Message Cult Mind Control - The Emotional Roller Coaster:
When people first contact me after having just made their decision to leave the "Message" mind control cult following of William Branham, they have entered into an emotional state of fortitude. They know what they are leaving, know what they are facing, and have convinced themselves that they are ready -- come what may. But while they have prepared themselves, mentally, for the opposition that will come from other people, very few have prepared for what will come internally. My first statement to them is, "So glad you are free! Welcome to the emotional roller coaster!"
As one leaves the "Message," one is leaving behind much more than simply the "friends" and family who will sever them from fellowship. Having been under the undue influence of mind control for several years, and empowered a cult identity within them to suppress the authentic self, two separate personalities have been internally at war. Unaware to the escapee, one of these identities has just been found guilty and sentenced to death. The cult mindset will no longer exist.
As the cult mindset is removed through a very painful process, the cult escapee enter the five stages of grief, each person experiencing them in a different order. In the next several months, ex-cult members will face denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance, with a flood of emotions surrounding each of the stages. Some of this comes from the family members who will no longer accept or acknowledge the ex-cult member, but mostly the pain comes from inside. Like a widowed spouse who is grieving over her husband, ex-cult members will face grief over their cult identity that is slowly dying and will eventually cease to exist.
But in many ways, this grief is much more severe than a widow's pain. Cult members under mind control have already been accustomed to emotional highs and lows, insomuch that the authentic self has been programmed to ignore them. The cult identity has been programmed to expect the constant bounce between extreme happiness for the cult's "truth" and the crushing weight of extreme guilt, fear, and shame. Over time, the authentic self tries to ignore this continual adjustment, and becomes numb to the pain.
"Life in a cult can be like a roller-coaster. Members swing between the extreme happiness of experiencing the "truth" with an insider elite, and the crushing weight of guilt, fear and shame. Problems are always due to their inadequacies, not the group's issues. They perpetually feel guilty for failing to meet objectives or not conforming to standards. If they raise objections, members are likely to get the "silent treatment" or be transferred to another part of the group. These extremes take a heavy toll on a person's ability to function. When members are in a high state, they can convert their zeal into great productivity and persuasiveness. But when they crash, they can become completely dysfunctional."
- Steven Hassan. Combating Cult Mind Control
But as the cult identity fades away and the authentic self regains control, the ex-cult member suddenly finds themselves struggling with the realization that these emotional highs and lows exist. While deprogramming, they will experience the emotional pressure from friends and family at the same time they experience the emotional highs and lows they had trained themselves to ignore. Combine this with the five stages of grief for the dying cult identity, and you have a nasty concoction aggravating inward pain.
Though this process can seem overwhelming to the new ex-cult member, it is a process that results in freedom like they have never experienced. The road to that freedom is painful and requires a great deal of effort in research, mental exercise, adjustment, and prayer and/or meditation. Like medication for a deadly disease, the cure can feel as painful as the disease. But when the disease has been forcibly removed, the cure doesn't seem that bad at all.
Stay tuned for more!
Combating Cult Mind Control (Second Edition): http://amzn.to/1NCnN45
Profile of "The Message" on Freedom Of Mind Resource Center: https://freedomofmind.com/Info/infoDet.php?id=883&title=The_Message