If you’ve read a few posts in this blog already, you know some of what I went through in my years as a Scientology staff member. You’d be right if you said I was a cult survivor. I got out of the cult — and the cult mindset — and have moved on to create an amazing life.
But along with the term “survivor” comes the term “victim”. And I don’t like that term.
Most days I don’t want to think of myself as a cult victim. I wake up every day deciding to be better than the day before, even in the smallest of ways.
And often I think that things are exactly where they’re supposed to be. My victimization and subsequent healing have led to a greater understanding of myself and life.
All that is true.
But geez, can someone else take some accountability for this shit? Like the people who victimized me? Well, that may never happen based on how Scientology operates.
But the point is this: I WAS vulnerable, I WAS taken advantage of, I WAS abused. Period.
I understand what I went through. I’ve done my research into high control groups and how they operate. And I’m diligent about not being victimized in the future.
I know the signs: The overly-loving group of people. The blank stares. The worship of a larger-than-life figure who seems to have special knowledge unknown to others. The “there’s only one way” attitude.
Nope. That’s not happening again.
And yes, I’m moving on, but I have to be honest with myself and realize that it’s not always wine and roses (well, my life kind of IS all wine and roses right now…).
Sometimes that “cult victim” mentality will creep in when I least expect it.
And when it’s come up in the past, it’s wreaked havoc for a few hours, a few days, even a few weeks.
But no more. That’s it. I’ve come up with a solution to all that internal cult victim self-talk.
I’m going to channel my inner Canadian instead!
Culty or Canadian? Not a tough choice.
Yep, I’m Canadian. Born in Montreal. And even though I’ve lived in the US since I was 14, I still consider myself Canadian.
I mean, why wouldn’t I?
Canadians are cool. Nice. Unthreatening. Happy-go-lucky. OK, these are all stereotypes, but I like those stereotypes.
They’re far better than the stereotypes of an ex-cult member: Weak. Crazy. Traumatized for life. Yeah, I’m not fond of those.
Here’s what I mean.
When I tell people I used to be in a cult, they tend to respond in one of two ways: Shock, then a million questions of how I could possibly get sucked into that. Or shock, then weaning themselves away from me.
Contrast that to what happens when I tell someone I’m Canadian. It’s more like, “Oh, cool! I LOVE Canadians!” I’m talking 100% of the time.
So yeah, I think I’ll start being more Canadian than cult victim. More chill, less paranoia.
Here’s how I’ve decided that will go:
Someone will say or do something to trigger me—because yes, that will happen—and it’ll remind me of a period of pain or victimization from my Scientology years. (subconsciously or not)
Inner cult victim response: Oh no… I knew I shouldn’t have trusted him/her/them. It’s all hopeless…
Inner Canadian response: Sorry they’re feeling bad, eh? I hope they feel better. I think I’ll go off and do something fun.
I can’t wait to try this out. I’ll let you know how it goes.
My inner cult victim would say “It’ll never work.” My inner Canadian says, “Cool! This will be great.”
I love being Canadian.