Non-Family male in relationship with SGA (who left group)

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COG-BF
 
Reply Thu 11 Apr, 2013 05:27 pm
Hello - I'm a middle-aged man dating a woman who was born and raised in 'Children of God' (she left group and has been living independently since her early teens.) I'm deeply in love with this woman and have been aware of her childhood since before we began our relationship. I am one of a very few she has ever shared her history with... I have tried very hard to not let 'her struggle' define how I see her - and have sought to be a caring and supportive friend above all else. We have been together for many months and I have seen her in her darkest times. My purpose for registering on this site is to seek to gain insight about her challenges (through other past members), as well as meet other 'co-dependents' who find themselves struggling to understand the impact of the pain left by being involved with/raised in this truly damaging organization.

The issues I have observed may be categorized in the following manner:
1) Isolation & destructive 'independence'
2) Addiction
3) Anger & hostility
4) Depression & anxiety
5) Absence of spirituality
6) ...Strength...

At this point, I am merely seeking to introduce myself to the community and seek to identify individuals who:
1) Are themselves ex-members who may relate to many/all of the 'symptoms' I have described and can shed some light on their journey and struggles
2) Are themselves involved with an ex-member who may relate to my situation.

I have done quite a lot of independent research - including (but not limited to) reading available resources, watching many documentaries, watching the Ricky Rodriguez suicide video and even watching the "Law & Order" episode... In her darkest moments, since I've known her, I even reached out to 'cult-recovery' institutions to assist in potentially finding her professional help - with no success - that is it's own disappointing story...

My preference is to make some direct connections here and establish some 'friendships' where I/we might share our experiences and offer direct support to one another - sometimes in Topic threads, other times in direct, private communication.

I'd like to conclude by simply sharing my sincere encouragement to all who may read this. I find myself awestruck by your 'survival' - in light of what I have learned you have endured. I offer my confidential support and friendship to anyone who may seek an interested, informed and sensitive 'friend.' I have no ulterior motives other than to become a better friend & partner to a fellow soul who I see struggle every day...

Irie,
COG-BF
 
KarenKarMa
 
Reply Fri 12 Apr, 2013 06:48 pm
@COG-BF,
Hi, my name is Karen.
I'm 21 years old. I left the Family 4 years ago (I was an MM). I don't discuss my past with the Family to most who know me, and I'm very shut-in and shy. This is largely due to my different upbringing. I grew up in 14 different countries over the course of 16 years.

I suppose the part of your list I relate to most is Depression. I used to inflict self harm on myself. I have contemplated suicide on many occasions since I was 11.

SGAs had it bad, though. I know a lot of SGAs, especially a few from the Macao home. The Macao home had it rough.
 
COG-BF
 
Reply Mon 15 Apr, 2013 08:19 am
@KarenKarMa,
Thanks for the introduction Karen. I'm glad to hear that you found your way out of the cult, but sorry to hear that you have suffered self-harm, thoughts of suicide, isolation & depression. I can't even imagine what it must be like to have experienced what you have. All I can say is that I care and sincerely wish you peace.

Have you tried to share your story with others and been 'burned' by the risk? My nature, through my life, has been to let people know of my struggles - so people might understand and empathize. Or is there 'shame' that you feel that prevents it? This is what I'm trying to understand... If everything is internalized, it seems to me that you risk ongoing, self-destructive tendencies. Have you ever found any 'professionals' that have been useful?

I recognize that I can't 'fix' things for my girlfriend - no one can. But I'm very interested in helping her find support that might help her achieve more serenity in life. I am sincerely surprised that ex-family folks aren't more organized - aren't more mutually supportive, motivated to help one another... Am I (is she) missing something that exists but we simply haven't found??

Be well Karen. Let me know if you would ever feel like communicating more, or directly.
 
KarenKarMa
 
Reply Tue 16 Apr, 2013 06:53 am
@COG-BF,
I have never shared my story with anyone other than fellow x-Family members and a good friend of mine who I felt deserved to know. It's not shame that prevents me from being open about it, as much as it is me not wanting unnessessary attention or pity. I don't want to be judged based on what happened, I want to be judged based on who I am now.

As for seeking professional help, I have been to a psycologist, but it wasn't particularly helpful. It's a trust issue; I didn't trust his confidentiality, since I didn't know him, as such I didn't share much with him. But it's important to remember, our lives in the Family where controlled. We had very little contact with the outside world ("The System", it was called); my experience outside was restricted to Witnessing, where we had to give tracts and try to convert others to the Family, and "Get-Out" time, which was an hour every day where we'd get exercise outside, and we were moniterted by adult Family members during that hour. Even at the Home, our lives were controlled; when we woke up, when we slept, when we read Family leaders' mailings, when we did our JJTs, what we watched, what books we could read, our education, etc.

Obviously, experiences varied greatly between members. Some homes were better than others, some were worse.
 
