Surviving Child Marriage w/ Tamara MC, Ph. D.


Rachel Bernstein


Rachel Bernstein: Welcome to Indoctrination, a weekly conversation series about

protecting yourself from systems of control. I’m your host, Rachel Bernstein.

Hi, everyone.

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Today on the show we have Tamara. She has a doctorate and She is a cult child marriage and human trafficking survivor and Activist who advocates worldwide for girls and women to live free from gender based violence Her PhD is in Applied Linguistics and she researches how language manipulates vulnerable populations.

Tamara attended Columbia University for an MFA and has been honored with residencies and fellowships. In places such as Bread Loaf, Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop. She’s published in prestigious outlets such as the New York Times, New York Magazine, Salon, The Independent, and Thrillist. She’s currently hard at work on her


memoir, Child Bride, My Marriage at Twelve.


traveled to nearly 80 countries, mostly alone and backpacking,

and is a polyglot, having studied more than six languages. You can find

Here’s Tamara. Now

it is. It’s my pleasure to welcome Tamara to our show. You know, you have so much to talk about from your personal experience, from yourself as a professional, from having a real lens into certain populations. helping us, helping the listeners understand the after effects, uh, understanding, uh, trafficking. I mean, we’re going to cover a lot of ground.

And so, uh, we’ll sort of take it in whatever direction or directions we want to take it in. But before we start, if you don’t mind just taking a few moments and introducing yourself, that’d be great.

Dr. Tamara MC: Thank you so much for having me on the podcast. My name is Tamara MC, and I grew up in a Sufi cult in Texas.

Rachel Bernstein: And then since growing up in a Sufi cult in Texas, you’ve now moved into helping populations, you know, observing, researching. Tell us a little bit about your life since then.

Dr. Tamara MC: I escaped when I was 20 years old. I was living in London, England at the time, and I flew back to America and I. Came to Tucson, Arizona, where my family was actually from, and I began waitressing right after I returned because I didn’t have a way to support myself.

But while I was waitressing, I learned about a class in college that I could take. And I never even had a dream of going to college. It was something I didn’t even think possible because I only dreamed of being a wife and a mother and nothing else. And I found out that there was a language class and I had studied this language while I was in the Colt and I was so excited to learn that university offered it.

I went and I learned about the class and then I learned how I could enroll and it was a five credit class, but I was told that I had to take six credits in order to, um, to be part time status. So I also took a one credit aerobics class. And so the first semester, I took my two classes and then I was hooked.

And then the following semester, I took more classes. And before I knew it, I ended up taking about 27 to 33 credits this semester, like from going from not really being educated to suddenly like being full time educated, like much more than like a 12 unit. You know, most students were taking 12 units as full, as a full time student.

And I graduated within three years with my Bachelor of Arts degree. And then I learned that I could go on for a master’s degree and I was so excited. So I applied for a master of arts in teaching English as a second language, and I was accepted into the program. So I did that. And then after that, I learned that there was a PhD.

And so I applied for the PhD. I got accepted. And that was pretty much my journey of how I got educated. It was not a plan. It was just me being curious and so excited by everything I was learning.

Rachel Bernstein: That’s fantastic. And what was the language that you were taking?

Dr. Tamara MC: I was taking Arabic.

Rachel Bernstein: Arabic. Uh huh. That’s something my daughter actually takes in school as well and, uh, loves it.

And it’s a beautiful language. Uh, when I was young, I was in some sort of summer program for gifted students and wasn’t until I was in my twenties, I think that I looked back and I thought that was ridiculous. It, I took microbiology and tennis. I thought, what’s gifted tennis? Uh, but at the time it made sense, but I think it was the same thing.

I needed to fill in, you know, another unit.

Dr. Tamara MC: Aerobics was actually a really big deal for me because in the colt, I wasn’t allowed to dance. And so this was the first time that after I left, I was actually able to dance in the aerobics. Class at that time, there were only girls. And so I was like, we could dance around our girlfriends, you know, in the, in the commune, I’m going to use commune called community all interchangeably, but we could kind of dance around each other.

So in a way it wasn’t like I was really breaking all the rules because I still wasn’t a room with all women, but it was the first time I had actually taken a dance class outside of like the commune. So it was really like, it was really. Something big for me to be doing.

Rachel Bernstein: That’s fantastic. That’s so good.

I’m glad that you explained that, that there are things that we might not know have certain meaning. So I’m really glad that you mentioned that because it paints a picture also of your life outside of this and before this and the limitations. Okay, and your Ph. D. is in what?

Dr. Tamara MC: So my Ph. D. is in Applied Linguistics, and it’s a very interdisciplinary field.

So I took classes in Gender and Women’s Studies and Anthropology through the Education Department and Literacy. So it was all over the place, but I studied my, my um, minor is in Middle Eastern and North African Studies. And all of my degrees, my Bachelor’s is in Middle Eastern Studies. My master’s, even though it was, was in English language and linguistics, I focused on the Middle East and different languages.

So all of it goes back to the Middle East and studying spirituality, studying religion, studying feminist theory. So all of it goes back to that.

Rachel Bernstein: So then before we move ahead to talk about the things that you’ve studied since and want us to know about that are happening now, let’s. Go back in time and let’s talk about this Sufi commune community cult that, uh, that you were in, in Texas.

Dr. Tamara MC: So it began in Tucson, Arizona, when I was five years old, my mother was on a backpacking trip to Europe and she left me alone with my dad for the summer and it was at that time that my dad met this community in Arizona. He was in a, um, mystical bookstore at the time and he had been reading books about this leader for quite some time and he just happened to be in the bookstore.

Some of the disciples of the leader had come in at that exact same time. And the leader actually lived in England. So it was really crazy that kind of these members happened to be in Arizona and in Tucson of all places. And so they invited my father to the community center and we began going to the community center and ended up spending the whole summer there while my mother was away and that was the introduction to this community.

Rachel Bernstein: Wow. So tell me about your first impressions. I know you were young, but what do you remember?

Dr. Tamara MC: So I grew up as an only child and both my mom and father are also both only children. We come from a Holocaust survivor family on my maternal side. So I didn’t grow up with, with a lot of family. Most of them had been murdered.

Um, I did have my grandmother though. And so the first thing. I really enjoyed about the community was that I had a community. There were people and there were lots of people. And I just enjoyed, like, I was used to being in a household just with my mom and my dad and, and my two grandmothers, my mom, my dad’s mom, and my mom’s mom.

But I hadn’t been around so many people. So I think that that was what first attracted me as a young girl. And I felt like I also got a lot of attention for being a child. I was the only child in the community at that time. So it seemed like the women. adored me and would kind of say, Oh, she’s so cute.

