Coping with Triggers and Floating… A Recovery Issue
by Carol Giambalvo
“Floating” is a word often used in association with “trancing out,” “spacing out,” “being triggered,” or “dissociation.” Ex-cult members describe it in several ways, including (but not limited to) feeling disconnected, feeling as though you’re watching yourself live your life, having spells where you experience uncontrollable emotions (usually sadness or anger) that is not appropriate to what is happening at the moment. It is also described as having exaggerated physical sensations, having anxiety or mild panic attacks, or having a fantasy or dream like vision, almost like a dream that invades your waking state. Most ex-members report that these experiences make them feel as though there is something drastically wrong with them; they feel as though they may be going crazy.
The purpose of this article is to take the fear out of these experiences and bring about some understanding that they are not abnormal.
Triggered experiences are common to people who have been through a traumatic experience or prolonged periods of stress. Life in a cult is stressful and, for some former members, extremely traumatic. In addition, cults induce altered states of consciousness in many ways. Continue reading
An Exit Counselor’s Perspective
Classification of Ex-Members
There are several classifications of ex-members, based on how they left the cult. Former members usually fit into one of the following:
- Those who had interventions.
- Those who left on their own, or walkaways .
- Those who were expelled, or castaways
Walkaways and castaways need the most help in understanding their recovery process. Former members who were cast out of a cult are especially vulnerable; often they feel inadequate, guilty, and angry.
Following are several pieces of information that have come to light regarding sexual abuse victims and different priests associated with the Legionaries of Christ. The first is a declaration of the abuse perpetrated upon Patrick Keane by two LC priests, Fr. Guillermo Izquierdo and Fr. Salvador Maciel (no relation to Marcial Maciel). We also offer the official response of the Legion to his complaint along with other background documents.
We present the personal story of another victim, James: his written testimony and the ABC local news program where he was interviewed about the incident and the response of Legion officials to his charges.
Associated Press has released an article by Nicole Winfield Click Here For Nicole Winfield Article reporting that the Vatican is currently investigating seven Legionary priests for alleged sexual abuse of minors and two others for other alleged crimes.
Nicole Winfield points out that the Legion has tended to insist that the crimes of its late founder, the Rev. Marciel Maciel, were his alone. The article then goes on to say that the Vatican investigation of other Legion priests indicates that the same culture of secrecy that Maciel created within the order to cover his crimes enabled other priests to abuse children.
According to the report, one of the cases involves recent events and the others involve alleged abuse from decades ago.
The AP report includes a reference to Aaron Loughrey, who has shared his testimony here on ReGAIN. Aaron left the Legion in 1995 before he was ordained and told AP that he has been in counseling almost ever since as he seeks justice from the order. Significantly, Aaron stated that the vow he took as a seminarian never to criticize the actions or deeds of a superior made him unable to question what the priest had told him to do.
The AP report quoted former RC member Genevieve Kineke, who runs a blog about the Legion and Regnum Christi and who said the investigations confirm that the problems within the Legion did not die with Maciel and are still hurting the order today.?
Genevieve went on to offer her opinion that the Legion has been recently claiming that their good fruits justify their existence and suggests that perhaps the bad fruit (over and above the bad fruit of the founder) should justify imposing a ban on recruitment activities.
Once again Nicole Winfield has written a brilliant article, shining some light into the dark corners of the Legion and Regnum Christi.
On life-after-rc blog, Click Here a number of commenters showed their support for Aaron Loughrey in his prolonged search for justice, congratulating him because the Legion leaders have finally been forced into admitting that abuse in the Legion was not limited to the sins of their founder.
If we were to ask a question what would be the best way for a woman to become as much as possible like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the logical answer would be to join the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order that was founded by Mother Teresa and to emulate her by studying about her and becoming involved in the work that contuse by her followers.
If a person chose to want to become more like Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, it follows that the best way to do that would be to become a Legionary priest or a consecrated 3gf in Regnum Christi. Until as recently as 2009, many people did follow in the footsteps of Fr. Maciel, idolizing him as the perfect Legionary?, studying his writings and tapes and involved in the way of life that he established. Since 2009, very few Legionary priests would choose to follow in their founder’s footsteps and in fact many have claimed that his evil lifestyle did not affect others in the Legion or Regnum Christi.
Looking back in time to when the founder established the rules of his order and his movement, it is commonly believed that the rules, the secrecy, the vows of poverty, obedience and the secret vows to never criticize a superior and other factors he had control over created an ideal environment for him to be able to get away with doing whatever he wanted to do with his minor seminarians. The many testimonies of those including Juan Vaca and others on this website and on others have confirmed that the conditions made the junior seminarians powerless to deal with abuse.
These conditions established by Fr. Marcial Maciel continued until the recent Vatican intervention. So it is not surprising to us at ReGAIN or to others who have followed this scandalous situation that others might truly follow in their founder’s footsteps regarding abuse of minors. This would be particularly true for those Legionary priests who had themselves been victimized.
â€œGiselleâ€� on her life-after-rc blog wisely points out the perfect Catch-22 the Legionary leaders now find themselves. When the Legion attempts to do damage control by claiming that these are not new cases; they already knew about them, then they would be admitting that they neglected to take responsible action. If instead, these are new cases that have come to light then it demonstrates that there is inter-generational abuse in the Legion and that they remain deep in denial.
Certainly it is becoming more difficult for the Legion leaders to continue their games of denial and obfuscation and deceit as the light continues to work its way further into the darkest corners, revealing the truth. In the Book of John 8:32, Our Lord said that if you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples; you will know the truth and THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE?.