My life there and afterwards

I would sometimes be surprised by a public compliment. It would always be after a time of laying low, being meek and humble, and working hard with no complaints. Inwardly I might be bored, tired, and struggling with feelings of worthlessness and depression, and then they would throw a compliment at me. This was proof that the more I conformed to the lowly servant role, the more approval I got. Following this would be a period of relative happiness, knowing I was in the smiling grace of the leaders. This reinforced the positive benefits of cooperation with the regime.

A sister who frequently burst out with anger was punished by denying her the simple pleasure of watching a ball game on TV. All the sisters watched sports from time to time, and this sister in particular had found this to be her one joy in our pressured life. The leader told me and the other Senior Sister that the way to keep her in line was to tell her that whenever she burst out in anger, her TV watching would be taken away from her until she could cooperate. This was devastating to her, as this represented the only place where she felt alive as a person. This was done to her, and it did force her to become submissive.

There are countless more examples like these two. We were controlled by throwing us bones of relief, and by threatening and denying us the few things that gave us relief.

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