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Healing Programed Responses

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Healing Programed Responses:

The road to recovery for former cult members is extremely challenging. After having spent years, often decades as a member of a collective mindset, unplugging from the collective is as painful as removing an appendage. Recurring cult themes, programmed into their minds through repetition, continue to invade their thoughts. Like sensations sent through severed nerves for an amputee, these thoughts cause former cult members relive the negative emotions they experienced while in the cult and during their painful exit. These painful sensations continue for several months, growing both in severity and frequency. Some begin to fear they are losing control of their mind.

As these painful sensations intensify, former cult members try unsuccessfully to suppress them. Unfortunately, the sensations continue to surface. Specific subject matter during sermons in a new church, words or phrases in casual conversation, and other situations seem to resurrect harsh memories. These are known as "triggers". As these triggers become more painful, the former cult member becomes very irritated or angry. They feel helpless against reliving painful experience, and agitated with people or situations that trigger negative emotion.

Just as these "triggers" were associated to cult memories through repetition, they can be removed through repetition. One-by-one, these "triggers" must be re-associated with fond memories or favorable thoughts. By repeatedly focusing upon the same thought during a "trigger," the words, phrases, or situation that triggered the emotion will eventually become bound to the new memory or thought. Gradually over time, the trigger will decrease in intensity until it is no longer painful. Memory of the cult's programmed response will remain, but the former cult member will no longer be flooded with negative emotion as it happens. Once in control of their "triggers", they quickly begin to accelerate on the road to recovery.