Family Members of Cult Victims - Searching for Support Group
Date: May 23, 2004 05:10AM
First, no responsible spiritual teacher, healer or group would ever encourage someone to cut off ties to a spouse, friends and adult children as you describe your mother doing.
You'll need to get additional information to determine whether it is standard practice in this group to encourage members to sever ties with family and friends.
It may sometimes happen that a group may be OK, but a subgroup that is deviant and cultish can develop within the main group.
Or, you can have a set up where the leaders of the group subject a secretive inner circle of disciples to a harsh cultic discipline, but prescribe a milder, 'reasonable' practice for those who just take an occasional workshop or are members but not of the inner circle.
All too often members of the inner circle are kept quiet by a mixture of secrecy, fear and the conviction that they are special. They dont want to lose that sense of specialness, so they put up with all kinds of abuse and create alibis to support the leader and disarm suspicion.
Some time back on Craigslist, one member said he/she had been involved with pseudo shamanic practices based on Castaneda's work. The person did this for decades, and finally realized that it was all about believing one was special, doing certain things that made you feel special, and that it took more and more work to maintain and preserve that sense of being special.
The person felt tired and burdened by it all and reported that after getting rid of 30 years of files, books, notes and tapes, felt a tremendous sense of relief and unburdening.