AmSAW Registered Writings

Sectarian Song:
Cult Escapist

by Michael Klein


Wuoo... dudsh, thump, and, whoop.  Those are the sounds you hear as the horse whip strikes the flesh of my back.  With every crack of the whip I grimace in pain.  With every strike of the whip against my burning flesh, I can see the flickering of lights going off and on repeatedly, in time to the strikes.

Here I am a young kid being abused like this.  The belt whipping was only a part of the abuse.  I had to stand naked on an armless swivel chair, with both arms extended high above my head, as if I was reaching to the heavens, begging for God’s help, begging perhaps for him to just take me away from all this.

I was ordered to take this stand, as the crashing of the plastic vine swooshed and buried itself into my flesh, leaving marks that would last nearly a lifetime.  The bad part of the experience was the chair.  It was being purposely spun.  Imagine me standing on this chair, trying my best to keep my balance, however not succeeding, as I repeatedly fell off.  Every time I fell off, I would get hit even harder as punishment for falling.

As I was being hit with the whip and while the chair was spinning, I could see glimpses of people standing around me yelling out words such as “stone him,” “lash him,” “make him feel the pain of Yahweh,” repeatedly.

Although I endured the lashing and the pain that went with it, for every lash I took, the pain was not superficial, nor was the scars just on the surface.  For the pain and scars went deeper into my soul.  They touched my inner self.  Even today, I still fight my demons.  I am still trying to overcome the torture I went through.  Every person I came near, every relationship I tried to establish all failed because my past continued to haunt me.  It would rear its ugly head to torment me, if not literally, but subconsciously.  My mother turned against me and later despised me.  My marriage went sour.

I remember the date all so well.  It was March 18th, 1986. I remember it because it happened on my 13th birthday.  The scars have somewhat faded now (if you really look up close you can still see the lashes and whip marks), but the after affects still linger on.

I have had a long road to recovery.  Throughout my teen years, my everyday routine was not like your typical teenager.  I spent everyday going from one therapist to another.  I went from one psychiatrist to another.  Every night I would have vivid dreams that seemed so real I woke up in a cold sweat.  That was only part of it.

Throughout my teenage years and even during my early twenties, I would find myself going from foster home to foster home, group home to group home, halfway house to halfway house, struggling to get back to a normal life.  There was no doubt the psychological impact of what happened to me ran deep, deeper than anyone could fathom.

Although, I eventually beat my demons and succeeded in ridding myself the root cause of my torture and pain, reality hit me like a ton of bricks.  Here I felt like a shell of a man, with just a battered and damaged soul.  But I knew I had to decide if I wanted to continue to live a lie and in darkness, fearing the unknown, not wanting to take a step forward, being afraid of every sound I heard, having a fear of what people may do when in my presence, or, live a great life filled with the wonder and majesty of what life had to offer.

I could live in constant fear, thinking my life could revert back to my previous tortured life I once led, or I could take a chance, get a renewed interest on life, embrace the goodness of what life can bring to me, allow myself the chance to give and receive love, and to just be happy.

I chose the latter, and I want everyone, who is going through or perhaps has gone through the exact same thing, or is just suffering pain or anguish, to know there is a way out.  My story is about how I was able to overcome all the trials and tribulations that tormented me, and turned my life around so I could live a normal life.

This story is for you, who perhaps have demons in the closet, and need an escape.  It is a story that I hope will inspire you and uplift your spirits.  Take it from one who knows and has been through it.  I was given lemons and made lemonade.  You can do the same if you put your mind to it.  Hopefully, this book will guide you in that direction.

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