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Getting Out : Leaving

Will the Family upbringing ever get out of our system?

from ginger52 - Wednesday, March 08, 2006
accessed 1910 times

I've always been one of the ones that make fun of and never understood people that sit on this website and blame the Family on their problems and can't seem to move on with their lives. I left about 7 years ago work fulltime and am now getting myself through Nursing school all on my own. It's been a hard road being there was no education in the Family, but I studying more then anyone has studied, probably cry more than anyone else and am getting through it. But lately as I'm coming to the end of school, trying to find a job, what area I want to work in, what my interests are, I am becoming angrier and angrier with the Family and the upbringing I've had. I'm to the point that I think counseling would be good for me, if you had asked me that 1 year ago I would have joked about it and laughed at you in the face.

In the Family, as we all know, we are not taught to make decisions, to have an opinion, to care about what your beliefs are, you are not taught to think critically about situations. In fact, you are put on silence restriction for months and prayed over with tongues and weeping for thinking that way. The brainwashing we talk about is completely to the point. Iíve tried so hard to start new and to forget the obvious, the sex abuse, the horrible parenting but I guess you can never get away from everything.

I hate blaming it on my upbringing as everyone says, ďso many people have had bad childhoodĒ, but ours was not just bad it was debilitating. Iíve gotten past the no education, but trying now to find a job and decide what I want to start in is virtually impossible, I want someone to make them for me (that is how we were raised), in Nursing everything you do is critical thinking, and I seem to not be able to do that, I want to state what I have memorized and have a hard time, critically looking into what else could be wrong with the patient.

I feel like I am so overly understanding of every side of every situation that I canít have a definite opinion on situations I always freaking Ďgetí both sides. I come across so 2 faced when Iím not, I just was punished for taking sides. I feel guilty with every friend I have because I feel like I am hiding who I am to them. They know me on the surface but nothing about the real me and why try to explain it? They still will not understand.

I just had to vent, I want people to see that is wasnít just the sexual abuse that we dealt with but the intense emotional abuse too that is almost harder to deal with. I am a horrible writer and Iím sure I could expound more on the subject but I just wanted to see if anyone else what going through this?

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from ESJ
Saturday, March 18, 2006 - 03:28

I feel that the long term psychological abuse of TF on its children is one of the biggest issues that needs much more attention. I remember the day when this aspect of TF's abuse really hit home to me in about 1993. I was on a long distance phone call to a newly-escaped Family teen in Europe (I think his name was John). I asked him, "How do you feel?" There was a long silence. I asked him again. Finally he stammered. "I don't know. No-one has ever asked me that question before in my whole life."
(reply to this comment)
From poignant
Saturday, March 18, 2006, 14:15

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(
I have a crude analogy (perhaps appropriately) about the Family childhood experience. They screw you and then tell you "It WAS good for you!"(reply to this comment
from solemn
Monday, March 13, 2006 - 11:37

I donít think that feeling of being an outsider ever goes away. I still donít feel like anybody really understands who I am, not even those closest to me. I have learned to be my own best friend and let those close to me love me for what they see in me even if I donít feel like what they see in me defines me. Maybe some of us are too complicated. Or, maybe we just feel too complicated so we keep the world at a distance because they might not understand. But maybe they donít need to understand. I try to think that itís enough to know someone cares about me, and that helps. ;o)
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from exister
Monday, March 13, 2006 - 07:13


What you describe is a phenomenon called Learned Helplessness. It happens pretty often in the Military due to the strictly enforced command structure and the all consuming social environment. People eventually just loose the capacity to make decisions for themselves.

I was a medic in the military for 7 years so I know where you are coming from with the tough choices at work. What worked for me was to stick to the protocols required for any given situation as closely as possible and hope for the best. There are situations in which there is more than one valid choice and you just have to choose one and run with it. Some choices turn out to be less than optimal and patients have bad outcomes and sometimes die as a result, but if you made a good faith effort to do the very best you could then you should come out OK, from a career standpoint at least. The emotional toll is a different story.

Eventually the emotional weight of all of that responsibility and all of those decisions adds up and often results in burnout. That might be the time to take a desk job for a while.

Good luck.
(reply to this comment)

from TFSurvivor
Sunday, March 12, 2006 - 21:50

I understand where you are coming from, especially the part about not wanting to blame everything on our upbringing. I've always believed that what happens after you turn 18 is your own responsibility. But every now and then I make exceptions in my mind for what I've been through. On one hand I want to succeed for myself and my own benefit, and on the other hand I want to fail just to prove that what they've done to us is permanent damage. It's such a simple matter of saying "I can't fucking do this anymore!"

What pisses me off most is when people within TF look at my life and say "See, if it's really as bad as you make it out to be, you wouldn't be so successful. If it weren't for your childhood, you wouldn't be who you are today." Where do you draw the line and identify your own accomplishments due to who you are and not where you came from? My defiance and wanting to prove I was not going to be a nobody was a major part of my drive to succeed. But when did it switch from trying to prove something to actually desiring what I wanted to acheive? When I saw a nice car, or a nice house, or daily dinners at fine restaraunts I started to want it for me and not to make a point. I often wonder if I would be as ambitious if I had not had my background. I would have had a better education, but would I have wanted to succeed that bad? They don't deserve credit for my accomplishments.

