Conference: Recovering from Spiritual Abuse

I left “school” in 2011. In 2012, a number of my essence friends also decided to jump ship. You’re welcome to read all about the January, 2012, Mass Exodus here, if inclined. After that I recall many fellow “apostates” talking about how the cult experience left them bitter and cynical. Many felt spiritually battered; “school” ruined their best inclinations to seek out meaning and manifest the best in themselves.

Unfortunately, that’s the nature of cults. But it’s not impossible to heal. If you want to learn more about recovery, I will be joining ex-members, researchers and clinicians and family to present at this conference:


My focus will be on how the expressive art therapies helped me, so I’ll be sharing some of my writing and bits of songs, talking about how they rolled out. There are plenty of other presenters speaking, with different points of view, that you might find helpful. So, consider this an FYI. If you go, come over and say hello!

Special Message to Blog Monitor…

This missive may be a little cryptic for most of you, but I think you, Blog Monitor, will know exactly what it means. If you aren’t Carol, maybe you could pass the word: a certain member of my family turns 22 today. Carol may recall telling me that he might not see 18 years — are you happy to know that he’s both surpassed 20 and is really kicking ass — working, in school, happy, in a great relationship? In fact, he’s become quite the coffee expert.

That makes me laugh because, every once in a while, Robert would use making a perfect cup of coffee as an example. Those who who grind the beans to a perfect consistency, heat the water just enough –brewed not a second longer, or shorter, than necessary — were rising above the rest of us. Well, I’m thrilled to report, that despite all of the damage inflicted by the cult, this person has risen above all of us. I like to think that it was helpful to this person that, at a certain point, “school” influence piddled away. We’re all doing just fine and I hope that you’re happy for us! Perhaps you’ll take a moment to think about extracting yourself from “school” influence. I’ll testify to that kind of free — it’s quite lovely.

Okay, well, I’m off to celebrate!

About Work & Money …

Yesterday was Labor Day and that brings to mind my “essence flaw”, according to “school”. When I encountered Lisa, the grande dame of recruitment, life was racking me over the coals, but nothing vexed and confused me more than career/work/money things.  I was really struggling.

That was great fodder for “school”-style brow beating! “School’s” employment policy was (probably still is) it-doesn’t-matter-what-you-do-as-long-as-you-are-working … Many of my “5-week aims”, many of my efforts, were desperate scrambles to adhere to this policy; eventually, they always failed.

Like a good little cult, “school” leveraged this failure. By the end of my tenure I was unemployed, desperate, fearful, dependent and bordering on insane. 

I left the hollow halls in 2011. After my exit, I analyzed my experience, of course, concluding that Lisa duped me into a cult — Yay!  I said “Fuck school’s ‘work & money’ policies.” I launched a “school”-free career reassessment, factoring in my personal proclivities and strengths and hopes. I thought about how much time we spend at work, and around work colleagues. It devours the lion’s share. I concluded that not only does it matter what I do for work, it’s critical to my well-being. I was never the kind of person who could pull off any-job-will-do.

Like so many pat “school” rules and policies, its one-size-fits-all “help” for work and money was — in fact — damaging. “School” employed the policy as a justification to rip my already fragile sense of worth and confidence to shreds. That practice is Cult Common. If a cult is worth its weight in cult-i-ness, its tactics include overly simplified “answers” to complex life struggles and character assassinations doled out when prescriptions don’t work: ” … you must not be trying hard enough.” That phrase echoed and bounced through the hollow halls and off walls with greater frequency each passing cult day.

Funny, thing, when I rejected any-job-will-do, my work and money problems disappeared.  I haven’t had trouble finding work since I left. Go figure. If you happen to be “breaking rules” by reading this blog, just thought you should know that if your “school” tenure is pushing you past the brink of sanity, I can assure you that “leaving the source” is your best option.

Happy Labor Day!