“You rebuild slowly. It doesn’t happen overnight,” the actress, 47, says in the new issue of PEOPLE. “It’s a learning process; it’s changing the way you think.”
Indeed, Remini was in the church for more than 30 years before she walked away in 2013 with husband Angelo Pagán, 59, daughter Sofia, 13, and mother Vicki. And her post-Scientology life has been challenging.
The star has been seeing a therapist now for two years, which she says is difficult because of how her former church views psychiatry.
“I have that guilty conscience,” Remini says. “If I make the most minor transgression” of a Scientology rule, like being rude or losing her temper, “I call my therapist and go, ‘I should be punished for this; I need you to reprimand me.’ She’s like, ‘No, that’s not what therapy is.’ ”
“We really have no debate with a psychologist. We do have issues with psychiatrists who subject patients, especially children, to dangerous procedures and drugs,” a Scientology spokesperson wrote in a statement to PEOPLE.
Last year, Remini launched the Emmy-nominated A&E docu-series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. Now in its second season, the show follows Remini as she shares fellow ex-Scientologists’ stories, including allegations of abuse within the church.
“It is Remini who is the attacker,” the Scientology spokesperson wrote. “Her whole anti-Scientology shtick was scripted and choreographed by her, casting herself in her drama as the ‘victim’ so she could cash in on her false narrative while savaging her friends and those who helped her most of her life.” (The Church’s full response is at leahreminiaftermath.com.)
For more on Leah Remini and her battle against Scientology, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
In addition to the A&E show, Remini will return to comedy this fall, reuniting with her King of Queens costar Kevin James in Kevin Can Wait on CBS Sept. 25. While she’s filming the show in her native New York City, her husband and daughter will stay in L.A. but make frequent visits to the east coast.
“If I didn’t have my family,” says Remini, “I don’t know what I would do.”
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