cult recovery 101

ICSA Annual Conference: Roadmaps not Templates

ICSA Annual Conference: Roadmaps not Templates

ICSA Annual Conference: Roadmaps not Templates

Angel Garden, Saturday, June 25, 2022, 11:00 AM-11:50 AM

“The hardest thing to believe is your own experience”, a statement ever more true when everything regularly now changes overnight. And when we know that the same people who own ‘the media’ are often also working with and for governments, it’s hard to know what to believe.

More localised or remotely connected authoritarian and controlling groups and influences are now all operating in this context as well, adding to general uncertainty, and to the pool of scared and docile targets experiencing coercive control in the family or other relationship, or even through a group joined for support in trying times.

On or offline, by nature coercive behaviour seeks conformity, suggesting uniformity, but really nobody is ‘one size fits all’. The propaganda may be the same, but how we’re affected depends on our tendencies, temperament and personal history. When we leave the controlling space, these are what we’re left with.

All bullying aims to make you do it to yourself. to hate and degrade yourself, ie to destroy all belief in your own experience and then police yourself in the bullied state, making it hard to reassert meaning out of what has happened.

The key to survival, for me, was to make documentary materials to analyse what had happened, contextualise it into the landscapes of the secondary wounding, of ostracism and cyberbullying and stalking through social media, and express what I found in images, papers, video.

In doing this I learned how documentation assists resistance to coercion and gaslighting, differences between documentation and publication, how both can both quickly change things around you and about threats to free-speech.

Seeking objective context for my experiences, the created objects were informative rather than personally reflective, more a road-map of what you might find, than a template for recovery.

Angel Garden: Researcher – Amazon Films

Angel Garden started her career as a successful stand-up comedian and actor. Her mediating skills and love for Ki Aikido led her to design highly praised community courses in assertiveness training. But her first love has always been filmmaking and journalism, which led her to create Amazon Films with her husband Steve Paris, through which they have made and released Yam, a full length comedy feature, “birth-trust”, documenting the first Holistic Birth Trust conference and many other environmental, and community shorts. On stumbling onto an extremely controlling group, the repercussions of this event allowed her to strengthen her investigative reporting and presenting skills. This gave birth to the acclaimed political satire show “Beehave”, which used the course of an education law change to lobby MPs in New Zealand. This then led to the creation of Amazon News Media, increasingly reporting on health, education, and community issues. Meanwhile Amazon Films is increasingly involved in projects focusing on the rights of children and young people. Angel is physically disabled and has three children.

​The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) is conducting its 2022 Annual International Conference​: Exploring the Needs of People who Leave Controlling Groups, Relationships, and Environments.