My Life Before Scientology


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My Life Before Scientology

I have written about my time in Scientology and put off describing my life before Scientology but think that it is something I should take on now.

I was born in 1971 in Buffalo New York. My mother was an extremely poor teenager when I was born, I believe she was eighteen years old and my father was out of the picture at such an early point in my life that I have no memories of him whatsoever.

I lived in the black rock and riverside area of Buffalo for the first few years of my life. The neighborhood I lived in was quite poor and we lived in poverty. My mother was on public assistance for the first few years of my life and we never had more than a few dollars to spare. I always had the cheapest clothes and sneakers available.

I remember one year it was time to go back to school and I was told we had no money to buy new socks for me, so I had to go a few weeks without socks. We also had times where the food stamps or welfare check would be several days late, back then they were actually sent in the mail, and I would ask about dinner at around seven PM and get told there was no dinner today. I tried things like making soup with bullion cubes (not recommended) and eating condiments.

You just need these things to happen a few times to get concerned about the situation.

I was a very, very skinny kid and usually the third shortest, never the shortest boy, but often the skinniest in my class. I was very self conscious about being so thin.

I went to public school number fifty one in black rock and it was a urban jungle. In walking to and from school getting jumped was a fact of life. I had to walk to school alone and when older and bigger kids found someone alone they simply attacked you and you either caught a beating, which happened if the kids were just far too big or worked together against a lone kid. Both of which of course happened I don't know how many times. If you had any chance you fought back and sometimes won and sometimes lost and sometimes both guys gave up and it was not clear who won. From around six or seven years old this was reality.

I got many similar experiences at home and out in the world that reinforced the same message. This would shape much of my life. It became clear to me that people are frequently contradictory. They profess to be moral, honorable and courageous but it doesn't show when they are attacking you as a child simply for walking down the street and being vulnerable. And the vast majority of the time any witnesses don't intervene, no matter how much brutality they witness. They avoid conflict despite claiming they would intervene in questions about hypothetical situations.

They are self deceived regarding morality. It doesn't mean they are evil or sociopathic. It means they are wrong as in incorrect in their assessment of what they would do in hypothetical moral crises.

My mother was single until I was perhaps eight years old. When it was just the two of us she was friendly and neglectful in alternating turns. If we had stayed just as we were for my entire childhood I think that it would have been a flawed but not dysfunctional relationship. Sadly, this was not to be.

My mother started going to college and got a part time job as a security guard at a parking ramp and that was the beginning of the end of the happy times for us. (Well, happier, bearable)

She met a parking lot attendant who worked in the same lot and he was married. Of course they ended up dating and he left his wife and moved into an apartment with us. I won't use his name, I will just call him Bobby.

Bobby changed the entire scene at home and I had no idea what was going on. It had to be by the time I was seven or eight one day I woke up earlier than anyone else and on a Saturday morning I went into the bathroom and discovered that the faucet had water come out as two different kinds of flows depending on how far the knob was turned. I kept turning it to this point then back to see exactly what the change was.

I made enough noise doing this to wake up Bobby. So he stormed into the bathroom without saying a word and I barely remember a flash of him coming into the room, myself flying back into the towel rack and the next thing I remember is waking up on the floor and having an incredibly sore head with some blood on it and the metal towel rod was incredibly mangled. I didn't understand why I was sleeping on the floor or how I got there.

My mother seemed really mad and was scolding Bobby and I didn't understand what was going on. It took me a very long time to understand that Bobby, a five foot nine, two hundred and forty pound man, had bull rushed me and hit me as hard as he could which caused my little body which was under five feet tall and maybe eighty pounds to fly into the towel rack sending me with enough force to demolish the metal towel rod completely.

My mother panicked and yelled at Bobby when she thought he might have killed me. I didn't understand that he actually benefited from the incident. He set the bar for acceptable behavior. He ALMOST killed me. My mother made it clear, KILLING me was a bridge too far, but by staying with him, and continuing the relationship she was setting the boundaries.

To be very, very, clear Bobby never raised a hand to her, he never threatened to hit her, I slept in a room next to them for years and I never got any signs of fighting or him dominating her in any way. When they did have verbal conflicts, she yelled at him and he didn't yell at her. Almost every single time without exception.

He would hide bills from her and she would find them and yell at him and he didn't yell back.

By some point in the early years in which he was there a change occurred. She to my knowledge didn't object to anything he did to me. He could give me any chores or punishment no matter how severe and she never objected and always took his side.

A few examples are in order. I lost my house key when I was around ten so and my punishment was to not be given another key. Bobby started taking my mother out to dinner and a movie frequently and I would have to wait outside the house until they got home. In the winter in Buffalo New York it can get down to five or ten degrees and I had to wait sometimes until eight or nine or ten or eleven.

I never had good winter clothes, but that was irrelevant. I merely had to pace outside the house for five hours or so. They kept coming home late night after night after night and the worse the weather the more they did it.

I found out by a certain point that the punishments seemed to be unavoidable. One time I cleared the dishes after dinner and put them into the sink. I was criticized for not putting them onto the floor for the dog. The next day I made sure to put the dishes on the floor and was scolded because someone stepped on a dish.

I realized then that the game was I was wrong no matter what I did. The details were irrelevant. It was both depressing and liberating to realize the reality of my situation. I was in a no win situation but not responsible for it. So, on one hand the situation is not my fault, but as an eight or nine year old kid I had no escape.

Bad news kid, your life is shit, great news kid, it is not your fault because you are going to be treated like garbage no matter what you do. I tried to deny it but got literally smacked in the face with the truth, over and over.

A good example is around the time when I was twelve years old I had been getting treated this way for about five years. I got condemnation alternated with neglect alternated with beatings, there were a few harsh spankings but they were rapidly abandoned, as a child who is used to the fist can take the belt easily.

At twelve I had trouble getting up for school on time as I was neglected during the preceding summer and had gotten used to staying up til dawn then sleeping til noon. So, September rolled around and I couldn't adjust to getting up early right away.

So, the natural solution was that Bobby, did the only sensible thing, he heard my alarm clock going off, he came in my bedroom and started beating my face with his fists and we rapidly established a routine. He would hit me while I was still asleep, I would wake up and realize I was being punched in the head with the maximum force he could apply, I would not have a chance to speak and I would be beaten into unconsciousness. He hit me over and over and over with all the speed and force he could muster. Then Bobby would leave.

This happened over and over again I don't know how many times.

I eventually got in the habit of getting up early again. I was going to a new school that was a magnet school for the last few years of grammar school, I think, and had finally reached a point where the fact that I was willing to fight back against any other boy if I had any kind of chance was in full bloom. I reached this probably at around age eleven or twelve.

I was probably five foot three inches tall and maybe one hundred pounds or so. One day another kid, Larry, was standing in a hallway with me and I was wiping sweat off my face. I had taken off my glasses and set them down. Larry stood out as he had the bright red hair and freckles of a typical Irish kid. He thought it was funny that he had grabbed my glasses and was holding them away from me.

