The shame is dissipating
Posted by: Lady Pleiades ()
Date: February 25, 2006 01:26AM

I think I felt a lot of shame for a long time (it's been 5 years) that I could be duped by the cult. Yes, I have a higher degree and a fairly high IQ.

I was a skeptic at first and then tried doing it all and became one of the zombies (as they are called in Winter Park FL where the group exists). I wanted to save my marriage and was willing to do anything.

I left and of course have had no contact with my ex since. But when I received my divorce papers, I knew I had done the right thing and had a real, true sense of self respect. But there was some residual shame as you all know.

But, finally, the shame is lifting.

In defense of the Catholic Church, I went to my annulment counseling with a nun and she was very supportive. She said of the former leader: "What a nut!" She also said about herself that "Others could tell me that I live in a cult, but ultimately it's the effect the group has on people or if it's helpful. And I am free to leave at any time!"

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The shame is dissipating
Posted by: nccg_concern ()
Date: March 17, 2006 03:42AM


You've probably already heard/read this in other places. Having a high intelligence is simply not one of the things that protects people, in general, from being sucked into a cult. Some have even said that higher intelligence may predispose you to it, depending on your situation (I don't personally have a position on that one though, I haven't known enough cult-affected people during my adult life to feel that I can judge that). An individuals' susceptibility is most certainly affected by personality characteristics, their age, and their immediate life situation at the time of recruitment, but yeah.

I do hope you successfully stop feeling ashamed about it. Sure, you made mistakes along the line somewhere. Maybe you didn't look before making that left turn and ignored the warning sign on the corner. Regardless, it's the recovery from those mistakes and the unwillingness to repeat them that counts.

Being in a cult is like taking the Car of Life and turning down a dead end road. Understanding the gravity of the effective mistake you made by joining the group is important. But now you made a U-turn, and furthermore, your wisdom, which is not the same thing as intelligence, hopefully has been boosted as a result of your experience.

You now know firsthand how a mind, even an intelligent one, can end up following ideas and believing things which are not true. And you know that even your own mind is not automatically safe from it, and that's just how things work. If you succesfully apply your intelligence to that, it can keep you from believing other bullshit as your life continues. Additionally, you can have an angle and depth of understanding on these kinds of things that others who had not had the experience often cannot match.

Some intelligent former cult members end up as counselors for recovering former cult members or even end up as exit counselors. You don't have to feel like your experience has somehow weakened you or degraded you; once you've fully come around, it can empower you (like knowledge tends to), giving you a strength that you did not have before.

On a slightly different topic, I did have a comment about something the Nun said. The quote about "Others could tell me that I live in a cult, but ultimately it's the effect the group has on people or if it's helpful. And I am free to leave at any time!" ... that doesn't seem like a helpful kind of statement, to me. Actual cult members will say things like that about their own group involvement as well. People's own perceptions about the group they are in, as active insiders, are automatically one of the logistical problems with someone who is stuck in a cult. Listening to the person's own perceptions without an objective evaluation of "benefit" or freedom to leave is just not a good way to judge it.

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