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Getting Out : Inside Out

Dead man walking

from rudow - Tuesday, May 18, 2004
accessed 1664 times

Is it possible to "move on?"

I suppose we, as strong, resilient products of the cult who spawned us, shy away from expressing intense feelings before all. After all, who wants to hear the endless moans from losers who can get nobody to listen besides the bored browsers of this website? Not to mention the unspeakable horror of having your raw emotion exposed for any tom, cock, or asshole to pick apart.

The words stick in my mouth, clog up my mind. Unending torrents that run through my head, all day long. I've been out of the cult for 3 years now. I miss nothing, I reject everything I've learned, and everything I was. I find it impossible to have a productive conversation with anyone, about anything. I feel almost physically ill when I watch TV..the banality affects my gag reflex. I feel used up. I alienate my friends, as I am unable to relate to them on any level. I could not be more alien if I stepped off a Martian spacecraft.

I feel an overwhelming sense of loss, though I believe I have only gained since leaving the cult. Iím driven to find something, but I donít know what Iím looking for. I despise the memories that flood my mind, yet I embrace them. I feel that memories are all that I have left, for I am the sum of my experiences. I havenít moved on, Iíve only moved.

I have read every article on this site, and I feel a connection between everyone, as though we are all part of a large, dysfunctional family who try to help each other through the hard times..(in our own ways).

If any of you have any advice for me, please...

(And for those of you who are simply itching to loose your rapier wit on me...I havenít the motivation or the desire to play.)

Reader's comments on this article

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from panda5
Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - 22:51

(Agree/Disagree?)
hello to the person wondering if they could ever move on; more power to you for already getting to where you've gotten. I have to confess that I am a "tourist"; (you can hate me for that, it's ok) who read about the recent killing by "Davidito"; also my friend had a tape of newscasts on this cult and it sure looked f**ed up. I grew up with heavy religion, but not this heavy and no where near this warped. You have every right to be angry and upset; but don't think in terms of being a "loser". As someone who recovered from suicidal depression I know that you can only be where you're at, and if you have to protect yourself from people who don't understand or have no compassion, then do it. Be with people you feel safe with and venture out bit by bit. You will find your way; it may take a long time, but you will. Don't let people who've hurt you win by ruining your life. Everything you do for yourself, you do against the sick people who hurt you and were so sick they thought they were doing the right thing. Don't give them any more power; take it back for yourself. Take care-
(reply to this comment)
from rudow
Sunday, May 23, 2004 - 19:29

(Agree/Disagree?)

Thanks everyone for your friendly words, especially ludicramblingchick. How refreshing to find not a hint of sarcasm in your comments. Thanks for the advice.
(reply to this comment)

from rudow
Sunday, May 23, 2004 - 19:29

(Agree/Disagree?)

Thanks everyone for your friendly words, especially ludicramblingchick. How refreshing to find not a hint of sarcasm in your comments. Thanks for the advice.
(reply to this comment)

from highonhigh
Friday, May 21, 2004 - 11:12

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 agree with everyone here that it takes time. I have been out for 7 years & I am still sorting things out. In my case our whole family left together & I see that for some of my brothers & sisters things are easier. The ones that where just kids when they left, being in the family was not an issue at all, they where insert into the "system " as soon as we came out so they are "normal" with no past pestering them. It's amazing to see my 17 year old sister she left when she was 10, She is brilliant, top in her class, she is pianist & twice she was chosen to represent the country in international event. Two of my other sister, the same thing, they are only 16 & 14 & they play in the Orchestra Filarmonica. They are smart, happy, sociable & enjoying life with no baggage from the past.
Now the 3 oldest & I, we're still dealing with the past everyday, trying to live a normal life. Just like you I also read most of the post & comments on this site. Eventhough we all shared the same past, we are each trying to deal with ou past in different ways & it seems to me that we are so different. Some of us still belive in God some don't,for some, things are going to slow, for some, time is going to fast This is the beauty of our individuality, an individuality that was taken from us when we where in TF. In TF we had to have the "same mind" & deal with things usually the same way "pray, read the word, & get the victory" Now we have our own way of seeing things & our own way of dealing with things in our lives. I also have felt & still feel some times the overwhelming sense of loss. But one think I know, even when I am having a very bad day & when things are not working out, That is no turning back, anything is better then the past.
(reply to this comment)
from frmrjoyish
Friday, May 21, 2004 - 06:31

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?)

Three years out is about the time I started to seriously question my beliefs, my life, and the world in general. It took me a long time to get on my feet, to get enough confidence to know I could make it on my own. I jumped from a mind controlling cult where your every move and thought was criticized, analyzed, and then ridiculed for not being spiritual enough right into junior year of HS. The normal pressures, both social and esp. academic, that regular kids go through in HS were magnified a million times for me.

