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Psychological Recovery From Mental Abuse

Written by: Gordon, Ruth    Posted on: 05/01/2003

Category: Cults / Sects / Non Christian Religions and Topics

Source: CCN

            Psychological Recovery From Mental Abuse                         by Ruth Gordon

Psychological and social techniques are used to induce people to join groups, change their behavior and maintain them as prisoners (this occurs mostly in intense, closed and totalistic groups). This is the case regarding not only cults, but also large group awareness training programs, thought reform programs and social influence programs, which are infiltrating training programs for business and industry.

There are certain issues of recovery for people coming out of the types of groups where there has been a high level of control. They come out and have three distinctly different belief systems that have to be integrated and reconciled: the value system that they took with them in the group, what they were taught while in the group, and those two systems must be reconciled with a third one, namely the current situation. These often are three very different sets of values.

The consequence of having been in these groups causes what is termed cognitive inefficiencies. Regardless of how smart or educated individuals might have been upon entering the cult, because of things that happened while they were in, results in them having tremendous trouble studying or concentrating.

It is hard for them to maintain reflective thought and sequential reasoning, to get a sense of planning ahead, to be motivated, or have a sense of self-agency.

Most people don't need psychotherapy, they need education and information. They need someone to help them learn what it was that happened to them that changed the way their mind and thinking works, and what it is that is causing these floods of emotion, for no good reason, to just come pouring out of their awareness.

Those people coming out have a heightened fear of getting involved with any other group that might control them. There is also a battle with guilt and feelings of defectiveness. Cults harp on perfection. You can't be in a cult and not continually fail.

Blaming themselves is a second set of berating, first from the leader of the group, and second from exiting and thinking there's a defect within them.

Former cultists are under-experienced in dealing with conflict. While in the group they were not allowed to disagree with leadership. When they exit, even minor arguments are exaggerated and differences of opinion are viewed as a major conflict. Children and teenagers that come out of cults need to understand that they were taught to dislike non-members of their group, as well as relatives. They need help reconnecting with grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Teenagers have difficulty coming under the authority of their parents because they were raised under the leader's authoritarian, dogmatic ways, and they saw their parents being put down. Parents must reestablish their role as parental authority. Parents also need to deal with their guilt elsewhere and not through their parenting.

Teens also are behind in learning how to compromise, mediate differences and conflict resolving they never saw their parents exercising conflict resolution.

People can be exit-counseled even ten years after they've come out. An exit-counselor is usually a former cult member who has gone through some apprenticeship training, understands thought reform programs, and has tremendous knowledge about all the different kinds of cults.

The recovery from floods, fire, and divorce often takes about two years. For many former cultists it takes about two years before you can even begin to work on some of the above areas. In the meantime, work on your inner spirit (The above is a summary of the video: Recovery From Mind Control video summary, Dr. Margaret Singer, Cult Awareness Network Annual Conference, 1991, Oklahoma City, OK).

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