I was talking to a successful lawyer friend the other day. I had told her my Scientology story just a few days prior, and she was still processing it. “It makes so much sense now,” she told me. “I couldn’t understand how it was that you graduated from UCLA so many years ago, and you were – no offense – in a place in life that didn’t align with that.”
She also told me that I was one of the smartest, strongest women she’d ever met. My instant reaction was to say, “Really? Why would you say that?” But I didn’t say it. I just thought it.
When I went home that night, I thought about it a bit more. I realized that I have this little voice inside me, constantly telling me that I’m not good enough, not capable enough. That voice comes from the years of being told that no matter what I did, it wasn’t good enough – while at the same time being told that I was in an organization that was making people smarter, stronger, and more successful. So… they were doing better but I couldn’t? How does that work?
That’s the insidiousness of cult mind control. You are beaten down mentally to the point where you work like a dog, for no money, believing that this is all you deserve. It takes a long time to get out of that mindset – many, many years.
I took one step at a time, and with the help of my family (who never gave up on me), I am finally out of that cult mindset and have created a whole new life for myself.
It’s pretty embarrassing to tell people about my past, but I’m getting better at it. I mean, writing it all down and sharing it like this isn’t easy!
I recently told a young woman who works for me that I’d spent two decades in Scientology. Once the shock wore off, she looked at me and said, “You’re such a badass!”
That thought had never crossed my mind, not even once. But I like it.
If I could share any advice, it would be this:
Don’t let your past define you. Be open to new opportunities. Take chances. Surround yourself with people who love and support you and get rid of those who don’t.
Do that, and you’ll never have to hold yourself back again.