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Thicker Than Blood

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Thicker Than Blood:

Of all ties that remain after leaving a cult, it is by far the most difficult to let go of those that involve family. In cases where only one member of a cult family leaves, relationships between cult and non-cult family members will never be the same. No matter how much the former member wishes to return to the way things were, if the family had placed greater value on the cult than they did the escaping member, relationships will continue to deteriorate. In cases where the family values each other over the cult, former members never feel the need to let go; their relationship is as strong as ever. But when families value the central figure or cult doctrine more, former members sense the dying relationship long before it ends. They fight to preserve a healthy relationship that sadly never existed. Unfortunately, in most cases where the former cult member is fighting not to let go of family ties, it is because they already know the outcome.

Letting go, in this case, is not simply disconnecting with family who do not value relationship. Families who value the relationship over the cult, though in disagreement, support and respect the former member. Families who value the cult over the relationship, however, are often condescending or aggressive. Each time the former member attempts to connect, it results in further aggression.

Former cult members must understand the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy relationship. It is very easy to recognize a family member who is supportive and respectful, because even in disagreement, both sides benefit from a healthy relationship. It is difficult, however, to recognize an unhealthy one; both parties see the relationship as what they want it to be, and not what it actually is. As it deteriorates, both sides are fighting to create their view of the perfect relationship rather than preserve the one that exists. Moving on, in this case, is recognizing that the cult was thicker than blood.