went to enough workshops and kejiwaan days (days where members from a region get together and ask fairly mystical questions to God, for anyone reading this not in Subud). I suppose me, you, Bronte, and probably most of those in all sorts of religious cults and NRMs all over the world have had a similar experience - and that was the hardest thing in leaving. I felt that I was leaving every single one of my experiences at the back door. Believing in rationality over a mystical and rather fickle God was hard. Believing in my own guidance over that of a smiling and overfamiliar group of helpers was a million times harder.

I left after witnessing things in my region that I felt violated the natural morality of any human being. I was entangled heavily in the group and leaving was very difficult. I couldn't find a cult survivors message board anywhere so wrote detailed, day-by-day accounts of my experiences on an eating disorders and abuse survivor website. I was extremely frightened and totally alone, but I was so heartened by the amount of people who had similar experiences. I was lonely and vulnerable and on several occasions some members from my group really tried hard to manipulate my vulnerability, constructing testing sessions with the end result of trying to convince me it was all in my head. But too many things had happened and eventually I DID leave. There were some things that REALLY helped:

* My notebooks. I wrote five over the winter, I just wrote down every thought and feeling and had to hide them under the floorboards sometimes. Unless I was in the house, they never left my side. Reading over them now they express a very poignant and emotional journey trying to reconcile my beliefs about God, my family and my sense of self.

* Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. It took a few sessions before I confessed to having been raised in a cult, but he was brilliant. There was a UK group called Inform who gave me lots of information on Subud which really helped me disentangle myself on an emotional level.

*Lying. Okay, so it wasn't exactly lies, but I went back to studying a lot of the things I was interested in before I was opened, all the things that my parents and their friends were horrified by. I soon realised that "I'm not in Subud anymore," as an answer to the question, "Why weren't you at Latihan / Congress / Regional Council," didn't get me very far. The almost-true (okay, lie) response which really worked was: I've taken up aikido / tarot reading / midhe ritual as an efficient way of killing unwanted conversations. I do know how immoral that may sound, but the fact is I had to give up martial arts and my interest in paganism in the early days of being opened (because it's all based on lower forces and therefore it's wrong / evil / mixing / whatever), and I did find that reading books on meditation etc., just helped me fill the gap and see that Subud really DIDN'T have anything remotely unique or special in it. The whole direct line to God thing is just crap.

*Education. Finding out more about Javanese culture and history, and the role that Bapak took in his early days was extremely useful. Objectively reading his talks with a highlighter pen and a questioning mind allowed me to find loads of statements that I, on the foundations of my personal sense of ethics and spirituality, completely disagree with. Talking to other cult survivors. Reading huge quantities of information on mind control and manipulation. My own experiences in retail really helped me here - the most effective salesperson is the one who really BELIEVES in the product they are selling. We abuse others because we believe that in doing so we are saving their souls, cleansing their spirit, and lightening their emotional load. Reading LOTS of literature on second generation (I found a few sites devoted to 2G survivors of The Way International), and kids growing up in cults helped a lot. I had a whole bookmark of useful sites but I seem to have deleted them. I guess I had to be quite harsh with myself and quite detached. Whatever YOU ARE as an individual, getting back in touch with that will help you. I'm a scientist and writer so objective thinking (reading Sagan's "Demon Haunted World" was really good) and writing about it was what I needed. If you're an artist, then paint your feelings, find art from other survivors from loads of different situations...

I'm rambling a bit because I've had a difficult morning at the hospital, but just be strong. If you have specific questions or concerns, please do post or PM about them. Subud is not the be all and end all. If you believe in God then there are plenty of other ways of getting the same benefits; if you don't, then there is no end of psychological literature explaining what is going on with group dynamics here. I combined both. It hasn't been easy - learning to make my own decisions without asking the helpers was the hardest part. I guess that sounds trivial, but for me it wasn't. Reading here, reading other sites, talking to other people from any group, joining up the dots, communicating with INFORM - it's all been really useful. I'll still say it's been emotionally and physically the hardest year of my life, but for the first time ever I feel like I have my whole life ahead of me and I'm not scared that every action I take is a result of the lower forces any more.....

Here for you if you need me. xx

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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: pacifica ()
Date: October 30, 2007 11:43PM

Hi Jupiter

Thanks for all of that information. I'm going off-line for a few days (away from town). I'll write you more when I get back.

I've sent a query to INFORM.

I've written down "Demon Haunted World" on my "books to find" list.

You might like this site, by an ex-Mormon, Bob McCue:

As part of his self-therapy, he wrote many essays on the research he did. You can find many of them here:

I particularly like this one: How Denial Works - Denial in General and Mormon Denial in Particular

It's a handy reference :-)

Talk later.


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Also Raised in a group
Posted by: Toni ()
Date: November 01, 2007 03:48PM

Hi All:
My friend wrote the following essay. It only touches on "our issues," but I think he did a good job over all. Much rings true for me (raised in a group) and my now-grown children (born and partially raised), with much family still involved. Keep learning! You can integrate and have successful lifes!

