What Did Your Family Do That Was Helpful to You in the Time after You Left the Group?
- My parents treated me with the same love which I knew from the time prior to the group. And that was the best thing they could do. But in your website, there’s also a good suggestion about not treating somebody with too much caution (like a raw egg).
- After some time I contacted my parents, and I decided to move back to the city N because I thought that I had fallen away, and that I had no more hope of coming to God. I thought that there was no sense in remaining alone, although, as one who’d fallen way, I thought that I could find no more happiness. I thought that everything would seem senseless to me. (Soon I noticed that this was not true! ☺) But it was very important to me, in this phase, that my parents gave me the time to understand for myself that Holic is not “the only true congregation,” but rather a cult.
Then I began to talk about Holic myself as things became clearer in the following days and weeks. Later I spoke with my mother (we have always been close) a lot about my experience in Holic and her experience as a mother, and also about matters of faith. These honest, open conversations with her helped a lot. I now keep myself distant from religion (I have almost aggressive feelings when I hear something about Christianity), and my parents and friends respect this, too.
It was also important that my parents, and all other relatives too, accepted me so wonderfully. None of them said an unkind word to me, or spoke negatively in any way to me; they were all simply happy that I was there again. In Holic, especially when “it’s not going spiritually well” for you, which means just before you’re excluded, you hear enough that you’re evil and doing many things badly. Certainly, though, it’s also important to be honest. I apologized to my parents and to some other people, and almost all of them said that there’s nothing to forgive. But my best friend didn’t say that: she said that she forgives me. And that was important for me. I knew that I was horrible to my relatives and friends when I joined Holic, and it was a relief to hear that this was now forgiven. It wouldn’t have helped if my best friend had said that there’s nothing to forgive, if she in reality had to forgive. (The worst would have naturally been that she, or somebody else, had not forgiven: fortunately, I did not experience this.)
At the beginning (when I still had to remain in Germany for four weeks because of my time for giving notice at work), I really needed my parents. Naturally, it’s still that way now, but at the beginning it was especially important. We talked every day for a long time (on the phone or via Skype). I simply needed someone with whom I could talk. As one who’s been excluded, you’re totally and completely alone in the world: the “siblings” aren’t there any more, and you’re still supposed to keep yourself separate from “unbelievers.” In recent times, I’ve talked about myself a lot, and my parents and friends either tolerated it or liked it, I’m not sure ☺. In Holic, you’re warned not to put yourself in the center of things. Now, the feeling of being important to others (and without having a bad conscience about it) has been wonderful. You only need to have time for your loved one, and take an interest in him or her: I received that from my parents, abundantly. Still with the knowledge that they don’t expect anything from me, and they are simply always there when I need them.
That’s really only how it was for me. But I could imagine, though, that this would help many people: to be confident that your parents are entirely there for you, and that you are very, very important to them, but really without any pressure to somehow advance. You can talk about “normal things” and share daily life. Now it occurs to me that it probably helped me that I, e.g., can and could be with my parents as previously: I’m not only “the one who came back,” but rather simply their daughter. The time in Holic was not a catastrophe or an entirely lost time, but perhaps rather only a phase that I had to go through. And my relationship to my father has actually improved a lot, because I now value the family more, and have clearly seen how much my father cares about me.
- For nine months, they knew nothing about my expulsion. My primary concern was getting my relationship with God in order, and I didn’t want to be influenced by other people in that matter. (OK, I read what I found on the internet about, and by, the Holic Group, and some Christian books.) Only when I was clear about the fact that I could not return to the community, did I visit my parents and tell them that I was no longer in the group.
What did I perceive as helpful from their side? Perhaps that my parents didn’t give up contact with me, which made it somewhat easier to renew contact with them. Even when I didn’t write much, they (primarily my mother) wrote emails now and then about their life, and asked me how it was going for me. They mentioned repeatedly that they waited for a visit from me, but they didn’t pursue me. My father, however, threatened to hunt for me if I wouldn’t answer the emails any more. I wrote something in response to the emails, but it could also be that such behavior would provoke somebody else to break off contact. They somehow accepted that I was in the community, and that I shared with the others whatever they might give me during my rare visits to them.
During one year, in which I was unemployed, my parents sent me money a few times. I suspect that they would have done the same thing if I were not in the group. They are so loving.
In the case of being expelled, you can have financial problems. After the expulsion, they placed no pressure on me, but rather gave me the freedom to find my own way. They aren’t believers, so their spiritual help was naturally limited. They helped me in worldly matters when I needed it.
My Christian friends, whom I had before entering the community, accepted me with joy. A few of them had the authority (based on their love, on their similar experiences, and on our previous close relationship) to say critical things to me. And they prayed for me the whole time.
I think that the most important thing you can do is to love without expectation, and rather to pray and to look for God’s leading. Being ready to accept, to respect the decision, being ready to help in any possible way, to make clear the acceptance and the readiness to help, but to let the child decide what she or he wants. What you can do depends on the relationship which you previously had to your child.