|Posted by Natacha Tormey on July 4, 2014 at 7:55 PM|
Recently, as I was taking part in a radio discussion, I was asked what I would say to someone who was thinking of leaving a cult.
As we were recording live, I had to respond quite quickly but the question lingered in my mind for several days after. What would I have needed to hear when I was in that position?
After much thought, there was one point that kept coming to mind. I would have loved to have been told that I didn't need to feel shame about my past - that I didn't need to hide it, lie about it and keep it all a secret. The weight of secrecy is heavy and is one that I carried for years. I couldn't allow people to get to close to me because that would inevitably mean that I would have to a) lie to them or b) face the terrible task of telling them the truth about my past. Where would I start? Would they understand or would such a monumental revelation change their view of me?
Since I have 'come out' with the truth, I have had incredible feedback from friends and colleagues. Instead of thinking negatively of me. all those who cared to comment said that they admired the journey I had taken and the courage it took to tell the truth.
I would also say the following to anyone who is thinking of leaving a cult. Don't be afraid. You are probably feeling very uncertain about the future and perhaps you are torn about whether you are making the right decision. You are - don't doubt yourself. There is a life post-cult and there are support systems out there that can help you make the transition. It will be very difficult, both emotionally, psycologically and often, financially and practically. But you can make it and you will never regret making that decision because you will spend what ever time you have left in this world as a free person. Over time, you will rediscover who you once were before the cult or find who you really are (if you were born into one, like me) and that was the most liberating experience for me.
Learn to trust and accept help. Best of luck to any of you who are reading this and are in that position!