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A Whole New World

Seek The Truth Blog

A Whole New World:

Former members who were born and raised in cults often describe the contrast post-cult as a "different world". Unable to adequately describe what cult life was like to others, they often use examples of being transplanted in another culture or country when they left the group. Former members who joined much later in life experience contrast as well, but not nearly as extreme. Their world views were established prior to joining, and a large portion of their frame of reference is still intact.

Parents of children in cult groups who focus on "doomsday" or "sudden escape" belief systems have a strong emotional bond with the central figure, and that bond requires a great deal of mental exercise to maintain. While non-cult children in healthy families receive a great deal of attention and energy from their parents, children raised in a cult are often neglected. Though cult parents may try, a large portion of their mental energy is focused upon the cult and its leader. Worse, it is focused upon the "coming event" more than the child. Parents of these groups feel the attention can be postponed for the "other side".

This lost attention is critical to childhood development. Their sense of internal stability, which helps form their worldview, is robbed by the cult leader. The overwhelming stress of this treatment can have severe consequences on developmental skills. Early relational trauma has a significant impact on development, and is amplified by the prolonged duration. Later in life, this results in hypersensitivity to stress, resulting in a fight, flight, or freeze response. It is sometimes difficult for these former members to think their way out of complex problems.

To overcome, these escapees must fully re-evaluate life. Support networks, therapy, and education on cults help accelerate healing. In small steps, they must set goals, discover personal strengths, and experience the positive reinforcement missed during childhood.