Lost Connections[rebelmouse-image 18348030 is_animated_gif=
"Cult" generally refers to a social group identified by extreme devotion to religious, spiritual or philosophical beliefs or a common interest in a particular person, object or goal. The public is fascinated by cults, their aftermaths and their survivors. But what about those left behind by cult members?
Reddit user LilMissMuppet asked "Redditors who have lost a friend or family member to a cult, how did it happen?"
Here are first hand accounts of people who have dealt with cults and the toll they took.
Widespread[rebelmouse-image 18348031 is_animated_gif=
I lost my entire family. On my father and mother's side. Almost the entirety of people I grew up with and knew. As if I was never born. Raised Jehovah's Witness.
Just because the "religion" is prominent in our society does not discount the fact that it is by definition a cult.
Weight Down Ministries[rebelmouse-image 18348032 is_animated_gif=
I lost an aunt and cousin to Weight Down Ministries. It's run by this woman named Gwen Shamblin. A real nut job. She lives in Franklin, Tennessee, in this huge mansion where she broadcasts live church webinars multiple times a week. People all over join in and host these "church gatherings" at their homes. They get you in by introducing it as a weight loss program. Simple. Lose the weight quick and easy and never gain it back. Eat what you want!! So you go wow this sounds great! Then they slowly introduce the Bible and she'll preach to you through online videos, then you get recruited to a church in someone's home near you where the service lasts for FOUR hours. So anyways, my cousin and aunt got sucked into this and now they moved away to live in Franklin, TN where they worship every breath this Gwen Shamblin woman takes. Everyone that joins ends up marrying someone else inside the cult. My cousins sister wasn't allowed in her wedding because she wasn't part of the cult.
Fanatical Devotion[rebelmouse-image 18348033 is_animated_gif=
Most people wouldn't consider Southern Baptist a cult, since it's pretty mainstream where we live, but the degree to which my father embraces it, and the amount of time, effort, and money he puts into it, I think it's reasonable to call it cult-like.
His parents raised him in it, but I remember as a very young kid that we didn't go to church as much as we would later. Once a week, and sometimes we'd miss a week and it wouldn't be a big deal.
He got back into it when his dad died, and then doubled down when his mom passed several years later. He started forcing us to go to church two, sometimes three times a week. Those losses had a profound effect on him and I guess he just really, really wants to buy into the idea that he'll see his parents again.
Can't really blame him for that, I guess, but it has put a considerable strain on my relationship with him. Especially lately, since he's made friends with this guy who is even more fundamentalist than my dad is, and he's been bringing this guy around the house.
This guy, there's no other way to say it, he's just straight up crazy. My dad is passionate about his beliefs; this guy is fanatical. The kind of person I'd be worried might blow up an abortion clinic or something. (I had a conversation with the guy shortly after the Vegas shootings, and he all but came out and said those people deserved to be shot for just going to a sinner's hellhole like Vegas.)
Pastor's Kid[rebelmouse-image 18348034 is_animated_gif=
I was in what I personally deem as a cult. They had a ruse of being a very "hip" non-denominational Christian Church. You may know of them - the pastor wears jeans and high fashion button-up shirts, the band plays alternative christian rock, there's a coffee shop, etc. However, I think the church sort of morphed into that in the ...15 years I attended, to become more appealing. This church had helluva lot of layers - and as the kid of the associate pastor of the church (My dad was the right hand man of the main pastor), I pretty much knew all of the layers.
I had been going to this church since I was 4, and from that point forward my family had become extremely devout. We were there nearly every night of the week - bible studies, 3 sermons on Sunday, 1 sermon on Wednesday, worship practice, babysitting, events, list goes on an on. One summer, I couldn't have been older than 9, I spent every morning cleaning the church (still can't remember why I was required to clean the church so much...but it kept me there all the time) At 11, the church opened up a school - that literally was just a money sucker. When I say money sucker i mean $2,000 dollars per school year roughly (possibly more, later down the road), for you to learn and re-learn the same subjects, because once you got to a certain point in education, they'd make you re-do it, because there was no point in you learning anything else (you were just going to end up being a church pawn anyways!). We'd pledge to the christian flag, the bible, and american flag every morning & had hour long bible study lessons. We had to memorize so much scripture, and would be tested & re-tested on these scriptures we were supposed to know by heart EVERY Friday. If we got in trouble we sometimes would be assigned lines, which usually was also a scripture verse.
Anyway, this church bred loyalty - and anyone who left would suddenly have a seriously terrible rumor spread about them, to make it seem like whoever DID leave had some type of mental breakdown or they were a "wolf in sheep's clothing" the whole time. It was pretty messed up, because one minute I would have a friend I thought I would have for life, and the next minute their mom would suddenly leave and the rumor would be "oh she married a Muslim man and converted or that they were stealing money or just whatever they could come up with. This was always MOST unsettling when a church "great" would leave (people who had been there for 10+ years and were heavily involved in ministry.)
So I finally hit a point where I decided to leave the church for good at 20-21. So I left, but I basically lost everyone on my way out. Everyone judged me about what happened. I know they spread rumors that my dad was stealing money, but that didn't concern me, because I realized, despite losing all of my friends, this life was already better.