I became serious and explained to him that if I broke my glasses I knew that I would get the beating of a lifetime (well just a routine beating for me, but the beating of a lifetime for most people) and I needed him to hand my glasses back to me.

I was absolutely certain that if I broke these glasses or anyone else did this would happen. It was very consistent with my past and when I got glasses I was warned that they are very expensive, despite getting the cheapest ones available every time.

So, Larry in a fit of uncontrollable laughter twisted the glasses like a baker twisting a pretzel and of course they shattered into a dozen or so pieces. I was stunned. Larry couldn't stop laughing and looked at me and the glasses as if my predicament was the funniest thing he ever saw. He really enjoyed it, for a brief moment, very brief.

I grabbed Larry's throat with both my hands. Larry was standing right in front of a locker in the hallway. I smashed Larry's head against the locker behind him and he was dazed, I did it again, he was dazed, I did it again, he was stunned, I repeated this maybe a half dozen times or so and I looked at him and realized that if I didn't stop he was incapable of defending himself at all and I might kill him. I released his neck, put my hands down and slowly, calmly backed up.

I left him there and went home to get my beating. I didn't face it on a conscious level, but I think I was dissociated from the reality. There was a not insignificant danger that the natural progression would be that if I was beaten unconscious over minor annoyances that cost no money the next step of course would be to escalate, possibly accidentally, to lethal force for a mistake that resulted in costing a significant amount of money. It fit the logic of how our family functioned. Well, functioned as a dysfunctional family.

To have a truly severe, possibly crippling or fatal, beating was the most consistent prediction you could make based on the past.

I got home and was resigned to my fate. I have heard that in the concentration camps when a prisoner no longer flinched when the guards hit them or tried to avoid getting hit, the other prisoners knew that they were going to die soon. They would just stare ahead and not react to anything.

I had reached that point because I was so dissociated from the reality. It was terror, fright without solution, as Alexandra Stein described in her book Terror, Love and Brainwashing. I was not facing the threat because I had no solution.

Now the "funny" thing about this incident is that I went home and told my mother what happened, well, I mean I told her that Larry grabbed my glasses and broke them. I was resigned to my fate and she saw it. She didn't yell and scream like I expected. She left me alone and I think came back and told me that I would get new glasses. Now the very weird thing is I asked her if I should go see Bobby for my beating - I used the word beating because I knew a beating was forthcoming and wanted to get it over with, not a spanking, because we were way past spankings now, though I had plenty of those already.

So, surprising as it was she told me there would be no beating. I don't know what happened. I can speculate now, all these years later, thirty something years, that in the moment when I told her what happened she realized there was no teaching me anything as I already knew a beating would result if my glasses were broke and they were still broke, or maybe she realized Bobby might kill me and that would ruin her life.

Maybe in our relationship chock full of denial, projection, neglect, abuse and dissociation she saw that I put the unvarnished truth in front of her. I was a child who had his glasses stolen and broken by another child and knew that the natural result for me for the actions of another child was a severe, possibly life threatening, thrashing and I made no appeal to reason, as that never worked before, or an appeal to emotion, because asking for understanding or compassion never worked before and was, well, frankly, absurd. And my behavior made it clear there was no conflict to be had here. I would not dispute the correctness, morality or danger of the expected forthcoming beating and had no illusion of being valued or loved in that moment. Maybe in the face of that stark reality my mother was caught off guard. She usually would react to any claim of innocence or explanation why something happened by insisting that I was to blame, or any call for mercy by insisting that I needed to behave better.

What I am saying is we had danced a dance many times and she had treated it as a game of debate in which she was both a participant and the writer and rewriter of rules and the only judge. The justification in her mind of whatever was being done was the only goal in her mind. It was her way of convincing herself that she was a perfect parent, who had never done anything wrong.

Whether I was not going to be fed for a day or two or three or was going to be neglected or be left outside in winter for hours or beaten unconscious she had developed an answer she would recite and then judge appropriate.

After all she couldn't control the mail, she had other things to do, I shouldn't have lost my house key, I shouldn't have misbehaved and should be less of a burden and should just be good. These ideas are so simple anyone, including a child, should understand them.

She had a counter ready for anything, except that one time she was not ready for no resistance. I caught her off guard and she could not shut down objections that never came. She was going to have to just assert whatever she decided and not get to play off my appeal for nonexistent mercy and my explanation of my innocence which would not be believed and treated as irrelevant. Those things would have been stupid. You don't ask a person who doesn't care about you or have any compassion for mercy or a person who doesn't care about your innocence to consider your arguments. You might as well ask a dead man to stand up.

So, for whatever reason she didn't behave like usual and I got a pass for reasons I shall never know. I can't ask Bobby or my mother as they both died years ago.


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I should be clear that that year was a particularly difficult one. I was lashing out at other kids and another kid, Billie Hoyt, was about half a foot taller, his family had money, he had nice clothes, he was tall, I was short, he was related to a politician and his family name Hoyt is well known in Buffalo. He was rich compared to me, I was probably the poorest kid in the school. It was a magnet school and had kids from all over Buffalo and the suburbs, so I was surrounded by kids from all over the area. Almost all of which had nicer clothes and shoes and wouldn't hesitate to remind me.

I made a terrible mistake the first day of school that year. I sat down in math class in the back and planned on minding my own business. The teacher had given each of us a textbook for the year. He started talking about kilograms and the metric system.

I looked in the back of the book and found the conversion of kilograms to pounds. One kilogram is equal to 2.204 pounds. Simple.

The teacher asked if anyone knew how much a kilogram weighed. I perked up, not understanding why everyone else didn't look up the answer and I raised my hand. Big mistake.

I said a kilogram is 2.204 pounds but I guess you could round it up to 2.2 pounds. My voice cracked, everyone else was glaring at me in stunned silence. I said yeah, I guess you could round it up to 2.2. My voice cracked and I had a nervous laugh, realizing my joke fell flat.

The teacher was put on his back foot because he expected no one to know the answer, and to establish his authority because he knows it. But if his only advantage over us was having seen the answers, he was in for a rude surprise. I could catch up with him on any math he presented in a very short time. He grew to hate it.

Imagine being a thirty five year old teacher and a twelve year old kid walks in, the scrawniest, poorest kid you ever saw and he can read something over, do a few problems and then point out to the entire class when you get something wrong. That was rapidly where we went. It was similar in other classes except social studies which I struggled in. I had to work hard to get an A in that class.

I had a streak of straight As for a while and lamented if I got an A- or God forbid a B+, I got a couple B+s in social studies and had to get a few As in the later part of the year to pull my average up. I had the highest grade point average at the end of the year, a 96 point something and was supposed to win the Jesse somebody award but the teachers wanted to give it to a girl who had a 92 average because her behavior was far better. I basically treated the teachers like equals at best and they hated the idea of some smart ass know it all twelve year old punk getting the reward and he didn't listen to them and just breezed through almost every class.

