Recently, I have been interested in what causes the formation of a cult. As a codependent in recovery, I see that I was prime picking to be susceptible to following a leader.
What I wanted to know is if my idolizing my pastor produced a cult like following within me or is the church guilty of boundary violations? (Both was true!)
Perhaps, it was my codependency in which I felt I could not question authority. But a sign of a cult is that no one questions the leader and if you do you are branded rebellious.
It seems to me that certain churches in America are grooming people to be followers and not think for themselves. We must be allowed to question authority. People can not go unchecked in their positions of power. Churches need accountability.
We are taught not to follow our feelings or trust ourselves, but many times something inside of me was screaming and I would shush it. It didn’t feel right to me. It felt “off”, but If I would have listened to myself I wouldn’t have had my life out for discussion within the group.
In other words, my boundaries were violated within the context of Christian community. I was abused. This makes me gun-shy about group activities. Another person brought up a good point that our basis of connection, our faith, is often seen as all we need to VOMIT on each other. And it seems to be an expectation from people within the church or else you are being secretive. But really what it comes down to is that these people are not respecting personal boundaries!
I think it’s sad that I had to learn truths this way. I thought that the church was my safe bubble and that I could trust everyone there. But time after time that has been proven to not be the case. I must be cautious in my friendships!
People must earn the right to hear your story as Brene Brown says! I don’t need to confess my sins and share my junk with the whole congregation. This, I see now, is very unhealthy.
The lone wolf in me is cautious. She keeps to herself. She questions. And questions. I see problems here. The “pack” mentality. The cloning of leaders. Loss of self…individuality. The collective.
No matter who is in charge the temptation to manipulate the masses will never go away. It’s what’s inside of man. The pride of life.
Whatever it was that birthed in me codependency at a young age told me not to trust myself. My gut still says this is dangerous. And I still say this today. We need boundaries everywhere and in all relationships!
I just don’t want to see another young woman like me following the leader, giving up herself, doubting herself. I am in recovery.
I have had some wacky advice given to me over the years by pastors and church counselors. I am not saying that all are bad. They are not. But what I am saying is that not all pastors should be counseling their congregation. If I had listened to them I would have never sought of therapy for myself. Because a lot of them don’t believe in therapy.
But the funny thing is that the 12-step groups have popped up within the church such as Celebrate Recovery. And the difference I see with that is that in these groups you are allowed to be honest, brutally honest. But in church you are not always afforded such right.
But the fact is that there are many Christians out there who are very mentally and emotionally unhealthy. And I was one of them. But I took my power back! I had given my power away in the name of God and under the guise of submission. Danger, danger…Will Robinson!!!
It is very difficult to be a codependent in the church because everything is so mixed up in your mind. You want to please God, but people want you to please them. And if you tell them no, they tell you that you are being rebellious and unsubmissive. I must have my right to say no!
This is why I said that as a “good little codependent” you are open-season for being manipulated and even in the church where you thought was the safest place to be.
My husband is so often annoyed by my questions. But I am NOT walking into things anymore without knowing the facts! I think asking question is a good thing. I need information to make my decision. I refuse to just take people’s word for it anymore. So often that has proven inaccurate and I have born the brunt of my ignorannce!
Don’t give your brain away. Think, I say. Reason, I say. Learn, I say! Be free. 🙂
Update: Aug 27th –
I found this interesting article that expressed the information that I was looking for as to why I have had some issues with authority figures. It is a childhood family dysfunctional issue! So people like me ARE indeed at risk for “following the leader…the cult leader…the authoritarian leader”. See this link: http://www.dtl.org/cults/article/dysfunctional.htm