Some of my old church friends had tried to scold me saying "you know better"...it made me sick. I see how much time & money they put into this church. Most of them are HEAVILY in debt, because that church made your wallet HURT. And There's always SOMETHING going that kept you there 5-6 days a week. AND they were so ISOLATED. I never noticed this until I left. but the church did the whole rumor bull, to keep you from talking to people "outside". It's sickening and depressing and a cult in my eyes.
Ansarullah Bangla[rebelmouse-image 18348035 is_animated_gif=
I've lost a friend of mine to 'Ansarullah Bangla' an offshoot of ISIS in Bangladesh. It was back in 2014.
He was a computer science student but most importantly a poet. He is one of the most amiable persons I've ever met. We used to hang out a lot in our hometown since he was one of the few of same-aged friend I had back then. We were tremendous dreamers and very lazy workers.
Till this day, I just try to make sense of the murder and the aftermath. He, although was an atheist, never ever loud about his belief system since atheists are always shunned in our country. All of his very few blog posts are either poems or short stories. He was never active on social platforms too. If anyone knows his belief or disbelief they do by personal attachments. So when I learned about the murder I've never suspected the actual cause can be his belief system. Someone sold him, someone close. Maybe a friend from University. A facebook page of Ansarullah Bangla claimed that they killed him for 'practicing atheism in personal life'. They attacked him in his apartment, barred two of his friends, butchered him, stabbed him right into his skull, he died bleeding, instantly.
This death has given me some subtle ideas about death that was not present even a year before when my father died. I understood, life is not fair and anyone can kill you for no rhyme or reason and that is exactly why I have to shout out my ideas no matter what is the cost. Before that event, I was a pro-death nihilist and afterward a life-savoring nihilist.
Life goes on. Yet, he left a mourning girlfriend who still mourns, some friends who don't eat certain foods that are favorites of his. It's a death I can't get quite accustomed to.
People's Temple[rebelmouse-image 18348037 is_animated_gif=
My parents told me when I was younger that they knew (casually, not like best friends or anything) married couple that joined the People's Temple in the Bay Area.
They didn't go to Guyana. However, Jones had left some people behind to take care of the property. Approximately a year after the mass suicide the couple disappeared. Nobody knows if they decided that they wanted some grape Flavor-Aid too or if they were "disappeared" against their will.
Fundamentalist[rebelmouse-image 18348038 is_animated_gif=
Not exactly a cult, but my aunt became a born again Christian and joined this crazy fundamentalist church. Within a few months months she had married a man she met there and pulled her kids out of public school and enrolled them at the church's tiny private school. The church doesn't allow women to cut their hair so she quit her job as a hair stylist. She started wearing ankle length skirts and made my cousin do the same. My cousin wasn't allowed to wear normal clothes. When we went on our annual beach vacation, my cousin couldn't wear a bathing suit, she had to wear knee length board shorts and a tee shirt.
Joining that church completely changed my aunt's personality. She used to be a really cool person, she would take me and my cousins to do all kinds of fun stuff when we were kids. I remember her being my "fun aunt". She was also a talented painter and extremely creative. She doesn't paint at all now. She became completely submissive to her new husband, who is super manipulative and a compulsive liar. I don't think she's being physically abused, but she's not allowed to leave the house alone. She can only go places with her adult son or her husband. My mom tried to convince her to leave and now she is banned from talking to my mom on the phone unless her husband supervises the conversation. He works from home, so he is literally always around micro managing her life.
Joining that church also changed my cousin's life. She was probably about 12 or 13 when this all happened. She wasn't allowed to cut her hair and she was only allowed to wear full length skirts and long sleeves. They wouldn't let her see her old friends, she was only allowed to associate with people from church. We lived in different states, but we were extremely close and she used to come visit my family several times a year. Those trips stopped. I could only see her when we drove out to where they lived, and even then she wasn't allowed to be unsupervised with my mom (who was deemed a bad influence because she called my aunt and her husband out on their B.S.). It was really hard on my cousin.... She ended up legally emancipating herself at 16 and moving in with our grandparents. It was an ordeal.... The church "school" she had been going to was unaccredited and essentially useless, so she had to repeat a lot of high school online.
The happy news is that my cousin finished high school, went to college, and now she's happily married to a great guy. Shes totally normal and super cool. My aunt is still in the church, but honestly now that my cousin is free from all that, I don't care. I kind of hate her for what she put her daughter through. It definitely really hurts my mom though. She was super close to my aunt their entire lives, until she joined this church. Now they have basically no relationship. Their phone calls and visits are supervised by her husband. All she ever wants to talk to my mom about is converting her and saving us from going to hell, even though my mom is a Christian and goes to a normal church every Sunday. It's really sad, I feel bad for my mom. Especially since their other sister passed away suddenly a couple years ago, my mom has been pretty lonely. She tells me sometimes she feels like she's lost both her sisters.
Disfellowshipped[rebelmouse-image 18348039 is_animated_gif=
I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness and grew up with most of my family being a part of the religion. When I was 10, my mother left the church and then was disfellowshipped (shunned) for having my sister out of wedlock. I was told that I could not associate with her after I became an adult, and that started me on the path to leaving this "Christian" group. I later on, at age 23, after not attending church for close to five years, also was disfellowshipped for having a child while single. This meant that everyone in my family besides my mother and half-sister could no longer talk to me. My father, stepmother, stepbrother, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends.... all of them gone. It can be emotionally devastating. My mother took her own life exactly two years ago today. I have a beautiful son, incredibly supportive and loving husband, and a new family that has helped to start healing those wounds. If anyone who is going through a similar situation ever needs a listening ear, there is a huge community (including myself) out there who can aid in the healing process.
