The cult made me heartless.
Posted by: Warfrog ()
Date: January 12, 2010 08:44AM

The irony is disgusting. They told me that their interpretation of the Bible was true and that their ways would strengthen my heart. For a few years I was under the delusion that they'd make me complete in body, mind and soul. All they did was shatter my heart and make me heartless. My friends all did a 180 when the church decided I was no longer fit to be amongst their 'blessed ranks'. I'll explain this in greater depth when I finish typing up my testimonial summarizes my entire experience. I fell in love with another member during my time there. Since I wasn't as obedient as the leaders would have liked they plotted to use her to assassinate my character if I refused to submit COMPLETELY to their doctrines. I refused unless they could tell me where in the Bible it said I had to obey them unquestionably so they emotionally and psychologically tortured me for a few months in hopes that I'd buckle under the pressure. I became to messed up to remain useful for them as a result so they threw me out like unholy trash. All the members who were my friends did a total 180 on me. Everyone in the group, including my former friends saw me as: useless, insane, unholy, evil and heathen. Though cult research has uncovered what they truly are and though it has explained their actions I still have a general distrust for others, and it's interfering with my relationships. Every-time a woman asked me to be her boyfriend I'd abruptly cut off all contact from her, every-time I felt that I was falling for one of my female friends I'd abruptly cut off contact from her. Over the years I have done this over three dozen times. The friend I mentioned in an earlier thread was such a case. I never imagined I'd give her the same treatment. All my friend ever shows me is kindness and I tried to cut her off. I tried to make sense of my actions by reading psychological articles. I read an article about how first experiences affect our reactions to similar experiences afterward. Since the first woman I fell in love with was a pawn for a malevolent cult I have an irrational fear that every woman I have feelings for will do the same. I have come to the conclusion that my cult experience has made me incapable of loving a woman. One of my other friends who also left the group knows why I'm like this, he told me that I should explain my self to the friend I cut off, I did. Luckily she is a kind and forgiving person however our relationship is not the same as it used to be. On top of that I always have fears and anxieties about the sincerity of my friends. A part of me constantly fears that they will betray me like those in the group did. The cult experience has made me incredibly cautious when it comes to choosing friends, the ones I have now are really good friends yet even so unreasonable fear of betrayal keeps creeping in. What do I do?

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Re: The cult made me heartless.
Posted by: pegasus ()
Date: January 14, 2010 12:27PM

Hi Warfrog
Im sorry to hear about your painful experiences. At the same time i was excited to read your post because it is quite similar to my own story in the aspect of the cult controlling my relationship and destroying it. My cult had a leader who forbid relationships at the time I was in the cult altho at earlier times he had had arranged marriages where he chose who would marry whom. Also sometimes he would tell people to leave, get married and then they may be allowed back. I fell in love with another member but I believed the leader that I was 'disgusting' and impure because of this and I was committing a terrible crime against God. I was forced to leave the group. I spent an agonising 5 years after that trying to cut ties with my boyfriend in order to please the leader. Eventually I was allowed back and the leader made me vow to never speak to my boyfriend ever again. I didnt want to leave him, but I believed the cult lies that if I didnt, if I was out of the group then really terrible things would happen when I died. We were told to imagine the worst possible suffering on Earth and that our suffering would be worse than that when we died if we were not part of the group.
I joined in my late teens and it has taken a long time to even consider that the leader is not God incarnate. That was the first step. Then I had to deal with the fallout in my mind and the habitual way I would look at everything and everyone in cult mode. Like you say, it is a terrible break in trust and leaves us with fears and unhealthy ways of viewing others. It is just awful and unbearable at times.
You must be furious with your group and maybe also feeling pretty helpless. That has been my experience.

After that, I have come to some acceptance of what I have - what thoughts/beliefs and fears and feelings and ways of being that are now me and that I dont like and that inhibit me. Slowly I am identifying them, watching out for them and analysing them, looking for the truth and choosing differently. Once I find what I feel to be true, I try and read it every day, in order to change my old program and see it differently - see it the way I want to see it. It takes time and hey why should we have to do all that? But in the end I am sick of suffering so I do what I need to do to change my thoughts and beliefs and consequently my life.
I am sad to say my relationship never could be reinstated after all we went thru. I have now been in a new one for 7 years; its not been easy but it is solid and Im getting there.
I think it is great that you have such clear awareness of what has happened to you and how you are affected - I believe it can take ages to get that level of awareness. I think once you have that, you are well on the way to changing things and getting the life you want.
If the cult leaders can put one lot of beliefs into our minds, we can also put our own ones back in if we choose to. Thats not to undermine your experience - I understand how incredibly hard it is, i know that pain well.
best wishes

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Re: The cult made me heartless.
Posted by: dsm ()
Date: June 02, 2010 11:23AM

Warfrog, I am a woman and the way the cult I was in used people against each other left me with similar damage. Friendship is very hard for me and even affected my work, because my work carries a certain risk of publicity which can expose my employment and living arrangments. Sometimes I am immobilized because of it. I am not a naturally secretive person and so it is very hard for me. Because of my open personality, I have learned to project a very false persona so that if my requests for anonymity are not honored it will still be hard for cultists to connect with my actual employers or other associates. (I am an artist and I am very cautious about not advertising but only working for people through references.) This is hard for me because honesty is part of trust. I am Catholic and lying is a sin. But in the Catechism there is a long discussion of protective lying compared to deceptive, and the sinfulness is related to the intention. Also, as a Catholic I rely on the diaries of Saints for personal advice and just recently Saint Faustina (Polish saint of "Divine Mercy") showed me in her Diary that she struggled with having her confidence betrayed by others in her convent, and she was shown in prayer that it is OK to withhold one's thoughts from some people when they ask "friendly" questions.

In a cult we are often taught not to reject invasive questions but to always be "friendly". It helps to know that even Saints were allowed to turn a cold shoulder to such questions or false friendships.

You are not heartless, even though you may feel as though your heart has been turned to ice. You must slowly cultivate a very small group of friends who understand character assasination (didn't Jesus Himself warn us to watch out for those who kill the soul more than those who might kill the body?) and eventually you will realize you have trusting relationships again, but it is a very slow process.

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Re: The cult made me heartless.
Posted by: filmmaker ()
Date: March 09, 2011 06:13AM

I'm currently a second year Cinema student at the University of Leeds researching for a hypothetical documentary about cults in the UK. I was wondering where you were located and whether you'd be willing to talk to me about your story. [...]
Chloe Trayne

[Moderator Note: It is against the rules to post contact information. You may use the private messaging system.]

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/09/2011 08:04AM by rrmoderator.

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Re: The cult made me heartless.
Posted by: Zaralla ()
Date: September 25, 2012 10:13AM

If you still are on for the film...I can fill you in a bit...I am currently writing a book of fiction based on real life of having a mother in a cult :)

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