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The Emotional Identity Bond

Seek The Truth Blog

The Emotional Identity Bond:

During the first several months after they awaken, many former cult members are unwilling to consider the leader of their cult to have been purposefully manipulating members. The stereotypical personality of a cult leader is that of a charismatic and likeable person who presents himself or herself as humble and caring. Unaware of the hidden agendas and clandestine strategies that lifted the cult leader into power, they have become very familiar with the identity that the leader wanted them to see while completely unaware of the darker side.

For the entire duration of their time in the cult, the former member had formed a bond with the cult leader. Much deeper than an emotional bond, they had formed an identity bond. Religious cult members, having been trained to conform to the cult leader's behaviors and convictions, integrate the leader's identity into their worship. Over time, as they are influenced to view the attributes of that identity as more perfect than their own, a bond forms. As the cult member's individual identity shifts to match the group, they become emotionally attached to the leader's personality.

Breaking this bond is a very emotional experience. It is more comfortable to simply disconnect from a cult than it is to mentally process the identity they had assumed. To avoid the emotional pain of examining the true nature of the cult leader, many former members chose to view their former leader by the identity he presented.

This presents a significant roadblock in the healing process. By remembering the leader's identity with such high regards, former members continue to view the cult leader as he or she persuaded them. The identity they assumed remains intact, even respected. They remain indirectly connected to the cult through the identity bond. To overcome the emotional struggles with disconnecting, former cult members must realize that the identity they assumed was created in the mind of their former leader, and in most cases, not the true personality.