By speaking up on the first day and breezing through my classes I also put a bullseye on my back, for every kid who struggled to get good grades or even worse struggled to pass or didn't pass. We had several kids who failed one or two grades and they were obviously a year or two older and some were even fifteen years old while I was twelve.

But I was big enough to fight back. One day while standing in the lunch line I was about halfway back in a line packed with about thirty kids. Billie Hoyt was behind me and for some reason he pushed me in the back and I said cut it out, then he pushed me hard about three more times and I turned around and out of nowhere just started pounding on him with both fists, he went down like a shot and was just eating knuckle sandwiches as fast as I could dish them out. I wasn't even thinking. It was pure blind rage. It was as if I blacked out. I punched him dozens and dozens of times with no response from him. I remember it happened, but other than a flash of rage I remember no thoughts, no words.

Out of nowhere one of the biggest kids there somehow got me off of him. This guy was probably 6'2" and 180 lbs. He was one of a handful of true giants in our class. He had blonde hair and looked like he belonged in an eighties soft rock band with the disheveled medium length hair you would expect from a person who was a musician and he had a buddy. I don't remember their names, so I will call them Blondie and Buddy.

Anyway, Blondie pulled me off Billie Hoyt and I got in trouble for fighting. Blondie and Buddy basically acted like they ran things at the school and when I got into enough of these fights (there was another one where someone pushed me on a flight of stairs and I almost fell down and I again lost control and just started pounding away). So, by the time I had been through three or four of these fights the guys who ran things felt like they had to assert their dominance. It is funny because they looked like adults and I was still tiny, but standing up to everyone was working out better for me in my mind than taking shit. And between my pent up rage and the fact that the majority of kids didn't intimidate me at all because I was getting adult sized beatings, into unconsciousness no less, so anyone within a few inches and about thirty or so pounds was no cause of concern to me. Well, I was concerned but would fight them anyway.

So Blondie and Buddy came to me and they looked like a TV duo, Blondie looking like a tall surfer dude and Buddy his short friend with dark hair. Buddy was the heavy of the duo and despite being shorter and struggling to pass his classes he called the shots.

They looked like two mini TV cops I guess. Buddy was more deferential than I thought he would be, as I was used to getting treated like shit by bigger and older kids. He had already failed our grade level twice and was therefore two years older. He also struggled academically and was told by his father that he would get his ass kicked if he embarrassed him and failed again.

Buddy and Blondie came up and Buddy was the talker with Blondie waiting in the wings as backup. Buddy told me that if someone came at him, "you may be able to knock me down, but when I get back up you are gonna get hurt bad." I didn't understand why he was even telling me, to me he was someone I would only take on as a last resort. Maybe after I fought the other three guys he mistakenly thought I was trying to pretend to be a bad ass and the reality was I was coming in from a home that had the reality of frequent severe beatings alternated with extreme neglect and being locked out of the house to fend for myself.

I was just trying to survive each day, I had no long term plans except to try to grow up and be alive to get away from these people. I had no illusions about being able to beat up the biggest guys there. I just ran into a few guys in a row who couldn't fight when they had pushed me over the edge.

I just listened to Buddy and didn't worry about what he said because I had expected that he was either going to jump me with Blondie or fight me by himself with Blondie waiting in the wings to jump in if he was losing. But he just told me that if someone came at him and knocked him down he would get back up and hurt them. It didn't even register to me that he meant me. I knew he and Blondie ran the school. I didn't realize he was trying to meet me on his terms, with the best backup possible. I acknowledged what he said and it was never extremely threatening, so he was satisfied that I didn't think of trying to take his spot, which was never a possibility in my mind. I was losing probably as often as I won in these fights, so I didn't dream of pretending to be the toughest guy in school, it was absurd. The fact of the matter was that most of these fights (the three I had won) were one sided and a surprised kid was getting hammered with little or no resistance.

There were plenty of other times things didn't go my way. There was a guy named Sylvester who was another of these six foot tall guys we somehow had, he heard me roasting someone in class one day and didn't appreciate it. I was confidently lighting up some kid verbally and Sylvester who kept to himself and never talked had had enough and he got up hit me with a pencil and started beating me ruthlessly. That didn't help my situation. Sylvester was a deeply troubled kid (young man?) who had been in just as many fights as me, but instead of doing it against bullies assaulting him as he was too big for anyone but a grown man to take on, he was kicking ass.

I know Billie Hoyt was also six feet tall but he was as soft as a grape. His family had money and that one sided beat down was probably the first and last fight that rich kid ever was in. Sylvester was the other end of the spectrum. He was ready to fight and beat down grown ass men.

Larry avoided me and I told him he should never have broken my glasses, putting me in line for a brutal beating. Larry formed an alliance with another kid who had disliked me, but we can call him Charlie. Charlie had disliked me for years but he never had the nerve to take me on himself. After my thrashing of Larry he found an out. He was hanging around with Larry, who previously disliked him because Charlie of course bullied him too. I think when Larry broke my glasses he thought he was gonna get away with pushing down someone lower than himself on the high school food chain. The fact that we were the only two people in the hall by the lockers at that moment and my efforts to avoid him, then to just get my glasses and withdraw, probably made him feel powerful and dominant in that social situation. He misread the situation as I was afraid, but of the consequences for breaking my glasses, not him.

So, Charlie used his brains and got Larry to go along with him. I was too naive or distracted to notice at the time. I mainly played defense socially and tried to fit in and make friends where I could. Charlie knew our science teacher frequently left the classroom and he coordinated his plan with Charlie. He played his hand perfectly. He had Larry stand on one side of the room and just act indifferent to everyone else. Charlie waited until I was between the two of them and he called me out. I was about the same size as Larry and actually a little bigger than Charlie, and I thought this would be a one on one fight with myself as the favorite which was a rare event. But, Charlie had it all figured out. He distracted me by calling me out. I focused all my attention on Charlie and that was a blunder. I told him to come to me, thinking he would not have the guts to do it, as he never had before. But he had a new card to play. He had Larry grab my arms from behind. I was grabbed and immediately Charlie closed the distance between us and punched me in the gut over and over. They showed me a variation of a lesson I got over and over.

There were several other times when two or more people teamed up to take me on and witnesses were almost always unwilling to intervene.

They had their fun but I felt like they had a pyrrhic victory. They felt vindicated but I felt that they proved they both would not dare face me one on one. I pointed out to everyone that they would have had no chance one on one, because it seemed like the best thing to do.

This had its drawbacks. I got alternately left alone or challenged by other kids and somehow survived to make it through middle school and off to high school. Buddy incidentally failed and I overheard Blondie telling another student that Buddy's father was going to beat the shit out of him in a concerned and worried tone.

I was filled with two emotions. I was glad that Buddy was going to get a beating but knew there was a chance he would not get his ass kicked. In my experience lots of people didn't get what was promised. Buddy's mother might intervene to protect him, after all, most mothers love their children. His father might be persuaded or simply change his mind.

