In Kind

22. Escaping a Cult at 30 - Learning to Live as a 'Wordly,' with J.

December 15, 2020 Julie Krohner
In Kind
22. Escaping a Cult at 30 - Learning to Live as a 'Wordly,' with J.
Chapters
1:32
Fear of Being the Second Woman
10:04
My first relationship was with a non-cult member
17:10
What is it like being born into a cult?
21:44
What is self-talk like when you can never be yourself?
31:46
Being blamed for being sexually abused
In Kind
22. Escaping a Cult at 30 - Learning to Live as a 'Wordly,' with J.
Dec 15, 2020
Julie Krohner

‘Worldlies’ is what the cult calls those who live on the outside. Never feeling like she fit in, and unable to express herself, J erased her identity to survive into her 30s. In Part I, we get into her self-talk, how she developed a fear of being the other woman in her relationships and what it took to finally escape. Having no idea how to live apart from the cult, J’s ability to develop her adult self with empathy and compassion is astounding.

[Part II drops next Tuesday]

Show Notes
To learn more about J, find her book Tomorrow's Not Promised

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

‘Worldlies’ is what the cult calls those who live on the outside. Never feeling like she fit in, and unable to express herself, J erased her identity to survive into her 30s. In Part I, we get into her self-talk, how she developed a fear of being the other woman in her relationships and what it took to finally escape. Having no idea how to live apart from the cult, J’s ability to develop her adult self with empathy and compassion is astounding.

[Part II drops next Tuesday]

Show Notes
To learn more about J, find her book Tomorrow's Not Promised

J 0:

32 For those eight years that we didn't have any contact, I did surrender my identity just to try and fit in. And it was like, the only way I can exist here is if I let go of who I am.

Julie Krohner 0:

44 I'm brimming today to bring you J's story which takes place over 34 years. So it's going to be a two parter. Today, we meet J who was born into a cult, and left it only a few years ago. Hearing her positivity and how she goes about reforming her identity is inspirational beyond imagination. There's so much to learn from J. Enjoy.

Julie Krohner 1:

09 Hi, J. Welcome to the show.

J 1:

11 Hello. Thank you for having me.

Julie Krohner 1:

14 So why don't you start by telling us who you are, where you're calling from and what you would like to release today?

J 1:

22 Okay, so I am J from South Wales, UK. And I would like to release my fear of being the second woman in my relationships.

Julie Krohner 1:

31 Hmm. Okay, that's one that I know many, many people can relate to. So thank you for being here.

J 1:

38 Thank you for having me and providing the space.

Julie Krohner 1:

40 So why say something now?

J 1:

45 For me, I thought I had gotten over it once I'd got into a good relationship. But then I saw myself on a recent holiday being triggered again, I was like, Oh, you're not gone? I need to kind of deal with you. Because I don't want this ruining things into the future.

Julie Krohner 2:

03 Can you talk about what happened on the holiday, so that you knew that you had still had work to do to release?

J 2:

10 Oh, sure. So it was the first time I'd been away on a holiday with this with my current partner. And the holiday was planned, actually, prior to me being around, and his daughter and his granddaughter, and his ex, were all coming as well. And our relationship has been quite fast. It's been amazing, but it's been quite fast. So I'm still getting to know them as a family, and hadn't been away with him or his family before. And then now I was going away with the ex as well. And I know, you know, some my friends had said, Wow, I would I would kick up a fuss about that. And I was like one, you know, I don't really have that right. I was the addition to this. And I don't feel the need to either they've got a mutual child and I just don't think it's appropriate for me to do that. And I you know, I thought was pretty cool about it. Other than feeling this is our first holiday away together and we haven't done it on our own, which would have been nice just a break in.

J 3:

12 And then I quickly realized the first time it kind of reared up was we were traveling together, the whole lot, and we went to stop for a meal in a restaurant. And we were getting up to leave afterwards and I noticed a couple in the corner. And they were looking at us quite strangely and there's a like a 29 year gap between myself and my fiance wish we didn't have any issue with at all. But I quickly became aware of the fact that he and his ex similar ages. His daughter and I are quite similar ages. And it could look like you know they were the parents we were the children and I could see the shock on this couple's face when they saw that we were affectionate to each other my fiance and I was like oh, okay, hadn't seen this one coming. And then I started to spiral from there and I started watching myself expecting to be judged by people around but also trying to find my place in that new family and all the insecurities and inferiority coming straight back up.

