Rebuilding after leaving CF

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BreakFree
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Rebuilding after leaving CF

Post by BreakFree »

Can you have a life once you leave Christian Fellowship. The answer is yes. But where do you start. Anyone who leaves knows full well the consequences instant excommunication, you loose your family, friends, community, sense of belonging, identity, purpose. On top of this there are layers of spiritual abuse with questions such as:
• Is God angry at me?
• Will God Punish me for leaving?
• Is my salvation in Jepordy if I go to another church?
• What if they were right?
As well as many others.
Once you make the break you suddenly have freedom but you don’t know what to do with it. In his book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’, Victor Frankel decribes the experience of being set free from the concentration camps in WW2. When Germany was defeated the gates were opened the prisoners could walk free. Many took one step outside the gates but ran back inside for fear of what they thought would happen. Soldiers would shoot them.
It’s the same fear that keeps people trapped inside CF. Fear of loss, Fear of punishment, fear of making mistakes fear of breaking the rules.

I have had many experiences where I had to retrain myself for example the first time I missed going to church on a Sunday I was sitting in my lounge room shaking most of the day because I was in a panic the earth was going to open up and swallow me or a bolt of lighting would come down from the sky and smite me. It seems ridiculous now but this is the kind of conditioning to work through. One of the most powerful experiences I had was getting married. I met my wife at work. She was not from CF so she was not approved but I choose her over the group. I am still standing today to tell my story. We married in our local Anglican Church and are raising our son there.

My advice for anyone who has left or considering leaving is this. Just be open to embracing new people and new experiences. Its difficult yes and challenging sitting through experiences where you feel at any moment something terrible will happen, but the more you be a rebel and break the rules from CF the easier it gets.
Some experiences I’ve had.
After the NZ shootings a few years ago our local mosque opened their doors for a vigil. We went and prayed and grieved with our Muslim brothers and sisters. If nothing else I was curious to experience a different culture but as a Christian I felt it was important to live according to the principals of love, peace, unity, something I would never have dreamed of while attending CF.

Another is going to see Queen (Rock Band) live. 12 months before I could not watch the movie Bohemian Rhapsody I was triggered into an intense emotional state as I battelled all the rules CF had rammed into me. Going to the concert I was able to enjoy the show. Music is just music. Electric guitars are not demonic it is just another genre of music.

I am happy to talk to anyone who is trying to find their way after leaving CF. Send me a message through street car or email me cifs.workshop.bcf@gmail.com. No one has to walk this road alone anymore.
Stargazer
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Re: Rebuilding after leaving CF

Post by Stargazer »

Thank you Breakfree for sharing your oh so familiar experience. The hardest to deal with is the agonising reality that your once loving friends and family members no longer want to see you. I personally are dealing with fam and friends that are still inside CF purposefully cross the street so they don't have to talk or be seen with me. Family choosing to be with the cult members over outsiders on special occasions such as Christmas and Easter…..rah rah the merry go round goes round and around…. But there is light at the tunnel. CF people thinking of leaving but too scared too…. YOU WILL have support and YOU WILL make new GENUINE friendships!
My regret now is that I didn’t leave earlier! I feel like I let myself and children down, having to put up with the emotional abuse inside. Life is great! New loving church, new loving friends who are my family now. Genuine people who love God and not their Star Messenger(insert angry emoji), genuine love for all humanity!
BreakFree
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Re: Rebuilding after leaving CF

Post by BreakFree »

Thanks Stargazer. that is a real shame people actively go out of their way to avoid you. it a very childish and cowardly act. Made me have a little chuckle to myself Rev 21:8 "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” That's the funny thing about being a bible literalist is you can choose the parts to be literal about. So in actively going out of their way to shun you they are in actual fact sending themselves to hell.

Separation from so called friends I can live with. I learnt very quickly who my real friends were and it wasn't anyone from CF. Family is much harder. While I long for my family to be set free from Vic Curse I have come to accept the more I try the more they fight me. I spoke with my Psychologist about it and she said its very common for people to deny what they have said when therapists repeat back word for word what the client said. There was a moment with my family where they expressed concern about CF doctrine> I validated what they said then they immediately denied it. The same thing happened a few months later except this time I said nothing and let the doubt my family had fill the room. It was hard but I hope their own words resonated with them.
Faith Hopegood
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Re: Rebuilding after leaving CF

Post by Faith Hopegood »

