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After Scientology - Getting Over the Shame and the Guilt

Discussion in 'Life After Scientology' started by Gottabrain, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. Gottabrain

    Gottabrain Guest

    What do we do about the shame and guilt we personally experience after Scientology? (and how do we recover afterwards?)

    Is it a good thing - pointing out our flaws for us so that we may improve, or a bad thing - dragging us down into destructive self-loathing?


    This thread is a spin-off from Sallydance's Story: and some misc other posts.

    It begins with Sallydance's original reflections:

    About my shame…

    I want to write about my shame before I write about other things. I’m writing about the session I had where I became a limp rag doll, lost my marbles and then my health. I’m writing about other things too. But this shame – it has to come first.

    Shame has been my companion for far too long. In very hushed tones here, for these are feelings I do not easily put into words, I am about to make myself completely vulnerable. It would be easier for me, a 50 year old woman, to post a photo of myself in a bathing suit than write about this. It would be easier to discuss periods and menopause than do this. But I’m going to do this because it is time. It is time to let it go and suck up the vulnerability.

    Deep breath.
  2. Gottabrain

    Gottabrain Guest

    Comments and Advices About Guilt and Shame

  3. Gottabrain

    Gottabrain Guest

    Two Very Highly Recommended and Helpful Videos on Shame and Guilt:

    Originally Posted by SweetnessandLight :thankyou:

    Posted by The_Fixer: :thankyou:

    on YouTube: [video=youtube;psN1DORYYV0][/video]

    (more cross-posts to be added tomorrow)
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 28, 2012
  4. Royal Prince Xenu

    Royal Prince Xenu Trust the Psi Corps.

    I don't feel shame, nor guilt but, I certainly have strong twangs of embarrassment.
  5. Gottabrain

    Gottabrain Guest

    :yes: :duh:
  6. Student of Trinity

    Student of Trinity Silver Meritorious Patron

    I was never in Scientology, but I think I've picked up enough about it to understand why having been in it can seem shameful. I want to say two things, though.

    One: it shouldn't all be shameful. A lot of the reasons that people get into Scientology, and stay in, are good ones. And hanging on to Scientology after seeing the evidence against it mount, that's partly good, too. Accomplishing anything big in life takes commitment, to keep on slogging through setbacks. In a more worthy cause, that commitment is heroic. Duped into serving an unworthy cause, it's still no cause for shame.

    Two: some of it is shameful; but welcome to the club. An awful lot of people who were never in any cult wake up at fifty, or seventy, or whenever, and realize that they have wasted decades that will never come back, pursuing goals that weren't truly theirs, betraying the person they know they should have become. So lots of people have to deal with shame. Some more, some less — maybe; enough, anyway. Leaving Scientology, though, does mean this: you're getting that wake-up call in time to do something about it.

    When I read the New Testament, it tells me that what Jesus actually preached as good news doesn't sound like what most people think of as Christianity. His actual original line was, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. To me, what he meant was that the right path is always open. There's no need to make up lost time with a long catch-up journey to get back on track. Just a quick turn, wherever you are, and you're already there. At any rate that's what I believe, and often remind myself, and to me it is good news.
  7. AnonyMary

    AnonyMary Formerly Fooled - Finally Free

    I found that reading stuff on the internet helped me a lot. Especially after hiding for 10 years and not talking. Reading helped me talk, helped me put things in perspective. I did get Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for about a year, which helped because I had a lot of scientology in me to get rid of. But the shame and guilt lifted as I read and saw that I was not alone in my experiences, that other's, like those of or about Astra Woodcraft, Albert Jaquier, Maria Pia Gardini, Hana Eltringham Whitfield, Marjory Wakeman, even later ones like Jeff Hawkins, Mark & Claire Headley, John Duignan, sallydannce's and a host of others, were all important in my healing process.

    I kept a list of sites and stories that I'd read on the internet as I went along and began posting it back in 2006, 2007 on ARS forum, so others could read, too. Eventually the list wound up on ESMB ( thank you Free To Shine :) as a sticky for newcomers. It's not up-to-date- but there are many good and working links if you read through the thread:

    " Internet Resources on Scientology for newcomers"

    Arnie Lerma said it best for me: "The internet is the Liberty Tree " :thumbsup:
  8. Mick Wenlock

    Mick Wenlock Admin Emeritus (retired)

    oh god yes.
  9. Lurker5

    Lurker5 Gold Meritorious Patron

    Bumpity :bump2:

    This needs to be flagged for newbies. :yes:

    Shame can spiral down if one blames oneself for what happened. But really, it is a good heart that takes that route - gets into trouble in the first place, trusting innocently and/or with good intentions, and then blames self after the down fall.

