memories, nightmares, pure confusion.
Posted by: Jupiter ()
Date: December 23, 2008 12:52AM

I left the cult I was born in a little over two years ago, and went through a terrible time afterwards. This year, since March at least, has been pretty good. What I've had is as close to recovery, is as close to a normal life, than anything else I've ever known. Trouble is, there's something really painful about normalcy and I've been thinking about this board a bit lately.

Xmas is hard. I don't have any 'traditions' like normal people do. I don't talk to anyone in my family. I don't talk to any of my old 'friends,' not from anywhere.

The 'friends' I do have, cold and distant as they are, spend this time of year going out, drinking with the folk they've known since they were at school. I didn't even GO to school. The only xmas cards I got was from two people at work, my tutor on a course I took over the summer and the organiser of a volunteer camp I helped out with at the last minute earlier in the year.

I'm crying as I write this, not because I'm lonely (I've got my other half, and he's never left me despite what a monster I've been to him, and despite the hell my cult put him through), but just because I feel so broken, I feel like such a freak. I don't belong anywhere. I'm just so different, even different to the people I wanted to relate to.

I just don't know what I'm aiming for any more. I write: I'm on my third novel, unpublished of course, and I'm just sort of dragging myself through life. Recently I found some people who made me really happy and I applied for a job with them and got turned down for it. I guess I feel like I'll always be an outsider. Not just an outsider - I'll always be on the outside.

I don't know why I'm in this world. Everything hurts. I don't feel any hate or pain to the cult themselves any more. All my rage at them has subsided. What happened or didn't happen just doesn't matter to me any more.

I just... wish I could have what other people have. Friendships with people who knew you from when you were a kid. An ordinary upbringing, allowed to make ordinary choices: what A Levels shall I sit, what University shall I go to, what shall I have for lunch, etc. I just wish I'd had the chance to develop normally, instead of spending five years of my life kept away from all human contact, and most of the remaining 19 years trying desperately to follow rules that make no sense and be someone that doesn't exist for reasons that were never explained.

And I know that most of it is my fault (my sibling was never recruited, went to boarding school, and turned out fine). I just still don't understand how it was my fault.

Anyway, this is a bit sprawling. I've been having nightmares the last few weeks, I guess I've got a touch of S.A.D., and my job is coming to an end and I'm worried about getting another one. Application forms are so hard, there are huge gaps in my history and I forget about the lies I've told and stories I've made up to account for them. As I said this time of year is really hard for me too, everyone I know is going out and having a good time, meeting up with old friends and family and I just stop in every night to write and study. It's hard not to feel awful. Ugly, unlovable, unwanted, awful.

Will this go on forever? How can anyone ever understand?

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Re: memories, nightmares, pure confusion.
Posted by: pegasus ()
Date: December 23, 2008 12:01PM

Hi Jupiter
Thanks for sharing you feelings, I was touched by your words and really relate to what you are saying. Altho I wasn't born into the cult I was in, I joined it age 18, left university and went straight overseas leaving my home country for years. I lived with others in the group and it was my whole life. When I left I was discommunicated and can not talk to those in the group who feel like my real family. The cult dominated my life until age 30.

Whilst I am now back in my own country and have family to see at Christmas, I feel different from them and am just going through the motions and doing my duty visiting them. They dont really know me or understand anything of my life that really matters to me. I also have a good partner, but few friends yet and often feel those same feelings you describe of being different to others and an outsider. You are not alone in this. Actually even many people who weren't in a cult feel those things too for different reasons. But its hard when you feel like that isn't it.

In my group we were taught to shun outsiders and that it was bad for us to mix with anyone outside our group. So I would always turn down opportunities to do things with others even after leaving the cult. I am only now trying to overcome this subtle belief and try to reach out do new things and find more friends because I do need the company of others. I am finding it hard to overcome the thought that I am different everyone I see, but sometimes it is better than others.
Its definitely not your fault that you were recruited and I believe you must be very strong to have done as well as you obviously have in your recovery so far.


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Re: memories, nightmares, pure confusion.
Posted by: yasmin ()
Date: December 23, 2008 02:52PM

Hi Jupiter, hang on in there! There is some stuff that us born and raised/second generation kids experience differently: and at different times have felt much as you do.Hard to really belong when your background has been so different.

I think sometimes the loneliness of having to forge a whole new life for yourself is more of an issue for those of us whose parents and family are in the group.
It is sad that the way many exit counselors help people get out of the group is by emphasizing the strength of family ties, yet we have to leave without that comfort. Our family generally are, at the very least, saddened by our choice.

