cult recovery 101

Evaluating Your Cult Involvement

Reviewing your recruitment:

  1. What was going on in your life at the time you joined the group or met the person who became your abusive partner?
  2. How and where were you approached?
  3. What first interested you in the group or leader?
  4. How were you misled during recruitment?
  5. What did the group or leader promise you? Did you ever get it?
  6. What didn’t they tell you that might have influenced you not to join had you known?
  7. Why did the group or leader want you?

Understanding the psychological manipulation used in your group:

  1. Which controlling techniques were used by your group or leader: chanting, meditation, sleep deprivation, isolation, drugs, hypnosis, criticism, fear? List each technique and how it served the group’s purpose.
  2. What was the most effective? the least effective?
  3. What technique are you still using that is hard to give up? Are you able to see any effects on you when you practice these?
  4. What are the group’s beliefs and values? How did they come to be your beliefs and values?

Examining your doubts:

  1. What are your doubts about the group or leader now?
  2. Do you still believe the group or leader has all or some of the answers?
  3. Are you still afraid to encounter your leader or group members on the street?
  4. Do you ever think of going back? What is going on in your mind when this happens?
  5. Do you believe your group or leader has any supernatural or spiritual power to harm you in any way?
  6. Do you believe you are cursed by God for having left the group?

–adapted from Captive Hearts, Captive Minds: Freedom and Recovery from Cults and Abusive Relationships. Madeleine Landau Tobias and Janja Lalich, Hunter House, 1994. Reprinted with permission