Julie Krohner 4:

15 Hmm

J 4:

16 and I just want to say before we go any further that his daughter and his ex were absolutely lovely to me could not be nicer have been so kind and thoughtful that there's absolutely nothing there and I completely trust him. So I know this is like a past wound rather than a current situation.

Julie Krohner 4:

36 Was this the first time ever for you meeting the ex?

J 4:

44 Um, no, we had met before but not actually socialized, never sat down and had a meal together or spent a lot of times with you know, with pleasantries and passed and talked a little bit but not had to be together for an extended period of time.

Julie Krohner 5:

00 If you don't mind me asking how old are you and the daughter?

J 5:

04 I'm 34. And she's 25 and a half. Yeah, I can see I'm picturing.

Julie Krohner 5:

11 Yeah, I pictured all of this, like you being in the restaurant and getting up and then then thinking, Oh, what a nice little family and then wait, what? Yeah.

J 5:

19 And then like, you know, there's so many thoughts. I was like, they could look at us that way. But then they could also look at him and judge him for going off with a younger model and thinking and not, you know, none of that happened. And I'm starting to think about everybody else, instead of focusing on myself, because I was just looking for this judgment and all that leads into chaos. It was just like, a tidal wave.

Julie Krohner 5:

41 And did you talk to him about it?

J 5:

43 Not, straight away. No. I mean, I know, I know. It was so foolish to do, but I couldn't stop myself. I kept moving one of my rings across to my wedding finger. And I was like, why am I doing this for like, five days were away? Why am I doing this? I know why I'm doing it. But like, I know how ridiculous it is. But I'm still doing it. And no, I didn't, we didn't talk until that night. We had a difference on agreement of what we wanted to both do. That particular night, they all wanted to go food shopping. And I was like, Can we just order something in I'm really tired. And my emotions are quite spent. And I really hoped he might just listen and stay with me and do that. But he chose to go off with them. And that added, to the fire, I was like, oh, there we go. Another bit of proof, you know, but he came back. And the reconnection was like, I bought all the stuff that I know you like. So we can do this, this and this. And you know, everything that I knew he was was that it was all proof. And all the stories were just the stuff I was telling myself inside my head. But we could then like once, I made the step towards him, and we were like, okay, let's talk about this. And he's like, when you're ready, just when you're ready and made this very gentle space. And I just, I just had a major meltdown. I was like crying and crying. And I just could not vocalize what I wanted to say at all.

J 7:

08 And thank goodness, he was so patient and just sat there and waited in, like, not an ignoring way, just sat there and really waited and engaged way. And I finally got it out, you know, all my triggers from the past. And there was just like an understanding. But that still didn't solve it, because it came up again later in the week

Julie Krohner 7:

29 So what happened there?

J 7:

32 So I had asked, could we go out just as a couple for a day, and go somewhere else, just do something on our own. So I could just have some time, just as the two of us, and that was fine. And then we went, we finished the day a bit early, and he was keen to get back to the others. And I was like, Oh, you could go back to them again, and just running off to them. That's clearly where you're happy. And I felt like you're relaxed, a lot more amongst them. And also just as really silly, but things like the seating position. So we had four deck chairs out on the beach, and I was right on the end. And I felt quite excluded. And there's like the three adults and then just me and I think what doesn't help for me is that I do feel very alone, because I don't have any contact with my family really to speak of at all. So I am an entity right on my own. So when I start to go in on myself, I haven't got a lot my family to go cry on their shoulder and say, blah, blah, blah, is doing x y Zed to me. And it feels very, like you're going to implode internally because it's just nowhere to kind of reach to. But then he started to relax more and free up. But then he started asking his daughter to do some things for him. Like he needed help getting up chair and little things. And I was like, why did you ask her instead of me? And I'd like I really flared about it. And I was like, you know, I'm your partner? Why can't I do that for you? You're always asking her instead. It was like irrational, but it was I think it made me feel more excluded again. But then on looking at it, I was like, it was really interesting to see that. In the past, I only received love if I did acts of service for somebody. So she was stealing my opportunity as it were to prove I was worth his love.

