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Re: Across Generations

Posted by Kinda Gentler on August 08, 2004 at 14:26:23

In Reply to: Re: Across Generations posted by Charlie on August 08, 2004 at 10:24:38:

Hi Charlie. I agree with most of what you said, but I don't feel like it was stupidity that led most of us to the family. Neither was it stupidity that we stayed in. While there is self-responsibility in many areas of life, especially in the area of recovery after getting out from under all that garbage, I had to learn not to be responsible for everything that happened. I am just not that powerful. Neither was I dumb. Cults tend to attract some pretty bright people, but also people that are vulnerable in one way or another. Sometimes the vulnerability is the age group- which is why so many cult people are sent to recruit on campuses and to youth on the streets. This is such a susceptible time in life because a person is in major transition. So I don't blame myself for being recruited. Later, the family attracted a more mature and wealthy audience as sex was used as the tool to vulnerability.
Since i truly believed that God could kill me or my kids for leaving, I don't blame myself for staying a good while either, especially with no one safe on the outside. What I am responsible for is making amends wherever I hurt someone when I was under the influence and that includes myself. And I am responsible for doing things differently and that is a process. For me, it seems that knowledge came first and then application of that knowledge and awareness of what my strengths and limitations are. I would not blame people that were recruited into the family and stayed anymore than I would blame the battered woman for being charmed into a relationship that becomes abusive and then she finds no way out. Death seems to be the only option and the survival instinct kicks in until it becomes kill or be killed.
What is good is that there are many programs that provide education and assistance now that were not available then. Or not so well known. Still, a person can be emotionally brainwashed to believe that the captor/abuser/cult leader/God can get to her (or him) wherever they go. I think it is healthy to end the blame game amongst those who have been victimized. Victim is not a bad word. Why is it that Victim is seen as weak and despised whereas perpetrator seems almost to be admired and seen as strength? The real strength is in SURVIVING. And all of us exers SURVIVED that horror. Survivors deal with residual wounds. Sort of like when a person has had badly broken bones. They mend but things like the weather can bring up aches and pains.
As far as Deborah goes, to tell the truth, imo, she still seems very rigid and hyper-religious which is not surprising considering where she came from. She was very rigid and hard within the group too. Her book exposes a lot and that is good, but I don't agree with all her viewpoints.