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Letting Go

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Letting Go:

The most difficult part of counseling former members of a cult is helping them understand that the final step to freedom is letting go. There is no easy way to tell people that many of their friends and family may never reconcile, or that the positive aspects of their former life were surrounded by very unhealthy, destructive circumstances. Even if those connections were reestablished, without fully submitting to the influence and control of the cult, they will never feel the same; the cult was the "rope" that tied aspects of their former life together. Relationships, whether friendships or family, are of secondary importance in a destructive cult. The cult was the primary tie that bound.

When a member of a cult leaves, that "rope" is broken. Unless other bonds had formed, and those bonds had become stronger than their ties to the cult, separation will occur. In cases where the entire family are members of the cult, family ties are typically not as strong as cult ties. Former members of destructive cults must be reassured that life will continue after they decide to no longer cling to broken ends of the rope. They must also understand that as time goes on, and their new life grows more distant from cult life, they can no longer hold both ends of the rope without mentally being torn in two. Past life further behind them and new life further ahead of them, they will be caught in the divide.

The best reassurance is to connect these former members with other former members who have moved on and are no longer "clinging to the rope". Seeing life continue after letting go, even those who have been and may still be suffering from the effects of the cult, creates hope. Knowing that there are others who have walked a mile in their shoes, suffered the same ill effects, and have adjusted is like therapy to those about to make their journey. Former members are reassured that they are not only letting go of their past, they are letting go of their pressure.