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a story so familiar
the interview with former scientologist jason beghe
by katherine l (aka clevertitania) (@CleverTitania)

I came across a video tonight, that really took me by surprise. What shocked me most of all was just how much I could relate to the individual being interviewed. Particularly, when the man used to be a Scientologist.

His name is Jason Beghe. He's an actor, and he's done a lot of voice over work. He's one of the "That guys." You've seen him in countless roles (mostly as guest TV appearances) but never knew his name. He was a Scientologist for 11 years. He was a big part of the organization and did a lot of work on their recruitment and other videos. And one day, after a long process of disappointment and disillusionment, he realized what he was doing and got out.

Now I've never subscribed to a religion or faith with any level of vehemence. Like Jason talks about in the interview, I spent my youth reading about different things, and sort of trying them on. But nothing ever moved me, and I'd like to think nothing could've ever caught me up the way it did Mr. Beghe and countless others; but then again, my history tells a different story.

And that's why this interview truly struck me hard. As Jason talked about the methods and mindsets of the 'church', and what he feels drew him to the fold, I heard familiar phrases. They are phrases that I heard from a friend a couple of years ago, which led me to explain to her what Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is, and why her story struck a chord.

Some people imagine that NPD is something of a joke. After all, we're all a little narcissistic, right? Yes, we actually are. But NPD is more than just a general sense of self-awesomeness. I mean NPH may play a narcissist, but Barney Stinson is not what I would call NPD. :) [Ok, upon further review of the criteria, maybe he does.]

From the Wiki, here are some of the factors that lead to a diagnosis of NPD:

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. requires excessive admiration
5. has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
6. is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
7. lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
8. is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

It is also a requirement of DSM-IV that a diagnosis of any specific personality disorder also satisfies a set of general personality disorder criteria.

For the record, my ex displays multiple instances of all 9 points in our three year relationship, plus bouts of Histrionic personality disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, and he was actually diagnosed Bipolar early in the relationship. And I can tell you, when someone displays signs of NPD (or similar conditions) and I hear the stories of their significant others, the similarities are never vague. Conversations, thoughts, feelings, even the courtship stories are often right out of the unwritten biography of my life. But it's the big questions that really stick with you.

How did I let myself end up in this situation?

Why didn't I see sooner, what the person was doing to me?

How much responsibility do I take for having let myself be manipulated and abused that way, and how much do I lay on my abuser?

These are the questions that come up every time. And they are also the same questions I heard Jason explain in his interview, about the environment he lived in as a Scientologist. And, even more revealing, the answers were also eerily familiar.

No matter what kind of abuse you're suffering, the mental abuse is always a component. It's the one thing all victims have in common; the emotional/mental toll of their abuse. For long term abuse victims, the methodology would seem different, depending on if physical and/or sexual abuse is also involved. But actually, it's still the same kind of control; make the other person believe they need you.

No matter the type of long term abuse involved, the abusers goal is always to make the victim believe that they cannot leave without untenable consequences. The abuser fears being left, and so does everything they can to ensure their victim feels incapable of leaving. In some ways Scientology can be seen as the ultimate form of NPD, because it not only puts it's followers into the position of being dependent on them for their souls/health/community, it instills in them the same narcissism that is the driving force of the organization. It creates more narcissists, who recruit new members, using the same forms of mental manipulation and abuse. And let me tell you something, the most common trait of a narcissist is their ability to charm by appearing 'normal' on the surface.

And so we see the real damage done by so called 'religious' groups who seek to dominate and control their followers, and worse yet, insist they have the cure for mankind's ailments. People aren't just indoctrinated. No, with old school cult brainwashing it was at least more obvious. People were clearly no longer using their own minds as they huddled in compounds full of crazy and kool-aid (forgive the alliteration). But the new form of cult is a much scarier prospect, because it has that Stepford element; they seem to be such happy, well-adjusted and productive members of society.

But regardless of it how it may seem to the outsider, regardless of how we want to tell ourselves it could never happen to us... the truth is most people are vulnerable enough at one time in their life. Like Mr. Beghe, I am not a stupid person. My intellect didn't stop me from knitting my life to someone who hollowed me out and drug me around as a doll for a while. But some people are vulnerable a lot more often than that. Some people will never see the reality for themselves. And that's why it's so nice to know that victims of L. Ron Hubbard's insane sci-fi novel are coming forward. Maybe they'll convince some others to jump ship.

Here is the interview, if you'd like to see it. It was done by http://www.xenu.net/. An organization working to disseminate information about the Church of Scientology and all of it's abuses.



When I grow up, I want to be; whoever Joss Whedon wants to be, when he grows up. I am a writer because it's the first thing I want to do when I wake up in the morning; aside from eating and using the lavatory of course. My work includes screenplays, short stories, film/TV/music reviews and socio-political commentary. The last one is a fancy way of saying I like to shoot my mouth off on many topics. I excel at using $1.50 words. They gone up, thanks to inflation. Isn't our economy awesome?

more about katherine l (aka clevertitania)


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