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The pain of leaving a cult

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by saraemerald, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. saraemerald

    saraemerald Well-Known Member

    I am in sooo much pain right now. I wake up with knots in my stomach, an empty gnawing feeling in my gut and an empty gnawing feeling in my throat, like I want to speak but can't because of an overwhelming, uncomfortable anxiety.
    I want to cry everyday ut can't. I feel outbursts of anger because I have no explanation or closure for what I've been through. I feel like I have been ripped apart and the confidence I once had about rising above pain in life including terrible, isolating childhood abuse, is now gone. I have been broken and don't know what to do to trust again. I have anxiety that not only rivets through my head and stomach, but spreads throughout my entire body.
    I now hate God. I used to rely on Him to get me through excrutiating pain in my childhood and to give me hope for a future in His kingdom in a paradise and to solve all the ugly and disgusting problems of this world. I now feel hatred towards Him and His supposed only true organization here on earth which only has a few million followers among billions of people now living on earth.
    This cult has it's followers believing only they will survive some sort of Armageddon and this cult consistently teaches it's followers of all the terrible things happening on this earth on a regular basis. This cult controls almost every aspect of it's followers lives and much of the doctrines of this cult leads to fear of the outside world, and doesn't allow it's followers to "have friendship with the world" meaning no friendships with anyone outside the cult as well as even limiting association with your own "worldly" relatives. When you leaving, in one way or another, you will be shunned and lose all of your close associates you had when you were in the cult. Being shunned is painful and hard to explain to others how this makes one feel. It sucks.
    I now HATE this cult with a passion and wish it would die! I hope it becomes exposed for what it is.
    I lost all my friends and family except for my sister to this cult and have had to start essentially start my life over.

    Even when you are in this cult as a baptized member, in order to be considered good association, you have to attend all of their weekly meetings and put at least a few hours a week in the ministry of knocking on people's doors and "sharing their message", which means trying to get people into the cult. They encroach on their followers personal lives by suggesting they also take the time when attending school, or at work or even at a grocery store, to preach to their classmates, work mates and people in lines at the grocery store, like strike up a conversation, establish some sort of common ground and then start preaching to them.
    I can go into even way more detail as so how much time out of it's member's lives they really take up on a daily or weekly basis but I won't go into detail now. Let's just say, the cult takes over your entire life.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 15, 2017
    whiteraven, Ronin, Chiqui and 2 others like this.
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  3. ladee

    ladee All the hard work has been worth it ! Premium Member

    Very proud of you for starting this, and getting these feelings out.... there will come a time, when your anger, hurt and hatred it pointed at those who hurt you. You and I have had some great talks about this cult.... and people are in charge of cults, not God.... but you are very hurt and betrayed and learning how to live in a world you were not prepared for....

    It is part of PTSD for you to feel this way.... you are not going to give up your life for somtihng that hurt you beyond measure... we all feel that way at many points in our healing process... your life matters.... you have a lot of "unlearning' to do.... and that takes time....

    But am very proud of you for getting your pain out.... the more you get OUT, the more new things have room to get in and start growing.... your life matters..... you can do this... you have already been doing this .... you got out.... that by itself is incredible.... you are not alone and I do understand...

    Very proud of you for speaking out.... and the world knows more about this cult than you think they do.... you don't have to kill yourself exposing them..... all you have to do , or I hope you do, is heal.... you can do this.... we are here for you... lots of hugs...
    +littlebird and saraemerald like this.
  4. saraemerald

    saraemerald Well-Known Member

    Thank you @ladee . I can't wait to get beyond this. I am just tired now. I feel like I have been through WAY too much and am still pissed off about my life because I actually used to be very optimistic most of my life growing up, determined to fight my way through the abuse I was experiencing as a child and then fighting through bad PTSD symptoms. And the this. And now I have a painful health problem caused b the extreme stress these past fews years have caused me as well as a strong intravenous antibiotic I had to take in the hospital. I used to be very healthy aside from PTSD, and eat very well.
    I know I will get there but good grief! I used to be way more optimistic about life and wanting to share my optimism with others and now I am still stressed about my life. Trying to be optimistic again about my life and about people and about this world.