Julie Krohner 9:

28 And you don't have to do that. But you're not used to not having to do that. Okay, so thank you for for sharing those stories. I think that really helps. It helps to understand the specifics of, you know, how you felt in the moment and what was going on. So I'd like to understand a little bit more how this pattern shows up and why...you talked about triggers and your past and things like that. So where where do you think this comes from?

J 10:

04 A first relationship I had at the age of 18. And it was an amazing relationship, apart from the fact that I was in a cult and was not allowed to have a relationship outside of it. And that's exactly what I was doing. So I was having a contraband one, which kind of we managed to keep going for about four years, on about 20 minutes of time together at a time. And that was amazing. And then it came to the surface and there was, you know, hell let loose, and they said I needed to get rid of everything that he'd ever given me and asked for his contact details. I had to write him a letter under duress, saying I didn't want a relationship anymore. And there's a lot of pain around that. 49 A lot of pain, and I couldn't grieve losing somebody at all, because I was somebody that done something wrong. There was no way to really talk about what I'd lost. And I think also, at that time, I didn't just lose somebody, I didn't lose just a romantic partner, I actually lost somebody who believed in me when it didn't feel like anybody else did. So this person actually saw something in me. And that will be taken away. That was like taking away my hope. And I never, ever got past that, for the next eight years, although we had absolutely no contact.

J 11:

21 And then, through one reason or another, I ended up reaching out to him eight years later, because I just felt I can't go to my deathbed with this unresolved, I just, he needs to know, I still love him. That I didn't want to walk away from it, even though that was the letter he received from my own hand. And when I reached out, it was like, nothing had happened between us. You know, there'd be no time had passed. And it was like, wow, you could just hear the reaction. He didn't have to say anything, you just, you just knew. But he was now with somebody else. And I was in this constant battle of, well, it's wrong, I can't be with him. But he won't let me go. But I can't be without my hope. Because he represents hope for me. I hated it. I don't pride myself for being a homewrecker at all. And that's not something I wanted to be, and the shame and everything that goes around that.

J 12:

15 And that I think that would have continued for about three years, overall. And during that time, I left the call and said, like, I have to move on, because nothing's happening here. And then he chose to leave her and came back to me, Well, I thought he left her. But emotionally, he never detached. And so I was now playing the role she'd been playing all that time. You know, I was now the person who was thinking I had him but he was his heart was somewhere else. And it was horrible. And finally, through some self development work I did on myself, I realized, you know, I have to cut this adrift. This is not a position I want to be in. And I think that has left it left. A big impact, because that's something that's leaving that relationship wasn't just about living relationship. It's like, I've had that dream for half of my life. And it's something that kept me going when nothing else did. Which dream. Being with somebody that actually appreciated me, somebody I thought loved me.

J 13:

12 Even through all those years, when it was so dark, living in the cult, when we didn't have any contact, I would go back to that. So it was it was a lot to give up. And then I like within a couple of months, I went and walked into a situation where I without knowing I was again, the second woman. And I think in some ways, I was grateful I did it so quickly, because I was able to see what was happening and what I need to change.

Julie Krohner 13:

40 So I like to get timelines, clear for listeners and for myself, just to understand your journey best. So I'm, I think I'm following but I'm going to try to summarize and please tell me if if I have something wrong here. Were you born into the cult?

J 14:

01 Yes, I was.

Julie Krohner 14:

02 And then around age of eight, you you have bullying starting and you have this idea getting planted that you will not have an idea but you are not allowed to look for outside love or any kind of significant relationships outside of it. At 18. How did you meet this first guy?

J 14:

29 That was at work? So he was a supplier, he would come into work, and that was how we met and the relationship was four years.