But Buddy would at least be worried. I had that small comfort. The other emotion was disgust, an extreme and enduring loathing for the way people like Buddy and Blondie knew that they and their friends deserve decent treatment but they were cruel to everyone else. To be clear, I knew that they were influential and indifferent to the people who weren't their friends.

They could have influenced the other popular kids but they were indifferent to the hardships of anyone but themselves and their friends. They could have been kind or just decent and made the year good or at least more bearable for a lot of kids but they didn't give a fuck. They epitomized cruelty, the lust for power, even petty power, and hypocrisy in my mind.

They again taught me the same dark lesson, gave me the same message I had been given many times before.

So many of the kids in their group were the same to me. They had the prettiest girls and the biggest guys and they were cruel and downright vicious in their treatment of the less popular kids.

Blondie and Buddy gave me the impression that they would be trying to become cops after high school, assuming Buddy could somehow graduate someday. As an amusing example of how much I was still naive and concerned about the fate of other people I was scared at the thought of people like Buddy and Blondie becoming cops. It would make perfect sense for them to want the power to bully, brutalize, and terrorize people without consequences and with an advantage.

They would have to give up the advantages they thoroughly enjoyed in high school. They had their relative physical superiority, the indifference of teachers and parents and the support of the other students.

To avoid the unacceptable position of having to be socially acceptable and considerate of the feelings of other people Blondie and Buddy had their plan. I could imagine them enjoying beating people people, taking bribes, forcing prostitutes to give them sex, and making the lives of low level drug dealers and users hell by making them into informants so they could have someone to treat like shit who had no recourse.

The funny thing is that even with everything I has been through I was worried about the crimes and human suffering Blondie and Buddy might possibly cause. It just felt profoundly wrong.

So, I survived grammar school and went to high school. That had its own misadventures. The first year I had to deal with various ups and downs. I got a locker next to a kid named Ben and we ended up as best friends for a couple years. He was a stoner and I would go and hang out with him whenever I could to avoid being at home. We listened to Metallica tapes and drank the hard liquor his mother had or his father had.

His parents were upper middle class and divorced. They both had homes near our high school, Canisius High School, his mother had a nice house and his father had an apartment a few blocks away. They lived in a much, much nicer neighborhood than I did but because it was right by school and in the city of Buffalo I could use public transportation to get home.

I enjoyed hanging out with Ben and we had crazy misadventures that included me sneaking over to see him and and us stealing a car together to go and see girls in the suburbs. We ended up getting probation as first offender juveniles and got the deal where you agree to not get arrested again for so many years and the charge goes away.

So, you have no conviction and a sealed juvenile record as long as you don't get arrested again in a certain period.

Not to excuse what we did, because it was a dumb and selfish thing to do and I recommend against it, just to describe our mindset, I want to include the fact that there are no girls at Canisius. Ben had a girlfriend that lived in the suburbs and to get to see her we stole the car and he introduced me to her and she introduced me to several of her girlfriends.

I ended up going out with a couple of her friends. I ended up talking to Ben's girlfriend on the phone as he would be doing chores for his his mother and she would demand that he do them immediately and spontaneously. I far preferred waiting around to hang out with Ben to being home and he would hand me the the phone and tell me to talk to his girlfriend.

She ended up talking with me for hours and we were friends for a couple years. I as I said went out with a couple of her girlfriends she fixed me up with and she and Ben broke up within a few months. Over the next year and a half she went out with a couple other guys.

By the time we were partway through the second year of high school I was going out the girl who had been Ben's girlfriend when we first met! It made sense as she had shifted into my best friend over two years and we had commiserated with each other for years over our families and dating failures.

Ben and I were going in different directions in life and I had so many problems at home that I ended up leaving at fifteen years old. I ended up homeless. At one point I left a hidden bag of my clothes outside and came back days later to get them to discover that they were gone. So, I literally had no money and only had the clothes on my back. They were my only possessions in the entire world.


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I had a pair of jeans, underwear, a T shirt, a pair of socks, my glasses and my most prized possession - a new leather jacket. That was everything I owned in this world.

I spent some days sleeping in a park at night and having my girlfriend buy me a large pizza and drink every day from a local pizza place right across from the park. Fortunately for me my girlfriend could get her weekly allowance of forty dollars two or three times a week. Her father was a soft touch and would happily give her her allowance an extra time or two out of love. He unknowingly kept me fed as a large pizza cost ten dollars at the time.

This went on for a while and at some point I stayed at Compass House, a local runaway shelter. If I remember correctly the Compass House took in people from thirteen to eighteen years old. They were linked to the Compass House Resource Center which helped homeless and troubled kids.

I stayed at Compass House a few times times.

One time a relevant event happened. I was by this point 5'10' tall after a four inch growth spurt over one summe and still a scrawny 135 pounds. I was fifteen years old.

I was staying in a room with a couple other guys and had one valuable possession, a leather jacket. My aunt had bought me a nice leather jacket for my fifteenth birthday. It was before I was homeless. Anyway, I was sleeping in the room and four guys came over from another room in the homeless shelter and they demanded my jacket. I told them they would have to take it, meaning fight me. They were surprised and went back to their room as fighting me would have made enough noise to alert the staff and then they would have kicked out the guys for fighting and trying to rob someone in another room.

I narrowly avoided a four on one beatdown. For anyone cheering for the people thrashing me and hating every time I win a fight or avoid a well deserved beating don't worry, you will be very happy in a few moments, I promise.

I wisely had the staff lock my jacket in an office so I could sleep at night. But the guys who had tried to steal my jacket were still there since I did not tell on them. They were not happy that I had the audacity to stand up to them.

But don't worry, they would get their revenge. One of the guys was eighteen years old and quite muscled. (Donnie) Like any mature adult he naturally wore shirts with no sleeves and flexed his bulging biceps and talked about how he wanted to kick my scrawny ass but the other guys he hung around with told him to shut up whenever he said it. I thought they were not pursuing the grudge against me because they didn't want the trouble. For anyone trying to visualize him he was about my height but had long black hair like a lead singer in a heavy metal band of the eighties and dark eyes. The girls loved him and his athletic and muscular build. He must have had at least thirty to forty pounds on me, all muscle of course.

He wore a sleeveless tank top, formfitting to show off his muscles of course, tight jeans and brown work boots, the kind construction workers wear.

After several days and a few close calls they got what they wanted. We were required to get up early every day and encouraged to go out and handle getting our affairs in order so we can leave.

So, I was outside and Donnie and three other guys were with each other and Donnie antagonized me. He wisely called me a coward which got me to stupidly respond and say he was only brave because he had back-up.

He said he didn't need them and had the other three guys go to the back of the driveway next to the building. I stupidly thought Donnie would fight me one on one.

I should have known better after Larry and Charlie double teamed me. (To make it even worse there was another time I went to have a one on one fight with a kid in my neighborhood years earlier and of course his friend who was watching intervened to help him once I got a clear advantage on him, so I really should have known that a lot of people will say it will be a one on one fight but if they have a friend or friends there don't believe it EVER. We used to hang out on that kid's porch across the street but stopped after someone was shooting at us, but that's another story.)

