FIRST PERSON -- A Cult of Two
A reporter sifts through the ashes of what she once believed was an
Nanette Asimov, Chronicle Staff Writer
The first thing many women do when jilted by the one they love
is decide they need a therapist. I decided I needed a deprogrammer.
Moments before my boyfriend broke up with me on the morning of
New Year's Eve, I had thought we were best friends. He'd sent me roses
and a love note two weeks before. He told me every day that he loved me.
We were going dancing that night, and he suggested that I wear the red
dress he'd bought for me.
He was as exciting to me as if we'd just met. But we'd been
dating for 12 years. When he abruptly ended our relationship, I felt like Charly in "Flowers for Algernon" after the medicine that raises
Charly's IQ wears off. Without my boyfriend's eyes I couldn't see.
Without his mind I couldn't think. Nothing was good and nothing was bad
without his imprimatur. Yet I knew that something was terribly wrong.
"You've been in a cult of two," was the diagnosis of Dr.
Margaret Singer, one of the nation's leading experts on group-think and
I called her because I felt brainwashed, as though my life had
been under someone else's control for the past dozen years. My boyfriend
had encouraged "loyalty" and "long-term thinking" about our romance
for so long that they had become the mantras around which I built my
life. Yet such mental manipulation seemed impossible. As a reporter, I
ask questions of the grand and
Psychological & Sexual Abuse in a Cultic Relationship
My journey into hell began months before this trip was even undertaken. my former romantic partner had set his sights on me and made a decision that I had the necessary qualifications to fulfill his agenda and goals. As a result I became the unwitting prey in his snare of deceit and manipulation.
I have found out that he had been stalking me before we even met -- asking my co-workers and friends about me. Finding out my likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. This left a clear power differential in the relationship -- he could and would tailor conversations and activities with me based on what he knew. The courtship (brief as it was) was "magical" -- this was a person that knew what I wanted and treated me as a princess. After I made my commitment to him regarding the trip and the marriage, the dynamics of the "magic" shifted. I have now entered the Twilight Zone of fulfilling this person's demands and control of me and my time.
The time line regarding the beginnings of the relationship between us goes as follows: started dating in April/May of 1985, were engaged in June 1985 and the trip was undertaken during September/October 1985 with the marriage being December 1, 1985. From April to the end of October I was involved in preparation for the trip. During this time I was deliberately distanced from my friends and family due to his demands of me.
The book that follows, written by former partner, is copied in its entirety, spelling and grammar errors are the author's and are not edited. I have changed the names of all person's involved in this trip for their own privacy. The additional commentary regarding the book are copyrighted to Pamela Fitzpatrick, unless otherwise specified.
Article temporarily under construction due to threatened legal action. continued....
Unique Characteristics of the Cultic Relationship
Mind Control and the Battering of Women
In the following excerpt from the article "Mind Control and the Battering of Women" by Teresa Ramirez Boulette, Ph.D. and Susan M. Andersen, Ph.D., I felt that my experience in the cultic relationship with my former romantic partner was clearly explained. Boulette and Andersen make a distinction between the battering that involves deliberate methods of mind control from other types of battering that can occur in relationships. As I understood the article to mean, a cultic relationship's dynamics differ from what the general public understands to be abuse. In a cultic relationship the abuse is intensified.
I'm finding that in a cultic relationship, the abuse is solely for the power and control that the abuser can weld in the relationship -- the abuser uses manipulation techniques most typically are found in a cult leader. There is the tendency to dominate using words and intent to action on the abused as opposed to sheer physical dominance.
With my former romantic partner it appears that his abusive behavior was condoned and allowed with the assistance of courses he participated in by a popular Large Group Awareness Training (LGAT) company. He also appears to display traits that have been attributed to cult leaders. A couple of these are his intense need to be the "center of attention" and "better" then those around him. The organization promoted this belief system by reinforcing the concept that "you are your own god, you create your reality." These seminars fed on that part of his abusive ego that needed justification and permission for his abuse.
Defining Mind Control in a One-on-One Cultic Relationship Using the Hassan Model
"'Mind Control' and the Battering of Women"
Teresa Ramirez Boulette, Ph.D. Susan M. Andersen, Ph.D.
This paper describes one variation in the battering phenomenon which was initially observed among low-income women. The strategies of coercion and deception utilized by the abusive male
A Woman Battles a Cultic Relationship -- and Wins
In April, 1995, I became deeply involved with Don. We knew each other for over 4 years through mutual friends. After Don separated from his wife we began to spend time socially. Despite differences we complemented each other and our relationship evolved. At present we share a life that is rich, stimulating, and traditional. Last June for my 46th birthday Don offered to pay the $1000 fee for me to learn [a New Age meditation]. He prefaced his offer by telling me that if there was one thing in the world that he wanted for me, it was [this].
It caught my attention for many reasons. Most people I know would want me to quit smoking. In fact my smoking was an obstacle for Don initially. I
JOIN ME IN MY VISION!
My vision for this is to be a place where information and research can be presented to better understand what happens in a cultic relationship. I felt so alone when I started my recovery process but then found out through conversations that I was not alone -- but I had to speak up to even find that out. Some are not able to do that, this place is for you. I want you to know that you are not alone in your pain or your recovery process.
To explain my history, I was involved in what is considered to be a "Large Group Awareness Training" (LGAT). This particular group heavily stressed "commitment" and "keeping your word." The person that recruited me into this group ended up being a former romantic partner.
I was indoctrinated into what he believed "keeping your word" and what "commitment" meant...
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
This is your place to tell me what you would like to see in future
issues, discuss what has worked for you in your recovery process and let
me know if I did good (hey, it's nice to know!)
I also would like this to be a place for what isn't getting discussed
regarding cultic relationships -- how you feel if you are seeing your
loved one in such a relationship. Or share with us what is working. All
postings will be anonymous if you request and will not be stored/saved once
These are just some ideas to get us started here. Email me at