In Reply to: Here’s the thing posted by Jules on January 25, 2003 at 00:25:45:
"Am I angry? Yes. I am tired of getting it from every side. If you have snide insults for me you can shove them, if you think I hold all truth, you can shove that too. I am in the same boat as the rest of the SGs, but I do care about communication, and the only reason I have come here at all is because I think healing begins when we ALL are willing to hear each other and stop demanding that other people accept us or our opinions."
Perhaps I have missed some posts as I could not see the insults. Set me straight about that if it is so. I would like to state once more that there is only TEXT here, so sometimes it can be tricky to communicate without any help from the nonverbal aspects of communication. I am sorry you are having a bad day.
I think it helps to stick to issues and keep emotion a bit out of the fray...which is the most difficult thing to do in this case. I know it from experience. This is not 'just' another 'father and son' scenario (of Cat Stevens memory, for the ones who remember the singer), which is generational and recurring and complex enough, but it is rendered more, further complicated by the issues excogs carry and have to deal with. (excogs parents AND children)
I would like to point out a few things, for the sake of dialogue that I really appreciate, too (and I appreciate the fact that you have come here to communicate, Jules)
1) FG's and SG's are not, in my opinion, homogenous categories. Not in the least. You yourself say 'you are getting it from every side' and I sympathize. I am sure there are some "SG's" who understand this less than I do (that is if I am to be labeled an FG)
2) It must be mind boggling to juggle a site like yours. There are enough 'older' strange excogs around, and there are enough SG's I think who also have disagreements about many things, and are angry.
3) As a paradigmatic example of paradox and differences, I would like to cite the young person on your site (what is his name, cultinvator?) who cites anthropological arguments to once again question how harmful sexual relations between adults and children can be.
Since I have been very vocal about this one point in the cult first, where I was very disempowered DE FACTO, and now in academia (where I operate) I found the occurrence at the very least paradoxical, but then perhaps it can be representative of the many differences existing in the 2 groups that are often polarized as monolithically opposed and different.
4) This is not a black and white universe, though I concede, there are commonalities and broad issues that find people in different camps.
However, it is like a matrix in my opinion...(just like in sociology you have to see how class, race, gender and other factors etc etc intersect) there are many many sides to the whole thing, and not just whether someone was born to 2 parents who were in the cult, or joined at 15 years of age.
Some ppl who joined at 15 had absent fathers (who were maybe alcoholic) had extremely abusive mothers (and maybe that is why they were runaways) and certainly had their share of fuckedupness and a right to a healthy childhood, which they did not have, as much as any of the SG's claim now. They found themselves joining a Christian group where they had to have children when they could barely even take care of themselves...there was no choice to reproduction. At least many SG's have some of that now. They will be able not to make the same mistakes some of us made, by simply having that choice.
5) There are a fair number of parents who were engaged in resistance and were punished, silenced, scapegoated and who ultimately refused to part with their children and to sacrifice them to the 'laws' of MO-loch and left the group consequently. There are many many different individual circumstances that have to be considered.
The recurring diatribe reminds me of the battered women's issues and their children. The relationship with the children gets often destroyed by the events the family nucleus lives with...(but thankfully not always)
the truth is many battered women get out when they can, and do everything they can to rebuild a life...however, my own son said to me once, I "understand" what you went through...but when those things were happening, YOU were the only person I could count on because the 'other' was the perpetrator...*I* was the 'child'...at least you were, in my eyes, the only 'adult' even if you were very young. That sums up his emotional struggle.
I understand his struggle. I have to live with mine. Funny how a director for battered women's services told me recently "they always ask why women STAY, they never ask WHY men (or perpetrators of any gender) DO WHAT THEY DO.
(and in fact many women don't stay...the moment they get strong enough or find the support- emotional psychological and FINANCIAL - they need to leave, they DO leave. Then they are faced with the gargantual job of picking up the pieces)
The issue is very emotionally charged. I have often felt some SG's displace their anger onto other people they can see as parent figures because their own parents do not give them any chance to resolve their issues. I am sorry for that, but I am not responsible for THOSE parents' choices now. I have enough struggling with the cost of my choices and they have been expensive as well from an emotional toll, but have helped me to keep my integrity.
Then there are SG's who love their parents very much and CAN talk to them. There are many differences and different situations, I repeat. But then you would know these things better than I do as you are in close touch with many of these people.
My children have worked through these issues and are still working on them...from an intellectual point they understood that *where* I was I had no other way...when I did I took it. That is the point where you may be able to start talking about the possibility of forgiveness, not in a contrived way, but in a real manner.
It has taken them time but they have gotten to a point where they do not BLAME me. (not as much at least, depending if they have a good or bad day :)
I am the ONLY person who has done the impossible to help myself and them for years. This process is part of their own progress as well. They've got theirs, I've got mine.
There is no monopoly on pain, and many of us have had enough to sell, in fact I see many who have not fared as well as some young people. It could be chance, health, intelligence, energy, age, whatever, there are so many variables in this matrix, I will keep repeating it as long as I live.
I was surprised to hear a conversation between my 19 yr old (who carries the deepest scars in many different ways and does not have a functional lifestyle) and my 24 yr old. My son said at a certain point,
"you cannot understand or appreciate what it means to be in incredibly difficult life situations having children. In spite of the fact that our parents had extremely difficult lives they had us to take care of as well in extremely stressful situations. I think no matter what happened, knowing what I know now, I think they deserve respect for trying their best, even if their best was not as good as it should have been at times."
It was the first time I heard one of my now adult sons talking about the need for admiration and respect (I hope it is ok to use these words talking about alleged FG parents :) for what I have endured and what I have done to change things as much as possible. Again, I am talking about MY experience, but my experience counts as one of many, and it is representative, just as the experience of my children who are 'missing data' on online sites.
The issue between parents and children (unless it concerns specific perpetrators or leaders) has to be negotiated between parents and children, in my opinion. And by the way, nobody has given me anything either...I have had to rebuild everything as a single parent with 4 children, and I have earned every single step of progress I made. The only entity who has given me anything is some higher power that has given me enough health and survivor spirit to do what I have done, so far. Some less fortunate people fall by the wayside because of sickness, death, weakness, whatever. I think it is important to remember that as well.
I am sure my flow of consciousness rambling style here will not be able to address everything and will stir up some controversy. THAT is dialogue. I am just adding my own opinion to that. I hope you take some rest and realize you don't have to take it from all sides. :) People may try to 'give' it to you, but you don't have to take it.
When I get to that point I go and watch the ocean. There are not enough words that can do "justice" to a lot of what is tentatively approached as a discussion on this site or yours.
As for the SG's that do not post here or other sites, let me tell you, *I* almost do not post here, :) and I cannot surely post on other sites.
I don't think the issue is an 'age' issue. (let us go back to the matrix model) Furthermore, there are many SG's who do not post altogether. My own kids want nothing to do with that. (They range in age between 24-17)
They are also representative of children who were born in the cult, and who have had enough heartache and damage. I have had mine, and I am still picking up pieces. I have accepted my responsibility, but I sure do not like getting it from every side either. :) And I don't. I set my boundaries, and I go from there.