survivor voices show

Abuse Is Not Just “Being Harsh”

The Eyes Don’t Lie by Vennie Kocsis

“No, you don’t understand.” I explained through the phone. “I witnessed abuse; cruel, verbal abuse.”

Well, you know,” the lady on the other end replied, “some people can be a bit harsh.”

Harsh, that’s what my mother’s generation called verbal abuse. Harshness. Harsh meant you could be spoken to however an adult wished. Harsh meant you were a pain in the ass, always fucking up, couldn’t do anything right, controlled, sequestered, gossiped about, and all the while your abuser feigning to the outside world that they are a good person.

Too many times than I care to count, I have heard how wonderful and kind my mother was.  Yes, it was hard to watch my mother be nice to other people for the sake of appearances.  My mother’s abuse was subtle. She could pinch you on your upper arm to shut you the hell up while smiling at the stranger she was speaking with.

Harsh. This woman I was speaking with had just called blatant verbal abuse “a bit harsh.” I knew in that moment, that none of this was worth my energy.  It was futile to even try anymore, so I said, “Well, I love you.” Because I do. I have love for her existence and the gifts I’ve seen her display.

Then she laughed at me, as if the statement of “I love you” was ridiculous.  She actually outright laughed at me.  I was momentarily stunned.

“Well, I wouldn’t say THAT. That’s not something we just throw around.” She retorted.

I realized even more, that this is the problem. Lady, your generation didn’t tell us you loved us. You didn’t “throw around” love when we needed it, and you still don’t. You throw denial. You throw self service, because “who is going to do this and that for you because you didn’t keep up with age of technology?” You don’t throw out, “I’m sorry you had to witness that. This is not okay. I understand why you ethically wouldn’t want to be associated with that kind of behavior.”

Instead, I received defense statements which melded into victim blaming as if we are over-exaggerating; as if our feelings and observations and hurt don’t matter.  As if we don’t understand your blurred line between “Harshness”and blatant Abuse.

“Well, I say I love you to people I appreciate, so know you’re loved.” I reply. I realize it doesn’t matter. I can feel love for whomever I wish. If she chooses to mock it, that is for her to feel, not me.

I don’t have the where with all to associate myself with these kinds of apathetic mentalities. They are damning and counter-productive. They are petty and cruel. They are lacking depths of self-accountability, and there is not healing within those confounds.

There is a generational gap where the strong are over taking the weak. I feel a sense of empathy for the dying. A Generation of Sociopaths created a grave problem in our societal construct, spent the next fifty years studying these self-created problems, used their children as test subjects for their abuse and study and wrote mass books about it; books which contain no “on the ground” solutions. Regurgitation is not for our generation.

I feel empathy for the waning because they will never know how good it is to heal, to love, to stand in truth instead of denial, to call moments for what they are, to own their own behaviors and make a choice to change them; to speak truth no matter who throws stones, instead of running on passive aggression. They’ll never what it’s like not to care what others think of them or not base their worth on another’s opinion. That’s rather sad, yet that energy is a dense weight on this rising Earth, needing to be healed or dispelled.

When a person is hanging on the edge of a cliff, there comes a moment, their hands become weak.  They know that death is inevitable.  Yet still, they grasp onto that rock with all of their might. Finally, they take that last breath, and free fall into the inevitable destiny of change.  Welcome to a new era of letting go and flying.

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of CULT CHILD, and hostess of Survivor Voices radio show every Sunday at Freedom Slips.

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VennieKocsis.com

 

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Liberation Point: Survivor Voices

I recently listened to the story of a woman who escaped a life in a fundamentalist religious cult.  I am always drawn to those who were children in cults, as I find the most comradeship with their stories, often similar to mine.

She is standing at the podium, poised, articulate and dressed in a dark suit.  She tells her story slowly, unfolding the pain of the cult survival which drives her passion to grow an organization supporting people just like her.   She speaks of her struggles to adapt, the experiences which she will never forget and the scars it has left upon her family.

“My worst day as a free soul is far better than my best day in captivity.”

Samie Brosseau

Samie Brosseau

I have tears as she shares.  I am her.  She is me.  We are the faces of random strangers we pass in the street.  We know nothing of their lives, but they could be us.  We grew up sequestered from life.  Our normalcy was reversed as we learned to become accustomed to being hurt.  We were refused a connection with our own authentic being and free will.

