Recovery From Abuse – Not One Size Fits All


This is a blog post from the Tales From The Crypt Blog which we edited between 2006 and 2012.  It focuses on our experiences post BCF and encourages others who have been traumatised by controlling Christian organisations and spiritual abuse.


I would like to air some reflections which have been bouncing around the inside of my brain over the last few weeks. I particularly want to encourage other ex-BCF members to remember the place from whence they have come. More than anything else, we have to remember, and remind ourselves continually, that we have just come out of a cult, and cults are very particular, and peculiar places. They have messed with your head, and your life. That does NOT mean you are crazy, but it does mean that they have inflicted some damage, and that needs to be healed. How is that healed? That is between you and God.

I think its important to recognize the way cults work. Cults employ groupthink in the same way that our lungs employ oxygen. Cult leaders manipulate groupthink to increase fear, confusion, dependency, and loyalty. This is why BCF members for the most part will continue to defend their leaders and their group. They have been taught to believe that the rest of the world is the enemy. If you believe that your only place of safety is being attacked, you will fight to the death to ward off any blow which comes against you or your leaders.

If you are immersed in groupthink, you won’t be using your common sense or the logical side of your brain. Groupthink relies on emotions not objective facts therefore facts, logic, and the experiences of those which disagree with your perception are ditched. You don’t think for yourself, because you have been told year after year after year that reason is the enemy of faith, as Vic Hall himself has written.

Why is reason the enemy? Because if people are thinking for themselves, they are going to argue with you, and disagree with you and then if they disagree with you enough they will leave. If enough people leave, you won’t have a congregation, and your reputation will be so tarnished that you will have a great deal of trouble rescuing it.

Emerging from a cult takes involves a great deal of trauma regardless of how much abuse was actually perpetrated against you. The fact that you have been completely and wholly devoted to a group of people who you trusted without reservation and you thought believed in you and loved you unconditionally, and then you discover that these people have turned out to be deceiving you the whole time, and then turned on you at your darkest moment is probably one of life’s most soul-destroying event. I would go so far as to say that many ex-members of BCF are suffering Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome to some degree. Not all, and the one thing I want to do is avoid making black and white statements. The fact that you have removed yourself from those outside the cult almost guarantees that you will find it difficult to find support and help from others who should have, and in all other instances would have, been close to you.

You have become your own worst enemy. You now must not only heal from these lost years of deception, but you must rebuild your life from scratch. You must re-discover your faith, you must re-learn who God is, you must reclaim your mind, your abilities, your independence, your integrity, your self-respect, your individuality.

It is this last I would like to focus on. Anyone who has spent decades of their life immersed in groupthink needs to become independent like their lungs need oxygen (to re-use a metaphor). You HAVE to find yourself again, and you HAVE to do that with support. SUPPORT, I say, not ADVICE. There is a difference.

Ex-members of a cult need to be told over and over and over again….” you don’t need to be told how to live, you can trust yourself to make the best decision for yourself and your family. You are a grown adult and not a child, you are capable, competent and you will re-discover that in time.” That of course doesn’t mean you don’t need to ask for help and support, that too is the right of every independent adult.

Many ex-members have gone to see psychologists or other mental health professionals just to talk about their experiences and receive some proper professional support. Others have seen medical doctors, or spoken to Christian pastors who have likewise given them what they need. It is my earnest belief that God helps us in our need in ways we are not even conscious of at the time. There may be those who don’t even feel comfortable talking to professionals, and that too is fine.

I know many won’t step foot inside a church, and find doing so is as traumatic as going back to BCF would be. This is PERFECTLY NORMAL. I include a link to an excellent article here on emotional triggers. This article is discussing PTSD, but the phenomenon of triggers occurs in cult victims also, regardless of whether you have been diagnosed with PTSD or not. The information is still valid. It has certainly helped me. (no link)

I would also like to remind readers of this blog that we put up a link to Jeff Van Vonderen’s excellent video series on spiritual abuse some months ago. He also talks about triggers and the symptoms of those who have suffered from being abused by those they trusted implicitly. These videos have also helped a lot of people who have been through what we have been through.

I have to stress that each individual who has been through the BCF group of churches and out the other side needs more than anything to trust themselves again. Trusting your instincts, relying on them in fact, and believing that you know what is best for you, is the best thing.

What that means is that if you decide that you no longer want to go into a church again, that is your choice and doesn’t mean you are no longer a Christian. You can fellowship with other Christians in your own time, and in the manner of your choosing (just a cup of coffee is still ‘fellowship), and you must not feel guilty about that. No-one else has the right to dictate to you the manner of your own healing, and since the manner of healing from a cult should be entirely and intrinsically individual, the choice is yours.

I wish somebody had told me that when I left BCF. I spent an inordinate amount of time just feeling guilty that I wasn’t doing what others wanted me to do. There were other ex-BCF members who got together occasionally, and I just felt I couldn’t be with them for long periods. The triggers were too great, and the stress just left me feeling emotionally exhausted. That’s why the internet was so great for me. I was able to talk to others without leaving my house or absorbing other people’s emotional turmoil. Some people are naturally sensitive and empathetic to others, and these people are even more at risk of becoming stressed around other ex-cult refugees. I say again, each of us must look after ourselves in the way which is best for US, not someone else.

Over time, I found myself doing things like personality tests, and IQ tests and other types of things which are free on the net, mainly for my own amusement, but a part of me needed to rediscover who I was. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY could tell me who I was, I had to find that out for myself. It didn’t really matter what I did because the key here was that I was experimenting.

A therapist I spoke to a couple of years ago told me that my ability to be spontaneous, experimental, and to push against the boundaries had been squashed. I was simply unable to think outside the square. I had to practice, practice, practice. That meant doing all the things which I hadn’t given myself permission to do up til that point.

I must say that I also found myself getting physically exhausted very easily.  I found myself also suffering nightmares with alarming regularity, but as I told my 12 year old the other day, nightmares are just the brain’s way of dealing with what you have been thinking about during the day. If you have been traumatized, so has your mind. This is a healthy and normal way of coping with that stress.

I must say here that I am not a psychologist (although I am studying to be one), and that my advice is simply based on my own experiences. Anecdotal evidence (or personal experience) has always been a great help for those seeking for encouragement that they are not alone in their sufferings, or that they are not crazy.

Let me say again, you must find your own healing, your own way, and you will find it. Don’t allow somebody else to categorise you, make you feel guilty or ashamed. You don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to. God isn’t going to take away your salvation if you swear, get angry, get furious, tell somebody exactly what you think without qualification, or refuse to do something. You have the right to be angry, you have the right to whichever emotional state you find yourself at any time. Emotions are not sin. You have to rediscover your own right to make your own decisions. That will take time, and that too is NORMAL.

My favourite quote here is ‘I am reacting normally to an abnormal situation’. It’s true. What we have been through is not normal in Christian circles, or even in secular circles. We have been treated with utter disrespect and abused without conscience. Coming to terms with this will also take time, and everyone is at a different level of healing.

I don’t know what else I can offer other than the words “It happened to me too”. You have done nothing wrong, but you have been with people who have taken advantage of you and the best defense to avoid being a victim is knowledge of how abusers work, and knowledge of yourself.

I heard another quote recently ironically enough from ‘The Art of War’.

“If you know yourself and you know your enemy, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles”.

This is where the quote ‘know yourself’ comes from, and it is a very good piece of advice. If you know yourself, you can make your own decisions and not feel guilty if someone disagrees with you. You can act without shame if someone doesn’t think you should do what you want to do. You can begin to have confidence, and as my husband often says ‘back your own judgement’. We have learned to do this the hard way believe me, but the effects of this on our lives have been revolutionary. We trust our own gut instincts now, and we even hear God speaking to us on occasion. We know its him because when he says something, it comes true. We hear his voice now as a gentle guidance rather than a monkey on our back. God is no longer a tyrant, but a sensitive, careful voice of love and encouragement. THERE IS NOW NO CONDEMNATION.

We live for the day when you are all free of the condemnation that has plagued your consciences for so long.


Further help:

Complex Trauma: Understanding and Treatment Diane Langberg


Do You See Me?


I received an email update from a forum I am part of the other day.  It contained a vivid and extremely disturbing account of the victim of a rape whilst out with a group of college students.  This account is actually so disturbing and vivid that I would caution anyone who has been through a similar incident not to click on the following link as it will trigger you.  But for those with stronger stomachs, you can read the story here.

This story is from a young woman who attended John Macarthur’s Masters College.  She had had what she describes as ‘three glorious years’ training to be a counsellor, and this event occurs in the last year of her training.  Here is en excerpt from the beginning of the story.