COG-BF
 
Reply Tue 16 Apr, 2013 09:21 am
@KarenKarMa,
Her experience with 'professionals', non-cult experts however, has been that they have been ill-equipped to help. In fact, they have often treated her like they are 'entertained' to hear her experiences - but don't seem to know how to help. It's left her jaded and skeptical that they can.

This is why I've sought to find cult-specific expertise (or support groups), but all I've found are 'de-programmers', which isn't what she really needs... And I've found a number of resources that have closed (no longer exist). There were a couple of inpatient facilities I called, but they didn't even return my messages...

If anyone has had successful, specialized support, I would appreciate the referral.
 
KarenKarMa
 
Reply Tue 16 Apr, 2013 10:24 am
@COG-BF,
Sorry, I'm afraid I can't help you there. Finding professional help isn't exactly something I've achieved. But I'll help in any way I can; if you have any questions, I'll try to answer as best I can.
 
COG-BF
 
Reply Wed 17 Apr, 2013 04:08 pm
As I understand it, my girlfriend endured the sort of isolation & daily regimen you described in an earlier post. She was forced to beg on the streets (sing & dance & solicit support) for her commune. She was forced to consume the insane ramblings in the 'Mo Letters' as if they were the absolute word of God...

Additionally, she was sexually molested by adult men in the group with her parent's and communal leadership aware. To compound her issues, her mother passed away when she was very young - as a direct result of FF'ing. To maintain her confidentiality, I do not intend to share anything further. I only share this so that others who read this might understand the absolutely deplorable behavior that this cult demand their children endure. Outright perversion and exploitation. ...presumably in the name of God & 'The Law of Love.'

She describes being increasingly harassed by group leadership as she got older and began to question 'why?' Ultimately, she was moved away from her family to another commune, in a different part of the world, to further isolate and punish her.

When Ricky Rodriguez left, she (and others in her peer group) were hopeful that he might bring about change by exposing the activities of the groups leaders - but yet again, she was left disenchanted when Ricky elected to take another path...

These experiences aren't easily overcome - sexual abuse, exploitation, her mother's death, isolation from her family (siblings) and friends, etc. And I am ill-equipped to offer anything more than a loving and compassionate shoulder to cry on. She can go weeks functioning 'normally' but spiral into deep and destructive behavior when triggered by a dream, a memory, a loss, etc. She frequently 'medicates' to oblivion with alcohol (and other drugs - earlier in her life).

I find it impossible to believe that there aren't resources, professionals or 'ex-family groups' that exist to help her - but I am literally at a loss to find them. If they are not known by SOMEONE here, then they must not exist... There are certainly hundreds, if not thousands, of others who share her destructive past with this group. WHY are memorials to the dead (OD's & suicides) more prevalent than MUTUAL SUPPORT???
 
KarenKarMa
 
Reply Thu 18 Apr, 2013 04:44 pm
@COG-BF,
Unfortunately, most x-family members had that experience, give or take one or two things.
Do you know of any x-Family in your area? You could start a support group yourself.
 
Daniel AG
 
Reply Fri 19 Apr, 2013 02:26 am
@COG-BF,
Hi there.
If you wish, you are welcome to write me.
dag0782 (at) gmail.com
 
Daniel AG
 
Reply Fri 19 Apr, 2013 03:25 am
@Daniel AG,
Forgot to say... introducing myself, I am an ex-member for 20 years now.
 
HappyApplies
 
Reply Fri 19 Apr, 2013 10:41 am
Here's a link to resources worldwide to help ex-cult members. http://www.cultinformation.org.uk/help.html

If the link is removed, go to the Cult Information Centre and select "Help" from the menu on the right.

Hope she finds the help she needs.
 
COG-BF
 
Reply Fri 19 Apr, 2013 02:05 pm
@HappyApplies,
Thank you for the resource - I sincerely appreciate your willingness to help. Fact is, I've spent hours on this site over the last few months - they were how I found the 'retreats' that haven't even had the courtesy to return my calls/email.

There must not be enough MONEY in helping ex-cult members... I'm truly disgusted that you all are largely on your own (unless you happen to live in CA, NY or CO).

There are no documented professionals or support groups in our major metropolitan area - and we're not aware of any other ex-members living here.

I give up... Once again, The Family wins - and will likely claim another victim for it's 'memorial' pages...
 
Daniel AG
 
Reply Sun 28 Apr, 2013 03:07 am
@COG-BF,
There is no reason to give up.
You probably should be aware that in my opinion the signals you have sent so far are varying in nature, therefore I do not think it strange that few have responded to your calls. For the record, I have no reason to doubt your sincerity and your truthfulness, however it may be prudent to expect a fair amount of suspicion in a forum like this.
I also wish healing for the person on whose behalf you have contacted this forum.
 