And she’s so sweet. And already immediately, like I took notice of the leader. We had three leaders throughout the community’s time. So this was the first leader. And so he took notice of me and he named me that summer and he gave me a special name, which meant most beloved. And so from there on out, I became pretty much the most beloved in the community.

And that name would follow me for the next. 15 years or, or even until today, because I’m still, you know, all the people in the community still call me most beloved.

Rachel Bernstein: So, Wow. Okay. Right. I mean, we talk a lot about names, identity language when we talk about these sorts of things and, and how powerful that is.

Um, I’m thinking about my Hebrew name now and that there are different ways of translating it. And I remember one time, well, Rachel being a matriarch in the Bible and a strong, But the Hebrew translation is U E W E. And I remember being with someone one time who was very controlling, who said, Oh, I like that.

Your name translates to you basically like you’ll be a docile follower. And I thought that is really interesting to be, to have your name translated. in another way to suit someone, uh, or to suit the needs of a particular group, either positive or negative or empowered or disempowered. But I’m sure having a name like that felt really nice for you because of course, I mean, it’s a lovely thing, but it does shift your identity.

Dr. Tamara MC: It did, because before that, I just felt absolutely normal. Just completely like, I’m going to use the word blah, but like a blah five year old. There was nothing extraordinary about me that I could have seen. But now suddenly I was elevated to like the most special. It changed my perception of myself. Even subconsciously, I didn’t realize what it was doing.

But now when I look back, I look at how that was such a significant and kind of the journey I would then go on.

Rachel Bernstein: So interesting. Okay. Your mom then came back from her summer away and then she got involved as well.

Dr. Tamara MC: Yes, my, my mother came back and I was excited to tell my mom what I had been up to. My dad was, I can’t really speak for him, but he was, I think, excited for her to also join and to be part of this community.

And. And my mother said, like, pretty much, absolutely not. This is not for me. And she refused. And she came a couple of times and did not feel it at all. And my dad continued to try to convince her and she would continue to say no. And that was the reason for their separation. My dad then joined and my mother refused.

And so they both cut off at that point. And that was where my identity pretty much. Officially split where I had like this one identity with my mother and then this one identity with my father.

Rachel Bernstein: Oh my goodness Okay So what was that like for you? You spent a certain amount of time with each one in in those different communities or households

Dr. Tamara MC: Yes, so soon after my dad Um, the leader would have these visions in the middle of the night that everybody had to get up and leave And so the leader had a vision that everybody had to leave tucson, arizona, and they had to go to the east coast So one day my father came into my room and I was like hugging my big teddy bear and he said that he was leaving and he didn’t know if or when he was coming back and he walked out and left and I didn’t see him for months and I didn’t even know where he was.

But the leader had then sent the community, which I would later learn. They went to Atlanta and New York City and they were traveling. Eventually they settled in Texas. And that’s where I would then split my time between my mother and my father. I would spend the school year, I would spend about Like seven and a half months with my mom in Arizona.

And then about four and a half months with my father in Texas, I would spend the full summer holiday as well as the, um, what was called them the Christmas holiday, um, the winter holiday, which was just over a month at that time.

Rachel Bernstein: Okay. Wow. Oh my goodness. So when you say that you were raised in this group, so I’m wondering about your connection to it and how it influenced you.

And it sounds like, you know, you, you had these different lives, which is an, and splits of yourself, which is very confusing. What’s also hard sometimes in these situations is that there can be a looking down on the other. for believing a certain way or not believing a certain way, which, of course, creates more tension and a split household, but it’s pretty common in these kinds of scenarios.

And so is that something you dealt with as well?

Dr. Tamara MC: Yes, I did. I learned through my father, through the community, that my mother was My mother had boyfriends because she was just a normal single woman, but I mean her having boyfriends was like the worst thing anybody could do because we were part of purity culture and weren’t, you know, as young girls, we weren’t able to have boyfriends and my mother wore shorts and we weren’t able to wear shorts.

And my mother. worked, which of course she had to do because she was a single mom supporting me alone because my dad was not giving her any monetary assistance. And so pretty much everything about her life, when I was with my dad, I was told that she was going to hell and that if I followed in her lifestyle, I would go as well.

So I was so torn because of course I loved my mother, but then. My mom was very liberal and like a 1960s flower child and grew up just Jewish and open and everything about her wasn’t to judge people. And so I was then like on the other side, like being brought up. To judge my mother all the time. So I just didn’t know what to believe, but because my mother, she wasn’t like vocal, she wouldn’t tell me, Oh, your dad is bad or, or anything like that.

But my dad’s and his community was very vocal about my mom. So I grew to believe my dad because that was the voice that I always heard.

Rachel Bernstein: Okay. Right. Which makes an impact. And sometimes as an adult, when you don’t hear that voice as much, you can come back into seeing someone the way that. They really are the way you wish that you could have been continuing to see them throughout your life.

It’s a hard situation to be in and I, and there’s so much that’s going to be influencing you, uh, for better or for worse. And so what were your experiences within this Sufi group that you can tell us about?

Dr. Tamara MC: So just to kind of go back to that question, so as the years progressed, I became more rebellious against my mother, especially as I got into my teenage years.

Like I really thought, you know, I wanted to live with my father full time. but my mother wouldn’t let me live with him full time. And so I was kind of in this like battle with my mom that may have happened anyways because I was then turning into a tween and a teenager, but it was a different way because I was fighting for her to become religious and to like, Like everything that she probably didn’t want for me, I was becoming like she wanted me to grow up completely free and to be able to make my own choices.

And I was like totally rebelling that I wanted to be so conservative. And so that really like built a chasm between us.

Rachel Bernstein: Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. Not uncommon, but not any less painful even though it’s common. It’s such a cruel thing because there’s so many things that happen to children during these times where the group or the philosophy or the other parent becomes kind of a thief, you know, stealing the other parent away, stealing your ability to really feel close, having that trusting relationship with the other parent.

I’m so sorry to hear that. Just so people have a sense of what that experience was like kind of a day in the life and just so we have kind of this vision of what the experiences were like, how time was spent, um, what the dress was like, the food, all of it, just so we can kind of visualize it.

Dr. Tamara MC: So my time in the group, which is very common in groups, the rules were always changing.

So, there wasn’t a time where it was the exact same rules. They were usually being amped up with time, so there would be more and more restrictions. We had three leaders, so three leaders with three very different rule sets, and I will begin with after I moved to Texas, we had a second leader and he had built 150 acre farm out in the middle of the hill country of Texas, and it was completely isolated there was only one way in and one way out.

