Friday, December 11, 2020

40 Cult Intervention Questions for those past Total Denial but not yet at Acceptance

Consider first that the active cult member who is still locked in the first of the five stages of therapeutic recovery -- or the first five of the levels on any Cultic Pyramid -- is highly unlikely to be willing to submit to such an "examination." In my considerable experience around cults of numerous different types and the members and former members thereof, one has to be in the second of the five stages of recovery and the sixth or seventh of the Pyramid levels to be an appropriate candidate for use of these. But for such people, honest answers can be counted upon to help move them to the third of five stages of recovery, as well as OUT of the cult.

1. Am or was I unhappy with my life as it was?

2. Was I depressed or anxious about things I couldn’t understand, control or overcome?

3. Have I been looking for “The Answer” for more than a year?

4. Did the leader of the group and others in it seem to have “The Answer?”

5. Did I feel “high” or elated or “clear” or incredibly focused & energetic once I knew “The Answer?”

6. Was my mind “consumed” with “certainty” and thoughts about “the way things ‘really’ are?”

7. Did I feel like was finally “in control of my destiny?”

8. Did I feel like I knew what to do in every situation?

9. Did I want to talk, act and be just like the leader or those near him or her?

10. Did I want to tell everyone I knew about my new experience?

11. Was I often reciting the “wonderful doctrines” to others outside the group?

12. Was I willing to pay for more seminars, classes and study materials sold by the group?

13. Was I willing to tithe 10 percent or more of my income to the group?

14. Was I excited about performing with others in the group on stage?

15. Did I want to be the seminar leader or trainer or worship leader?

16. Was I spending more and more of my free time volunteering in some way to “help carry the message?”

17. Was I spending so much time volunteering that I was losing sleep, neglecting my family, taking less care of things outside the group and becoming irritable toward others?

18. Did I become willing to be criticized – sometimes harshly and in front of others – to move “up” in the group?

19. Did I become willing to take group work home and do it on my own time?

20. Did I become willing to take group work to my job and do it on my boss’s time?

21. Did I start to feel worn out – even “burned out” – and constantly fatigued?

22. Was I getting colds more often, but still feeling like I had to “suit up and show up?”

23. Was I staying home from my job to “rest up,” but suiting up and showing up for the group?

24. Did I find myself willing to criticize others “below my level” – sometimes harshly and in front of others – to earn the respect of those above me to move “up” in the group?

25. Did my boss warn me about my lagging performance or conduct at my job?

26. Was I “getting so much” out of what I was doing with the group that I had moments when I didn’t care if I lost my job?

27. Was a big part of “getting so much” all the sex and romance I was into with other members of the group?

28. Was I involved in a sexual or romantic relationship with a married partner… or while I was married?

29. Did I finally lose my job?

30. Did the group help me get a new one working with other group members?

31. Was I encouraged to or have to move in with other group members?

32. Did I borrow a lot of money from the group or senior members of it to survive?

33. Was I encouraged to see my family as “sick” or a “dangerous influence?”

34. Was I encouraged to break contact with my family?

35. Did I start to feel confused and “lost” in the group?

36. Did I start to think about getting out but wonder how, now that I was so deeply involved and dependent upon the group?

37. Was I disturbed over my conflicts about what I was told vs. what I saw in the others around me?

38. Was I losing sleep over my conflicts about what I was told vs. what I saw in the others around me?

39. Did I start to cry or have a breakdown?”

40. Did I come to a decision to get out but find myself thinking, “There’s really no way, is there?”

Intervention Questions are very common technique used in the worlds of both substance abuse and behavioral addiction (e.g.: gambling, workaholism, sex, love, Internet, etc.). Coming from a decade plus working in professional addiction treatment, and later over two decades in psychotherapy for all manner of traumatic experience resulting in Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it is as plain as the nose on my face that cult dynamics are -- to a considerable extent -- addiction dynamics. And that various well-proven components of addiction treatment can and should be employed to finesse recovery from cultic abuse including Religious Trauma Syndrome.

1 comment:

  1. Raj, hi my name's Nik. I'm a podcaster and a journalist, I'm researching for a series about cults and cult-like groups, and I was looking for someone that has been in and out of a cult-like group more than once. Would you be willing to interview? I'm really struck by these 40 questions, and another post I read where you were comparing your experience to Teah Banks and Mark Vicente. I'm still learning about this whole world and I think your perspective and story could be valuable and illuminating. Please do email me if you're interested, I'm happy to answer any questions or concerns!