So, Donnie was yelling at me about how he was going to fuck me up and I walked up to him and told him to hit me. The same rage that was there when I strangled Larry came out for a moment again, but just a moment.

Donnie punched me in the face hard and I said I thought you were gonna hit me. Donnie punched me again. I screamed I thought you were gonna hit me. He looked shocked and hit me a half dozen more times. I was in a blind rage and grabbed Donnie by his long beautiful black hair with my left hand and started punching his face as hard as I could over and over and over. He was stunned and not fighting back.

I didn't realize that while I was punching Donnie his friends ran up to the rescue and one guy grabbed my arms from behind and we tumbled to the ground together . He was holding my arms and we were not able to do much, he had stopped me but neither of us could attack or defend as he was locked on to me and I told him to let me go. Donnie had other ideas, he started stomping on my chest. Fortunately for him he had on work boots and I was helpless and just had to take it. One of the guys told the others go and they all ran off.

I don't know if they saw someone as I was too busy struggling to breathe. I don't know if they were worried about getting caught or just were not ready to commit murder yet.

I didn't understand that some of the guys at the Compass House and Resource Center were deeply troubled and several would go on to prison or an early death.

I discovered why Donnie was surprised when I had told him to keep hitting me. My face was swollen, I had a black eye, and my lip was split open. It was torn right apart and you could see my teeth. It was bleeding and had left a streak of blood down my shirt. The split went a little above my lip into my face. It was the strangest feeling to have part of my face split open and bleeding.

The swelling went down down in a day or two, the black eye was healed within a couple weeks but the split face/lip took a lot longer. I still have a scar on my face and lip just under my nose on the right side of my face. When I shave my face if I am not careful I cut myself.

So, I am going to speculate about the fight as Donnie saw it.

My guess is he figured I would go down easy, then he punched me, saw my black eye, punched me, saw my split open and bleeding face, saw that I kept asking him to hit me and couldn't figure out how I was not going down.

Enough rage and adrenaline can accomplish a lot, until the adrenaline wears off.

Something I should make clear about the Compass House runaway shelter and Compass House Resource Center is that a lot of the kids there were boys and girls who had serious problems. Many ended up in prison and despite their young age had embarked on criminal careers as juvenile prodigies.

I had several other misadventures with the revolving cast of characters who came and went. A different time I was in a room with two older and bigger guys and a pretty thirteen year old girl. The two guys gave each other a knowing look and tried to get me to leave. For some reason there were no staff around and I got the feeling something was fishy.

I refused to leave. The guys got really mad and the girl went upstairs where presumably a staff member would make sure she went to the girl's side of the bedrooms and that no boys would follow. I asked the two guys why they wanted me to leave and they looked incredibly angry, then just left. I realized that they wanted to have one of them hold the girl's mouth while the other raped her and to take turns, but that if they fought me too many uncontrolled variables would come into play. The girl might scream or run away for help and if they got caught fighting or trying to rape her they knew that they would be kicked out.

One of the guys was a big eighteen year old who lied to get in and was always scheming to get something. The other guy was worse. I ran into another kid who stayed there and told me about him and I met someone he had fought.

The wannabe rapist was a huge kid, maybe two hundred sixty pounds and five ten or so. He looked a bit overweight but also monstrously strong. He was so violent and had such a callous attitude I realized he was the kind of guy who would kill someone for a couple hundred dollars and never bat an eye.

I could tell countless stories about the crimes and attempted crimes by kids there but suffice to say a lot of the time kids are safer sleeping outside than in homeless shelters, at least ones that are run like Compass House with the kind of kids they got there.

I eventually got out of there and at sixteen years old was able to get some government assistance and an apartment and some foodstamps. I had a few more misadventures and fights before running into Scientology at seventeen years old.

There is one that stands out. I was at one point staying with a guy who I met at the Compass House Resource Center at his apartment as I tried to work out getting a new apartment after somehow losing one. His name was Mike and he was six feet tall and two hundred pounds. He was a grown man and he had short hair, like a military cut, and a little beard, his hair was blond and he always wore military surplus clothes, so if you didn't know you would assume he got out of the army. He always talked about different styles of martial arts and which countered which the best. He acted like he knew five styles and could kick anybody's ass. I didn't doubt it as he seemed like a military guy who had a lot of knowledge.

I hung out with Mike for a summer and by this time I had a foot and a half long mohawk I dyed blond, then blue.

I went punk and they accepted people who were poor in Buffalo, most of the punks in the city were poor, so no one looked down on it in the scene.

I was walking down the street the punks hung out in back in the eighties, Elmwood ave, and Mike was with me. I ran into a kid from my high school, Charlie Carbone. Charlie was never my best friend in school, in fact we sort of almost fought a couple times, but we were both punks and I was ready to leave the past behind and I saw he had a mohawk too, so I was friendly to him.

Charlie was about five nine and ninety seven pounds. The poor guy never reached a hundred pounds, not even as an adult. He was even skinnier than me, which was extremely rare.

I by the age of seventeen years old was still five ten and had grown to a hundred and fifty pounds, still super skinny but a monster next to Charlie. This will be important in a minute.

See, back in the eighties when I was a punk with my leather jacket and mohawk, the people who went to bars were in two groups, well three if you count normal people, the two I was concerned about were the punks and the Guidos.

It is not meant as a slur against Italians. Most of the Guidos were Polish or Irish or English. It was not about Italian anything.

They dressed a certain way, wore something in their hair (gel?) and we could just spot them because they all dressed alike.

It was like an unwritten rule that Guidos had to harass punks on sight, especially if they had a large numerical advantage. They wore lots of big jewellery, gold chains, big rings and a combination of high end preppy and dress clothes.

The punks were always a smaller subculture and so the Guidos normally had the numbers advantage and they had more money, nicer clothes, nicer homes and cars while many punks didn't have cars and some didn't have homes.

So, I was there with Mike, the big tough military guy and martial artist, and talking to Charlie Carbone, trying to bury the hatchet for punk solidarity and a Guido comes around the corner with a beer in his hand and he starts hassling Charlie.

Now, I figure I have Mike and Charlie as backup, so I just try to de-escalate the situation by asking the guy to put the bottle down and tell him no one else has a weapon. Big mistake.

He was very drunk and belligerent. He punched me in the face with a straight right. No problem, I respond in kind and he goes down. From around the corner another guy hits me, I repeat the act, and the second drunk tumbles away. A third fist hammers my face, I drop to one knee.

I realized that I just was hit by three different guys, and I don't know where two of them are. I looked behind my back for my backup expecting to see one of two things, either Charlie and Mike rushing in to attack and even the odds or both of them already fighting opponents of their own.

I wanted to evaluate our situation and how many guys we were facing. I was shocked to see no sign of Charlie or Mike! Both had vanished on me! At that moment I discovered the first guy who hit me went around the corner and about twenty more guys were there! He was convincing them to come stomp the punks but I was the only punk left on the street! WTF!