FYI: Article "Adult Children of Cult Members"


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Re: Also Raised in a group
Posted by: Bronte G ()
Date: November 01, 2007 07:23PM

I may have found in myself a very challenging response to the things that mattered to me by reading this thread from Jupiter.
I also find myself being torn away again from things, beliefs, that mattered to me.
Everyone dealing with so-called cults has a burden to carry.

And the line that children of these groups have a greater burden than the parents who made the decision to join may be true, but may not be.
However, I am trying to come ot grips with the fact that, firstly, the things that I had before joining my particular group which you call a cult were not adequate for my life needs, and the things offerred here, and elsewhere, as alternatives to what I have known, are not alternatives. Just an emtying of myself any everything I value into a vacuum, an empty nothingness.
Well, how many people who have always been outside these little groups of believers are really making life better for the people whose lives are ordinary, but struggling?

I may be able to run back to my original beliefs, but there is an input to my life from the beliefs I learnt, as well as the training which remains part of me. And though some were negative, the people I have known, and still do know, include some very caring, normal-seeming non-controlling, loving human beings.

So I am hoping to not be the only one who will try to have a balanced approach, and look at the in-group and the out-group as fellow, imperfect human beings, some trying to help the world by participating in a little or big cult, others maybe doing nothing.

Not for nothing have I been invited to the Quakers, who I have had a ,loose connection with all my life, and found friendship in Garden clubs, and even among Theosophists.
It's the biterness that hurts in my life, and in other people, not just the controllers.
I've got rid of some of mine.
I wish everyone else the same, and more, with the hope that they will extract every bit of good from their group, whatever it was, that hurt them so much before they walked away, or ran!
We can't fruitfully escape from the human race.

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Re: Also Raised in a group
Posted by: pacifica ()
Date: November 01, 2007 11:11PM

Hi All:
My friend wrote the following essay. It only touches on "our issues," but I think he did a good job over all. Much rings true for me (raised in a group) and my now-grown children (born and partially raised), with much family still involved. Keep learning! You can integrate and have successful lifes!

FYI: Article "Adult Children of Cult Members"

Hi Toni

That is a knockout article. In fact, after talking with a friend whose also a 2nd Gen, and also a psychologist, I'd come to the conclusion that my "betrayal trauma" idea does not fit. She specialises in PTSD. She says that trauma has to be pretty sudden. Growing up in a bubble, and then finding out it's not as it seems, doesn't qualify.

I've run through these 24 "challenges". I like the way he lists both strengths and weaknesses that they give rise to. All of them resonate. I can see some that I've transcended, some that I struggle with still, and yet others that have been the (positive) pillars of my life.

Thank you for that.

It reminds me too of one of my favourite books, Bernard Glassman Roshi's Instructions to the Cook. It's a contemporary interpretation of a 1200-year-old Buddhist text, a text which is at the same time the literal instruction of a Zen abbot to the cook of the monastery, and at the same time a metaphor for living.

Basically, it says that the task of life is to take all of the ingredients given to you—ALL of them, throwing out none, and without pining for ingredients that you don't have—and to make them into as sumptious a meal as possible, for as many people as possible.

I can see many, many benefits that come from the way that I was raised, no matter how mis-guided much of it now seems. Good things have flowed not because the Subud ideology is good, but because nourishing food can found growing in smelly manure. (I think here of the Buddhist symbol of the lotus, growing in the stagnant pond.)

My current path really is to make that sumptious feast. And I have to say that for myself, so far, much is integrated, and much is successful. But I still find this inbuilt fearfulness, and inbuilt anger, and worry: and I'm on the hunt to track it down, and turn it into something good.

Thanks for the lead.


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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: Vic-Luc ()
Date: November 02, 2007 07:01AM

Bronnie from Adelaide? Is that you?

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Re: Also Raised in a group
Posted by: Jupiter ()
Date: November 02, 2007 05:40PM


Your friend makes some brilliant points. Whilst I did agree quite a lot with the ICSA analysis of second generation adults,I also think that this essay makes a hell of a lot of sense, and really resonates with me. I know exactly what it means to feel so sorry for a parent, for being a victim and being drawn into a cult because it was a place of safety, that you just want to care for them and stop seeing them as a responsible adult who is capable of making his or her own choices, and who should realistically take responsibility for his or her actions. I think it's extremely hard to break through that barrier, especially when you fear becoming a really bad person if you actually try and feel what you know you want to feel all of the time. I like the challenge and task format of the essay, I found it very beneficial to me at this time. I think it's really useful to say that people leaving high demand organisations, new religious movements or particular sects etc., have very different sets of requirements to those healing from having actively chosen to join a group.

