Friday, August 8, 2008

Why It's Hard to Leave an Abusive Relationship

Margaret Singer on Effects of Getting Out:

(non-comprehensive, of course!)

Why it's hard to leave.

  1. Deception in the recruitment process and throughout membership
  2. Debilitation, because of the hours, the degree if commitment, the psychological pressures, and the inner constriction and strife.
  3. Dependency, as a result of being cut off from the outside world in many ways
  4. Dread, because of beliefs instilled by the cult that a person who leaves will find no real life on the outside
  5. Desensitization, so that things that once have troubled them no longer do (for example, learning that money collected from fund-raising is supporting the leader's lavish lifestyle rather than the cause for which it was given, or seeing children badly abused or even killed.

Cult Indoctrinee Syndrome
Psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychiatric social workers dealing with cult members suggested behavioral changes they labeled the cult indoctrinee syndrome. These changes included:
  • Sudden, drastic alteration of the individual's value hierarchy, including abandonment of previous academic and career goals. These changes are sudden and catastrophic, rather than the gradual ones that result form maturation or education.
  • Reduction of cognitive flexibility and adaptability. The cult member substitutes stereotyped cult responses for her or his own.
  • Narrowing and blunting of affect. Love feelings are repressed. The cult member appears emotionally flatter and less vital than before.
  • Regression of behavior to childlike levels. The follower becomes dependent on the cult leader and accepts the leader's decisions uncritically.
  • Physical changes. These changes often include weight loss and deterioration in physical appearance and expression.
  • Possible pathological symptoms. Such symptoms can include altered states of consciousness.

Read more HERE.

From the writings of Margaret Thaler Singer.