Older Brother[rebelmouse-image 18345996 is_animated_gif=
My older brother joined a cult. He had a huge drinking problem most of his life, and drug problems in high school. He joined the Coast Guard after high school, but he was getting into trouble at work, coming in hungover all the time, not really caring about his job. One of his superiors, despite the trouble at work, really cared about him and wanted to help him. He recommended that my bro start going to church. So he did and it really turned things around for the better. My family and I were all so proud of him, he was really happy for the first time in a long time.
And then it just progressed from there, what first seemed helpful started to get out of control. The cult that he's in he found online. Obviously they don't outright say they're a cult, my bro saw it as an online community that supported his religion, made him feel like he had others to talk to. At first we just thought he was taking this whole religion thing too seriously, but then he went AWOL for one of their meet ups/functions. He ended up getting discharged from the military and then he began calling my parents less and less. He moved to the city where the cult is based out of and got some job using connections from the church. Him and I were still close and we called/emailed a few times a week. Starting before his discharge from the CG, in just about every conversation he would bring up doomsday, punishment, and hell. Eventually he began telling me that God told him that he can't change me, and that unless I decide to accept Jesus as my savior, he could no longer contact me.
We haven't talked in years, I was the last one he cut off. He still talks to our biological dad once every few months. My brother told my dad that God spoke to him through prayer and told him he's still got a chance to save my dad. I honestly think he's just too afraid to completely let go of his old life and entire family, and that's why he still keeps contact with my dad. He gets updates on me through him, but I've come to terms with the possibility of never seeing my brother again.
After his discharge from the military, he met a girl from the cult and they have three lovely children. Seriously, they are ADORABLE! My dad sends me pics. While I don't agree with his beliefs and being cut out of his life hurt a lot.. I am happy that he's content and he found somewhere he feels he belongs.... he seems like a great father.
India[rebelmouse-image 18348040 is_animated_gif=
I don't know if it was an actual cult, but after my cousin did a legit "teach in Asia" program she decided she was in love with Buddhism and joined a temple in Thailand (haven't gotten to the cult stuff, bear with me) whatever that meant. Then after a couple of months there she went to India. About six months there and she decided to come home.
But she was still in love with the temple life, so she joined a group in the US working with Tibetan monks? She was always a little loose on the details. Then one day she up and leaves everything behind to study Tibetan (language) somewhere in Vermont and then before we know it, they have sent her back to India.
The group in Vermont is the shady part, because my cousin was advised not to talk about who they were, where they were, or how it all worked. She was completely out of touch by modern means for six months, and only sent some letters with no return address and a very robotic format of "it is so wonderful here! Everything is beautiful" etc etc.
Then about two months after she had been in India she leaves the group and contacts us to say everything is okay, but she is staying in India. Because she met a boy. Who does happen to be a Tibetan refugee, so there is that!
Anyway, they got married, came to the us once they could get him a passport (took about two years) and now they are happily living in the US. She still won't talk about what happened, though her husband has let slip that something shady was going on, he also won't say what.
Former BFF[rebelmouse-image 18348043 is_animated_gif=
I had this friend growing up and we were the best of friends. Our summers were spent sleeping in my parents camper, swimming, jumping on her trampoline. We would ride our bikes around town and did everything together.
Growing up my parents always sent me to church, Sunday school and bible camp. She never went to church and would kinda make fun of me for not being allowed to have Saturday sleepovers. She had a lot of doubt but I didn't really care. She was my friend and if she didn't believe in God then whatever, who cares, let's watch Blossom!
Then her mom got sick. They kept her illness very private but it became obvious. She lost a ton of weight, stopped working and slept a lot. Around this time my friend's family joined a church. It was called New Life Church.
My best friend got super into this church and she would invite me to their youth group and it seemed ok. We would eat chicken burgers and and watch sister act 2. One day she asked me if I wanted to have a saturday sleepover and attend Sunday service with her family. My parents were ok with it because they assumed it was like normal church.
It was no normal church. It was a new wave Christian church and their minister was a faith healer. I mean people speaking in tongues and he would perform healing ceremonies. People would come up to him and he would use his palm to smack them on their foreheads and they would shake on the ground. He told people that he could use God's power to heal cancer.
It was scary and the people attending fully believed that this man could save them. On the way home from the service my best friend's mom asked me what I thought. I was honest and said it was weird and nothing like my church. She asked if I would go back and I said it wasn't the right fit for me.
After that my best friend was not allowed to hang out with me. If her mom saw her talking to me around town she would yell at her. My best friend told me that it was because her mom said I didn't have a pure Christian heart.
Her parents ended up putting her in the church's private school for a few years and by the time she came back we were in high school and she was far gone.
Her mom died when we were about 19. Her dad left the church but she did not. She met her husband and they have 2 adorable children but she is in so deep.
I miss my best friend and I am sad that church took advantage of them and gave her mom false hope.