The guys I was with had ghosted on me and I looked around. A little down the block was an apartment of some punks who I had met a few times. We weren't friends but they seemed like my only hope. I ran over and used a buzzer to get them to come to the intercom and let me in the hallway. I immediately went up to their apartment because I knew if those guys around the corner knew I was in that place I might not be able to stop them in their state of mind. They could break in and catch me.

The apartment was above a Fantastic Sam's hairstylist shop and if you didn't know it you would have assumed it was just a business. In that part of Elmwood there are lots of shops and stores, so you might never realize the second floor has an apartment.

I was greeted with an at best lukewarm greeting by the group of people who shared that apartment as a guy didn't want someone he barely knew bringing a mob to his doorstep but fortunately his girlfriend was more sympathetic and insisted he let me stay without any hassle.

I was relieved because if they turned me out the guys looking for me would have been sure to catch me and that would have been a very bad one sided beat down for me, at best.

The apartment was huge and they had had parties with dozens of guests, that is how I had met them, as just another punk who had wandered in one time.

I relaxed and scoped out who was there and guess what, Mike was sitting there drinking a beer! I asked him what had happened and he had some lame excuse that made no sense. He ran when it was, at most, potentially three on three.

I could not be too mad at Mike because he was giving me a place to stay but my faith in him sunk like a rock. Mister martial arts and army badass was a fraud and a total punk, and not the good kind. He was exposed to me and I wanted to part ways with him ASAP.

I had been thinking he was a very tough fighter and he had had my back, and gone into dangerous situations because he was there, and it was all a lie!

I had trusted him on a lot of things up until that point but would never trust him again. This would prove influential.


Well-known member
I met a guy named Marco who was a Scientologist. The local org in Buffalo was only about two blocks from the apartment building that Mike and I lived in.

Mike told me that Scientologists are crazy and believe you are responsible for everything that happened to you ever. It seemed absurd, but, and this is crucial, I had lost all faith in Mike and his judgement and was working on moving out and leaving him behind. So, by saying bad things about Scientology after losing my trust, Mike, in a strange way endorsed it.

It is not good logic but to my mind at the time a person who has bad judgement and terrible character criticizing Scientology made it seem like I should check it out.

Marco, unbeknownst to me was trying to route off staff and at the time staff members trying to leave were strongly encouraged to get replacements for themselves.

So I was a punk kid who was willing to ask about Scientology and Marco was willing to answer. He seemed friendly because he acknowledged anything I said and didn't blow me off.

I thought he was agreeing with everything I said and he seemed too good to be true. He was staying in the Scientology org and had to find somewhere to live as the area was not zoned for people to live there, only work.

He felt that the org could at least let staff stay there since pay was nonexistent most of the time and he had to work a second job to have any money at all. When they evicted all the staff he had had enough and started routing out.

So, he was willing to talk to me because he had no other prospects. I was at least willing to talk about Scientology and ask questions, most people called him crazy and it a cult. Good luck recruiting them.

So, he seemed to have answers for my questions, we could be responsible for things that happened because we lived past lives, similar to karma.

I was at a really bad point and decided to see if Scientology was true or not.

I left out a lot and changed several names to protect the guilty and the innocent.

I have to now say what lesson all the beatings and abandonment and indifference and cruelty and betrayal presented.

I know different people have different lives and experiences but that many people get variations on this message.

Jon Atack has written about life affirming behavior and attitudes. I really believe that is an important category and should be encouraged. Behavior that says people matter, they deserve rights, they deserve decent treatment and they deserve to be able to have freedoms and liberties and equality and solidarity and love from each other. I really believe it.

But this is the other side of the coin.

The life negating lesson.


The dozens of beatings, the assaults, the concussions and trauma, the utter lack of love and the callous neglect, the hundreds of hours waiting in the bitter cold, the abandonment in the middle of a fight, the pretense of fairness and willingness to use the numbers game despite promising a one on one fight over and over and over, these and a million other things gave me the life disconfirming message.


There should be a comma, after FUCK YOU.


WOW. That is a bad attitude.

The message is one of pure hate.

When I was young it was as if there was a resistance to the message, but over time the consistency and force of the message made a lasting impression.

Remember, the message often had the force of a beating into unconsciousness to get the point across.

Not much of a rebuttal to a concussion and waking up stunned. I didn't have a witty retort.

It felt like a message that I denied and resisted but it came through, time and again.

You can see how when I tried using reason, her past agreements, and appeals of all kinds to get my mother to deny the message and show that she cared I was again and again and again taught the message.

She had abandoned all her values and by the time I was sixteen refused to let me come back, ever.

Her road of justifications had started with a little boy who was merely curious almost being beaten to death, her only son, her only child at that point, and she had added to her distorted view the exaggerated or fictional crimes I committed against her blameless and perfect motherhood. It was only natural to end at abandoning me entirely as she abandoned me emotionally by eight years old or so. My childhood effectively was over by about seven, I just didn't know it.

I am leaving out a lot of the worst of it, because it is mine, and no one else's. Suffice to say that this is the G rated version.

Incidentally I ran into my mother many years later. She tried to reconcile with me. Bobby had died young, I don't think he saw his fiftieth birthday. To be honest I was glad he died and am glad whenever the subject comes up. He was a monster and hurt me and other people, including children, terribly.

You might think that everyone is good or we all deserve a second chance or that we are all the same and you are wrong if you believe any of those things. Some people are just monsters and thoroughly and unrepentantly evil.

Regarding my mother, she was a tortured soul and in my opinion never took responsibility for her part in anything bad that happened to me. She just didn't have it in her.

Now that I think about it, I don't recall her taking responsibility for doing anything bad to anyone ever.

Now the question of why I would chose to focus on these issues and why now is because of several reasons, I am aware that the children of cult members are often people who have issues that therapists often underestimate or don't believe or understand.

Jamie DeWolf described going to start therapy and telling a therapist he was the great-grandson of a cult founder. His therapist at first thought this was a symptom of a mental health problem, then the therapist read about Scientology founder Ronald Hubbard and saw that he in fact was the
great-grandfather of Jamie DeWolf.

So, if my daughter or son ever seek therapy or my wife does and the therapist has trouble understanding how the person before them got to where they are, this will be available.

Maybe it can help, maybe not.

I also am writing this because it shows something I have been reluctant to share.

I know that many second generation cult members, but not all, have difficulties and challenges that I can empathize with and understand to some degree.

Some, but not all, of the people raised in cults have been neglected or abused and feel like people who weren't raised in cults themselves cannot possibly understand it. But I hope the combination of my life before Scientology and my twenty five years in Scientology will be sufficient for others to see that I have experienced the life necessary to get it when they talk about the emotions that they have. The feeling of being thrown away like garbage by your parents, the feeling of being abused, and the result of growing up without love are all all too real to many people raised in cults and the same road of jagged stones I walked.

I know that many books helped me to realize the message I was given and the consequences of that.

I want to recommend several that other people may find helpful.

