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Getting Out : Inside Out


from carpediem - Saturday, January 03, 2004
accessed 1517 times

A little over 9 months ago I started dating a boy whose parents are Family members. He won't talk about it, but has given me permission to look into it. I want to understand.

He talks about how they moved around, and the different places he lived, but no more. He occasionally mentions how messed up his childhood was, and how much it screwed him up, but he doesn't elaborate. He told me I could look it up, but I don't know how reliable each source is.

I guess what I'm asking for is help to understand, if there is anyone who reads this that is around 17 yrs old (give or take...) and would have experiences to share to help me understand, I would be greatly indebted to you. I don't mean to pry, so if you're uncomfortable don't worry about it, I just want to know what kinds of things he could have been through to help me understand him and his beliefs.

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from Sonderval
Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 03:23


Hrm, I don't quite fit the criteria but I'll reply anyway, I'm now 25 years old, I left at 15 so at 17 I was ex fam.

I'll start off with saying it's almost impossible to say what your boyfriend has gone through, simply because the family is and was a very large organisation with a worldwide membership, what I experienced and how it affected me may be totally different to what your boyfriend experienced, so I think that what you will gain from any responses to this post should be treated with caution.

At 17 I was just starting to dabble in a lot of the darker aspects of life outside, I started taking a lot of acid, drank a lot and generally speaking started develloping some really bad behaviour patterns, the reason for this was I had found that the world outside was something of a disillusionment. From the inside I had seen it as a haven of free thought and speech, and thought that the inhabitants of that world would be more openminded and freer of thought than the inhabitants of the world which I had left, by 17 I had realised pretty conclusively that this was not the case.

My experiences of the outside world had left me feeling like a complete outsider, and the fact is it doesn't matter whether you are better or worse than normal, the problem is not one of inadequacy, it's in feeling that you're weird in some way, that you don't fit in, that the outside world simply doesn't want you there, this is a very hard thing to get over and took me several years.

Since 17 I have learned a lot about the world outside and have learned to excel here and found many friends (probably much like normal 7 year olds, feelings of alienation are pretty common I believe), I have learned a lot more about the good side of life from the many people I value, I have become a far more happy well rounded individual than I ever thought was possible, but it takes a lot of time and effort. Besides the above I also had a lot of other issues specific to things I experienced in the group, these were not issues that everyone would have as I've said people's experiences inside and out were very different. Your boyfriend may or may not have other things he's struggling with that will take him some time to deal with, and over time he'll probably share more with you, but some things are very personal and it's easy to feel that someone is invading your personal space just by being concerned.

In my opinion the best thing you can do for your boyfriend is not assume that he's like me, or like you, or like anyone else, just take the time and get to know him, and be there for him if you care about him, just knowing that someone cares about you for who you are is more important than anything else. It's even possible that your brother is one of the rare people who came out of the family totally unscathed, it does happen, albeit rarely, if that's the case then being convinced that he's some kinda messed up freak will probably just alienate him, either way I'd just recommend that you read up a bit on the family for background info and as far as understanding him goes don't look here, spend time with him instead.

Meh, botched this post as well a bit I think, rambling and disjointed, ruddy flu :-(
(reply to this comment)

From Another
Wednesday, January 14, 2004, 21:29



Sonderval gives good advice. I have gone through parallel phases on my journey for which I probably have just found somewhat different names than he has.

One thing I totally have in common with him is that "I have learned a lot more about the good side of life from the many people I value." One reason it takes a while, at least in my experience, is that in the Family one gets a very limited view of the outside world. What one is told is highly tendentious. The glimpses one is allowed in a weekly, screened and even "pow-wowed" movie does not fill the gap, not in 2 stylized hours. Nor does supervised contact with outsiders (if the contact is more than fleeting, favorable outsiders) for the purposes of soliciting. Then the Family constantly decries the "meaninglessness" of normal lives and laments the "spiritual wasteland" and general awfulness of the System. So once you are regularly taking what they say with a pound of salt, you may decide that they are wrong, but that doesn't do anything to explain what things *are* like. I had only seen a flannelgraph view of the world before I left. For those who have not had the joyous Sunday-school experience of flannelgraphs, the closest image might be a comic-strip view of the world. I could try to strike a pose I'd seen in a still, but I didn't know how to get from one frame to the next. What does one do in between?

Then I manage tear away, and the cognitive error I bring is that I think the world is just as ready-to-wear, off-the-rack as the Family, or that it has a "nature." But the world doesn't. I have to give it its nature. I have to give a nature to my life. I didn't grow up in a society that had the value of individualism, independence or self-reliance, in its economics or otherwise. So I jump headlong into catching up educationally (I didn't go to grade school or high school), and that along with all of the life basics that people take for granted is a lot to tackle, and it may take a while. In my case, academic learning was easier to salvage than the lack of socialization. So here I am, I have great degrees and a profession...but am behind in life, at 30, in a number of ways. I am lopsided.

