Recovery from a therapy cult
Posted by: Blaster ()
Date: February 24, 2013 04:29PM

I could do with some advice please.
Whilst we were still married, my now ex-wife got involved with a therapy cult. It started sometime around the time we actually got married I think as looking back I noticed some of the things she was saying fitted in with what I know about the group. Anyway it went on for four years with me not knowing anything about it until I came home from work one night and she told me she was leaving as the course had told her we were on a different spiritual path. I was devastated as we had always been very happy and by this time had a two year old daughter.
Anyway I managed to get her to reconsider but still couldn't work out a way to stop her attending this group. Over the next five months she got even more into them as they started to control every aspect of he life: diet, career and eventually she was believing anything they said to her.
Eventually I stumbled across someone who had experience in counselling cult members and he talked to her but she was having none of it and filled for divorce. In truth I messed the intervention up a bit as I was so stressed and scared about what was happening to her and the impact on our little daughter.
Anyway, I filled for custody of our daughter and it all got terribly tough and confrontational. In court she was forced to face our arguments that they weren't a nice bunch of people, they made her feel bad, they had been in our marriage from day one and so we never stood a chance, they put her on a crazy diet that nearly killed her and a whole host of things we put to he but she wasn't interested and unfortunately for m I got a female judge who wasn't either and just gave me half custody. One of the things I brought up with my now ex was even how they had encouraged her to give away our two thoroughbred cats that she absolutely adored. Such was the control they had over her she did it without even flinching or showing any emotion. Right through this I have tried to get her to see reason. Just one month Before she first told me she wanted to separate we had been on a lovely holiday and had decided to have a second child so I've often asked her how she came therefore to decide to separate, the things she was forced to show the court showed a note from the leader saying to divorce me and I've asked her whether this was a nice thing for someone to do and how she could have got herself in such a mess that she basically needed this person to tell her what to do, we stopped sleeping in the same bed a day after I had visited her leader and told her I didn't want to get involved. All of these are hard facts I don't think she can deny but she just doesn't listen or think about them. Sadly we are now divorced. We used to have a really really nice lifestyle but obviously that has gone and life is a bit of a struggle, especially for me.
Anyway in truth I do still love her and despite the horrid things she did at times when we were divorcing I want her to understand what happened to her to convince her to break up.
What I can't understand is her mentality though. She just refuses to consider we had a nice marriage, great lifestyle me the impact all of this has an will have on our daughter. It's as if she is in a trance just doing as she is told still. I don't know whether she is still attending the group, I don't think she will have the money to pay for courses but she was talking about working for them so she might be still be in contact with them.
My real problem is whether over a period of time she will gradually awaken on her own free will to what happened as she knows all the facts about the deception as they came out both in court and I've told her too and questioned how she never thought about our daughter. I think if she was to start to think about things she would have a momentous breakdown as she has given up so much and caused everyone such pain.
It's hard for me as on top of losing my wife, daughter for some of the time and home I don't know whether there is anything else I can do. My strategy is to be as non confrontational with her now as possible, but we've already had a hell of a fight in court so she views me with hate to be honest, so she has nothing to fight now and therefore might start to see things differently but I don't know how likely it is she might come to understand what happened to her and our marriage was a very happy one. Someone old me that she will only think about things if she hits rock bottom, although I had to buy her a house and pay her maintenance so she has that support and despite all of this and the evidence she's told her family so many lies they still support her.
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?

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Recovery from a therapy cult
Posted by: mood: crisis ()
Date: July 11, 2014 01:24AM

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?

On what one's mentality may be, who is still dedicated to a group which has used cultic methods: 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.

Options: ReplyQuote
A thread on problematic therapists
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 11, 2014 03:52AM

Dear Blaster and mood crisis, a year ago, I disentangled from a years long
'situation' with a licensed therapist.

Quick advice: look up the status of your missus' therapists' license.

Two if that therapist shares office space with other therapists, see if they are all members of the same sect, group, etc and check the status of their licenses.

If they have websites, see if they are up front about membership in a problematic group and whether they have trained or report affiliation with groups known to have 'problems'.

Find out if your missus' attorney belongs to the same group as the therapist. That would be a major conflict of interest.

For fun, see if the sect owns the property where your therapist rents office space. May not be able to prove anything but...ya never know.

I wrote a lot on this thread. Because I have struggled hard to make sense
of it all, some of what I have written may be hard to read, and for that I apologize.


One of my big discoveries was that I had registered as a user of this message board back in 2002 precisely because at an unconscious level, I was already worried.

One thing that makes this difficult is there are so many good (or seemingly good) features mixed in with problems when a therapeutic relationship is compromised.

I had consulted other therapists over the years.

Never had crises, always paid my bills on time. And, always had felt free
to change therapists.

But this last therapist...I found myself feeling afraid to leave, and then when
I did realize it was time for me to get out, the person was actually begging me to stay, as I stormed out of the room mid session.

This is the only time I ever had the lingering feeling that I'd not only terminated a therapeutic contract but had...escaped.

Mood Crisis is quite correct that it can take at least a year to sort things out, especially if boundaries in a therapeutic relationship have been compromised.

Options: ReplyQuote
An article to start with
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 11, 2014 03:54AM

Good reading material here.


Options: ReplyQuote
Look up history on her divorce lawyer
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 11, 2014 03:58AM

You may need to call your local law library or go to a clinic for tips on this.

Can be interesting to see

1) if your missus' attorney belongs to same group as the therapist

2) if this attorney has represented others in the sect in divorces.

Depending on situation a divorce may entail liquefaction of assets and that can be very nice for sects.

Options: ReplyQuote

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.