when did you realize your troubled teen industry program was a cult?
for me, it was just last year. with the rise of the #breakingcodesilence movement, i realized i'd been conditioned to discredit anyone who was speaking out against the program.
after a lot of inner reflection and researching the troubled teen industry, i started recalling:
the daily shame circles ("group therapy")
the secrecy around the program's rituals
how we could not question authority
how we were forced to police our peers
how we were routinely forced to confess
how we were rewarded for ratting each other out
how we were conditioned to fear the outside world
additionally, the program used language to control us:
forcing us be silent
monitoring all communication with our friends + family
restricting all communication with the outside world.
today, I am obviously free to use my voice however I choose, but learning how to do so has been a journey of its own.
a pivotal part of my de-programming process was finding language to describe my experiences.
"cult" is the most accurate description i have found as to how the troubled teen industry functions.
please note that i don't use the word "cult" lightly. i also encourage people to do their own research. everyone deserves to find words that fit their experience and they don't have to match anyone else's.