After fielding questions from her costars for weeks, Elizabeth Lyn Vargas finally opened up on Wednesday's episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County — including about her upbringing in what she described as a "religious cult."
The Bravo newbie started to get into her background while hiking with costar Braunwyn Windham-Burke, breaking down as she discussed how she was raised.
"I was raised in a very, very religious situation, where I was told to absolutely not open my mouth, or tell the truth about what was happening, and I have a very, very hard issue with stopping the compartmentalization because I grew up in this horrible situation," she said. "It's why I don't let people get to know me — I throw big parties, but no one really knows me."
"I've been to those parties and none of those people are your friends," replied Braunwyn, 43, to which Elizabeth said, "I know, and I don't want to live that way anymore."
The Real Housewives of Orange County
"I do need help and I don't know how to get it," she added, expressing that she didn't know how to tell the other RHOC cast members. "But I'm not going to tell the girls, 'Oh by the way, I was in a religious f---ing cult growing up that told me to shut my f---ing mouth or I'd be thrown under a bridge.'"
"I have no idea what she's talking about," Braunwyn later said in a confessional. "But if I can get her to open up and all these things that she's been bottling up are going to come out, she's going to feel so much lighter and she's going to be able to breathe."
In her own confessional, Elizabeth said she was beaten as a child while part of this religious group.
"I grew up in complete fear, anxiety, anguish," she said. "It was very, very hard for me. I was always scared for my life because we were beaten so bad that I thought for sure I was going to die one day of it."
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As Elizabeth continued to open up to Braunwyn, she began to get overwhelmed, telling her, "I really can't talk about this. This is bothering me a lot," while crying and struggling to catch her breath.
"You're having a panic attack," Braunwyn said, helping Elizabeth sit down and urging her to breathe as the episode closed out.
Elizabeth also referenced her upbringing earlier in the episode when she told Kelly Dodd that her dad was a preacher.
"My grandmother was the leader of the church and my father was the preacher and my family really wanted me to be a preacher," she added in a confessional. "When I was 8 years old, my grandmother asked me to speak in tongues in front of the church and she says, 'The Lord needs to speak through Elizabeth.' And I just faked it and they all bought it — in fact, even a member passed out."
"That was the exact day when I realized adults were full of s--- and that I could lie to get my way," Elizabeth said, later telling Kelly, "I couldn't stand what [the church] did."
The Real Housewives of Orange County airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.