So, how did we do this? How do we "fix" ourselves? First, one must have tools. The Pickett family used at least six.
At first we found ourselves very angry about what had happened to us, and the way people in authority had used us in our zeal to "please God." Anger is the first stage. You have to deal with it.
In that anger I found myself writing "Rants about the Cult." I shared them with a group of fellow travelers who had similarly either left, or, as I, been kicked out of the CULT. Writing is very comfortable for a lot of people, and this writing led me and Laurella to both pursue "The Artist's Way" (more below), a directed self help program that involves writing every morning before doing anything else.
I would also recommend that you get the paperback book I mentioned in the web page on CULTS, entitled "SUBTLE POWER OF SPIRITUAL ABUSE," by David Johnson, Jeff Vanvonderen. When you read it you'll find that we ALL abuse one another to one degree or another, with our opinions. We, as a society, use our
"letters" (PHD, MD, etc.) to pound people with our opinions.
We, as parents use even subtle abuse on our children. CULTS have perfected this abuse. Unfortunately, many of us who were in a CULT were abusive of our kids just as we had been abused, adding to that abuse our "understanding" of scriptures, and our "authority from God" as parents. We'd plunged deeply into the vicious circle of abuse that is so often spoken of by observers of family dynamics.
You'll find that it may be difficult to go to any church that starts hammering you about "the name of Jesus," "the way to Salvation," etc. Read this book. It is a tool to find fellowship that will be comfortable to you. Everyone needs fellowship to one degree or another. Everyone needs direction to one degree or another. This book will help you understand, and deal with, the motivation of others.
One of the most sacred things to any human being is their boundaries. In the CULT, your boundaries were trampled all the time. Some with whom I've corresponded have likened the experience to verbal rape, or verbal assault. If you don't believe me, go to my RANTS, and read the one about "TOXIC ABUSE." Remember, I've QUOTED many of the things that were said to us in the CULT by ministers and deacons. Some of them were nearly criminal in their abuse of our boundaries.We found out that not only we, but many of our friends, turned to EMDR (more below), which means EYE MOVEMENT DESENSITIZATION AND REPROCESSING .
Another very useful tool is the HYPNO-THERAPIST. More later.
We also used the LandMark Technology, and finally, EFT. I'll cover them ahead. These last two are by far the most powerful and useful modalities available to the abused.
THE ARTIST'S WAY
Back to your motivation. By now, you've been very angry. You've felt betrayed, and stupid. You've probably lived up to your expectations of yourself in that you consider this another of your failures. Not so! So, you have to get the tools, and find out why you were insecure enough to want to go into a CULT.
Let me give you a little push in the direction you need to go. When I was a boy, I spent a great deal of time by myself, either in my treehouse at my parents place in California, or at my grandparents place in Colorado, wandering the book cliffs and shooting my very own 22 rifle I'd bought at Sears at the age of 13. At my grandparent's I developed a little hideaway under a bridge next to the canal that ran in front of their house to which I oft retreated and medicated myself with a cigarette...I began smoking at age 5! (I quit, quite miraculously, at the age of 31...and only had to answer to the Cadmium poisoning from the smoking, to this day)
Everyone has a "safe place." As a boy, the treehouse/fort was mine. In the mornings, AC (After CULT ), while doing the Artist's Way,I stayed in bed, as if it were my treehouse, or canal-side fort, and lit a candle on my nightstand. Laurella brought me coffee, and I wrote. She, of course, was in her safe place, writing her "pages," as well. So, think back. You had to have had a safe place to which you retreated when you were in pain. All children do! Find that safe place in your mind. Go there when you begin this therapy... Start forgiving yourself...that process is crucial to your recovery. Then start forgiving others....start learning affirmations. I'll talk more about that in the EFT section.
A lot of this is about your "little child." That "little child" is in you, and hiding, if you are suffering the Battle Fatigue, the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder of the CULT. The child is angry. Hurt. Betrayed. It is your job to find that child, and bring it to the light. I'll say no more.
The ARTIST'S WAY, by Julia Cameron, is a book/work-book, as I said. You can buy it in ANY bookstore. It takes you through "lessons" that help you get that "little child" out in the open, and in place where it feels safe and happy. You've seen little children. They want to be happy. So does your little child. So, get the book, and start writing.
Writing connects you to your "little child." You'll be amazed at what comes out on that paper. It is not to be seen by anyone else, either. Go to your safe place. Write your journal. Keep it. Destroy it. The book will guide you. You'll find yourself doing things you always wanted to do as a little child, on your "Artist's Day."
I can't emphasize enough the wonders, the successes, the positive joy you'll experience as you work through the "Artist's Way." Your inner child will shake you to the quick with revelations of the things that happened to it, causing it to retreat further and further from life. You'll feel burdens lifted from your inner being like ponderous weights of the mind. You will cry. It is so enervating that many people have kept on with its basic tools the rest of their lives. Many more have blossomed into new careers and hobbies, thanks to the liberation of that "little child" that may now be huddled in the dark, cluttered corner of your deepest recesses.
If you are really interested in that "inner child," you might want to get John Bradshaw's book "Homecoming, Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child." If there is any truth to the scriptures we studied in the New Testament, that truth is that all our peace lies in being little children. The only problem is that the purveyors of that Biblical material used it to pound our little children until they hid as far as they could from the noise.
Before I forget it. There are groups that do "The Artist's Way." If you check around in your town for support groups, you might just find a group that works together. Laurella did that. In fact, she did it twice, clear through the book, with two of her very dearest friends.EMDR
Many of us have had physical trauma in our childhood. Many girls were abused as children. Many boys were spriritually, if not physically abused. Rape. Incest. Beatings. Living with drunk or psychotic parents. Living with the "Children of Alcoholic Parents," is nothing but a torturous way of existence. All cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The "Artist's Way" may not be enough to help those people deal with their child and their emotional in-securities that led to them going into the CULT. Now comes the EMDR tool.
