I hate my mother after discovering she was caught up in a cult

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Dear Troubleshooter:

I am a college student in my 20s. I am having trouble in my relationship with my mother.

Until a few years ago, my mother was involved in a cult. I didn’t know much about the group at first, but when I was in junior high school, I gradually became suspicious of them.

When I did a search on the group, I found out it was a cult. My mother does not know that I looked up anything about the group.

My mother now has nothing to do with the group. Since I learned that she was into a cult, however, I have been unable to trust her. I am grateful to her for raising me and having me go to college.

But, my disgust for her always prevails. No matter what she does, I get irritated. It’s painful to even eat at the same table as her.

I know I should accept my mother as she is now, but I can’t bring myself to do it. How can I alleviate my feelings of disgust?

— W, Kanagawa Prefecture

/BD/Dear Ms. W:

The world works by us trusting others and being trusted, ourselves. The power is thought to be especially strong when it comes to family.

You have a hard time trusting your mother, and you think it was your mother who planted the seeds of distrust. Is that really the case?

Religious organizations are, of course, built on the power of people’s beliefs. Some of them measure this power in goods, time and money, and try to confine their followers to the group.

Your mother overcame the powerful hold of the organization and came back to you and your family. She was able to trust her family more than the group, a god, or an idea of life after death.

Why don’t you respond to that trust? Tell her you looked up the group when you were in junior high school.

Don’t worry. Your mother will now be able to take into account the shock you received and tell you everything you want to know and need to know because she can trust her family even more than before.

You have built a wall around yourself with your own speculation. But you can always make your voice heard over the wall.

As you speak about this with your mother, I think you will find the wall of distrust will disappear.

— Shinji Ishii, writer