Mother[rebelmouse-image 18348044 is_animated_gif=
So I got out when I was 20-21. And by got out I mean was demonized and disowned by my mother. Who then married the cult leader after he divorced his wife "for having an affair". Cult leader's wife was my ex-step-grandmother (long story, my mom's not great at picking men). But she's still in it now and won't talk to me, though she did try to make me see the error of my ways a couple months back (I'm in my early 30s now). Apparently the cult leader is dying of cancer to the mouth, which is incredibly appropriate.
Anyway, once he dies I'm hoping to be able to slowly talk sense into her again.
Hollywood[rebelmouse-image 18348045 is_animated_gif=
A friend of mine told he how she lost her friend to Scientology. It was more or less because they were residents of Hollywood and would walk down Hollywood blvd every day to go school. They'd pass the recruiting center every single day and pay no mind, but one day her friend decided to go in. She said after high school, her friend dissociated with her after realizing she wasn't going to convince her to join.
MLM[rebelmouse-image 18348046 is_animated_gif=
Does losing someone to an Multi Level Marketing cult count?
Not only lost a friendship, but had to unfollow all their posts. I can't answer their calls, texts, or messages because it's all about me "being on their life changing team" and "supplementing my income" even though my spouse and I both own our businesses, love our jobs, and don't need supplemented income.
If you're reading this and in an MLM think about the friendships you have had with people for many years. Don't throw it away for the small chance you will actually make good money.
I had a similar experience with a high school acquaintance selling Mary Kay; she reached out to a handful of us inviting us to a "girls night in at her house" and admitted she wanted to show us some Mary Kay samples but no pressure to buy. I felt bad cause I knew through the grapevine and she and her husband were struggling financially, so I figured I'd go and maybe get a lotion.
We follow the GPS instructions and it straight up leads us to a warehouse where about 20 Mary Kay consultants and 10 of their higher-ups are waving women inside, and casually blocking all the exits. Each consultant had invited 5-10 people, and if you tried to leave, one of the higher-up ladies would corner you, while another blocked the exit, and give the spiel about how if you didn't want to order anything today you could just host your own party another day - just give them the date and time. I said I wasn't interested 5 or 6 times before I just caved and bought the cheapest thing available.
The really crappy part is that they know full well that they've put you in a situation you can't get out of without being incredibly rude and confrontational (in front of a couple hundred witnesses) and that most people would rather avoid a scene like that. I blocked her on social media and never talked to her again.
Cruises[rebelmouse-image 18348047 is_animated_gif=
My step aunt, uncle, and their daughter are Scientologists. My step uncle had a drug problem when he was younger and Scientology said they could help him. Surprisingly enough they did and he got clean but he got roped in. He and his family work for them now. His daughter works on the cruise ship they have. They seem pretty normal but they occasionally send us DVDs to try and convert us. Also when my rather wealthy Grandpa died they wanted to take some of his possessions to sell to Scientology.
Mexico[rebelmouse-image 18348048 is_animated_gif=
She wasn't permanently lost, but my aunt joined the Children of God in the 70s. She was down in Texas doing student teaching and one day her roommate called my grandparents to say she hadn't seen her in a couple days and was pretty sure some people took her to Mexico.
My grandparents immediately drove down to Mexico, hired a cult deprogrammer, and rented a house near the cult compound. They basically blew as much money as they could afford, but never saw her before they had to give up and go back home.
A little while later, my aunt called home to tell her parents she was getting married. They told her to wait until spring break and they would come down for the wedding, but she said she couldn't. A few months after that, she brought her new husband to the US to meet the family.
They're still married today and I basically just learned about the whole thing like 6 months ago.
Ohio[rebelmouse-image 18348049 is_animated_gif=
Here in central Ohio, we have a cult called Xenos. They market themselves as a Christian home church group. In reality, you will be pressured into moving into a home where you share a room with others of the same gender in order to prevent premarital sex and masturbation.
You will be forced to shun all non-xenos friends and family you have. It's pretty baffling how people keep falling for it. I lost a friend to it years ago. Haven't heard from her since. I saw her at the store once a few years ago and she refused to even acknowledge my existence.
College Days[rebelmouse-image 18348050 is_animated_gif=
Two of my college housemates went out one evening to buy cigarettes, and came back converted to Scientology. One eventually got out of it, but it took years. The other, I have no idea.
It was like a horror movie about pod people taking them over.
The worst part about Scientology to me is the time you lose by involving yourself in it. Members can spend 18 hours of their day being "audited." Children are separated from their parents for months at a time, essentially erasing the familial relationships. It seems that the children learn to never trust anyone, or be loyal to anything other than their "religion." They're told that it's their responsibility as a Scientologist to rat out anyone who says something that even slightly opposes the church's beliefs. If someone reports you to the church, you're required to go through the "auditing" process for hours and hours at a time, at your own expense. It's BONKERS.
Budapest[rebelmouse-image 18348052 is_animated_gif=
A family friend of mine was a prominent young chess player (a grandmaster --- not a grandmaster, an international master with a GM norm) who, at a stressful crossroads in life, basically had a nervous breakdown at a tournament in Budapest and went outside and somehow came into contact with a cult. He's been there for a few years, within a couple weeks he withdrew all the money from his bank account and asked his family to not contact him. Apparently they later were allowed to and he spoke broken English and was more comfortable in a Hungarian language. I'm pretty sure that when they talked to him it was in person in Budapest in a public space with a translator/caretaker with him. They said that he seemed more comfortable in Hungarian, he didn't seem to remember American slang that he used to use, and generally body language and all just didn't seem like himself.
