Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Invisible

Leaving. Cutting ties. Walking away and not looking behind... I wish it was as easy as it is to write the words.
I used to read the Rick Ross forum occasionally. Posters there often attacked each other with accusations of spying, fishing for info, etc. One person stated that some one had to be either "in" or " out", that you cannot be out of the family but still be " involved". That's just not the truth. It is a very gray area for some. An ideal situation would be a person: living in a location isolated from Family, immediate family who already left, a network of friends who have no involvement. A life separate from the cult. Sadly, this is not reality for the majority of members. For those employed by the cult in some fashion, the difficulty is more complex.

When I was a kid I remember being rather confused about the prohibition from speaking about such a large part of my life with friends and relatives who were not a part of the Family. Later, as I pursued friendships outside of the group I was admonished for it. While I was not prohibited from spending time with them, I was reminded rather regularly that outside friendships would always be limited. One elder in particular in addition to my family told me that those relationships could never be as close as relationships within the family, because those friends would never really know us. We were different. Our souls were different. I would have to hide too much of my life from them, and any "closeness" would be superficial. I was told it would be unfair to them, and selfish of me. They said that only people in the family could ever fully know each other, be open, honest and trusting. These were our real friends. These people were spiritually our siblings.

Unfortunately, they were right.In part. I had several "besties" at different points in my life growing up; friends that thought they knew me as well as I knew them. I hate this about myself, but I lied to friends regularly, because I thought it was right to, or at least because if I didn't I thought I would be in big trouble. In addition to lying, we constantly had to hide things, hold back, and as I spoke of before, put on the figurative mask.

But with other "Abensurs" it was all just easy. We could be ourselves. We understood each other, the way no one else could. We shared beliefs, principals, values. We were FAMILY. They were the ones that loved me. They were the only ones who haad the ability to support and guide me along the proper path. The rest of the world was illusion, "drunk" was a word often used. Jack loved to reference the movies  The Matrix and Star Wars.

The truth was quite different. Us spiritual kin, we still hid from each other. We were still not allowed to divulge many details about our lives.  While unspoken, there were rules about what was ok to ask or voice. We did not want to appear unrighteous, or need to be given special attention to get us back on the "right".

This is one of the more difficult aspects of "leaving". As I began to distance myself from relationships in the Family, It became apparent how few real relationships I had outside of the group. Most of my close friends are cult members. For all of the childhood experiences shared and close bonds we feel, there are some things still unspoken. I may suspect someone has doubts as I do, but I don't ask. What if I am wrong? There would be consequences. The f...king paranoia! A group of us can be out together, talking, laughing, and there is always the elephant in the room. The questioning glances, the "oops" if something is said that isn't quite right.

Then there are my friends on the outside. They are good friends. They are awesome people. A few of them I have known for years. I want to be open, honest. But when someone asks how it's going, it is hard to look at someone who thinks we're close, who I've known for years and say,  "well, see, I've been a part of this cult which has permeated every part of my life since I was born, and well, now I want to leave, and um, I'm struggling with it. What? You mean I've never mentioned this before?"
Not sure how receptive I would be if I were on the receiving end of that.

So there isn't really an outlet, or someone to bounce thoughts off of. It kind of sucks. It also annoys me that all this probably makes "them" happy. It's by design, I am sure of it. Resulting is this blog, and other blogs, and posting in forums, and people commenting anonymously. It isn't ideal, but it's an outlet. Every person has their own invisible struggles I suppose. Thankfully there is the internet. Thankfully, there is a way to reach out to people who are still "in" and at least give another perspective. I never would have seen the Foibles article otherwise. I don't know if I would have asked myself the same questions without the other blogs and forums. I hope that at some point the struggle doesn't need to be so invisible.


11 comments:

  1. I read this last night and have been thinking about it all this morning. This must be so hard for your generation. Having to keep secrets from each other. I think it's so emotionally and psychologically abusive to force people to lie through commission. That's what they're doing. They're forcing you to keep silent about the TRUTH and to live a lie. And why? Because they want to cover up their crimes. That's why. You're blog is going to help a lot of people I think because it's honest. Great work. I hope more people start writing.

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  2. Here is something I think we do share, maybe its a leap to think leaving in 2007 or 1980 is similar but I think it must be. The perspective of a birth'd follower of jack is different, conditioning that posed fewer contradictions since it was his construct they are raised up in. Leaving the people, still hard, we thought we were in nirvana too, thought we had the special relationships with each other, and we did, you do or did.