And so, The structure that was built was actually built as a school, as a dormitory school, where young boys were going to come from around the country to study religion. So the school lasted for maybe a year or two and then it pretty much fell apart and then families moved into the buildings and Our family moved in.

And so just the structure itself was so inhospitable because there were rooms and then there was like a communal bathroom and a communal kitchen. There were two separate buildings that were about a 15 minute walk from each other. We lived in different buildings at different times, but each of them.

Each of the rooms were like around a courtyard. And so my father remarried almost immediately after he left my mother. So like when I was six years old, he married a woman who had four children. So I immediately had four step siblings. So I went from being an only child to suddenly now being one of five.

But. My dad and stepmom had a room across the courtyard, and then I slept in a room with all of my siblings. So just because of that, there was no actual, like, family spot, like, where we had meals together, or where our parents could even see what was happening to us. We were very, very isolated from them in terms of, like, when we were sleeping.

That being said, there was hyper vigilance over everything that we did. So at every moment, An adult knew what we were doing and all of our time was being monitored. We didn’t have any time for rest. So we would have to wake up around four or five in the morning before the sun came up and we would have to do obligatory prayers.

And then after that we would have to sit there and we would have to listen to a talk for quite some time. And then we would have to do like bonus prayers. And so we would have to get up super early. We’d have to walk from like our bedroom to another building. Like I said, that was like a 15 minute walk completely in the dark and.

Nobody mowed the lawn. So there was just like huge grass and we were always afraid of snakes and all sorts of wildlife. And so the young girls would walk over alone. It’s not as if we were walking over with our parents after prayer, the young girls would then be in charge of breakfast. We had a communal kitchen.

There would be a woman who would be in charge, but that would just mean that she would tell us what to do. We were the sous chefs or pretty much we became the full time chefs and we learned how to cook everything. So we would then cook for the community, set the table. We sat in a communal dining room.

We sat on the floor on a tablecloth. The men had a table, the women had a table and after breakfast, the girls would have to clean up and do all of the dishes. Then after that, maybe there would be a little bit time for. study, but study would be like religious study, like learning different prayers, learning different chants.

And then after that, it would be lunchtime and we’d have to be preparing lunch, cleaning up for lunch, but before lunch, we’d have prayer and then we’d have lunch and then we’d have prayer. It was just this continual cycle. And then we’d stay up until midnight usually. Cause then we’d have to go back to the prayer house for the evening prayer that was after sunset.

And we’d have to be there for many hours. And most of the time we’d have to sit upright and we’d have to chant sometimes throughout the night without no sleep at all.

Rachel Bernstein: Oh my goodness. Uh, all different ages of childhood, you had to do this.

Dr. Tamara MC: Yes. So I would say that that schedule probably began maybe at nine or ten.

Rachel Bernstein: Oh my goodness. Okay. How did you stay awake to be able to pray or to sit upright? Well,

Dr. Tamara MC: if you didn’t stay awake, somebody would come into the circle and they’d slap you. There was like no option, like you would be hit if like you even began to nod off. So there wasn’t an option not to stay awake. I think my way of survival was my curiosity and my interest, so I actually enjoyed it at the time.

Like, I felt like I was close to God, and I was like, I, I just felt very elevated when we did these chants, which actually happens. Like, I felt like I was being uplifted, like, into this different plane, almost like into heaven. So in that way, I would just enjoy the experience, but I was very, very tired. We were overworked.

and underfed and didn’t sleep. And that was the other thing during the day. The young girls were in charge of watching all the babies and the young children. So that was our responsibility. So we were also doing, um, the childcare. And also with the food, the girls were always served last and we were quite poor.

So there were sometimes very, very little food. So sometimes we would not even have like, I don’t know, Like we would only have a little bit of rice and a little bit of beans and that was all that we would have. So we were also very malnourished at that time.

Rachel Bernstein: Oh my goodness. I think about that for brain development, for mood stability.

Um, you know, you have, when you have these young kids who don’t have enough, they can’t focus and sometimes they lose their hair. I mean, like you really. I see a lot of things happening and I don’t, it sounds like there may not have been any kind of medical care or someone making sure that people were safe and healthy.

Dr. Tamara MC: No, we did not have medical care. The women became the doctors per se. They also became the midwives. So all babies were birthed on the commune. Nobody went to the hospital. If anything happened, it was taken care of on the community within the community. We used homeopathy, Chinese medicine. But of course, like.

Homeopathy and Chinese medicine can’t take care of everything. So there was only an extent to where our Bach flower therapies, I mean, it was just kind of, kind of all these different therapies that were being used and acupuncture as well, which I mean, was like good in a way that like we were saved from so many, you know, we didn’t take all these drugs that so many other people take or grow up with.

But at the same point, we also needed a lot more medical care at different times.

Rachel Bernstein: Right. And so then I’m also wondering about education and what that was like for you being as bright as you are and not being, I think, fed a lot of information.

Dr. Tamara MC: So I was the only child that came in and out. All of my siblings stayed on in the community full time.

So I was getting a regular education with my mom during the school year. The other kids were all homeschooled, but then when I would come for the summer, I would also get like religious studies, language studies. That was when I initially learned how to speak Arabic. And so I had all, so I think for me, it actually, I was very interested in what I was learning.

My father became fluent in Arabic very early on and began teaching me. And that was one of my favorite times because I got to. Sit alone with my dad and he would give me lessons. And of course I just wanted my father’s attention. So I became very good at Arabic and kind of excelled in language, and that was kind of where my whole PhD study and languages went.

So that was pretty much the beginning of that, or it actually began earlier because my grandmother didn’t speak English, so I grew up with her and that’s how my interest in teaching English began. When I went to kindergarten, I would learn how to read and write, and then I’d come home and teach her English.

So that was like how it really began. But then language has always been a very, very foundational part of my life.

Rachel Bernstein: Okay, so I think it’s interesting because, you know, when you have had a chance to be exposed to other kinds of education, then yeah, this is an adjunct, this is an extra, but unfortunately for the other kids who were just there all the time, they were not getting the same.

Dr. Tamara MC: No, they were not. And my sister, who’s a year and a half. Younger than me. She’s my step sister, but I call her my sister. She didn’t learn how to read. I believe until she was nine years old. So our homeschooling just consisted of when women decided that they wanted to teach and teaching was out of a workbook and.

It was basically running around children, trying to wrangle them in to put them in a circle to teach them. And there were no official teachers. These women did not know how to teach. They didn’t have any pedagogy. They didn’t have any education in that. So it was really a terrible education. So I became a teacher very early on in the community because I had skills.

