Friday, July 16, 2021

A Collection of Articles on Recovery from Religious Trauma Syndrome

Religious Trauma Syndrome (which includes a summation of Marlene Winnell's book by the author)

Sin, Shame and Guilt in a Default Mode Network > Depression & Anxiety in RTS… and How to Jump OUT of it

Still Stuck in the Muck of RTS? There IS a Way Out.

A Program of Recovery for a Survivor of Religious Cult Abuse

A Proposed Twelve Stage Process of Recovery from Religious / Cultic Trauma Syndrome in a Behavioral Addiction / Dependency Treatment Model

SIQR, the 10 StEPs & Recovery from Religious Trauma Syndrome: A How-To Guide

Treating RTS-induced Anxiety & Panic Attacks

Dis-I-dentifying with Learned Helplessness & the Victim I-dentity (and not-moses's answers to a replier's questions there)

How to Deal with Rapture Scares and other Post-De-Conversion Flashbacks

Abusive Xtianity, Emotional Blackmail & How to Recover from the Lingering Effects of F.O.G.

Do I need Exit Counseling or Deprogramming?

To find an understanding, secular therapist if you need one, see my reply to the OP on Decided to start therapy... And, although I cannot vouch for the Reclamation Collective, a perusal of their website suggests the therapists listed there are at least somewhat up to speed on RTS, Marlene Winnell, Catherine Mann, Margaret Singer, Alexandra Stein, Madelyn Tobias and Bonnie Zeiman.

Choiceless Awareness for Emotion Processing and pretty much everything else

Occasional Frustration is just The Way it Is in Recovery from RTS. This is Why. 

Religious Abuse Handbook is a work in progress by a participant on various sub-Reddits, listed here with the approval of the author 04-22-2021

Saturday, July 10, 2021

ALL the way "out?" Or just Partially? -- Are many Apostates still Stuck in All-Good-or-All-Evil and/or Reality-Rejecting Thinking for the Rest of their Lives?

All of the CULTS and religious sects I have investigated thus far teach "philosophical totalism," AKA "absolutism" and "authoritarian... dichotomism ("We are right, and they are wrong." "Our way is the only way." "There are only two ways to see something: Our way and the wrong way.")

Among the many things I have discovered working with apostates online and in person is that most of them go through lonnnnnnnng stages of a) rageful rejection of the cult (or religion) that abused them, and b) remaining stuck in the way of thinking they acquired in the cult... though they are mostly unaware of either circumstance.

Just today, I encountered a pair of ex-Christian apostates who appear to believe that all religions function the same way. I used to think so, as well, until I dug into Aldwin & Park, Bellah, Clarke, Fronsdal, Goleman, James, Krishnamurti, Masukawa, Miles (2015a & b), Mishra, Pals, Prothero, Smith (1958), and Strausberg in Recommended on Religion from Outside the Box

Now, however, I understand the the two principal "religions" of East Asia were -- at least in their pure and unadulterated, original forms -- unlike any notion of "religion" in the West. Taoism and Buddhism are far more like "orientations toward life's challenges" and "practices to dodge or dig out of suffering" than mandated belief systems.

In whatever event, may I leave you with the following:

Good Old Books for New Apostates, and...

"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. This principle is contempt prior to examination." (Herbert Spencer)

(Which I first read at least 40 years ago, but didn't get in this context until about 15.)

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Cultic Stockholm Syndrome

1) See Stockholm Syndrome to grasp the general use of the term.

2) See Why do people stay in a cult even when they know it is cultic? in not-moses’s reply to the OP on that Reddit thread. And then...

3) I had trouble with (understanding and "buying into") SS until I got into the following:

Learned Helplessness & the Victim Identity

Seligman’s Original Article on Learned Helplessness

Learned Helplessness, Dread & the Victim Identity

And -- with the help of Atack, Bandura, Delarue, Kramer & Alstad, Lifton, Milgram, Riezler, Sargant and others, especially including Alexandra Stein and her use of John Bowlby's attachment theory in A More than Basic Cult Library -- came to understand how rapidly LH & VI > Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder > SS can be conditioned, in-doctrine-ated, instructed, imprintedsocialized, habituated, and normalized into a default mode network in the human brain.