Spring break starts tomorrow. I was going to go home today but last night I hit my head and suffered a concussion. The doctor said I need to take it easy so I decide to stay on campus and catch up on rest and homework. Not to brag or anything but I hang out with the smart crowd, and the smart crowd hangs out with the seminary students from The Master’s Seminary. They invite me to go to a play in town and then to dinner. I probably shouldn’t but it’s an approved outing as some of the seminary guys are bringing their girlfriends, and of course there will be no drinking, drugs, or dancing. We all had to sign a contract that we would not do those three things while attending Masters. It doesn’t bother me. I don’t drink or do drugs anyway.

Four of the seminary students live together and I know three of them. The fourth, a stranger who I have met maybe once, sits by me at dinner and asks if he can get me a soda. I thank him and say yes, but about a half an hour later I start to feel foggy. Everyone begins to discuss going ballroom dancing after dinner. I want to weigh in but my words are slurring and I can’t move my legs. The rest of my friends start laughing because I’m acting funny. They remember I suffered a concussion yesterday and think I need to go to bed. They urge the stranger to take me to my dorm room so I can rest. By this time he has to carry me out of the restaurant. No one thinks this is strange or seems at all concerned. I black out.

I will draw a veil over the rest of her account except to say this.  The treatment she received from the Master’s College teaching and admin staff was literally sickening.  After  having been to the police and the doctor, this young woman goes to those in charge at the college and is interviewed in a frankly disturbing and completely unprofessional way.

I tell him every excruciating detail I can remember…

Rick leaves the room several times to go talk to John MacArthur. He comes back with John’s ruling on the matter. Rick tells me that I need to be disciplined for doing drugs, drinking alcohol and almost dancing. He said the consequence for breaking the rules is that I will be kicked out of the college. He is angry at me for going to the police and the doctor. I should have let the church handle this without outside interference. He tells me not to tell anyone else, not my fellow classmates, not my teachers, not anyone at church.

“You are ruining that young man’s life!” He says.

He tells me I have to go to the police and drop the charges or I will be brought in front of the church to be disciplined. I don’t drop the charges. Not that it matters. The police interviewed my rapist and all the “friends” who were there and ruled it a “he-said, she-said” incident that can’t be proven either way.

I don’t keep quiet either. I reach out to the professors who “disagree with John MacArthur on a few things.” They won’t see me. People are avoiding me. I feel their whispers. Even close friends are acting weird.

Throughout the whole ordeal, the rapist’s situation and feelings are given priority and is treated as a victim and the victim of the rape is treated as the criminal.

I am standing outside the door to Rick’s office. I take a deep breath and feel confident that I am strong enough to do whatever it is that he asks me to do. I open the door and am shocked to see the stranger sitting there. I am starting to shake and sweat. Rick asks me to sit down by my rapist. Rick speaks for the rapist.

“He has admitted to everything he has done. He has acknowledged his sin and that this relationship was not consensual and he has repented. Look at him, he is crying.”

I don’t want to look at him but I do. I feel panicked sitting this close to him. I am wondering why I have to be present if it has become clear that I am innocent. Why wasn’t I immediately reinstated in school?

“Now it is your turn to apologize.”

I am not hearing right. I think that Rick Holland has just asked me to apologize to my rapist.

“Apologize for what?” I ask.

Rick says something about apologizing for the dress I was wearing at the bar and for drinking alcohol. He says I caused this young man to stumble, and he is incensed that I have not dropped the charges with the police. He says he has been talking to Joe and Sandra and my RD and they all say that my story keeps changing. I wonder why they are all allowed to talk about it but I am not. If I am to be reinstated in the school I must agree to weekly counseling with Rick and the stranger. I am told that the stranger and I have committed this sin together and therefore we must work through it together. I must agree to sit next to the stranger in church every week.

I don’t know where to begin. Do I start with the fact that I didn’t put that dress on or how my story isn’t changing, I am just remembering more things? I feel confused and angry. I am yelling. I hear more accusations coming out of Rick’s mouth. I am not submissive. I don’t trust the men that God has put over me. I am rebellious. He is angry and I cannot keep up with all of the attacks on my character that are flying out of his mouth. I am kicked out of school. I have less than twenty-four hours to get my things out of my room and get out. If I show up on campus, I will be arrested. They are changing my three years of earned college credits from A’s to F’s. I have flunked out of college.

There are a number of websites which discuss what happens at the Masters College and also at John Macarthur’s church.  He is by all accounts a bully and a bigot and will not countenance anyone who does not agree with everything he says.  I have seen too many men like this who run megachurches. This young woman’s experience is not unusual, and if you go to the website I linked to and read the 90 odd responses (probably more since this account was published) you will see more corroborating evidence.

Speaking up about abuse is vital, but speaking up about abuse always involves risk. People may not believe you.  People in particular who know the high profile leaders of the college will have a vested interest in rejecting accusations against their heroes.  Scripture tells us when bringing a reviling report against an elder to have two or three witnesses.  Even when there are more than two or three witnesses, people will still not believe you.

When you have been as damaged as this woman has, you don’t have the emotional capacity to deal with further abuse from those you trusted to protect you.  She had no reason to doubt that Rick Holland and John Macarthur would turn on her when she needed their protection the most.  Yet they supported and protected somebody she had never even met before.

Every comment I read on the website supported and ‘saw’ this young woman.  It was heartening to know that so many responded so well.  Yet, this is nearly twenty years after the event, and it would have been good for her to have had that support when the rape  occurred.

When somebody hears about abuse, they often want to minimise its severity or undermine the account by the victim in some way so that they either don’t have to process what they are hearing or consider that somebody they like or admire is in fact a criminal and possibly a morally insane individual.

If we ever hear an account of abuse from somebody and it sounds unreal or difficult to process, remember that cognitive dissonance is a normal reaction to having your belief system challenged. Nobody wants to believe that somebody they have thought of as trustworthy would do what they are being accused of doing.  But just because you have not seen the abuse, or the abuse hasn’t happened to you, doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen to the victim. Often the official response is that the victim is making it up, or that somehow they caused the abuse themselves, especially in rape cases.  This is rarely true. Every account of rape should be treated with due sobriety and concern, and in particular, if necessary, the victim should be assured that their case will be immediately investigated.

Whether we believe what is being told to us or not, if we understand that the first response is usually unbelief and discomfort, we will be more likely to understand why the report sounds unbelievable.

Since this young woman’s report was not only corroborated by others who have been through what she has been through and by others who understand what the Master’s College administrative team are like under these kinds of circumstances, there can be no reason to doubt her account.  This has not only happened at this college, but at many other secular colleges and workplaces and churches.

In my mind, the most important aspect of this account is that while the college admin treated her rape with less than Christian mercy and compassion, they also deliberately sabotaged her academic career and destroyed any hope she might have had to complete her degree and recover her dignity and heal.  It is one thing not to believe a person when they tell you they have been raped, it is quite another to consciously slander and destroy that person’s reputation and standing in a christian community.  She had not previously shown herself to be promiscuous or of bad character nor had her academic record proven any lack of intelligence or ability.  There was patently no defensible reason to attack this young woman.  Yet they went out of their way to make sure she was punished for not simply bowing to their bullying and abuse.

Sadly and frustratingly, this is happening to women everywhere.  Infuriatingly, it is happening in Christian churches and communities.  Not only do Christians themselves find it difficult to know how to respond to this kind of traumatic event, non-Christians find these situations pretty horrific.  How is this possible in places where people claim to be motivated by the love of God? It is possible because people lie about who they are, and it is possible because even Christians get to choose their actions.  People can choose to do ugly wicked things just because.  There doesn’t even need to be a reason, they just feel like being ugly.  When a rapist or abuser becomes a predator there needs to be more than just decisive and rapid response.  There needs to be a finality.  Deal with the abuse, get rid of the threat to the safety of those who are vulnerable, and don’t even think about blaming the victim.  It’s that simple.

Jordan Petersen – An encouragement from a ‘hate monger’

zz petersen

I came across a video of Jordan Petersen speaking about how it is not safe to speak up.  I knew nothing about him before this, but his words resonated with me, especially as somebody who has been oppressed and told to shut up because I was female and in a misogynistic cult.  Even more importantly, I have been abused for speaking up after I left the cult, because who was I?  Just a woman.  Interestingly, I was also abused for the way I wrote my blog, for not being easily manipulated by people who just wanted to use me for their own designs, and also abused because I was not falling into line by other ex-cult women who likewise, figured I should be there for their benefit.  It was very important to me to hear this message from admittedly, a non-Christian conservative. Petersen’s views are so akin to conservative Christian views, especially the biblical view of the nature of man that I pray this man will one day find the God who created him and so he will have even more courage and power with which to withstand the onslaught.