So I began, I was one of the teachers, even though I was a child. And so I think my teaching also began very young, but I do want to speak about my education because it sounds as if I was being educated kind of in this regular normative way, but I really wasn’t because my only goal was to be with my father and I was told that Western education was evil and not to learn anything when I was in school.

I would be in my classes, but I almost didn’t hear or I didn’t, I was not there at all. I was completely disassociated and I was in my own world. I was in the community’s world. I was thinking about religion and God. I was not thinking about arithmetic and spelling and all of that. Luckily, I just. I never studied and my mom never even looked at my homework cause she just wasn’t that type of mom.

She could have cared less. I mean, cared less in terms of she just wanted me to have the freedom to do what I wanted when I wanted. So I would just take tests. I never studied and I just wouldn’t do good just because. But I really wasn’t there, and I graduated early. I graduated when I was 16, so I also missed out a couple of years too.

So I graduated super early as well.

Rachel Bernstein: Oh my goodness. Okay, right, that does paint a picture. I’m wondering too about two things that you mentioned about the kids taking care of the babies. I mean, kids are only going to have so much patience for babies and, and know how about how to take care of babies. And so I just wonder about babies being raised in those environments and what it was like for them and the pressure put on kids.

And then I also heard you say about the girls and the tasks that fell on the girls and that they were fed last, even though they’re the ones doing so much of the work, preparing the food. What were the boys in charge of, if anything?

Dr. Tamara MC: Boys had a lot less responsibility. They did a lot more religious education.

So they’d be sitting a lot longer memorizing. And most of the religious education was memorization and they would serve the boys table. But there wasn’t really any sort of, um, what do you call it? Like manual labor throughout the community. So that wasn’t really happening. Like this huge property was built and we were supposed to have a farm and supposed to have animals, but the men in the community were incredibly lazy as were the women.

And so. Nothing ever really came to fruition. They couldn’t like take care of a garden. They couldn’t take care of the grounds. Everything would just fall apart year after year. Roofs would fall in, but nobody would deal with it. So this wasn’t like a community where the men were really going out there and doing the hard labor work.

They were sitting around. And pretty much studying as well, doing religious studies as well, which was really the goal of the leader. He had built this place so that men could come and not have to work and dedicate their life to religious study. And then the leader, the second leader, ended up leaving the United States, leaving this property, and he was the one with the money, and so then there was no money in the community, so, as I said, things were just falling apart, so there was no way to keep up with these huge facilities that had been built, and it was almost impossible to even keep on, like, you know, like, We didn’t have air conditioning or any, we didn’t have air conditioning or heat.

The most we had were just lights. I think that was it. But still, it was so hard to just kind of pay any bill that it wasn’t as if like the buildings were going to be taken care of in any way. And yes, all of the workload fell on to the girls. Uh, and that was our expectation that that was. Why we were born, we were there to feed people, to have babies, to take care of everybody.

So that was absolutely our role within the community. Maybe in a different community would have gone to the women, but the women then put it on to the girls because they didn’t want to do it. They didn’t want to deal with any of it. And they were just like, here, you all take it. And the girls couldn’t say, no, there was absolutely nothing we could do.

And at that point it was the teen and the tween and teen girls. Incredible.

Rachel Bernstein: I just think about this place also just falling apart in front of you and around you and just all the things I’m picturing where all the hazards, you know, I mean, there it sounds like it was absolutely unsafe.

Dr. Tamara MC: Yes. And it was just put up very fast.

And so we had a lot of issues with drips in the ceiling. And so the whole place became moldy. It was filled with black mold. So every night we were breathing in black mold and the humidity of Texas. So you can imagine nothing dries out in Texas.

Rachel Bernstein: No. Oh, no. Okay. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Okay. So here, moving forward.

Oh, so you finally left and what was the impetus for that?

Dr. Tamara MC: So, because I was. the chosen child with the first leader. With the second leader, he actually met me when I was five years old. He happened to be in America and his wife met me as well. And the second leader is who built the big structure. And he had built a separate residency for him and his three wives and multiple children.

And they lived about an hour away on a place that we called the hill. So it was an entire hill and maybe there was seven or eight houses on that and his different wives each had a house and it was like a community unto itself. So his family did not associate with the community members. They were kept very isolated and My father was very close with this leader and worked like side by side with him.

But the leader then one summer when I went after I was 12 years old, right after I completed seventh grade, I went to my dad’s. I thought I was going to the regular commune where I always went. But after I arrived, my father told me that the leader wanted me to live with him full time. And so he drove me to his house the following day.

I arrived at the second wife’s house and I then. Began living there for the whole summer. I didn’t even see, maybe my father came in sometimes to work, but he was like with the men and I was like in this house. So I didn’t see any of my siblings. I didn’t see any of the other kids I knew. I was very isolated on this Hill.

My dad said that the second wife chose me and that she wanted me to help her with her kids. I didn’t really know what that meant. She had at that time. four children under the age of five or six years old. She had a six month baby, a two year old, and the ages went up. And from the moment I arrived, I was put in what was called the playroom, but the playroom just had a futon on the floor and no toys.

And the door was closed behind me and I was left alone with four children and this little tiny baby, completely alone. And my role there was to take care of these children for 12 to 15 hours a day, completely alone.

Rachel Bernstein: Oh, wow. What a shock to your system when you suddenly realized that was going to be your life and not something you had ever experienced before, especially unassisted and away from any support.

And not knowing how to do this and also with no toys, what, how, and with, I don’t know, my goodness. And I’m thinking also with babies and with not having enough food, potentially, I don’t know if that was still the situation, but with having people who are hungry also, you can’t take care of or feed. Oh my goodness.

That sounds like a nightmare. What was it like for you?

Dr. Tamara MC: So the leader was a multimillionaire, so he was incredibly rich at that time. So the way his wives and he, like the way they lived was very different than when the way we lived. So he had this lavish house, he had somebody working for him that came from out of the country and.

Um, basically domestic slave labor from Sri Lanka and she was in there doing the cooking. So I wasn’t in charge of cooking. I was just completely in charge of childcare. But in this gorgeous, lavish lifestyle where there was Laura Ashley curtains and Everything was plush. I lived off of a room off of the playroom that was a shed or something that had been converted and there was no furniture.

I think there was like a single bed in there on the floor. And other than that, there was nothing and there was no heating or cooling in that room. And that was the room that I slept in. And. I came during a time where it was fasting, so I wasn’t able to eat from sunrise until sunset, and I wasn’t even able to drink.

