Special Needs for Second Generation Ex-Cult Members

Discussion in 'Life After Scientology' started by Free to shine, Jul 22, 2016.

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  1. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    Although this article doesn't specfically mention scientology, it does of course work exactly the same way.

    We are now up to 4th or even 5th generation scientologists, and it's a subject I hope gets a lot more discussion and attention. I know it's a problem in my family.

  2. Udarnik

    Udarnik Gold Meritorious Patron

    Here is a great resource for those recovering from Fundamentalist Christianity in a way that very much mirrors the Cadet Org - Fundamentalist Homeschooling: Homeschoolers Anonymous. I think multi-gen Exes will find a lot of common ground and shared wisdom, there.

    Another good blog from the UK is Leaving Fundamentalism.
  3. Knows

    Knows Gold Meritorious Patron

    The second generation cult members are not the only ones who are subject to abusive relationships and other cults if they leave without "deprogramming".

    I have seen TONS of 1st generation ex members get sucked into other cults, MLM scams and abusive relationships because they won't look at the internet nor admit they need help.

    They are rather unpleasant people too.

    Very big egos and altitude problems. They are nasty human beings really.

    The product of Scientology is nasty and it does take a BIG BEING to confront the truth about what it does to a person and change it so you can be loving, kind and forgiving w/o a huge ego and altitude that you are "elite" and better than others.
  4. Udarnik

    Udarnik Gold Meritorious Patron

    Johnny Scaramanga's latest post touches on just this phenomenon:

  5. dchoiceisalwaysrs

    dchoiceisalwaysrs Gold Meritorious Patron

    great article by Lee Marsh

    About Lee Marsh

    Ex-JW. DFed. A survivor of child sexual abuse, physical abuse and emotional abuse. Survivor of spousal abuse - sexual, emotional and financial. Survivor of sexual assault. And one last one - survivor of ethnic/political abuse. Left the first husband (JW) and lost my home. Left the second husband (never a JW) and lost my home. Wound up homeless for 9 months living out of one tiny room at the YMCA. But I still survive and thrive.


    I would like to include this excerpt as I feel it pinpoints a very important aspect that I have had to deal with. And for those who may not know, I was a first Generation scientologist although pay attention to the part I bolded and underlined in her article. I would also add that I think it may require more than just the mental recognition to think for oneself but also the emotional freedom or otherwise to say the release of past emotional induced restraint habits acquired under such dynamics.

    ****Lorna Goldberg, LCSW, PsyA, Board member and past president of ICSA, is a psychoanalyst in private practice and Dean of Faculty at the Institute of Psychoanalytic Studies. In 1976, she and her husband, William Goldberg, began facilitating a support group for former cult members that continues to meet on a monthly basis in their home in Englewood, New Jersey. Lorna has published numerous articles about her therapeutic work with former cult members in professional journals

    ........ AS SHE DESCRIBES....

    Later as a therapist, I knew the mistake that many abuse survivors make when they finally leave abusive families. They get involved right away in yet another abusive relationship. I know that was true for me, and more than once.

    The dynamics of abuse are the same, whether it is in a relationship with one person, your family, your community, a high-demand religion or another high-control group. It’s all about control and depriving you of your basic human rights, including the right to think for yourself.

    Going to the University gave me the tools to think for myself. But looking back, I did not then believe that I had that right, as I did not trust myself, knowing I was making the same mistakes over and over again. Therapy would have helped me realize the error in my thinking and to learn: If I wanted to take control of my life, I had to believe I had the right to do so!


    Last edited: Jul 22, 2016
  6. Glenda

    Glenda Gold Meritorious Patron

    I am not 2nd generation. For some time I have observed 2nd generation ex-scientologists (and to a lesser degree 3rd generation). I can only comment on these issues as an observer and based on my own experiences recovering from scientology.

    There are in my mind, without any doubt, many differences for a 2nd generation ex-cultie. Yes they are susceptible to repeating the abusive patterns in both intimate connections and ideology groups. But, imo, there is something more fundamental they face.

    I am going to go into this a little more than I might usually because I think this subject tends to be glossed over and not given much attention. To be honest that bothers me because the sense of isolation I felt in my recovery was extreme, and it is my opinion that the 2nd+ generation ex-culties feel an even greater sense of isolation and face an even greater struggle to integrate into the world, etc.

    There is a lot of emphasis on thinking. Critical thinking this, critical thinking that. This is relevant and valid. But there is way more to humans that just thinking. I observe this daily as I work with small children, many of whom are somewhat challenged in various ways. I also have a close association with people involved in the care of autistic children/young adults. I’ve had some very robust discussions with them and also with a very experienced doctor of psychology (for my own therapy) about issues of development and external influences.