I just want to include this excerpt from a blog post about Petersen from a writer of the “LifeSite”.  It covers the details of Jordan Petersen’s rise to  public notoriety.

Most of my readers will be familiar with Dr. Peterson’s story. A professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, Peterson became an overnight sensation when he released several videos on his YouTube account, explaining why he opposed Bill C-51, which purported to enshrine legal protections for transgender people into Canadian law. In reality, Peterson pointed out, these laws could be used to police speech — and even worse, could compel people to use the recently-invented “transgender pronouns” for those who refuse to identify as either male or female such as “ze” or “zir.” Such infringements on such an essential right were unconscionable, said Peterson, and he would not be using those pronouns regardless of what the state demanded of him.

The reaction to Peterson’s videos was at first predictable. He was accused of violence by a fellow panelist on The Agenda with Steve Paikin. Transgender activists insisted he was a bigot and a transphobe. His university sent him a letter warning him that his refusal would violate the rights of transgender people. Media outlets pilloried him as a man using his position to express his hatred, and quoted progressives and LGBTQ activists saying the same thing. It looked as if the standard media-lynching we’ve seen so frequently over the past several years would again succeed — those brave souls who are willing to articulate opinions contrary to the current progressive generally run afoul of the tolerance buzz saw and see their careers and reputations destroyed, or worse.

Instead, something remarkable happened. Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, an academic who dared to stand up to the transgender lobby, didn’t get fired. He got famous. His YouTube account, where he posts his lectures and other musings, has over 355,000 subscribers. Thousands of fans flooded his Patreon account with donations, from which he now earns over $30,000 a month from over 5,000 fans. He became one of the most on-demand interviewees from Sam Harris’ podcast to Steven Crowder’s YouTube show, among dozens of other media outlets. Even a photographer’s photo essay of Peterson at his Toronto home accrued over 300,000 hits in a matter of days. For the first time in a very long time, an academic stood up to the politically correct progressive lobby — and won.

Dr. Peterson’s success is even more remarkable when you consider the positions he articulates. Abortion, he said in response to one question, is “clearly wrong.” Pornography is “deadening” and men should stop watching it. Young men need to “grow up” and get their lives together. Young people should pursue children and marriage. Even more than that, he warns his audiences that they are not good people — that each of them harbors demons within, and that this fact should drive them to become better people. None of this would have been particularly radical fifty or so years ago. In 2017, it’s as if Peterson is taking a machine gun to a field of sacred cows — and yet, his popularity only grows.

Jonathon Van Maren

Here is the transcript of Petersen’s Youtube video, which you can watch at this link

One way of conceptualising yourself is that you are one speck of dust among seven billion and you might think ‘what difference does it make what I say or do’. And that’s actually quite convenient for you because if it doesn’t matter what you say or do then you don’t have any responsibility and you can do whatever you want.

The price you pay for that is a bit of nihilism but if you don’t have to shoulder any responsibility that’s a small price to pay.

The other way of looking at it is that you are a node in a network. You can do a bit of arithmetic and work out how powerful you are. Let’s say you know a thousand people. They know a thousand people. This means you are one person away from a million people and two persons away from a billion people. And you are the centre of that network. Now the way that networks work is that information propogates in a network manner. So don’t underestimate the power of your speech.

Western culture is phallogo centric. It is predicated on the idea of the logos. That the logos is the sacred element of the culture. It means that your capacity for speech is divine. Its the thing that generates order from chaos, and sometimes turns pathological order into chaos when it has to. Don’t underestimate the power of truth. There is nothing more powerful.

Now in order to speak what you regard as the truth, you have to let go of the outcome. You have to think “I am going to say what I think, stupid as I am, biassed as I am, ignorant as I am, I am going to state what I think as clearly as I can and I am going to live with the consequqences no matter what they are” That is an element of faith. The idea is that nothing brings a better world into being than the stated truth. Now you might have to pay a price for that, but that’s fine. You are going to have to pay a price for everything you do and everything you don’t do. You don’t get to choose not to pay a price. You get to choose which poison you are going to take. So if you are going to stand up for something, stand up for your truth. It will shape you. Because people will respond and object and tell you why you are a fool and a biassed moron and why you are ignorant and then if you listen to them, you will be just that much less like that the next time you say something. If you do that for five years you will be so damned tough and articulate and able to withstand pressure you won’t even recognise yourself. Then you will be a force to be contend with. And you don’t get to wait until you get tenure etc.

Its almost impossible to provide people with enough protection that they feel safe to speak. Ok, so we’ll address that. It is not safe to speak. And it never will be. But the thing you have to keep in mind is that its even less safe not to speak. Its a balance of risks. Do you want to pay the price for who you are and your stated mode of being in the world or do you want to pay the price for being a serf, one that has enslaved him or herself. Well that’s a major price man, that thing unfolds over decades and you will just be a miserable worm at the end of about 20 years of that. No self-respect, no power no ability to voice your opinions, nothing left but resentment because ‘everyone is against you’ because of course you’ve never stood up for yourself.

Say what you think carefully, pay attention to your words. Its a price you want to pay if you are willing to believe that truth is the cornerstone of society in the most real sense if you are willing to take that leap then tell the truth and see what happens. Nothing better could possibly happen to you. There will be ups and downs and there will be push-back and there will be controversy but it doesn’t matter. The truth is what redeems the world from hell. And that’s the truth. We have seen plenty of hell over the last hundred years. We ahven’t learned a thing from it. Wake up. Tell the truth, tell the truth. Or at least don’t lie and that’s a start. And you’ve got to understand, that’s a risk.

I said what I had to say back in September and I am sure that I could have done it better, and many people have told me how I could have done it better although it didn’t mean that they would actually do it. And you know my job was at serious risk for about two months and it destabilised my family who have been very brave about this, so thumbs up to them man, they’ve stood by me. But here’s the optomistic news. The University has left me alone completely. I shook hands with the dean about two weeks ago we are on friendly terms, they don’t want this to go any further than it has already. The students were tremendously welcoming when I came back to teach in January. I haven’t had a single negative incident at the university. And I have received thousands of letters from all over the world, all of which have been in support. I have received two negative letters, two , that’s it. People have an inchoate longing to have this sort of thing that we are talking about articulated. So don’t be thinking you are alone. Its just that people can’t talk, they are afraid to talk, or they don’t know what to say. So, if you are reasonably articulate start talking and sharpen yourself up. The enemy is a cloud of gnats. They are only courageous in groups, in mobs. If you stand your ground and don’t apologise and articulate things properly, they’ll disperse around you like they are not even there. So most of its illusion. So be afraid, but be afraid of the right thing and the thing to be afraid of is not saying what you say because its the same as not being. Here you are suffering away, you might as well be at the same time, at least then there is something to you.

Waking Up to Abuse – The Letter Bomb


After about five years of no contact from me and the odd letter from my mother wherein she tried to contact my children or sent cards for birthdays with money in them etc, everything went silent.  We were trying desperately to put our lives back together after the cult and really had enough to focus on with our then teenage children, one of whom had been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.  Again, when I let my family know about this, the response was underwhelming. Nobody offered support, nobody even actually showed any interest, they simply just went ‘meh’ and carried on as though I had not spoken.

Then in 2012, I received this letter.


This purported to be from my siblings.

At the time, I was not contacting my oldest sister because of a letter exchange which proved that she was not going to explain any of her bizarre and offensive behaviour and in which she made it pretty clear that she was about as impossible to talk to as my mother.  I had sent my other sister an email years before explaining narcissism to her and she did the same thing.  She didn’t see a problem with my mother, followed by totally bizarre and nonsensical ramblings, followed by ‘I love you’, which was hogwash because there was no love involved just a refusal to communicate.  My brother has never contacted me in over 10 years.  The last I heard from him was a bunch of political emails which I asked him to stop sending me because I would rather hear from him rather than just getting propoganda from him.  His response was that if he did what I asked he would be giving in to my attempts to control him which made no sense whatsoever.  I left a couple of messages on his phone trying to tell him when we had moved interstate and never heard from him again.

My only conclusion is that they are not impressed that I assert boundaries and expect things to carry on as they were before with the rest of the family doing things together and then excluding and ignoring me without actually explaining or justifying their behaviour.  There has never been any actual clear rift from the point of view of one thing leading to another, just me trying to get them to explain their behaviour and them either telling me to just forgive and move on, or throwing word salad at me.

So I have just given up trying to even communicate.