So during that time, I wasn’t eating or drinking at all. So I was, I had absolutely no food. And going back to like, to like your question about the girls taking care of babies, I was chosen because for Some reason I’m just ultra responsible. I still am today. I arrive early. Everything about me is just very, very responsible.

And they somehow picked that up on me that this was somebody that they could trust their babies with. And there were no toys, but I learned to keep this little baby who was still nursing quiet by jumping up and down by singing. songs by dancing. So I would just try anything I could without like any sort of objects around me.

I would tell all of the, the littler kids stories. So I used a lot of storytelling and singing and dancing to keep these four little kids under five years old busy.

Rachel Bernstein: Incredible. That’s quite incredible. I mean, it takes a lot of ingenuity and Tenacity, just sticking with this, making the best of it, rising to the occasion.

This family is incredibly lucky that you have these qualities because it could have gone South really fast.

Dr. Tamara MC: Yes. And I mean, I immediately grew to love these children as I did the other kids in the community, but these. Children actually became like my first children, like I protected them and looked after them exactly like I would take care of my own Children later in life, like I would never allow them to get hurt or they just meant everything to me.

So I love them dearly. So I guess, like you said, they were very fortunate that I just absolutely love their kids and wanted to protect them.

Rachel Bernstein: That’s amazing. Quite amazing. I mean, you know, the fact that they also, this family had means, so the thing it seems that they didn’t quite think through is what this would be like for you as the one person taking care of all of these children and how stressful that could be and the, the sense of responsibility and you’re saying protecting them.

Were there other things that you felt you needed to protect them from? I mean, I don’t know how you felt they were being treated by others.

Dr. Tamara MC: Oh, no, these, these children were being treated very, very well. I mean, aside from them leaving, I mean, their mother basically was neglecting them. I left them with a 12 year old, but they, but they weren’t like the other children in the community.

They had a lot of food, they had beautiful clothes, like they had everything. So no, that wasn’t an issue. I wasn’t protecting them except for making sure that they didn’t fall and hit their head. That was like my biggest concern all the time.

Rachel Bernstein: Okay, then after that summer, so this was for an entire summer, right?

Dr. Tamara MC: Yes, so then the second caveat to that, part of the summer, that was the first thing that happened. Within a few days, there was a young man that was living on the property who was the adopted son of the leader. He was the only other like non Family member like me that was there and in this little shed that I lived in, there was a glass door that did not lock and he began coming to my room in the middle of the night, like after midnight, after I had put the babies to sleep and it cleaned up because I was also cleaning up the kitchen in the evenings as well in the later nights.

And so he snuck into my room, and that was where the sexual assault and the molest began. And then, within a few days, he said that he was behaving unreligiously and that he needed to marry me. So It was midnight, I had been washing dishes, so my sleeves were soaking wet and I wore, going back to like our clothes, we had to completely cover ourselves, so our wrists had to be covered, so we wore very long sleeves, we wore long dresses to the ground, our hair was covered, our necks were covered, and so at midnight when he came in and I was soaking wet and like wearing these clothes.

Whereas the wives had beautiful clothes and the leader had three wives. So this was a polygamous cult and all of the other members also had multiple wives or most of them had multiple wives as well. So I was wearing the clothes of the wife of the second leader. Now she was five, 10. And it had four kids and I was 12 years old and I’m only four 11 now.

So I must’ve been like four or nine. I don’t even know I was teeny. And so I was wearing her clothes. So I was wearing, you know, these huge clothes and this person said that I had to repeat after him. And I repeated after him in Arabic words that I didn’t know at the time, because I had never heard these words in Arabic, but that I was going to be married to him and that I was basically going to be his wife.

And so I said that in Arabic, and then he said that we were married. So I was married probably within a week of arriving at the cult leader’s house when I was 12 years old, right after seventh grade.

Rachel Bernstein: Okay. I was not expecting that in your story. Of course. I’m sure you were not expecting that either. And what an interesting, um, philosophy or this idea of realization for him, that if he is, he’s doing something you shouldn’t be doing, he’s then not behaving, uh, religiously.

And so then he needs to marry you as opposed to not doing these things. to a girl. That seemed like that was not one of the options on the table for him. Very interesting. It says a lot about how girls and women were viewed here.

Dr. Tamara MC: Yeah. So my summer was watching the children during the day, getting them to bed, doing the dishes.

And then basically he’d come over in the night and sneak over. And so I was really having maybe an hour of sleep. Every night, if I was lucky, so that schedule was maintained for three months, I kept it a secret. I, she told me to keep it a secret. So obviously my mom wasn’t around, so she had no idea. And this was like the eighties.

It’s not like I was, I wasn’t even writing her phone call. I was just on this hill. I don’t even know what was happening with my dad, with my siblings, with the rest of the community. I was just completely alone with nobody to speak to about this.

Rachel Bernstein: Incredible. Wow. All right. So this was another thing to add to the list for you eventually leaving and what else occurred and if anything else before you decided to go.

Dr. Tamara MC: So this schedule went on. This was when I was 12 years old. I was With my husband at the time until I was 20, he lived out of the country many years, so we had a relationship through letters and he would visit. The community then had a third leader and things got worse. The child abuse got more rampant.

Everything just got worse. We had less food, less money, the property was falling apart. So everything was progressively getting worse. when I was about 17 years old. I graduated high school when I was 16. So I went to live full time in the community with my dad because that was the rule of my mom that I had to graduate high school if I wanted to be with my dad.

So I found like this way of graduating super early and I was taking college classes when I was a junior in high school and that was before anybody knew about AP classes and like how to graduate early. So I did that completely on my own. moved to my dad’s full time, and then the leader who was then living in England, he’d been wanting me to continue to live with him, but I couldn’t sooner, so he then, um, paid for a ticket for me to come to England, so I moved to England, and my life changed.

started again to where I was working for him full time and he had more kids. He had two new babies, a new six month old and a new two year old. And so now I had six kids and then two other kids, eight kids that I was in charge of. And I was also Cooking for the entire family, you know, his mother lived there.

So there were so many, and I was doing all of the cooking as well. So childcare I would do when I wasn’t cooking and doing all of the dishes. So my life continued like that until I was 20 years old. My husband at the time was living in America for a short time, but then the leader wanted him to come to England.

So he flew to England and he had stopped writing to me while I was living in England and I couldn’t figure out what was happening and I would write him and he was always the main letter writer. And so I couldn’t figure out what was happening. And I was begging him, please tell me what’s wrong. He wouldn’t.