    There are many factors in play as a young child develops. It is my observation that environment is very important in the early stages – up to about 6 or 7 years of age, though this varies. I work with a small boy who is being indoctrinated into a religious faith. It both fascinates and horrifies me some of what he says. Already at the tender age of 3 or 4 he has a limited view of certain things, and an intolerance of things outside the conditioning he is being exposed to. It is obvious the impact this has on his emotional experiences and his behaviour. Given my background I find what is being done to him by supposed well-meaning adults cruel. He is a very intelligent child but already functioning within the confines of a synthetic conditioned personality. Every so often the “real him” explodes out and we witness this gorgeous multi-coloured child. At those times I want to tell him to stay that way. I want to tell him to stay full of curiosity about the whole world without the filters and limitations he is being conditioned with.

    Contrast this to a couple of other small children I am close to. They are allowed to explore their worlds, their feelings, etc., without heavy conditioning into one view being inflicted. I regularly witness the “real them”. Full of passion and wonder and joy and sensitivity. They challenge and push the limits because they are allowed to. They have less fear about the world, a stronger sense of who they are (concurrent to their ages).

    A child being raised in a fanatical home is not allowed to freely explore who they are without interference from the adults forcing their conditioning on the child. A classic example of this is using touch assists with young children. In scientology this becomes normalised behaviour. It isn’t. It doesn’t build natural resilience to the usual bumps and scraps kids experience. Hurt yourself, dust yourself off, get a little comfort from someone and bounce back. Scientology kids aren’t allowed to do that, they have to plug into the thought “hurt, do assist”. That’s just one example of what is inflicted on scientology-raised children, there are myriads more. Scientology raised children are disempowered on an hourly, daily, basis. There is no natural development, no robust resilience allowed. Everything has to be tainted with “the tech”.

    As I mentioned above, I work with small children. We heavily work with patterns when we are faced with destructive behaviour(s) or supporting a child who is struggling with emotional melt-downs, etc. Humans are creatures of patterning. That’s what I worked hard with as I deprogrammed myself from the cult. I de-patterned huge thought-patterns, emotional patterns, behaviour patterns. Young children are learning from forming patterns. Everything from learning to socialise, to learning how to write is about forming patterns.

    A scientology raised child is patterned into cult think, cult emotional responses, cult behaviour. It is normalised by the adults around them using constant conditioning. A person gets lost in that stuff. A child, that knows no other way, is never given the opportunity to honestly, without limitations, explore their own inner sense of themselves, walks through life with invisible challenges. To some degree we all face some of this stuff, as no parenting is “perfect”. However the child of a truly fanatical background, such as scientology, faces a whole lot more trials.

    Breaking those ingrained patterns once that child grows up and leaves the fold is extremely challenging. They have nothing to fall back on, nothing to draw from. So yes that does leave them susceptible to other controlling, disempowering people/groups. But more than that, it leaves them lost without a strong sense of who they are and a natural ability to tackle life’s issues in a healthy robust way. They stand in a world they don’t feel connected to, with a head-full of scientology words and concepts rattling around in their heads. They stand in a world that seems cold and uncaring because that is how they have been conditioned to perceive the world. Their struggles are real but invisible. Their journey to connect to their own sense of themselves, their own thoughts, their own natural healthy emotional responses and behaviour - untainted by scientology conditioning - is a difficult one, imo.
  7. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    Thankyou so much Glenda for understanding what I'm talking about.

    I have brought this subject up quite a few times over the years and the discussion often veers towards critical thinking, as Glenda says, or is not discussed at all. Perhaps that is because there are so few who have experienced this particular upbringing who are now speaking out, I don’t know. There are some wonderful people who have written about being raised in the Sea Org, where the problems are magnified, but how about the generations who are apparently “normal” members of society? These are the hidden casualties.

    When I first started getting counselling, my most common question was “Is this normal?” It took some time for my counsellor to understand why this was a problem and how seemingly common events caused distress and uncertainty. How can you relate to “normal” society when you have been living a double life where the exterior conforms to what is seemingly needed to survive and yet inside the unconscious programming tells you it is not that way at all. And this happens not because “This is what scientology says” but because “this is how I was brought up, what my parents taught me”. As a child you don’t know it is scientology.

    Those who went into scientology as adults at least have something else to compare it to, another way of life. If you are raised in it, you don’t. And if adults have extreme difficulty regaining critical thinking and coming to terms with abuse, neglect and betrayal, how on earth do children do that, even when grown? With great difficulty - first they have to know it happened.

    Scientology has it’s own particular evils which in my opinion make it so much more insidious than most cults. And one of them is this ‘appearance of normality’. There is nothing much to see on the surface, and the smiling and apparently successful member of society who was raised within a scientology environment appears ‘normal’. However actual conversation can reveal the dissonance within, the sometimes extreme struggle to ‘say the right thing’ whilst the conditioning is screaming the opposite. They learn to lie, to twist information into an 'acceptable truth' and it becomes second nature.