However this letter bomb was very interesting.

I will say that I don’t believe it is legitimate, I didn’t at the time, but I was absolutely horrified that my mother, who I believe wrote this, was willing to drop to this level of abuse to both punish me and attempt to take revenge on the fact that I have refused to any longer partake of her abuse.

Many children of narcissists will not see this letter as anything less than business as usual.  They are used to the outrageous acts and the sabotage attempts.  Many have simply given up even trying to make sense of it, they have finally come to terms with who their families are and have walked away.

I found out further proof some years later after googling around using my family’s names as search perameters.  I discovered that my oldest sister had written to a church in America called the Sunset Road Baptist Church, dated September 2013 and sent a prayer request to their prayer chain naming just about everyone she knew, first and last names. I include a portion of that prayer request here:

This is a prayer request for my Mum Joy Imrie, my sister Alison  and
her three children ****, ****** and *** M*******. My brother Robert .
My third sister and family who are estranged from us by their choice under
a christian cult/religious spirit Stephen and Anita Brady and their three
children Daniel, Nicholas and Lucy Brady.


The first person she mentioned was her mother, and at no point did she ever mention Alzheimers.  What she did mention however in detail was her denunciation of my family, all of my family including my children, first and last names.  She proclaimed that we had chosen to be estranged from her because in her words, we had a religious spirit and were going to a cult.  NOT because, as I had written to her, her behaviour was abusive.  Not only was she not able to recognise that I was specific in what I had told her, that her behaviour was the reason I was not contacting her, but now she was willing to ask a totally innocent and unaware group of Christians to pray for us presumably so that we would get in touch with her again and be delivered from this ‘religious spirit’ and the cult.  In fact, we had left the cult in 2004, all of us, and my sister was aware of this.  We did not have a ‘religious spirit’, we were specifically shielding ourselves from her abuse, and in fact, this prayer request was proof that her abuse was continuing.  She was clearly not above sending bogus prayer requests to God’s people expecting somehow that God would respond and somehow do something to us who according to her were still in the grip of a cult. I also don’t know anyone who feels the need to put first and last names on a prayer request.  Apparently God needs to have specific instruction on who they are praying for.  If this doesn’t look like some kind of soulish controlling prayer I don’t know what does.

To receive this letter about a year before she had made the prayer request is all the proof that I need that my mother does in fact NOT have Alzheimers. In fact, I have heard nothing from anyone in the last five years despite the fact that the letter asserts they will continue to inform me of my mother’s health issues.  There is no proof anywhere including on their facebook pages, and my oldest sister is prolific in her presence on social media, that she is looking after an elderly mother with dementia.  And in fact in a recent photo which she put up there is my mother looking clearly NOT demented and sharing both birthday celebrations AND christmas celebrations with her family.

If my siblings actually wrote this they are accountable for a pretty nasty attempt to traumatise and take revenge on my family.

If, as I believe, this was my mother’s handiwork, then it is further proof that going no contact with a malignant narcissist is the best way.

I have been sorely tempted to check out this letter directly, but that is exactly what she wants. I could have rung the blue nurses, or at least asked questions from somebody in the family for proof, but in fact if my mother didn’t actually get the satisfaction of having me run around trying to prove the veracity of the letter, she would have gotten a big buzz from having me asking questions circumspectly.  Either way she wins.  If as she probably realised I would not have bothered contacting anyone, she would know that even the merest possibility of this being true would have haunted me for ever.  How is that for ugly? Because even the possibility that it might be true – and it would not have changed anything anyway – would have caused anxiety due to the possibility of passing on the disease to her children.  I don’t have any proof that this is from her apart from her address on the top of the page.    If I go to her with the letter and its obvious she doesn’t have dementia, then she can always just deny everything.  Its genius in the complexity of its construction.

What she didn’t count on was that this letter simply proves what a heinous and unrepentant witch she is that she would torment her own children and grandchildren with a lie of this magnitude.  She clearly has no conscience and is actually beyond narcissistic but is actually a psychopath.  Not only did we have our eyes opened up many years ago via going through a cult, but our eyes were opened to the whole of the family dysfunction and how it destroys people’s minds and their lives.

There are too many discrepancies in this letter to name them all.  What triggered the immediate doubts was the fact that it was typed. Nobody in the history of letter writing has ever typed any letter to me except my mother.  Also, they did not need a ‘third party’ to find out where I was living, we were in the  phone book.  Not to mention the fact that my mother’s address is on the top of the letter and the letter was sent in Queensland.  One of my sisters lives interstate and could not have possibly been visiting my mother daily.  There is also the question of whether she was diagnosed mild or moderate, from my understanding of the disease there is quite a difference between the two, and if she was diagnosed in 2011, how come it took them a whole year to contact me when it was apparently such a huge issue?  Let me also add that people who are five years on from a diagnosis of moderate alzheimers do not go about having birthday and christmas celebrations with their children.  Also, it is stated that ‘she is fine apart from short term memory loss’. This is hardly moderate alzheimers, nor is it the sort of condition which would need medication. If somebody is having that kind of memory loss, you don’t trust them to give themselves medication, even with a couple of visits from the Blue Nurses every week.  They need daily supervision, probably in a nursing home.

So apart from the obvious discrepancies and clearly made up content, as I said, my gut instincts told me this was another attempt by my mother to get me to contact her.  There was no actual request for help but there was a stupid statement to begin with that they were ‘trying to respect my wishes regarding contact with the family as best they could’.  WHAT does that mean?  Nobody in my family has contacted me or attempted to contact me except my mother.  NOBODY.  Then all of a sudden out of the blue my siblings apparently write to me attempting to convince me that they are respecting my wishes? The fact is, the only people I ever told not to contact me was my mother and oldest sister. My other two siblings were never told not to contact me, and they could easily have contacted me via facebook or some other means in order to tell me personally that our mother was diagnosed with Alzheimers.  NONE of this adds up, and the outrage I have felt for many years has prompted me finally to publish this letter as proof that my mother has finally jumped the shark.

My hope is that one day somebody from my extended family will read this and understand what happened. I have no doubt that my mother will have poisoned all the wells as much as she could have through gossip, innuendo and character assassination.  She must reign the victor, she must arise from the ashes as the clean and holy person who is without error, without taint and without spot or wrinkle.

When God calls us to honour our parents, he did not mean people like this.  This woman is an abusive and ugly person who has spent her whole life undermining, sabotaging and destroying lives, marriages, families and individuals.  She has no remorse, will not stop ever, and expects that even now, I will one day come back to her and confess how wrong I was.  My mother is going to stand before God one day.  While it would be nice to believe she will change in the intervening time, I have prayed for her for many years and now no longer pray.  She has grown worse over time.  Sometimes it is just better to see the truth, mourn the loss and recognise the poison which was injected so long ago so you can use the antidote, the blood of Jesus Christ, for yourself and your children.


Waking Up to Abuse – Responses to No Contact


After I sent my mother the letter regarding her non-attendance at my wedding and I finally told her what I expected from her, I received quite a few more letters from her.

She did not ever apologise or explain her behaviour, she simply expected that things would go on as they did before and that it was my job to just forgive and forget.

It is impossible to have a normal conversation with a narcissist.  They will not allow you to speak in such a way that they actually listen to you and so that your words have impact.  As the child of a narcissist, you grow up believing that you have no hope and no future.  Because in fact it is as though you don’t exist.  You certainly don’t have any significance in your own family, no power, no legitimacy. It is not a surprise to me that the my siblings are miserable and have failed marriages and miserable children to boot. Nobody of course is going to admit that. The thing with the children and families of narcissists is that they have learned over the course of a lifetime to be content with the status quo and they have been brainwashed into believing that their mother is a loving caring person who would not do the traumatizing things she does on purpose.  Anyone who does not continue believing this myth is betraying the family and in particular my mother.  From what I have researched on the internet it is very common for those who do finally say ‘enough’ that they are rejected and abused further by their siblings and parents and friends of the narcissist.  Because these kinds of abusers make it abundantly clear that you are not going to get away with turning your backs on them.  There is only one choice with them, and that is to continue to receive the abuse with a smile.  This may be their ultimatum, but I refuse to accept it as have many thousands of victims who are finally waking up.,

It is very interesting to me how many people around the world are also waking up.  This is the effect of the internet. Regardless of how you explain narcissistic behaviour, and many people have attempted to, the results are the same.  Families are left bruised and burdened and utterly miserable but they will swear up and down that this is not the case and that you, the cult exiter, are simply making stuff up or are ‘just bitter’.

