Post-Cult After Effects

Discussion of cults generally - not specifically related to the SES or its related organisations.
See you in court
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Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:25 pm

Post-Cult After Effects

Postby See you in court » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:24 am

Post-Cult After Effects

Margaret Thaler Singer, Ph.D.



After exiting a cult, an individual may experience a period of intense and often conflicting emotions. She or he may feel relief to be out of the group, but also may feel grief over the loss of positive elements in the cult, such as friendships, a sense of belonging or the feeling of personal worth generated by the group's stated ideals or mission. The emotional upheaval of the period is often characterized by "post-cult trauma syndrome":

* spontaneous crying
* sense of loss
* depression & suicidal thoughts
* fear that not obeying the cult's wishes will result in God's wrath or loss of salvation
* alienation from family, friends
* sense of isolation, loneliness due to being surrounded by people who have no basis for understanding cult life
* fear of evil spirits taking over one's life outside the cult
* scrupulosity, excessive rigidity about rules of minor importance
* panic disproportionate to one's circumstances
* fear of going insane
* confusion about right and wrong
* sexual conflicts
* unwarranted guilt

The period of exiting from a cult is usually a traumatic experience and, like any great change in a person's life, involves passing through stages of accommodation to the change:

* Disbelief/denial: "This can't be happening. It couldn't have been that bad."
* Anger/hostility: "How could they/I be so wrong?" (hate feelings)
* Self-pity/depression: "Why me? I can't do this."
* Fear/bargaining: "I don't know if I can live without my group. Maybe I can still associate with it on a limited basis, if I do what they want."
* Reassessment: "Maybe I was wrong about the group's being so wonderful."
* Accommodation/acceptance: "I can move beyond this experience and choose new directions for my life" or...
* Reinvolvement: "I think I will rejoin the group."

Passing through these stages is seldom a smooth progression. It is fairly typical to bounce back and forth between different stages. Not everyone achieves the stage of accommodation / acceptance. Some return to cult life. But for those who do not, the following may be experienced for a period of several months:

* flashbacks to cult life
* simplistic black-white thinking
* sense of unreality
* suggestibility, ie. automatic obedience responses to trigger-terms of the cult's loaded language or to innocent suggestions
* disassociation (spacing out)
* feeling "out of it"
* "Stockholm Syndrome": knee-jerk impulses to defend the cult when it is criticized, even if the cult hurt the person
* difficulty concentrating
* incapacity to make decisions
* hostility reactions, either toward anyone who criticizes the cult or toward the cult itself
* mental confusion
* low self-esteem
* dread of running into a current cult-member by mistake
* loss of a sense of how to carry out simple tasks
* dread of being cursed or condemned by the cult
* hang-overs of habitual cult behaviors like chanting
* difficulty managing time
* trouble holding down a job

Most of these symptoms subside as the victim mainstreams into everyday routines of normal life. In a small number of cases, the symptoms continue.

* This information is a composite list from the following sources: "Coming Out of Cults", by Margaret Thaler Singer, Psychology Today, Jan. 1979, P. 75; "Destructive Cults, Mind Control and Psychological Coercion", Positive Action Portland, Oregon, and "Fact Sheet", Cult Hot-Line and Clinic, New York City.

ses-surviver
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Location: London

Re: Post-Cult After Effects

Postby ses-surviver » Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:26 pm

See you in court wrote:Most of these symptoms subside as the victim mainstreams into everyday routines of normal life. In a small number of cases, the symptoms continue.

hmm - lots of reconizeable stuff there .. and 20 years later some of those symptoms persist :(

daska
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Location: UK

Re: Post-Cult After Effects

Postby daska » Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:34 am

I currently employ an ex-nun (Catholic variety). She's still a committed Catholic but exhibits every single one of the characteristics listed above

so in what way is a cult different from a religion?

or should that be: in what way is a religion not a cult?

bluegreen
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Re: Post-Cult After Effects

Postby bluegreen » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:38 am

I've often thought that acceptable religions are just massive cults. I don't see much difference. It's just that smaller groups that follow powerful men who tell them what to do, claiming to speak for some deity and exclude others who don't follow the same path, are called cults. Bigger ones are called religions.
St James Girls School 1977-1981

Daffy
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Re: Post-Cult After Effects

Postby Daffy » Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:42 pm

Well said, bluegreen. In particular I've always thought that the Catholic church was more cultish than most major religions because of its belief in Papal Infallibility. There's really not a lot of difference between Papal Infallibility and the reverence in which Leon McLaren was held.

I wonder if anyone has ever done a comparison of the hierarchy and command structure of the Catholic Church with that of the mafia? You've got a Godfather (the Pope), his capos (the Cardinals), the soldiers (priests) and then the masses who pay protection money (donations).

bluegreen wrote:I've often thought that acceptable religions are just massive cults. I don't see much difference. It's just that smaller groups that follow powerful men who tell them what to do, claiming to speak for some deity and exclude others who don't follow the same path, are called cults. Bigger ones are called religions.

daska
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Re: Post-Cult After Effects

Postby daska » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:07 pm

the only difference is that religion is the socially acceptable side of the coin

bluegreen
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Re: Post-Cult After Effects

Postby bluegreen » Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:26 am

yes and only because enough people joined the cult. More recently the mormons were considered a cult but have now grown big enough to be considered one of the main american religions. And with it have earned respect and yet more members. Back in the days when the now respected christian sects including catholics were increasing their numbers at a fast rate, they were threatening, killing, burning at the stake, torturing etc making converts through crusades, spanish inquisition and so on. That's how they reached large enough numbers to get an acceptable status.
St James Girls School 1977-1981

bluegreen
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Re: Post-Cult After Effects

