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Abrupt Transition

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Abrupt Transition:

Most former members who have successfully rebuilt their lives after having been raised in a cult will tell you that there is no smooth transition. It is one filled with many abrupt and unexpected events, all of which are filled with intense emotion. Many mistakes are made as former members respond to each situation. The contrast between cult and non-cult life is a mental tug-of-war, each side pulling on the mind of the escapee. Breaking free is exhausting as both sides compete in the mental arena.

During this transition, many members cannot prevent being expressive about their struggle. At home, in the workplace, and even in stores and restaurants, former members try to contain their composure only to find themselves experiencing physical, emotional, and verbal outbursts. Like a release valve allowing steam to escape from a boiler under intense pressure, former members must find a way to allow their pressure to escape. Unfortunately, many of them cannot control the timing of the release, causing disruptions that affect their lifestyle and well being.

In early stages of this phase, former members struggle to think through cause and effect. A verbal outburst in the workplace might gain temporary sympathy from coworkers in the short term, but may create career obstacles long term. These outbursts are unusual for any environment, and will be long remembered by those involved. Just as the traumatic journey out of the cult will shape the character and personality of a former member, outbursts will shape the perception of a former member by their peers. There is one critical difference, however: perception is only shaped by the outbursts, and the majority of peers will never understand the life-changing events that led to acting out. While there are many positive changes taking place, these peers are only witnessing the negative. Former members must learn how to share the positive changes, while learning to control the negative ones.