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Overcoming Indoctrination

Seek The Truth Blog

Overcoming Indoctrination:

One of the most challenging problems that former members face comes from within. Unaware they were being manipulated into an ideology that they may not have otherwise chosen to accept, their minds were filled with code words, catch phrases, understandings, opinions, and beliefs that did not originate from normal processing of information. During indoctrination, each new piece of information was filed into memory with associated thoughts. These attachments to cult information include past experience, emotion, personal preference, and personal opinion. As new personal memories form around cult memories, the brain is wired with connections between them all, and former members have difficulty distinguishing between what they "own" and what they want to remove after leaving; cult information stored in memory has many personal attributes.

At the same time, many of the ideologies indoctrinated were sound, and aligned with the views of the individual being programmed. For this reason, former members face confusion as current members attempt to forcibly "persuade" them back into the cult using sound doctrine. "Do you not believe that we should help the poor?" a current member might ask, whose cult included the sound doctrine of helping others. "Or are you trying to avoid giving to the poor?" During the early stages of escape, former members struggle to logically examine the scenario, understanding that "giving to the poor" was not exclusive to the cult, and that they can still "give to the poor" after leaving.

Had they not come in contact with the ideology while being manipulated by the cult, they may have accepted the ideology from another source. Because it came from the cult, however, the first instinct of former members is to reject the ideology that was indoctrinated. Each ideology indoctrinated bears the unpleasant attached memories associated with escape from the cult. Former members must re-accept them by free will rather than manipulation.