Postby bluegreen » Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:48 am

If you look at it this way, most humans are naturally drawn towards one cult or another. And those seekers who end up having their lives controlled by a small time cult leader were no different to those being told what to do by the Pope and his version of the bible. it's just that most catholics are indoctrinated from birth and therefore went into it blindly. And those adults drawn into a smaller cult were not told the full story about how it works and so go blindly into it too. Many catholics and cult members will say they are happy with it. And good luck to them. And some end up finding they've waisted a large chunk of their lives, following something that is unlikely to be true.
Many of the catholic rules have been made up by popes in the last few hundred years. Just a man interpreting something from some text or voice in his head and putting his own spin on it. Sounds a bit like Leon McC interpreting the recordings from the shankarasharya (was it?) and then a whole lot of people following it in their daily lives. (e.g. like get up when you wake up)
Anyone who exhibits shock that ex-SES members have been foolish enough to do this, should express more amazement about all religious people running their lives according to what some man or some book written by men (from a bronze age understanding of the planet) says.
Sexism in this country has become less strong as the religions have weakened. All of them have a male god and are seriously sexist. SES is no different in that really either.
St James Girls School 1977-1981

See you in court
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Re: Post-Cult After Effects

Postby See you in court » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:37 am

Daska and Bluegreen,

This is an interesting discussion. In my view there appear to be important differences between the SES cult and organized religion.

Firstly, most religions declare they are religions from the outset. But SES claims it is a school. This would imply the learning of skills in a somewhat objective manner and eventual graduation, rather than slow-burn indoctrination and eventual thought control. Another difference is that SES actively denies it is a religion whereas religions do not deny they are religions. Many members of SES quite smugly look down on religion, as if they are in a position to say it is religion that is misguided and morally dubious.

The underhand nature of SES recruitment involves yet more lying and psychological manipulation. This is rather different to religious practice. Religions may lie, and religion has caused immense suffering in the world as well as good, but religions tend to be honest about recruitment and tend to declare their aims openly. Most religions allow a degree of choice about how involved or detached one becomes.

Also, you could go to Sunday Mass for 1 hour a week and say you are religious. But SES demands much more than that: half an hour of meditation at dawn and dusk (that is 7 hours a week) plus 3 meetings a week (roughly another 7 hours including travel) plus homework, plus 'study days', plus mentally and physically exhausting weekend-long and week-long residentials in isolation from the outside world. These are the time demands of a second job, averaging about 2 working days of your life each week in a full year. Isn't that amount of time usually for rest, recreation and family? And psychological and physical recuperation?

In fact, SES is much more like a duplicitous and controlling religious order within a religion, rather than mass religion per se. The difference is that most religious orders declare they are removed from society and do not pretend anything else. Members of orders of monks and nuns usually choose not to have jobs or children and they sign up to dietary control and codes of behaviour and attire because they are well aware of the isolation they are getting into. In SES, the members have lives and jobs and spouses - and vulnerable children. Hence the existence of this forum. Note the recent additions of 'Free' and 'Jo-Anne Morgan', on an Indian man warning about the danger of Indian teachings that were never meant to be applied to society at large: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=724

There are plenty more differences to add to the list... I'll leave it open to the forum to add more of them on this thread.

Tootsie
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Re: Post-Cult After Effects

Postby Tootsie » Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:44 pm

The point that should be made about the SES is that it is not a prison. Okay maybe with some people it is a mental prison but whose fault is that? The door is always open and you can simply walk away from all the Indian teaching, meditation etc, as I did. The only problem as I see it is the children, they do not have the choice to leave if they wish, because of their parents staying in school. They say we pick our parents before we are born so we can work off some karma, if this is true why pick SES parents?

daska
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Re: Post-Cult After Effects

Postby daska » Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:06 pm

Tootsie wrote:They say we pick our parents before we are born so we can work off some karma, if this is true why pick SES parents?


"They" who?

In this scenario, blaming Karma is just finding an excuse to do anything you like on the basis that the victim rather than the perpetrator is responsible for what happens.

Do you really believe that the teachers had every right to beat up kids for the simple reason that the teacher chose to believe that the kids chose parents just so that they'd be sent to a school where the teachers would beat them up?

What happened to taking responsibility for your own actions?

Tootsie
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Re: Post-Cult After Effects

Postby Tootsie » Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:59 pm

Daska if any teachers beat up kids whether they are in the SES or any other school I believe they should be brought to book for their actions. That is what the law is for, but it must be proved in a court of law. I myself would be happy to donate $1000 towards any case that is mounted and I'm sure others would contribute to cover expenses. Look at the Catholic Church with the power they had over innocent children and the cover-ups. Many of their priests are now behind bars and the church had to pay out millions of dollars.Taking responsibility for your own actions means putting these people in the dock, from my experience in life nobody likes admitting they are wrong. Its no good saying the SES is too powerful and they have the best lawyers etc, the Catholic Church also is powerful and have good lawyers but the truth eventually came out because they were taken to court. Its as simple as that.

daska
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Re: Post-Cult After Effects

Postby daska » Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:34 pm

If a person really takes responsibility for their own actions they wouldn't require their victim to make the effort to take them to court.

Tootsie
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Re: Post-Cult After Effects

Postby Tootsie » Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:05 am

Always think of John Lennon's beautiful song Imagine. No heaven or hell, a world without religion (or SES) living life in peace. Imagine if this world really did live in peace. WOW!


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