Yet, we have survived, and now I sit here so proud of who we have grown to be.  I listen as she bravely talks about the work she and her partner have done in just a short fifteen months. They have helped eight cult survivors transition into a life they would otherwise be floundering inside of.  Eli Weiss and Samie Brosseau work on event fundraisers to garner funding to provide real-time support for cult survivors.   I hear the echo of their voices’ repeated passion of being “ON THE GROUND“; understanding crisis, and what is truly needed.

“On the weekend, a couple of us will hop in the car and just drive, you know? They get to experience what it feels like to do what they want to do. They get to connect, and we laugh. We just talk about regular life. That’s how they want to be treated. Accepted.  Just like they’re people, because they are.”

Eli Weiss [on supporting cult survivors]

Eli Weiss and Samie Brosseau

I am watching from the wings as child cult survivors, now adults, are swiftly rising.  They are creating storms with their voices and healing as they exhale.  They are standing up for themselves.  They are refusing to bend.

We must pay attention to what is happening right now within our communities.  Every day, children wait for us to notice; for us to speak up.  Every day another child wonders if there is someone out there waiting should they become brave enough to run.

Oh, yes, we are here waiting for you with open arms. It is the time of the Experiencer, and we will all rise together through support, open communication and sharing.

Click the logo below to visit Liberation Point and find out more about their organization.

https://www.liberationpoint.org/home.html

 

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of CULT CHILD, and hostess of Survivor Voices radio show every Sunday at Freedom Slips.

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VennieKocsis.com

LOCKED IN: by John Huddle

At the 2014 conference for the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), I was in a conference filled with cult survivors. We were sitting in a large circle, some of us child survivors, some parents who had been lured, yet all of us had one commonality, we were victims. We shared openly, and a comradely connection swept through the room.

There was a man with a great sense of humor who seemed to interject at just the right time with softly funny quips that seemed to break moments of heaviness.  He had a gentle smile and kind demeanor.  John Huddle, survivor of Word of Faith Fellowship cult and author of LOCKED IN, ended up spending time with our group of survivors.  It was a great connection of healing and realizing that none of us were alone.  I was thrilled to meet another author, and we exchanged our books with each other.

Huddle’s book, LOCKED IN, opens with a young John, innocent minded, with a heart to do good in his community, a working man who volunteered at his local church.  He meets a like-minded woman and soon marries.  Life seems fulfilling, with Christian oriented goals of giving and helping in the community.  But this simple life quickly takes a turn when a woman named Jane Whaley enters the scene. John’s church, formerly led by Gerald and Linda Southerland, merges with the Whaley ministry and morphs into what would be re-titled as Word of Faith Fellowship.   Jane Whaley rules her congregation with an iron fist.  Her intensive and extensive set of rules are strenuous, dictating everything from styles of dress to her members’ employment, relationships, how children should be disciplined and much more.  In time, John and his wife have a family, but as his family grows, so does the sadistic, abusing and controlling environment and rituals set out by Jane WhaleyThe congregation travels to Brazil on recruiting trips. Over time, John becomes conflicted.  He struggles to come to terms with the truth of what he is embedded in.  Eventually, John is forced to make a decision that will ultimately change his life forever.

LOCKED IN is an excellently written, compelling and fast read.  Well-crafted with a style that can be related with, LOCKED IN allows the reader to follow the slow unfolding of religious based mind control on an adult.  The question of how an adult is slowly lured, turned and trapped into an abusive cult is lain out with brilliant precision.  With an informative forward by Lorna Goldberg, L.C.S.W, Psy.D, former President of International Cultic Studies Association, and quoting cult experts such as Janja Lalich, PhD, LOCKED IN tells the story of how innocent humans are preyed upon by swindlers who use religion to extract everything they can from their victims.

On behalf of Freedom Slips I recently had the honor to guest host one of their broadcasts and sit down to talk with John about the experiences he details in LOCKED IN.  John also discussed the current court case involving assault victim, Matthew Fenner by members of Word of Faith Fellowship.  Click below to listen to John’s interview.

John’s blog is a hub which details the history and the current drama involving the criminality of WOFF.  To stay abreast with the current events of the WOFF criminal case, follow John’s blog.  Word of Faith Fellowship has been deemed an extremely brutal cult and is currently charged with human trafficking of its Brazil members.

Vennie Kocsis is an Amazon best-selling author of CULT CHILD.  She hosts Survivor Voices Show every Sunday, 3PM PST / 6PM EST.  She is an anti-cult advocate and a supporter of of abuse survivors.