I just got through 90 minutes of a 2.5 hour discussion between two self-described “2nd gen Scientologists” who left Scientology years ago and lament their times of “abuse in a destructive cult” onto the internet & TV in the form of “Scientology and the Aftermath”.
I think these two people should see that their “cult recovery” paradigm is so false, and so unworkable, that they should have begun questioning it and rejecting it by now.
But maybe not. Celebrity anti-Scientology is a hell of a drug. What if presenting all your trauma, over and over, to a sympathetic audience on TV can create and maintain your whole self-identity for you?
What if it can get you all the status & fame you desire?
The drama has become so thick in Celebrity Anti-Scientology that if anyone says, “HEY! STOP DOING THAT TO YOURSELF!” like I’m doing right now, *I* become your latest abussser and source of trauma – when the whole time your abuser is yourself, by adopting and buying into this whole drama queen shit show.
The Importance of Self Identity: Who You Tell Yourself You Are
The way out of this self-abuse is to recognize the paradigm you are using to “understand” and shape your own experiences to yourself.
This is revealed in how one of the participants of this discussion, after 5 years of being out of Scientology, still defines himself:
“I spent 46 you know 42 years of my life in a destructive cult and 17 of those years in an extremely abusive environment. So how do you not, how do you expect all those, all that kind of stuff to just go away after a couple years? Doesn’t really work that way.”“
Later in this discussion he says this:
…”And yet it’s one of the most horrifying experiences you could possibly have as a human being short of becoming a prisoner of war in fucking North Korea or something. So it’s a pretty bad experience. I mean it’s really hard to describe.“
Being in Scientology was not like being a prisoner of war in North Korea.
You can see this celebrity Anti-Scientologist on his youtube videos running this nightmare version of his past on himself, and onto others. He’s been branching out to other Exes of other minority religions so they too will adopt the drama queen paradigm to “understand” what happened to them in their minority religion.
This kind of rampant exaggeration and catastrophizing is not good for Exes. And it is not good mostly because it is not true: It is too often an undisciplined, over-emotional version of your past which, in the overwhelming majority of cases, never actually happened in the way you are remembering it.
To be sure, some abuse (such a general word) happens in Scientology.
But the nightmare scenarios are the ones that too many Exes are clinging to, which when examined closely in a disciplined way, they find that it is highly likely that even the nightmare memories did not happen in their nightmare version.
Throughout their discussion, both Celebrity Anti-Scientologists run their paradigm of “abuse and recovery” on each other.
One is way less of a drama queen than the other. But this paradigm is the frame of their discussion, the boundaries of their language. Their ‘cult recovery’ paradigm contains the only concepts allowed to interpret one’s experiences as Ex-members of Scientology.
The Cult “Recovery” Paradigm of Past Membership in a Minority Religion
The cult recovery paradigm is “I had a disease called Scientology, and now I’m recovering from it. It may take forever, but now I am on a path to recovery.”
Here’s the problem: If you had a real disease there would be real viruses in your blood, or an infection in your lungs which you could see on microscopes and xrays. And when you finished “recovery” from that real disease – because your disease was real – the microscope would show no more viruses, and no more spots on the xrays.
Your recovery could then end.
You could then allow yourself to be cured.
But because this disease of having been a Scientologist is a social construct only, there will never be any evidence that you have “recovered” from it. And so you will be “in recovery” whenever you bring those nightmare black clouds in on yourself.
Your nightmare will never end because YOU are continually bringing it into existence.
Exes NEED A NEW PARADIGM FOR HAVING BEEN A SCIENTOLOGIST
Homo sapiens, as a tribal species, define, judge and “know” each other by the tribes, cultures, and sub-cultures they belong to.
So when you are part of a smaller tribe (weird cult) which disagrees with the wider mainstream tribe (society) and you try to re-enter that mainstream tribe, there is always a period of cultural re-adjustment.
There is also a stigma that the person who re-enters the mainstream tribe feels from having been a member of the widely rejected, smaller tribe.
Being in a new culture now, he feels ‘abnormal’.
That feeling of being abnormal IS NORMAL. It is simply the struggle of being human. Every human being struggles to be a good member of his tribe. All of our emotional and endocrine structures such as guilt and shame, pride and admiration, are based on what our tribal rules are and how well we are conforming, or not conforming, to them.
Being an Ex-Scientologist is much more like an immigrant struggling to assimilate and fit into a new culture, than it is like having had a disease from which you need to ‘recover’.
Adopting this new “cultural” paradigm for past involvement in a minority religion SOLVES the drama queen dysfunction of the “cult recovery” paradigm.
The explanations of the ‘cultural’ paradigm are more aligned with reality. They’re closer to what actually happened to the overwhelming majority of people who were involved in minority religions like Scientology.
Your Special Suffering
Suffering, as a human being, is universal. No human escapes suffering.
Therefore, your particular suffering is nothing special. The more you lose perspective on your suffering and make it special whenever you re-assert it, to others or to yourself, the more suffering you are going to perpetuate.
When you constantly re-assert your special suffering, you create a self identity that constantly perpetuates your own nightmares.
These nightmare scenarios for Exes come primarily from the ‘Cult Recovery’ Paradigm.
This specialness is now being pushed from Celebrity Anti-Scientologists onto Exes of every minority religion. The adoption of the ‘recovery’ paradigm increases the suffering all of them experience.
So let’s question the ‘recovery’ paradigm which claims that just being in a minority religion somehow ‘damaged’ you, or gave you a disease, or an addiction of some kind. It gave you an affliction that you now have to ‘recover’ from.
For the overwhelming majority of people who were ever members of minority religions, this is not even remotely true.
So just stop it.
The Cultural Paradigm of Minority Religious Membership
If you have to be a Drama Queen about your past in Scientology, try this: Imagine yourself as a little European white girl who was kidnapped by a big Indian tribe in the 1800s.
You grew up among the Indians, only to return to proper white society in your 20s. It’s a big cultural adjustment you had to make, very much like one of the participants of this youtube discussion is making to Chinese society right now. Nathan Rich is accomplishing that quite successfully, it sounds.
Scientology Was Never a Disease
Because Scientology is not a disease, or an addiction, there’s nothing to recover from, neither in reality nor metaphorically. In reality, scientology is simply a sub-culture within the wider culture of western civilization. And your involvement in it was only that.
If you adopt a cultural paradigm, and begin re-interpreting your experiences in and out of Scientology using it, you will suffer a lot less, understand a lot more, and you will cause a lot less suffering for other Exes from other minority religions, too.
The Cultural Paradigm as a Big Party Pooper
The problem with this cultural paradigm is that, once it is adopted, all cult drama deflates and de-escalates.
The creepy fascination with ‘cults’ dissipates, too. Cults become more understandable.
And celebrity Anti-Scientology might probably go away.
But celebrity Anti-Scientology needs to go away. It is too simplistic and false to do anyone any good. It has uncovered no crimes by Scientology, and probably never will. And it’s over-emotional hysterics, and it’s mainstream, middle class judginess, are inciting way too much suffering and persecution for way too many people now.