Was your PD family like a cult?

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foobarred

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Was your PD family like a cult?
« on: October 05, 2019, 02:21:52 AM »
Found this article https://blogs.psychcentral.com/narcissism/2018/04/cult-withdrawal-more-painful-than-grieving-a-death/ and it talks about how the PD family is like a cult.  I don't mean in an overtly religious sense.  But for instance my family was *definitely* the "cult of unNPDdad".  He was almighty, omnipresent, and omnicient, and if you said or did anything suggesting the contrary, you were BAAAAADD and he would make your life a living hell.  Others outside our little cult of 3 (me, unNPDdad, and unDPDmom) were looked down on as unwashed heathens - less educated, less moral - and I was taught not to associate with them, and that they hated us all because we were superior.

This passage really hit me:
Quote
When you physically leave any type of cult, your mind remains brainwashed far longer than it takes to pack up your belongings and get the Hell out of Dodge. This means that wherever you go, your guts scream you are in the wrong. Whatever you do is wrong, wrong, wrong. Wherever you live is wrong, wrong, wrong. Whomever you befriend, love, marry is wrong, wrong, wrong. The very walls of your new home begin to look and feel wrong.

YOU are completely wrong
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To this day, if I break some of the stupid, arbitrary rules my parents laid down for me (e.g., never, ever cross the street) I get a twinge.  Like I'm being BAAAAD and I'm in danger of being struck by lightening.  It's stupid, but I still feel it.  It's like my conscience has been abnormally programmed, and I react to things with guilt and shame even though they are not actually sins.  Maybe that's what brainwashing *is* - a reprogramming of the conscience, a forcing of a distorted standard of behavior re what is right and what is wrong.


Anyone else have this experience?

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Hazy111

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Re: Was your PD family like a cult?
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2019, 01:15:07 PM »
I think anyone who was raised in a PD family must feel like it was cult. As the parents enmesh you from Day one  to play a role within that family.  You were enmeshed from birth. You learn early on what is/isnt  expected of you and how you must conform to survive.


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Hazy111

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Re: Was your PD family like a cult?
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2019, 01:19:27 PM »
What i was trying to say, is you never knew what normal was, you thought it was normal. You accepted it. You never knew it to be abnormal. It leaves a deep embedded template for the rest of your life and get attracted to people who were from similar cults/families.

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11JB68

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Re: Was your PD family like a cult?
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2019, 01:30:47 PM »
In another thread I  was talking about the 'royal we' with another poster.
In my household there was a lot of that...uPDm saying WE do this, or WE don't x....
She spoke for everyone, the constant goal was to make her happy (or less miserable) but it was never enough.

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all4peace

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Re: Was your PD family like a cult?
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2019, 01:42:29 PM »
As I move into another stage of healing, old feelings are coming up for me. What I'm noticing is that they're totally irrational. It doesn't make them bad, but it is telling me that they come from a primordial part of me from my childhood. To me, that's what I'm hearing in your post. We can rationally understand that it's not bad to cross the street for example, but there's a part of our brain that was given strong and fearful messages when we were too little to be able to work through them rationally, and when they were infused with fear.

I like Dr. Caroline Leaf's work on re-wiring our brains to kill off old toxic pathways and grow new healthy pathways.

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gcj07a

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Re: Was your PD family like a cult?
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2019, 02:26:11 PM »
I feel similarly! Before I ever began to confront the fact that I had been abused as a child that m was uBPD, I was diagnosed with OCD. What you describe, foobarred, about internalizing all of the silly rules and feeling like you are BAAAAD if you violate them is precisely the form that my scrupulosity (in the OCD sense) took. I definitely think I developed OCD in response to my abuse.
"How often have I lain beneath the rain, on a strange roof, thinking of home?" -William Faulkner

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Andeza

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Re: Was your PD family like a cult?
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2019, 03:48:24 PM »
I think I'm going with yes. Because the world was full of perverts and molesters, and anyone could be a really bad person. And we could be in danger anywhere. No sleepovers ever, because what if the kid's parents were perverts or psycho? No odd jobs for me around the neighborhood Nevada the neighbors might be perverts...

Get the idea? Fear was my world. Fear of everyone, fear of everything. Fear of strangers, of being late, of upsetting my UbpdM... Fear that UbpdM would send me to school, you know, where kids get shot and bullied. Fear that anyone would ever get mad at me, or think that I had even possibly done something "wrong."

It was a heck of a childhood. No one could be trusted outside of our three person group, not even the rest of our family. I've moved past that mostly, but every now and then an irrational fear crops back up and has to be dealt with.

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Amadahy

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Re: Was your PD family like a cult?
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2019, 06:39:01 PM »
Yes, coupled w being part of a religion that was the “only true religion” and I was a mess. I remember being intensely interested in cults, too — Jim Jones, Charlie Manson, etc. I think I wanted to try to equate control with the love I so desperately sought.
Ring the bells that still can ring;
Forget your perfect offering.
There's a crack in everything ~~
That's how the Light gets in!

~~ Leonard Cohen

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Adria

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Re: Was your PD family like a cult?
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2019, 07:13:44 PM »
Quote
Wherever you live is wrong, wrong, wrong. Whomever you befriend, love, marry is wrong, wrong, wrong. The very walls of your new home begin to look and feel wrong.

YOU are completely wrong.

