I once had a friend who thought for herself. She had her own opinions and own ideas. She then got a boyfriend and quickly adopted all of his views, did whatever he said, went wherever he told her. They'd inevitably break up and she'd move on to the next guy, whose views, even if they were in direct conflict with the previous guy's, she'd just as eagerly adopt. This went on for years. She no longer remembered how she really felt, what she really thought. She was lost. She became who each guy said she was, who he instructed her to be.
One day she married one of these guys. Gradually, over time, he told her what to think and believe, told her how to act and how not to act. He isolated her from her friends and family. His family became hers and took precedent over her natural family. His friends and siblings became her friends and siblings and she forsook her own. This whole transition was not only scary, but sad. It is how I imagine indoctrination into a cult being. She is now merely a shell of who she once was.
I'm fairly certain that deep down, in a place she will rarely access, let alone acknowledge, she knows all of this to be true. But she's trapped now. A marriage and progeny tie her to this new life. She believes she has too much to lose if she leaves. At least this is what I gauge to be true as a vacant, glazed look overtakes her eyes as her husband enters the room. The only time her eyes begin to clear is when he is far from earshot and she reminisces about times a decade or two ago. It is like she is quietly reminded of the hope she once had, the person she once was before she gave it all up to be who someone else wanted her to be. The ironic thing is, that I think she could be hopeful again if she was simply allowed to be herself.
I sometimes think that one day she is going to wake up and think, "What the hell have I done?" She's sacrificed much; she's given up entire parts of herself and allowed herself to be molded into this person that's barely recognizable. What if, one day, he wants her to be someone else?
While I don't agree with what she has done, I can understand it. It is for self-survival. She could never exist in this new family and circle of friends without adopting their views. They would eat her alive, belittle, and ridicule her. So, in turn she feels that she has to strike first, attacking those whose views go against "The Family." She has to prove she belongs. Unfortunately, those attacked are her former family and friends...those who knew her before she traded in who she was for what he needed and demanded her to be. Which makes it all the more sad. It is as if she has to be so forceful, insulting, confrontational, and borderline hateful in order to convince herself and others that this is who she really is. She is one of THEM.
More than anything, I now just feel sorry for her and pray she can live the next fifty years as someone she is not.
**Fictional piece; any similarities to actual people are unintentional