    If anyone finds themselves contemplating taking own life, that the shame is just too much - that is a flag of spiralling. One can recover from that, and from the depression - and Life can (and will) be recovered. Seek help. When in that place, it is too heavy to carry the burden by oneself. Ask for help.

    Helping hands will help raise you up. :yes:

    And then you have this priceless gift to offer others who are in that place. Now you can help people - for real.

    If I knew how to link - I'd put Jewel's "Hands" right here:

    'If I could tell the world just one thing, it would be that we are all OK.'

    'I won't be made useless, I won't be idle with despair.'

    'Someone must stand up for what's right, for where there is a man that has no voice, there I/we shall sing.'

    'These hands are small, I know, but they're not yours, they are my own, and I am never broken.'

    Kindness matters . . .
  10. Demented LRH

    Demented LRH Patron Meritorious

    My encouner with Scientology was brief and painless, this is why I found it difficult to understand why some ex-Scientlogists are ashamed of their past.

    My cousin, who is a clinical psychologist, explained it to me. Victims of any kind of scam, including a money scam, feel deep shame because, in their view, they were so stupid that someone took advantage of them.

    I know an old lady who lost a lot of money to the crooks who called her on the phone once and anounced that she had won $ 6 million in a lottery that she knew nothing about. That scam cost her $100,000. Now she cannot face herself in a mirror because she is so ashamed of herself.

    Eventually the shame goes away, but it takes years of hard work.
  11. Jquepublic

    Jquepublic Silver Meritorious Patron

    I think you're predisposed to guilt and shame when leaving Scn because it's built into the belief system at every step of the way that it's the only hope of mankind. On the flip side, anyone who WOULD leave is defined in the most degrading terms. You're a failure for not having "gotten it", you're a failure for not having "made it go right", you're a failure for not having "taken responsibility" ...the list could go on. All Scn but staff in particular are considered failures if they choose to leave.

    So you work through all that and you start to decompress and then you have this unholy cacaphony of wtfs to deal with as you start to realise exactly what was happening to you. IMO that's the point when shame of association sets in, but I think that while that might be really uncomfortable, it's actually a sign that you've broken out of the cult mindset enough to start to see.

    For me, the shame didn't really start to diminish until I stopped blaming/hating myself for having experienced it in the first place. Yes, I made the choices that led me into it. But I was a kid without a clue about life in the real world, and there was nobody around to warn me ahead of time. I may hate the way my help was perverted in the end, but I still love the kid who dove in headfirst and tried to make the world a better place. In fact, I love her for the first time.

    I still don't wear an Ex-Cultie badge on my day to day, but I finally feel comfortable talking to people about where I was for all those years and why I recommend against anyone else doing the same. :eyeroll:
  12. SchwimmelPuckel

    SchwimmelPuckel Genuine Meatball

    'xactly! - I 'm having another twang, anyone with me?

  13. sallydannce

    sallydannce Gold Meritorious Patron

    I have become fascinated with my shame. Fascinated in the sense that I had no idea it was as prolific and profound and deep as I now discover it is.

    Shedding shame, for me, is an inside job. No amount of reading, no amount of soothing from others (and at times, I have had some of the kindest most beautiful supportive people imaginable in my life), no amount of thinking about it - nothing - seems to have eased my shame.

    What has eased my shame is feeling it. Really sitting with it and feeling it. With extreme vulnerability, with every cell screaming "what a dick you were!", with a choir of voices yelling at me "duh! duh! duh! duh!", I mindfully sat with it and observed it. Ghastly! Not my idea of a fun Saturday night!

    Every impulse in me was insisting to run and hide from it. Pack it away and shove my head in the sand and forget it. Mask it. Pretend. Fake it. Do. Not. Tell. Anyone. I. Was. In. Scientology. Ignore it and "move on". An attractive option, no doubt about it.


    My experience of healing has found me being frank and honest with own emotions. For me, there was no choice. And even that concept found me resentful and afraid. Why can't I just be a lightweight person. Just get involved in life and distract myself into old age? There are a million things I could have done to distract myself from my shame and lived life on the surface. Very alluring stuff.



    Deeper and deeper I want into various subjects, various unexplored emotions. I took every component of all I had learned about Hubbard, about his system, about myself and my own history, about everything I could lay my hands on.

