Ep.56 – Cult-of-One Captivity: Only I Can Save You | Emma Stevens

This week on the pod, we explore one-on-one cult dynamics with memoirist, Emma Stevens. Emma’s story begins with a peek inside of her first book – The Gathering Place: An Adoptee Story. She shares why she felt compelled to share her story of relinquishment and how the industry of adoption is problematic and ‘a little culty’ in sense that it doesn’t always serve the best interests of the children it serves. Emma describes being adopted into an authoritarian family and how having so little room for individuation has made her more susceptible to cultic influence as an adult. The conversation then turns to her second memoir, A Fire Is Coming, where she shares what it was like to fall victim to a narcissistic therapist who coerced Emma to leave her marriage and move in with her. She describes how this individual fostered a slow-burn dependency that preyed on Emma’s core wounds and fostered a disorganized attachment bond. Thanks to support from the outside, Emma was able to eventually move away from this relationship and take legal action against her abuser; but it would take her years to come to terms with her experience. Sobriety, in every sense of the word, paved way for deep healing, and now Emma is bravely sharing her story with the world in hopes of bringing awareness to the cult-of-one dynamics that are so common in abusive one-on-one relationships.

Emma Stevens is a U.S. domestic adoptee from birth and has survived layers of trauma that have put her on multiple journeys. It is Emma’s desire to be part of the movement that is dedicated to help bring forth change to the way our world views the needs and support of adopted individuals, as well as bring awareness of the exploitation that can occur by the hands of counselors, therapists, and other healthcare professionals. A Fire Is Coming is Emma Stevens’ second book. Her first was The Gathering Place: An Adoptee’s Story. She has an undergraduate degree in journalism and has completed Master’s level course work in psychology, specializing in Marriage, Family, and Child counseling. She has two adult children and two cat children who she adores.

May 17, 2023

Referenced In This Episode:

If you’d like support with in a cult-of-one partnership, reach out to the Domestic Violence Hotline – 800-799-7233 or text START to 88788

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