How to distinguish a cult?
Posted by: happytown ()
Date: February 11, 2017 12:24AM

So I've been involved with three spiritual groups, and they've all ended badly.

But thousands of people in the groups are happy and flourishing. I've been drawn into these groups by a need to belong. I have a tendency to be a know-it-all and have suffered group attempts to "bring me down a peg or two".

I've been accused of "resistance", and if I would just "surrender" to the guru then everything would be ok. But I'm now on medicine and in therapy.

I can clearly identify some things which are "bad" e.g. deliberate double-binds, boot-camp style toughness designed to break me. Deliberate miscommunication and mishandling of situations designed to cause distress to my evil ego. I have a history of psychosis, and it quickly sent me into a tailspin that I recognised: but the diagnosis was that I was going through my "dark night of the soul".

The message I get from therapists (and from some people in the groups) is that "this kind of thing isn't for everyone". The mixed message there of course being that I'm too weak. I'm left not only angry but also with a constant fear that it's all my fault.

I have nothing like Scientology to grasp onto, where it's really obvious that how I've been treated is abuse. It's more subtle, like they thought they could help me but they couldn't, but there no room in the paradigm to admit they messed up.

It's just so overwhelmingly crippling. It's hard to let go of the idea that if it doesn't work out then it's my fault.

If anyone can relate, or just help to create some way of looking at this so I can move on, I'd be grateful. I've lost family, relationships and friends and I'm now totally alone.

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