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Recovery from cults
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: August 15, 2002 04:51AM

What advice would you give based upon your experience to former cult members and their families? How can they cope? What can they do? And how difficult is the road to recovery? If you are a former cult member or once were a member of some controversial group please share your thoughts to help others.

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Recovery from cults
Posted by: Jenny ()
Date: August 23, 2002 08:01AM

When I was asked to leave the church I had attended and for 13 years (and I was the associate pastor), it was devastating.

Here is some of what I posted on another topic here:I was in a controlling abusive non-denominational church for over 13 years. The pastor is a woman. She has a way of "training" people so that they give their total lives to her (God) for discipling. I even lived with her. I was her protoge'.

She keeps the church so busy that they are too tired to think when they actually have time away from the building. Her philosophy is that the church should provide for every single need from birth to death. There is a day care, school K-12, and bible school. College age kids actually left secular colleges at the "word of the Lord" to work for minimum wage pulling weeds at the parsonage or church.

The pastor has two homes in Lincoln and a luxury Condo in Florida, where she visits many times a year to "hear from God."

I believed this nonsense for 13 years until God sent my now husband of seven years. Because he is smart, knows the Word and would not come "under her harness" we were given the boot.

The pastor actually approved of our marriage and confirmed to me that "he's the one." Then after we married, she was filled with jealousy and drove us out of town.

The healing process has been long (out 5 years now.) But, my life has been made stronger than ever before in the Lord. The first 3 years were a nightmare, literally.

I suffered major depression for nearly 3 years and wanted to die.
I lost the relationship with my mother as she lives with this pastor. People in these kinds of churches are taught that it is God's will to forsake family members who do not attend the same church. I am a Christian, so there is NO Biblical reason for her not to see me now--other than the fact that I now know that the pastor is a witch, and would not hesistate to tell her. My mother is totally brainwashed. She is very passive but has been "taught" how to act like she is making her own choices and decisions.

Coming out of a cult is very difficult. You need to get information on the TRUTH about leaders who control and manipulate. These kind of people are a danger as they destroy families and create a following much like those who followed Jim Jones....right to the death.

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Recovery from cults
Posted by: mavin ()
Date: November 30, 2002 10:05AM

Recovery from the cult experience takes a lot of work, determination, courage, and a great ingredient is humor. I was in a cult for about 13 years. The cult doesn't matter, because they basically work the same. The doctrines don't matter because they are all twisted to serve the masters. What matters is our recovery.

Of course one has to deprogram from the doctrines. That was probably the first and easiest thing to do. Then one has to deprogram from the psychological holds and that is much harder to do. One must first figure out what they programming actually "is" to deprogram it I think.

There is a subconscious level of things to deal with. There are many levels to deprogram. It takes a lot of "detective" work to figure out what they did to one and how, so it can be reversed. What kinds of things did they do? Figure them out and reverse them. How to reverse them? ONe thing at a time.

I would be happy to share things that I did and worked for me if anyone is interested. I worked very hard very long to deprogram, as I was very programmed.

Oh, by the way, this is only my 3rd post to this forum. Mavin

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Recovery from cults
Posted by: ex-Geftakys ()
Date: November 30, 2002 11:25PM

Great Topic!

What worked for me is simple.

1. take responsibility for joining. Yes, the leaders are to blame, but they didn't abduct me, I willingly allowed them to control me. Deal with this first. (there can be many facets here, but very importatnt, because you don't want to get "out of the frying pan and into the fire.")

2. Confront the bastards! (sorry for the strong language, but i mean this in a humorous way.) When you see what weasels and cowards the leaders are it really helps deal with the emotional programming with regard to them "speaking for God."

3. Warn others. People who go away quietly, in order to be nice, or maintain some kind of "fellowship," with what is actually Evil, usually do so out of cowardice. (unless physical danger is involved) It is my opinion that former members who do this, deep down inside, know they are copping out, and have real guilt and real shame as a result. They remain 7/8ths of a person for the rest of their lives. If we really say we care about people and love God, etc. then we must warn others so that they don't suffer the same mistakes we did.

Brent Trockman

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Recovery from cults
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: December 01, 2002 06:43AM


Do tell. I'd be interested to read the steps you took.

For me, since there was a great deterioration in my overall health, which I've just found out led to a malabsorption problem, restoring my health helped tremendously. All kinds of psychological and emotional imbalances occurred with lack of digestion of protein.

The worst feeling was that I had forgotten or reframed what I was about, what I liked. And, the second worst thing was why I let myself be persuaded like I did.

However, what I noted in therapy with a cognitive Phd who helped me deal with all this, the therapy with her was leading in the same direction - which I think is just something happens in therapy. She was trying to uncover some painful trapped emotion that just didn't exist. The problem was still just the deterioration in health - muscle wasting, malnourishment that contributed to mood swings, trembling, etc. She didn't really believe that nutrition could reverse this, but it did. She wanted me on antidepressants.

I would suggest to anyone whose health has changed while being in a cult or cult-like situation to see a nutritionist. My doctor missed all this, simply because they are not trained in nutrition.

