In Reply to: From the ashes of defeat posted by Lyle on April 10, 2003 at 18:31:04:
Our life in TF was about giving up control of our lives, our thoughts, our feelings, our identity, our everything to a "higher being", represented in the physical world by our shepherds. We were made to believe that we were "nothing" without them so were made to rely 100% on them for everything all the time, even down to the number of sheets of toilet paper.
How much we gave up our own "leaning to our own understanding", our obedience, became a measure of our spirituality. We gave up our innate power to decide right from wrong (our instincts) in exchange for that higher level of spirituality that was supposed to be the "highest and best". We underwent the slow boil of disempowerment. Sure, we probably jerked some along the way, when our instincts kicked in, but generally we flowed along because those times were dealt with self-serving scriptures and word studies and topped of with a large serving of guilt. That we were all behaving in the same way, reacting to things similarly, made the relinquishing of power all the more painless and acceptable, even desirable.
When I made the decision to leave TF, I remember feeling something I haven't felt for a very long time, something that made me stand up to my leaders in a very definitive way. No it wasnít rebelliousness, though that was the label it was given. It was something deeper, more basal than that. It was the sense of power. I was suffused with wonderment that I had the power to choose not to remain in the group any longer, and that no one could stop me. Of course my shepherds tried very hard to pull the guilt trips on me, but I had my mind made up. I claimed back my power to control my life. I have begun to break free.
Our lives now are a continuing process of breaking free. Of unshackling ourselves from the bonds created by all that mental, emotional and spiritual programming that we went thru in the cult. But I daresay, the cult was just a part of the whole picture. Our own childhood, the nurturing (or the lack of it), our value system, etc. all contribute to the total package of the issues that form those bonds.
I feel that those of us that have found success (based on their own personal definition) have laid claim to that innate power within themselves and are continually breaking free. Those who havenít have yet to discover it. It starts with discovering your sense of self and your own worth. Something that was repressed and oppressed in TF. Having someone believe in you is very helpful but believing in yourself is very powerful.