IME, those who understand The Five Progressive Qualities of the Committed Cult Member on any Cultic Pyramid can wrap their minds around the cultic version of SS by the time they're half-way through Understanding Codependency as "Soft-Core" Cult Dynamics... and Cult Dynamics as "Hard-Core" Codependency.

BUT... After decades in The Hunt, I'm still (somewhat) amazed at how rapidly SS can be "installed" by using isolation, hunger, lack of sleep, terror and dispensation of existence in mostly smaller, non-Judeo / Christian / Muslim cults, and...

Relentless verbal abuse, gaslighting, group dynamic criticism, guilt-tripping, emotional blackmail, public embarrassment & humiliation, scapegoating and demonizing to install SS in ultra-authoritarian, "purity culture," evangelical and/or fundamentalist Judeo / Christian / Muslim cults, albeit considerably less rapidly.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Out of the Cult and all Alone now. How do I Cope?

"I found my parachute and jumped out of the burning plane. But then, as I drifted slowly towards reality, I looked down and saw no one waiting for me on the ground below. It was like I landed in the middle of the desert without a compass."

In my experience here on this Reddit sub (and elsewhere) this is a major -- if not the #1 issue -- for adolescents and young adult apostates. As well as older adults suffering from the developmental stunting so common in those who reached and remained at the fifth to seventh levels of any Cultic Pyramid for several years... or never knew any social frame of reference but the cult.

Ask anyone who's specialized in the post-exit treatment of life-long cult members: Any frame of reference, experience or interest outside the cult is minimal if existent at all. The exitor is a "stranger in a strange land" suddenly confronted with having to use the eyes, ears, feelings and senses in general he or she was taught NOT to use. "Our way is The way. You don't need to look to see, listen to hear or feel to sense what is. We will tell you."

And so the exitor is like an infant in a world of possibilities he or she has previously ignored owing to the cult's conditioning, in-doctrine-ation, instruction, imprintingsocialization, habituation and normalization to Our way is The way.

Life on the outside can and should be expected to be perplexing. But if one turns on the television, listens to the radio, goes on the Internet, or even just goes out and walks around, his or her eyes, ears, feelings and senses can be counted upon over time to bring What Is into comprehension.

Intrigue and motivation reliably follow, just as they do for the newborn infant.

Supportive attachment to peers is "crucial" for young people for several reasons, not the least of which is they don't have enough life experience yet to have a sense "who they are," nor are their brains fully developed and capable of the detached self-awareness that makes a sense of "Identity" possible. And without that, comfortable detachment and separation from The Crowd is a real challenge.

The therapist who knows Marlene Winnell's Religious (& Cultic) Trauma Syndrome understands this and addresses the issue, grasping as they (hopefully) do the temporary physical limitations in the brains of those subjected to group dynamic mind control over the course of years. In FACT, the brains of most cult members lack vital neural connections that facilitate trusting, functional, interpersonal relationship in several key locations. Fortunately, however, the brain is plastic, and -- with expert help from such as those trained by Winnell, Catherine Mann, Bonnie Zeiman, Janja Lalich, Madelyn Tobias, Alexandra Stein and others -- the brain can be "rebuilt" so that appropriate Re-Development can take place.

And the dietary, OTC & prescription medicinal, and psychotherapeutic technologies for that are advancing so rapidly now that one will probably be able to read a book and pretty much do it themselves with only minimal professional coaching before the first quarter of this century is over. (Really.)

In the meantime, however, may I simply suggest that those finding it difficult to find their was out of "the desert" read Managing Cult Withdrawal (in not-moses’s reply to the OP on that thread) and stay engaged with others here on this Reddit sub to support them as we all grope toward functional and satisfying lives?

