I was just thinking about all the ways we react to cults: discovering we are in one, breaking free, recovering, trying to rescue others, etc.
I was wondering if these stages of grief that are pretty familiar could also be applied to cult recovery. I'm not sure if we would start counting the first stage from after we have left the cult or from some point inside the cult where we start recognizing our situation for what it is.
The progression of states is:Anger –
"Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; "Who is to blame?"
Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. Any individual that symbolizes life or energy is subject to projected resentment and jealousy.Denial –
"I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me."
Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of situations and individuals that will be left behind after death.Bargaining –
"Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..."
The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the individual is saying, "I understand I will die, but if I could just have more time..."Depression –
"I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die... What's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"
During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect oneself from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.Acceptance –
"It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."
In this last stage, the individual begins to come to terms with their mortality or that of their loved one.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/23/2010 10:35AM by dsm.