Julie Krohner 14:

37 Yeah. Okay. You spent a few trying to get out of it.

J 14:

43 Yes. So I from it to go step further back from that at the age of 16. I was sexually abused from somebody outside the call. So when two years later I found this person who he wanted me to learn to trust him first. And that felt a very safe place to be having been sexually abused, and not believed to being sexually abused and viewed as all my fault, and then being brought in front of priests who were men of the same age as the person who done it to me. You know, there's a lot of trauma around that. But he meant a lot and giving up that kind of idol had been there for a lot of my life.

J 15:

20 And I suppose in some ways, accepting that I was being devalued and disrespected by being the second woman, and allowing myself to be that person was a hard parallel to run along beside this person's kind of my hero, if that makes sense.

Julie Krohner 15:

35 Oh, yeah, I mean, hero, hope, light, like all these things that you couldn't have or available from this person, it makes a ton of sense. The validation, that's probably front and center.

J 15:

50 But another thing I definitely feel I've demonstrated with each my relationships, I'd I know what I've said this to at least one or one of them is, I tend to hold tight to people, because you're all I've got, because I don't have family because I'm only three years into a brand new world, and I don't have long, I have a couple of people I can actually trust as friends. But outside of that, my circles are very new. And when you hold tight to something, the tendency is that person fights harder to not be held tight. Yeah. They won't have the breathing space. Yeah. And I'm aware of that. Yeah. Yeah.

Julie Krohner 16:

24 That's, that's good awareness. And to be able to say that this is where it comes from, you know, so this, this is what I want to make sure I understand. So 18 resonates with the guy some years getting out of it. You know, you wrote the letter, then you came back had a relationship when he was in another one. But how old were you then?

J 16:

45 I was 29 or 30.

Julie Krohner 16:

49 Oh, so a long time? After one? Okay. I didn't realize it was that many years? Okay, and then you left the cult? At what age 30? Yeah. And you're 34. Now in my 30s? Yeah. Alright, so remembering that this can be edited in any way, shape, or form, I would like to dial back and understand first, what it was like being born into a cult and anything that you can tell us around? How that dictated your life? What were maybe some of the principles of it. And I'm really interested in the relationships that you had. So your parents, any siblings, and how forming who you are when in that environment?

J 17:

38 I think initially, you don't, you don't know any different at all. because very few people joined, it was very much it ran through the generations. So all of my at least back to my great grandfather, if not further back than that on both sides. were part of it. So it was all I'd ever known and all my family had ever known. So there were generations of it. Yes. Yes. How long has it been? around? 1800s I think is 1820. Maybe something a lot? Wow. Okay. It's not a big one. There's only 50,000 globally.

J 18:

18 But yeah, to put that in perspective, when I left, the previous person to me in the specific church I went to the to leave was 23 years prior. So people do not leave it very often. And I think you just grew up in this bubble, you grew up in a bubble of very clear wrongs and rights. And you don't learn to challenge that because it's that's kind of doing one of the unthinkable. 52 I and there are even more. So now, I was brought out of mainstream school at seven and homeschooled. So, you know, my my life revolved around being at home being educated. Maybe I'd go down to my father's workplace because there's family business, you might pop down there. And I would go to maybe a few shops, and we'd go to church, and that was literally it. Maybe our and some others, you know, socialize with those in the community, maybe in their houses. And that was pretty much it.

Julie Krohner 19:

26 Did you have siblings?

J 19:

28 Yes. I have six sisters and a brother. Wow. Yeah. And, but also there was a big age gap. So my oldest one. I was three when she got married at 17. So there's a 14 year gap between us. And then I was also an afterthought. So my next sibling up was six years older than me. And then, and he was my brother he was he had a learning difficulty. And then my sister was two years older than that again. So I didn't ever feel like I really came up with them. Because they're all that much further ahead than me. So I felt quite isolated and alone during that time, not really like I fitted anywhere like they were talking about family holidays, I mean, even holidays, that's not really the word I want. times when they would have gone out for the day. And they would have all done it when all the kids were kind of young. But when it got to me, most of them were past wanting to do that. So I didn't do it as much. Yeah, if if really at all, but I would hear about the good times they had had something said.