Resources & References

A Proposed Twelve Stage Process of Recovery from Religious / Cultic Trauma Syndrome

Comprehensive -- and Free -– Online BOOK on How Cults Work and how to recover from them

A More than Basic Cult Library

Cult Awareness & Information Center

Cult Education Institute

Cult Escape

Cult Expert

Cult Information Center

Cult News 101

Cult Recovery 101

The Family Survival Trust

Freedom of Mind (Steve Hassan’s deal)

Gurumag

Guruphiliac

I Got Out

International Cultic Studies Association

Religious Trauma Institute LLC

The Watchman Fellowship

Saturday, June 19, 2021

A Proposed Twelve Stage Process of Recovery from Religious / Cultic Trauma Syndrome in a Behavioral Addiction / Dependency Treatment Model

 Please see...

  1. Religious & Cultic Trauma Syndrome

  2. Cult Membership as an Addiction Process... and a Process Addiction,

  3. the Five Stages of Recovery from Any Addiction, and

  4. Treating Cultism as an Addiction.

A Proposed Twelve Stage Process of Recovery from RTS / CTS

  1. Unconscious, self-destructive attachment to the church or cult and any linkage between cult involvement and dysphoria (including shame, guilt, worry, remorse, regret, learned helplessness, depression, anxiety, frustration and/or resentment).

  2. Sufficient movement into the second, third, fourth or fifth of The Five Progressive Qualities of the Committed Cult Member to induce initial awareness of dysphoria. (Because unless or until the addict becomes “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” there will be no motive to change.)

  3. Contemplation and consideration of the possible reasons for the dysphoria.

  4. Identification and acceptance of the possible reasons for the dysphoria.

  5. Commitment and action to deal with the possible reasons for the dysphoria.

  6. Disidentification with and psychological detachment from the source of the dysphoria.

  7. Physical disengagement with and detachment from the source of the dysphoria.

  8. Ensuing anxiety, depression, guilt, worry, remorse and/or regret about leaving the church or cult and the personal attachments therein.

  9. Increasing conflict and cognitive dissonance about leaving the church or cult vs. increasing resentment and anger toward the church, cult and/or persons therein.

  10. Obsessive rage toward the church or cult (or “god” or “the guru” or various icons in the church or cult) and a desire to do significant harm to the church or cult to “rescue others.”

  11. Commitment and action to deal with the rage before it does harm to the exitor.

  12. Deprogramming of any lingering cognitive distortions and reciprocal reactivity to open space for the exitor to lead a comfortable and satisfying life outside the church or cult.

Resources & References

A More than Basic Cult Library

Recommended on Religion from Outside the Box

A Basic Addiction References List

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

An Hypothesis of Eriksonian & Piagetian Developmental Failures in Millon's Four Types of Borderline Personality Disorder

Readers who simply stumble upon this piece should understand that it is an attempt to develop an hypothesis of CPTSD > BPD as a reflection of developmental arrest in both Eriksonian and Piagetian terms. And that it began with repeated observation of "discouraged" borderlines as patients blamelessly trapped in infantile states of near-complete helplessness, dependence upon others, and inability to function on their own.

Start with this brief article on Re-Development.

Hypothesis: Borderlinism is an illness of developmental stunting. Among Million's Four Types, the...

a) "discouraged" borderline is usually stuck in infancy or early toddlerhood, Erikson's Trust vs. Distrust and Piaget's Sensorimotor Processing. She cannot trust at all here and can only over- (and "blindly") trust there. In large part because she has an as yet only partially complete brain stuck in the lingering state of Learned Helplessness, she is so overwhelmed by terror of abuse or abandonment, and/or so self-protectively dissociated that she cannot see, hear, feel or sense what is actually so in her world, and thus has nothing to use a starting point for accurate evaluation, interpretation, assessment, analysis or attribution of meaning to what has either gone unseen, unheard, unfelt and unsensed, or is just way too painful and frightening to see, hear, feel or sense. (Think "crack babies" and "dumpster babies," as well as infants born to mothers incapable of caring for them).