I found that the two books Traumatic Narcissism by Daniel Shaw and Terror, Love and Brainwashing by Alexandra Stein really take on the relationships between cult members and leaders. They have descriptions of these topics that most other books miss.

Trauma and Recovery by Judith Lewis Herman hits hard. It has a lot of very spot on points regarding the experiences that are traumatic and the effects of this trauma. It was for me difficult to read, not because of the writing style or vocabulary, but because the material just hit so close to home so accurately.

I feel that the material is worth looking at, despite the emotional price it requires.

I also recommend the book 5 Types of People Who Can Ruin Your Life by Bill Eddy. It is a great first book on human predators and has the basic introductory descriptions for the most popular categories we are likely to run into.

The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout has a very understandable description of the behavior of human predators.

The Anatomy of Evil by doctor Michael Stone described the human predators we most readily identify as evil - child molesters, serial rapists and serial killers. He specializes in the prolific serial sexual killers, the spree killers, the mass murderers and serial rapists and serial child rapists.

He has been featured on several seasons of the television series Most Evil. I have known child molesters, rapists and murderers in my life and family. Stone helped me to understand these people in their stark horror.

When you have so much exposure and so much involvement of your family members with evil this kind of work can shed a lot of light onto who they are and how such a family functions.

Books on various personality disorders can have useful information on the behavior exhibited by and encouraged by cults. It doesn't mean that cult members have personality disorders, it means the material may offer insights into the psychology of cults and the effects on cult members.

I found that the Borderline Personality Survival Guide by Alexander Chapman and Kim Gratz and I Hate You - Don't Leave Me by Jerold Kreisman and Hal Strauss have a lot to offer.

The Empathy Trap Book: Understanding Antisocial Personalities by Jane McGregor and Tim McGregor to me along with these other books helped me to see how I got to where I was when I got into Scientology and where I am now.

You might say it is a precise technical term, my apologies for the jargon, I am, frankly, a very fucked up person.

Now, that is something hard to arrive at and my own personal evaluation of my condition in no way is meant to imply other people are in the same state. We each have different lives and ended up in different outcomes.

I had to go step by step through these books and bit by bit take away my denial and habitual downplaying of the negative effects of the life disconfirming message, the negative events I described here, and to strip away my minimization and denial of the events themselves. I had to gradually realize that I was internally doing this as I found myself downplaying the message and the reality of my situation, as if just telling myself my childhood wasn't that bad would make it so, or telling myself that I am not fucked up would magically make it true.

Margaret Singer has a great YouTube video in which she described how ex cult members can talk about things but lack the appropriate emotions for the events. She said to listen and let them keep talking and in time the appropriate emotions can come forth. Alexandra Stein in Terror, Love and Brainwashing described the effect of the fright without solution that cults (and abusive relationships) create as terror and that this terror creates dissociation which prevents integration of the emotions we have with the information we have. It creates the state people call brainwashed which features being unable to think independently and critically in part because of this inability to integrate and reflect on our experiences.

I had to dig out of a lot of the reframing that Scientology indoctrination implanted in me to be ready to even consider pre Scientology issues. It just worked out that way.

I ended up at the end of a long road of reading about psychology, influence, hypnosis and abusive relationships and human predators and by the time I got to material on borderline personality disorder and trauma and recovery I knew that the time before Scientology was something I needed to look at and through The Empathy Trap Book I found out exactly where I am at, with The Anatomy of Evil showing the unvarnished truth about the people who I grew up around.

I can empathize with the feelings of people raised in Scientology who were neglected or abused by their parents and caregivers because I walked the same path, or one quite similar.

Nathan Rich was raised in Scientology and after his experiences he remarked in an interview "why would I love anybody after that?", if I remember correctly.

He has presented an all too familiar story of extreme neglect, abuse and abandonment that far, far too many children raised in Scientology have.

I know a certain number of people feel children should be treated as I was, especially disobedient children.

Some say "I had the shit beat out of me all the time as a kid and I turned out great. In fact I beat my kids within an inch of their lives and know I have never done anything wrong! I am a great person and parent!"

Um, well, we are gonna just have to disagree on this one.

I don't have some grand statement that everyone who experienced something should do something. Different people are willing to do and benefit from different things. Besides, what helped me may not be necessary for you.

If this helps anyone that is great but it definitely is not everybody's cup of tea. If you are interested in any of the books or people I referenced check them out, if not don't give it a second thought.

The message FUCK YOU NO ONE CARES!!! has a corollary.

Some people who have been harmed by human predators and feel deep shame after the events. Some of them cannot stop the abuse or neglect. Often abusers are so much larger and stronger than the victims that the victims know they cannot stop the abuse. But the victims may feel they chose to trust and love the abusers and thereby betrayed themselves.

This can lead to profound shame and self hatred for loving and trusting the abusers. The victim can hold onto this and feel stuck in and unable to escape profound shame.

In Scientology the traumatic narcissism as a relational system of subjugation hypothesis has Shaw's concepts regarding the victim of the narcissist as well. It is quite relevant to the effects that can occur for cult members and children raised by narcissistic parents as examples.

"This is of course a perfect double bind (Bateson et al., 1956). Unable to be anything but dependant, yet still attempting independence, the child of the traumatizing narcissist parent is condemned either way. She comes to associate dependency with shame and humiliation, and independence with rejection and abandonment. Unless she can adopt the counter-dependent, shameless stance of the traumatizing narcissist, she lives instead in a post-traumatic state in which her sense of inescapable badness is cemented."
Daniel Shaw

Traumatic Narcissism: Relational Systems of Subjugation Page 35

I found a spot on description of the shame that was there for decades in The Empathy Trap Book. While I was in Scientology I went from anger to depression and back in a cycle. When I left Scientology for a time the anger shifted to Hubbard as I realized he was callous and selfish and I was misled and over time that anger has surprisingly diminished. I just read so much about the history and crimes of Scientology, read so much about the methods used in Scientology and wrote and wrote and wrote about Scientology so much that eventually the anger against Hubbard just ran out, or at least diminished.

I realized when I read The Empathy Trap Book that the shame was always there underneath the anger. I once read a story in a comic book about a three thousand mile wall of solid energy that someone put up to stop someone. The shame feels as thick as that.

It can just eclipse everything and everyone.

One could say I have caused less than one percent of the harm I experienced but shame doesn't work that way. Or even less than that. Even if that was true (and it's debatable) the feeling of shame that accompanies abuse and neglect is inescapable badness, not rational judgement.

It's not that I want someone to feel sorry for me or to think that I am a good person or something like that, you are not getting all the information about everything bad I have ever done and so might have a better but less educated opinion about me than I do.

I wanted people to be able to understand how people who were extremely abused as young children could have and hold onto profound shame that others simply don't understand.

The abused children are obviously not at fault for the abuse they endured, but shame is not rational, it hijacks rational thought by getting rational justification for its existence.

The role that Scientology played was to make things much worse. See, so I had real memories and real issues to deal with, but Scientology is packed with ways to deny and dissociate from the genuine past even more.

