Find the next episode of Generation Cult now to hear Katharina’s story about growing up in a New Age cult that settled in the Belize jungle before all of the cult leader’s scandals caught up to him.
Katharina is currently working on her PhD and has started a nonprofit to help others harmed by similar groups. But what a strange and bumpy journey she had to get to this point!
Don’t have time to hear to the full episode this moment? Listen to these samples with photos from Katharina:
When Katharina was 10, her parents joined a New Age cult in Germany and moved to Austria. The group was led by a controlling man with a woman who claimed to be a medium. Her disturbing experiences began when she and seven other children were walked into a room with mattresses and introduced to two adults who would care for them.
“And from that moment on, we were supposed to not speak to our parents anymore.” Katharina said. “We were not allowed to address them as ‘mom’ or ‘dad,’ we were not allowed to go to them when we got hurt. We were supposed to break those ties.”
The worst part, she said, was that she wasn’t allowed to have her own emotions anymore. She was told she must be happy all the time and that it was good she had lost her parents.
“Almost overnight, I saw the bodies of my parents walking around but they acted completely different,” she said. “And I think it was hard for them, too, to keep the distance, so they were extra harsh in pushing us away. I couldn’t connect with them anymore.”
The group, which called itself “The Family,” moved to a jungle in Belize and built a time machine. The members were encouraged to break all of their boundaries, including sexual boundaries that involved minors. Katharina spent years in therapy to recover from the abuse.
She’s now the co-founder and executive director of Stronger After (https://www.stronger-after.org), an online resource to assist people who have been harmed by coercive groups and relationships.
How did she get out of the group and get to the point where she could help others?
Find out now on Generation Cult’s Episode 6: “The Medium and the Time Machine.”