Re: How long to wake up to what happened?
Date: April 08, 2013 04:56AM
There is no easy answer for that. Some people never do wake up. It's not just denial; they have invested so much of themselves into this identity that it is frightening to think of any other way of living. The longer someone has been involved in a cult or abdicated their reasoning and thinking to another person or group (not necessarily a "cult" by Rick Ross standards), the harder it is for them to go back to being the way they were before they surrendered themselves.
In my case the group I was in was relatively benign and I had not been in very long before my parents intervened (I was a minor). By the time they allowed me to return, enough time had passed where both they and I had changed. I was no longer as willing to submit to certain dictates which I considered unjust. So my second leaving was entirely voluntary. One thing that was very much in my favor during this time was that I was still in school and therefore was being exposed to other viewpoints beside this group's. My parents were also very much pro-secular education, especially college, and as a result they constantly made sure that we had plenty of opportunities to expand our horizons academically. It was almost like being home-schooled AND going to public school. The reason I stress this is that I have noticed that the more a person is isolated or allows themselves to become isolated, the more likely they are to become prey for these groups and cults, especially those that downplay contact with "outsiders".
All you can do at this point is stand by your ex-wife and listen to her. She is not at the point where she is ready to see what has been done to her and she may never be ready. That's the sad thing.
You ask what would the side effects of leaving such a group be? Well, when you surrender your complete identity to another to the point where you allow them to do the thinking for you it can be quite frightening to realize that all these years you have made a big mistake; that it has even cost you in relationships. In religion, it's called "deconverting" and people who have gone through voluntary deconversion nearly always say it was an emotionally traumatic experience for them to get to that point where they realized that they no longer believed what they were "supposed" to have believed. She will need to grieve what she has lost. She may be angry at being lied to or misled. Not to mention breaking ties with the community or group that she has been part of, that is also not easy. She will need a lot of love and acceptance because there is real loss here.