On what one's mentality may be, who is still dedicated to a group which has used cultic methods:
Does anyone have any comments on what I can do or what they think her mentality is now and whether she will ever consider the damage inflicted on her by this group?
Based on just my own experience and observations, having over a year ago left what is likewise judged by many to be a therapy cult, human potential, large group awareness training.. while I think every person's absorption of a cult experience has its differences, I think there is some commonality to what is involved with reconciling the cultic experience to a life no longer involving the cult/group/organization/etc. One thing that I think especially poses problems to the majority of people involved, is that abandoning the group and its tenets means the acceptance of some very disheartening things: that we allowed ourselves to be tricked (however slick they may have been in doing so), that we have affected others with our mistake (in sometimes more ways than we can even count on ourselves to recall), and that those with knowledge of our mistake may never again look upon us as reliable sources. I am embarrassed at such a core level -- part of which is a natural response, but I think the greater of which is the result of their expertly reinforcing just those feelings.
Even though I personally managed to resist a very highly pressurized recruitment process, not bringing them any more warm bodies than my own, not allowing myself to be a conduit for what I always sensed had its problems but did not understood the full scope of, I still feel terrible for the ways in which my altered behavior may have affected others, if only through its effect on my own reliability as a person as indeed, I could not even be relied upon to be myself during that time. I find it very difficult to reconcile the pain I still carry over it, with re-engaging myself socially.On whether she will ever consider the damage inflicted:
Perhaps since this was posted, she has, and I most sincerely hope that is the case. But I do think it is a real process, from which full recovery can take more time than can be estimated (although I'm a year out and still really struggling, and know people out much longer who still have emotional requirements around dealing with the results of their participation). Indeed, it's knowing how much a process it is that I now undertake responding to your inquiry despite the length of time since you've posted it. I think it's a journey for any of us; I've been on this forum just a couple or few months now, and it's been truly beneficial to better understand this, and not beat myself up for the fact that "snapping out of it" has just not been possible, for me.On what you can do:
If you can be a safe and supportive place for someone to be able to talk about it, be they still involved at any stage at all (whether thinking about getting out or still in a state of devotion/participation), or be they out and still struggling with what's involved, it's a real gift, and I think the best anyone can do in this situation. It may not even seem like that much, to the person outside of it, but it's quite huge.. contrasted with the way that everything else feels, with the way in which almost no place at all tends to feel like a safe place to be able to talk through or about any of this.
I recently found out that a friend of a friend had endured the same cult experience I had, had been pushed into the same year and a half of "courses" by their employer. It kept coming up within the conversation, usually at his behest as while he seemed to not himself be burdened with significant residual effects I believe he fully understood what I was dealing with and how inherently helpful discussion around it could be for me. Some 40 minutes into it remaining a topic of discussion though, his spouse said "are you still talking about that?" (I don't think she was even aware of his prior attendance, which must have preceded their 15-year marriage -- clearly a credit to his having been able to move on from it.)
But, yes, I'll probably still be talking about it for a very long time, when it feels safe and helpful to do so. I certainly hope to one day have healed a whole lot more than I yet have, but it's a lot to deal with and more than most anyone who hasn't been there can fully wrap their head around, as this stuff (thought reform techniques etc.) is much more powerful than we naturally imagine.
Again though, I'm no expert; this is just based on my personal experience and observations. There is a great wealth of information on this site, which can be accessed among other ways by viewing the Group Information Archives
, learning about Recovery
options, and searching years of discussion on this forum
by selecting the "all dates" option and searching by group name as a start. Mr. Ross's et al steadfastness in resisting the pressures of litigious cultic organizations is more than admirable and I am sure has been, in some cases, life-saving.