What to do when someone you know comes away from a cult

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Wieber
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What to do when someone you know comes away from a cult

Post by Wieber » Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:11 am

I have seen this many times and I am an example of it. People leave a cult and then go back. This is mysterious to their family and friends. Let me see if I can take the mystery out of this and maybe set things up so that if you are in the situation where a friend or family member comes away from a cult you can help them stay away.

I have been asked, "Why did you go back?" I couldn't answer it until I reached the point when my deprogramming began. Once I did reach that point I had an answer for that question. I went back because I was away from but not out of the cult.

What?

Read the titles of a number of books: Combatting Cult Mind Control, Battle for the Mind, Captive Hearts Captive Minds, (My underlining). That should give you a clue. Although a cult tends to have a person physically held somewhere within cult premises, what the cult has actually captured is the person's mind.

They can leave the cult but still believe all of the cult's promises, follow the cult's indoctrination, and hold onto the cult's apparent goals. Physically they are away from the cult but mentally they are still captive. They are away but not out. In that state of mind they will almost certainly go back to the cult.

When I left and went back to my family they assumed I was out and treated me as such. To avoid conflict I played along. Later on I went back. Fortunately one of my family members successfully intervened and saw to it that I read things the cult does not want it's members to read and I left for good before the cult took from me everything I had one more time. If they had succeeded I'm sure it would have killed me.

So what do you do when a friend or family member comes away from a cult?

Before that happens you could do some preparation by reading up on cults. There are many good books on the subject. I mentioned three of them earlier in this post.

The next thing to do is change your attitude toward the person who has come back from the cult. How you treated them before may have predisposed them to be attracted to what the cult offered them to get them to "try it out" leading to and resulting in their indoctrination. Realize that your relationship with that person will never be what it was before and if you were dominant or controlling with that person you have to relinquish that entirely.

While they were closely involved in the cult they were under extreme control, watched all the time and without any privacy. They were also subjected to sleep deprivation and most likely experienced malnutrition. On leaving the cult they almost certainly have physical health and dental issues that need tending, although that's not what this is about.

The first thing you need to establish with the person is that it is completely safe for them to tell you anything about the cult and about their plans with regard to it. If you don't set that up and make it a thing you will not be able to find out whether the person is actually out of the cult or just away from it. The latter is almost certainly the case and if you are going to make any assumptions that's what you should assume.

I would recommend that when they first arrive away from the cult that you say something like this to them. "I would like to talk with you about what went on with you in the cult, why you came away from it and about any issues you may have with it, but not right now. You're probably tired and need a few days of rest." You might also ask that if they're thinking of contacting anyone in the cult that they hold off until after you've had a chance to discuss it with them.

Give them three days to sleep as long as they like and feed them some very nutritious food. You can have fun stuff like pizza and ice cream but try to provide as much complete nutrition as possible. Once out of contact for three days, rested and feeling well fed they will be in better shape to deal with what they have been through and more likely to agree to reading those things the cult wants them not to read. They will also be in a better state of mind to start taking on tasks like finding a job. That's another issue that needs attention but the primary goal here is to make sure they actually get out of the cult, not just away from it.

Well that's what to do but how do you do it? Here's the thing. I really don't know. My family member got me to agree not to go back and to read the things I wasn't allowed to read. I was on the receiving end of that, not the one doing it.

They stayed calm. They did not get angry with me. They asked me questions. What happened in the cult? What did you think of what they said to you? What did you think about how they treated you? What happened before you left? How did you leave? Why did you leave?

Then any time I made a comment about the people in the cult assessing me or my possessions as potential cult assets or the cult controlling me to my detriment or expressing doubts or concerns they got into that and asked for more detail. Gradually I opened up more and more. Eventually I agreed not to go back and to read the internet and books about the cult and cults in general. At that point I was still in. While reading those things I should not read I reached a point where I was indeed out.

I'm sure that there will be variations on this and none of the experiences will be the same. You may also expect to fail, but if you're patient and give the person room to breathe and really do what to help them I think you will very likely succeed.
“Think wrongly if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.”
Doris Lessing

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Wieber
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Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 10:57 pm

Re: What to do when someone you know comes away from a cult

Post by Wieber » Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:19 am

While reading over what I have posted above it comes to mind that there are hardly any books on cults that do not make specific references to cults. All the books I've read on cults make reference to cults by name. While this may be academically appropriate, it puts up a barrier to getting a cult member to read the book. It would be helpful to have at least one book on cults that doesn't mention any specifically by name, nor name any specific person involved in a cult. I am not in a position to write such a book. I'm just putting this out there. Maybe someone working on such a book will read this and edit their draft accordingly.
“Think wrongly if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.”
Doris Lessing

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