...one of the smartest guys I knew.
Jonestown[rebelmouse-image 18348053 is_animated_gif=
I had two cousins who went to Jonestown. I was born 2 years after their deaths, so everything I know is a kind of family lore. They were my Dad's best friends, and he rarely talked about them, but my mom was pretty open about it. The following is me paraphrasing what my mom has told me about them getting involved in the People's Temple.
They joined in San Francisco. It began as a utopian community, which followed the teachings of Christ. They gave literally everything they had away. Blankets, food, whatever the group had, they would give away. At the time, communes were common, so what they were doing, moving in with a bunch of like-minded people, didn't seem that odd. To their family, it seemed like an idealistic hippy community.
Then they started asking for money. Always under the guise of feeding the poor, or something like that. It didn't begin with asking for money because Jim was the second coming. Their parents sent all the money they had, but my cousins just kept asking for more. Eventually this was how he isolated his members from their family. If the family kept giving money, then the members could keep in touch. If the money dried up, the family was blamed, the members were cut off from contacting them.
My parents were living in Seal Beach at the time. My mom says the first time they noticed the cousins seemed a bit strange was when they cousins were on a mission trip with Jones. I believe he was preaching at the Crystal Cathedral, and he brought a bus of his followers down. It rained. Like one of these rare downpours in SoCal. The bus didn't have a windshield, so everyone was just getting soaked. So Jones walked up to the front of the bus, held out his hands and spoke, "Storm, stop!" And the rained stopped.
So that was the story my cousins told my parents that was the first sign my cousins had been brainwashed. I asked my mom what her response was, and she said, "we just laughed. It was so ridiculous. We had no idea what was coming, no one had heard of a cult."
By the time they left for Jonestown, my dad says he knew he'd never see them again, but at the same time he was shocked when it happened. We have letters from their time in the church all the way up to in Jonestown, so you can read their progression into brainwashing.
In the end, Nancy freely took the Kool aid, Ronnie was injected with cyanide. Their deaths have been ever present in my family.
It is time to get real about a few things in life.
We take too much for granted.
We never have an appreciation for anything until it's gone.
Redditorwhere_go_john_nowwanted everyone to listen up and start being more vigilant in life. They asked:
"What do people simply not take seriously enough?"
We can be so cavalier about so many things. Time to get serious.
EssentialsKenan Thompson Reaction GIF by NBCGiphy
"Sleeping enough and the health of their relationships."
"There are a lot of good answers to this question, but this one sticks out for me. You are in a 4000+ pound rolling chunk of metal, aimed at other 4000+ pound rolling chunks of metal. You should probably take that seriously and stop f**king around with your damn cell phone."
What you eat...
"I get why people don't care because it might take weeks until your body is adjusted to new diet and you don't feel miserable. I know it was really difficult for me at first to not buy like 3 donuts daily like I used to do. But, once you get past that transition it's like a whole new life and you can't go back to excessive sugar."
"You didn't really know how bad you felt until you are started eating healthy. I recently tried regular red bull and it made me feel like I had diabetes- couldn't take more than a few sips before feeling sick. Changing nutrition = give your body time to adjust and being kind, patient with your body."
In the Mouth
"Dental hygiene. There was a period of 10 years where I didn't see a dentist. Luckily, the damage done to my teeth and gums was an easy fix. Now, I make sure to floss and get my teeth cleaned every 6 months."
"I didn't see a dentist for 2 years due to the pandemic. Had to change dentists too since my old one closed his doors. When I went to the new one, the dentist told me that I had cavities. Plural. I had good dental hygiene for the most part, brushed and flossed at least once a day. Now I go every 6 months like it's religion."
Are we paying attention? I am...
Deep Watersthe beach water GIFGiphy
"Here in Australia tourist really take it for granted like not just the wildlife but we have some of the strongest currents in the world STAY BETWEEN THE FLAGS!"
Of the Mind
"It's the people who haven't been diagnosed and treated that are most at risk of not being taken seriously. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma attached to having mental health disorders that keeps people ill."
"That, and our health insurance issues. And there simply aren't enough mental health care professionals or facilities to service people who need treatment. Our attitudes about mental health need to change to make it a priority."
The Fur Babies
"Pet care. Your pet should be thriving, not just surviving."
"My dad wanted nothing to do health wise for my dog because he didn't want to spend the money, when I took over taking care of her and was making money I took her to the vet (maybe an excessive amount of times) but she lived to 14 years old."
I'll be there for you...
"Been trying for literally years. I'm plenty friendly, but IMO it's absurdly difficult to coordinate a meetup with more than one other person. And most people I meet aren't interested in (and I'm not comfortable with) meeting up at my place for a movie or something unless I already know them pretty well. I imagine things are easier with the help of drugs like alcohol or weed, but I don't touch either."
Take RestAngry Office GIF by Juan BillyGiphy
"Yes! We’re treated like we shouldn’t ever have feelings or get sick or have emergencies. We’re not robots."
Time to get real. Life is too short. Make it healthy.
