Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Leaving the Cult may NOT go well if one is NOT adequately Prepared

Cultic Addiction Switching, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Developmental Stunting & Self-Harm are Possibilities

Though some will be, MOST cult exitors will not be chased around by The True Believers trying to “save them from their big mistake.” The bigger issue effective and complete withdrawal (see not-moses’s reply to the OP on that thread) from the cultic addiction, very much including the desperate, disorganized attachment to others one has (supposedly) become close to, as well as the dire need to be a part of “something bigger.”

But “something bigger” includes more than the “sense” of community. It includes the upshots of a conditioned, in-doctrine-ated, instructed, imprintedsocialized, habituated, and normalized need to dodge the untreated psychological upshots of having been similarly conditioned etc. to a lingering state of Learned Helplessness, Dread & the Victim Identity. Left unrecognized, unacknowledged, unappreciated and unattended, that nasty combo will very often fuel a compulsion to find a new cultic involvement to provide the same addictive “fix” that kept one locked into the cultic addiction cycle in the previous cult.

The new cult may look, sound, taste, smell and feel entirely different from the old one. (Christianity-loathing former evangelicals, fundamentalists and/or charismatics may be intensely attracted to “new age,” human potential, political cause or even multi-level marketing cults. I’ve seen this a lot.) But the "hole" it fills (temporarily) is the same unless or until the exitor deals with that.

Beyond all that, there’s a particular matter one has to deal with if one has left a cult in which “moral purity” is a major coercive component. (Which would include virtually all of the fundamentalist Christian, Jewish, Islamic and other Abrahamic churches, as well as many Hindu and Buddhist cults.) Many exitors become so disgusted with the relentless “moral blackmail” heaped on them to induce Sin, Shame and Guilt that they rebound psychologically into brief, lingering or even permanent – and very costly -- moral depravity (much as I did in my 20s and 30s). The sudden release from the extreme “moral confinement” of the cult has lead many exitors into all manner of self-destructive behaviors including wanton alcoholism, hard drug abuse, hardcore ritualistic satanism, hate-fueled & revenge-bent career prostitution, sexual perversions (e.g. with pre-teen and small children; I have seen a LOT of that), risk addictions, etc.

The Abrahamic and other “social organizing” religions do serve a purpose, even if that purpose is so often contaminated and corrupted: They confer what Lawrence Kohlberg called the first of the three stages of moral development. But they tend to slow development of the second, and block access altogether the third of those stages, largely because deeply instructed belief does not allow the mind to see, hear, feel or sense what is perceived adequately to ever reach the higher stages.

In whatever event, understanding, appreciating and attending to what I have described above appears in my experience to be a requirement for successful, long-lasting, comfortable and trouble-free emergence from Religious & Cultic Trauma Syndrome.

References & Resources

How & Why People Leave One Cult — and End Up in Another

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

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

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

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

Choiceless Awareness for Emotion Processing and pretty much everything else

CA4EP and the 10 StEPs for Emotional Blackmail

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

A Basic Cult Library

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