Monday, January 18, 2010

The after life

I’m writing today about a subject close to my heart, as it’s the plight myself, and a lot of close friends are dealing with, on a daily basis, to start out I’m quoting a piece written by Jan Groenveld titled “The Emotional Pain Of Leaving A Cult” as she does a wonderful job portraying the pain and additional challenges leaving cult life presents.

“It Hurts
It Hurts to discover you were deceived - that what you thought was the “one true religion,” the “path to total freedom,” or “truth” was in reality a cult.

It Hurts when you learn that people you trusted implicitly - whom you were taught not to question - were “pulling the wool over your eyes” albeit unwittingly.

It Hurts when you learn that those you were taught were your “enemies” were telling the truth after all - but you had been told they were liars, deceivers, repressive, satanic etc and not to listen to them.

It Hurts when you know your faith in God hasn’t changed - only your trust in an organization - yet you are accused of apostasy, being a trouble maker, a “Judas”. It hurts even more when it is your family and friends making these accusations.

It Hurts to realize their love and acceptance was conditional on you remaining a member of good standing. This cuts so deeply you try and suppress it. All you want to do is forget - but how can you forget your family and friends?

It Hurts to see the looks of hatred coming from the faces of those you love - to hear the deafening silence when you try and talk to them. It cuts deeply when you try and give your child a hug and they stand like a statue, pretending you aren’t there. It stab’s like a knife when you know your spouse looks upon you as demonized and teaches your children to hate you.

It Hurts to know you must start all over again. You feel you have wasted so much time. You feel betrayed, disillusioned, and suspicious of everyone including family, friends and other former members.

It Hurts when you find yourself feeling guilty or ashamed of what you were - even about leaving them. You feel depressed, confused, and lonely. You find it difficult to make decisions. You don’t know what to do with yourself because you have so much time on your hands now - yet you still feel guilty for spending time on recreation.

It Hurts when you feel as though you have lost touch with reality. You feel as though you are “floating” and wonder if you really are better off and long for the security you had in the organization and yet you know you cannot go back.

It Hurts when you feel you are all alone - that no one seems to understand what you are feeling. It hurts when you realize your self confidence and self worth are almost non-existent.

It Hurts when you have to front up to friends and family to hear their “I told you so” whether that statement is verbal or not. It makes you feel even more stupid than you already do - your confidence and self worth plummet even further.

It Hurts when you realize you gave up everything for the cult - your education, career, finances, time and energy - and now have to seek employment or restart your education. How do you explain all those missing years?

It Hurts because you know that even though you were deceived, you are responsible for being taken in. All that wasted time ... at least that is what it seems to you - wasted time.”

The Hasidic sect more than other sects within Judaism is a full fledged cult, leaving its folds is a rare accomplishment, even for those that became disillusioned with its philosophy, most resort to a double life, not wanting to deal with the consequences of leaving.

What hurts is that, often times even those that had the courage to leave, are left with nothing after breaking away, they do not have the strength to move on with the challenges of regular life and especially the challenges specific to their situation.

There are groups that formed to assist in some of the challenges, giving a helping hand to ease the transition, kudos to them, unfortunately another grouping formed as well, groups that are formed based on a philosophy that enforces the misconception that its impossible to move on and have a normal life.

No benefit could be had from assembling on a regular basis to; grieve, complain, whine, reassure failure, and romanticize a life that was left due to a realization of its falsehood.

Are there things to be missed? Of course, the sense of belonging, the communal life, and spiritual expression, but there are other outlets for that, being nostalgic and feeding of, of something that is in the past, chasing something in the rear, is a deterrent to progress.

The emphasis should lie in the future, what’s ahead, yes the challenges are tremendous, life in itself presents challenges to all of humanity, coupled with the additions of the specific challenges, but time, the future, dedication, and hard work, provides hope and accomplishment.


Arman Matin said...

shame, guilt and fear resonate from the source.. there is no right and wrong.. and as such no shame , guilt or fear. Subsequently there are no mistakes. Tread this path boldly, with the faith that you have in yourSelf. You dont need anything else but the light that you radiate through believing in yourself, and the purity of thought and love for the state of things. I support you in your path to discovering the true nature of self.


Ali Kocar said...

I applaud you for following your heart... And making the changes, no matter how difficult, that have lead you thus far.

"There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other."
---Douglas Everett

Opinions said...

Thank you for the kind words, you have been an inspiration, love you guys

Anonymous said...

"No benefit could be had from assembling on a regular basis to; grieve, complain, whine, reassure failure, and romanticize a life that was left due to a realization of its falsehood."

And why not?

And what if it is just to socialize with one's own kind. People feel comfortable with like-minded people. I know I do. Who else would I prefer to hang out with?

People can leave, go on, and have a normal life. These same people can lead a normal life with other normal people who may speak the language, share the same history, and have a true understanding of what the other went and is going through. It's normal, and beautiful. Imagine being alone, no one gets you, no one understands you. No thanks.

Opinions said...

Part of the reason for leaving a lifestyle, includes a yearning to explore, to learn what wasn't taught and allowed before, to express individuality, and to make connections with the broader population who has similar believes and values.

Sharing full time and only time with the past is a deterrent for all the above, assembling for support for positivity is definitely beneficial, it depends what the focus is the past or the future.

The average American moves 11 times during their lifetime, this constitutes 11 times in life they have to find and fit into a new social circle, and for a person who grew up in the south, moving to the east and vice versa, this is even more challenging, but it doesn't stop the average individual from doing so, this is something that compliments an individual, it makes him stronger and more knowledgeable.

Yes growing up in a cult and being deprived from common knowledge adds to the difficulty, but how is one to accomplish the reasons for leaving if all they do is sheltering each other?

