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The Shadow of Something Greater

Seek The Truth Blog

The Shadow of Something Greater:

Leaving a religious cult can be the single most difficult experience of a lifetime. Years of devotion to a belief system are slowly and painfully removed, like investments in a sinking ship. As the ship is going down, and one realizes that their time, energy, and mental fortification is at risk, instinct overcomes judgement to try and salvage lost cause. Every fundamental doctrine is at risk. Many political views are placed into question. Relationships, both friends and family, become unstable. More often than not, the cult member who has awakened has also realized that lifelong friends or close family will sever ties for their unbelief in the cult, causing severe anguish. This anguish is amplified by the fact that when most cult members are awakened, it is not by their own desire.

It takes years, even decades for former cult members to realize that their investment was not entirely lost. As their destructive core belief system is gradually replaced with healthy, more satisfying alternatives, and brittle and unstable relationships are replaced with long-lasting friendship, they see little value in what they have abandoned. By evaluating each component of their former life as a single replacement, former cult members find it difficult to reflect on how those components or experiences helped form their identity after leaving. When new experiences bring back old memories, and the former cult member has finally allowed themselves to view those memories without anger or regret, they begin to see the value. Their former life, once bound with cult-centered oppression and overbearing control, was a shadow of the person they have now become.