I listen to Glennon Doyle’s and Abby Wambach’s podcast sometimes. I happened to listen to it today and yesterday. Or was it two days ago…it doesn’t matter. Both days were an interview with Sarah Edmondson, former member of NXIVM, who escaped and helps out other people escaping cults and religious groups.
Now I love learning about cults for some bizarre reason. I find the whole thing fascinating. I can see how people get trapped in a cult most of the time and how the leaders systematically destroy people who believe what they are selling. It’s all really sad.
Part of the podcast was talking about how people watch these documentaries and assume they wouldn’t be caught up in all this mess, because it’s so crazy. But it never starts so crazy, otherwise no one would stay in the room. No one joins a cult who starts out telling you that you’ll be branded with the leaders initials, then be his slave, and forced to have sex with him. Literally no one would sign up for THAT cult.
It starts with self-help, a community, a way to serve, a feeling that you and your fellow cult members are special and above everyone else. It’s free at first and then it’s tons of money, but you are still getting some kind of help from it. You commit to more and more, and you find yourself progressing at a rapid pace through some ranking structure. Then the rules change slightly and your growth and advancement slows down. They need even more from you. More money, more time, more volleyball in the middle of the night, whatever it is.
Then they tear you down and you think you deserve that because hey, it’s just part of the process to build you up better, right?
Anyway, throughout these two episodes, Glennon kept talking about how Sarah is a seeker, and Glennon admitting to being a seeker as well. I think I used to be a seeker but I am starting to find the truth inside of me. It was really interesting to think about how I was a few years ago, when I was in the middle of the huge mess. I was so sad. I had no one to turn to that I felt I could trust. I was sinking deeper and deeper. I was a prime cult recruit back then.
Not so much anymore. I don’t need whatever self-help thing you’re selling. I don’t need a program, a supplement, an MLM mess, a free session, nothing. It was so powerful to realize that today as I listened. I am no longer seeking outside of myself. It’s all inside me.
“The golden opportunity you are seeking is in yourself. It is not in your environment; it is not in luck or chance; or the help of others; it is in yourself alone.” -Orison Swett Marden