Cults specialise in alienation. They alienate the member from their parents. They alienate the member from their children. They alienate the member from their family. They alienate the member from their friends. They alienate the member from their peers. They alienate the member from other groups outside the cult. They alienate the member from other members of the cult. They alienate the member from education. They alienate the member from society. And, ultimately, they alienate the member from themselves.
Cults alienate so they can gain control of the individual.
Cults are pernicious with their alienation techniques and these techniques work extremely well. They also use a thought reform programme that brings the member into a state of dependency to the group and the leader that can be very hard to break free from. Because of the alienation process, the exit process out of a cult and the post-recovery period can be especially challenging.
Restoring the shattered bonds with pre-cult loved ones, over-coming the fear of society that has been programmed into the mind, and reconnecting to oneself (one’s true feelings, thoughts, and character) can be overwhelming at times. Building a support system becomes crucial.
There are many variables that can affect each individual’s journey (such as the age when becoming a member, the length of time one was in the cult, the level of devotion one experienced – as well as the exit route out); the recovery can include healing emotionally, psychologically, relationally, socially, sexually, educationally, financially, spiritually and physically. Many have to deal with complex post-traumatic stress disorder.
The support system can include family and friends, legal support, ex-cultist support, on-line support and professional support.
The alienation that is at the heart of cult life is life destroying and to heal the heart of the ex-member needs understanding and compassion. An ex-cultist can feel as if their heart has been shattered into a thousand pieces. What they once devoted their existence to, with deep commitment and passion, was built on a lie so horrifying that healing can take time. For many a very long time.
The grief that cult victims can feel, rips through their soul like a piercing scream that ravages through their worst night terror. Only this is no dream, but part of the reality inside their being that they are facing. Sometimes ex-cultists face this reality head on, strong and courageous; at other times, they keep it at a distance seeing it through a fog of fear, hurt, betrayal, humiliation, confusion and desperation. But grief they will feel, and through feeling it they can dive into deeper layers that take them further into healing.
At the heart of every cult is alienation.
And in the heart of every ex-cultist is the power to recover.
For more information that might support you or a loved one affected by cults please visit: