As a survivor of lifelong cultic abuse who has chosen to blog about my experiences, I speak for a grossly underrepresented population of abuse victims. As you might imagine, there are some challenges involved.
Here are some of the concerns I have, about putting my story out there:
The word “cult” is seeped in stigma. At best, the word invokes images of empty-headed idiots with glossed-over eyes, chanting and marching in lockstep. At worst, it invokes images of mothers giving their children cyanide to drink.
These stereotypes, ranging from amusing to downright horrifying, make raising awareness difficult. But I choose to continue using the word, because symbols are not static. The word cult means whatever we collectively decide that it means. Hopefully, if more and more of us speak up for ourselves, instead of letting stereotypes dominate the public consciousness, the stigma will dissipate in time.
Many of the people I’ll be talking about involve living, breathing people who may or may not know about this blog. But this is not a blog written out of revenge or spite. So I have changed names and other identifying information where appropriate. I don’t condone the threatening, harassing, insulting, stalking or otherwise harming of anyone mentioned on UnMinding (no, not even my cult leaders).
The grey areas
The word “cult” is notoriously ambiguous. So for the sake of reading this blog, please assume that I use the word cult as shorthand for “cult-like” or “having some characteristics of a cult.”
Additionally, I am not an expert on cults, just a survivor who is well-read on the subject. I make every effort to present information that is accurate, contemporary and accessible.
If you know my writing, you know I have controversial politics. People often look for reasons to discredit my opinions. They tend to go straight for the jugular, dredging up details of my traumatic cult history as “proof” that I’m incapable of reason or critical thought.
I don’t take these people seriously, really. But I thought it would be worth mentioning that I do anticipate this blog being used against me by people who dislike my politics. And though it annoys me, I can’t stop people from throwing such accusations, or taking my openness as their cue to pseudo-psychoanalyze me.
So it’s whatever. I’m not out here trying to teach people who don’t want to learn. I’m here to speak for people who need to be heard.
If you’re reading to learn or to feel validated, then thank you for being receptive to what I have to say. Thank you for your support and kindness. My heart is with you. ❤