Floating

So, someone told me on a support Yahoo! Group that what I have been experiencing for the last few weeks is called “floating.”

The extreme identity confusion caused by membership in a cult can follow an ex-member for years, causing flashbacks in which the person “floats” back to the time of his involvement. In an instant, the cult identity can be triggered by a stimulus, such as an image, sound, or smell, that was instrumental in their manipulation. During my first year ould of the cult (1976), the word “moon” would cause me to thing “Father,” see an image of Sun Myung Moon, and begin to think from within my cult identity.

This dissociative state, which is known as “floating,” can be a significant obstacle for former cult members. Involuntary episodes are most common among people who were exposed to trance-inducing techniques, such as chanting, meditation, and speaking in tongues. Floating is particularly scary for those who lack an understanding of mind control. People who leave a cult without counseling are often confused and terrified by the experience, and begin to feel irrational guilt and fear over having left the group.

So what has been the last few weeks been like for me? Well, I’ve found myself automatically entering to prayer just like I used to with the Local Church, wanting to go back when I know that I don’t want to, thinking about the people I left behind, fearing God – like He might change His mind about me, the depression, the darkness, the pain, and pain for the people still locked into the Local Church.

It hasn’t been a pleasant experience. On Thursday I went to Daily Mass, and I could barely recieve Communion, I thought I was going to drop the chalice. Friday wasn’t much better, with a phone call to a priest-friend, which made me late to class (we’ve a 20 minute break for our 3 hour classes). I return to class, and the professor has just begun our weekly meditation session, which usually lasts for 15 minutes. It’s more than I can take, so I walk out again and spend the 15 minutes the class mediates crying in a bathroom stall. Later on Friday I sent an apologetic email to the professor excusing my poor behavior.

I feel pain for the people still in the Local Church, and even more for the knowledge that anyone who leaves will have similar experiences to mine. Not everyone survives the ex-member process. Some people commit suicide. I could still be in there, or I could be dead either by my own hand or by the deteriorating life-style on which I was subsisting. These people are just like me, and they are on the fringe edge of the cult hierarchy, so they’re just blindly believing that this is truth. They may not know any better.

It’s like being shut in a room at night where there aren’t any lights. The darkness seems thick, but with the dilation of the pupils, one can begin to see furniture and other fixtures. If one sticks around in the room long enough, they can mistake the gray formations for actually being in the light. That’s what cults are about: mistaking the Darkness for Light. if you offer them the stub of a candle, they refuse it.

Hassan, S. A. (2000) Planning and holding an intervention (pp. 322-323). In Releasing the bonds: Empowering people to think for themselves. Somerville: Freedom of Mind Press

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Cults

I have to write this. I have to say it. I can’t find too many people on campus these days who know of my experience. Everyone has moved on, and I have too for the most part, but I’ll never fully recover.

Betrayal, lies and deceit — that’s the reality of cults on campus.

When university officials sat with me in their offices and admitted in private and confidentiality that there are cults on campus, but they permit them to add to the religious freedoms of students, that is troubling.

When these same officials write to the student newspaper and say that cults do not exist on campus, that is a very dangerous message.

The omittance of the presence of cults on campus is dangerous because students are made vulnerable, they are not educated about what a cult is, what to do if they or a friend is involved in one.

Perhaps more dangerously it tells me and other former cult members that our experiences in the various cults were for naught. In essence, never existed.

What does that translate to? Very tearful prayer, despair, anger, and I want to beat Satan with my bare hands. If satan were a tangible person before me right now, I’d beat him up, then let God send him to Hell — no, something worse than Hell — if that were possible.

An update

I just had a post disappear. That’s something new for me here on Blogspot, although I’ve had it occur at Xanga.

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Psychology was on my mind a lot yesterday. I keep interviewing with psychology oriented field recruiters: LCSWs. PhD, MFTs, etc. I can’t help but feel that they are psyching me out, and all the while I’m trying to psych them out. Make sense? That’s more along the lines of funny and awkward, whereas, each encounter always wants to know if I’ve ever had to handle a crisis situation, and the only one that I was proactive with was Rachel/Hershey.

Thinking about Rachel invariably brings back the months after I left the Local Church. Rachel’s situation was entangled with mine, with me being the main contact point and friend for Rachel, and later she became my pathway into more negativity than I had cause to lead myself into. For as messed up as the two of us were together, we helped each other as well. I can only see Rachel as the only “crisis” I’ve ever had to handle, because I certainly did not handle myself. Some of you here on Xanga, certainly did so for me. I’m probably your “crisis”? Albeit, it was over the internet and those who remember were at least a couple 1,000 miles away.