    For example I have siblings who still battle unconscious programming of ‘how it should be’. Bigger & better, bright smiles on the outside, make it go right, failure is not acceptable, don’t express emotions, don’t ask for help, make it go right no matter what, disconnect on command, don’t grieve at death, ‘it’s all your fault’ and the other thousand ways of labelling and thinking. These concepts are aimed right at the core of a person’s self respect and empowerment and their upbringing within scientology dictates their unconscious thinking – and they are not even scientologists! They were simply raised in it and then wandered off into life. They don’t have horror stories to tell, they think it is normal, for example, that as small children they had to cook sugar and water together to eat, because their parents are on course and haven’t fed them, why that $20,000 loan at 17 yrs old "because it good havingness and I can make it go right even if I can't afford it" resulted in bankruptcy. And so on. Yet they wonder why their lives are so difficult and they are so inexplicably and quietly sad, why their families fall apart.

    These are the generational ‘scientology affected’ people that are not seen and not understood.
  8. lotus

    lotus autonomous rebellous

    I like this topic you brought and what you both discuss as issues that are underlooked.

    I don't know why, but there is very little importance ( in term of number of topic and participation ) given to $cientology children and 2 nd generation re: their indoctrinement in the bubble withouth any other frame of reference when they get out of the bubble.

    I can hardly imagine the loniless - I too did felt it when I left..but It was different..I wanted to rebuild a ''normal life''...as a reference, but what is 'normal life' for a 2nd generation $cientologist.

    I observed a paradox sometimes..some of them(when still young) leave and they seemm to me, in better mental shape and more able (more resiliency) to rebuild a new life out of the bubble than many 1st generationwho can't get free of this $cien BT's who invaded their mental and mind...:confused2: I can't explain this :confused2:
    Occasionaly, I read some of their stories and it seems to me they reframe their thinking , their belief, their valors, their behavior in groups etc...easier than some 1st generation $cn...the cognitive dissonance seems to be handled more easily...

    Is it because of the age ????
    Is it a false perception because I only read successful stories of them having left???

    Anyway, thank you for your sharing on those issues - This may certainly help to understand and help some of them who read.

    Last edited: Jul 23, 2016
  9. Glenda

    Glenda Gold Meritorious Patron

    Thanks for your reply FTS. You have given me a lot to think about and I will take my time, reflect and write more on this thread in the next day or so.

    However something comes to mind right now which I will attempt to articulate.

    You write: "I have brought this subject up quite a few times over the years and the discussion often veers towards critical thinking, as Glenda says, or is not discussed at all. Perhaps that is because there are so few who have experienced this particular upbringing who are now speaking out, I don’t know."

    Recently I have been reading The Body Keep Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma by Bessel Van Der Kolk (I wish I had more time to make better progress reading this fascinating book). I have a notebook I am keeping notes in (I wish I could find it but things are a tad messed up here due to recent moving house). A concept he writes about is people don't talk about things they can't find the words to explain, such as traumatic events.

    There is a tendency for kids that have been raised in masked-abuse to not be able to articulate what happened. They sort of keep it in a type of twilight zone, packaged up with plenty of self-doubt. I.e. Nah, it was normal, wasn't it?

    Abuse, mind-fucking, etc., can act as a form of trauma to an individual. We don't talk about some things because it is so on the outer edges of our comprehension, hence it becomes ineffable. Add to that the crippling emotion of shame and silence becomes the only solution. How the hell can a person talk about things they don't understand? They can't. I suspect this is possibly one good reason 2nd generation ex's don't talk much about the impact of the cult on their upbringings and lives.

    I'll try and find my notebook and explain this better. :)
  10. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    I think you so are right Glenda, exactly! First it has to be identified. The more that is written about this particular hidden problem, the easier it will be for those who follow.

    Lotus - I am wondering if it's also to do with age and normal generational/society attitudes. My 2nd generation siblings are in the 50-60 years range. 3rd generation are mostly in their 30's and tend to be a lot more confident and aware of what is possible for them to achieve, in tune with the social changes. That sometimes lessens the obvious effects, although the really deep rooted conditioning still remains and is obvious if you look for it. 4th generation - well I can't comment as disconnection has taken care of that, and thus it continues.
  11. lotus

    lotus autonomous rebellous

    Ah okay FTS, :wink2:

    That may explain this paradox
    Since I don't (presently) patronize any of them I don't have a closer observation nor confidence in how cult residue may be deeply rooted while not appearing obvious.

    Possibly dammages remain rooted in ''emotional and conditioning core'' that is not voice. (one thing I had observed though, with young 2nd generation kids of staff members often seen around the org, is their sadness though in this''world of adult who are engaged in a deadly serious activity'' :unsure:
  12. Glenda

    Glenda Gold Meritorious Patron

    Interesting observations FTS. This makes me think of conversations I've had with Women's Refuge staff about "generational abuse patterns". The older a pattern the harder it is to change. And these patterns do go generational.

