This morning’s Boston Globe reads, “An avalanche of worry” and I can’t help but think that there are countless numbers of people whose lives will be negatively and psychologically impacted by these grim economic developments.
First of all, former members of totalistic religious groups (who have indoctrinated their members into a fear of Armageddon; Apocalypse; end of the world; end of the Mayan calendar or a zillion more scenarios) typically get “triggered” a bit, and start to wonder, “what if my former group or leader was right?” Perhaps they get out the old Bibles they used in the group, or start reciting their former chant, or meditation, or something– all in an effort to quell the phobias installed into their subconscious.

My advice for all former members is the following: Use your critical thinking! Remember why you left the group! The lies. The manipulation. The control of information. The hypocrisies. The psychological slavery. If you have studied cults like I have, one of the most helpful techniques is to take the big perspective and see how there are thousands of cults and gurus and churches that say you need to be obedient and follow just this route, blindly. Each former cult member is fixated on his or her personal fear. . . not switching and going to join your former group. In other words, former moonies don’t think of going into the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Ex-Tm’ers don’t think about going to buddhist cults. Ex- Amway distributors don’t think about joining one of the other multi-level-marketing groups.

See it for what it is: a triggered fear response to some old programming– and move forward, making the best choices to remain healthy and safe.

For the general population during this time of distrust in our politicians, our economy, and the future in general, this is time to be “on guard” for charismatic, confident cult figures (religious, political, therapy, business) who give simplistic formulas to the complex issues we face. This is time to call your friends and loved ones and strengthen connections. People are more vulnerable in these stressful times to being recruited into all kinds of extreme groups– many of which are no longer on street corners but are online. Conspiracy theories abound online. (Did you hear the one about space aliens that look like reptiles running the world?

Exercise wise information-control for yourself. Ask yourself, “what is within my control?” If reading about 3 million people dying of starvation in Africa is not something you can do anything about (except perhaps donate some money to an approved charity) minimize the time you spend watching TV and reading articles about it. Sleep, eat, exercise– don’t isolate yourself. Reach out and connect; do meaningful things. We are all in the world situation together and our leaders, especially the billionaires who control much of the wealth and media need to start thinking about their legacy and how they want the globe to be 100 years from now. A thousand years from now– not the next election cycle. We need people to be role models for a responsible consciousness. We are each other’s keeper.

Steven Hassan

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 Hassan has published 4 books about cults. His first book, which came out in 1988 under the title Combatting Cult Mind Control, was updated and re-released in 2015 as Combating Cult Mind Control. Chapter 2, My life in the Unification Church has been placed for free on this web site. This book is available as an audiobook as well as on kindle.

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.

Contact Freedom of Mind to schedule a consultation or to learn about offered services.

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