    I will say this @ladee . I think my expectations have always been very high and I was always an idealist, expecting life to be a certain way and not realizing how much of a struggle life is for many people. And because of my own struggles, I personally would focus on paradise all the time, to get me through, because I would imagine how beautiful and perfect "paradise" would be, so the pain now doesn't matter.
    But it does matter. Plus I used to and still struggle now with being a perfectionist. I am now highly disappointed and want solutions for everything. And the other part is, I retsrained myself from pursuing what I really wanted to pursue in college because of the cult, plus even when I pursued a two year program which I was accepted into, I had to decline it because suddenly I was experiencing debilitating PTSD symptoms. And now I don't have that motivation and enthusiasm I used to have towards pursuing an education but I would like to go to school and better myself that way when I tackle this stupid health problem caused by all the shit I've gone through these past few sucky years. lol
    I used to like helping people and encouraging others but now I need help and encouragement.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 15, 2017
    Chiqui, +littlebird and ladee like this.
  5. saraemerald

    saraemerald Well-Known Member

    Sorry I am venting but I am so angry and have so much pent up anxiety and feel like typing it all out.
    I guess all my anger and feelings of anxiety related to this cult, are coming up now. Anyone else relate?
    I don't know who I am and what I want to do with my life or what my aspirations are, because I was trained by the religious cult I was born into, to put my entire life of hold and wait for some paradise to take care of it all in the future. So I devoted my entire life to this suffocating, time consuming cult thinking I was devoting my life to God. I was so naïve and I guess so hopeful for a nice future in God's kingdom even though it meant giving up having a life now. This meant no normal dating experiences, no pursuing a stable career, no making friends outside the damn cult, conforming to their lame standards and weird, ridiculous, immature rules, being taught fear of the world around you, taught that you will face persecution for your faith and that persecution may include being raped, beaten, imprisoned, or being banned in the country you reside in, etc.
    Taught not to get involved in politics or state opinions about politics, not to participate in the military or solute the flag which makes you constantly nervous of offending someone and having to explain yourself and your faith.
    If someone has wronged you, or even further, has abused you, whether you are a minor or legal adult, first go to the organization about the matter, don't go to the police and if you don't have two witnesses, they can't disfellowship or punish the offender. But, if you are found guilty of smoking, or wanting to leave the organization because you no longer believe, you can be disfellowshipped, which means you will be shunned/ ostracized by all your friends and family in the cult. That's usually a LOT of people because all you ever hang out with ever is other members of the cult.

    I now have anxiety off and on because I was so devoted to this cult. We were taught we were saving people's lives and if we did not go out and knock on stranger's doors in the ministry and preach to them, then we would be blood guilty before our God.
    We were taught that this was God's only true organization on earth and we are to keep ourselves clean and be no part of the world so we keep ourselves in this insular world so that we will not be infected by the world and it's "snares" and temptations. I used to believe all this BS and believe this organization had all the answers to why we have so many problems in the world including backwards politics, earthquakes, abuse, violence, etc.
    Anyways, has anyone been so indoctrinated by a cult that after zealously following it, you realise your life is unfulfilled but you blame it on yourself instead of the cult and then go into self-destructive mode, thinking someone is wrong with you or your faith?
    That's what happened to me. I am now trying to pick myself up after picking myself apart just because I came to some sort of realization that my life was unfulfilling and how much more did I have to do for "God" until my life becomes fulfilling?!! Total downward spiral from there. Not fun. Now I don't know who I am outside the cult since I've left. I am left shocked, unable to make decisions and unable to feel inspired.
    I feel like I am now stupid whereas before when I was in the cult, because I genuinely followed it to the best of my ability, I felt like I was doing something purposeful at the time. Now I feel like, "what the hell"? I am now lazy, in limbo, and not feeling like my nice self anymore.
    I know it's going to take time to work through all these emotions and everything but it's taking me awhile. I wish I didn't feel so immobilized, like just get the hell up, forgive myself for my stupid self-demeaning mistakes after leaving and start living my f*(king life already!!!
    I wish. lol What the hell? What so wrong with me?
    I have been through sooo much and was strong through soo much for so long and remained positive through it all and now I feel all mean and angst and aggressive inside. Why?
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2017
  6. mumstheword

    mumstheword I'm a VIP Premium Member Donated

    I'm feeling for you, hearing all you've been through. I'm guessing the anger is coming up as a result of repressing it for so long.
    Brainwashed, manipulated and controlled people often get taught by their oppressors that anger is "bad". It's one of the ploys used to disempower us.

    I'm learning that anger is ok, and is in fact something useful to feel to protect me, to channel for boundary making and it is, in fact, part of the process of becoming a free-thinking, self-detetermined and liberated human.