Julie Krohner 20:

33 Were you the last child? The youngest? Yes. Oh, okay. So yeah, that makes a lot of sense. They had done all of the kids stuff for years and years, and they're over that, what was your relationship with your parents, and then I'd like to talk about relationship with your siblings and parents. Now, if there is any?

J 20:

51 Parents, I think they were both really busy when I was growing up. My mother was, you know, trying to manage a house with all these children. And provide help provide the education where she hadn't actually gone that far herself, to be fair. So she was learning along with us in a lot of it. And then my father was really busy with his businesses. And yeah, I guess you just kind of feel a bit unseen, but I knew they loved me, but just they didn't have the time. And then more laterally, before I left, we were really close. Because now I was old enough to be of service and of use, that I was doing really well. So we were probably more like, mates than parent child relationship. So they would come to me if they had big decisions they wanted made. And they would say, what do you think? which was quite a lot of responsibility?

Julie Krohner 21:

45 Let's talk about self talk, you know, so growing up, in your case, I'd be interested in several junctures like, you know, as a little girl, as you know, somebody who's forming an identity. And then, you know, throughout some of these other stages, but let's just talk, let's just start with as a little girl growing up in this situation, what kinds of things were you saying to yourself about who you were, and how you showed up in the world?

J 22:

17 Just as you've been talking, it's interesting, because I decide whenever I thought I'd really struggle with them. Because I don't think I've ever really looked at it read deeply. But I do feel as I like, from batla, age of eight, as the bullying started, I was like, I'm weird. And that would be reinforced by people saying it as well, because I just didn't think like a lot of them did for like, my interests were different, or the way I wanted to dress was different. And there's nothing wrong with it. But it was just different from what people typically bought girls my age would have done.

Julie Krohner 22:

50 Were you able to do it?

J 22:

53 No, not fully. I mean, like, for me, my interests were classic American cars and photography. Whereas most of the girls were about, you know, going shopping or,I don't know, typically girly things that there was thunder and groups and talk about and I was like, not interested, I'd have a one to one conversation with somebody about, you know, their vehicle, and that would light me up for the day. Just like, you know, oddly enough, it didn't really get out too. Well. So yeah, that makes you feel that there's something wrong with having those interests and, and thinking differently than other people.

Julie Krohner 23:

28 Were the other kids also homeschooled?

J 23:

31 it was phasing in so some yes some no.

Julie Krohner 23:

34 Okay, so how did how did you deal with friends or other people in the community? How did how did you deal with living sort of a straddled like half outside half inside life?

J 23:

46 I guess it was mainly inside. I mean, when you were working, you knew or you're at the shops, and you bumped into people that weren't you kind of viewed them as them. If you're not, I mean, you're still in your bubble. And very much, may not. I don't like to say this, but it is true, you know, at work. And if a supplier to come in, and and they weren't part of a cult, and they'd gone, there would be like, you know, there'll be discussion amongst the the court members as to, you know, maybe laughing at them or finding something funny about them, because they didn't do what we did. And now I'm on the other side where I'm going, that's just a normal standard person, you know, who's doing any variety of normal standard things that get done throughout the world, just because they didn't conform to how we might have done it. Like, I know, they've got tattoos or smoking or, you know, certain hairstyles like we Yeah, but that's not really nothing when you're on the other side of it. Yeah. Something people don't pay attention to. It's just identity. Yes, yes. And there really was very difficult. And I think that's one of the things that really hit me in from like, the age of 16. I knew that I didn't want a relationship within it, because I didn't like what was on offer and When it came down to choosing a partner, it just really was very little apart from maybe their looks. You know, there's nothing about hobbies or anything like that, because we weren't really allowed them to, you know, it wasn't a question of whether they preferred soccer over, you know, netball or whatever, because that wasn't an option. So you didn't have things like that to connect on this. Like, it's so much. It's so lukewarm. They're kind of mass produced, if you know what I mean. Yeah, like, there's just homogeneous, they're all the same. And they would follow each other as well, because you didn't really think for yourself that much. And that's to try me so mad is like, you know, somebody that might have a bit more money or bit more popularity, but more charisma might decide to shop in X, Y, Zed or whatever, then everybody else would flock in, you're like, please? No, I didn't. Personally, I don't even leak that stuff. I'm certainly not going to do it just because somebody else has done it. And it was that kind of, and I was like, No, that's, and that's where I'm like, You're weird. Like, no, I'm just not following the crowd.