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Danger lurks around every corner.
That is just a simple fact.
It's obvious that dark alleys in the dead of night are not a great idea.
But where else should we be on alert?
Redditorbeginnerlife22wanted everyone to be on the lookout for danger, so we survive another day. They asked:
"Which dangerous places should everyone avoid?"
I find danger anywhere and everywhere so my list of places is long. Help me lengthen it...
The Streamsdo the right thing water GIFGiphy
"Fast moving water."
"Working at a hydropower station and cant believe how ignorant some people are, fishing while standing on rocks right below. If they fall they are 100% gonna be flushed down the stream."
Pulled from Death...
"Monastery Beach in Monterey, CA. Going into the water can kill you and the waves have pulled people from the shore to their death."
"My old roommate wanted to go scuba diving AT NIGHT in Monastery, f**king crazy. I went along just to get out of the house, I’m not even scuba certified. But then he said to me, and I’ll never forget this, he said: 'if I’m not back in an hour, call rescue and keep the car,' Most anxious hour of my life waiting for him to come back safe, he made it though."
"When the park service tells you not to go somewhere, listen to them, especially regarding hot springs in Yellowstone."
"Also in regards to wildlife. I saw an article of a person who got gored by a bison recently at a national park because they got too close."
"And don’t bring your dang pets to Yellowstone. Too many dogs jumping in the boiling hot water."
"The blind spots next to and behind big trucks."
"True, i prefer to start my overtake some distance behind the truck so they have a chance to spot me in the mirror. I also avoid to linger next to the truck and generally try to keep my distance. A 50 ton semi will make my little civic very flat if it crashes into me."
"Kayaking or any water rafting type support with amatuers. Many people die due to carelessness or not knowing safety precautions."
Well thankfully I've avoided most of this list most of my life.
No Way Outseason 6 friends GIFGiphy
"Sulfur vents. You get nose-blind to the smell almost immediately. If the concentration gets high enough, you will asphyxiate. If you fall in, you may die from the steam burns before you asphyxiate, though. Either way, you ain't coming out."
"Caves. I know spelunking is a "cool hobby" for some people, just like scuba diving and rock climbing. But things can go so wrong so fast when you're in a subterranean cave, and it can be really difficult for anyone to come rescue you."
"You can die by falling, by getting stuck, by a cave-in, by getting lost, by getting caught in a flash flood and drowning... just so many awful ways to die in a cave. (See: John Jones dying in Nutty Putty cave)."
On the Field
"Old battlefields. You should never cross an an old battlefield even if it’s from decades ago, and seems 'safe.' There could be landmines hidden and you could end up with a limb blown off, or dead. It can be very difficult for someone to rescue you because there are landmines and it’s difficult to know where to step, and most battlefields are abandoned or far away from civilization."
"You can die by being exploded of course, wound infection or bleeding out (if limb was blown off), starvation and thirst. Either way, just don’t do it."
They are drowning machines....
"Low head dams on rivers. They are drowning machines. You fall off the dam, or swim too close the the downstream side where the water spills over- there is a circular current. It draws a person into the water fall; waterfall pushes the down to near bottom and shoots you down stream, but not enough to get out of the cycle. If you lived through it and surface, you are pulled back to the waterfall again."
Velocity Issuescelebrity GIF by Brimstone (The Grindhouse Radio, Hound Comics)Giphy
"Please stay away from rails, people always underestimate how fast trains are."
Has everyone listened? Be smart, not stupid.
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Much like a housecleaning effort on Facebook, there comes a time when we are forced to make the tough decision to end friendships and/or relationships.
Some people can weigh us down and prevent us from being the best version of ourselves, or others can be so toxic, that it's better to just cut our losses.
It's not always an easy decision to make, but downsizing can be the best-case scenario.
Curious to hear examples of this, Redditor NecessaryJacket4051 asked:
"People who have cut other people out, what was the final nail in the coffin?"
Friends can gradually grow distant, or be completely annoying.
"A friend I had in high-school and college became incredibly needy. We went to two different universities and lived in two different states and made a deal to call each other every week to catch up. They started to make poor decisions in their post-grad life which became an endless 'am I the a**hole' conversation where I became their confessor and forgiver but was never able to share anything about my own life."
"Things became bad for me, but despite me being there constantly for them, they couldn't return the favor. It came to a point where I got sick, missed one of their phone calls and they started to call me incessantly while I slept. The kind where they call you 20 times in a 5 minute span and leave messages from caring and concern 'hey where are you?' to 'I hate you, you don't care about me!' crap."
"Anywho, I was given the ultimatum of either never speaking to them again or calling them back and begging for forgiveness. Easiest choice I ever made. 8+ year friendship gone in an instant and I never once felt bad or looked back."
The Guilt Trip
"My first year of university I found out my mum had a lesion in the centre of her brain and the amount of fluid and pressure on her skull required immediate treatment. She was in hospital recieving treatment for weeks while I tried to navigate my studies and living away from home for the first time. I was a mess of anxiety and stress for months."
"During this time one of my very close friends continually got angry at me for not giving her enough attention despite never contacting me to check on my mothers situation or how I was coping. But I was expected to check in on her constantly and initiate all contact. I just deleted her number and unfriended her."
The Reluctant Chauffeur
"A friend asked me to drive him to a party."
