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The Mask of Cult Bondage

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The Mask of Cult Bondage:

The psychological effects of Group Dependency Disorder quickly become obvious after a cult member has escaped and has healed enough to recognize their dependency on their former group. As they transition into a healthy, self-empowered and self-motivated environment, the contrast is like night and day. There are other effects of cult life, however, that remain unrecognized. Many former members do not recognize the clinical and diagnostic issues, even though some of the effects are visibly noticeable.

According to the International Cultic Studies Association, members of these destructive groups develop Cult Indoctrine Syndrome. With sudden, drastic alterations of hierarchy and abandonment of past goals that did not happen naturally during the course of life, the effects were very disturbing. Clinical psychologist Miguel Perlado describes them as such:

Reduction of cognitive flexibility and adaptability - The victim answers questions mechanically, substituting stereotyped, cult-specific responses for what his own responses might have been.

Narrowing and blunting of affect - Spontaneous feelings of interpersonal affection or love are suppressed. The victim may appear emotionally flat and lifeless or almost frantically cheerful and ebullient.

Regression - The victim becomes childishly dependent on the cult leaders, and desires that they make decisions for him.

Physical changes - These often include weight loss, considerable deterioration in the victim's physical appearance, and a strange or mask-like facial expression, with a blank stare or darting, evasive eyes.

Psychopathological - In some cases, clear-cut psychopathological changes may appear, including dissociation, obsessional ruminations, delusional thinking, hallucinations, and various other psychiatric signs and symptoms.

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