    Sim, you seem to be a good and gentle soul, and like freckle, strong enough to have made the break, responding to what the truth is despite the internal struggle and pain. Don't be too hard on yourself or your outside friends. Being a cultie is big, but its bigger for you than your friends, I don't think they would be able to fully relate to you in this way, but that doesn't mean they would abandon your friendship either. I'm sure the loss of your (in) friends is painful, but your out from under the dome, they are not, sadly.
    Your walk through life was always your own, now you can make your own decisions about faith, spirituality, life, love, all of it, as it should be. I can't tell how much time you have been away and maybe you don't want to let anyone know that, but I have to think it gets better with time. To your own self be true, it would seem that so far, you have made the right choice.
    your blog is insightful, revealing, helpful and I think honest, thank you.

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  3. It definitely gets better with time. After leaving my life and my mental health have improved a lot. And Anonymous #2 is right when he or she says that being a cultie is big, but its bigger for you than your friends. I have told some of my friends that I grew up in a cult and they were all sympathetic, but most of them didn't really get it. Only one friend really understood me and they experienced something similar. Years after leaving, I still have not told most of my friends and I haven't told any of my co-workers even though we are close. It wouldn't matter to them or my employer if I told them, but I still feel a sense of shame that I cannot shake. I feel a sense of shame for not seeing through things as a child even though it was just a kid. I feel a sense of shame for telling people who brought up 'The Foibles of Abba' article to me that it was just a lie because that's what my parents told me and I refused to listen. I feel a sense of shame mostly though, because I wasted years of my life and I allowed the cult to make many of my important life decisions for me instead of making my own choices.
    Abel

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  4. Of course I am the person that said that you can't be in and be out. Mostly because, it's a cult. Every time you immerse yourself in Jack's life/teachings/habits/phrases etc, you are conditioning your behavior. Most people who leave a cult get exit counseling because it's so important to help someone recondition the way they think to eliminate the risk of return to the group, and detrimental side effects that can result in the person being unable to be a part of society, leading them to really unhealthy feelings, like suicide, anti-social behaviors, isolationism, schizo-typal ideation etc.

    And the nature of the group being what it is, people might notice you going to counseling and ask you to work with someone in the group who is qualified... to keep you in the group.

    I am that "ideal" situation you describe above. Even with that, it was a problem. It was difficult. But, I practiced. I figured out who to trust with my secret cult eureka moment and who I couldn't. It was mostly finding out who might be sympathetic to understanding my feelings and help me feel validated. Because that's what you need right now. Your concerns about the cult and how pervasive it is in your life, and how negative and harmful it is to you as a person, it's extremely valid. You absolutely need to tell people in your life and receive that acceptance and empathy. You need that as a person and you deserve it. But if you have not cultivated non-cult friendships... well.... start with a therapist and work on making friends.

    I have found, it's a great conversation starter. People are fascinated by it. Talking about it, once you get through the EXTREME embarrassment, paranoia, and self-hate, it's freeing. It's also great when no one shows up to yell at you, when you are still alive in the morning, when your friends don't treat you like a pariah, when no one says the phrase Lashon Hara or gossip to you, and when you start to get the giant cult-monkey off your back.

    But it takes Chutzpah. And practice. You just have to do it. See where it takes you. The responses I have gotten have been predominately positive.

    Also, email me anytime, about anything. I've been there.

    There is an entire range of experiences you will go through. It will be tough. But you can do it, and you will be infinitely better for it.

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  5. Hi Simply, (Part 1 0f 2)

    Your post touched a lot of chords with me. I was in the cult from 1970-1979. In the last years, when I was questioning my desire to stay in the Family, the first thing I did was change colleges....all the Cult people were at SUNY at Stonybrook. I transferred to a small private college "for a different major" and slowly but surely I made new friends. I did not tell them about the cult and loved the experience of dating who I wanted , not with my Priests approval. I was not under the constant eye of the Super cult members PR and CR who watched everyone in Stony Brook.

    I agree with Freckle Face. There is no way to not go on the journey you will have to go on. But with a good cognitive therapist, and maybe FF or someone else who has left, you will get the strength and support you need.

    Even in 1979 when I left the Family, all of my cult friends were still in it. PR gave speeches to them about the fact that they could never speak to me again. Most of my friends were intimidated by PR....who was a wanna be LR, and they complied. (PR was not an elder yet). But what I found fascinating is that slowly, other people with doubts would contact me, to try to figure out how to leave as well. Imagine the Underground Railroad.

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  6. The Foibles of Abba article which was written in 1981-1982 is around the time that N. B. , A very brave beautiful woman, who had been taught by Jack in his inner circle as a child, was in the inner circle...she called a meeting of the Family. At that time people had various reactions but most could not get past the fact that Jack was a pedophile.

    When this big event happened, many of my cult friends, who had not talked to me for 3 years, were all of a sudden calling me. Wanting to know what to do. How to process this information.