"The party was at least a 4 hour drive (two states away), he couldn't pay for gasoline, and the hosts might give me a place to sleep. I was a college student who could barely afford gas to get to school."
"Everything about this sounded shady and one-sided, especially when he blew-off my questions. We didn't talk after that phone call - and nothing of value was lost."
"This happened in the early 90s, so no modern trip planning was available. No GPS, no Mapquest, and cellphones were expensive to use."
Dealing with inheritance can sure bring out the ugly in people.
"When my relatives on my mom’s side of the family not only took every possession she owned except some of her clothes, but also wanted to take my mom’s social security benefits after she passed away from cancer."
"My youngest sibling was only 12/13 when she passed so those benefits would help my dad raise my sibling. My relatives didn’t think my dad was a good father ever since my mom and dad divorced (mom cheated on my dad)."
"My uncle threatened to come over to our state to kick my husband’s a** and call the cops on me when I managed to get my mom’s SS funds transferred to my dad."
"Edit to add: To this day, I don’t know where my mom is buried as her family took her ashes and didn’t tell either me, my siblings, or my dad the location of her gravesite."
"After our father died, my two half sisters started harassing my one full sister about the inheritance. She was the one left in charge of it all, but was taking his death the hardest and having trouble getting through the paperwork."
"They were ruthless and made her feel horrible when she was already struggling. At the same time they would turn around and be totally nice to me because I’m the baby of the family and (despite me also being an adult at the time) they didn’t want to 'get me involved.'"
"Once the estate was settled I cut them out of my life completely. I’ll never forgive them for how they treated my other sister, and over money. Our father would be ashamed."
When your spouse isn't appreciated by family, who should you be most loyal to?
These Redditors had to make a decision that was actually very easy.
"My mother, brother, and sister are all incredibly toxic people, but I never cut them out 'because they're family.' Then the sh*t really hit the fan when I was getting married. At our Jack&Jill party, my mother was taking tons of pictures (as expected), but they were of me and my brother, me and my dad, just me, me my brother and my dad, etc. She didn't want my wife in any of them. I spoke up and said that my future wife should be in these pictures. It's her wedding day too. My wife, who was understandably upset, walked away from the weird photography session."
"My wife and I decide to go to the backyard area and hang out with her cousin and step brother. My cousin and his gf join us. Things get more fun, we're joking around, and having a good time. Then my mom and brother come outside extremely drunk (it was like 3 PM). My mom starts by taking more pictures without the bride in them, so I speak up again. My mom shushes me and slaps the back of my head. My wife then says my mom can enjoy her little family reunion photos and then goes back inside. I follow to make sure she's okay."
"I get in conversation with her, her mom, aunt, and other family members of hers. We calm down and move on. We talk about getting ice cream at a place down the street. I go back outside to ask people if they want to get ice cream (as most weren't causing issues, just my mom and brother). Before I say anything, my very drunk brother starts shouting 'f*** your wife, f*** her family, and began charging at me, but was caught by my dad and cousin who held him back. He was of course kicked out. My mom left with him in tears. My dad (my parents are divorced and don't associate with each other at all) apologized to everyone and left out of embarrassment."
"Wedding day comes. My brother is no longer my best man and is not invited. My sister is here from the other side of the country. The ceremony goes perfectly. My sister refuses to attend the pictures being taken of family and wedding party outside. During the reception, my wife, friends, some of my wife's family, and I are busy dancing on the dance floor. We notice my sister crying and walking around from table to table. We ignore it; as we expected her to try something dumb at our wedding. We find out from someone that my sister was trash talking my wife in the bathroom. We don't want to deal with drama on our big day, so we have the person in charge of the wedding hall/supervising the reception staff talk to her about her behavior (she told us we could during the wedding planning process). My sister freaks out and acts all offended. She and my mom then stage a walk out protest of our wedding, taking a large majority of my aunts, uncles, and cousins with them (not all thankfully)."
"To this day (it's been 4 years), I haven't spoken to anyone who walked out."
"I got married like 2 Weeks ago and had something similar happens except I was in the position of you're wife. I had never expected to have to hide in a room and cry on my wedding day. Truly some horrible people."
The Father Who Wasn't
"I cut my biological dad completely off because he just didn't try."
"When I was younger I cut contact with him because he didn't believe me when I told him his new wife was abusing me and my sister. I petitioned for my parents' custody agreement to be changed and everything to protect me and my sister. We didn't see him again as minors."
"When we were adults he reached out to me and expressed regret at not being there for us and wanted to reconnect. We (me, sister, and him) met for dinner twice and then he just started not showing up. I stopped telling my sister we were even supposed to be meeting him because she was so disappointed that he flaked and just took her out myself, knowing he wouldn't show. I told him after like the fifth time that he clearly didn't care enough to even let us know he wasn't gonna show so I wanted nothing to do with him. He replied in some apologetic way but I left him on read."
"Fast forward about six years. I got married and my husband has a lot of regrets about his estranged father dying before they could reconnect, so I reached out to my bio dad again. No plans were made to meet but we did chat occasionally. Until it became just me initiating conversation and him not ever reaching out to me first. I stopped sending him messages about five months after I got married. I've been married three years and haven't heard from him even once since."
