Are They Better Off Being Left in the Group?
Sometimes family, friends, and even mental health professionals may think that a person is better off in the cult. This way, the family, and friends may not feel obliged to do anything to help rescue the individual. Sometimes this is because the person has been a member for a really long time. Sometimes this is because people think of how the person was when they first got involved. This is especially true when the cult member gives a convincing argument that they would have committed suicide or overdosed on drugs if they hadn’t met the group. Often these stories are vastly exaggerated and sometimes made up. Sometimes they were true for the person many years ago, and they believe that if they left now, they would instantly revert to where they were at their darkest moments. This is phobia indoctrination. I often ask people, “How do you know you wouldn’t have decided to get help and gotten better without the group involvement at all? Do they actually believe their life would fall apart if they left the group now?” It may be tempting to agree, particularly when a person has stopped abusing drugs or alcohol, or when a person is no longer being physically or sexually abused—although some cults practice physical and sexual abuse.
Cult Involvement Is Not Healthy
A cult may provide temporary relief from traumatic circumstances, but involvement in a suffocating, mind control environment doesn’t promote a healthy mind or a healthy body. It almost never actually cures anyone’s problems without substituting another problem in its place. It causes a dissociative disorder and often buries real issues and suppresses them. Unethical mind control disconnects people from critical thinking about the leader, doctrine or policies of the group. Destructive mind control is itself a form of psychological abuse. In the hands of a cult leader, mind control techniques can be devastating to an individual’s psyche. By creating a dissociative state and implanting a dominant cult identity, cult mind control represses the real issues the person has beforehand. If the person had family relationship issues, it almost never makes them better, unless the family is recruited too. Sometimes, and especially if the family and friends raise questions about the group, people are urged to cut off contact. When people leave a cult, all of these pre-cult issues resurface, along with the problems caused by membership in a destructive cult.
Ethical Counseling Can Heal & Help
If a person’s pre-cult life was unhealthy and traumatic, then ethical psychotherapy can set them on a path towards healing by facilitating the process of:
- Positive growth and change.
- Building self-esteem.
- Learning how to trust themselves and others.
- Developing better strategies for coping with life’s issues.
When used by a reputable mental health professional, mind control techniques can be enormously effective, provided the client’s autonomy is always respected. For example, there are ethical programs that can help a person overcome a drug or alcohol addiction. These structured environments are healthier and safer than destructive cults because they encourage clients to:
- Think for themselves.
- Get in touch with their own feelings and needs.
- Be part of a meaningful community (without indoctrination).
There is no doubt that people deserve a chance to control their own lives. I know countless former cult members who have become teachers, lawyers, doctors, computer experts, and parents.
If you have not seen my blog, How to Rescue a Loved One from a Cult or Controlling Relationship: The Strategic Interactive Approach, please read on.
**This is part of an on-going series. If you have not yet done so, please read about errant beliefs 1 -7 by clicking here.
About the Author:
Steven Hassan M.Ed. LMHC, NCC has helped thousands of individuals and families recover from undue influence (mind control). With over 40 years of experience, he is sought after as one of the foremost authorities on undue influence and controlling groups and individuals. Steve understands the subject from a unique perspective as both a former cult member and as a clinical professional.
Steven is the Founding Director of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center, a coaching, consulting, and training organization dedicated to supporting individuals to have the freedom to think clearly and to freely consider how they want to live their lives. Steven pioneered a breakthrough method called the Strategic Interactive Approach (SIA), an effective and legal alternative for families to help cult members. The SIA teaches family and friends how to strategically influence the individual involved in the cult.
Learn about how the Strategic Interactive Approach can help rescue your friend or loved one out from under predatory influence.
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