Thinking outside the cult group is always going to create doubt and concern within the group.  They would rather cut you off, shunning in religious circles, and ignore you than accept that you have a legitimate claim.  Family cults who deal with the whistle blowers will also either cut you off or pretend that you are just crazy.  If you continue to make a deal about it you will end up being abused further by the narcissist’s apologists because curiously, the narcissistic environment ‘creates’ more narcissists.  Often those around the main narc will mirror or shadow the behaviour and attitudes of the parent narc. This happens in cults as well.  They may not actually be narcissists, but they do just as much damage as the narcissist does and all so that they can cash in on the victimisation of the one who has broken away. I guess the thinking goes that if you can cosy up to the narcissistic parent who is now attacking the other child, you will get kudos from that parent.  You might get the kudos you are looking for but at what cost?  And let’s face it, kudos is not love, nor is it acceptance it is simply that you for now are not the victim of the abuse.  I will guarantee that when the narcissist feels like it they will target you next.

I will never forget hearing my mother tear strips off my sisters kids for no other reason that that she happened to be talking to me.  I can’t believe I stood up to her at this point because I was still in the religious cult, but I remember telling her to lay off because they were good kids.  She made the lemon sucking face and actually stopped.  In reality my mother has always been at the mental level of a three year old, except the results of her behaviour have been pretty toxic.  She has managed to contribute to two divorces and all four of her children grew up unfulfilled and hopeless, neurotic and unable to recognise abusers, two of whom joined religious cults at separate times and with separate groups.  This is not a good legacy to have.

But in response to being told that you have just drawn boundaries to their behaviour and that the results of ignoring the boundary is that you will be ignored they will simply ignore what you have said. As I have mentioned, your words are nothing because you are nothing according to the narcissist.  They will not listen to you unless you are agreeing with them, and in fact they are not really listening to you, they are simply listening for the echo of their own words.  It is not for nothing that the Greek legend of Narcissus includes the story of a Nymph who fell in love with him but was cursed with the fate of never being able to speak but simply to echo the last words of Narcissus.  The Narc eventually gets sick of hearing their own voice echoed back to them and eventually gets bored with the person who is literally hanging off their every word.  In truth, those who look to the Narcissist for mutual love and friendship are going to be treated to abuse in every sense of the word.

Waking Up To Abuse – Don’t get sick or die


The issue with the quilt was one of many as I have mentioned.  She varied her methods, but the attitude and approach were the same every time.

Like the time I had a miscarriage.

I got abuse from both the cult and my mother on this.  Apparently in both cult churches and cult families there are backwards reactions to things.  During times of stress or difficulty when you would normally get care and concern, cult churches and families turn on you and attack you.

When I had come home from the hospital after the miscarriage, Steve had asked my mother if she would come and sit with me and help look after Daniel our two year old.  Except he had specified staying at our house. Not that my mother had exactly offered to look after our two year old at her house.  She turned up and then spent the next couple of days moaning about everything.  She finally told Steve she wasn’t going to stay any longer as she wanted to be in her own bed. There was no sympathy regarding the miscarriage, there was no concern about my welfare, she just upped and left figuring that she wanted the comfort of her own home.  Normal mothers would have offered to have both of us at her place so that she could both partake of the comforts of her own home AND help us out.

I remember that my oldest sister had gone through a number of miscarriages over the years before I married and during these episodes there would be much rolling of the eyes and rude comments from my mother.  According to her my sister had somehow arranged these events to annoy my mother.  This was normal any time anyone expected her to somehow exert any energy on their behalf.  Getting sick however was something she did not tolerate and would often say that we were ‘bunging it on’.  This meant she thought you were lying about how you felt. This kind of response is common to narcissistic abusers since they simply project their own issues onto everyone else.  You are not really sick, you are just looking for attention, like she does when she pretends to be sick.  In reality, you are sick and you do require attention because you are a minor and it is her job as the person who brought you into the world to actually minister to your needs.  But that is too much to ask for somebody who has the divine right to both rule and be served.

But deaths in the family were treated as though they happened to somebody else.

When my mother’s sister died, she rang me up to inform me.  The first thing she did was ask if I knew who ‘Aunty Pat’ was.  I was three and a half when we left London to come to Brisbane and I had heard my mother talking about her brother and sister my whole life. Not only did I know who they were, I had received Christmas presents from her and had written thankyou notes both to her and my cousins, her children.  The fact that my mother figured I didn’t know who Aunty Pat was simply reinforced the truth that her own relationships with her family were not normal.  She was simply projecting her own careless attitude and lack of intimacy onto me.  She told me about her sister’s death with brevity and the same detached tone a newsreader would use.  There were no tears, no sense of loss, no actual pain in her voice.  It got to the point that I actually said to her “It’s OK to grieve Mum”, thinking that she was in denial.  I got a non-commital response.  At the time I thought she was just not coping.  I was to get a fresh insight into her coping skills when my father died.

Dad died on Saturday 31 July 2004. He would have been 100 in January last year.  But my mother’s responses during his last days in hospital and his funeral were pretty damning evidence of her character disorder.  We were coming to a place where I think Steve was finally recognising that the cult was a bad place to be so my father’s death was a very important catalyst to our exit.  I never went back to church after this and Steve only went back one or twice I think.  The Sunday after the funeral, one elder had gone up to Steve to ask where I was.  Steve had told him I was with my family that day.  This man then told Steve to tell me to ‘Stop feeling sorry for myself’.

Dad was not actually dying of anything like cancer or heart disease, his body had lived a full life and at 88 and a half, he was finishing up.  He had a visit on one occasion by a pregnant witch doctor with two flying monkeys.  This woman, I had not seen her before, had come into the room, proceeded without any warning to tell my father what would happen as his body went into death as though she was discussing the procedure of an operation.  It was the most cold-blooded and totally unnecessary act I had ever witnessed from a member of the medical profession.  I was so shocked I just sat and stared at her.  At least her flying monkey’s (two interns) had the grace to look uncomfortable.  But here’s the kicker, when I told my mother about this woman, it turns out that she had done it once before, when my mother had been at my father’s bedside.  It is further proof that narcissists go into particular professions in order to make the most of their position amongst the vulnerable and weak.  It doesn’t help that society thinks doctors are gods and few actually have the courage to speak up when they say or do stupid and cruel things.  I wish I had not been in such a vulnerable position myself.  If I had that time again I would have given that woman a lecture on childbirth and told her exactly how painful it is blow by blow.  As a narcissist however, she would simply have enjoyed watching the pain in my face.  My reaction, as a child of a narcissist, was probably the best response.  Grey rock, albeit a bit shocked grey rock.  Fortunately for my poor father he did not have his hearing aid in, so he didn’t get most of what she said.

The day my father actually died I was not there.  I got a phone call from my mother that Saturday night informing me that he was gone.  She also informed me that both of my sisters had been present when he died (he died in his sleep) and did I want to come and view the body.  It was not my imagination that she sounded slightly triumphant when she told me this. It wasn’t until later that I realised that she thought they had somehow scored a blow against me by having been present at my father’s death.  I told my mother that no, I did not want to go and view the body and she immediately said “No, I didn’t think you would want to”.  More triumphalism. She was right once again.  This is why I do not believe narcissists should be given any leverage by psychologists claiming they are simply poor sad victims of abuse from their own parents.  They choose how they act and who they do it to.  They choose their words and they know their victims, especially when it is their own children. They know how to shove in the barbs and when in order to do the most damage, and not even the death of their own husband is going to change that.

I found that out pretty quickly.

The morning of the funeral my sisters and I were at my mother’s house. At one point somebody made a funny remark about something and we laughed at it.  The children in our family had always joked during uncomfortable moments, it was the only way we knew to deal with the situation.  According to my husband who was in the room at the time, my mother who had been on the phone to her cousin had made some nasty comment upon hearing us laugh that ‘they will feel differently when they are at the funeral’.  She was angry with us for apparently having no respect for the dead, when in fact this was all just projection on her part.  She was the one who was not actually grieving. Apart from a brief flurry of tears when I started crying on the phone when she told me Dad had died, that was it.  I did not see her cry ever, did not see her show any signs of grief or any concern that the husband of over 50 years was now dead and she would be on her own.  If you didn’t know any better you would think she was actually happy he was gone.  I will never forget standing in their bedroom while she flung open the doors of the wardrobe and told us to take something that belonged to Dad ‘Whatever you like’ as though this was a garage sale.  Dad had only just been laid to rest, and we all looked at each other and felt very uncomfortable.  Then she made the remarkable statement that she was going to ‘beat Dad’ and made sure she lived longer than he did as though this was a race and she was going to win.  My mother was ten  years younger than my father.  She is now 91.  Looks like she certainly did ‘beat him’ and if that was all she cared about then she has gotten her wish. The only problem is that she is going to die sometime and when she does she will still be spending the same amount of time in hell as he does. She doesn’t realise that living longer is simply the grace of God to give you time to recognise your need of a saviour.