You can imagine having raped, betrayed and murdered countless people to justify how you have been treated as a child in this life. After all, if you really believe in the idea of "pulling in" the bad things that happen to you in this life than you are only limited by your imagination regarding what you must have done to "deserve" it in past lives.

When people say Scientology is the ultimate mind-fuck they are talking about shit like this. Cults rely on destroying the trust a person has in their own judgement and replacing it with trust in things like the cult founder, the cult doctrine and The cult itself. Scientology is filled with people who are sure they must have been rapists, murderers and criminals in past lives to be where they are now. And they think that Scientology is their one chance to escape from a pattern of raping, robbing and murdering people over and over in lifetime after lifetime.

It gives you a picture of how fanatical Scientologists are if you imagine getting a chance to break out of "The Matrix" if the matrix is countless spiritual beings trapped by evil acts into a pattern of life and death and rebirth with amnesia between the lives. The pattern Scientologists believe in includes incalculable numbers of evil acts both as a perpetrator and victim.

But a person can be both overwhelmed by these fictional lives and their accompanying fictitious crimes and misadventures and also escape the real events and past.

So, Scientology fucks people up and the already fucked up people that come into Scientology get more fucked up under a mountain of lies.

The message FUCK YOU NO ONE CARES!!! has the additional corollary Daniel Shaw described. Along with the shame is the message that you should never be dependent on or vulnerable to anyone. Physically this is impossible, human beings are not invulnerable and can easily be harmed or killed by other human beings if they are sufficiently motivated.

But one can be be emotionally counter dependent and seek to never be emotionally vulnerable. You can try to close your heart to the world and avoid the profound shame, humiliation and self-hatred associated with having loved and trusted people, mothers, fathers and caregivers who so profoundly violated your trust. You can vow to never trust or love anyone who can hurt you again - which of course includes every living person.

So, along with the three dysfunctional messages of FUCK YOU NO ONE CARES!!, immense, all encompassing shame, and never be vulnerable to anyone by trusting or loving them comes a couple more things.

Sadly the victims of sexual abuse as children have particular issues I cannot fully address here which Daniel Shaw has mentioned and Trauma and Recovery digs deeper into. It is a subject worth serious study for anyone interested in cults, human predators or recovery from trauma or abusive relationships. Victims often have unrelenting shame and unwillingness to discuss or reveal the abuse they experienced.

If you deal with someone who survived cultic abuse or an abusive relationship as a child you cannot assume they were not sexually abused, even if they have described physical abuse or neglect and assured you no sexual abuse occurred, the shame tied to sexual abuse is, as Daniel Shaw described, of a different flavor.

I address all this now because only now have I come far enough to address it. And because I plan to write more on trauma and abuse and I recognize that some people don't want a skinny chef, a hairstylist with a bad haircut, or an eye doctor who doesn't wear glasses.

Some alcoholics and drug addicts don't want a counselor who has no drug or alcohol issues.

I have no degree and never went to college, but I have experience with both childhood and cultic trauma, that is something you don't want to buy.

So, for anyone who was curious that was my life before Scientology.


A complete member........
Strewth. What a story about your life...... Many thanks for that. You should write a book. Your writing style is very good.
Take care.


Well-known member
I found the following to be one of the most accurate and spot on descriptions of my personal circumstances as anything I have ever seen. After finishing The Empathy Trap Book I felt that I was ready to write this.


In our experience, shame is the greatest barrier for individuals trying to move on. Shame and a growing wariness of others can make it hard for such people to open up about the true extent of their unhappy situation. The situation becomes more desperate if earlier attempts to gain understanding have been met with incredulity. Wariness coupled with deep and toxic shame can render the abused person inactive. Children, for instance, often learn from bitter experience that telling someone else about abuse at home can result in negative, even detrimental reactions.

Most of the time shame is a normal and healthy human emotion. A healthy sense of shame keeps our feet on the ground, and reminds us of the boundaries. We are human and we make mistakes. Feeling shame is giving ourselves permission to be human. A healthy amount of shame can deepen our sense of personal power, helping us to recognize our limits and learn to redirect our energies to more fruitful pursuits. But too much shame can be harmful and demoralizing. John Bradshaw, author of Healing the Shame that Binds You, calls this toxic shame and argues that it can become a central part of oneself, leading to profound feelings of isolation. It is internalized emotion that can lead us to feel defective, beyond remedy.

It is not uncommon for people who have experienced the shame and deprivation that goes with having a sociopath in the family to face difficulties in their adult relationships. Individuals who have experienced trauma at the hands of a sociopath in childhood may unwittingly seek out or attract needy and narcissistic types of people in adulthood. Shame in the children of sociopaths can be intense and hard to shake off, for it originates from the trauma of abandonment as a child.

In her powerful book, The Drama of the Gifted Child, Alice Miller describes the notion of abandonment trauma. This type of trauma occurs when damage is caused as a result of something not happening to an individual (for example not feeling loved, nurtured or protected). We can't do justice to Alice Miller's body of work in such a short book as this, but we do recommend those interested to read her work (see 'Further reading and resources'). In essence, being abandoned by a sociopathic parent who is physically present but emotionally absent can leave a child bewildered to the point of despair. In order to develop as healthy human beings, children need to mirror the actions of an adult carer who is both physically and emotionally present. A baby is completely dependent on its parents and the parents'love and care is essential. Denied his or her basic needs, a child must find ways to not be abandoned. Many children in this situation try to reverse the natural order: they take care of their parents, as opposed to the other way round. But this often leads to a paradoxical situation where the child is nevertheless abandoned.

Many children of sociopathic, neglectful parents try to make recompense by becoming caregivers. This can lead to excessive concern with pleasing and paying disproportionate attention to the care of others, at the expense of a proper concentration on oneself. Overwhelmingly, the children or partners of sociopaths tend to put others'needs first. They may feel they deserve the pain and trauma that goes with living with a sociopath; they usually rationalize that, after all, it was they and no one else that got them into this mess. This sort of thinking has a circularity about it, and if not interrupted and eventually terminated may drive a person near crazy. " (page 59-61 The Empathy Trap Book)

I have written about the fact that I was in Scientology for twenty five years, from the age of 17 to 42, starting probably in 1988 until 2014. I have avoided writing about my life in extreme detail before Scientology for the most part.

To understand how I have been able to have their insight into this particular part of the book I think I simply am going to have to let the cat out of the bag. I have avoided writing about my life before Scientology for a variety of reasons.

I am a firm believer in the idea that cult expert Margaret Singer, who interviewed over four thousand ex cult members over decades of work, expressed. She believed that cults recruit all kinds of people and that cult members are not especially stupid, gullible, crazy or unusual. They are people who can be lied to, which is all of us.

My life before Scientology is not a story that supports this valid claim, so I have been reluctant to share it, as believers in the idea that cult members are unusual may clamp onto this as if it validates a theory, but one anecdote, one life, is not representative of people who join cults, not by a long shot.