Hi. I want to tell you a story. It’s my story. I have a secret. I’ve held it close. I’ve told very few people. I have been ashamed. The shame and the not-telling has been a weight on my life. The failing to shine a light on my story, even for myself, has kept me from becoming all I could be. I’ve played small. I’ve maintained the illusion that by hiding I would be safe. But it wasn’t true. Instead, I was choosing not to live fully.
Here’s what I have been ashamed of letting be known: I was in a cult for eighteen years. In joining, and choosing to remain as long as I did, I relinquished my choice to determine my own beliefs and my own behaviors moment by moment, day by day, until years had gone by.
My leaving the cult is a story in itself, for another day. In my internal work years later, delving into my unremarkable life in the world, abandonment issues came to light. I realized the person who had abandoned me, was me. In trying to fit in and be acceptable to the requirements of the cult, I had developed a strong habit of ignoring my inner voice. I had all but turned off that voice.