A&E Cults and Extreme Beliefs, Rachel Bernstein Podcasts, Pamela Baker, LMHC, LPC, etc.:

Why talk about it? “To liberate myself… To be able to give myself some sort of affirmation that what I did was worth it.” JW
“I can change the experience that everyone has coming out.”a
“That’s where the healing starts, is by helping others.”jw
Repercussions upon Deciding to Leave: A&E Cults and Extreme Beliefs “If you choose not to live my life, then you’re not my daughter anymore.”a “I stayed…for my mother. I was told, ‘if you leave, then our relationship changes.’ …I didn’t want to lose her.”a “After leaving my parents I was shunned. Everything that reminded my mother of me, she threw in the garbage when I left.” a
“Scared of the repercussions of walking away – what people would do, what they would say, you’re shunned…they’re not allowed to talk to you. They see you…they have to look the other way.”jw

Why Leave? “It’s something that I have to do to move forward with my life.”jw

Thoughts After Leaving? “I’m done with you and you can’t hurt me anymore.”jw“I feel relieved, I feel free, I divorced myself from them… and I’m no longer afraid.”jw

On Encountering Someone from the Group: “My throat’s in my stomach and I’m scared.”jw

Religion: “Do you practice any sort of religion?”
“I would rather live under a bridge…There’s a trust issue for me at this point.” jw
“If there’s more to life and I missed it, then, so be it.”a

Rachel Bernstein, LMFT:
Does the life you have resemble the life you wanted?
He has hurt me, and he has never cared.
I deserve to be with someone kind.
My happiness should matter too.
I’m not asking for too much. I’m not selfish and demanding because I want things to be fair.

What do you hope to be able to feel?
Increased confidence?
Is it just, not panic and fear?
Is it just, not subservience?
Are you able to attend to yourself, be with someone who attends to you?

You never signed up to be belittled, to be beaten down, to be controlled, to forfeit your life, your happiness.
You NEVER signed up to NOT MATTER.

You didn’t sign up for this.

Your loyalty and sense of duty and doing the right thing and sticking to your commitments has been keeping you in a situation that is slowly killing you.



The only people who get upset when you set boundaries are the ones who benefit from you not having them.

People who respect you also respect your boundaries.

If you no longer care, and if you know of yourself that you are a forgiving or loyal person, you know then you’re at a point where you have given someone many, many chances – probably way too many –
to change, to be different, to be kind, to be gentle, to be fair to you.

And you’ve been drained of energy, and you’ve been drained of empathy. It’s not who you are. You’ve given enough. Don’t feel like it is on you, that you have to be better.

You’re so used to having to ask for permission. You’re so used to not trusting your instincts, trying to find ways to just make them happy.

You’ll feel the need to somehow justify, explain, try to reason why you’re unhappy or why you’re leaving, or come up with a good enough reason that you don’t need to be in the relationship anymore. And explain that you’re not trying to abandon them, being abusive or ungrateful – you don’t have to do any of that.

You don’t have to explain yourself.

It’s hard because you suddenly have to show strength at the time that you are feeling your weakest. So, how do you get strong when you’re feeling shaky?
Know and be prepared that you are going to be seen by the person you’re leaving as rude, abusive, stubborn, spoiled, crazy – to people who are no longer able to manipulate you and control you as easily.

They’ll turn on you and tell you you’re being some very awful things – usually they’ll accuse you of being the things they know you’re most sensitive about making sure you would never be.

I miss them, even though, I was so unhappy and even though I think they never really loved me, and they were never going to be kind to me.

I feel guilty thinking of them being alone.

There is still part of me that wants to believe that if I came back it would be different.

They’re so toxic that the kindest people have to leave them.

They’re just better manipulators.
-stick with your boundaries
-block them
-don’t speak with them directly, use a mediator until you don’t need to be in contact with them.

They are not missing you.
They are missing the control they had over you.