b) "self-destructive" borderline is usually stuck in late toddlerhood or the pre-school era, Erikson's Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt and Piaget's Pre-Operational Processing. She is enraged by caregivers who fail to see, hear, feel, sense or understand her and nurture her... and is trapped in the uncontrolled tantrums of the "terrible twos," to which she will reliably regress under adolescent and adult stress... and start cutting or burning to try to deal with her extreme emotional pain.

c) "impulsive" borderline is usually stuck in the kindergarten and early grade school era, Erikson's Initiative vs, Guilt and the post-Piagetian concept of Fantasy Operational Processing (in not-moses’s reply to the OP on that Reddit thread), believing that she can find a magical way to escape her awful life in some form of obsessive-compulsive activity. (Think pre-teen alcoholic or drug abuser.)

d) "petulant" borderline is usually stuck in the later grade school and middle school eras, Erikson's Industry vs. Inferiority (now often called "Competence vs. Incompetence") and the early stages of Piaget's Concrete Operational Processing, believing that she has a perfect right to more subtly spray her rage upon others in more evolved ways she has learned, including intimidation, embarrassment, humiliation, emotional blackmailgaslighting and other "gotcha" games on Karpman Drama Triangles. (Think "I can't get back at those who wrecked my life, so I will take it out on anyone else who gets close.)

But do bear in mind that most people with BPD exhibit more than one of those types. It is vital to understand, however, that the truly "discouraged" borderline (or IFSM part of the borderline mind that is "discouraged") does NOT have Compensatory Narcissistic Personality Disorder because her functioning (or the functioning of that part) hit the wall before her brain had the capacity to develop compensations more sophisticated than gross dissociation.

References & Resources

Erikson, E.: Childhood and Society, New York: W. W. Norton, 1950, 1967, 1993.

Erikson, E.: Identity and the Life Cycle, New York: W. W. Norton, 1959, 1980.

Erikson, E.: The Problem of Ego Identity, in Stein, M., et al: Identity and Anxiety, Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1960.

Erikson, E.: Identity: Youth and Crisis, New York: W. W. Norton, 1968.

Karpman, S.: Fairy tales and script drama analysis, in Transactional Analysis Bulletin, Vol. 7, No. 26, 1968.

Kernberg, O.: Severe Personality Disorders: Psychotherapeutic Strategies, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1977.

Kernberg, O.; Selzer, M.; et al: Psychodynamic Psychotherapy of Borderline Patients, New York: Basic Books, 1989.

Kluft, R.: Shelter from the Storm: Processing the Traumatic Memories of DID / DDNOS Patients with The Fractionated Abreaction Technique, North Charleston SC: CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2013.

Meissner, W.: The Borderline Spectrum: Differential Diagnosis and Developmental Issues, New York: Jason Aronson, 1984.

Meissner, W.: Treatment of Patients in the Borderline Spectrum, New York: Jason Aronson, 1988.

Millon, T.; Grossman, S.; Meagher, S., Millon, C., Everly, G.: Personality Guided Therapy, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1999.

Millon, T.: Personality Disorders in Modern Life, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2004. includes the four types of bpd

Millon, T.; Grossman, S.: Moderating Severe Personality Disorders: A Personalized Psychotherapy Approach, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2007.

Millon, T.; Grossman, S.: Overcoming Resistant Personality Disorders: A Personalized Psychotherapy Approach, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

Piaget, J.: The Origins of Intelligence in Children, New York: International University Press, 1936, 1952.

Schwartz, R.: Internal Family Systems Therapy, London: Guilford Press, 1997.

A CPTSD Library:

Section One: Basic explanations & recovery activities

Section Two: More advanced

Section Three: Neurobiology

Section Four: BPD as an Upshot of CPTSD

Section Five: Critical Thinking

Section Six: Workbooks

Section Seven: Workbooks Specifically on Anger Processing