Elizabeth Lyn Vargas doesn’t regret sharing her story of being abused while growing up in a religious cult on “The Real Housewives of Orange County.”
“This show is about being real and who you are and really kind of growing and people watch you grow, so you can’t really make up anything. Well, you’re not supposed to, right? I chose to bring it out because there were other family members and other people involved in that cult that really probably are hurting right now as much as I am,” Vargas recently told Page Six.
While the group wasn’t named on the show, she told us that she suffered the abuse at Faith Bible Tabernacle in Missouri.
She continued, “I guess I suppressed all this crap for years, but so I learned a lot about myself and it was a blessing in disguise. And I’m still learning and I’ve got a lot of growth, but I feel like I kind of just catapulted my way into healing.”
As Vargas, 45, continues to process her childhood trauma, so does her family.
“[My mom] was extremely supportive and I wasn’t expecting that because my whole life, it has been an elephant in our family living room,” she explained. “We know not to talk about it to our mother because we want her to live longer. We don’t want her to have a heart attack. She deserves to have a beautiful life. And so we never talked about it because we’re like, ‘Let’s brush it under the rug.’
“But I felt it was hurting me. I couldn’t grow because I was stopped. My growth stopped because of this weird thing … but what I found out was my whole family knew that my decisions in life, all of them were based on what had happened to me as a child. And they only wanted me to heal because they wanted me to grow further because they knew that’s where I needed to be as a woman. And I didn’t even know that. So my heart was like broken when I had actually exposed it on the show. And so it was nice to have family just completely comfort me. But it was — it’s still difficult, extremely difficult. And I still, I have the shame.”
Vargas told us she’s getting a lot of positive feedback about her reveal, calling it “an odd blessing,” and adding that another woman who was in the cult reached out to her after watching the episode.
She said, “So I have not even mentally grasped this yet, the ecosystem that is affected by me spilling the beans, so I’m going to be living that truth for the next, I’m sure, a while and people have been reaching out to me nonstop and I’m going to hold my ground and I know who I am and I’m fine with it.”
But the one person Vargas hasn’t heard from is Braunwyn Windham-Burke — her costar who admitted to background checking her which prompted Vargas to talk about the cult.
“All the ladies reached — everybody but Braunwyn — they all reached out to me and really genuinely wrote me these heartfelt text messages and like some called me and I mean, I was like, ‘Wow, they don’t think I’m weird.’ … And now we’re true friends. Like I really created true friendships. And I was hoping for that and it happened except for, you know, one of the cast members, but she’ll come around!”
“The Real Housewives of Orange County” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.
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