I was raised knowing that I was responsible to ease God’s suffering and that any doubt in my mind or heart, any time I selfishly thought of myself first…or at all, any misstep or misaction I took would break God’s heart.
While I now know that that is ludicrous – that I am or was, indeed, responsible for God’s emotional well-being – it was deeply carved into me as fact, and it can still affect pretty much my every waking thought, emotion, and deed. My every waking moment.
So, to counteract that false truth which was forced upon and into me, I have learned – or at least I am trying to learn – that I am, in fact, not responsible for anything. Or for anything other than myself.
I know that may sound radical to at least some of you, but when you are fanatically constrained – when you are not allowed to be or to be yourself AT ALL, when you are given lies to keep you mentally captive – a radical stance is needed to counteract the damage that was done to your ability to think, feel, and, well, be.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am – happily – a spouse, partner, friend, parent, child, family member, community member, etc., and I – happily – consider other people and their wants, needs, and situations. I live to Love With All My Heart, and in order to do that, I have to care about others. A lot. I am Danny’s (my father) primary caregiver, and that takes a whole helluva lot of caring about other’s needs. (Especially now, as I think he’s nearing death, and I am kicked into all the responsibility that actually entails…)
But I’m trying to learn – to take to heart – that I am not responsible for other people and how they feel or what they do. I am not responsible for making sure they’re fine, or happy, or anything. I can and will, again, take their wants and needs into consideration, but it’s not my job to fix anything for anyone. I’m actually not in charge. I don’t have full accountability for anything…other than me. (Especially since my kids are grown or nearly grown.)
I can’t, in fact, break God’s heart.
I don’t even realize how quickly I fall into this. I don’t fully grasp how caught my brain and heart can be. I know that as I even think “I’m not responsible for anything” to myself, I can feel my being reject this idea. I feel the visceral terror course through me, fighting my fight to care for myself. I feel my compulsion to fix, do, take care of, be perfect, save the world, sacrifice, deny myself…well, you get the idea.
That is, in fact, how I REALLY know it’s true. If my brain and body reject a notion that counteracts the control the cult had on me, I know I’m onto something. Something I have to hold onto. Something I have to believe. Something I have to make my new way of life.
I’m not responsible for anything…except maybe finding joy and spreading joy and love…With All My Heart.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!
This is a courageous post! Thank you.
Can you explain for me further what you meant when you said others’ beliefs and thoughts were forced on you while in the group? By this I mean not your interpretation now of what was happening back then, by what other’s were doing to you and how they were doing it to you by force, as you say?
By forced do I mean that someone held me down and made me repeat things? No. By forced I mean, if you are taught that any questioning or doubting or thinking for yourself is Satan and evil spirits inside of you, your brain is trained to not think. At all. If you are told that you are lucky to sacrifice by not living with your mother, you know that you are sinful for when you don’t feel lucky and wrong when you miss her. If you are told that Moon is the messiah and that you are worthless, you believe it. If you are told to chant “get out of me Satan” if you ever cry or are too weak to suffer for god, you are caught in a cage forever. You are taught to hate yourself, to doubt yourself, to know how sinful and unworthy you are, to not have wants or needs, to sacrifice yourself for others always.
These ideas were planted in my brain – my brain that never had a chance to fully form. This is why Second Gens from various/many cults are so similar with so many of the mental, emotional, and psychological scars. This is why so many of them are suffering and healing is a long, hard journey. You are not given any opportunity to be or think or feel – and that is forcing ideas into your (forming) brain.
That is what I mean. I hope that explains it.
Thank you for your thoughtful response. That helps me to better understand what you tried to convey.
I felt sad and heartbroken hearing you describe how the ideas and concepts some in the group tried to convey to you caused you to lose personal power, and how you felt you were not allowed to give voice to your authentic self. I can understand what you are talking about here.
Could you explain further for me what you mean when you say your “brain never had a chance to fully develop” while in the group, because this statement is confusing for me. Also, please clarify further what you mean when you say many Second Gens from various “cults” were “not given any opportunity to be or think or feel” for themselves, because I’m having a hard time understanding how its possible to prevent an individual from experience personal thoughts or feelings, 24/7.
Thank you for your patience with my delayed response. I tried at one point, but somehow it wouldn’t work.
I also don’t know how to answer this. I can’t explain what you don’t understand. When you are a child, and you are told that your thoughts and feelings are from Satan and evil spirits, you don’t let yourself have thoughts and feelings. You shut them down and most likely pray for forgiveness for having them. There is a great deal of research done on what being raised in a high control group does to your brain. That is why many Second Gens are so similar in many ways.
I hope that helps a bit. And I hope you are well.