I noticed it a while back.

“Am I allowed to do that?” I’d ask my therapist. “Am I allowed to feel that way?” “Is it okay that I want this?”

I noticed it in my work with my clients as well. There I’d flip it, and tell them they were allowed to do, think, feel, try, etc.

But that damn word, allow, was still there.

Yes, I am a #cultsurvivor. I grew up in a cult, and damn but did they f—k with my brain. I learn more and more about how my brain was intentionally contained and controlled, as it was supposed to be growing, expanding, and developing. Trying new things. Figuring out who I am. Learning to take up space, have boundaries, and advocate for myself.

Ah well…

Then every now and then I unearth a deep, deep carving into my psyche, a way my brain can’t seem to get out of its own way.

“Allow” is one of those carvings.

With that one word, I’m asking for permission. I’m believing there is a right and a wrong, and I’m trying to figure out the right and the wrong. I’m thinking that someone outside of me knows better than me about what I should be doing, thinking, feeling, trying, etc.


I know “this is the cult talking,” despite what I was taught as a child.

I know there are very few things that are that inherently right and wrong, despite what I was taught as a child.

I know that I don’t need permission and I can just be and I am fine as I am, probably even better than fine, despite what I was taught as a child.

For now, I will keep noticing whenever “allow” pops up. I will keep breathing into my heart with love and compassion. I will shift my language, again and again if necessary, and stand in my power.

Because, as long as we’re not causing harm to others, in many ways, we are pretty much “allowed” to do whatever the f—k we want.

In fact, again, there pretty much isn’t any such thing as “allowed.”

We can just be. We can just live. We can just love.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Photo by Alyssa Sieb on nappy

If you have been in ANY high control group or religion, share your story with the hashtag #IGotOut. Share on your own platform OR if you need to be anonymous and/or would like support, there are resources at the @igotout_org website.

When you see a survivor share their story, let them know they have been heard. This is such a meaningful part of the movement. We all need to know we’re not alone.

If you know someone who has been harmed by a high demand group, share #igotout posts or stories you think would help them.

Together we can bring awareness to how many of us have been harmed by high control organizations and end the shame or stigma we might feel about our experiences.

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