My wife and two of my children have used EMDR to deal with their trauma. Interestingly enough, one of the EMDR therapists was quite used to the CULT effects, having dealt with a number of people who had exited from various similar groups.
Rather than explain the particulars, let me say this. EMDR has worked successfully on former combatants with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. What it does is take an event that presently controls the person, violent trauma, violent Spiritual Abuse, and causes it to become a memory, instead of a controlling emotion. Rather than spend years in therapy, one has some sessions, and the events that caused the trauma are taken from the emotional venue, and put in the section of the mind that looks upon them as memories. The results are just astounding!!!
I'd like to mention that not every EMDR therapist is for you. There are personalities that you might not like. It is interesting, but if you discover, as some have, that your emotional life was upset by some childhood violence, you want to shop for an EMDR specialist with whom you are perfectly comfortable. I know one family who said their EMDR therapist was in need of EMDR. That does not mean stop there. Look for someone else until you find someone with whom you are at ease.
EMDR is said not to work for schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. It is primarily for emotional difficulties rising out of ones experiences. There are licensed EMDR therapists in a lot of major cities. Your insurance oft covers some part of the therapy. Believe me. I've seen the results in my own family. It is astonishing!!!
If you want to find a therapist, you can ask at their Web Site. They will recommend trained therapists in your area. For more information, click on EMDR THERAPY.
Now this is a subject that will make a few readers squirm, if the previous haven't *grin*. Several members of my family have engaged a therapist with terrific success. I've talked personally to the therapist and found out what he does. If a person is into the truly CULT thing, such Biblical words as necromancy, witchcraft, etc., boil to the conscious mind when one mentions Hypnosis. That is a tragedy! The hypnosis process is THERAPY, not mind control.
A hypno-therapist uses much of the same process as one uses in Tai-Chi, Yoga, and many other mind/body exercises. That process is stilling the mind. Emptying the mind of disturbing thoughts, business, plans, all the daily goings of on one's life. In the Christian life one does the very same thing during prayer. ALL religions have regular times of "meditation." It is the process of calming the mind. At that point, a therapist is able to make suggestions to the client that stick in the mind, ideas if you will. Those ideas trigger thought processes...evaluation. I think what I heard from the man sounded to me like one might put a small pebble in the stream of thought that made the whole thinking process react to the flow of daily thinking in a more profound way. Once again we are making emotions subject to the analysis of the mind.
I can only emphasize to the reader that this is another very successful process when one is dealing with their emotions, emotions that were crafted in his or her childhood. Once again, one must go visit the therapist and see if they like one another. Personalities have to be compatible for a person to share their feelings with another. I'll leave it at that.ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION DIFFICULTIES
I would like to mention, at this point, that I come from a family that has hereditary insomnia problems. My family listened to radios at night. I do, too. My family has a nearly universal history of anxiety problems as well. I have suffered adrenalin rushes all my life. Only in the last 6 years have I realized the depths to which my system would take me on these "rushes."
I shan't rehearse the symptoms of anxiety attacks, except to tell you that you have a deep feeling that you might even die of heart failure. The physician at the ER who first recognized the problem directed me to help, mentioning that it is a common problem in America.
My MD was very sympathetic with me, mentioning that the body's way of reacting to an anxiety attack could be to "pass out." So much adrenalin is in the system that the body uses this method to cope. She suggested I take "Zoloft," which I did. If you research the cause of Anxiety Attacks you'll find it is a very messy Seratonin problem in your system, and Zoloft is one of several chemicals that try to bring the Seratonin problem under control.
I missed a day of "Zoloft" and found out the TERRIBLE after effects to which one was subjected with this powerful a Seratonin controller. I became so dizzy I could only function with my eyes closed. So, I just happened to be going for Chelation Therapy the next day, and my Chelation MD, a Naturopathy specialist, encouraged me to ditch the Zoloft and switch to Natural system controllers, namely St. John's Wort and Kava-Kava. I can only tell you that the effect was wonderful. I have FAR less adrenalin rushes than I did before....
Others I've talked to about emerging from the CULT have gone to the use of Prozac, with dramatic results in their lives. The problem is that when our children leave the CULT, they become extremely anxious, entering a world that once was their enemy. TERRIBLE depression sets in. They've lost their society at church, and have been immersed in a society they were indoctrinated to hate. An analogy, if you will...suppose you were torn from your home, here in America, and "transported" to China, with no chance of return. Think about that. New Culture. Perhaps you could survive with your English Language, but think about the culture shock. It could be Arabia, too. Our children not only were immersed into a society, but while they were trying to cope, their endocrine systems were swamping them with adrenalin...massive depression...
Enter the St. John's Wort. In some it can help control the mild depression very successfully. If not that, Prozac, which is EXTREMELY helpful in calming the physical system. Then...then...one can dig into the tools of ARTIST'S WAY, EMDR, HYPNO-THERAPY, etc.
I'm certain I will have to use the herbs the rest of my life. It is hereditary in my family. I'm certain that some of our "escapees," and children will have to use Prozac or other similar appropriate chemicals to control their systems for the rest of their lives. You'd be amazed at the incredibly succesful people in America have used these things to fight IMMENSE problems with depression...one, I recall, is in his 80's and once attacked our CULT on the TV Program 60 minutes....I recall his name as Mike Wallace...As time went on, we discovered...
Don't give up, please. I've only touched the tip of the iceberg in the matter...at the request of a number of people whose kids and themselves have struggled with the grim dark spectre that inhabits their being after a stint in a...