Here are 10 things family members can do to help themselves and a loved one who is in a cult.
- This is NOT a family disgrace. It can happen to anybody and is really a backhanded compliment to parents who did the right thing and raised their child to be independent of them and an idealist who wants a better world.
- Don’t nag, preach or lecture to the cult victim. Chances are the cult has already told him that you will do this and that this is a sign that they are in the one true channel or on the true road to freedom or in gods true church. He will take just so much and reject the rest as persecution.
- Guard against the holier-than-thou or martyr-like attitude. It is possible to create this impression without saying a word. An cult victims sensitivity is such that he judges other peoples attitudes toward him more by small things than by outspoken words.
- Don’t use the if-you-love-me appeal. Since the cult victim doesn’t believe that you love him as much as the group does or God does anyway this won’t work!!
- Avoid any threats. There may be times when a specific action is necessary to protect under-age children but idle threats only make the cult victim believe you don’t mean what you say.
- Don’t destroy their books or tapes. Usually this only pushes the cult victim further into the group and shows disrespect for their personal belongings.
- Don’t let the cult victim persuade you to join with him on the grounds that it will help you understand him better. It rarely does more than either make you angrier or gets you converted too. Wait until you are educated enough to take this step. When you are fully prepared you can then attend their meetings etc and discuss this with him rationally.
- Don’t be jealous of the cult. The tendency is to think that love of home and family is enough incentive for them to leave. It isn’t. Mind control is stronger than family ties.
- Do offer love, support and understanding to the cult victim during the time in the cult, coming out of the cult and during recovery.
- Don’t expect an immediate 100% recovery when they leave. In any illness there is a period of convalescence. There may be relapses & times of tension and resentment during their grief.
[SOURCE: Cult Aid Booklet, by CIFS: http://www.cifs.org.au/CultAidBooklet.pdf ]