Julie Krohner 25:

57 So can I ask, When? And how? Did you even realize that? You were in a cult? I know that sounds like a weird question.

J 26:

08 But I didn't think I used ever used the term co until this year. I just believed it was a Christian community. And there are lots of, and we just happen to be one of them. This year, I finally started to reach out to all the ex members, which is something I very definitely hadn't done. When I left, I was like, I've always been told bad about them, of course, by those inside. And I don't want some some left have understandably ended up very bitter and angry, but their experiences and not being able to deal with them. And that was one thing I definitely didn't want to do. And it was like, I've got a choice here, when I leave, I can either make a better life for myself, or I can move over how bad the last one was. And that's not what I want to do. And I was like, Just leave me alone. Get the fuck away from everybody that had anything to do with them, I left them for a reason. I definitely don't want to have any connection. I just want to have a good life.

J 27:

05 And so I didn't reach out at all. And then accidentally I connected with somebody this year. And then I started to explore it. And I was like, Oh, so they're not all the same. And we didn't all leave for the same reasons. It was like, wow, this is actually quite an eye opener. And some of the things you say about them. Yeah, they actually might be true. And it's just having those my eyes opened. And I still think I've got room for a lot more for my eyes to be open. Because I don't I don't hate them. I think you know, they're over there doing their thing. And it's not impacting on me that much personally. No, I don't have contact with my family. And yes, I've told you know how I feel alone. But it's not. I've not left leaving my children in there, which I think will be a lot harder.

Julie Krohner 27:

49 And some people done that.

J 27:

50 Yes.

Julie Krohner 27:

52 Oh, my goodness.

J 27:

55 I've heard from some of them more recently who have left positions of domestic violence where they've had to leave their children because children have been kept by the court. And they've not been allowed to go to their mother. Who's left? Hmm.

Julie Krohner 28:

10 What happened around the time of 18? When you when you met this person you said through work, right? So what was your self talk, then as you were considering having a relationship with this outsider.

J 28:

26 I feel like my visions been really clouded. Up until leaving, or up until at least maybe the last six months before I left. In terms of even thinking about any of that kind of thing. You just feel like I've gone on a fork, because I knew like when I was in relationship with him, I would sit there thinking I feel so empty. I don't even feel like I've got this love that he's expressing to me. I don't feel like I have it for him at all. And that feels weird. And I feel really bad. But I don't think I had seen that I was just drawn to him because he gave me hope all that he believed in me. I didn't really I don't think I connected that or saw that at all. I there was there's no sex ed, there's no relationship, education. There's nothing around that tool because I had my first introduction or any of those lines was actually about last than about sexual abuse. I'm still very fucked up in the head if you know, I haven't seen any movies because we had no TVs or radios. So I've never seen people being physically intimate not a smooch nothing, you know. And it's like, I don't understand what's lust what's love. I didn't even know there were two separate contexts. And there's a whole world I knew nothing about. And at the age of 16, when I was being abused, I was going out to the bookstore and buying books to try and understand what was going on. And then I got in trouble for having the books. So I just felt like I was in this big fog. I thought I was having a relationship with somebody. And that's a really cool thing to do at the age of 18. And that was kind of as much as I knew. I thought this was love this four letter word that I didn't really own.

J 30:

00 What was I telling myself? Somebody loved me? I think that maybe, but there was a lot of, I'm doing wrong, I'm doing wrong. I'm doing something that I shouldn't be doing.

Julie Krohner 30:

09 What were the repercussions for that? So first of all, when you were caught with the books, who was that your parents?

