Moxie, I strongly identify with your feelings for a few reasons. Having recently left, it feels like I'll never get over this intense pain, grief & guilt. I do appreciate what Jamie Bowers said: anyone who has not been thru this type of grief will never understand it. I cut off my son because he d'a himself, (under duress from the elders, see previous post) & I allowed it not even knowing what the ramifications of that action would entail, being myself 2 years in the org. He was 16. The elders encouraged me to change the lock on the door because he was rebellious, & at least I didn't do that, but they did say that I should turn him out at 18. Me wanting to be a "good witness" & follow direction that is what I did. That year 1/2 he was home w/me what a nightmare, as he was intensly angry at me (rightfully so) & I just didn't understand, & was hurt & angry myself. I couldn't or didn't understand his feelings,in part because I wanted to be a perfect little witness & follow that direction. I did try to get him help, first at crisis intervention, just to establish basic rules in the household since he felt since he left org. he was entitled to do whatever he wanted. They were able to explain to him that he had to be home at a reasonable hour, had to go to school, some chores,etc. This helped, but our life together as mother & son was basically over. I did try different ways of building up his self esteem, & I took him to a therapist because I was afraid he might hurt himself. These measures were only stopgaps...nothing could repair the damage to our relationship over that year 1/2. The day of his 18th birthday I made it clear to him he had to call his uncle & see if he could live there, they had had a close relationship before we "came in the truth". When his uncle was on his way to our home to pick him up, my son begged me to let him stay, he said he would change, he said he would do well in school, not stay out beyond his curfew, be nice to me (not insolent & angry,etc) I refused. It broke me to do that....he was the closest thing to a family that I ever experienced...I felt connected to him in a way I never felt with anyone in my own family....we didn't speak for about a year...he went in the military & he would call me once in a while to ask for phone cards so he could call his girlfriend back home..I could tell he was desperate & extremely lonely, so the mother in me helped him out for a while. Shortly after that I spoke with a young witness girl, about 18, that I had spoken to my son.. she had that look on her face & said something about your not supposed to be doing that. I did feel guilty about it. I don't remember if we talked too much after that, but I do remember we spoke a few times about what a hard time he was having in the navy & how unhappy he was...I asked him to try to put his feelings in writing or draw me a picture....he did...one of his letters came with the return address reading Kurt Cobain...kurt cobain had recently committed sucicide...I called the navy because I was extremely worried that he might kill himself....wrong move again, he called me to tell me to ask me how I could do that to him...maybe a year later he called me to ask how I could put my religion ahead of my son...I gave some lame answer. We didn't speak again for maybe 7 years....3 years ago I wrote him a letter (encouraged by an understanding witness therapist to write to him & explain my feelings, how I was wrong in the many things I had done to him, betrayal, not listening to his feelings, many things...no response, I called him couple of times, no response, finally he took my call & let me know in no uncertain terms that he was over it, put it all in the past & had gotten on with his life...said if I had called a year before that things might have been different but now it was too late. I said now I had nothing...he said that was your choice. Again I was devastated, but went on in the org...next year I went back to the therapist & he suggested possibly going to see son directly, camp out at his doorstep if necessary,,,,I couldn't do it..still being a loyal one....the next year I called for another appt. w/therapist, we did a phone appt., 1/2 hour...he finally said if your in this much pain for this long a time you need to go into therapy on a regular basis to address possible long term issues....Shortly after that I left the org....am currently in therapy & my therapist is trying to strengthen me to focus on healing but not to count on a reconcilation...that to do so whould be setting myself up in case there is no reconciliation. The way I see it I will never heal or completely get over it unless there is forgiveness & a reconcilation. I may get to a point of regaining some strength & a focus, a life, some purpose, but I will always carry the pain of what I have lost...that will never go away...
As far as my son goes, while I can't speak for him, as his mother I believe that although he says he's put all this in the past, I know it's just buried..so deep within himself he can't even acknowledge that there is pain. He has had to do this just to go on with life & pursue & attain some of his goals..he has come along way on his own. When I tell my therapist I would like to establish a relationship with him and maybe be an instrument in his healing, she says that just like I made the decision to come to therapy, so he will have to acknowledge his own pain & someday do that for himself...and address his feelings at that time.
So, long story short, I think a person has to acknowledge their own pain & seek out help on their own to address those feelings, and they can only do that when they are ready to. At this point I think that to the degree that you can get help with these issues is the degree that you can move on....but some things unless they are resolved between both parties will have to be carried by both parties...because they live in you.
Alone, this post made me cry. If my mother ever left the organization and wanted me in her life, I would embrace her with open arms and a relieved heart. I hope your son and you both find the peace you need. Rachel