Re: Meeting new people/Shame about my past
Date: October 24, 2010 11:37AM
OK trying again. Yes I got your personal message, I will respond to that too, thanks!
About discouraging careers - yeah there were several people in the group who had previous careers who became housecleaners (not that this isn't fine work in itself but... they did have other education). It was good for the flexible schedule I suppose. And also being in the group meant living out in the woods with not many work opportunities. Myself because I had some savings from an inheritance, I was encouraged to not work and devote all my time to my spiritual path, to "waking up". I was kind of a wreck in many ways (health wise, emotionally), and the leader (father figure etc.) told me if I were to get a job he would no longer work with me, i should be focusing all my attention on spiritual life. Now I think that might have encouraged further imbalance, especially now that I am back in the "normal world" and feel all this shame about not having any sort of career to speak of.
When I left I also wondered at times if I should go back. Of course, the whole 5.5 years I spent there were like that in a certain way -- I would do something that angered the leader and he would cut me off for a while -- various types of punishments like not being allowed personal contact with him (sometimes for several months at a time), not participating in certain events or classes, you know, basically feeling excluded until I kissed so much ass/"demonstrated my committment"/increased my payments that I could get back into the inner circle. Anyway by the time I left I had already been sort of kicked out and gotten back in several times and was finally ready to give up. Thank god. When things get _really_ bad (like the occasional times I've felt suicidal in the past few months) I still consider it--if I bow down would they take me back and take care of me in exchange for my freedom and money. But I can't. Thankfully I found a good therapist so this isn't really a danger.
It's too bad your counselor training didn't cover cults -- maybe you have to do a postgrad course for that.
Thanks for reminding of the difference between telling everything about myself versus being dishonest, they are not the same thing. YES I also was in the habit of spilling my beans about everything to the group, no secrets. I have major issues with boundaries. Of course there were not many boundaries in the group but there were big boundaries between us and the outside world. Officially we did not do any judgment (yeah right!) but in reality we were making fun of the way everyone else besides us lived their lives. One reason I was scared to leave was because every time anyone left, that person was ripped to shreds, how they didn't want to face their demons, how they ran away from their issues, how their lives were crap now, etc.
Re jobs, yeah it is impossible to describe myself with a job title but it just bugs me, so often now when meeting someone new (especially in a professional training program) the first question is "what do you DO? what is your job/career?" and for me, it's almost nothing and makes me feel like almost nothing. Even though I know that doesn't really define me but.... sure you can understand the feelings of worthlessness I'm going through.
Anyway it is nice to have people to relate to through this.