Abusive religious cult


Abusive religious cult


your avatar   Heartbroken, 27-year-old woman

I was raised in a very strict, very religious family. Church was the biggest part of our lives, and there was absolutely no doubt that God was real. Looking back now, I see that we were actually serving men, but my family didn't see that at the time.

When I was 11 my family was kicked out of the church for buying a house without permission. We were forced to stand before the church to be rebuked, and after my parents refused to repent, we were shunned and our names were put on the "black list". We were to never associate with anyone from that church again, and no one was to associate with us. After that my world completely changed. My family fell apart, my faith was destroyed, my friends hated me, and everything that I thought I knew about life, God, people, everything, was completely just a lie. There are absolutely no words to describe to you the utter pain, isolation, loneliness, and sheer darkness that entered my soul and my heart. For years I cried myself to sleep every night, wishing, wondering if there would ever be an end to the pain in my heart.

Eighth grade was the absolute worst year of my life. It was the year directly after we had left the church. For an entire year I received no verbal or physical interaction from my parents. I guess they were just too dead inside. My youngest sibling was born that year, and since he was born with severe physical and mental disabilities, the church said it was God punishing our family, and that the only way we could receive healing was to come back and repent before them. My parents started fighting, and since my mom was gone for weeks at a time to stay with my youngest sibling in the NICU, I was the 2nd mom. My dad, who is actually my step-dad, began drinking obsessively. Somehow I was spared from losing anything that I could never get back, but he did break my trust, my respect, and my desire to be his daughter. He ruined the meaning of a father's love for me, and to this day I still think it's weird when I see a close father-daughter relationship. And I cry.

Anyways, life changed dramatically, and over the next 7 years. It may have healed on the outside, but my pain just sank deeper and deeper into my soul. I didn't know if God was real anymore, I didn't know who I was, and I hadn't had a true friend in a long time. I do believe that there is something "out there" because somehow I fell in love with, and married, an individual of the same exact family whose church hurt my family all those years ago.

I can't really spell out a question, and I don't know what kind of advice to ask for. I just need to let someone know my pain, someone who can hear my words and see my tears. I'm living in a cage, and I have become the very thing I never wanted to be. I resent myself, I hate the skin that I wear. I feel as though I am me inside of someone else and I'm screaming to break free, but no one can hear me. I only now realize the dire circumstance that I am in. I come from a cult, I have never fully healed, and somehow, I blindly and naively, allowed myself to return, before ever even thinking about the consequences. And now I have a child, so I can't just run. And it hurts so bad knowing that another innocent, beautiful little life will be affected by this monstrous family, these horrible, wicked people. My in-laws despise me. My mother-in-law thinks I'm worthless. I can't even feel anything anymore, except for my tears. I don't even know if I still love my husband. I am just so hurt, so disgusted, so broken. I want to get away, I want to start over. I want to leave all of this crap behind. But I can't, because I'm married to them. I'm one of them now. Please help me. What should I do? Is there even anything I can do?


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

My dear,

There is lots you can do. And actually, you have already done some of it. You now know that this group has nothing to do with God or Christianity, but is an abusive cult.

You want to get away, and you can. Instead of wishing, start planning. A good start will be this website.

I don't know where in the country you live, but there are probably local resources you can use. Some of the things these people have done may well be illegal. If so, you can turn to the police, who will direct you to resources. If you have been verbally, emotionally or physically abused, you can probably find a shelter to take you. Of course, you do have a child, but nowadays, the world is full of single moms. If they can survive, so can you.

You don't need to run straight away, but carefully and secretly plan it, and go when you are ready. For example, this can include studying to get some sort of qualification, so that you can earn money once you are free.

You have the rest of your life to look forward to, with freedom, respect and dignity.


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit: http://anxietyanddepression-help.com


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