The Christmas after my father’s death was a doozy.  My oldest sister, who was divorced, and my brother, who was also on his own were going to spend that Christmas with my mother.  I rang early in December and asked about coming to spend Christmas with her. She made it abundantly clear that she did not want me or my family to spend Christmas with them.  She claimed that she could only ‘cope’ with two family members at a time and that it would be too much work for her.  My mother had never made any fuss about us spending Christmas with her before.   We have never expected her to do all the work, if we were at her house we always offered to wash up, help with the meals etc.  My mother was never left on her own.

I found myself once again inexplicably trying to get my mother to acquiesce to something that most normal mothers would jump at the chance to do.  She made it abundantly clear that she didn’t want us there and told me that she was going to ‘look after myself for once’.  Which made no sense, because she was not having Christmas on her own, just Christmas with only half her children.  My other sister living in Tasmania was not part of this situation.  So we were made to feel as though we were simply trying to freeload off my mother when in actual fact we were thinking she would need people around her on the first Christmas without my father.  She did not offer another day on which she would love to see her grandchildren, or offer to come and see us on a different time.  I did not hear from her for two weeks and then I got a phone call.

She was sounding very happy and energetic and told me excitedly that she was going to spend two weeks with my sister Alison in Tasmania because “she didn’t get to spend Christmas with me”.  I should point out that never in her life had she rung me to let me know that she would be gone for two weeks because she was spending time with my sisters. She would regularly fly to north Queensland and Tasmania where they lived and not once during those years did she let me know she was going, she and my father simply left.  Now all of a sudden it was imperative for her to give me a heads up.  I was floored, but also angry.  I was facing her usual game of one-upmanship. Not only did she exclude us from her family Christmas, but she was letting us know that her visit to my other sister was because she didn’t get to attend Christmas.  My mother was going out of her way (clearly not the grieving widow at this point) to fly all the way to Tasmania on her own in order to visit the poor dear who did not get the chance to be in her presence for the holidays.

I was not going to let this go.  I called her on her hypocrisy and her response was ‘Are you jealous?’.  I remember totally wilting at this come-back.  Of course that was what it was all about.  She wanted us to not only feel rejected but to be jealous of the other children who were being given ‘normal’ treatment.  I made the sarcastic rejoinder ‘Yes, Mum, I must be jealous’.  It completely went over her head.  She brightened up after this and said that she would have a coffee with me when she got back.  No comment about her grandchildren or my husband, it was me she was trying to get at.  So I made her promise.

A couple of weeks after she returned I rang her up to organise having a coffee together.  Over the next few weeks I got every type of excuse from ‘its too hot’ (as though coffee shops don’t have air conditioning), to she wasn’t well.  Eventually however, I got her to agree to a day.  We spent approximately an hour together, she was visibly uncomfortable and clearly not enjoying herself the whole time and I felt like a total idiot.  Why try and force your own mother to do things with you when she clearly is not interested.

Narcissistic mothers however don’t make it this simple.  They swing from being ‘normal’ to being vicious and sadistic and you will never know when the swing will happen because they are experts at picking the worst possible time to turn on you. Then when they do turn on you, they will make sure you know that it is your fault.



Waking Up to Abuse – The Next Round


It was not enough that I had had it out with my mother regarding our wedding.

In fact, the wedding issue was just the beginning.

Her behaviour went Jekyll and Hyde at regular intervals.

I will never forget arriving home after our wedding.  I was a month pregnant, we were trying to set ourselves up in our own place, and I had come back to my mothers’ place and collected my things.  One of the things I collected was a quilt I had had as a child. My mother was using it on her guest bed and had done so for some time.  I did not mind this, since the room was hardly ever used, but after marrying and becoming pregnant certain of my belongings had greater significance than before. Therefore, I took the quilt with me as I left that day.  As I was walking out the door, my mother plucked the quilt off the top of the pile I was holding and said “No you don’t”.  I said “That’s mine”, and she replied “No, it isn’t”.

This quilt was indeed mine.  When I was a little girl I had sewn some squares together rather inexpertly to form a quilt. My mother didn’t want them, they were in the rag bag, so i asked if I could have them, she showed me how to sew them together, and I eventually ended up with a piece that would cover my single bed.  My mother then offered to make a valise for the patchwork, so what I ended up with was a bedcover.  She then told me that she was going to give this to me for Christmas.  I could say that I was underwhelmed at being given something for Christmas that I had actually made, but I was used to this kind of gift giving, and in fact I had no choice about it anyway.  So it was mine twice.  I made it, and I was given it as  Christmas gift.

It had been on my bed since then and for the few years after I left home, my mother had it on her guest bed.  Now apparently it belonged to her.  There was no time at which I had ever given it to her, but she didn’t want me to have it either.  Because my mother was going to fight me for my quilt, my husband picked up on the hostilities, and being a good and compulsive suck-up at the time (he is OK with me saying this), he didn’t stand with me against my mother, he simply told me to back off.  Of course it worked, because I was also a compulsive suck-up and didn’t want to embarass my new husband and his brother (who was helping us move at the time).  So my mother got to keep the quilt.

Some time later, after enough time had passed for me to move on but not so much time to forget what happened, we were in my mother’s house and I was looking at a set of cushions on her chairs I did not recognise.  She saw me looking at them and said casually “Oh, do you like my new cushion covers? I cut up that old quilt that nobody wanted and made cushion covers out of it”. And she had.  She had not just cut up the very long and large valance which would have done just as well.  No, she cut up the patchwork top which I had made.  What was the point of this?  Punishment for contradicting her lies and challenging her abuse.  Note that ‘nobody wanted the quilt’ – a blatant lie, but also, truth for her.  She didn’t want the quilt, she just didn’t want me to have it. So just in case I might have figured on getting it back at some point, she ensured that I never would.

She stood there smiling boldly and innocently at me and I just went numb and cold like I usually did at her attacks.  I said nothing, did nothing, just moved on.  I had no choice.  But I did not forget what she did.  This was deliberate, designed to humiliate and control and destroy.  But she destroyed more than just some material.  She destroyed our relationship.

Events like this are peppered throughout my history with my mother.  They started when I was about three and have continued up until about 2012.

The last attack is one I have pondered for five years, and I feel the need to present my case publicly.  Although we have been no contact with my mother and subsequently one of my sisters for some time, both my mother and oldest sister have attempted to humiliate and control me via the internet and private letters.  But these attempts to control me are going to stop, mainly because I am not going to just pretend its all OK.

I have decided to finally publish the letter my mother sent me which purports to be actually from my siblings.  It is an interesting case, because it proves to what depths she will sink if she thinks she will get away with it.  My mother may be 90 something now, but her level of abuse is sicker than it has ever been and she will stop at nothing to get back at me  for refusing to bow to her manipulation and attacks.  They are ferocious and don’t just affect me, they affect my family.  I am standing up for them as much as I am for my self.

Waking Up to Abuse

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I haven’t spoken to my birth family for some time.

When we came out of the cult, I began to look for answers.  No straight away, because all you can do initially is breathe in and out and eat. And sometimes you can’t even eat.

After about two years, I started a blog.  It was called ‘Tales From The Crypt’. During the blog years, I wrote a sanitised version, mainly because I was so terrified of the consequences of speaking up.  But as I have since discovered, the results were not as terrifying as I expected.  Abusers thrive on telling their victims not to talk.  But the threats are empty.  Bad stuff doesn’t happen because you tell. There are often people who are in fact helped and encouraged by telling your story.  It’s the reason the internet is filled with people who tell their stories and then get thousands of  hits.  People need to know that others have suffered as much as they have, and they need to know there is hope, an answer to that suffering.

While I was writing the blog, I discovered a whole lot of other blogs about abuse; spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, and familial abuse.  I had not heard the phrase ‘dysfunctional family’ before, and while I loathe and detest the so called ‘psychology’ professions because they make a boat load of money from vulnerable people without actually offering viable solutions to their problems, some of their fraternity are actually good people. And some of those good people are actually compassionate listeners, moreover, they are good analysts – in a non-psycho way (with everything that implies).  If these good people stopped taking money for their pains, or at least not so much money, I could at the very least applaud their work.  On the other hand, it takes money to publish a book, so kudos to you…people like Marti Laney Olsen and Dr. Elaine Aaron.