So then when he came to, um, back to England, he told me, and he said that he had married another woman and I was now in a polygamous marriage. And that was something I grew up with polygamy. I lived with the leader and these three wives and witnessed all of their fights and all of their jealousies and all of.

the preferences of certain children at different times. And I knew, above all else, that I could not live in a polygamous marriage. Like, like that was my boundary. We all have our different boundaries. That was mine. And so I begged my husband to leave this other person, and he wouldn’t. He said that he was in love with her.

He would not leave. So that went on for several months. And then finally, I just decided to leave. And that was really how I was able to pretty much get out of there. And my grandfather, my grandmother’s, it wasn’t really officially her legal husband, but he had just died in Arizona. And so I had this excuse that I was going to go back to Arizona and take care of my grandmother for a while and then fly back to England.

And, and I really thought that that’s what I was going to do. But after coming back to America, and then. I started taking classes that I never, I didn’t go back. So that was like the end of it.

Rachel Bernstein: Okay. Okay. Once you left, then you needed to adjust to being in the world. I mean, here, I’m thinking back about how you were thinking about.

Being in school and not wanting to take in what the teachers were saying and, and reviewing your religious studies in your mind, et cetera, et cetera, and really being at odds with absorbing what was around you. And then things shifted. Then you, I think, probably wanted to be able to absorb what was around you, but it’s a hard transition.

I don’t know how you made it. What did you do to make that transition?

Dr. Tamara MC: So while I was in like elementary, middle, and high school, I was studying subjects that I didn’t like and that just didn’t interest me. I think my junior year, I was in an advanced English class and we read Siddhartha and that was like the first time that I felt like, This is my book because it felt like my journey, it was like the spiritual journey, but nothing else had been introduced to me in literature that felt like my story.

So then when I went into college, I took all the classes I was interested in. I was taking language classes and political science classes, and I was taking like women’s studies classes. And so I was just in things that I had an interest in. So I think that. That was the difference. But there was also a big difference that I was really taking those classes to figure out what had happened to me.

So it was my way of piecing my life together, because I was taking all these courses to figure out what was the kernel of like, how did this begin? And, and like, I learned Arabic so I could study the Holy Text myself. Cell. And so I could translate everything that I had been told. So I then was able to do the translations myself.

And I was able to look at the core text of how women were supposed to be treated. How were they supposed to be covered? And so that’s why I became, it just became like investigative journalism. Like my whole education was like, I got to figure out what happened and what are the real rules.

Rachel Bernstein: Okay, so then moving into just with, you know, time, time getting to be towards the end ish of our time together today.

I’d love for you to talk about the things that you have delved into the things that Matter to you socially, the issues that we’re faced with now that you could illuminate for us with people’s rights and rights being taken away, et cetera. So tell us about what matters to you now and what you’ve been looking into.

Dr. Tamara MC: I think what matters to me is freedom and autonomy of all humans. And just the right for everybody to choose, even the right for children to choose. It all comes back to that. And I think it goes, like, deeply back to the Holocaust and my grandmother being a prisoner and working as slave labor. And her not having that freedom and that autonomy.

And so I think it then came through. As, as then I became a child domestic servant and then a child bride, I think what really hurts me the most is forced labor. That’s something that just, I dealt with so personally and I see it. happening as well, but just the right for all children to be educated, to be in a safe place where they aren’t being sexually molested.

The right for children not to have to work at a young age and to even work on farms and all of that, which I know that’s so societal that there’s so many reasons why children are being forced to work. But that is something I think that’s very important to me.

Rachel Bernstein: Right. When kids learn that their role is.

So great that there’s so much on their shoulders. There are some kids who have said to me years later, I learned to be responsible. I learned to be on time. I learned to just work through being tired, being sick, et cetera. And I have a real sense of what I can accomplish now, but what I didn’t learn was how to take care of myself and that that mattered too.

And to notice if I was needing to put my feet up or needing to rest and to. Grapple with this idea that somehow taking care of yourself was selfish or lazy. Just, you know, the, the things that stay with you when you’ve been raised to work and work and work and be the servant. You made the most of, or the best, of very difficult situations.

And I think about even just you telling the story of needing to sit upright and stay awake. That is Also something you hear about a lot, even sometimes babies being hit if they’re crying, I mean, there’s real lack of awareness, I think, of how much rest a child needs, what is quote unquote normal behavior.

Uh, developmentally appropriate and there just isn’t interest in it because kids are often seen as, uh, as a means of keeping the machine going in a lot of these kinds of groups, but that also that they’re just little adults and treated as such.

Dr. Tamara MC: I have never used an alarm except for I’m going, if I’m going onto an airplane and I absolutely have to, I set it up like kind of as backup, but I refuse to use alarms in my life because we were always woken up like with screaming and like waking up and it was so jolting, but my body is in the natural rhythm that I always wake up super early.

But I can’t have that. But I also brought up my children with that. I never brought them up with alarms. And even if we were late to school, sometimes we were late to school. Like I wasn’t going to be on these strict schedules. I was going to allow their bodies to kind of lead them and for them to be able to get as much sleep as they needed.

And now my two sons are in their mid twenties and they wake up. Super early, just like me. And they’re always on time, but it’s not because they were like forced into those situations. It’s because their natural body rhythms were allowed to figure out themselves. And I think like so many schools start so early too, which is really a problem for children because children do need more rest and even children, middle school children, they need to sleep in.

So I think that there’s also something very much with sleep. That’s really important to me and children getting enough sleep and getting the sleep within the hours that they need.

Rachel Bernstein: So true. And I think, you know, going to something that we were just touching on momentarily at the beginning about identity and language, there are a lot of people who will say, I have these kind of words that go through my head when I’m doing something.

Where I’m doing something for me or I’m doing something that is different or not really what have been what would have been seen as good and right by a cult or a cult leader. And so a lot of people say that if they’re, let’s say, wearing shorts, they hear whore in their mind. And if they put their feet up for a moment during the day, they hear.

Lazy or that’s the devil or whatever it is or selfish. And so I think combating that. Being able to replace some of the language that you’re taught about yourself just in moments when you were just listening to what your body was telling you it needed or just exercising some of your freedom. I’m wondering about that for you and how that’s been.

Dr. Tamara MC: Yeah. So we were told that we were lazy and we weren’t able to take naps or anything like that. And so even though I totally see when that comes into my mind, it still comes up all the time. And I think one of the reasons I am so driven is for the fear of being lazy, which isn’t even like, it’s not a logical thought.

I’m like the least lazy person. Like I’m not lazy ever. I mean, and even if I was, so what? It’s like, Oh, big deal. Like, Oh yeah, you’re calling me lazy. Like, but that to me is still like, Oh my God, that’s one thing somebody cannot call me. And I don’t think anybody could ever describe me as that, but it does like all of that programming still comes into my life.