But in time it does get better. You will find there are weird quirky lovable people out there who will understand, and who make great friends.It just tends to happen in its own time.

Something you may be interested in is an online group for born and raised second generation kids being run by a counselor, John Knapp, starting in January. He is on the web, and offers sliding scale fee discounts.

Hopefully a psychologist is helping you with your SAD, much harder to deal with this kind of stuff when you are depressed.

After a while, you may find there are strengths that come from having been forced to walk to the beat of a different drum.Its' finding ways to get through the tough spots, as well as getting therapy help if needed, that makes it easier.

Wishing you all the very best, and a genuine wish for a merry christmas from across cyberspace.

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Re: memories, nightmares, pure confusion.
Posted by: Jupiter ()
Date: December 24, 2008 04:30AM

I guess I figured out why this hurts: I WANT a normal life. I WANT ordinary friends, to do stupid things with, like go bowling or camping or just sit back and have a laugh. I always told myself that I didn't want that, to protect myself. If I want to be alone, if I only want to be around those with the same views as me, then I'm safe. Even now I get torn up when someone I respect disagrees with me on some insignificant thing. It's like I'm desperate for cohesion and I can't grasp the diversity of ordinary life. I run away from friendships because I assume I'm different to the core. I don't know if I can handle the way ordinary people all have different ideas. I lie and lie just to fit in, just so my beliefs always sound the same as everyone elses. But who wants to be friends with someone whose entire life and set of ideas changes with every person she meets? In my group, it was different. Everyone pretty much had the same ideas, our right and wrong was very clear (No!! Reality is NOT clear, it's NOT easy, there ISN'T one set of ideas that is 'right') so talking to people was... easier. Even then I found it hard, because there were different pressures, different facets. I have always been alone even when I thought I was happy and loved, I was just being exploited. Oh, it doesn't matter... I just feel broken, a complete freak. And, I DO think it is all my fault. Every last bit of it.

Am off to do hoovering and go for a walk. I've got a lot to be thankful for, so why can't I feel it?

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Re: memories, nightmares, pure confusion.
Posted by: yasmin ()
Date: December 24, 2008 03:47PM

Hi Jupiter,
yes, leaving the group is hard.It was great to have the certainty, growing up, of having all the answers, knowing what to believe, what the truth really was..and then suddenly, everything changes. And there are no easy answers,and it is hard to tell who is right and who is wrong.
And instead of belonging, we look at life as an outsider.
Sometimes I think of it as like a chick hatching from an egg. Hacking at the shell, covered in egg slime, getting out is not a pretty process for the chick. But the end result of freedom is worth it.
And with luck there will come a time when you get the "normal" that you want. I agree with you that normal is pretty precious.I hope that there will come a time when you come back to this board and post that you have just gone out bowling with friends and that life is good.
Hope that your life starts to fall into place for you soon.
all the best, Yasmin

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Re: memories, nightmares, pure confusion.
Posted by: Jupiter ()
Date: December 31, 2008 02:24AM

Thanks Yasmin, Actually... I'm doing okay. I sometimes go through these really bleak phases. Mostly, things are going pretty well... recovery is just so long and can be slow. Ah well. I've achieved so much in the last year, so much to be proud of. I wouldn't have been able to do any of those things if I were still in the cult cus all my time would have been spent following someone else's dream.

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Re: memories, nightmares, pure confusion.
Posted by: GEB ()
Date: January 06, 2009 01:01PM

Wow, powerful words. I think I can in some ways relate, Especially about "pure confusion", and "following someone else's dream". It's intersting to hear that.

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Re: memories, nightmares, pure confusion.
Posted by: Sallie ()
Date: January 07, 2009 11:49PM

Loneliness is a common feeling during the holidays and sooooo many people don't have friendships and family from childhood. I don't. And it is not your fault that you were targeted(recruited) and your sibling wasn't. That happens in families. These cult predators are like wolves. They arbitrarily target a person...who knows why. It's not your fault. Imagine if you heard on the news that Hersheys sold defective m&ms and everyone who bought a pack was going to get sick. If you had been one of the purchasers of that defective product...would you be angry at yourself? Of course not. All of us on these boards did the same thing as you. We all met some people who were selling garbage and, for a while, we bought it. So what. So you put trust in people and you learned that people cannot always be trusted. That's just life and really, it happens to everyone and the shame is not yours....the shame belongs to the monsters that lied to you. It sounds like your life is very normal. You mention work and taking a class and having a significant other. Sounds fine. The lack of closeness you feel is probably because you can't find anyone who can really understand the unique experiences of your past because the cult was so off beat. I can totally relate to that. That goes away in time.

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