Our first question – What was the transition out of the cult like?

Posted: August 20, 2013 in Uncategorized
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My question is this. I understand while in Scientology (Especially at Gulag known as SeaOrg) you guys have a very limited access to the outside world such as media, television or basic contact with those on the outside.

Being that you appear to have been raised in Scientology. How hard is it for ex-Scientologist to transition into mainstream society once your out? I assume it would be somewhat stressful; but then again I’m assuming.

Also I notice many “lifers” from Scientology go threw a stage of transitioning into Independent Scientology as a form of deprogramming themselves before they break from Scientology all together. Is this the case for most ex-Scientologists?

Would love to hear of your transition process and experiences in de-programming yourself from this oppressive cult.

This is an excellent, detailed and very well thought out question from a reader who is a college-graduated Cultural Anthropologist (it shows!).

There were many things involved in my personal deprogramming that happened consecutively, concurrently and simultaneously. Some experiences were spontaneous, some were gradual. I’ll just talk about the highlights here.

The entire process started with leaving the Sea Org. I went through many confessionals on my way out. The reason I was kicked out was because I developed a same-sex relationship.

When I returned home, my father’s reaction to my sudden appearance on his doorstep was enlightening to say the least. He said a great many hurtful things to me. It was at that point I realized that I did not have the luxury of unconditional, parental love.

Out of pure necessity and out of spite I got a job, got a car and started building a life. My first few jobs were with businesses run by other cult members. In Scientology, you’re not allowed to sue another cult member or you will be expelled from the group. At this point in my life, expulsion meant loss of all support. I realized this applied to unemployment as well, meaning that I’d not be able to challenge any attempt to deny me unemployment.

I quickly looked for a job outside of the cult’s sphere. I found one. That’s when I discovered that I made more money, had better benefits, was treated better and more appreciated outside of the cult. That was the very first red flag for me; that life might just be better out here.

I made a friend outside of the cult, and through him found many other friends. I ended up acquiring a great number of friends and learning what unconditional love is. I also learned that people can do favors for you without expecting anything back from you.

I learned that Scientology “tech” only works inside Scientology. Meaning that you have to be indoctrinated into the cult in order for it to have any effect on you.

Then I started to absorb information that contradicted what I had been taught. I learned about scientific proof. I studied psychology and philosophy on my own. I started to learn that some of the things I had been taught were fact were not only wrong, but didn’t make any sense at all!

The biggest revelation came when my aunt died in 2010. At that point I realized that Scientologists have no respect or regard for human life. Something that in my 7 years of building a life outside of the cult, I had begun to take for granted.

It was then I realized what conditional “love” was and what unconditional love was. I couldn’t take it anymore. That’s what lead to my eventual, permanent exit.

The Sea Org does heavily control outside influences for rank and file members. Some of the higher ups, who have proven unquestionable loyalty, are permitted many more freedoms than I was. For a regular non-SO Scientologist, such control is difficult. My exploration didn’t begin until I left the Sea Org.

After the Sea Org I started exploring things on my own. Mostly television programs at first: National Geographic, Discovery, etc. Then I started reading the internet and found Wikipedia and online dictionaries and Google. Lord help me, I still can’t stop learning stuff and asking questions to this day.

This is how I started discovering problems with what I had been taught. It wasn’t until 2011 that I finally had the strength to Google “Scientology”. I started crying about what I read. It took me a week to finally read the confidential materials.

Once I found some websites where other Ex’es congregated it was only a matter of time before I felt the need to share my story.

There are huge differences between how a normal person thinks and how a cult member or abuse victim thinks. Navigating the rift between normality and your own quirks is difficult.

I was fortunate to find an tolerant, patient, respectful and fun group of friends. Without knowing it, they mentored me in living a life full of fun and love. They taught me how to properly express my emotions and essentially become human again.

This was during my transitional period. Things became a little more difficult when I actually left my family. I haven’t spoken to them in a year. I have been receiving therapy, which flies in the face of everything Scientology taught me. That has smoothed what I consider the “final stage” of my transition back to normality for me, quite a bit.

For some of us, I feel that the transition may be even more difficult. Especially if you are older, hundreds of thousands of dollars and decades into the cult. Some people may be so disassociated from society that they cannot make friends.

Some of those who leave may find themselves in other cults, or unable to shake the cult mindset because the cognitive dissonance is too much for them. Also because of our natural tendency to repeat abuse (the cycle of abuse). I think this is what contributes to the existence of things like Independent Scientology, the Freezone and so on.

In conclusion, I think that the path for exit is a deeply personal choice. The abuse I suffered was not dissimilar to the abuse suffered in violent domestic relationships, familial abuse and bullying. Even the effects it brought on me are not dissimilar from most other abuse victims.

The difference is in the way that we respond to it. I consider myself fortunate. Whether I have been guided by a higher power, my own subconscious or my primal urges to survive. I consider myself fortunate because I am alive, happy, successful and have forged long-lasting relationships with people I consider my real family.

I wish that everyone who exited an abusive relationship or coercive group could have my experience. It pains me to see my fellow sufferers having so much trouble releasing their bonds.

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