I don’t Regret Living in a Cult

If you’re reading this then first of all I want to say a big THANK YOU! Thanks for stopping by even if you don’t read another word of this post, I still appreciate that you took the time to check things out on this little corner of the web.

No Regrets, Sort of

But what I really wanted to say was that I DON’T REGRET MY TIME SPENT IN A CULT! I didn’t always feel this way. For a long time I felt like twenty years of my life had just disappeared into a mad vacuum of religious zeal and that I had nothing to show for it besides a marriage in tatters and my two beautiful boys. But over time these feelings have changed and now I just see it as a bizarre chunk of my journey on this planet. A necessary part of my story.

And while I have come to terms with what happened to me while living in a cult I have to live with the things that I have said and done, the people I have mistreated (and none more so than my very own children) while under the influence of a warped dogma at Alon. I recognise that there are flaws in my character that allowed me to become a tool for unkindness. I can be haughty, I can be stuck up, I can be fanatical, I can be judgmental, selfish, narrow-minded and a whole long list of other things. And all these little chinks can be infiltrated by what I choose. I can choose to ignore my flaws and blame the world for my misfortunes or I can choose to look at them and look out for them and get them patched up as best I can, but it will never be perfect and I am accepting that now. I am a magnificently flawed human being! It’s not an incredibly insightful or original revelation but it’s good to keep reminding myself of this.

And yet I am writing this weird book-like blog and I sometimes cringe because the words that spill out from my keyboard sound so pitiful – but that is only one part of it and for the sake of getting the point across it seems like this part is necessary. I was hoping I could somehow flit over that stuff and not seem like a victim but a story unfolds in its own way as if it has a life of its own and the characters spring onto the page in ways I would never have imagined, even though I have already seen the entire plot in real time. So weird but so true.

Props to Glennon

Lessons of a Lifetime

The point is though, that I am content with who I am, this person I greet every day in the mirror, this person I observe in past, spend time with in the present and try to prepare for the future. I have learned lessons that some people take whole lifetimes to learn and it’s not because I am any more special or wise than the next person but simply because I have been afforded this unique, intense chapter in my life where I had to run to keep up and I was forced to adapt or die and to learn stamina and to do hard things (as Glennon Doyle would say) and to lose all my freedom so that I understand in such a poignant way that it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of you as long as you are being true to yourself. I say that it doesn’t matter but I do still care, I just know that I should care most about what I think.

What doesn’t kill ya….

Many people go through a crucible of some sort in the journey of their lives that molds and shapes their characters for the better. The process is painful and feels like it may kill you but in hindsight you can look back and say it made you stronger (cue Kelly Clarkson, baby!).

You should write a book

A preamble

“You should write a book.” This is what people tell me… all… the… time. And I nod in agreement because I know someone should. I am just not sure that someone is me.

I wasn’t ready

But… I started a blog, winging it for real , as an outlet for my overwhelming emotions and mental turmoil shortly after leaving Alon and it helped me. It probably would have helped me even more if I had consistently put my thoughts down in writing but life got in the way and at some point I decided to just lay it all to rest and focus on the here and the now. It hurt too much to keep re-hashing the past. Like scratching open an old wound just before it’s had a chance to heal.

There were so many nights that I cried myself to sleep mourning the loss of an entire existence, the crushing absence of people who were more family to me than my own blood relatives. And knowing that I couldn’t go back and I couldn’t stay in touch even with those, who like me, had chosen to leave. There were just too many triggers, I knew that I had to make a clean break in order to give my mind a chance to recalibrate.

But, truth be told, I am ready to look back now without moving backwards. I think that’s possibly the key. I can think about things without spiraling into entrenched thinking patterns and emotions that affect my very physical being.

Sept’ 2020… I guess my subconscious has been speaking to me for a while…

Is it my story to tell?

There is something else that has held me back – I am afraid of hurting people. First and foremost, I am afraid of hurting my husband and children by making our story public. I am afraid of hurting the many people that played a role in this tale of control and deception. But, it’s time to let that brain trap go too. Because as much as this is a story that belongs to dozens of people, it is my story too and I have the right to share it if that’s what I feel I should do.

And I do want to share it. I have spoken openly about my past to so many people because there is power in that. Truth and transparency are formidable forces. And I am by no means ashamed of where I have come from. My experiences have made me who I am today – as banal as that may sound, it is nevertheless the truth.

It’s important to remember that this is merely one version of the story – mine. If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that there are always two sides to every story and in this case you can make that about two hundred. So, if you don’t agree with the way I am recounting the events then you are entitled to your opinion. I am sure I will get things muddled up because memory is a fickle thing.

Anyway, for whatever reason, I know I won’t be able to fully rest until I have regurgitated twenty years of my life and hung them out to dry in fully formed sentences. Maybe it’s because this experience of living in a cult is far from an anomaly, and people need to be more aware of the pitfalls of controlling groups. Maybe it’s because I need to process this properly. Or maybe there is someone out there that will benefit from reading this. Perhaps I am just tired of nodding and afraid that if I keep at it I might just nod right off to sleep.

I don’t know anything about writing books though, so now I am writing a blog (of which I also know very little about!)

What’s with the new site?

So, I set up this new site, specially dedicated to telling a story and specially set aside for those of you that are truly interested. I have decided to make most of the content subscription based simply because I feel safer sharing this information with people who really are interested and in a way, I feel it is a way of showing respect to the the sanctity and humanity of the events that took place. I am not doing this to name and shame or to cause a stir.

Many of the names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved. Some names remain unchanged because the nature of their origin serves the story.

I invite you to join me now and step back in time…

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