Ep.52 – Cult Born & Bred: A ‘Problem Child’ Takes Back His Life | Christian Studebaker

CW: This episode contains descriptions of child abuse and reference to addition, mental illness, and suicide. Please listen with care. In December of last year, I released my conversation with Trina Studebaker who shared about the fourteen years she and her family spent an abusive religious cult (see episode #42). In addition to offering a refreshingly-honest peek into her own personal journey, Trina spoke about her regrets as a mother; how due to cultic indoctrination, she’d been unable to protect her children from the wrath of the cult’s fundamentalist rhetoric and the heavy hand of their father who had himself been raised in the group. Trina wept as she described the terror that had been unleashed on her eldest child, Christian. Not long after #42 dropped, Christian requested the opportunity to offer his own honest-yet-hopeful perspective, and it’s an honor to share his story with you today. His is a story that is difficult to hear, but remarkably inspiring. Christian speaks candidly about what it was like living in a home where he was continually beaten and gaslit around the helpless rage he experienced as a result of ongoing abuse. He shares how he spent the first half of his life internalizing the messages he received at home and at school and how he escaped the pain through addiction before turning a corner through 12-step recovery and trauma-informed therapy. Christian has since healed his relationship with his father and reclaimed his right to love, compassion, and opportunities that were once unimaginable. Listen in on his uncommon journey from solitary confinement as a ten-year old to the Graduate in Architecture program at MIT. Christian bravely reminds us that it’s possible to heal, and to build a bridge from resilience to recovery.

March 29, 2023

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