It took me a while to get my footing and make my way, but slowly but surely I am making it. You seem like a smart person. I'm sure you'll do fine. Just remember that it takes time and what your feeling is normal and understandable given the circumstances.
(reply to this comment)

from Shackled
Thursday, May 20, 2004 - 22:21

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?)

Like others have said, it takes time. I'm still walkin the greenmile but at least now it feels like I won't read the end. I was completely alienated from my coworkers, new friends and new life. Only thing I had was my friend that left couple months before me and a friend I made about 6 months after leaving. I was so different from everyone else, and they knew it, that I could never be comfortable. Didn't have a gf the first 2 years, only a few friends and my job sucked. Everynight all I could think about was dying but I admit that the fear of being punished by god stopped me. Yeah, it took me awhile to get over TF indoctrination.It's been 6 years since I left and only in the last year have I found the strength to challenge myself to achieve something regardless of the shit each day presents.

Hang in there man, you'll make it and find happiness. It just takes time. In TF everything was expected to happen so fast that you have to get used to giving things time.
(reply to this comment)

from lucidramblingchick
Thursday, May 20, 2004 - 10:20

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?)

Rudow,

I know how you feel. Your title expresses it so poignantly. When I left alone as a teenager, I had no clue how to relate to people my age, and I didn't make any friends in college until the very end when I had been there for years. At first I didn't even have contact with any exers, until I happened to hear that M. had left, who I had lived with as a kid, and then C whose path I'd crossed a couple of times as a child. I spent so much money on long-distance phone calls while earning minimum wage at a part-time job that my relatives kept saying I'd end up in the poorhouse! All I did was study and work, and my relatives also kept telling me I needed to learn to "play." But I didn't know what to do to "play."

Sometimes I still feel like "I could not be more alien if I stepped off a Martian spacecraft," but it's much more rare and less overwhelming, and if I keep doing whatever I am doing and I segue back into feeling securely in the place I am making for myself in the world -- which I will be forever working on and improving, but which is feeling pretty much like home these days. Do you find, like I do, that the worst thing about feeling so alien is when people try to tell you that you don't have any reason to feel so much like an outsider? Just ignore them. "Next."

When you say "Iím driven to find something, but I donít know what Iím looking for," I hear you. The things that fill my life now, I would have never been able to identify if you had asked me 12 years and 10 days ago when I got to the US and started anew.

I guess my suggestion would be something like this. Be an explorer. See youself as on a mission of discovery.

It sounds to me like you are introspective and thoughful. While the aversion to so many mundane things can be painful when it seems those things are all that's around, you can also see your temperament as a gift. Every once in a while I notice I have this not-so-common ability (as compared to what I can tell about people around me) to cut through the layers around things and get right to the center. Growing up, I was told over and over that the world and regular lives were pointless and wrong. Then to make my way out of the maze of The Family, I had to question every last thing I was told, in the face of a prohibition on asking "why." Even now I approach everything with the question: "OK, what is the point?" (in The Family I decided there was none so I left). And I am always wondering with things and people "what makes this tick?"

You may have a similar temperament. I hear earnestness and a drive to understand. You probably also have a clear eye for what is at the bottom of things. Some exers seem to have an easier time adapting to the externals of this life outside without cross-examining it all (granted, some feel they don't have the luxury, having left with kids and being obligated to march ahead for their sakes), but I understand the difficulty in finding meaning and the drive to not live without meaning. I am still working on making sense of the senselessness of my childood, but I am not in such a hurry anymore. I expect to be working on understanding better until the day I die. Along the way I ended up developing quite a tolerance for some of the lighter, so-called "superficial" sides of things!

The French philosopher Descartes decided to discard all his assumptions and acquired ideas and see what, ultimately, he could really know for sure. What he got to is "I think, therefore I am." The process that takes one to the point of leaving The Family probably means that's where you are naturally. Well, now all that's left is pure possibility. And you can do anything with it that you choose.

First, ease up on yourself a bit, because the pressure and urgency we grew up with can be distressing especially if you don't have a clear direction yet. I still feel the urgency at times, so believe me, I understand. For a long time, although I had consciously abandoned the belief in an imminent end, I really did not even expect to live long since I had been deeply affected by the grooming toward a cataclysmic end of everything (and being taught I'd likely be martyred even before then -- Heaven's Girl and her magic tricks for survival came along when I was older). But try telling yourself that the urgency you feel is just a feeling. It's a real feeling, but it doesn't necessarily have a basis in outside fact. It was the same for my despair and nihilism. Now you're in charge of you and you will probably have decades to sort it all out and get comfortable in your own way, as you discover what your own way is.