    All I was left with was my own essence, which I know must sound so, well, full of shit really. lol. But this inside job, this matter of the heart (there is nothing intellectual about much of this), is deeply personal. It is the reason I was able to be scammed. It is the reason I was incapable of honestly observing why, at best, scientology is bizarre and, at worst, pure cruelty.

    For me, shame is the glue. It is the hook, the line and the sinker.
  14. Gottabrain

    Gottabrain Guest

    Contrary to some Christian interpretations of the Biblical Adam and Eve story, we are not actually born with a sense of shame or guilt, though we are born with other instinctual emotions and reactions, for example, fear of heights, recognition of mother.

    Shame and guilt are learned societal behaviours. These feelings are actually thrust upon us by others early in life (ages 2-5). These are the ages when we learn self-sufficient behaviour, initiative, judgment, planning and independence. In our attempts at self-sufficiency, we also learn frustration, aggression, assertiveness, self-limits, success and failure in goal achievement,'s_stages_of_psychosocial_development

    Many animals learn shame (perhaps guilt as well) from their groups. Many do not. Have you ever tried teaching a puppy not to poo in the house? Anyone who has, knows what I mean - the long face and brooding afterwards, the tail held down when the dog is scolded. :naughty: He feels ashamed, but he doesn't know yet what he did wrong, because he forgets so quickly and doesn't connect the action of pooing in the house with "bad dog". :no: So we show him the poo, try to get him to make the connection. Eventually, if he's somewhat normal and you're a good trainer, he understands. Good doggy!! :thumbsup::clap: Tail wags again - puppy is happy, he did the right thing! :happydance:

    Did you know wild animals do this as well? Animal behaviour fascinates me. I've been studying wild parrots almost daily for 8 years now and have this to share from another thread.

    In the last few days, I've been trying to put this all together.

    Guilt is what one feels after one has done something wrong. Shame, on the other hand, is a lack of self-worth caused by rejection by a group or individual.

    Shame is a LEARNED behaviour and it is also in direct opposition to a person or animal's personal survival.

    Parrots with beak and feather disease regained a sense of belonging and lose their shame when they are put in a flock of similar birds. Most wild parrots, having never been picked on or excluded from their flock, never demonstrated shame of any kind.

    The few disabled birds that do not exhibit shame or guilt behaviours are a fascinating study in themselves. Some have more than one flock or are a bit more cunning or observant than the average parrot. It appears that they have learned to hone their skills in a more individualised way, instilling a sort of self-confidence that they are worthy. They are not picked on nearly as badly as the others, either - the flock mostly treats them as "not really worthy, but not a disability either. Ignore".

    The others, well - it is a self-perpetuating cycle. The more shameful they act, the worse they are treated. Their "shame" behaviour gives the others the idea they actually have a reason to be ashamed and acts like a magnet to the bullying ones.

    My whole take on it is - Guilt is useful, but shame is personally destructive. Shame is a group mechanism, guilt is a personal mechanism. If you don't believe in yourself yet, start acting like you do, anyway, because it will change the way others treat you and eventually, you WILL believe in yourself.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2012
  15. Boomima

    Boomima Patron with Honors

    Oh, this is kind of heartbreaking. There a guy in Texas and another one in Tarpon Springs who should feel shame and guilt.

    You joined a group to make the world a better place. Many of you made a huge personal sacrifice in an attempt to make the world a better place. That's more effort than most people expend.

    Many of you now are working to share your experience in an attempt to help other people. Again, that's more effort than a lot of people expend to help strangers. You have nothing to be ashamed of.

    Hell, a lot of people would not have been strong enough to say "This is f'd up. I was wrong."
  16. Adam7986

    Adam7986 Declared SP

    Scientology is all about Shame and Guilt.

    Just realize that you don't need to live up to anyone's expectations except your own. Scientology tells you who and what you should be, now you can tell yourself. There's no need to be ashamed.

    Guilt is an intensely personal thing and we all deal with it differently. If you can't make up for something you've done then you just have to live with it and move on. If you feel like you want to make up for something or that you can somehow, then do the best you can to make things right.
  17. Gottabrain

    Gottabrain Guest

    ^I like this. Beautifully and succinctly put, Adam. :thumbsup:
  18. sallydannce

    sallydannce Gold Meritorious Patron

    I agree! :)
  19. Type4_PTS

    Type4_PTS Diamond Invictus SP

    Here it is. :coolwink: