Re: Trumpet Call of God
Date: March 19, 2011 06:29AM
I've found 2 different cult experts who talk about what floating is why it happens and what to do when it happens. I hope this helps! :)
Carol Giambalvo says that "floating" is like "trancing out," "spacing out," "being triggered". Periods of "floating" are usually brought on by a "trigger."
What causes triggers? Triggers for post-cult memories depend upon what group an individual belonged to, the philosophy and practices of the group, and individual personal experiences in the group. For former members of an Eastern guru-based group that used incense in meditation or rituals, the smell of incense can be a powerful trigger. For former members of a large group awareness training that uses modern music as people are entering the room and during exercises, hearing one of those songs on the car radio can be a powerful trigger (please pull off the road if this happens to you!). Ex-members of Bible-based groups can be triggered by hearing the word "amen" with the same accent and emphasis that the leader used, or by singing hymns sung in the group or reading scriptures that were overemphasized in the group. The loaded language used in groups can also be a trigger.
Dissociation is a normal mental response to anxiety. A momentary anxiety arises when internal or external cues (triggers) set off a memory, a related idea, or a state of feeling that has anxiety attached to it. This brief anxiety experience alerts the mind to split off-- that is the mind stops paying attention to the surrounding reality of the moment. The person becomes absorbed and immersed in some other mental picture, idea or emotion. This dissociation occurs unexpectedly and unintentionally and it is this dissociation that can be experienced as a floating effect.
When does floating happen? Any non-focused, monotonous, repetitive activity can trigger the old state of dissociation because one becomes flooded by the repetition. There are times when a trigger can arise m a normal, everyday environment. Ex-members are most susceptible to triggers when anxious, lonely, stressed, tired, distracted, ill or uncertain.
How to deal with triggers: Dr. Margaret Singer emphasizes the primary need for education, specifically psycho education. She advises ex-members to learn about trance states, how they are induced, the results of trance states and, specifically how your group used them. Also, learn the vocabulary used to identify and label the normal human processes that describe triggers:
Dissociation - a sudden, temporary alteration m the normally integrative functions of consciousness, identity or motor behavior
Depersonalization - one's sense of one's own identity and reality is temporarily lost -- "who am l?"
Derealization - a sense of the reality of the external world is lost--"where am I?" "Is this real?"
Secondly, learn how to protect yourself. After leaving a highly controlled environment, you need your own space and personal time. Learning to establish healthy personal boundaries after a cult experience takes time and patience. You may want to purchase an answering machine and even monitor your calls. Remember, you don't have to answer all calls, especially calls from the group.
Third, Dr. Singer recommends that you get exit counseling. This is part of the psycho educational process. This does not have to be a formal exit counseling.
Fourth, Dr. Singer warns ex-members about going to a "normal" therapist, meaning one not knowledgeable about the effects of a thought reform environment. Therapists tend to blame it on the ex-member, on their masochism, their dependency issues, or their parents . . . "blame the victim."
But, what do I do when I'm m the middle of being triggered?
First, respect your fragile moments. The intensity of the triggered states decreases as time goes on and as you educate yourself.
Second, learn what helps you most when you are triggered. Some suggestions Dr. Singer makes are:
divert your attention elsewhere (exercise, scrub the floor, etc.)
suppress - you don't have to talk about it or analyze it
minimize - say to yourself "I'm not going crazy. I'm just a little anxious right now. It will pass"
It helps to learn a way to bring yourself back to reality quickly by getting some sensory change. Some recently departed ex-members find it helpful to wear a rubber band around their wrist and "snap" themselves when they find themselves dissociating. Others, like myself, use the "pinch" method.
Rick Ross also explains how to Stop Floating
Floating is described by former cult members as "how I felt while in the group." Sometimes the feeling is one of nostalgia for some aspect of the cult. Sometimes it is a feeling of fear that the person should go back to the cult. Most of the time, people describe it as being suspended between the two worlds of present life and the past cult life.
Behaviorally orientated educational techniques are the best methods of counteracting and dealing with floating episodes. The triggers are just associations and memories, and only that. They are not arcane implants put in your mind by others; they do not reflect uncontrollable suggestions. Floating is simply getting stuck for a few minutes, or sometimes hours, in a familiar, detached, and conflicted state, such as you experienced while in the cult.
Three types of remembrances are experienced by ex-cult members during floating episodes:
1. Contents from the cult days; jargon, dogma, practices, songs, rituals, certain clothing.
2. Feeling states that were vivid and frequent during the time in the group: gnawing inner doubt, inadequacy, unmitigated fear, unending hidden tension.
3. Strange wordless states, sometimes given denigrating labels by the cult (for example, "bliss ninny," "space cadet"): referred to as floating, involuntary meditation, and wavy states by former members.
Often former cult members don't distinguish among remembrances from cult life. But learning to recognize and identify the types just described is helpful in the process of getting rid of them for good. It demystifies your cultic experience and the power you think it holds over you. You will no longer feel you are at the mercy of some strange phenomenon that you cannot control.
Some cults even have their own terms, such as restimulation, which they use to predict the recurrence of these episodes (both while in the cult and later). This, of course, sets members up to expect what does occur once in a while. The cult that uses this particular term also imbues the involuntary state with the implication that "you can't help it because it's in your wiring." This frightens members, who then carry this notion with them when they leave. Myths such as this cause former members to become very anxious when the dissociative episodes occur.
Remember, there are no mysterious, mechanical, out-of-our-control events. No cult and no person has the power or skill to implant such things in the minds of their members or to cause these episodes to happen after members leave. There is no scientific evidence, no valid clinical observation that such a possibility exists.
Individuals newly emerging from a cult can almost expect and need not be alarmed by periods of seeming to lose track of time or where they are. It's normal for them to think often about various experiences from cult days and sometimes feel as they felt back in the cult. During exit counseling, families should be told that floating is likely to occur for a time after the cult member leaves the group. They are advised to ex-member to talk about and deal with these episodes.
Floating does not mean you want to return to the cult. As described earlier, floating is most likely to happen when you are stressed, anxious, uncertain, lonely, distracted, fatigued, or ill. Once you recognize when these episodes may occur, you can prepare for them. Then the event will be less distressing when it happens. Realizing that floating is a dissociative moment will help. Once you understand that you are merely temporarily psychologically disengaging, you won't think that your memory is shot or that you are losing your mind. You can say to yourself, "I'm not damaged for life. This is just a momentary dissociation. I can pick up where I was. It's just a thought, just a memory. I don't have to act on it."
Here are some helpful Antidotes:
*Keep a written log of the happenings so that you can talk about them and come to understand what happens. Write down the simple word, event, voice, sound, smell, motion, expression, or memory; that is, trace back and recall what set you off so that you can begin to comprehend what occurred. Why that thing? Why that moment? What was the state you were in?
*Divert yourself when you are about to fall into a dissociative state. Sometimes a friend or co-worker will notice that you are beginning to space out, and she or he may offer companionship or listening time or divert you into an activity. You can also create your own activities that you set into motion when you recognize a trigger or start to float. Turn to the radio, listen to the news, call someone on the phone, write in your journal, play with the dog.
*Suppress the feeling. You do not have to act on it, you do not have to let the cult-related feeling overwhelm you. Push it away and go on to something else. Later, at a more appropriate moment, you may want to talk with someone about the situation. Learn to minimize the frightening leftovers from cult days. You might be flooded with feelings, but say to yourself, "I'm not going crazy. I'm just a little anxious." Focus on the present, on today, on getting your life back together.
If you do fall into a dissociative state, bring yourself back with a scenery change. Pinch yourself. Rub your hand. Do something that will provide sensory input and break the feeling of being in limbo. Focus your eyes on something directly in front of you.
All these techniques will help break up the floods of emotion and emotional memories that come in at you. Taking a down-to-earth and aggressive stance against triggers and floating will propel you to take great leaps forward in your recovery.