During my many years as a researcher and writer of blog posts I began to understand why we had gotten ourselves involved, without realising it, in a cult.  I had the revelation that my family was actually a cult, and that the very same dynamics which I thought were evidence of ‘godly men’ was in fact evidence of dysfunctional men.  So not only did my understanding of abuse need to be corrected, my understanding of the universe did too.

I tried talking to my sisters about narcissism.  Both of them, 8 and 11 years older than me, despite having gone through divorces, one of which was with an abusive man who got my sister involved in a religious cult,  sought to discredit what I was saying and ignore what I presented to them.  It was deeply disturbing, but alas as  I was to find, not uncommon. Whilst attempting to discredit the information, they still said things like ‘we love you’.  At this point however, I was beginning to recognise that saying ‘I love you’ doesn’t actually mean that they do.  It just means they don’t understand words are symbolic of actions not wishful thinking.

The upshot of trying to talk to my sisters about our family dysfunction was that I realised I was on my own.  Meanwhile my husband was also trying to talk to his family about their dysfunction.  Same deal.  Apparently both he and I were in the same boat.  We were middle kids of largish families, we were the invisible kids whose job it  became to serve everyone else’s interests and shut up. We did such a great job of it, we decided to take on the position for life.

Hence, when our parents did heinous things, we did not even recognise them as such, we simply apologised for our shortcomings, grovelled a bit more, and never noticed the glint of victory in the eyes of those who were enjoying the grovelling.

It wasn’t until we left the cult and (quelle surprise) were also rejected by our family members for again some unknown reason that we realised something was not quite right.  Much later we realised the reason was that as broken cult survivors we were now needing help and support from our families.  I have often thought of the old parable of the Little Red Hen in these situations.  Everybody wants a piece of you when they get their needs met, but to actually offer help to somebody else is too much to ask.

In the process of, well, processing I wrote my mother a letter which was to become something of a catalyst for issuing a ‘no contact’ to my family.

When I married, in New Zealand, in 1989, nobody from my family attended the wedding.  None of our friends did either, but as we were to learn later, the church we had attended had been sucked by that time into the cult.  It was not a coincidence that my family remained politely detached as well.  I say politely because in both cases, there was no animosity, no actual reason that nobody attended the wedding. They just weren’t interested enough to go.  Now, we had attended all their weddings.  I had gone to my sisters, my sisters had attended each other’s weddings, my brother and parents had likewise gone to all the weddings until mine. We had also attended all of our friend’s weddings, in some cases being best man.

And here’s the really interesting thing.  My sisters at the time lived about as far away from Brisbane as you could get. One in Hobart and the other in Townsville, both about three hours flight away, both involving some organisation to get to, but both were visited by my parents and brother at regular intervals several times a year.  It would have been unthinkable for them to not visit each other. Distance and money were no object, they were family, therefore they enjoyed visiting each other.  You might think, maybe it was because we were Christians.  Well, my oldest sister claims to be a Christian and married a professed Christian on her first wedding.  No issue there, everyone came to the wedding.

So how was it that everybody, to a man, without even bothering to offer an excuse, reason or justification just simply didn’t turn up.  Nor did they apparently think that I would have a problem with it.  Steve didn’t count either it seems because nobody offered him any explanations.  Life just carried on as before.

It wasn’t until we actually asked for explanations that things began to get very nasty.

I will never forget the phone calls my mother and I had days before the wedding.  She told me she couldn’t afford to come to the wedding. Of course, I tried everything I could think of to reduce the cost, my mother in law actually offered accommodation.  No deal. My mother, without actually offering any solace or proof that she wanted to come, kept insisting she had no money and could not make it on that account.

All well and good, it happens sometimes you might say.  But there was no offer to come later and visit us when they did have money (we were staying an indefinite amount of time in New Zealand).  The really interesting thing about this was this.  My parents offered to help pay for the wedding when they thought we were having it in Brisbane.  They were going to pay for the venue etc.  They had money.  As soon as we told them we were getting married in Christchurch, all of a sudden they had no money.

Yet, a week after the wedding, they sent us a cheque for $1000.

Six months after the wedding, we came back to Brisbane and they picked us up in a brand new car.  My parents never bought brand new cars.  They were frugal and always drove second hand.  Wow, great for them, you might think.  Yeah, wonderful.  Except the timing of this sudden burgeoning of their finances is a little curious considering at the time both of my parents were retired.  They had no extra money coming in, they just suddenly decided to purchase a $30 000 car a few weeks before we arrive back in Brisbane.

They had money for what the considered important.  They just refused to spend it on flying to Christchurch to see us get married.

Now, you might think that this is an awful lot of who-ha decades after our wedding and why am I writing about it now.  Because it took me until I was 44 to have the guts to question my Mother on this issue, and when I did, she didn’t simply politely reiterate her original excuse, or even elaborate on things a little more and talk to me as one adult to another.  I wrote her a respectful letter asking her why she didn’t come to the wedding when she clearly had the money to do so.  What I received was a hateful spiteful letter threatening and attacking with no thought to the consequences of her words.  She told me she was not going to address the subject of my letter, my wedding, simply because I had accused her of lying.  Then she threw about a dozen accusations at me, including that I had withheld my children from her and that I needed to see a therapist because I was apparently ‘always writing things like this’. It was the first letter I had had the courage to write to anyone like that, we had never withheld anything, including our children, from her, and I was already seeing a counsellor. It was the counsellor who told me that it ‘wasn’t normal’ for a whole family not to attend their daughter/sister’s wedding for nno apparent reason and think that she will be OK with that.

After a couple of exchanges, I explained to my mother that if she could not talk to me with respect and courtesy, I did not want to talk to her at all.  She modified her tone in the next couple of letters, but the accusations were the same, and her utter horror at ‘being accused by her own child of lying’ apparently was too great for her to control her irrational outbursts.

Interestingly, I had not ever said the words ‘you are a liar’.  All I did was point out that she had said she had no money and then sent me money a week later.  I said the evidence was contradictory and did she have an explanation for that.  It just proved that she was not willing to be held accountable for her actions and that she would spin a whole lot of hyperbole and false accusations at me for having the temerity to talk to her as a middle aged woman and not kow-tow to her hysterics as I used to do as a child.

The upshot of the letters was that I told her that until she began to treat me with respect and stop the abuse we would no longer welcome contact from her.  She has never apologised,  not stopped sending letters and has refused to explain any of her actions. Instead, she has simply continued her campaign of character assassination and lies.


How Satan Works



Be sober, be vigilant; because[c] your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may[d] the God of all grace, who called us[e] to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.  (1 Peter 5:8-11)

The overriding means by which Satan works is described in Scripture. He prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, the enemy has come to steal, kill and destroy.

Prowling suggests stealth and predation. He is looking for those who are the weakest so that he may devour them.

A roaring lion is declaring his territory. We know that demons or fallen angels have their own geographical areas over which they have been given authority. Their authority however is limited to the demonic realm. They can influence and affect human beings and also enter into them and control them and in this way they have power over what humans do. Most heinous crimes are not committed by human beings on their own, they are willing accomplices to demonic plans and purposes. Sometimes this happens without their knowledge but never without their consent. I am not talking about Satan worshippers, I am talking about ordinary human beings who willingly engage in sin which opens the door to the demonic realm and creates strongholds which then turn into gateways for demonic beings and their associates to come in and take hold of that human being. And the last state of the man is worse than the first.

Satan told Jesus Christ that he could give Him the kingdoms of the earth if He fell down and worshipped him. The absolute arrogance and foolishness of this statement proves that Satan himself is deceived. He is deluded, he is insane. He was in eternity before the throne of God leading the worship of God, and here he is demanding that Jesus worship him. Mostly of course his methods are not this direct and confrontational. I have heard stories of believers who have met with Satan in this kind of way, but they are few and far between. Usually we have to deal with subtle or else not so subtle attacks.

So Satan is about stealing that which does not belong to him. He is about murdering, or taking life and he is about destroying. He not only destroys and kills those who are under his power, he destroys and kills Christians, as the many thousands of martyrs over the centuries will attest to. I don’t believe Satan has been given power over the church in the way that he will have over the saints during the Tribulation for example. I think those who have been killed as martyrs for the faith were a small percentage of the church and those ones will receive a greater reward for their suffering in heaven. I think causing death is probably not something God allows for every Christian, only those who are appointed to it as the apostles and others were. On the whole, Satan wishes to destroy but is thwarted by God as in the case of Job. There are many other examples of believers who have been saved from death by angels or just circumstances which change. I have read many stories of those who were saved from certain death simply by listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit and changing their travel plans for example.

