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!


Tai Chi & Mortality

Today is my last day of a 5-day long tai chi retreat. Doing tai chi without cult-i-ness is such a salve. I’d been practicing it long before my little dalliance with “school”. I’m reclaiming my practice.

It’s been 7 years since I departed the hollow halls. During that time, I took charge of the narrative spoon-fed by the hollow halls and told it through my perspective. In doing so, I took back my voice; because I took back my voice, I reconnected to THEM, the unholy, un-schooled friends and family from my lowly “only life” — i.e. recovered my authentic relationships and essentially reclaimed my authentic identity.

My tai chi reclamation is the next piece of recovery. Imagine, if you will, tai chi with no unspoken hierarchy. No soul-deadening lectures. No unspoken expectations. No secrecy. No requirement to make new friends for the cause. No social engineering — you can, in fact, make real friendships with your tai chi mates outside the classes, wow! You can even have their phone numbers! You can talk to them about normal things, outside the tai chi practice, work, family, interests, gossip even (horrors!) because no one is interested in controlling your personal relationships, thoughts and feelings. A tai chi practice in which you can simply focus on learning the form, the principles, the sense and feeling of the practice. No bullshit.

When we started this retreat the teacher asked us to say one thing about ourselves that might surprise our co-horts and I told them: I’m obsessed with mortality. It’s true. Since I allowed “school” to fucking hi-jack five precious years of my life — five years I won’t get back — I intend to reclaim each day and all aspects of my life that I would have lost had I remained a “school”cog, grinding the gears of Gans aggrandizing and enriching.

I hope that those of you who are now proud disgruntled ex-students are doing the same. I hope those of you visiting this blog because you’re breaking the rules and conducting independent internet research (horrors), will do the same. Trust me, given enough time, the cult will take and you will give. The group will tell you in word, in deed and in spirit, “You owe. We own.”

That’s the “experiment”. Now you know. If you want to be a cog in a wheel, stay in “school”/”the study”/”the work” or whatever it is calling itself now. If you want to have your life and be yourself say bye, bye.

Malcolm Nance, a career intelligence and counterterrorism officer for the United States government on the Cult of Trump:

“Republicans are so taken by and loyal to Trump that they will believe and do anything he says. A good example of that is the Harley-Davidson factory and the nail factory that were shut down or may go away due to his tariffs. There have been interviews with people who said, “Well, we know it’s going to affect us firstly, but if Donald Trump says it’s for the best, then OK.” That’s cultism. Lo and behold, they actually say, ‘Well, Donald Trump didn’t do that. That’s the Europeans or that’s the liberals or that’s the Democrats that made me lose my job.’ “

Read the interview here:

Fireworks Over Philly

Greetings from PA, where I’m attending the International Cultic Studies Association Conference and celebrating my freedom! In 2012, I celebrated with ICSA in Washington DC. Seems right somehow, right blog monitor?

Nothing makes you appreciate the meaning of democracy than leaving a cult. I hope that the rest of you are celebrating your freedom, too. And, blog monitor, I hope that, someday, you, too, taste the sweetness of a “school”-free life. 

The Trump Cult

If you can defend ripping kids from parents, you are in a cult.

In May, 2017, I posted this: Gaslight, USA! Today’s Trouncing –Your  Healthcare. 

In the post, I quoted cultic studies guru, Robert J Lifton: cults see themselves as “ … agents ‘chosen’ to carry out the ‘mystical imperative’… which must supersede all  decency or immediate human welfare. Similarly, any thought or action which questions the motives of the higher purpose is considered … backward, selfish and petty in the face of the great overriding mission.”

Today, the Daily KOS posted this: Trumpism is a Cult. You may be interested in reading it. I suspect it will ring familiar.

Gracious! Post CD Release …

Good Morning Readers —

This sincere thank you is a bit belated, but I want to acknowledge you for making my Cult Confessions CD release party at The Burren a fabulous night! Who knew that cults could be so much fun! 

If you weren’t able to attend, but want the album, you can purchase it HERE.  CD Baby is distributing it both as a digital download and the physical CD.

If you contributed to the Indigogo campaign, I’ll be sending you your swag in the next couple of weeks! I promise, I haven’t forgotten those of you who signed up for The Neurotology Special, or The Exclusive Inner Circle … you may have forgotten, but I have not.

There’s more anti-cult campaign to come, especially now that our White House is bursting with Trump sycophants and our president is, himself, a sycophant of his daddy, Vladdy Putin. Who knew I’d be trotting all this out at the same time the Republican Party morphed into an all out Trump cult. Sad.

But I will stop my rant — for now — have to get ready for work. Thanks, again and I’ll be back soon!

xo, GSR, aka, ERF