Sometimes abusive families are cult-like, and leaving the toxic people behind for once and for all feels like you're leaving a cult. It hurts.
My therapist gave me a copy of Jan Grovenveld's "It Hurts" about leaving a cult, when I talked, for the umpteenth time, about missing my siblings and my dog, Bailey. It was the first time I'd seen "It Hurts," and as I read through it, I nodded. And ached a little more. It hurt when I read through it, because little blips of memory came up when I read the points.
I knew that some families are cult-like in make, and my therapist affirmed this. Perhaps this explains my fascination with memoirs about leaving abusers and brainwashing and cults, about becoming free despite feeling utterly broken. I read these books as a desire to escape, and then I read these books to affirm my decision to leave. The way my dad was made my family cult-like. He exerted control, he gaslighted us, he brainwashed us to believe his skewed version of the world, and he was not satisfied until he had complete control. Like a cult leader.
As Jan said, leaving a cult is like experiencing the death of a relative, or a broken relationship. There is no instant cure for grief. It takes time, time and patience to heal. There is life after abuse.
Filed under: Abuse