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An Unnatural Bond

12/20/2017
Seek The Truth Blog

An Unnatural Bond:

Children born to parents who have surrendered to cult influence are at risk for suffering developmental problems. Because the cult's hierarchical structure is portrayed as a family unit with the central figure as an absolute authority, parents become "middle management" instead of primary. In worst cases, children of destructive cults suffer abuse or neglect, but in all cases, the attention given to children is much different than non-cult families. Parents are continually focused upon the leader, and that focus is expressed frequently in casual conversation.

In 1984, Dr. David Halperin and MSW Arnold Markowitz examined the vulnerability and abuse of children in destructive cults. The results of their study describe the long-term effects that cults have on children due to the unpredictability and improper focus for authority. Since most adults in cults live in a state of unpredictable confusion for fear of "accidental sin", "shunning", doomsday or other events or punishments in cult theology, children do not properly develop a sense of safety and security. As a result, cult children develop issues with insecurity, immaturity, learning disabilities, dissociative problems and more. In some cases, children born and raised in destructive cults do not form natural bonds with their parents. With limited or distracted attention hindering natural affection, cult children suffer symptoms of emotional neglect or isolation.

After leaving these groups, children who were raised in cults find it difficult to understand their family's identity. Especially in cases where their parents remain in the cult, these former members feel as though their families are dysfunctional or broken. It is difficult for them to understand that the central figure was an integral part of their family unit, and without the cult as part of their lives, the family structure has been altered. A new family identity must be established, but only after new bonds have formed.