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Game of Thrones actress, Maisie Williams says she was “indoctrinated” into an abusive cult by her father

"I think a lot of the traumatic things that were happening, I didn’t realise that they were wrong"

Maisie Williams – best known for playing Arya Stark in the Game of Thrones series – has opened up about her difficult childhood, describing how she was "indoctrinated" into an abusive cult as a child.

Speaking on The Diary Of A CEO podcast, Williams told host Steven Bartlett that she had a "traumatic" relationship with her father that left her feeling as if there was "something wrong" with her.

"I, as a young child before the age of, like, eight, had quite a traumatic relationship with my dad. And I don’t really want to go into it too much because it affects my siblings and my whole family," she said. "But that really consumed a lot of my childhood. Ever since I can remember I’ve really struggled sleeping."

The actor continued: "I think a lot of the traumatic things that were happening, I didn’t realise that they were wrong. But I knew, I would look around at other kids and be like, 'Why don’t they seem to understand this pain, or dread, or fear? When does [the joy] come for me?'"

Maisie Williams

During this time, according to the actor, one of her school teachers flagged concerns about her home life, resulting in Williams and her siblings being taken away by her mother. But Williams admits she tried to "fight" and defend her father, believing that being taken away from him was "wrong."

"I was indoctrinated in a way. I think that's why I'm obsessed with cults. I get it. I get it," the 25-year-old explained. "I was in a child cult against my mother. ... So, I really was fighting it in the beginning."

Williams went on to recall how once the family was free of her father, her whole "world flipped on its head".

"Even though all these things that I was feeling, I thought, 'Oh my God, I'm so glad I don't have to see my dad anymore.' It still was, like, against everything that I had ever known to be true," she admitted.

Maisie Williams

As an adult, Williams says that although she has escaped her father, she isn't "free" from the past. "There's never an end destination for that freedom. And it comes from within. When are you going to let yourself be free from the pain?"