The Journey Out
We have all gone through the same experience to some degree or another. We were members of the WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD at one time, and have all left the organization in one method or another.
Whatever our story, we all have been injured in by an abusive system of control and power. That system is called a cult. We may not know what a cult is, but after we read a few books and compare our stories to the stories of others, we will find many common denominators.
We (as people that have been out of the WWCg for awhile) are not professional counselors, but some of us have been involved with various kinds of therapy groups and support groups. We have been through the cult experience, so we have some things to offer that professional counselors will not have. Namely, we have walked the walk. We can help each other.
There are tools to help us to become whole persons again.
No matter how we exit, disfellowshipment being the most traumatic, to walking after getting your critical thinking back, (probably) being the least traumatic, there is always a personality crisis. There is always trauma upon exiting a cult.
On coming into a cult, the personality splits or "doubles" as Dr. Lifton says, and then while IN the cult, the true personality goes on "hold", then upon exiting, the old pre-cult personality emerges, and therefore, you have three things to integrate: The pre cult personality, the in cult personality, and the post cult personality. You will never be the pre cult self again. WWCG did happen. You are not the WWCG person you were.
You are now a conglomerate of the three. However, they are somewhat incompatible, therefore you have mental stress and confusion. Welcome to the club. You are normal. You are suffering from the normal reactions to a very abusive abnormal situation put upon you. It is not you that not o.k., it is the cult experience that is not o.k.
Integration comes if you like it or not. It causes much confusion and mental pain. Therefore, you are very vulnerable to going back into the cult, or entering another controlling cult. My advice to you, is to stay still. Rest, read and recuperate.
You can make a deal with God (if you still have any faith, because many lose God for a season after coming out of a religious cult, because they mix God with the cult in their minds. You must realize and remember that men did this to you, God did not) to take a break from Sabbath and bible study. Research cult mind control instead for awhile. God will understand, (even if Herbie wouldn't have).
Some of us cannot read after the cult experience. Some of us cannot listen to tapes. That is a result of the mind control. It is o.k. It will go away in time. It will make your recovery more difficult, however. Then you might have to resort to telephone calls and letters. Whatever it takes to recover. Recovery has been estimated to take 9 to 10 years. However, in getting the correct information regarding cults and religious cults specifically, and the true history on the WWCG, it will shorten up your recovery a great deal. Time can be saved by using the list of resources and contacting the organizations, now wonderfully available on the internet and at your public library.
There is no way to avoid dealing with the post cult experience. No matter how painful it is, it must be gone through. If one tries to go around it or over or under it, by denying the pain, the pain will come back. One needs to research what has been done to him/herself, and face the reality of mind control. This is a process, just as mind control is a process, and both take time. It is essential that one allows oneself the time to heal, and recover. Everyone heals in a different time frame. There is a grief process to go through, and anger process, and you will have anxiety, depression, confusion, problems with decision making, and trouble knowing what is real. Your reality was altered in the cult.
You are suffering from the same kinds of after effects as those suffered by the battered woman, the incested child, the rape victim. Because mind control is done by people that the victim has grown to trust, (as opposed to brainwashing being done by someone the victim knew from the beginning was an enemy) as victims coming out of the cult, we have the same feelings of betrayal.
Modern day psychologists are just beginning to admit the presence of mind control and cults in our society, and they are by in large, not trained to deal with the post cult victim. There are some exceptions, but generally a psychologist will regress you in beginning therapy, and therein lies their first mistake. (DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE REGRESSED IN THERAPY) Your cult problems are from your beginning in the cult, not your childhood. Yes, you may have had a dysfunctional childhood that set you up for the cult experience, but the cult experience itself must be focused upon and dealt with first, before you regress to deal with your childhood. Both experiences may come upon you after the cult experience, and have to be dealt with at the same time, however.
You were regressed to the child ego state in the cult. That is why many people run to many conventional therapists and get little to no help, but get more scrambled up. The therapist does what he knows best, and in the cult victim, it does not work like it should. We must deal with the adult issue of cult mind control and victimization as an adult in the cult setting. It cannot be minimized by someone who does not understand it or does not admit it even exists.
** The book on the SUBTLE POWER OF SPIRITUAL ABUSE will help you see where and how you were abused. It does not mention any organization by name, and is not geared specifically to any group.
The book INFLUENCE is a good book to read about psychological influence in general. It is very interesting and simple reading. You will find yourself relating to it.
LIFTON'S BOOK and STEVEN HASSEN'S will tell you all you need to know about MIND CONTROL.
There are tapes regarding the WWCG available through the WATCHMAN FELLOWSHIP. These tapes have been done by persons that left the WWCG, or by WF members, after careful study of the WWCG. You will find them very helpful, and enlightening.
No WWCG study will be complete without the RENEHAN book, and the back issues of the AMBASSADOR REPORT. The AR has been very maligned, but read it for yourself and see what you think, and realize that all that is written is backed up by hard documentation.
(The PAINFUL TRUTH WEBSITE IS A WONDERFUL DEPROGRAMMING AND VALIDATING PLACE FOR THE WALKING WOUNDED OF THE WWCg cult to come to. Many stories and help. I didn't have this wonderful resource, when I needed help.)
These books, and the rest of the list are powerful books that will help you to discover where you have been and help you to come back. It is a hard journey, but well worth it. The alternative is to live in a false reality. Good luck on your journey.
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