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Topic: Born into a Religious Cult.

2 posts, 0 answered
  1. ////
    //// avatar
    1 posts
    7 June 2019

    Hello! I'm not exactly sure on how to word all of this, so I'll try my best

    Ever since I was born, I have been apart of a religious cult (that shall remain unnamed for personal reasons). While I am still apart of
    it technically, I have mentally left for a while now; just to make things clear, I am in not physical danger what so ever. This cult was
    especially good at controlling every thought and action that crossed my mind, what I wore, who I spoke to and what I could do
    and or celebrate.

    This along with the fact that I will most likely be cut off from a lot of friends/family I've know all my life when I come out as gay,
    controls my emotions 24/7. While I have mentally checked out of this cult for a while now, I am still governed by the fears and mindset
    that was instilled in me as a child. I could list hundreds of fears I have from this mindset, but the major ones I feel are the fear of
    talking to people outside of the religion, the fear that I'm being watched and judged 24/7 and disappointing my family/friends if I leave or do something wrong. There is a lot more I could add to this, but for the sake of brevity I will keep it short.

    Depression and anxiety have had a foothold on my soul for a long period of time now, if I had to guess when it started, it would be when
    I was 12/13 (Im 17 at the moment). I struggle to leave my house for anything besides school at this point, and have hardly ever hung out
    with any of my friends (especially if they were outside of the religion), and in some ways I feel like the only emotions I've felt for
    these years are depressed and anxious as they only seem to get worse and worse the older I get. I feel so disconnected from the emotive
    and colourful lives people my age are living, I've always struggled to hold a conversation and make friends because I'm naturally quiet
    and can't shake the feeling that what I'm doing is hurting my family.

    The part that seems to trigger my depression the most is the fact that many people cannot relate to what I'm going through at all,
    because most people aren't in a cult and have been able to feel positive emotions for the past few years. I've tried therapy, but with no luck sadly.

    I know very well that most people won't know how to react to this, but its been on my chest for a long time and I am in desperate need in finding help and or advice on what to do from here

    Thank you so much for reading.

    1 person found this helpful
  2. therising
    Valued Contributor
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    therising avatar
    70 posts
    7 June 2019 in reply to ////

    Hi ////

    It can take incredible courage to rebel against what oppresses our most authentic nature. Our nature may say to us

    1. I will not judge unless the reasons are fair. Eg: I will not judge a homeless person for being homeless; I will judge them as being in need of kind words and support
    2. I will see disappointment as no longer serving an appointment/role. Eg: If I am appointed to be someone who is loyal to a particular mindset, I may choose to unappoint or disappoint myself from this mindset or way of identifying myself. I believe the pain or sufferance that comes from disappointment relates not to the disappointment itself but to the inability to accept it (for if we were happy to no longer be serving a particular role, we would not feel pain)
    3. I will share connections with people who are mutually invested in positive forms of evolution, those who do not promote oppression or sufferance

    This may look very different from our taught belief systems which may look a little like this

    1. Judge people based on whether they measure up to certain standards, whether they fit in
    2. If you are not loyal, if you do not conform, then you are a disappointment
    3. You should not be making loving connections with people unless those connections are approved of, by those who sit in judgement

    Our most authentic self and our learned identity can look incredibly different, leaving us in a state of internal conflict. Whilst a war of thoughts takes place in our head, without enlightenment to lead us to victory it can remain an anxious battle fought in what feels like a very dark place.

    It's not unusual for us to begin questioning our identity around the age of 12. It's typically the age where we begin seeking an identity independent from our parents/carers. A lot of questions arise, such as 'Who am I? Who do I wish to be? Why am I here? What is my purpose?' and the big one 'Where do I fit in?' Of course, at 12, we may not ask these questions in such a blatant way but I believe we do ask them. Eg: 'Who do I wish to be?' can be translated to 'I want to be accepted!'

    Whether it involves a cult, a religion, an institution of sorts or even a small family, if we belong to a circle where beliefs are deeply reinforced, repetatively, the battle to identify our self authentically can feel enormous and seemingly unwinnable. As the call to be our most authentic self grows louder the battle intensifies.

    Take care and keep in mind you are a great warrior in a fearful battle, one which precedes victory