He will be charming, confident, secure, charismatic, and you might feel specially chosen to be with him. The highs are high, and the lows are low. This will be a very unpredictable and volatile relationship at best.

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
It’s often what people say about cult groups and being in a relationship with a narcissist is very much like being in a One-on-One Cult…
-all consuming
-you feel so special
-start to feel insecure about yourself and not know why
-along with this high… this person is probably making digs. Digs that (you’re) not quite noticing in an overt way. They’re making little comments, like tiny insults, patronizing.

-inflated ego
-high drama
entitled to do and say anything

When you’ve been involved in a relationship with a narcissist, by virtue of being raised by one… very much like being in a Cult, a One-on-One Cult, of sorts.

It painted a picture of them being in a situation that could play with their minds. Where somebody had taken them over without their knowledge or consent and had split them off from the rest of the world.
That analogy works because being in a relationship where someone has an insatiable need for attention and adoration means that you will matter less all the time.

You will matter less all the time.

It’s familiar to ask for permission rather than making a statement about something or making a decision on your own.

It’s all too familiar to judge your own value based upon how pleased another person is with you – and therefor, the value you have to them.

You find yourself surviving rather than thriving.

A lot of people will say that they spent a lot of their childhood and early adulthood not really being able to figure out who they were because they were so busy tending, again, to the insatiable needs of somebody else and they haven’t learned how to be proud of themselves, have an internal guide that tells them they’re doing a good job.

Groomed and trained to play that emotionally subservient role.

You don’t get to follow your own voice, your own instinct and define what your goals are or even define your sense of self. Instead, they defer to the other person who’s in charge of them, to define who they are and also tell them about how they should feel about themselves.
It’s a very disorienting life, and it’s so important to …try if you can to be brave enough …to develop a sense of self – even if it makes the person in charge of you unhappy with you for doing so.

I never know enough, so, instead of being able to have a knowledgeable conversation, if I can connect two intelligent people, I can quietly step out of the way.
Think ahead, Plan ahead, Keep the Peace.

Hear your own voice louder than theirs and have your voice be positive and drown out their negative thoughts.

Pamela Baker, LMHC, LPC,
Children are going to be attracted to the strong person vs the mean person.

Covert incest concept:
Emotionally creating a surrogate partner in the child against the other partner.
Against mother, creates jealousy.
Mom, hostile, critical, tense, difficult, and you were captive to it.

Remember the reality of the situation. You were captive for hours or days. Did you have the ability to say no or set boundaries?

You’ve grown, they haven’t. They’re still trying to play the same game by the old rules.

You established healthy boundaries, but, it’s still difficult when you establish those, and the person doesn’t walk up to that line and meet you.

Rabbi Ed Feinstein, Feb 2020
Can you laugh? One of the signs of a controlling community or …relationship, is that you’ve lost laughter… unable to poke fun at it.
…Irreverence is punished instead of embraced.
…A humorless relationship tells you something’s wrong. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be. Joy, laughter, warmth, are part of connection that’s healthy.
Before you can worship God, you have to care about the people about you.
The first place to worship God is to care about the people in the circle about you.
A religious leader’s job is to make sure that you are growing.

Any time it’s about me, not you, any time I’m suppressing the soul of anyone, I’m abusing my privilege, power and prerogative as a clergyman. I’m conducting Evil.
That’s what Evil is.
The clinical definition of Evil is when I separate myself from you and ask for my aggrandizement at the cost of your suppression.
That’s Just Evil.
Both have to exist at the same time. One is the duty to obey (follow, serve & revere) and one is the duty to disobey (question, be skeptical & critical).
If a religious community tells you to suppress the voice of irreverence, criticism, to not ask a question, RUN, because it is an oppressive community that will ultimately end up destroying souls.
But if a community says, ‘Go ahead, ask me any question you want. Tell me why I’m wrong,’ That’s a community that you can belong to because it’s a community that recognizes that you are a thinking, feeling moral human soul.