"I guess TLDR the final straw was me realizing I was always gonna put more effort in for a relationship that I didn't need."
No Time For Nastiness
"I finally cut my father's wife out of our lives after my wife and I had our first child. I was able to put up with her nastiness growing up, but the second I saw that nastiness get directed towards my kid, it was over."
"My decision was further solidified when I found out she texted me from my Dad's phone, pretending to be him and unbeknownst to him, saying we should invite her to my kid's birthday party and make amends. She also made a giant scene a few years later at my Grandmother's wake."
For some, cutting someone out of their lives is not a difficult decision to make when it's your mental well-being that is suffering.
Forget about keeping up with appearances. Looking out for yourself and your loved ones by permanently disassociating from toxic people is a no-brainer.
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India Arie sang "It's the little things and the joy they bring" twenty whole years ago (go ahead and take a moment to process that. We OLD, fam!) and the lyrics to that undeniable bop are still just as relevant as ever.
Except maybe the lines about phone calls - nobody calls anyone now. We have voice notes and messaging apps for that, India.
The last time I used my phone as a phone I had to actually search for the icon to make that outgoing call. Grumbled about how it could have been a voice note the whole time.
"This could have been a voice note" is the 2022 version of "this could have been an email" - but aside from that, Arie's lyrics are nothing but truth.
Reddit user praguru14 asked:
"What simple things make you happy?"
And it's time to talk about the little joys in life because honestly, we'll take the shot of happiness wherever we can find it.
India talked about sweet tea with honey, calls from her siblings, and time with her parents.
Let's see what Reddit thinks about when they focus on the little joys.
A StormStorm Thunder GIFGiphy
"A thunderstorm and a window that's cracked open just so"
"I love watching thunderstorms. Even after my house was hit by lightning when I was 12. Still fascinated by them."
Me, Myself, and I
"That was my first thought, too!"
"I love alone time in the forest. Just having a walk by myself. Or a drive while listening to music."
"The joy of alone time is one of the reasons I run in the wee hours."
So DetailedTree Drone GIF by DeeJayOneGiphy
"A clear, sunny day where the temperature is about 70 degrees with a slight breeze, and the sky is a deep blue."
"Sitting in a park or a forest clearing, breathing in fresh air, and the green of the trees contrasting the blue of the sky in just the right way."
"A small stream flows behind you as you stare at the sky."
"You just described my afternoon. Right down to the small stream that flows behind my home."
"I live in the east coast."
"When I see a car with plates from somewhere far away like Alaska, Oregon or California I like to imagine the people in that car doing the long road trip to get to the east coast. That they had some adventures, saw some beautiful sights and made some special memories on the road."
"That's so wonderful."
"My husband and I are both from the Northern Territory (Australia), but we live down south now."
"Every time we see a car with those white and orange Territory license plates that are all numbers - and especially if the car is sporting red dirt they haven't managed to wash off - it always makes us smile and point it out to each other."
"Like seeing a distant relative we haven't seen for ages, and we always have a look to see if it's someone we know."
"It's like seeing a little piece of home."
"West coaster here, I do the same thing with you guys :)"
Special SomeonePower Couple GIF by Bob's BurgersGiphy
"When my husband and I have the whole weekend off together, and we're on the same sleeping pattern (which is really rare for us.)"
"Just spending time together, hanging out. Eating a lazy lunch and watching movies all afternoon."
"Being with him makes me happy."
"Same with me and my girlfriend. We really enjoy each other’s company."
"Ah, yes. Before I start reading, I bring the book close to my face and do the page flipping thing with my thumb and take a big whiff"
"Or the smell of a store full of used books. It’s kind of a dusty book smell."
"My school had a store room with a bunch of textbooks, stationary and reams of paper."
"I used to love helping out my teacher or the librarian fetch things from there cause I got to spend a few minutes just breathing in the book smell. It was so calming."
Humans best friendWhite Dog GIFGiphy
"I love my little (though not actually little because she is the size of a normal dog) dog."
"After almost every walk, my dog hops up on his blanket, digs around on it for 30-45 seconds until he gets it just the way he likes it, then plops down with a satisfied grin on his face."
"Makes me smile every damn time."
Connection and Clean
"I really like sweeping."
"It makes me feel connected to the rest of humanity....Pretty much everybody who has ever lived has swept at some point."
"Also, immediately clean floors is nice."
"Thats a neat point of view!"
"I'll have to mull that one over at the end of the day when I'm sweeping up the days metal chips from the floor around my machines."
"Rain on the roof at night while being tucked up in bed."
"Rain itself makes me happy."
"I'm one of the few people who absolutely love rain. Instant morale boost in my everyday life."
"Whether it's droplets, drizzle, torrential, cold or warm, I take every chance to go outside."
"When I'm having a bad day I often think: well, at least it's raining."
"I agree about the rain. Not when it's cold though."
"But if it's warm, I like to go outside and stand in it, sometimes. It feels nice."
"Bonus points if there's rumbling thunder in the distance."
"Everybody who posted before me is getting an upvote because it is so comforting to see all the intimate moments we share as humans even when we are apart."
"Been on a 6 year long mental health journey and sometimes this wholesome stuff shows me the compassion that isn’t often advertised"
"Let it ride my doods"
What little joys do you find yourself leaning in on?
Let's share some happy in the comments.
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