I couldn't properly explore the things that ultimately make life worth living for me (and I didn't know when I escaped what they would be) when I didn't even have a handle on the basics of survival. By now "I have learned a lot more about the good side of life from the many people I value." There is a whole continuum of life, people and the world, and when you stumble resourceless out of the Family it would take a lot of luck to fall immediately upon a good context for oneself. If one did, one would in addition have to have the sense to recognize that it was a good one (even if it did not correspond to any alternative one had learned about, any recognizable story one had been told about the world from Family elders and which had thus become a point of reference, whether risky, exciting or terror inspiring) and furthermore, the task would remain grow into it.

I can also relate to the feeling Sonderval expressed that the world just doesn't want you there. And for somebody like me who left behind all I knew, it didn't take the world's affirmative showing in that regard (which it was not doing). Rather, coming from such a hands-on and paternalistic society as the Family, it's easy to take the world's indifference personally when it is just the effect on a stranger of the structure of society, and to fail to realize that it was just that I was a total newcomer without a social network to speak of that cared about what happened to me, such as one would probably accumulate from growing up in a nuclear family, however sparsely composed, that you did not have to traumatically separate from in order to have a different life than the alternative, high-demand lifestyle of the Family. Someone growing up outside is more likely to know people from school that change and travel and disappear from your world less than they did in my childhood (mid 70's- early 90s) in the Family. I was extremely lucky that once I located relatives, I found some very caring ones. Still, I always felt I had to earn my place in their world. They, after all, did not choose to bring me into the world like a parent does, but were with all kindness remedying what they could of my parent's insane choices and callousness toward their child that is a byproduct of their belief system. Every once in a while, inadvertently, I am sure, I was reminded that I was the offspring of an errant child and this subconscioulsy threw a shadow on me, although I know that consciously they did not hold me responsible for the parental mistakes.(reply to this comment

From carpediem
Wednesday, January 14, 2004, 02:59

:) not botched in the least. I know the flu intimately though :P... my third time with influenza A (the one that's killing people) this year. Thank you for your response. I don't think any of you guys realize it but just by tiny things you help immensely. Before he told me about all this there were things that just didn't seem to fit. And i guess they still don't... but... i don't let it get to me as much any more. He feels like you did when you first got out... but before i knew about this... it was hard to grasp. Every little bit helps... and i'm not really lookin for all the answers... i guess i'm just trying to answer what questions i really need answered in order to truly let myself leave it be until he's ready... i don't wanna push him... i have no doubt things have been hard enough for him thus far... i just wanna help him get rid of the pain and confusion... i want life to be good for him... i want him to be happy.(reply to this comment
From Sonderval
Wednesday, January 14, 2004, 03:42

and what do you mean not botched, I even refered to him as your brother at one point, boy was I spaced. :-D(reply to this comment
From carpediem
Wednesday, January 14, 2004, 19:52


well... ok... but i wouldn't call it botched... maybe just mildly maimed... and i did wonder about that brother thing :P...

:) thanks for the support... it's good to get some from SOMEBODY... cuz people here don't seem to understand. Granted they don't know about all this... but i don't think it would change much even if they did. Anyway, thank you so much :). I feel so redundant :P. I hate it when people put something like this up, you respond and then you never hear anything back. So i feel like i need to, plus i genuinely appreciate everything you all have to say (hey, check that out... no ya'll... I'VE ESCAPED MY UPBRINGING WOOHOO! :P). oh... and sidenote... normality is highly overrated. I generally give off an "essence of normality" vibe... until you get to know me :P. At that point most people just think i'm perma-fried and hopped up all the time... which makes me wonder what i'd be like if i were... :D...(reply to this comment

From Sonderval
Wednesday, January 14, 2004, 03:39


He'll get there, and by the sounds of it you'll almost certainly be there with him when he does. ;-)

Just want to say good luck to you two, and I think you're going about things well, as far as helping him get rid of the pain and confusion goes, some things just take time, a lot of time, it's taken me a long time to get to anywhere approaching normality (I use normality in the loosest possible sense here), dunno how long it will take your boyfriend but as far as helping him goes I reckon the best thing you can do is just be around, and you seem committed to that so hopefully things will go well.

Good Luck~

(reply to this comment

from porceleindoll
Monday, January 05, 2004 - 14:54


It's good you want to know more about his past and try to understand it. It's a very complex subject, there is a chance you may never totally understand or comprehend the immense amount of brainwashing, control and loss of identity your boyfriend grew up with. If you read through different articles on this board you may begin to grasp what your boyfriend grew up with and how he was conditioned to think, react and live his life. It's hard to explain in just one short post.

Depending on when he left the group, your boyfriend may be facing a lot of confusion, sorting out his personal beliefs as well as morals, trying to understand society at large's way of thinking, and wondering about his own personal beliefs in regards to religion, the rules around him, his education, etc.

As I said, it's a very complex situation, touchy and sensitive. If you are seriously interested in him you may need a lot of patience in trying to understand where he could be coming from and why he thinks the way he does, realise that he is in the process of remaking himself.
(reply to this comment)

From carpediem
Wednesday, January 07, 2004, 02:10

Thank you so much for your response. I think you've already helped more than you could know. I hate the way that came out... it sounds so fake and cliché... but i mean it as sincerely as can be. Thanks again.(reply to this comment
from DarkAngel
Monday, January 05, 2004 - 07:19

Average visitor agreement is 2 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 2 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 2 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 2 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 2 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

Well if you're sooooo interessted in finding what he went through in the fam.why don't you take a chair and read most of what is relevent to your quest?