The part of the article that was most useful to me was "translation" of the reaction that most of us has felt into a positive strength, the kind of thing that can be used as an affirmation when everything seems to fall apart. I really felt like the challenges were absolutely spot on in my life, and all the feelings and fears I have (about starting new things etc., joining new groups or taking an interest in "other" spiritual matters, even those I was secretly interested in as a kid.)

There were some points that didn't feel appropriate to me which is interesting as it shows how the culture of each group varies so slightly as to have differing effects on each individual, but there is still a collective set of experiences of 2G cult leavers regardless of the group. I just want to gush and gush about the recovery tasks and how useful they've been for me to read. In the position I've been in, it's so hard to find a balanced and scientific argument which also reaches a practical conclusion. I always find that I need to follow instructions, which is why I choose to do a lot of studying and apply for lower-paid jobs where I have a clear role and a clear job path laid before me. That's become a huge vulnerability in me because I used to be so strong, so independent - in my mid teens I just have this particular memory of still being told I was a bad person but feeling strong anyway. I guess the problem came when I caved in and really emotionally surrendered to those around me. THAT belief that I held, that's the hardest to get rid of, if you ask me. The fact that "I used to believe." That was the only thing I didn't see covered in the article.

A bit of expansion on how to achieve the recovery tasks could be really beneficial, too. I know exactly where I want to go in life, what I want to achieve, what part of my personality I want to completely conquer. But I just don't know HOW. It seems to be just a process of changing habits and challenging thoughts, but even that seems so unbearably difficult sometimes. I could really respond to the parts about "healing relationships" - I don't think that I have EVER been in an "equal" friendship or relationship in my life. The structure of my group just didn't allow for it. You're either the healer or the one to be healed. I have no concept of equal friendship which is probably why I have so much trouble keeping friends on the "outside." I don't know what it must be like to FEEL equal, even when equality does exist.

There is just so much I could relate to in that blog article, I could go on for hours. The need to save the world, to do something AMAZING, to have such unreachable dreams and aspirations (it used to be my dream to win the Nobel Prize, and deep down I think it still is). The feeling of being a stranger in a strange land, of not understanding the most basic actions, tones of voice, humour etc. (the feeling of isolation was so strong in me as a child that I had psychologists thinking that I had Asperger's syndrome.) And yet I was also strongly empathic, so much so that it would disturb people. It's amazing that these two feelings of dissonance in me are expressed so succinctly in this article, because I've never been able to accurately explain it before.

I'd like to learn more about emotional management and safely releasing anger. I'd also like to learn more about the final point, because I keep expressing the same things over and over, and that scares me. The inability to make my own decisions, so I resort to tarot and other things that could scientifically be described as "living by chance." I'd really rather just have strength in my own self esteem and trust my instincts. God knows how I'll manage that, though...

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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: Bronte G ()
Date: November 03, 2007 07:32AM

Jupiter, you wrote:-
he inability to make my own decisions, so I resort to tarot and other things that could scientifically be described as "living by chance." I'd really rather just have strength in my own self esteem and trust my instincts. God knows how I'll manage that, though...

.....Well, I think you have your own answers.
Tarot is considered wrong by any religions. You use it, you wear it.
Living by chance-- who doesn't?

You say --- Have strength in my own self esteem.. --
You must have, to reach out to people here too, because that is reaching out to the rest of the world instead of being tied in to the little group you were in. Just reach further, and mix with some more people who know nothing abot you. They will soon show you what they think of your abilities, without prejudices because they know soemething of your past.

As to God.
If you believe in God, and you implied you do, then obviously God knows. So ask Him for help too, and I don't mean using the standard Subud tecnique of testing!
Just don't expect everything to be laid out for you. Of course, you don't anyway! Coincidences happen.

I took the other choice when I was torn between two options at my staring point, as teenager, and asked Bapak about being a concientious objector or not. He advised me to accept things as they were, it would be better for me as a man.
The Quakers, who are not called The Society of Friends for nothing, never disowned me because I accepted my conscription. What a picnic that was. But it could have been very different, and I feel sad for all who must fight. I do not believe that is the way forward for humanity.

Well, anyway, Bapak did not add that as a result I would find something easier in my life when I got older, and have a pension at 60, when I was finding life a bit more difficult.

So, like I said (almost) go with the flow. Do it the Tibetan Buddhist way too.
After all your Subud, past or not, is part of your life's soup-mix, and always will be.
Don't worry so much.
And do not trust the Tarot cards either. They are even more unreliable than Subud testing, because they do not appeal to God, just your own ego. (I never read any, so excuse me if I tread on toes of people who do.)
Maybe some good Christain advice is what uyou need right now.
Go visit the Quakers, if you feel secure in yourself that you can take and not be taken.
You may never regret it. They are not a possesive cult!

I wonder what Vic-Luc has to say of all this.
The anonymity of people here has to be seen to be believed. It is amazing how we all have to hide behind pseudonyms, then don't clear our private mail away.

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