Like I don’t take naps still. I still am on my feet all day long. I’m running around, I’m doing this. I’m doing like, if I’m not doing something, then I. Feel like I’m not accomplishing, like I’m not moving forward. There, I have this natural thing that just propels me forward all of the time. That’s like my strength, but then it’s also my challenge to like, we weren’t allowed to read books except for religious texts, TV, movies, anything like that.

You know, there were no cell phones or internet at that time, but throughout my life, I didn’t ever watch TV. And even after I left, I didn’t watch TV and only in recent years. Now I like, I can’t wait to get in bed in the evening and just watch all of my shows that are usually about cold. So it’s always like, I still feel like I’m working all the time because they’re exhausting, but that is kind of my time that we’re kind of, I lay down and I’m able to, um.

To relax in a way, but it’s still hard because when I’m on my bike, I, you know, I exercise all the time, but I have in podcasts about cults. I mean, it’s like, it’s always there. It’s like, it’s I, I just don’t go on my bike and just like go for, you know, a two hour bike ride. It’s like, I have to be listening to something.

Rachel Bernstein: Right. It’s right. So you have to be productive. I wonder also then about the idea though that there was a certain standard by which you needed to live, but that the people around you didn’t and thinking back on how much you were worried and still are about being seen or being called lazy. But meanwhile.

The people around you were doing kind of nothing. And so what was that about? How did you make sense of that at the time? And now thinking back on it,

Dr. Tamara MC: I didn’t make sense of it at the time. I didn’t even think that they were lazy. And honestly, only until the past. Year, which sounds horrible because I just turned 50 this year.

So that’s a lot of years, like 29 years. I haven’t really thought of that double standard that I was being told I was lazy, but here are these people that were completely lazy and who still, I know them and I know how they live. They still haven’t ever had a job for 30 years. They haven’t accomplished anything really.

I mean, they’ve accomplished according to them, like. spiritual like enlightenment. But to me, that’s like, I mean, you still have to take care of kids. You still have to, there’s a lot of things that have to still be done. So, um, so no, I’ve, I’ve really seen that. And I just look at the rules that the leaders and the adults and the men gave.

And they didn’t follow those rules themselves.

Rachel Bernstein: Right. Right. And so that is one of these definitions that people keep coming back to when they’re trying to see if something is a healthy group or not, or more culty or not, if the rules only apply to some people. And if it is just to the women or just to the kids or just to whomever in some groups, it was to certain races, you know, that it was the ones who were seen somehow as less than that.

They’re the workforce and everyone else gets to put their feet up. And so whenever you have this dichotomy, it doesn’t surprise me that it takes many years to have one of these. Wait a minute kind of moments where you realize that was not right. And it wasn’t that there was any kind of uniformity about it.

And if something matters as a value, it should matter for everyone where there are cult leaders who live very fancy lives when their followers are giving over their last pennies, uh, so that this person can buy another jet or something. And somehow that makes sense there. In the moment, there are a lot of reasons given for it, a lot of justifications, but they just don’t hold up over time.

Dr. Tamara MC: Right. And it was the exact same thing with our leaders. They lived in complete extravagance. Everything was bountiful for them and for their families.

And well, obviously the second leader who had all the money, but even the third leader at that point. He didn’t have money, but people were signing over their property that they had previously to joining the group. And so, so many people lost like their family properties that they’d been given. Any money that they had was given over to the leader and the leader had a special house with his wives and they were all treated very differently.

And even later on, I learned from, um, one of the daughters who was my good friend that. All of that leader’s wives would get lingerie, like they had all this special lingerie and here we were like wearing like the shabbiest clothes like with holes and I was like, people had lingerie back then? How does that even happen?

Rachel Bernstein: Right. And you have your sleeves hanging down in the water. Yes.

Dr. Tamara MC: Yeah. So I didn’t even know that there was kind of all of this going on behind the scenes with these women. And so they had very different roles. The leader had a special place like in the, um, in the prayer room, and they had like a chair that was on the ground, but it had back support, and it was all cushioned, and they could put up their arms, and then all of us had nothing.

We just had to sit on the floor like with nothing for hours. The third leader had this point where he started smoking, and so he would be smoking, and as he would be smoking, the men would have to run up with an ashtray. So before like the ash came down and they’d have to hold it under him so that like not even he couldn’t even use it.

He couldn’t even bring down a cigarette himself to an ashtray. Somebody had to run over to him for that. They walked around, like, with all these, like, they would just be layered in clothes, almost like the Wizard of Oz, like, so many fabrics, and they’d carry canes, and they’d wear these huge hats, and so you always knew, and the second they were around, we’d all have to bend down to them, and if they came into a room and we were sitting, we’d all have to sit.

stand. There were so many rules about the ways that they lived. They were always served food first. Their wives were served food first. The men who were like the highest on the hierarchy would be served food first. There were so many rituals around them and so much veneration for them. So they were living very, very good lives.

They, like all the things we were being taught to clean and to do all the, they didn’t do anything.

Rachel Bernstein: Right. Incredible. Incredible. I’m so glad you’re free from all of that. Uh, and does this group still exist or no?

Dr. Tamara MC: It doesn’t exist in the same way. Um, two of the leaders recently died over the past several years.

One is still living. They all left the country because there was charges against them, of course. So, um, all sorts of charges. So they have not lived in the United States and like pretty much. 35 years. But they still have groups outside of the country that aren’t like necessarily the original members, but they still have, I mean, the two leaders that already died, they still have communities that are very much living and well, even after their death.

And then the third leader who’s living still has. members and some of them are still part of it. A lot of the people that began in the United States kind of live in the United States and they still see each other and they’re still like friendly and all of that, but there isn’t a leader anymore. It’s just more like a community.

Rachel Bernstein: Okay. Well, I, I want to thank you for going back and, you know, kind of, I know it’s hard sometimes to, to think about these memories and to relive them and be back in that room with the kids. And suddenly, you know, the doors close behind you and you realize this is going to be your existence for however long without any preparation for that moment.

I’m sure that happened a lot that you suddenly were in something without preparation for that moment. And for that way of living. And so thank you so much. And I wonder where people can find you now or the work that you’re doing and just let people know.

Dr. Tamara MC: You can find me under my name pretty much on all socials as well as my website Tamara, T A M A R A M C, just capital M, capital C.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. You can, you know, send me a DM, um, through Twitter or Instagram or whatever, and I will definitely reach back out. I’m also writing my memoir right now that I hope to have out into the world. So, so please reach out if you’d like to get on my email list and I can add you to that so you’ll be the first.

to know when that’s coming into the world.

