Re: Is anyone emotionally damaged
Date: September 15, 2012 05:37AM
I can really relate to what you are saying. I too could not handle much at all, especially more techniques like CBT at first. perhaps it was also that my head was so full, so used to following, obeying and doing what the cult said that to follow anyone elses techniques, even good ones, was just overload. Somehow we are in a process of coming out of that false cult mindset that has taken over our psyche, unlearning or releasing it or somehow finding ourselves underneath it - whatever words best explain it...
I remember one counsellor telling me to just stop at the beach and look at a shell, just be and look around. Funnily enough now these days I find I do that more naturally, I am gradually seeing the value for me in just enjoying where I happen to be. I sense that for myself personally that is a direction that is good for me. But at the time she told me that it outraged me. I thought it was so oversimplified for one thing. For another thing I had been so programmed that we must meditate pray and serve, we must always be doing something for the cult that I felt overwhelmingly guilty to do anything that was not related to the group. To enjoy anything personally was equal to a crime for which I felt shame and guilt, even enjoying looking at nature. I felt I was letting god down becos I should be working for him not wasting time looking at nature.
So coming from this extreme mindset that I had built up over years in the cult, its clear to me now that it would not be possible to change it overnight. Its more of a gradual loosening up of the rigid mindset and being slowly influenced by new more helpful habits. Also slowly getting permission again to do what I want. But waiting for it to all change is so hard becos its easy to feel so broken and not good enough.
Also I had therapy - some of which was absolutely wonderful for me, but others in which I basically ended up in recreating the cult relationship again. I was the lesser than, child like one that did not know and needed to be fixed and the therapist was like the guru who I must please and follow. These experiences would bring up the resistance in me where I felt the therapist was wrong about something but still thought I must do what they said. It was very painful and re-traumatising. I always ended up feeling crazy when they did not get me, and that I must be wrong. Finally I learned from this with one counsellor. I told her I wanted to work on my cult issues that we still troubling me and she said why would I still be holding on to all that and just to let that go and work on other things now. I knew this was wrong. I felt the familiar crazy feeling of being wrong and misunderstood and yet this time I felt stronger. I let it go and then later cancelled the sessions with her and I was able to know in myself that she was not the right fit for me. So that whole thing was probably the real therapy for me - actual practice in knowing what was right for me and stopping the pattern of following someone else that I had been trained for in the cult.
You know what you said about the groups cutting us off from our soul really struck me. I think that is right. I have heard it called Spiritual abuse, whereby physical abuse and mental abuse we are aware of but spiritual abuse is not commonly understood. That is the abuse which extends so far into you that you no longer have your own self to call your own. without your own sense of self, how can you even function. Its a miracle really that we somehow do slowly grow and heal from this. But somehow life and time does heal and change things.
In my group, soul was a word used a lot. Unfortunately the guru would tell us that our souls were angry with us or disappointed in us and could not forgive us for our mistakes. Mistakes that were called impurities and were anything that did not suit the guru and cult line. My soul was something separate from me that I was guilty about and very fearful of the consequences. So that formed a split in me.
As I slowly have found some sense of my own knowing, my own intuition and my own feeling of what is next for me and what I want I see that I have got a connection back with my soul in a way. But trusting that knowing is another thing. For example right now I am trying to give myself permission to be happy by seeing what I want and need and then trying to take care of myself. The old cult thoughts come up - you have not done enough spiritually to be happy, to enjoy your life is lazy and you will not make any spiritual growth, you will let you soul/god down etc etc.
So I have a challenge to know what is the truth, to trust my own truth and to live by it. Its a big deal to feel safe and free enough to do that.
I also feel very open to other peoples stuff and I get very affected by it. I can get drained easily and take on all their issues. I have seemed to attract people with problems who I help and feel great empathy for but then I end up feeling resentful for them taking over and draining me. The worst thing with this is that I feel invisible. Being known and having equal friendships would be the ultimate goal but I have not achieved that yet.