Ex California Cult Member

Barbie

Patron
^^^^^ This!^^^^^
And of course you can hang out around here if you like our flavour because we have no secret agenda to conscript you either and maybe we would benefit from knowing there are others who had to "esape" groups that were not Scientology. Sometimes our own experience can be so real to us that we forget there are others :D

Welcome!

Natascha

I do like it here. First because everyone has been not only open and welcoming but also quite helpful. And as you said 'our own experience can be so real to us that we forget there are others' and I have been reading pages and pages of others experiences here. Very eye opening!
 

Barbie

Patron
Live a lot, intensely, and build new associations. In 18 years, folding a napkin once a day leads to 18 x 365 = 6570 foldings. If you have folded a napkin 100 times outside your cult that is still a ratio of 65 to 1 in favour of a cult association over a non-cult association.

WOW! Thank you for the perspective. And it is a great suggestion to find things that are not associated to the cult... hard though, but a very useful challenge. ESMB for one is NOT related to my cult.
 

scooter

Gold Meritorious Patron
Thank you. An AnonSydney friend also told me about this group and said they had group meetings but I could not find the dates on their website. He sent me an email with the most recent meeting date but I could not make it.

Do you know if they meet regularly? I usually don't go for 'group therapy' but in this case I think it would really help. Already the wonderful responses on this site have really lifted my spirits!

They do meet regularly AFAIK but email them and they'll tell you when.

It's not "therapy" per se but a place to get info and meet with people who know what you going through because they've been through it directly.

They are all nice people who've suffered at the hands of a toxic cult - and there's plenty more around than just Scientology
 

Mick Wenlock

Admin Emeritus (retired)
Hi. I have been reading the posts on ESMB for a couple weeks now and I just wanted to say thank you to all the people who have posted so openly and honestly about their experiences.

I left a cult in California a bit less than a year ago when I moved to Australia. The cult was not Scientology, but from my reading, many of the mind control techniques used were the same. I was in for 18 years and now I am trying to adjust to a life in the real world.

One thing I am still struggling with is the intense need to ‘belong’ to something. I was (am) even checking out other ‘groups’ like Saint Mat, the Rosicrucians, and Scientology. It was a visit to Scientology and a very upsetting auditing experience that actually made me see some of the damage my cult had done to me.

Through that I have met a few very supportive friends in Sydney who are ex cult members. Anyone else I speak to about my experiences seems to look on me like an idiot… how else could you get involved in a cult… you must have a weak mind…

I would like to move on but even the simplest things I do bring up an association to my cult, like folding my napkin, opening a door, or looking a person in the eyes. And sex, especially sex.

How can I separate myself from these associations? I left my husband, my home, my animals… but I can’t leave these reactions in my mind.

I would be grateful for suggestions to resources on cult recovery, and especially grateful for any personal advice you might want to give on how to clear your mind from all the cult programming. After 18 years in, it sometimes seems like that is the only mind I have left. I have forgotten how to be myself.

Barbie,

Talk about it - talk about it on here with us - most of us on here have been damaged by cult membership, most of us know EXACTLY what you mean when you say you have forgotten how to be yourself.

The bad news is - we were all damaged. the great news is - we do heal.

Therapists are, by and large, useless unless they have had extensive exposure to cult involvement. (IMHO)

If I may suggest reading Steven Hassan's book "Breaking the bonds"? May be of help.

You are not alone Barbie - far from it.
 

Mick Wenlock

Admin Emeritus (retired)
Barbie,

a quick question and you do not have to answer this (one of the healing steps in recovering from a cult is rediscovering the boundaries of privacy!) but you have not mentioned which cult you were involved in ? Do you fear some sort of retribution? (as you will have seen on here it is a very common fear among ex members of cults).

I am interested in not just Scientology but in the recovery from other cults as well.
 

Barbie

Patron
They do meet regularly AFAIK but email them and they'll tell you when.

It's not "therapy" per se but a place to get info and meet with people who know what you going through because they've been through it directly.

They are all nice people who've suffered at the hands of a toxic cult - and there's plenty more around than just Scientology

Thanks, I emailed them and they responded right away. I think it would be good for me to meet others who are out. I had a lovely meeting with an ex-Scn yesterday and she really lifted my spirits.

BTW, what does AFAIK mean?
 

Barbie

Patron
Barbie,

a quick question and you do not have to answer this (one of the healing steps in recovering from a cult is rediscovering the boundaries of privacy!) but you have not mentioned which cult you were involved in ? Do you fear some sort of retribution? (as you will have seen on here it is a very common fear among ex members of cults).

I am interested in not just Scientology but in the recovery from other cults as well.

I will pm you.
 
I was in a highly abusive relationship for about three years before escaping. Ten years later, I still occasionally identified 'triggers' of how my reactions were still shaped by that experience. Annoying-- I wanted to be fully 'over it,' but there I was.

One year out after 18 years in? Give yourself time. Accept that experience shapes perception for better and for worse. Recognizing "Oh, that's a trigger" is a great way to defuse the intensity of the feelings, and gaining new, different experiences increases options on how to perceive. So: Live, live, live, as Dulloldfart suggested. With time you'll gain distance to be even mildly amused by your own knee-jerk reactions. It's a strange feeling.
 

Alanzo

Bardo Tulpa
Barbie wrote:

After 18 years in, it sometimes seems like that is the only mind I have left. I have forgotten how to be myself.
One thing that helped me was thinking back to that person I was when I first got involved, and looking at the problems I had in my life then - right before I came in contact with the cult.

I looked at the friends I had, the situations where I worked, where I went to school, and how I felt about things.

And then I looked at what they said to me in the cult after I told them about my life, and I was able to see how my cult became a solution for the the problems I had, one after the other.

Seeing the problems I had at the time I joined gave me a truer sense of who I really was when I joined.

Who I was when I joined, was who *I* had created myself to be.

Who I was when I was in the cult was how *they* created me to be.

My pre-cult self was my true self - the one I had created on my own, without anyone's "help". And that is how I got back in touch with it, and how I began to re-create my true self again.

So welcome to ESMB, Barbie!

By the way, the people who were first attracted to Scientology are some of the best people in the world.

Oh yeah, also: continually remind yourself to give yourself some slack.
 
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Kookaburra

Gold Meritorious Patron
Hi Barbie,
It's great that you have started to post. Putting your thoughts and experiences to the printed word can be very enlightening.

I think that the more you read about other peoples experiences the more you will realize what happened to you. There are plenty of stories and threads on here.

Here's one that will keep you busy.
Best Threads for New Arrivals?

The other thing I can suggest is keep busy with activities that you enjoy. Join a gardening club, pottery classes, scuba diving, or whatever takes your fancy, but NOT another cult! You will meet people and make new friends given a little time.

It's always hard to start from scratch in a new place where you don't know anyone. That's why cults practice disconnection/shunning. It's a manipulation using your vulnerabilities. Just recognize it and get on with your own life.
 
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