Cult survivor

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safetyinnumbers

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Cult survivor
« on: July 10, 2018, 01:24:43 PM »
I am a cult survivor. I grew up in a strict religious cult. There was little contact with the outside world and we were homeschooled to control our education and avoid outside influences. Our dress was required to be very modest (how I hate that word!) and it was a patriarchal society. We read the bible twice a day. There were twice weekly meetings, in our own homes.
Physical punishment was frequent and severe. My mum escaped from the cult and tried to take us kids with her but she was stopped by the elders. We were taught to hate her and she was destroyed by superior finances and tenacity in the family court till she gave up trying to see us. I was affected terribly, especially being an adolescent at the time. I tasted my first experience of depression, SI and the brutality of the cult. When they learned of my depression and SI, they berated me for it because only god gives life and takes away life. No help was sought for me.
We grew up reading of a vengeful god and jesus' return and I was terrified into baptism as a teenager.
I became an adult and a number of stressful events culminated in my depression and SI returning. This time, although I was still living under my father's roof, I took myself to my Dr and started on medication and seeing a psychologist. I knew it would have been frowned upon by the cult. I was really struggling and in the first signs of PTSD, I was being triggered by everything in the family home in relation to my mother. I sought my father's permission to move in with an older couple who I had befriended while I was volunteering in the community. They had experience with helping people with mental illness and offered me a safe place to try to heal. The cult believed that unmarried women must remain under their father's roof bc he represented the intermediary between her and god. My father reluctantly agreed and I moved in with the couple. I was in every other way still the same, attending bible meetings, reading my bible, meet my father in the mornings to carpool to work in the city. Then the cult found out that I was living away from home. I explained why and that it was with my father's permission. I didn't fear because I had done nothing wrong. However at the next meeting, the baptised men and women refused to fellowship me, one by one, for not living under my father's roof. I looked across the room to my father for help but he said nothing. He continued to do nothing after the meeting when they started talking to me and telling me that I should stop taking medication and seeing a psychologist and come home and that I had a lack of faith in god, not mental illness.
At the end of the meeting, I fled to my car and drove to my friends' place where I was safe. At this point I was faced with an impossible choice. I had been publicly shunned and shamed and my father was too cowardly to stand up for me. There was no possibility of stopping medication and seeing my psychologist. I had to leave the cult. Yet it was the only world I knew. I was utterly overwhelmed by the situation and could sleep or think except for SI. I admitted myself to hospital the next morning. I was unable to function and collapsed into bed with the mercy of sleeping pills to stop the pain for a while. I was in hospital for a week. When I didn't turn up to carpool to work, my father never called me. He apparently went home to wait for me to come to him. When he learned where I was, he never visited me.
I never went back to the cult or my father's home.
That's the short story. There's so much more but suffice to say that I have C-PTSD as a result.

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Kizzie

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Re: Cult survivor
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2018, 05:54:18 PM »
From what I've seen about cults they are definitely breeding grounds for the development of CPTSD so I am glad to hear you are out and have the help of a T.  Have you reconnected with your M?  She would likely provide some good support given she is out too and did fight for you (which imo means you are loved and that can be such an antidote to trauma). 

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safetyinnumbers

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Re: Cult survivor
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2018, 07:08:40 PM »
Yes, I have reconnected with my mother and in light of how the cult treated me, I didn't find it hard to understand her side of the story and forgive her part in my abuse because she is genuinely remorseful. However, the separation of ten years was too much to recover a loving relationship despite our efforts. We have an amicable relationship and I'm OK with that.

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integrity

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Re: Cult survivor
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2018, 07:45:19 PM »
I'm late to the party but thank you for sharing your story. I'm so glad you found your way out of the cult and into some help, and I hope that this forum can be helpful for you too.