My life there and afterwards

Deep within myself

Freud seemed to think that the sexual, pleasure drive was underlining everything that we do.
The version of Christianity that I learned at CJ taught that sin was the underlining motive of everything I did.
Jung on the other hand talks about the very depth of us being where we connect with god (however you define that concept).

Within our depths are things we are afraid of, thoughts and desires that we have been taught to label as “bad”. We are a mixture, but in that same “darkness” live the angels, the wisdom, the truth of our capabilities. Denying your shadow self allows you to unknowingly do very selfish and evil things–and even call it virtue (John 16:2-3). This is what I think went wrong at CJ. The leaders, and to some degree all of us, bought into denying our true selves. “Deny your self” was a constant invocation. But in constant denial there is no accountability, first and foremost to yourself.

If I want to be accountable to myself, it means accepting myself, not labelling myself as “bad”, and learning to sort out what is healthy for me and what is not. God, life, growth and happiness are wrapped up in acceptance of myself and others, not in condemnation and constant denials.

Here is a quote from Richard Rohr’s Meditations:

“Jung believes we can do damage, therefore, by “petrifying” our spiritual experience when we try to name it, to express God as an abstract idea. Before you explain your encounter with the Divine as an idea or a name that then must be defended, proven, or believed, simply stay with the naked experience itself–the numinous, transcendent experience of allurement, longing, and intimacy within you… This is both a transcendent God and also my deepest me at the same time. To discover one is to discover the other. This is why good theology and good psychology work together so well. You have touched upon the soul, the unshakable reality of my True Self, where “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).”

The place of the wound becomes the place of the greatest gift. It is in our sorrow and pain that we are transformed, if we will not turn away from being aware. ‘Wounded Healer’ is an icon for me. It speaks of not only my own healing, but of the return of meaning, of purpose in my life, of reaching out to be connected with others, which is healing for both of us. Jesus was wounded and killed, and he is the icon of healing and love. (Don’t think Christianity here, just think Jesus) If we are meant to see his life as an example, then surely those of us who have also been wounded can take hope from his life. Our life is grounded in our common vulnerability, not in the power structures that try to tell us how to live and what to believe..


Comments on: "Deep within myself" (5)

  1. Dear Carrie,
    I read all your posts and find so much meaning in them. But this one spoke to me with particular meaning. I want to write and ask your permission to refer to it in a meeting I’m leading later this month, but today and tomorrow am under some time pressure to get mailings out for that same meeting . . . I’m saving and “flagging” your message and hope next week to write you more of why it touched me, and ask about referring to it.
    Blessings to you in this New Year! You are an inspiring person – and writer!

    • My sincere apologies, I guess I did not give you permission in time for your meeting, but yes you have my permission to quote me in any future meetings This blog is public, so as long as you give credit than you can quote. I am glad it touched you.

  2. Carrie, “Denying your shadow self ” section seemed a key to many questions on cults.

    Your insights are so helpful, and the raw rejection during your exit decision was almost unbearable. I’ve seen employers implement this abrupt cutoff, so maybe it was legal/insurance precaution they went overboard on. Either way, they should have acted much more wisely and lovingly.

    Not giving you access to your files was truly offensive, and should be illegal. All members should have always had access — especially when misunderstandings and mistruths get filed without members’ consent.

    My church was involved with CofJ, and I used to try to figure out who exactly was the evil force to blame… but there was no one. It was all of us, accepting and promoting unhealthy relationships and expressions of faith. We brought out the worst in each other–thinking it was the purest, holiest way to live.

    We created our own cult. We could easily have listened to our nudges, when the Mothers preached on finding the gold nuggets of truth about ourselves. The Community was far away. But we were competitive, driven to show we were dedicated, trying to make great things happen, trying to glorify God.

    Running ahead of God.

    Hundreds suffered under the delusions, some lost the faith, some lost sense of identity. Children were denied voice and healthy development, as loving households were deemed idolatrous.

    “The groups are secretive, exploitive and closed to outsiders – and they’re still with us.”

    This startled me. You left a handful of years ago, but decades have passed since I tried to break its grip on me. And here I sit on a Saturday afternoon, digging for survivor stories. It is still with me.

    • Hello again upstatefl,
      Your reply is awesome. You have good insight into all this.
      I agree with you that we were all to blame, but I also think there was a dynamic of victimization that occurred, and I think the leadership has more blame to shoulder than those of us who were manipulated and used. I don’t even like to use the blaming terminology however. I guess I like accountability better. I am accountable for the dynamics within myself that caused me to ignore, cope, avoid, and let myself be used. But the leadership is accountable for how they loved being in charge, dictated the details of our lives, and used shaming, guilt, sin-hunting, overwork, sleep-deprivation, etc. etc. etc. We were victims of that system that they put in place. If they had been caring, loving people who wanted to help others, those dynamics would not have been used and taught. That is what they are accountable for. And I have to state that the lure of spirituality is strong. Most of us are willing to sacrifice for an ideal that looks like it will have good benefits. And then there is all the psychological factors; peer pressure, desire for acceptance, etc.
      A large part of my healing has been to accept that I was a victim (which is hard to admit) but that now I have the power and control of my own life to make different choices. It has taken time to work through all that. Give yourself time, be kind to yourself.

  3. Sorry I didn’t get to this earlier — I forgot to click “notify of new comments.”

    You are right about leadership– after reading more online stories, I wondered if the mothers had hidden agendas all along. At the time of our involvement, question centered more on doctrine and practice, on dictating how people lived and visited there.

    Then more stories came out, and it was easier to separate conflicting experiences. That is mostly why I am responding here — because every little post has been helpful, and there are bound to be many who need long-term healing from demanding organizations (or individuals).

    “The lure of spirituality is strong…sacrifice for an ideal” — for sure! That was evident in all CofJ groups, making it harder to pick apart beneficial from destructive.

    Also, there were differences in experience between age groups. Children were not given a voice, teens were scrutinized, young adults were given much opportunity but then chided; adults were flying around the country speaking, but then also chided. Some families held to their convictions, and endured less impact.

    Adults found involvement expanded their lives, energized … many still rave about those years, and it is hard to get them to admit there were problems. The humming church kept them in a manic state, and brought people into responsibilities they wouldn’t have tried otherwise.

    But it instilled so much wrong thinking.

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