Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Cults and their affect on the psyche
There is no specific "type" of person who joins cults. About 1/3 appear to have had mild psychiatric disorders before joining. Informal surveys and clinical experiences indicate that a large majority of cult joiners were under significant stress. These individuals were more open than usual to the recruiters because their normal ways of coping were not working well for them. When persons are vulnerable a group which practices mind control, conversion may very well occur. It is especially likely if the group's doctrine, social environment and mind practices match the recruit's vulnerabilities. Having these factors may allow some more susceptible to the cult's influence than others. DEPENDENCY (The desire to belong Lack of self-confidence) UNASSERTIVENESS (Inability to say no or express criticism or doubt) GULLIBILITY (Impaired capacity to question critically what one is told, observes, thinks, etc.) LOW TOLERANCE FOR AMBIGUITY (Need for absolute answers Impatient to obtain answers) CULTURAL DISILLUSIONMENT (Alienation Dissatisfaction with the status quo) NAIVE IDEALISM DESIRE FOR SPIRITUAL MEANING SUSCEPTIBILITY TO TRANCE-LIKE STATES (In some cases,perhaps, because of prior hallucinations due to drug experience) AND IGNORANCE OF THE WAYS IN WHICH GROUPS CAN MANIPULATE INDIVIDUALS. Those who leave cults frequently experience "floating", the shifting from cult to non-cult ways of viewing the world or the sense of being stalled in a foggy, "in-between" state of consciousness. Many also experience anxiety, depression, rage, guilt, distrust, fear and thought disturbances. Decision-making is impaired by this emotional turmoil. It also interferes with the management of life tasks. Some ex-members have psychological breakdowns or remain psychologically scarred for years. It usually takes one to two years to return to their former level of adaption. Those who do well as part of cult community are those who seek a safe haven from difficulties they find unmanageable on the outside. Also those who maintain emotional distance who follow the cult without actually becoming a true part of it. They are not deeply affected by it.