J 30:

18 Yes, the ransacked my room. I was. My sister and I are both...I'm trying to figure out what I can say about this. It's not for me tell her story. Basically, she she ended up trading my sin as a bit of a plea bargain, to cover up something she had done. So she told them about the fact I thought that I was in a relationship with someone and that this was all going on. And then they went and ransacked my room. And that was, it was incredibly painful to come home and know that we're not having to come home to know that you'd been deliberately kept away at somebody's house. So they could go and do that to come home and know that all your stuff of being gone through those just like it just felt very violated. And then to know you were in trouble, nobody knew how to talk about it. And it felt a very, very unsafe code and unloving area.

Julie Krohner 31:

16 Because I mean, that they've obviously found books that you said, you were trying to understand what was going on. And you would think if they saw the titles, or the subject or the, you know, just the alarm of having that kind of content that they would explore with you. Hey, what's going on? Where's this coming from? Or did they already know if you don't mind me asking about the abuse?

J 31:

39 No, no, no, they didn't know. And they only had what she had said to go on. The such a, it what's happened is a sin that so blanket over everything that it's dealt with, with a lot of bad emotion, negative emotion, if you know what I mean, which doesn't give space to reveal yourself and be vulnerable.

Julie Krohner 32:

05 Right? Yeah, it's just about the wrongdoing.

J 32:

08 Yes, very much. So. Yes. And in fact, they didn't ever see it for abuse until after I'd left. And I went back and spoke to them because I, I didn't, you know, I took all the blame on myself at the time as well. I thought, Oh, you know, I've asked for this, or this has not been my fault. And it wasn't until I seeing a counselor who said to me No, no, no. You know, he knew your he knew what he was doing. That wasn't your fault. And then I could actually go and speak to them about it. Okay, so you did end up talking with them about what happened?

Julie Krohner 32:

40 Did they know who did it?

J 32:

42 Oh, yes. Because yes, they knew who did it because they actually kind of said to him I'm sorry that you know, I'm sorry for this happening. You know, they apologized on my behalf - you apologized to him for abusing your daughter, like,

Julie Krohner 33:

00 oh, my goodness,

J 33:

01 Yeah. And when I came to speak to them, it was incredibly difficult because my mother was in advanced stages of cancer. So I wanted to be gentle. But I still kind of needed to deal with that before she passed. And because of the sexual abuse and what come out and what was not deemed as law at the time, I was put under kind of house arrest. I was being watched everywhere I went everything I did, there was no... Well, I couldn't do anything that was just my own, I knew everything would be gone through. And it would be constantly said to me, you know, you know, we're keeping an eye on you because of what you did. And that would be a constant reinforcer. And so I had no space to breathe.

Julie Krohner 33:

39 You mentioned earlier that these were like 20 minute timeframes that you had with this guy to have a relationship. What was tha like?

J 33:

51 That's been you know, that's how I've had to do things up until the time I left. I'd always have to give an excuse as to what I was going to do. So I was going to lunch, and then I'd have to actually have lunch and eat lunch while I was out. I couldn't go back and then eat it because what have you spend your time doing? So that had to be proof that I had done what I said I was going to do? Who was who was keeping who was watching? Like how do they have all of these everybody looked out everybody is like you know everybody snitched as it were the SS everybody just did you're just constantly and I'm sure I've done it. For others. It's like you know, sons who didn't report here they didn't turn up here. Everybody was looking out for everybody the whole time but particularly so if you knew someone was under suspicion,

Julie Krohner 34:

35 Did you live all in the same area?

J 34:

38 I'm not know how not property side by side. But yes, we would tend to be in groups

Julie Krohner 34:

46 And where they rural? Like I'm wondering how people could keep such good tabs.

J 34:

50 I think it's like where you're expected to be or like for instance church was every night if you didn't go every night, it would be noted.

Julie Krohner 35:

00 You don't have to, please don't feel you know, you don't have to name any thing. But I'm curious did they call your community something - Was it named?

J 35:

11 When you talked about people who would come into work who were outside would be would be like, you talked about them as them. And then Oh, they were us. Yes. Yeah. So obviously, the cult had its own name. But we would refer to people outside of it as a worldly person, or worldly.