What what a great article. Explains the feelings to a T.  I wonder if that's the reason I keep moving from house to house. Every time I get my house the way I want it and it should be comfortable, I'm ready to sell and move on once again.

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AnneH

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Re: Was your PD family like a cult?
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2019, 10:42:46 AM »
The ironic thing about this question is that, when I started dating DH and started saying "no" at lot more and a lot more firmly to FOO, uNM said that my relationship with him was...you guessed it...as if I had gotten "sucked into a cult" because I was "ignoring" the rest of them. "Ignoring" and "Cult" became her refrain for the coming years. (By "ignoring" she meant no longer waiting on them hand and foot, no longer dropping everything at their beck and call, and, worst of all...drumroll please...holding DH's hand on our wedding day! Projection, maybe?

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Jellyfish

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Re: Was your PD family like a cult?
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2019, 11:03:19 PM »
Getting interested in true crime ( mainly cults and serial killers) is a big part of finding my way Out of the FOG. I was noticing WAY to many similarities between one and the other.
If you are interested in really falling down the cult rabbit hole look up the bite model. It’s a framework used by people who study cults to separate the more harmful cults from less harmful religion.
 The BITE in the bite model refers to the methods of manipulation used to recruit and keep members.  And it stands for Behavior control, Information control,  Thought control, and Emotional control. For me it was very eye opening. To see how my family fit into the different categories.

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foobarred

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Re: Was your PD family like a cult?
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2019, 01:24:15 AM »
The BITE in the bite model refers to the methods of manipulation used to recruit and keep members.  And it stands for Behavior control, Information control,  Thought control, and Emotional control. For me it was very eye opening. To see how my family fit into the different categories.

Interesting info, thanks!

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Farm Girl

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Re: Was your PD family like a cult?
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2019, 01:27:56 PM »
I tried therapy a few years ago and only lasted about three sessions, as I was still in the FOG and not ready to look at my PD parents objectively. However, in those three brief sessions, I do remember the therapist saying, “It sounds like you grew up in a cult of sorts.” At the time, I was offended (still In the FOG).  Looking at things now - yeah - cult is the perfect word for it.

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MyEyesROpen

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Re: Was your PD family like a cult?
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2019, 05:12:21 PM »
I agree that every cult seems to have a narcissist ultimately running the show and I think NPD families are basically just small cults because they also have a narcissist at their heart. Mine certainly felt like that. However, leaving them can be easy if you never felt loved by them in the first place.

I escaped my NPD family, aged 18, by leaving home to go to university. It was in the days when you got a grant. I also managed to get a scholarship, which was very lucky for me, since my parents gave me nothing towards either my tuition or my living expenses. Even with a grant and scholarship, I just about made ends meet because I had zero savings. When I finished my degree, I vowed I'd rather live on the streets than return to my family "home". Thankfully I met my DH in my second year and we married and set up home together after graduating. I didn't experience cult withdrawal when I initially left home, because I was way too ecstatic just to have escaped them. Their acceptance and approval never mattered to me, because I learnt early on in life that they were totally un-pleasable and irrational. I could have found a cure for cancer and they'd have put me down in some way for it.

When I finally went NC with my NPD family, aged 50, there was no experience of their love dying, since there'd never been any love from them in the first place. But I did experience grief because I gave up any hope of them ever changing. NC didn't trigger withdrawal symptoms either. I simply grieved for the family I'd never had.

Getting over the brainwashing that my NPD family instilled in me was far harder than escaping them. They lived on in my head and carried on tormenting me there. My head was full of irrational rules and fears and it took time and persistence to counter them. It's something I still struggle with on a daily basis.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who fill your cup, and those who drain it. —Joe Navarro

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Nominuke

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Re: Was your PD family like a cult?
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2019, 12:41:01 AM »
Absolutely.

My FOO was just like being in a cult of personality with unNF being the Kim Jong-un or whatever.

Daily propaganda of how lucky we were to have such a wonderful dad.

Splitting family members into different groups and playing them of against each other.

Outside enemies (other adult males in the extended family/community) regularly denounced.

Any dissent viciously punished.

It's almost as if he read animal farm and thought it was a parenting guide.

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Free Rebel

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Re: Was your PD family like a cult?
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2019, 09:46:27 PM »
Yes and on top of that I literally was in a cult that my narc father brought us into since I was a young child.  They both abused and controlled us.  All the things I learned about narcissism were very similar to the way the cult abused us.  There is gaslighting, triangulation, projection, flying monkeys, etc.  I got out of the cult and learned about that years before I learned about narcissism. 

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Was your PD family like a cult?
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2019, 10:22:24 PM »
It's almost as if he read animal farm and thought it was a parenting guide.

 :rofl:

Thanks for that excellent simile. I relate as well to everything you wrote. All of us children were treated equally, but some more equal than others.

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sandpiper

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Re: Was your PD family like a cult?
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2019, 10:26:21 PM »
Yes, the BITE elements were all there.
What's really sad for me is that I'm in my fifties now and I've lived to see most of my mother's family raise their own children with the same values and mindset that nearly destroyed me and which took such a terrible toll on others. There's no insight, just victim-blaming. I'm glad I got out, but it's horrible to see the cycle continuing and another generation being FOOBARed because their parents couldn't or wouldn't do what was necessary to create generational change.

Nominuke: Loved your comment about Animal Farm as a parenting guide  :yeahthat: