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The Power to Choose

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The Power to Choose:

One factor limiting former cult members from feeling a sense of control in their own lives is the feeling of insecurity when faced with making a decision. In many cult groups, decisions were influenced by cult theology or by an attempt to conform to the group. After leaving a cult, many former members notice the similarity in the appearance of members in the group they left behind, from clothing choices to brand favoritism, but fail to notice how much that influence remains part of their post-cult life. Though they are now free to make their own decisions, many of their choices are a result of cult influence.

Even though they are no longer under that influence, some former members find themselves seeking approval from others for decisions they make. After making those decisions, some former members seek approval from others for the choice they have already made. The effects of the group mindset prevent former members from feeling secure in their own decisions. As a result, these former members do not feel as though they are fully in control, and often find themselves suffering insecurity. Worse, some former members find themselves doing things they do not enjoy simply to avoid making a decision that might offend others.

Former members must learn to overcome this insecurity by being decisive as a daily routine. They must learn to support their own decisions, avoid seeking affirmation for choices they make, and learn to evaluate the effects of their decisions. They also must avoid partial decisions made by postponing or dodging. When asked to do something they do not like, former members should avoid saying things like "I can't" or "not right now" instead of making the person asking aware of their feelings. "I won't" or "I don't enjoy doing that" is empowering simply through ownership of the situation. Being in control of one's life means being in control of one's decisions and putting those decisions into action.