All posts tagged: shunning

Starting to Question if You Are in a Controlling Group or Relationship?

Have you recently started questioning your life and how you are spending your time and money? Have you read a book or article, listened to a podcast, or watched a documentary about a cult such as NXIVM and saw parallels to your own life circumstance? What about engaging with a former member? Perhaps you have

Undue Influence, Judge Barrett and the People of Praise Covenantal Community

Update: Letter to the Senators on the Judiciary Committee Concerning the Confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett In an AP article written about Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court and her involvement with the People of Praise, Vice President Mike Pence was quoted from a television interview as saying, “The intolerance expressed during her

Ex-Jehovah’s Witness Mark O’Donnell on Latest Developments & How to Help and Heal

This month, there have been quite a few developments in the Jehovah’s Witness community including a recent documentary, a newspread in People magazine, major legal developments, and more. I invited Mark O’Donnell, former Jehovah’s Witness turned writer, researcher, and activist, to discuss these events in detail. (You can read his story here.) Here are some

Parental Abduction and Alienation: A Discussion with Psychiatrist Nick Child

A few weeks ago, I spoke to a gathering of a group of parentally alienated mothers and fathers in Waltham, Massachusetts. Parental alienation is a phenomenon where children are turned against one of their parents (either mother or father) by the other parent, usually when there is a divorce, without good reason. In some cases,

The Anatomy of Undue Influence: Scientific Study and Elsevier Journal Article

This is my first peer-reviewed academic journal article. It’s genesis began when I gave a talk entitled, The “anatomy of undue influence used by terrorist cults and traffickers to induce helplessness and trauma, so creating false identities” at the prestigious 2017 Congress of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health in Prague. I blogged about

Steven Hassan AMA image

Highlights from my EXJW Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything)

Top Ten Questions & Answers On Monday, November 19, 2018, I participated in my first ever AMA (Ask Me Anything) for r/exjw on Reddit to an overwhelming response. Reddit users interviewed me by posting questions which I then answered on the Reddit forum. I want to thank Kimmy O’Donnell who helped arrange it and everyone

Help For Those That Leave a Cult But Still Have Beliefs That Are Harmful

I previously wrote a blog about people who are still living inside high-control groups that no longer believe in the leader or group. They remain trapped inside due to a variety of reasons, but there are also practical reasons which include the high exit cost of losing family, money, and friends. Most people can and do leave

Children are Harmed by Destructive Cults – Part One

Freedom of religion does not give permission to traumatize and abuse kids! Last week, I blogged about adults in totalistic, destructive cults who are physically still in but psychologically out and sitting on the fence. This week I wanted to blog about children who are helpless and were born or raised in a group. They

Tired of Being “On The Fence” With Your Life?

Beginning to Doubt and Question There are moments when almost anybody can become disillusioned when in a totalistic, or rigid and intolerant, group (or controlling relationship). Losing one’s “faith” can happen for a wide variety of reasons. Maybe they become aware of some discrepancy or hypocrisy in the doctrine or in a leader’s behavior. Perhaps

The BITE Model and Jehovah’s Witnesses

August 2, 2018: This past June, I did an online survey on influence to conduct, analyze and publish research on undue influence. Scientific data is required to help establish specific evaluation criteria to update legal and social policy in the United States and around the world. The initial results of my research show that former members of

Shunning and the BITE Model of Mind Control in the Jehovah’s Witnesses

The Trauma of Being Cut Off: Disfellowshipped While Still Indoctrinated Unless it has happened to you, it is impossible to describe the pain, confusion and suffering a person endures when they are excommunicated from an authoritarian Bible group like the Watchtower Society. People’s entire identities are molded around ideological conformity and dependence on commands from