The other point you mentioned is the part about critical thinking. Since you've been in school this whole time, you may have delayed some of what I went through when I first left. It was refreshing at first to have all these choices, and options. But I grew weary of it quickly when I found out how easy it is to make the wrong mistake. I over-analyze things too much, and second guess myself.

What you are going through may be due to the fact that you are going into something you are supposed to be educated in and yet you have little to no real life experience with it. Everyone goes through that in some way or another, just probably not to the same degree that you will. The good news is that almost every job has a grey area for beginners. They may throw you in over your head, but that's where you learn to swim. You will make many mistakes and you have to accept it. Learning to think critically in rough situations takes practice. Panic is natural and needs to be overcome. Don't set expectations for yourself that you cannot meet. Accept that it will be rough in the beginning and that you will make mistakes. People will yell at you. Not everyone will be happy. But that's just how it is. If you can accept it, and know that you are facing rough times, it may be more bearable.

Choosing your specialty or career path is a big step, and it's made harder when you've never had to make a big decision in your life. But guess what? You have made a big decision! You left The Family didn't you? I'm not sure what terms you did it under, but if it was your choice think back to that time. Was it a scary decision? Sure, now you know it was the right one, but back then were you scared? Chosing one specialty does not tie you to it for life. The world is full of people who regreted their initial decision and backtracked to change careers, locations, etc. Nothing has to be permanent. Always imagine your situation is flexible. Keep another option open in your mind so you don't despair when things don't go the way you planned.

As far as being decisive on things, that's your choice. No one said you had to feel strongly one way or another. If someone asks for your opinion on something that you feel undecided on, be confident in your indecision. A lot of people don't mind talking to someone who is open minded on an issue. It makes them feel like they might get their point across to you, and hey they just might. If anyone makes you feel foolish for being undecided or "two-faced" as you put it, just ignore them. They came to the wrong damn person. Most likely over time and experience you will start forming opinions on things, but you don't need to make those opinions in haste.

The last thing I wanted to say is that when it comes to thinking critically at work, build a logic before getting to the decision making stage. This may sound long, but with a lot of practice, I go through these steps in my mind within seconds to make a sound decision. These work for me, and you will have different options that work for your job.

  1. What is the issue/job/question, etc.? Identify the problem in terms you can understand, and repeat it back to yourself, and if you have someone else involved repeat it to them. This often helps you close in on what you are doing, especially if you are surrounded by distractions.

  2. What are my options? Think of as many options as you can even if they sound absurd at first. Humor yourself at some of the things you can think of. This helps reduce the stress involved in making a decision.

  3. Narrow down your options. Are all your options legal? Do they conform to your company's code of ethics? Do not do anything that is illegal or against the rules even if you don't believe it's right. You need to cover yourself first. You can easily justify things that are within regulation.

  4. Who will each option benefit, and who do you feel deserves the most benefit? Again think of yourself first. Don't give priorty to anyone or anything that has the potential to hurt you in the long run.

  5. What risks are involved? For me this is where my options narrow. I always think of the worst scenario and base my decision on what I would be most comfortable with.

  6. Make your decision.

These steps are specific to my job, so you have to figure out what works for yours through trial and error.

(reply to this comment)

from Hunk
Friday, March 10, 2006 - 20:55

Dear Ginger52,
When I learned TF came from a Pentecostal background, then found out what Penecostals beleive , how they act and also how they discilpine their children, Yep,m what you went through was all from Berg's teachings. He was originally a pentecostal
preacher and his mother , well you see the way she disciplined him too. This is the way TF "learned " to act. Like crazy Pentecostals frantically waving their arms in the air hoping that the HOly Spirit will come down upon them like grape jelly
or super glue.
IT comes from the strong background of condemning those who do not follow you or your opinions, which Berg did and Maria does. They look down on people. TF is taught to think of themselves as superior to any other Christian who is not in TF. Even in their own ranks they have different levels of so called "service" the upper levels are supposed to be the elite, the closest to God, then there are the ones who are inferior underneath but the Family will tolerate thembeing around as long as they pay their tithe.
Be thankful you are out and still have a chance to make something out of your life. Be proud that you were superior enough to leave and you dont need to succumb to the condemnation trip they try to impose upon you. Even after people leave they still try to control them by making them feel inferior, or condemned or bad about leaving.
Dont fall into their Pentecostal garbage disposal trap.
Bergs and MArias thing always was, if you leave TF God will throw you on the garbage pile and you will dissapear into oblivion.Good for nothing, and you will be lucky if God spares your worthless life. Is that how you felt when you left? I did. But I got over it when I learned that The FAmily's perception of God and His ways and dealings are totally, totally I mean very seriously out of whack, and many Pentecostal churches can be out of whack as they come.
Keep climbing the mountain of success and you will make it.