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Recovery from cults
Posted by: Quea ()
Date: December 01, 2002 08:54AM

I was in a Bible based mind control cult for about 14 years, and was a total believer! When another person was set-up and disfellowshipped, and I knew the truth about their situation, I stood up for them, and by doing so, had no choice but to quit, even though I thought it was just one person that was 'at fault'--the minister. I thought the 'church' was ok, until I began researching after my exit.

When I realized that things were really not just one person--but the whole organization, I dumped everything that they had taught me. I had no idea what the truth was, but I set out to prove to myself what was truth and what was fiction.

First I had to deal with my shock and depression and posttraumatic stress that came on due to my exit of what I'd believed in for so many years. That took some time. Once I was able to cope with the realization that I'd been duped, I began to read the Bible cover to cover, since that was what was used to prove their doctrines. From that I learned the context of the scriptures, and realized that they had excerpted only what they wanted to, to prove their point. I disproved the doctrines over a period of time, and began to read the 'secular' material that they said was forbidden. I reasoned that they must have a reason to forbid it! I studied my way right out of religion, realizing that I didn't need the dogma and doctrines and rules and regulations imposed by men and their organizations, that God was indeed in charge of the universe and that I did not need to bow down to men and their ideas.

It was a process over several years, 8 or 9 years. Now I am free of all the dogma. Some of the residual mind control is still imbedded in my psyche, and that is something I haven't been able to eradicate. I still 'trance-out' when I try to watch a weather report, and don't know what the weatherman said. But for the most part, I am free.

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Recovery from cults
Posted by: mavin ()
Date: December 01, 2002 09:07AM

I agree that one should confront the controllers if possible. Helping others is also good therapy.

In my case I do not take responsibility for "joining". I had no idea what the thing was and like the frog in water I was "killed" before I realized the water was hot. Cults actively recruit their members. One doesn't have "informed consent" when one joins, and therefore, one is not totally responsible for joining. One would not join, if one knew what the real truth was.

Each cult and cult situation is as different as the members. None of the experiences of anyone is exactly the same as another. One thing I learned is to respect and love that uniqueness, where once being "different" was not looked on kindly.

In my case, I worked diligently for years helping others deprogram. I may still be doing some of that work ;) Mavin

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Recovery from cults
Posted by: terry huffman ()
Date: December 01, 2002 12:58PM

I wd. like to focus on our taking responsibility for ourselves. Often pride is one of the snares that pull us into an elitist group. We like the idea and feeling of being in this special group. We, the faithful remnant, are on a pedastal looking down on the others who don't have the light that we do. Then because of our pride, we are blinded to our own faults and that of the group, its leader(s), and become capable of rationalizing away some of the most bizarre and destructive behaviors. In the Christian context at least, one must admit of personal pride (elitism) as sin and confess it as such. Try reading-or hearing- other well-known and respected authors so that you can see that God wasn't limited to "our little group," neither did he need ask the permission of our little group to work in a different way than what we were taught. Not everything we learned need be thrown out, but it does need to be sifted.
Recovery takes time. One will probably move from self-pity "how cd. I be so stupid..." to anger "how dare the leadership treat me this way." Anger is natural when you have been used, misled, and mistreated. It is in and of itself not sin. Take the time to find others who have been through this already and dialog with them.
If a critical thought comes to mind concerning the group develop it rather than quashing it immediately. If some teaching or practise was ridiculous, laugh about it and shake your head. Humor does indeed have a place in all of this. The strong emotions will eventually subside. God has loved you this whole time. He also loves those still in the old group. In my opinion when we come to the point of forgiving-not excusing, mind you-those who wronged us, we knock off a substantial amount of time in this purgatory. We can even become a help to others in a similar bind.

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Recovery from cults
Posted by: mavin ()
Date: December 01, 2002 10:04PM

Well, as I said before, each individual and group is unique.

For me it was not belonging to an elitist group that was the thing. I thought that I found the church that was actually doing God's will. They used the old testament to control.

As for being elite, that was the business of the "puff us up" as I used to say, to put that kind of false pride into us. I did not come into the group as an elitist , nor was I looking for an elitist group. I simply wanted to be with a group that was doing what I thought God wanted me to do. That being keeping of the old testament holy days and the old testament. I had no idea of the new testament meaning when I joined or was recruited.

So pride was infused by the group. Yes it was something to be repented of later, but it was owned by the cult, infused into the members and in recovery one has to face that infused arrongance and dig it out and realize that we are all God's children and deprogram from that crap too.

In fact the scripture that says that "he came to save the WHOLE WORLD (not just my little group,) permeated my senseless mind and helped me to think critically. The scriptures that were used to control us, also set me free. Mavin

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Recovery from cults
Posted by: mavin ()
Date: December 01, 2002 10:08PM

I am trying to reply to Hope, but I do not understand the exact way to do that effectively. I don't seem to be able to reply directly to Hope's post.

I will try later today or tonite.. I have to leave now for an appointment.

And Hope you can email me directly I think. I am just going to have to learn more about how to do this.

I have some insight and ideas on your post. Mavin

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