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Stages of Healing

Seek The Truth Blog

Stages of Healing:

The absence of the cult identity is so traumatic for some former members that instinctive responses for grief and loss are triggered. It is both painful and necessary, especially without a support group.

Like all traumatic loss experiences, removal of the cult identity initially starts with the "denial stage". The change is overwhelming, so to help the body survive the loss, the mind rejects the situation. By this time former members are aware that they were manipulated to accept cult doctrine. But they deny the extent in which they were influenced, unwilling to believe the central figure would purposefully destroy their free will.

After denial, many become violently angry at the cult and those who directly manipulated them. This is typically when former cult members begin to think, "why me" or "life is not fair" as they reflect on how much of life they missed out on because of cult devotion or doctrine.

At some point, former members enter the stage of "bargaining". They reach out to others to tell their story, either trying to help free those trapped in the cult or to bond with others who were always skeptical of the group. They struggle to find meaning with their life, having forfeited so much of their individual freedoms.

Also at some point, former members enter depression. Some dive deep into depression, overwhelmed by the thoughts of being manipulated for so long. Many feel helpless to fight the long-lasting effects from the cult. Some are able to bounce back, but medication is required for others to overcome.

It isn't until members reach the final stage of "acceptance" that they understand the importance of this process. They make new plans, some of them major changes in life. Ready to move on, they explore new ideas and have new experiences. At this point, the "stages of grief" are suddenly seen as the "stages of healing".