I was on a zoom with another Second Gen (those of us born and/or raised in a cult or extremist group). He was telling us how he was struggling. How something had happened in his cult-activist network, and that it kicked up shit. That he was having a hard time getting out of it, and that he was struggling.

Then he said, “Anyway,” as if he’d taken up too much of the conversation.

My heart sank. My heart had been aching and I had been crying as he talked of his struggle. I too have been struggling. I too have been hurting. And I care for him deeply and don’t want him – or any of us – to struggle and ache.

But the “Anyway” got me…because I do that too.

Each time I break down and tell someone how hard it is for me right now, I seem to end with “Anyway.” As if I shouldn’t be telling them or I shouldn’t be struggling or I should be stronger and more together.


As a Second Gen, this self-flagellating and invalidating behavior is probably deeply engrained in me. I probably needed it to survive, And I am shifting it.

I can remember that part of my struggle now is also because of the complex trauma that comes from being born and/or raised in a cult. That as strong as I get, as healed as I am, as whole as I often feel, these scars are there and they are real. I can remember and have compassion for myself.

I can remember that it’s okay if I’m struggling and that I don’t need to be stronger or more together. When I “add up” all that’s happened to and around me in the last year or so, it’s a lot. A hell of a lot. So of course I’m struggling and hurting. And even if it wasn’t a lot, or as a lot as it is, it’s still okay that I’m struggling and I don’t need to be stronger or more together.

I’m not failing, even when I feel bad. Even when I feel like s–t. I’m not failing at life, at my healing, at my recovery, at supporting and inspiring and loving all those on their healing journeys. I’m not failing at anything

I’m just human, and shit gets kicked up, and life can be hard, and it’s a lot. It’s okay that I struggle. It’s okay if I hurt. It’s okay that I crave nearly constant hugs (so I curl up with my microwavable heating pad/security blanket).

It’s all okay, and I’m okay.

As. Are. You.

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

Photo by Jakob Owens on unsplash

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.

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