Next, if everything arounds you seems unbearably "light" and unengaging, maybe try to just be an observer for a time. Even with something as banal as television or people's small talk that seems incomprehensibly pointless, observe and pay attention to what it makes you think and feel and what you can find out about whatever is presenting you with the spectacle. In The Family everything we did had to have a "meaning" and some deep spiritual purpose, and we could only engage in things we somehow believed in or that went along with what we were supposed to believe. It's not like that anymore, we can now see and read things that we disagree with and do things just to experience them.

I'll bet that given your life journey so far and the major task you have accomplished of deciding very young to change your entire life course and then going ahead and changing it, you have superior powers of observation and will have an original take on things. BTW, if you end up being a scholar or professor, you can turn that into a living. Even now you can make notes on your thoughts. Maybe pretend you are Marco Polo and write an account of your travels among exotic peoples! Who knows, you may turn it into a memoir or novel. I didn't write things down and my memory seems strained from living so many lifetimes, so now when I talk to somebody about the "old days" when I was fresh off the boat I am surprised at how different things looked to me. If I had written it down the observations would be priceless to me in charting my development.

As you do your stint as an observer, if you find something that intrigues you, try pursuing it a bit. If on second look it doesn't interest you, drop it, and look into the next thing that comes along and captures your imagination. The time is not wasted, your horizons will be broadened. If nothing else but by the process of elimination, you will self-educate. If you are like me, one day you will stumble accross something that is so "you" and you may think like I did "when I was 8 years old, this was calling my name in the distance, and now I know what it is." Unlike when I was 8, I can now converse with it.

I can't emphasize enough how time is on your side. Time is not our enemy, it's our friend, and we don't have to "redeem" it like somebody else thinks we should. Especially the way we started from scratch, time is probably the biggest asset we have. And once you find something that awakens you, you can't find enough of time.

I really like where I am now. There are days when I can't believe I am paid to use my brain (vs. being forced to shut it up and hide it). I feel fortunate to have friends who actually appreciate my uniqueness (to think I used to be so uptight and worried about saying or doing something to lose them! -- one of them recently called me "a puzzle not easily solved"). I am thrilled to pieces by my hobbies and interests -- but I had no clue I was headed here when I set out.

In the aftermath of 9/11, I was entranced by the story of a man whose job was washing windows in the twin towers. He was in an elevator when the plane hit and the elevator, which was in a bank that only opened on certain floors, fell a long distance. When it came to rest, he used the metallic part of his squegee to pry the doors open-- he was faced by a wall because this was not a floor the elevator was supposed to stop at. He then dug into the drywall and met with tile, which he broke. The people in the elevator tumbled through a hole they made, into the bathroom on like the 50th floor. They started the long climb down. Shortly after they stepped outside, the tower fell.

What this symbolizes to me is that sometimes you don't know if you're headed anywhere, and you don't even know if there will be a point to what you're doing (yes, I hate when I don't know what the point is, or if there is one). And sometimes my road has been full of ambushes and seeming setbacks. But if you persist, keep going through those times when you're not sure you will get anywhere, one fine day you may just step out into the sunshine and know that you saved your a**!

But feel free to ignore my pontificating. Just remember one thing: it gets better!
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From Jerseygirl
Thursday, May 20, 2004, 11:19

(Agree/Disagree?)
Luce, you are amazing! You never cease to completely impress me with your ability to give such perceptive and sound advice. I'm more than proud to call you a friend.(reply to this comment
from cheeks
Thursday, May 20, 2004 - 04:42

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?)

The only thing I can tell you is it will take time. The only thing that really helped me when I left was that I knew I was making the best decision for me and my unborn child. There is nothing that you can really do and nothing I can say except that I know where you are comming from and eventually things will fall into place. I still don't watch a lot of tv although when I do I usually watch TLC or Discovery. Do you have any friends that have left that you can talk to or hang out with. That was my saving grace. I was in NC and talked with my friends almost everyday and they were in Alabama. I can't say it did my phone bill any good but it helped my stress level a lot.


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from nobody
Thursday, May 20, 2004 - 00:52

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 do know how you feel. Sometimes it hits harder when weíve been out for a few years. The first few seem to be adjusting to life, learning how to go about things or just enjoying freedom.

Being isolated from childhood friends seems to be the hardest thing for me. Iím sure how you are feeling now will pass. Weíre used to recreating ourselves; itís just a matter of finding what we want and taking the little steps to achieve what we want.


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