COG-BF
 
Reply Thu 2 May, 2013 02:59 pm
@Daniel AG,
Thank you for the constructive criticism - and I appreciate the introduction. I understand the 'skepticism', but this is a sincere plea for support/resources. I am confused (as an outsider) however that x-COG/Family aren't WILDLY more organized & supportive of one another ... and those of us who want to help.
 
Daniel AG
 
Reply Wed 8 May, 2013 08:00 am
@COG-BF,
You are probably quite right. Surely there are exceptions, but in general the ex-fam could be a lot more supportive of one another, and also true, we could also be more organized for that purpose.

But there can be many good reasons for this; things can be and are complex, there are many unknown parameters and factors, especially for someone who never was in, so while it is easy to think nobody cares, surely we do not see the whole picture.

After one, two or three decades in a 24/7 high yield surveillance situation many ex-ers just want to be alone, by themselves, find their footing and getting sorted out as much as possible without having to get involved in other people’s lives all over again. This may be only one of many possibilities I can think of.

But I agree, once this ‘footing’ has been found or put another way, once truth have been sorted from the deluge of deception, half truths, lies, dishonest conduct, false christs and false religion that TFI consisted of, in my opinion it is simply a Christian thing to do to offer one’s help to others in dire straiths.

Finding your footing in such a way may not be as easy as it is to write this; sometimes it takes as long to pull out properly as the time spent in TFI. Confusion is prevalent and sometimes ex-members continue going through the motions of what they left, perhaps even unawares continuing to hold the same or similar beliefs as the usual TFI doctrines.
As an ex-member, in all of this it is extremely important to know the reason precisely why one is not still a member of TFI, or why we left, or were kicked out, or whatever caused you to leave.
But even this point is also complex and not at all everyone that left left for profound reasons or due problems swallowing TFI special doctrine... many left for reasons that may be defined as trivial.

Funny as it may sound, I have more than once asked an ex-member as to why they left TFI and the answer being more a ‘I don’t know’ or some nebulous notion than a clear awareness as to the reasons why.
This is beyond me, but I do understand. In my opinion, those who are not sure why they left or don’t even know exactly why they are not members still, or continue to cling to typical TFI doctrines, these individuals have not found their ‘footing’ yet.

As long as ex-members do not realize that the Jesus and the Christianity preached in TFI is not the Jesus of the Bible I am afraid the confusion will continue.

It would be interesting to know how other ex-members see this.
 
KarenKarMa
 
Reply Mon 13 May, 2013 08:50 pm
@Daniel AG,
I just wanted to say, you spoke what I was thinking about the subject, give or take a few things. My life in the Family was constantly watched, constantly lied to, and constantly controlled. It's been 3 years since I was a member, but I still feel the effect of it, and I mostly prefered to be left to myself after I left. It's hard to break away from the only life I knew.
 
Daniel AG
 
Reply Tue 21 May, 2013 01:32 pm
@KarenKarMa,
Thanks for writing. It is hard indeed and you will probably continue to 'feel the effect' for a while...sometimes it is good to be prepared rather than surprised or what is worse. But you don't have to just bend over and let the past punish you relentlessly, as happens to many, it seems.

As mentioned above, it is important to consciously sort the past and clean out the house, but do not throw out the baby with the dirty water. I don't know you, and so I hope you take this well, but clearly spoken, throw out the cult jesus of TFI and turn to the REAL one of the scriptures. There ARE solutions.
 
Veselin23
 
Reply Thu 20 Jun, 2013 10:29 am
@KarenKarMa,
hello, how to become a member xfamily ?????
 
renee 2
 
Reply Mon 29 Jul, 2013 08:40 am
@Veselin23,
If you want to find out how to join a destructive cult with a history of child abuse and mental conditioning, false prophecies and failed prophecies and a very twisted way of manipulating scripture, consider joining heaven's gate or jones town...oh wait, those guys already collapsed in disaster...i wonder why.. well never mind, charles manson is still around...he's in jail but i'm sure you could join his group somehow. the branch davidians are unfortunately not around anymore...but hey you could always become an ardent jehovah's witness member or mormon and go door-to-door. or you could join the flds, or there's another group called 'the family' you could join (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Family_%28Australian_New_Age_group%29) ...yay for you.
or you could simply go to local psychiatrist and talk to them about why you want to join a terrible/self destructive cult like tfi.
 
PeaceOut
 
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2015 09:59 am
@ Daniel AG
I think you hit on the crux of the matter when they still don't know why they left. When I left it wasn't out of anger or vague religious reasons. It wasn't for me, and it was toxic. It wasn't the Jesus I knew even though I grew up in the family. My dad encouraged me to leave because he felt that the Family was having a negative effect on me, even though my dad was in TF. My mom felt I needed a different career path. Once I did go on my way and time passed where I could look at the last decade more objectively and trace some of my issues to their causes ( and get cured from anorexia) I saw so many horrible things that made me wish I left at 18.
 
 

 
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