Dear Breakfree and Stargazer,
Thank you so much for sharing these posts. It brought back a flood of memories for me when you wrote
Anyone who leaves knows full well the consequences instant excommunication, you loose your family, friends, community, sense of belonging, identity, purpose. On top of this there are layers of spiritual abuse with questions such as:
• Is God angry at me?
• Will God Punish me for leaving?
• Is my salvation in Jepordy if I go to another church?
• What if they were right?
As well as many others.
It is now 20 years since I left BCF. And I can confirm my husband and I felt all those thoughts and emotions you have listed (just not the "What if they were right") because we knew that an Elder verbally abusing and yelling at you because you disagreed with him was not Gods work. On one hand I had this enormous feeling of freedom from tyranny and control, and on the other hand I was mentally destroyed due to the years of abuse and suffering deep depression. I do remember having a few Sundays off and not going to church and just enjoying our family and children and then after about a month we attended a local Church of Christ service. After the service my husband and I sat cowering at a coffee table in the foyer, waiting for lightning to fall from heaven to kill us, and the earth to open and swallow us up, and to die and be struck down like Annanias and Saphira! Because the CF elders said we would die if we left the CF. We felt these feelings all at the same time! We even enjoyed the service at the Church of Christ and were surprised and pleased when they actually spoke about Jesus (instead of Elders, Administration and Vic Hall!). They even read complete bible passages without reference to Vic Halls latest guide book.

However, we relaxed a little when the very kind pastor came over to us and said hello and asked us how were were and where we came from. When we told him we had just left the Christian Fellowship, he nodded and smiled knowingly and said "Yes I thought so, you had a certain look about you". This guy had seen other escapees from the Fellowship too. He assured us that we not going to die and the earth was not going to open and swallow us up and wishes us good and invited us back next week.

I would 100% back up Breakfree's comments about taking things easy and go and explore the world and learn to enjoy life. Take it easy, don't condemn yourself.

Of course we did have to suffer all the rubbish and trauma of losing fake friends and losing contact with family, however leaving BCF was definitely worth it. I confirm the fact that our family members blew us off numerous times after we left the fellowship, cancelling Christmas and Easter visits and preferring to go to the BCF cult Christmas and Easter picnics in the park on Christmas Day instead of visiting family, but there you have it. Their loss I suppose.

It takes a long time to rebuild. My advise is to seek professional help if you are depressed. See your GP, get referrals to psychologies and psychiatrists as necessary, they are your friends. Don't beat yourself up. Attack depression on every front, get professional help, have a healthy diet, do daily exercise in the morning - it is great for the brain health. Blessings to all.
BreakFree
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Re: Rebuilding after leaving CF

Post by BreakFree »

Thank you Faith Hopegood. Its a beautiful story. I am glad you and your Husband were able to get out and rebuild your lives. Blessings
BreakFree
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Re: Rebuilding after leaving CF

Post by BreakFree »

I want to share an experience I had this week. Independent decision making has been a challenge since leaving. Being trained to run everything by the elders making life choices is difficult. I have been able to make choices for myself since leaving CF but this week I made a decision which was in the best interest of my family. I have been looking at changing roles for a while. I applied for a similar position in a different company that was advertised a higher pay rate and set hours (I currently worked shift work with a roster that changed week to week). After the interview I was offered a position that was less that my current role and not what was discussed in my interview. I initially declined the offer stating it was not enough hours to be viable. In DBT I learnt the skill of being assertive. This was a good opportunity to assert my needs of particular number of hours in order to accept the role. The company came back to me a day later with a renewed offer.
the new offer was a contract with an additional 15/fortnight.
The hole process I had my families interest and managed to negotiate a contract with my new employer that was a higher base rate, more contracted hours, a set roster and less days at work.
While this may seem trivial now, I am proud of my accomplishment of asserting my needs and being able to make sound decisions which is not something I could do when I left CF.
Lillith
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Re: Rebuilding after leaving CF

Post by Lillith »

I’m so thrilled for you BF!!
I think it’s a very big step you made, and congratulations for your assertiveness!
I m sure that was indicative of you overcoming self-doubt and accusing voices- so an encouragement to all here.
guest
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Re: Rebuilding after leaving CF

Post by guest »

We are very proud of you BF.

What you have been through and what you have faced.
Your faith and committment to God.
Your overcoming.
Your self-growth.
Your bravery and courage.
Your giveness, love and heart to assist and help others.
Your contribution to this forum - incredible.
Plus much more...

Have hope that those who you trusted and love will be very proud of you again - the scales will fall off. Keep trusting and praying. It will happen.
Bagel
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Re: Rebuilding after leaving CF

Post by Bagel »

May I join the chorus? A thousand congratulations and blessings BF! Great work.

Bagel
Helen Pomery
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Re: Rebuilding after leaving CF

Post by Helen Pomery »

Independent decision making has been a challenge since leaving.
BreakFree
We stand with you in support and encouragement.

Our journey is a gradual one of healing and recovery, with no pressure to be further down the track than where we are at any given time.

Blessings to you every day as you heal. Helen
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