Today I would like to talk about another step that religious abuse survivors can take in the healing and recovery process. If you have not read Step One or Two in this series, I would encourage you to do so Here and Here.
As a religious abuse survivor, one of the most helpful steps that I took in the healing process was to sign up for Facebook and get involved in one of the groups for Cult / religious abuse Survivors. At the time, I had no idea that a social media group would be so beneficial to me in my healing process. The very first group I joined was a small group of a little over 300 people called Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) Cult Survivors (and their supporters). When I joined this group, I was still hurting and scared. I was nearing the end of my two years of isolation and my depression seemed to be letting up somewhat. So, I decided to step out and take a chance to see what I would find.
One day I was watching 20/20 on television and saw a story about a young girl named Tina Anderson. She was a victim of child rape from the same religious sect that I had just left. In the news story, they also interviewed another victim named Jocelyn Zeichterman. Jocelyn had a group on Facebook for abuse survivors of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Church. As soon as they gave the name of the Facebook page, I found it and joined. Within just a few weeks after the episode on 20/20 aired, the group grew to over 2000 members.
This particular group was instrumental in the healing and deprogramming process for me and my oldest sons. We all joined this group and upon doing so, realized there were others that we personally knew that were in it as well. Together, we all found healing through fellowship and telling our stories to each other.
STEP #3: Get Involved in Cult Survivor Groups and Pages on Facebook.
Join Forums, Subscribe to Blogs.
Associating with other religious abuse survivors allows you to fellowship with those who have gone through what you have gone through. There is a common bond; an understanding. Just realizing that you are not alone in your pain and suffering is like salve to your soul. You will make new friends in these groups as well – friends that will encourage you in your journey out of religious bondage. They will support you and lift you up when you feel you can’t go another day.
I caution you though. These groups have all walks of faith in them. Many of these victims of abuse are angry and hurting too. They are all in different stages of the deprogramming and healing process. They all express themselves differently. Be aware of this and don’t allow yourself to get offended easily. Understand that these are hurting and broken people too. These groups are not a place to bring your cult mentality into. They are also not a place to proselytize. These groups are based on acceptance and love for everyone. I encourage you to join as many as you can, and watch and listen. You don’t have to post in them, but listen and quietly take in what many say. You will know when the time is right for you to speak up. In the beginning though, just ABSORB. Here are a few groups, websites, and pages to get you started.
Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) Cult Survivors (and their supporters) – Facebook group
Do Right Hyles Anderson – Facebook group
Do Right First Baptist Church of Hammond – Facebook group
Independent Fundamental Cult Abuse Surviving – Facebook group
Survivors of Abuse in Fundamentalism – Facebook group
Care – Facebook group
Together We Heal – Facebook group
Religion’s Cell – Facebook page
Religionscell.com – website
Wickedshepherd.com – website
Jeriwho.net – website
Tentmaker.org – website
Ask around in these groups for other groups, websites and blogs to visit. There are so many, it is impossible to list them all. Many of the survivors in these groups have some fantastic blogs and have written some really awesome books that will help you to recover and heal! Don’t limit yourself with just one group. By all means, branch out and become part of many. Like me, you will eventually just narrow it down to the ones that meet the emotional needs that you have.
Associating with others that understand what you are going through is great medicine to the wounded soul that is struggling. This step in the deprogramming and healing process is one that can be used for as little or as long as you need it in order to recover. For me, this step rescued me from the absolute and total fear of people the cult mentality instilled in me. Go ahead and give this step a try. After all, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing so.