“Cults can hide in many places.” ― Natacha Tormey, Cults – A Bloodstained History
Some things in life are unable to be fully understood unless experienced firsthand.
For instance, if you were to tell me a decade ago that I would find myself working for an organization with cult tendencies, I would’ve laughed in your face.
But we can’t always predict where life may take us. However, what’s important are the lessons we learn along the way.
I’ve become disenchanted, and ultimately boarded, with social media. But on rare occasions, I do check in to see what’s going on. What I found on this particular day surprised me, inspired me and frustrated me all at the same time.
It was a post from a former co-worker, from the organization I referenced above. I always had a great deal of respect and admiration for him – appreciating his counseling and kindness.
As my tenure with the organization went on, the word “cult” began popping up in my mind (as well as throughout the community). I had never worked for such an organization before, and soon realized what from the outside appeared to be a holistic health and wellness spa, was something much more alarming.
Of particular concern was this former co-worker. I could see how his behaviors, his actions, his beliefs and his time were all being manipulated and controlled by the organization. While I had heard and read about such places before, now it was part of my reality.
In his post he writes: “I belonged to an organization with a very rigid, inflexible ideology that one only came to recognize after it had permeated one’s life and consciousness, after one had rearranged priorities and became more isolated with others and more insular with the organization.”
He goes on to write about how their influence forced him to dismiss healthy relationships he treasured and abolish his ultimate dreams and aspirations for the future – all while alienating and even ignoring the living, breathing world going on around him.
As I said at the beginning, some things in life are unable to be fully comprehended unless experienced firsthand. And I can vouch for the truths this former co-worker recanted above. It was something I had never seen before and hope to never see again.
Natacha Tormey goes on to say about cults, “They are so adept at blending into society and masking their true colors that often their victims do not realize that they were even in a cult until they have escaped it. Nor do they fully comprehend the severity of the brainwashing that they were subjected to, until they are finally free of it.”
And thankfully from his post, I learned that he is free of it. There were no exchanges, no opportunity to try and manipulate him any further. One day he simply walked out and never returned (thankfully, I had left for another opportunity many years prior).
He now realizes that the longing for something deeper in life, something more meaningful and fulfilling, cannot be found in anyone or anything. It has to be found in yourself.
Today he’s happily married, following his dreams, living with his heart, and not wasting time belonging to something that forces you to change who you are for the sake of the organization.
I was so happy to come across his post and to see him flourishing in the life he deserves.
Phil McGraw once said, “The number one need in all people is the need for acceptance, the need to experience a sense of belonging to something and someone.”
I don’t think there’s a person on the planet who hasn’t experienced that at one time or another. It’s a time of loneliness and uncertainty, which often drives us to seek out those who promise us the world, only to rob us of it.
We must remember that in order to be happy in this world, we must first be happy with ourselves. While belonging to an organization is fine, revolving every facet of your life around it is not.
Remember, “We can’t be so desperate for love the we forget where we can always find it – within.” – Alexandra Elle