    Anger, directed where it needs to be directed is amazingly helpful in strengthening oneself and becoming assertive. The trick is, in applying increasing amounts of self-compassion while discharging and allowing oneself to feel whatever's there WITHOUT unkind self-judgement. And if you notice that you are feeling shamed, frightened or judgey about yourself, just take note of it, don't do a number on yourself and become self -abusive or harsh on yourself in any way, if you do, reframe, tell yourself you have a right to feel anger over this stuff, it's actually normal, healthy and you are moving out of denial and self-oppression.

    Other ways of letting the anger out non-abusively could be writing poetry, writing letters that you won't send, screaming and yelling, out in nature somewhere or into a pillow, dancing cathartically, swearing (in the right company or to yourself), writing songs and singing them . These are all things I do, or have done that feel good and discharge some rage and anger so no one gets abused.

    Expect and welcome your anger, you have a right to it, you were wronged and allowing the anger can help you get in touch with your passion, your will to be self-determined and free of bullying or anyone trying to control you, including oppressive systems and your courage to change injustice and things in your life that are hampering your development. Anger can transform into access to your personal power and courage, if you also develop compassion for yourself and awareness that you do have the power to change your life and self, to be and do what you want to do and be.

    Just remember to temper it with self -compassion (easier said than done, I know) but you deserve all the compassion and self-care and allowance of discharging negative emotion that you can muster. Take care!
    Xena and saraemerald like this.
  7. saraemerald

    saraemerald Well-Known Member

    The anger part, I taught myself from a young age to control my anger and to be patient, polite and kind. I used to have so much anger as a kid because of many unfair situations but it wasn't safe enough to express so I hit myself. I knew this was not good so I taught myself self control.
    I stayed quiet and shy and became good at Church (cult) and school.
    I focused on the positive to get me through but did not make many friends, except ppl older than me.
    Anyways, the shame I feel now and the anxiety and the anger and the feeling like I did something so wrong and this all my doing and fault, I never felt before and is so intense, it's crazy and making me feel ill and not letting it go.
    I used to be strong and determined to prove you can be strong and rise above no matter what you go through and make good choices and be proud of yourself, and after working so hard to get for so many years to get to where I knew I could (healed debilitating symptoms of PTSD) I sabotaged myself and demeaned myself and shrunk myself. Ever since, life has been a battle.
  8. Teamwork

    Teamwork Active Member

    Almost line by line you can see what you were taught to believe. At some point and over time it will come, but you will be able to say this is what I now believe, what I choose to believe. Living a life where there is suddenly free choice is a very difficult experience so go slow. Try some things like choosing what to wear or eat or what time you get up and then remark to yourself, good choice! The deeper guilt ridden things forced on you are best done with strong support of someone who understands it and the consequences it has , as in what it now looks like. I’m happy to see you swear, that in itself may seem like a weird comment but it is a choice outside of their control that you have made. It may be good to consider this and ask, okay I used profanity did anything bad happen? Maybe you can tell I’ve been doing some of this work myself so I offer these thoughts to you to take or leave, as that too is your choice.
    saraemerald likes this.
  9. freebird

    freebird Active Member

    You are not alone. I went through a similar upbringing and I have experienced this anger as well. There are a few things that have helped that could be of help to you.

    1. Your validation - You matter. What you have to say is legitimate and it is the truth. Feel your feelings. Think your thoughts. Say your words. They matter. DO NOT ever let yourself be silenced ever again. You are enough just as you are.
    2. Love who loves you back - Stay away from anyone who belittles your value and worth as a person. This may lead to going low/no contact with some, but it's up to you and it can really be worth it. Reach out to those who truly care for you and your well-being.
    3. Art - I'm not talking about just your standard regular art. Make art that makes YOU feel catharsis. Art that makes YOU feel justice and elevation. Even if that means taking some old furniture and beating the shart out of it and then taking a well angled picture. So be it.
    4. Do what makes you happy.
    5. Take extra extra care of your physical health. Drink plenty of water and sleep before 10:00pm. Eat lots. Treat yourself. Don't overwork. Say no. Stand for your health. It's YOUR turn.

    You are strong. You are brave. You deserve so much more. It's not your fault someone threw you in this cult. The blame and the karma belongs to the ones who silenced you. You have no responsibility for them!

    Ronin, saraemerald and Xena like this.
  10. digger

    digger I'll just have a P please, Bob Moderator Donated

    Don't know if you've checked it out already @saraemerald, but a lot of people find the diary sections here really helpful for venting things out. Might be worth a look.
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