As for being constantly misunderstood and alone, i have confidence in humanity, there is a possibility to connect with new people that understand you and can be understood.

Opinions said...

Article facebook disscusion

Yakov W Nice, but the question has to be asked, what constitutes a cult? Is catholicism a cult?

Zalmen L no one like you would've stayed catholic.

Yakov W Hahah, in fact I am Catholic.
The question is, what is a religion and what is a cult? Would you say that every religion has cultish features? Than, do cults have religious features?
Is a non-religious social environmet a cult? Its very hard to rip yourself away from your comfort zone. I wanna hear your definition for cult. Than we can debate whether our common reality is a cult, or not.

Bazooka Jules Cult:
1. followers of an exclusive system of religious beliefs and practices.
2. followers of an unorthodox, extremist, or false religion or sect who often live outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.

Arman Matin the real question is ..does any of this make us better humans.. on how we see ourselves and everyone else..does it bring us closer to our individual yet collective spiritual identity.. make us feel our true nature..our true identity as an expression of our powerful creativity ?... the answer lies within..and whatever it is ..if it doesnt include every entity and every matter that its probably not the truth. anything selective and narrow is a cult

Opinions said...


Benjamin Umi F It's never a question of being right or wrong rather a matter of choice. If you will concentrate on your choice regardless of the past you'll be able to start a new normal life. Don’t look back, learn from the first woman who turned her head back and become a pillar of salt. I wish great success and happiness in the future

Arman Matin as i said before, shame, guilt and fear resonate from the same source.. there is no right and wrong.. and as such no shame , guilt or fear. Subsequently there are no mistakes. Tread this path boldly, with the faith that you have in your Self.
You dont need anything else but the light that you radiate through believing in yourself, and the purity of thought and love for the state of things.
I support you in your path to discovering the true nature of self.

Yakov W Bazooka- Who decides what's a religion and whats a cult? By your definition a cult is only a cult when held up to the light of religion. A cult is only "unorthdox, extreme and in defiance of conventional society" as long as the norm is set as conventional religion. If the cult would be the norm, than established religion would be in defiance of the norm. We need 2 seperate definitions that are not dependant on each other.

Yakov W Arman- "anything selective and narrow is a cult" So, do you consider established religion to be a cult?

Zalmen L Yakov we could go back and forth on semantics, you know how Hasidism is different in the way it encloses its members. i did not intend on writing about the ways of the Hasidic sect, I do not want to mourn or whine, my point is to the contrary for those who left, move on.

Yazmin Gonzalez I think cults and religions should be differentiated and Hassidim (from alot of delving) is or borderlines a cult.
There are strict rules in the most extreme of sects forbidding* access to television, radios, contact with the outside world (or secular people/concepts). There is also a uniform involved...Most faiths have uniforms involved during worship and not as a requirment for inclusion. I can safely say that Hassidim has evolved through the years into a religious cult.

Yazmin Gonzalez Also- in order for there to be an actual "afterlife" when one leaves a religious cult such as this there has to be a good foundation of the "self" as Arman mentioned. Not everyone leaves with a solidified and thought out itinerary of goals, but there are indeed organizations (and i hope there are more) liek FootSteps who take it upon themselves to ... See Moreguide as transitional mediums.
Since most of the grievances of x-hassidim stem from the lack of a true and meaningful connection with the secular world and it's traditions--this leads me to conclude that somehow this community is missing on a vital spritual transition outlet.

Opinions said...


Zalmen L What is lost as well is all prior connection, the connection to parents, family, friends, the people you love, also your niche as a human being all is lost in this transition, most of the knowledge accumulated throughout the years, is mostly useless for this new existence.
Having to go back to kindergarten, starting anew without the natural support of your supposed loved ones, is a pretty arduous task, but could be accomplished by moving forward.

Yakov W Tyere Zal, I got your point all right. I’m all for moving on, however impossible I think that might be. It’s not so easy to forget ones past. From the day that Adam ate from the tree of knowledge we are forever condemned, that we can’t un-know what we already know. But with the proper approach and the right mindset you can at least fool yourself into believing that you’re moving on which is just as good, or maybe better. I wish you great success in all your future endeavors.

Yazmin Gonzalez it takes "Self" work ....running with this concept.And it's more work than the average person who is equipped with family,friends,and faith.
But this is indeed a part of life's research, and it takes a select few who are willing to do the hard soul searching, back bending, and heart breaking effort.

Arman Matin religion and cult at their current mutant state are all the same... exclusive.. restrictive .. biased.. whenever we believe in something we stop searching.. which goes against the true nature of ourselves. I for one have faith in the concept that from an elemental point of view.. them..the world..objects.. earth.. darkness, lightness and ... the universe is made up of the same element. As such we are all one connected through our spirit connection to everything and everyone.
In this concept of oneness there is no wrong or right, darkness and light are of the same frequency.. its just up to in our will and choice to decide to resonate to a particular frequency. This choice defines our inclination, our choice of vibration.. but the universal love of oneness and compassion towards the state of things no matter how much you might despise them does not get excluded from being part of the universal oneness.
You are me and I am you.

Yazmin Gonzalez Beautiful.

Zalmen L agreed within infinity everything is one, there are no bounderies

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א בארא-פארקער said...

דו דארפסט באזונדער אפגעבן א שבח והודאה פאר אללא אז דו האט זיך ארויסגעזען פון א קולט שבקולט. נישט נאר פאר חרדיזם, נאר פון א לעבן אין דער רעבישער היערארכיע מיט די פארשידענע אבסורדאלע באגרעניצונגען וועלכע דאס ברענגט מיט.
כה לחי! דיין קוראזש ווערט געשעצט אפילו ביי פילע פון די וואס זענען נאך אייגעווייקט אין דער חרדישער צואה רותחת.