Julie Krohner 35:

32 Worldly - what did that mean?

J 35:

33 That they were of the world. And we felt we were not, it was a very much a superior position that we were kept. That was one of the one of the mandates was to be kept out of the world to be kept away from, you know, like, kind of the pipeline of filth and the, the devil's influences that kind of thing. So we kept in this protective bubble, and it literally going on, strike straying, but went back into I've moved away from there now and I went back into the area where they were the other day, and we were driving along, and I saw two of them walking on the streets, I just just burst out laughing. And I think it was just that it was just the first time I've ever done it. And I was like, you know, it's a pandemic, hardly anybody's around and out, but you two are dressed like nixie knox, and you're marching around the streets for a walk for some exercise, when you could just be going out and relaxing. But there's that whole tenseness because you're not inside your house. And you just look so out of place. And it just it really hit me and I was like wow, they can't relax, they really can't relax, and I don't think I ever, I think I struggle to relax now. But you're always on the lookout for having transgressed or somebody reporting that you've transgressed.

Julie Krohner 36:

44 So around 18 you're telling yourself they're gonna be repercussions for my actions, even if I'm stealing 20 minutes here or there with this person, but he represents, as you said, hope and and what else did he represent to you?

J 37:

02 I knew he made me really happy. And I felt like I could be myself with him. And I think there's a lot of that lack of judgment.

Julie Krohner 37:

09 Oh, gosh, that's huge. Especially coming from where you had.

J 37:

13 And again, also, then this might sound completely crazy to you. But guilt was such a big part such a big part that I would, I would at times feel I have to tell them what I'm doing. I have to I have to confess to this

Julie Krohner 37:

30 Did you?

J 37:

31 I did. Yeah. That was like it was getting, you know, like, what are you doing? There's clearly something going on, because stuff isn't 100% tallying up and you're going missing and stuff. But it was like I just can't, that the guilt was just like a pressure cooker. That's just that constant guilt sin must confess or what's going to happen? It's just going round and round like a videotape in your head.

Julie Krohner 37:

53 When you tell them these things, what happens?

J 37:

57 Are they devastated and crushed - it's not anger, it's more like devastation. How can you do this? You know, you know that you don't want to do this. And then it's going back through the priest again. And I guess now is the first time I've said this, and it's funny, they're comical. I think the priests weren't convinced that I would never get back to it. And so there was that suspicion. And I was like, you know, okay, I've said I'm done. All right, let's do it. But it was like, No, where's your contrition? Where's your changing. And for those eight years that we didn't have any contact, I did surrender my identity, just to try and fit in. And it was like, the only way I can exist here is if I let go of who I am.

Julie Krohner 38:

40 And this is when you wrote the letter it after that.

J 38:

43 So I'd written the letter, like kind of not wanting to at all. And then as I started to realize, look, I have no other option, because I just didn't feel I could have left at that point. Like I couldn't have done really because it's a question of fleeing and escaping, but he was raised take me in at that point. But I wasn't ready. I was like, I'm 18 I still feel really young and myself. And if this goes tits up, then what happens? I don't have the knowledge to survive. If we don't work out. Everything I've ever known is in this bubble when I'm walking out of it. I was wondering that this whole time I was I was like,

Julie Krohner 39:

19 Huh, you know, so there was this an opportunity when you know, you're in the relationship with this person? You are 18 obviously still young, but technically an adult, at least over here. Yeah, that's the technical. Yeah, you had this huge decision, where it was all out in the open. Theoretically, you could have made a break at that time?

J 39:

42 Yes. And no, I mean, like he did actually sit there for a whole day and expected me to turn up so we had made plans and that some of this is, you know, I don't remember it fully because so much has happened. Like the trauma layers, just bury stuff, in my view. So he's, you know, he said to me, since I have I sat there for a while and waited for you to arrive because you said you're going to come. For me to have left, I would have had to have packed in secret and somehow snuck out of the house with basically a bag in my hand and walked. Even right at the very end, when I left recently, I was writing in code in my diary because I knew that people would go through it. It literally would have been a question of fleeing.

Transcribed by https:

//otter.ai

Fear of Being the Second Woman
My first relationship was with a non-cult member
What is it like being born into a cult?
What is self-talk like when you can never be yourself?
Being blamed for being sexually abused