I have had four years to sift through the rubble and try to make sense of his complicated death and the turmoil within my family that followed. Although there have been many experiences of healing and loving acceptance, there also remains a residue of confusion and tension in various pockets of my family life and within my own soul.
One such area is my decision to not attend his funeral in Arizona because there was a CTL* retreat scheduled at that same time. I believed I needed to be with my ‘CTL family’ in my broken hearted state of grief. I believed I needed the strength and clarity of my teacher Doug in order to process my intense emotions. I believed I needed the loving circle of people who knew who I really was. I believed they were more important than my sisters and father who traveled out there together. Without me.
I assured myself we would have a funeral in NY for him at a later date because my mother was in the hospital with a double knee replacement and could not travel. And I took comfort in a plan for me to fly out to Arizona a few days later to accompany my elderly father on his return flight. It was a perfect plan that I constructed in my own confused mind so I could swallow the bitter pill of missing my brother’s funeral – but mostly, it was the story I told myself so I could live with my decision to go to the CTL retreat instead of my brother’s funeral.
Well, there never was a funeral for him in NY. And my father flew home unaccompanied and I was left to face my decision. But it would be four more months before I could even begin to understand that my choice to go to the retreat instead of the funeral, was not fully my choice.
It was May 28, 2014, barely 4 months later, when a fissure in my 18 years of dedication to CTL erupted in my psyche and within a week, I wrote this to a friend, “There is no question in me now that Wednesday night, the dam that broke in me released me from a cult.”
And today, after 4 years and 8 months of soul searching, studying, writing and speaking about cult dynamics, I can finally offer myself a healthy dose of kindness and understanding around my decision - because, when my brother died, my mind was not fully my own. Over the next couple of months, I will write more about mind control.
In the meantime, have you, dear reader, ever experienced or witnessed someone you love, making a choice that was not really a choice? Please feel free to share.
* Please read my blog statement to clarify the use of names throughout my writing and my intention for this blog.