    Simply, I am proud that I left before the Community blew apart. Because, as difficult as it was, I did not wait for the masses to finally get it....I knew on so many levels that the Cult was wrong, and that the level of fear, manipulation, secrecy, and improper use of money, were not Heavely supported.

    You cannot imagine how many Cult people were relieved that ABBA had been exposed, because they had been wanting to leave for years and didn't have the guts. The article, was the evidence. Also, way before article, when NB called a Family meeting and exposed ABBA for multiple acts of pedophile, the cult members drove to ABBA's estate on Long Island to ask him face to face what was the truth. He admitted to the passing of the seed. Many of your dads probably were jerked off by ABBA. What a mental mess they must be. He had the opportunity to take only boys on special trips to Maine and elsewhere, because parents were so grateful and honored that ABBA had selected their sons. These are the people running your companies.

    I realized, and it took time to say it out loud, "I was in a cult". I must share that the shame did not last long, because the therapist I went to see was so fascinated, and it brought out so many issues in me, why I ever was attracted to the cult in the first place.

    Now it's many years later, and if I tell people that I was in a cult, they think it makes me even more interesting, with all of the journeys that life has brought me once I severed the the relationship with the ABBA CULT.

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    1. Part 3 below is part of the same thread I wrote.

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  7. Part 3
    But I will admit, that I used about a year, at my new college, rebuilding friendships, support, teachers that I liked, got an internship....all of these things, which had nothing to do with the Cult helped give me the roots that I needed to stand firm.

    But now that I look back, and all that I have learned from FF and Pnina has astonished me. I never thought at that time, with Jack Hickman....ABba....admitting to being a pedophile that anyone would stay. EVER.

    But the people who have deepseated character flaws and cannot think independently stayed. PR finally got to be the big shot that his brother LR was. Do you know how LR (ABBA's Prayer partner) was thrown to the side to be slaughtered? And what about JL? He lived in Jack Hickman's house as well.I understand he he saw a lot of fascinating things that he may have the guts to share about the crazy Jack Hickman househould. What was their relationship? Have you ever been told?

    Do you realize that so many of your leaders disobeyed the rules that they preached to the masses. That is another email.

    I guess what I am trying to share, is build your life outside the Cult, secretly if you must, but start doing things, joining things, volunteeing in things that have nothing to do with them. And then you will se that all of God's people are doing so many good things for others. They are not threatened to do it. They do it freely. I wish you this chance at another life. It was hard then, because of the shunning, but their were always a few community people who ignored PR's rules and stayed in touch. They all ended up leaving as well. You have no idea of the multitude of joyful, freeing wonderful life experiences you have going forward. I would get a therapist...cognitive are great...because they give you the tools to manage the anxiety and people in your life. It is very practical. And be proud...your not leaving when it all comes crashing down...which it will. You are leaving because it's your choice. A much healthier and stronger way to start out the journey.

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  8. I was in the ‘community’ as it called at the time from the early 70’s to that faithful Sunday night when Jack was exposed. I left and my world was turned up-side-down which is nothing compared to the 2nd and 3rd generations who left on their own accord. I commend you for your strength and bravery. The decision to move one, from an environment that you grew-up in (no matter how screwed up it was) takes so much courage and strength. Keep praising yourself for walking away and probably making the most difficult decision of your life. Keep patting yourself on the back and saying “I did it”. Friendships that support and encourage you are imperative.

    The community was my family and I felt a huge sense of loss when I left. The void was extremely painful. My faith was a gobbled mess .. was I a Jew or a Christian. It took me several years of soul researching. I still find myself (yes 30 or so years later) singing the Hebrew songs that we sang at service and the camping trips.

    Throughout the years I’ve heard bits and pieces and would have never imaged what actually was going on if it hadn’t been for you (and others). My heart goes out to the 2nd and 3rd generations who were brought up in the cult and didn’t’ know any different. How could you .. you were only children.

    Everything I read said that Parsifal was started by MO and GC. I was friendly with MO when he came up with the idea and started the company. I don’t recall GC being involved at that time. Although not important, just thought I would mention it.

    Thanks for sharing and I pray that you will continue to heal.

    A former member.


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  9. Freckle Face just wrote a very clear road map for all of you to get out. Please read her latest blog at:

    http://butseriouslybaby.blogspot.com/

    She will help you. Many of us will help you. Many of us who have left are very successful business people. We have networks of people that can help you get jobs, get therapists, and get your life back. Your time is precious. Please read what Freckle Face just wrote. For your sake, read it with an open mind.

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  10. I am glad to see that your site is back up. The writing you have done so far is excellent and I hope that it continues to help other youth who have grown up in the cult.

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