If you are familiar with me you may know that I grew up in and spent 35 years in Scientology. You may also know that I tend to over share, will step into your personal space in ways that may make you uncomfortable, and I have a fixation on little people. All things I've covered so far in this ever evolving blog, in my monthly column in the Lakeshore Weekly News, and even on my radio show on myTalk 107.1 here in Minneapolis. By the way, I'm on air Saturdays 2pm-4pm. Do tune in as I'd like to remain employed there. Also I think you may find my co-host Twila Dang and I to be as entertaining as we find ourselves.
My family and I escaped from Scientology, and I mean escaped. As is the case with cults, you don't leave one, you escape from one the way you would a house on fire or an abusive relationship. I tried to leave Scientology a couple of times during my 35 year history. I've been physically stopped from doing so, held and watched by security to make sure I didn't leave, threatened with the loss of my family and friends if I did and so on and so on. So yes, you don't leave Scientology as if you were walking out of Macy's, you escape like your life depended on it, and mine did.
Escape means to "Break free from confinement or control." Three generations of my family physically started our escape from the Church of Scientology in December of 2009. I say started because almost 5 years later I'm realizing that breaking free from the indoctrination and control embedded within me over a lifetime, is taking and will take some time to undo. The indoctrination and control inflicted by a cult, like herpes, is the gift that keeps on giving.
I'll be the first to admit that I think I can change the world in a day. Actually, that is bullsh#t. I'm not the first to admit that. It's been pointed out to me by multiple people who care about me as my unworkable way of dealing with life and problems. I'm actually probably the last to admit it, but I'm admitting it now.
When I become aware of or accept that I have a problem, I throw myself into finding and implementing a solution to the problem. Often in a way that doesn't truly solve it, but covers it up enough to make it look as if all is well. Hand me a pile of steaming cow crap, and I'll dry it out, paint it with glitter, frame it, throw it up on the wall and convince everyone that it's art.
I'll wear that dried out cow sh#t as earrings while smiling, sipping a glass of wine and repeating my favorite and biggest lie, "I'm fine." Denial is a building block in Scientology. It's a building block in surviving any painful experience, be it childhood abuse, sexual assault, growing up in a home riddled with addiction. You name it, denial is a part of it and it has been my lover for years.
Most all of us have a "Cult" we are trying to erase years of programming from. For some it was a controlling religion, abusive parents, husbands, wives, siblings, you name it. We are born with a mostly blank hard drive. Over the years we allow programs to be loaded onto us. We accept the filters from others on how we should see the world.
Somewhere along the line we start to realize that what we have been doing isn't working for us. We look for answers, we turn inward, we hurt ourselves and others. We worry, stress and obsess over our problems and the people in our lives who we can not control, but still try to control. Sometimes we turn to alcohol, drugs or other outlets to escape a pattern, or at least give us the false sense of escape.
This is what I did. I stopped taking care of myself. If I could stay busy saving the world through Scientology, raising my kids, taking care of whoever the man in my life was before myself, then I would never have to stop and deal with me. I'd never have to stop and own my part in any of it.
Apparently there is a word for this pattern of behavior and it's called codependency. Since starting my escape from Scientology 5 years ago I've written about my experiences in Scientology and out of it. Sharing it, and talking about it has always been healing for me.
Many times I've been told I should write a book, especially after sharing my experiences in Scientology. That didn't appeal to me much. Now, I think I know why. It's because my story isn't solely about escaping from Scientology. Though, Scientology is obviously a large part of my life. I'm about to turn 44 and spent most of my life in the cult.
I'm not sure exactly what my story is, but I do know it has much to do with Cults, Cabernet and Codependency. So, I'll start at the beginning. At least I plan to. I may never write another word about it, but I hope I do follow through as I figure it out.
As a writer I find solace and understanding thru writing. I hope to share what I discover as I go because I believe that my story isn't unique to me. Everyday I see friends and others who have similar struggles, especially women. You probably didn't grow up in Scientology or a cult, but you have programming and ways you are living today that aren't working for you. You are worried, you are obsessing, and at times your life may feel like it is spinning out of control.
Well, welcome aboard! I'm Natalie Hagemo and I'll be your cruise director as we navigate my story of "Cults, Cabernet and Codependency". Feel free to comment below or email me your comments at Nhagemo@me.com
I just laughed in realizing just now how appropriate my email address is for a woman starting her walk out of codependency. Yup, me.com LOL I don't know how my story ends, but I know how it began, which is where I'll start in Cults, Cabernet and Codependency Part Two.