    I also think the internet-age is changing things way deeper than perhaps we are realising. We are on new ground here, evolutionary stuff happening. The younger the person, the more internet savvy they tend to be. The toddlers of today know how to work a smart-phone, etc. Recently I had a conversation with an eight-year-old who had no idea what a paper phone book was. She has been raised with looking up phone numbers on a device. I explained paper phone books to her. The reality is she will never need a paper phone book. I was fascinated by that idea. I think she was too.

    So if we place this internet evolutionary shift beside mind-control cult-conditioning impact...

    It gets really interesting.
  13. lotus

    lotus autonomous rebellous

    Is it possible , as Glenda says, social media and internet, may made it almost impossible to disconnect the younger $cientologist from the outer word as we were in the 70's - 80's - confined to the $cientology bubble.
  14. Glenda

    Glenda Gold Meritorious Patron

    I suspect that this is a real possibility. The inter-connected nature of information flying around so fast must have a terrible impact on information controlling groups. There is an inherent curiosity in humans and you can contain it much easier if you deny access to "the other side of the story" (as happened to us folk back in the 70s & 80s). The information rich internet blasts through that like a hot knife through melted chocolate.

    There is a negative side to the internet also, I'm aware of that but for the purposes of this tiny little rant, I see a possibility that scientology is up against a major "enemy".

    Hey I know they could change the #1 enemy and start a campaign that basically states the psychs invented the internet, and, well, ya know the script. :)
  15. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    Absolutely and it gives me hope.

    However the patterning within a family can go on for a very long time. This is what needs identifying by those affected, because they probably would never think that is was something that their parents/grandparents set into motion in their lives.

    A good example of this is Kate Ceberano. She is a peer of my disconnected daughter and I can see a lot of similarities in their behaviour. As long as things toddle along nicely in her life, she will not question. Scientologists are so terribly good at hiding real feelings though, so any distress or hidden heartache stays squashed (with intermittent bouts of "Yay!" on completing some level which will last a little while) until one day it can't be squashed any more. That's when questions may begin.


    So whether they are active scientologists or not -and quite a few generational children who have left say "I was never a scientologist" - they are stuck with those awful, evil concepts and views on life to pass on down without even knowing where it came from.
  16. Glenda

    Glenda Gold Meritorious Patron

    Random thoughts here...

    I have witnessed patterns in my family. I can go back 3 to 4 generations and see the same behaviours, same mistakes, etc. Equally, good stuff has been also been passed down the generations.

    The subject of belonging is relevant I think. You know the story of my family - how one parent was painted all black, the other all white. There was a cohesiveness with the team that supported the "all white parent". None of us wanted to break rank. The way things had been for 40+ years was the status quo and God help anyone who dare to question it. We mirrored the abusive behaviour of the all-white-parent (who had developed the divisions within the family for his own sick needs). I was part of all this madness. I wanted to belong, I needed to belong. It's a deep thing this needing to belong.

    What I'm trying to say, probably in a clumsy way, is that where there are deep-seated abusive narcissistic concepts, and lines have been drawn, etc., and where strange ideas have been in the root system of a family unit for a long time (i.e. scientology) the core need to belong contributes to the capacity of people to question the status quo and to potentially break free.

    Tell me if I am not making sense and I'll try again. :)
  17. prosecco

    prosecco Patron Meritorious

    I was reading an article a few months ago about research into how trauma can be in our DNA. I would like the article, but it was in a waiting room, with other magazines.

    But the theory was incredible; that like physical characteristics, some trauma can be inherited.

    I don't know what I think about it.
  18. Udarnik

    Udarnik Gold Meritorious Patron

    That research has been pretty much discredited. Yes, epigenetic changes can, in rare cases, be transmitted to offspring. No, they don't control behavior or contribute to memory in any way similar to the '50-s - '60s era SF concept Hubbard glommed onto that is sometimes called "cellular memory".
  19. prosecco

    prosecco Patron Meritorious

    Oh god, I wasn't suggesting the "engram."

    But yeah, epigenetics is really fascinating, One of my doctor friends was telling me about a study in Japan, which I think studied the DNA of several generations of the population post nuclear bombs?
  20. Udarnik

    Udarnik Gold Meritorious Patron

    Now THAT I can believe. Radiation can change not only the primary structure of DNA but also of the histone "spools" it wraps around, and changing the histones would constitute an epigenetic change that might get passed on, even if the primary structure of the DNA was unmutated. I'm not sure about the effects of radiation on glycosylation (the attachment of sugar side chains to proteins) and methylation (side chains that can turn genes on and off or modulate them like a dimmer switch). I'll have to do some digging and add that to my epigenetics thread.