One day the truth just hits you right in the face and you can’t ignore it or pretend anymore.
You have to leave and you know it with every fiber of your being. Your heart will feel like it’s in a million pieces and it will feel like you are losing a part of yourself. It is going to feel like the biggest and most dangerous decision of your life.
This isn’t a decision you will make hastily. You’ll pray harder than you’ve ever prayed and you will find courage you didn’t know you had. People you love and trust will label you something like rebellious, vengeful, or deceived when you speak up. You will speak up anyway and you will wish they could understand.
The most amazing people will see and show you the love you didn’t think you deserved. They will impact your soul in the deepest way and will show you that you are loved, even if you don’t remember what that feels like or if you’ve never known what being loved is like. This love will be your foundation and hope.
You will question your judgment and your gut feelings A LOT. You’ll doubt what you know to be true because you’ll feel like you are overreacting. You’ll mourn the beautiful relationships and community you thought you had. Severing the unhealthy emotional attachments you’ve developed will be liberating and will feel like you are losing part of who you are.
Trusting people again will be hard. There will be a time when you are reserved and guarded and don’t show anyone the pain you’re carrying. It will take a while to trust your discernment and let people past your walls. You’ll relearn how to have friends, interact with people, and what it means to love.
Sometimes you will wonder if the new people you meet are connected to your abuser or the cult. You may find they contact you years down the road and you’ll feel a whole lot of things—disorientation, fear, anger, grief, horror, numbness, etc. By then you will have more strength to set boundaries and trust your gut, even when you feel like a jerk.
Daily life and people-ing will be scary or triggering sometimes. The memories will resurface and it will feel like you are reliving every moment. You’ll feel things down to your core, deeper than you could before, and you’ll discover the best way forward is with compassion and courage.
Step by step, you’ll push forward. You’ll heal and you will rebuild a beautiful life. Choose bravery, pray, and keep doing you.
If no one has told you today, you got this and I’m proud of you.
Here’s to grieving and still thriving, because you can do both.