Following are ten methods which I have found in my own life and the lives of others I have known that Satan uses to steal, kill and destroy the work of God and the people of God. This list is by no means exhaustive, but I thought it was kind of fun to be alliterative. Please add your own entries to the list in the comments section. I would love to hear from you.

Deception – either counterfeiting that which is of God or changing the gospel so that the power of God’s word is void because the Word which was brought by Jesus and the apostles is not being taught. Scripture tells us that the power of the Word of God is unto salvation. This is not possible if the actual word of God is not being taught.

For example, if it is taught that Jesus is not the Son of God, or God himself, and simply a ‘good teacher’, and there is some other way of entering heaven, or finding God the creator/father, then this is a false gospel. It has no power, except to deceive, and deception as the means Satan uses to enslave human beings is extremely powerful.

Jesus told his disciples to be careful that they would not be deceived.

Discouragement – causing doubt and fear to come upon the believer

Despair – causing the believer to cease believing

Dismemberment – attempting to pull apart anything that is knit together, such as families, marriages or congregations

Devolution – attempting to cause the work of God to go backward to its original state or cease to exist

Derangement – attempting to cause the work of God to be disjointed or to cease working in a way which brings glory to God

Dissolution – attempting to dissolve groups or communities completely so they no longer exist as such

Disunity – creating discord and ill feeling amongst the body of Christ

Distraction – causing individual believers or groups to lose focus on what God has called them to do, usually with the things of the world. The things of the world are designed to distract us from the things of God.

Deadly Sins – Causing the believer to be overwhelmed with the weight of sin and causing them to be so filled with doubt that they do not come to Jesus to be washed and forgiven.

False Teachers are Abusers of the Brethren


zspiritual abuse

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. (2 Timothy 3)

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,[c] wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,[d] unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32)

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. …(2 Peter 2)

Whoever transgresses[d] and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. ( 2 John 1:9-11)


11. By wishing a false brother or teacher “God (or ‘good’) speed,” you imply that he is capable as such of good speed and joy (the literal meaning of the Greek), and that you wish him it while opposing Christ; so you identify yourself with “his evil deeds.” The Greek of “partaker” is “having communion with.” We cannot have communion with saints and with Antichrist at the same time. Here we see John’s naturally fiery zeal directed to a right end. Polycarp, the disciple of John, told contemporaries of Irenæus, who narrates the story on their authority, that on one occasion when John was about to bathe, and heard that Cerinthus, the heretic, was within, he retired with abhorrence, exclaiming, Surely the house will fall in ruins since the enemy of the truth is there. (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary)


Is there anyone who has ever been deceived by a false teacher or abused by a false Christian  who is not convinced that deception and abuse go hand in hand?

Scriptures make it very clear that false teachers are not just those who have simply misread scripture or are well-intentioned but wrong.  I can’t find anywhere in the New Testament where either Jesus or the apostles thought about false teachers in this manner.  I don’t see Peter, Paul or John excusing the teaching or the teachers because of ignorance or immaturity.  There were those in Scripture like Peter and Apollos who were ignorant or misled but who were also able to be reasoned with by more mature Christians and who changed their teaching as a result of an appeal. There was no doubt that these men were brothers because of their love and humility.  But I fail to find anywhere that genuine brothers and sisters in Christ were also teachers of false doctrines.  It seems that Scripture makes it clear that if you teach a false doctrine, you are also a person of unsound character and are in fact wicked, cursed and to be shunned. In fact, false teachers are cursed by Paul in Galatians 1 and cursed by Peter in the second chapter of his second letter.  John says don’t even greet them, Paul tells Timothy to turn away from them. Teaching false doctrine and being deceptive, abusive and leading others astray go hand in glove, make no mistake about it.

I don’t believe that we are to show any leniency to those who prove both by their inability to be reasoned with and their false teaching that they are reprobates.  They may present themselves as very charming reprobates, but God does not look at the outward appearance but upon their hearts.  The hearts of false teachers are rebellious, unable to love the brethren or God and while they may boast of their love for others and their good deeds before men, Christ will say to them ‘depart from me’.  God has no part with false teachers and we are encouraged by the writers of the New Testament to do likewise.  It seems unkind and almost wrong to do this.  It is undoubtedly hard to do this.  Any genuine believer has compassion and concern for those who are headed to hell, but false teachers it seems fall into a separate category. They are evil, we are to turn away from them.  How is this possible, when so many of them seem simply to be just making an error in judgement.  Can’t we just reason with them and help them to see their mistake?

I would encourage you to do this very thing. You can’t know immediately what kind of character a person has simply by hearing their preaching, or by knowing who they follow or endorse.  There can be brothers and sisters in Christ who follow false teachers without realising the teachings are false simply through immaturity.  Go to those ones, reason with them, contend for the faith, point out the error, plead and encourage, and if you have won your brother, their souls are saved.  If on the other hand, you are ignored, mocked, verbally abused or shunned because you have tried to help them see their error, you will know immediately of what type these Christians are.  They have not just become deceived, but they have ‘drunk the koolaide’.  This term is a reference to the Jonestown massacre in the People’s Temple Agricultural Project commune in Guyana.  It is called Jonestown after the cult leader Jim Jones who had gone from teaching the Word in California to a perverted form of “Apostolic Socialism” in Africa and was using drugs and spreading paranoia and hate in his cult group caused his people to take poison.

Over 900 Americans, who had followed Jones to Africa died in this massacre and it is rumoured that the poison was placed in koolaide so that the people, a third of whom were minors, would drink it.  It is not the only and won’t be the last traumatic final act of madmen who begin by preaching scripture, lurch into false teaching and end up mass murderers.  Not every false teacher is a murderer but I can think of many who are even now lauded as fine theologians.  John Calvin murdered  believers who refused to accept his teachings.  If he had done something like that today he would be in jail or worse.  Yet, because these teachers are historical figures Christians ignore their characters and their obvious lack of love for the brethren who don’t agree with them or try and reason with them to see the error of their ways, they are treated as great men. Obviously Jim Jones is not a great man, but he did not begin a denomination.  It is amazing how many people will follow an obvious lunatic or abuser.  Look at the many who follow L. Ron Hubbard’s teachings of Scientology.  All you have to do is read their histories to see what kind of people they were, moreover, the types of circles they moved in.  Read this excerpt of another article which describes Hubbard’s known associates and you will see what I mean.

But not every false teacher or false Christian keeps such company.  Not everyone appears to be evil or insane or leads others to their physical deaths.  Satan can appear as an angel of light and false teachers are known for their ability to deceive and ‘bewitch’. Even the apostle Paul was concerned about the believers in Galatia who had obviously been led astray by a false teacher.

In all my readings of the New Testament, especially since we left the cult, I have seen that just about every author, including Jesus, warns believers not to be deceived and to watch out for false teachers. Satan was the first false teacher, in the garden of Eden. His words to Eve were “Has God really said?”.  This is the first and foremost rule of false teaching.  Create doubt in the Word of God, even if at first it is a small doubt (in the authenticity of the translation perhaps), and then build on that doubt with your own version of the truth.  You will find false teachers will always start out with the truth, but then they either add to, take away from, or outright change the words of the Bible, or the meaning of those words. Deceivers will always involve themselves in a ‘bait and switch’. They will make  you think they are Christians, and preaching the gospel, and then they will have different meanings for the words you take for granted. Even the term ‘gospel’ means different things to different Christians.

This alone makes the false teacher an abuser of the brethren.  You cannot love the body of Christ and be loose with the word of God.  If you understand the power of the Word, and for this you must have experienced it for yourself, then you will not wish any to be deprived of the experience or understanding of it. A true believer must be transformed, there has to be a testimony of the Cross of Jesus Christ and its work in their lives.  Then when they know the power of the gospel, they will not want to ever teach or preach another way.  This is the essence of becoming a born-again believer.  You know who your saviour is, and you know because ‘the Bible told me so’.  You will know the Bible told you because somebody else explained it to you.  A true teacher will preach the Word of God, a false teacher will teach something else. This something else will not have the power of the Word to change lives, and they will only look different, they will not actually be different.

Thus any false teaching leads believers and unbelievers astray, hence the warnings.  If you are leading believers astray you are abusing your position as teacher, which means you are also abusing those you are teaching.  It doesn’t have to be overt or physical abuse, but look how many times those who have started with spiritual abuse ended up caught in adultery or other sins.

We are to be on the lookout for false teachers.  Unfortuntaely, most of the church is asleep.

We need to wake up.

Jesus’ return is immanent.

Get right with God, start reading scripture on a daily basis, and be fed with the Word.