(reply to this comment)
from iratepirates
Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 19:37

The experience will always be there like a annoying shadow.Just be careful not to call on the power of the keys in front of your friends on accident (funny story behind that BTW)
(reply to this comment)
From ginger52
Sunday, March 12, 2006, 08:54

And I think that is what it is, it doesnít necessarily hinder me from doing what I am doing but it is just always there with every situation.... so frustrating.(reply to this comment
from Left in 2000
Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 18:20


I left The Family 6 years ago and started at zero like everyone else who has left. I am now very successful, put myself through college, started a business, got married, had a kid and will make millionaire status this year. All in 6 short years. Someday I'll write more about my experiences and journey. I think life is about building on past experiences and overcoming the impossible.

(reply to this comment)

from Cultinvator
Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 17:06


We have to admit to ourselves that we are not really the 'bradybunch' normal kids, even though many of us might have had a lesser level of trauma depending on the comunity we lived in, the cult is in us all for good, because we lived in it. However I've noticed for myself that the cult inside doesn't have to be reflected outside even though it feels like it at times, and I usually trust people who I get a hint, are accepting and have at least a slight amount of imagination or education as to what the context of my life in an alternative setting would add up to be. I personally get along with less conservative and structured people who are more accepting and who are into new ways of being in this post modern world, there is also the other extreme of frieks who have no boundries, but in general I just don't trust anyone unless I get a vibe that they're cool with being unordinary. Then it's only a matter of not offering more than they want or need to know to work or socialize together. I usually find that my relationship with people is usually a lot more about what I'm doing with them than about where I come from.

Then that's one perspective, but I enjoyed reading your post.
(reply to this comment)

from Rain Child
Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 05:22

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
I totally get where you're coming from. To me, the biggest damage is those areas of my personality which were shaped by our upbringing. The other stuff I can put in the past, but the head stuff- the fear of confrontation, and the not knowing who the real me is...other things too, well that stuff can't possibly be put in the past, because it's part of my present, and probably my future for some time to come. I'm like you, it's hitting me slowly. At first I used to say, "I was never abused", but as more time goes by, I've come to realise that I was abused all my life, I just didn't have the mental freedom to understand yet. Not to allow someone's personality to develop into an individual- that's abuse. Teaching them as an impressionable child all sorts of rot dreamed up by an insane alcoholic as facts- that's abuse. Telling them they're expendables made to be worn out on God's altar- that's abuse. Telling them they'd better not value their personal family above 'God's work'- that's abuse. Punishing them for asking honest questions and not allowing them to read or learn when they want to so desperately- that's abuse.

So I completely get where you're coming from. I think for the first few years after leaving, there's this euphoria, and you don't feel bitter, just so happy to be alive and eager to see what the world holds for you. Then as time passes, and you've begun to create your new life, you step back for a breath, and it begins to hit you. You know that you can never be as close to the people around you, maybe even your spouse, because they will never know where you've been and come from and there's no way to ever explain. It's lonely, and anger sets in. But even the anger makes you more lonely than ever, because if you become angry at your own parents, maybe even your siblings, how alone would you be then?

It sucks.
(reply to this comment)
From ginger52
Sunday, March 12, 2006, 08:57

I'm glad someone understands :)(reply to this comment
From Rain Child
Tuesday, March 21, 2006, 05:24

Would you happen to be in Australia?(reply to this comment
from vixen
Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 04:52


In short, no.

But one learns to deal with it, for the most part :-)
(reply to this comment)

From vixen
Thursday, March 09, 2006, 05:18


Just wanted to add that, once one gets the hang of how to think more critically, our background can actually be used as an advantage, in academic terms. I am told time and time again by my tutors and my fellow students that I am able to think 'outside the box' seemingly much more effortlessly than most. This is, I believe, due to the fact that I am intensely sceptical and will not accept any position at face value. And I can trace that trait right back to my upbringing and the way in which everything that made up my identity was prescribed to me for so many years. I am now revelling in the fact that academia takes the complete opposite view - the more critical one is, the better (at least in the Social Sciences), and consequently I get to indulge my rebellious, questioning side as much as I want :-)

I know what you mean about feeling like you have no real steadfast opinion on anything. I often feel that way, but I actually take pride in it and also see it as an advantage, at least in an academic sense. There are, in my opinion, no absolutes (or very few, anyway) and I like it that way. It means that I am free to go where my thinking takes me, if you like.

Friends, well, I empathise with you on that one. I find it hard to make friends too, but that is probably due to my cynicism more than anything - I limit myself in that area, really, because I don't want the hassle of having to try to interact in a meaningful way with people who will have little concept of what I am about. That being said, everyone I study with knows about my background, as does anyone who I have more than a passing acquaintence with, and in a way I feel that it is better that way, for me, anyway, because at least I don't have to constantly explain why I don't have the same degree of cultural capital as them.(reply to this comment

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