Therefore I’ve been too introspective the last few days, in such a way that yesterday when I had spanish class I had trouble switching gears, and everything was a giggle fest. A girl/woman I like talking to in the class, Debra, told me my face had flushed as well. The spanish reflexives were giving me trouble, and I was thinking all the while how I would write my brief personal history and self description for the job application to the internship I interviewed for on Tuesday.

The internship is with a group called Outreach Concern, Inc., which puts interns like myself into an elementary or high school setting where I would see kids during an 8:30 am to 2:30 pm school day and counsel them. Then I would have a support team of other interns was well as an on-site supervisor and a weekly meeting with a clinician to make sure I’m not doing anything drastically wrong. I have agreed to do one day per week (Fridays) at a hopefully Catholic school in Long Beach near Cal State Dominguez Hills. The field recruiter asked if I had any problems working at a Catholic school (my medals of St Benedict & the Blessed Virgin were hidden beneath my blouse for the sake of Equal Opportunity Employment) and I said no. He said that the Sister (he said Nun, but we know that’s the wrong term!) was “very proper and set in her ways. I smiled and said that would not be a problem at all. Personally I wonder what order she is, and if I’ve met her at the Vocation retreat in late January, or if I’ve sent her community a vocation letter yet. LOL Outreach is non-profit, and the reason they are available at Catholic schools is because they were recently taken under the wing of Cardinal Mahoney’s Catholic Charities. (Why do I keep interviewing with people under the Mahoney’s pet projects??) Nonetheless, I am looking forward to working with Outreach.

I’m going to post the personal history blurb I’ve written in Protected, and maybe some of you can give me pointers/proofread? I’ve tried to think of how to say that I’ve never be in material need, but I have struggled with my own issues and conflicts, to perhaps show that I can relate to the kids I’ll be counseling. I also have to have a self-description which I’ll put in the same Protected post.

JoAnn’s is going nowhere. At Old Navy, I was trained to do everything, and at JoAnn’s that translates to job responsibilities that are at the managerial level (ie, returns, exchanges, crediting credit cards, etc). Yet, I’m relinquished to the level of the baby, and cannot do returns. Excuse my momentary frustration, at being realy cheap hire for them. I’m a college graduate and I don’t get paid more than 8 bucks an hour, gotta be kidding me! They haven’t had me work since Sunday. I’m available for immediate hire, and they hired me, but they won’t put me to work. I thought people get hired because the company needs someone to be working for them soon, to fill a void. Yet, I don’t have a single day scheduled?!? Tell me, please, am I off-base here?

In the meantime, I am still looking for other jobs and also need to find time to get fingerprinted, again, for Outreach. The Attorney General’s office, like any other bureaucratic system is too tangled for me to just request a transfer form to send the fingerprint scan results from Didi Hirsch over to Outreach Concern. Grr. It is just much easier to avoid the bureaucracy and just get fingerprinted all over again. LiveScan is kinda cool, though.

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Box.net has been updated, so you can see all the things I’ve written, although they are just undergraduate research papers. Some are on assigned topics, others were chosen by me.

Recap of Return to Faith

Religion/Faith/Catholicism “became too dominant” at my parents insistance …

I could potentially phrase it that way, and I wouldn’t be twisting and bending the truth THAT much.

I was 9 months out of the Local Church, but also 9 months out of any organized religion, and drifting aimlessly. I had finally figured out how to regain my 15 lost pounds, and how to “live” without religion. If you could call that living.

I did not want to go to that funeral Mass for an old Catholic elementary school classmate. My parents insisted at 10pm the night before that I attend it.

Just before Communion, I told God “I’m giving you one last chance, and this time it better be good, or I’m gone forever!”

Well, He’s certainly made it good, hasn’t He?

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Now, nearly two years later mom and dad complain and whine about my faith. They put more energy into trying to sway me. They vigorously speak against Catholicism although they raised me in it, and it’s almost as if they feel threatened by it. Why not take some of that energy and put it towards understanding the Catholic Church, and realize its not a “big bad wolf” at all?

I’ve been in their faithless world for 9 months, and folks, it was dark and hellish.

You can’t get me to trade the Light for all that darkness; not a thing in the world will convince me.

Dad, the only one who knows about the Local Church, tries to use it against me. Says that I can’t let religion be dominant, and that I’ve had trouble before. Hah! That’s because I did not know my Bible, now I drop quotes and verses often enough because some of my best college friends are Baptists and other Protestants (memorising verses are important to them). Don’t try to tell me what is and is not Catholicism or a genuine Christian doctrine or dogma if you yourself are ignorant of what is!
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Aye, a little to late they are. I love it, even when it gets me trouble from my parents; well, when they don’t like it, I like God even better. Just like two disgruntled teenagers whose parents don’t want them to be seeing each other; the relationship grows stronger. Not the direction that my parents desire, is it?

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I laughed when I first read that religiousity was my VIA strength, ahd how the top strenght is usually reported to be fun, great, and also a point of trouble for people.