In a new interview, Maisie Williams has opened up about her difficult childhood, saying she has a “traumatic” relationship with her father, who “indoctrinated” her into an abusive cult as a child.
Speaking on The Diary Of A CEO podcast, the British actress, best known for her role as Arya Stark on Game of Thrones, told host Steven Bartlett that she was left feeling as though there was “something wrong” with her as a result. “I, as a young child before the age of, like, eight, had quite a traumatic relationship with my dad,” Williams began, clarifying that her mother “escaped” her father when she was just four months old.
“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?'”
During this time, according to the actor, one of her school teachers flagged concerns about her home life, asking if she’d eaten breakfast to which Williams responded no and that they “don’t have any breakfast,” at her house. This resulted 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.”
At the time, Williams says she thought her mother was “just trying to take me away from my dad.” Williams said she had been “indoctrinated” by her father. “I get it, I was in a child cult against my mother. So I was really fighting it at the beginning, but basically my whole world flipped on its head,” Williams said. “And even though all these things I was feeling — ‘Oh, my God, I’m so glad I don’t have to see my dad anymore’ — it still was against everything I knew to be true.”
“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.
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?”