May be your friend doesn't really enjoy going back in his pastand talk about trash.

if this board is not evidence enough for you then go to and read about the Fam. practices and doctrines ....

If it's not enough then just split with your friend because I don't think you'll be able to ever understand him.

Good luck
(reply to this comment)

From carpediem
Wednesday, January 07, 2004, 02:04

ok... i dunno if u meant this to be hostile... but that's the way ur coming across... so that's how i'm taking it. And the reason i posted a SPECIFIC request is because i don't know the age of a lot of people who post their stories. What i've gathered from the mounds of research i've already done... yea, that's right, i've acctually already done a lot of research... is that they've changed a lot from period to period, so i was asking for that specific age group so i'd have a better idea of it. If u didn't like the request u didn't have to reply to it, it's as simple as that. And as far as splitting with him cuz u don't think i'd ever understand... 1) u don't know me... u don't know what i might or might not understand... don't pretend to and 2)i love and care for him far too much to split with him just because i may not understand his past... the point is to try, if i can't, i can't... but that doesn't mean there's no future.(reply to this comment
From Siolo
Wednesday, January 07, 2004, 14:34



Personally, I think it's great that you are making an effort to understand your boyfriends past, especially because being in the family was such a totallizing experience. In the long run, understanding where he is coming from will be immensly helpful to your relationship and sanity. I was in the family until I was 17 and I know that if my spouse understood more about the family our relationship would be easier. Keep this in mind when your boyfriend (inevitabley I think) seems to be distancing himself from you and makes moves to uproot himself, perhaps just away from friends, perhaps to a new geographic location. A lot of people in the family never learned to build roots and don't find secuirty in permenece the way other people might. Try to be aware that this may happen and don't give up on him.

Good luck,

Siolo (reply to this comment

From Havoc
Thursday, January 29, 2004, 00:10

i am 17 and i left the fam about a year ago, so i know a little what your bf is probably talking about. my own parents were also born and raised in the group, and decided to stay on, so i was pretty deep inside and clueless when i left. you might have already got all the answers you needed from here, but i thought i'd give a response anyways. like that other guy said everyone's experiences are very different, but i know one thing we all have in common, no matter what time period we left in, is the intense difficulty to adjust. i know that in some ways we are very left behind in the "ways of the world outside" and when we get out here we have no idea how to cope. basically we were pretty secluded and not involved much in activities with other young people that were different from us. in other ways growing up and having the family dictate our entire lives, including not much schooling, and working like a regular adult from the age of 12, does a lot to grow us up, maybe even a little too fast. if he is talking to you about some kind of trauma he went through as a kid, i honestly can't say i know what he is talking about, as when i think back on my childhood it was pretty fun, different, but not entirely bad. i do know some people my age that had some pretty bad experiences, so any number of things could have happened. either way, i guess the best thing would be just to find a way, if you can't understand something about him, instead just be supportive, because as confused as you are about him, he probably feels the same way about you alot of times. i know my bf is an ex-fam as well, and it's easier in a way, cuz i understand him, and vice-versa. well just wanted to wish you the best of luck, and just to tell you how nice it is to see someone who cares enough to try to understand people like us, can't say i have encountered many. well keep up the good work, wishing u the best...(reply to this comment
From katrim4
Thursday, January 29, 2004, 11:09

Did I read this right? You are 17 and your parents are SG's, meaning they were born and raised in the family? They must've beem among the first children born at TSC. I really thought most of them had left ages ago. (reply to this comment
From Banshee
Thursday, January 29, 2004, 11:27


There were a couple of instances of SGs parenting children at a very young age. This could also be the case. The Grapevine published some statistics a while back, and they claimed that the oldest Third Generation (Children of the SGs) was Danielle or Daniella, daughter of SG Kristy (of Zeb Geppetto.), who at the time was like 12 or 13, making her I guess about 15 now. I am probably a bit off on these ages, but anyway, it seems they must have been wrong about the oldest Third Generation kid...(reply to this comment

From Havoc
Friday, January 30, 2004, 00:27

no they were right about it,yes that is me, danni, wow! i'm famous, lol. and yeah i'm 17, my mom had me at about 15 yrs old, so yeah, and she never left, she was one of the few "faithful", lol. so yeah funny how those thngs go. needless to say she is not a mindless person like some people think of the people who decide to stay, she is actually one of the most intelligent people i know, not just cuz she's my mom, you will find a horde of people to agree, she's quite talented too. i honestly don't know why she decided to stay on, i have wondered that all my life, esp. seeing how she was raised in that intense era, but yeah...(reply to this comment
From carpediem
Wednesday, January 14, 2004, 03:07

This whole relationship has been one giant lesson on keeping an open mind. Definitely not a bad thing... especially for someone from such a closeminded area :P. Just trying to keep up with and understand him is enough to keep me on my toes. Thanks so much for your response. And as far as giving up on him goes... i'll die first.(reply to this comment

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