Rachel Bernstein: Fantastic. Okay. Good. It was a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me.

One more thing before you go.

So it is very powerful as you can surmise here to hear Tamara talk about her experiences. It is incredible to envision the life that she had. And I picture her in this room working with so many kids and being in charge of them and just needing to be happy and have it all together even without having a lot of toys for them to play with.

And also being a kid herself. A lot of kids in cultic groups grow up very fast. They have to. They don’t really have a choice. And it is just, I think, by luck that those in their care receive good care. Because you can have kids who are like Tamara, who step up and take responsibility, and others who just want to be kids and don’t want to have that responsibility and don’t handle it well.

That’s not to say there’s something wrong with them. I think they’re just being usual, regular kids. But too much is placed on the shoulders of children of any age within cults. And there’s too much punishment for not doing it just the right way, even though it’s sort of age appropriate to not do it just the right way, and to like to have your own time and to be distracted and to want to spend time with your own friends, as opposed to having one responsibility after the next after the next.

Something that Tamara mentioned that I wanted to make sure to go back to was that she talked about that there were many rules within this system. As we have gone over many times, I think, in this podcast, often there are more rules for the girls and women than for for the boys and the men, more efforts to control them.

There’s more work also for them to do throughout the day. It’s a hard life for everyone, but I think a harder life for the girls and the women. And she said that there were so many rules to follow. But it’s also true that with the different leaders that she had, each one set up their own set of rules.

And you wonder about this because if the rules In religious cultic groups are seen by the leadership usually as those that came from a higher source that they are going to implement some rule, craft some rule, because that’s what God says is the way to believe or the way to act. And they’re just sort of channeling through God’s presence, God’s language, God’s ideas.

God’s directives, then it should be that the rules don’t change. If there is one source for them and there is any sense that there is some clarity about that source and what that source would want for everyone, why would the rules change? So you have people who will follow cult leaders rules. And then after a while, part of the impetus for leaving is where you say A lot of this doesn’t make sense.

A lot of this doesn’t feel relevant. It doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel like something I need to be doing and, and is worthy of me being punished for not following ’cause I think some of them are nonsensical. And then, if you have this where the rules keep changing, it’s very, very hard to assume that the rules mean anything.

And if the rules keep changing, they’re not from a higher source, whatever that means. They’re very human, and it’s very much based on that leader and what matters to that leader. So then, do you need to listen to it as though it was from some spiritual place, from some spiritual source? Probably not, but also you’ve learned that there’s punishment for not following this new set of rules.

So many people are doing things within cultic systems, not knowing why they’re doing them. And many people are doing things, not agreeing with the fact that they have to do them. And they’re trying to kind of figure out what the right way is, and they’re trying to remember what the past person liked and said was a really important rule.

And now what the new person liked. And the point of me talking about this is to highlight the fact that so many things are presented with the utmost of importance within groups like this, but they turn out not to be important at all. And if one person’s rules are then shifted or broken by the next person in charge, I would hope that if you’re in a situation that way, you would be able to see it for what it is.

That sometimes the rules are just there for the sake of having rules. They’re just there so that people have something that they need to follow. The leadership can see that people are willing to follow those rules just because he or she told them to follow them, which feels very good on the ego. And that with rules, you’re also going to have this sense that you’re doing something wrong or God’s going to be upset with you if you don’t follow them.

But it’s not the case. You really don’t have to follow the rules. Because they keep changing. So how necessary, how important, how pivotal are they really at the end of the day? When you’re in a situation where you feel like you’re having to follow everything and you don’t really believe in it, but you notice that You get kudos for following the rules, as opposed to kudos for being a good person, let’s say.

Instead of getting kudos for being a kind of a good, critical, and independent thinker, which happens in some school systems. If you never get credit for any of that, you just get credit for how much the dialogue takes place where a leader will say, jump. And you say, how high, then that’s not really meaningful beyond the interplay between the leader and the follower.

It’s not something necessarily, not that I can speak for God, but I’m assuming if the rules keep changing, it’s not something that came from God, but it is just a way. of stroking somebody’s ego and giving them power, much more power than they deserve. So again, if you’re in a situation like this, if it’s safest for you to play along and follow the rules, no matter how much they change, then you do that.

But record in your heart, in your mind, in your memory, how many times you have followed something really feeling like it’s not right. Knowing that you have to follow it because otherwise you’re going to be on the hot seat and that’s too dangerous, but that all the times you have to do something and you know that it’s not connected to your core.

It also doesn’t feel like a very spiritual kind of rule or spiritual pursuit, but rather just something that someone in a leader wants you to do. Know that those moments are very important. And you want them to start collecting in your mind, and you want to think about how many times this happens where you think, what?

Or why is it that if this was so important to the last person, it’s not important to the new person. So maybe it was never important at all. All of this is very important information to a crew. When you’re in it, when you’re made to feel guilty for even thinking this way, you’re not going to have this data collect, but see if you can let it.

If all these moments of you working hard to do the right thing really don’t match up with your conscience, and these are not things that really matter to you. Know that this really isn’t a group that you can be in for much longer because your world is going to be in you behaving in a way that doesn’t feel right to you.

And again, following rules that don’t feel right to you. And that’s where you lose your sense of self. That’s where you lose your gauge. About who you are and what matters to you. And also that’s where you lose the sense of an awareness of right or wrong. Because the right or wrong within these systems is not a global right and wrong.

It’s not a constitutional right or wrong. It’s not even a 10 commandments right or wrong. It’s just right or wrong based on a leader. And if your life is revolving around making a leader happy with you over and over and over again, then know that that means that you are going to be much more focused on pleasing the leader, keeping them happy with you, then you will be on really feeling like you’re important and you get to have people make you happy.

If the leader’s on your mind all the time, but with a tinge of fear that you’re going to disappoint, know that that can turn into this obsessive way of being worried. about displeasing somebody. That is no way to live a life. It would be wonderful for you to take yourself away from that and live a life where you can decide the rules that matter to you and you can follow them.

I wish that for all of you. Take good care. Talk to you next week. Thank you very much for listening. Please support Indoctrination on Patreon at patreon. com slash indoctrination. Be sure to give us a follow on our social media. Find us on Facebook and Instagram using at indoctrination podcast and for Twitter find us at Underscore indoctrination.

We love hearing from you too. So send us an email at indoctrination show at gmail. com and for more updates on the show, visit our website at www. podpage. com forward slash indoctrination.

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