How to recognize a cult and protect yourself and your family - ForumDaily
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How to recognize a cult and protect yourself and your family

Фото: Depositphotos

The antithesis of freedom is not a prison, not a totalitarian state, and not even slavery. This is a cult, when not only the body, but also the consciousness of man is captured.

According to psychologist Michael Langona, the editor-in-chief of the magazine and several books on cult practitioners, there are over a thousand cults in the United States. Most of them are small, while others have tens of thousands of members. From 5 to 10, millions of Americans were involved, at least briefly, in the activities of cults.

The activities of religious organizations, both religious and any other, is invisible to ordinary Americans. They find out about them only when they get into their networks themselves, when it happens to relatives or relatives, or from the media - when some tragic event occurs, such as the mass suicide of 912 members of the Jim Jones cult in the jungles of Guyana in 1968 year.

However, everyone can become a victim of a cult, convince American psychologists who deal with this problem. Most people fall into cults, without even noticing. Sometimes they take the form of a radical political party, a Bible study group, meditation groups, personal growth training, yoga classes, etc. In the USA, there were cases when employees sent leadership to a cult that positioned itself as a course of professional growth.

The methods of influence common in cults are also used in other social groups - from family to state.

Researcher Margaret Singer, now deceased, in her book “Cults Among Us” cites a huge number of techniques for subjugating one person to another. Based mainly on her research, I will give signs that will help you recognize from the very beginning whether you have ended up in personal growth training or in a cult.

Important note: most of this does not mean that it is a cult, but the presence of even one of these points should alert you and make you look more critically at what is happening around you.

"Bombing Love" (love bombing), as cult researchers call it. As soon as you appear in a new group, you are very happy to see you: they look into your eyes, hold hands, listen to every word, fall asleep with compliments. Well, finally I was appreciated, decides the newcomer. However, this “bombing with love” has several goals: it is human nature to obey those who like it. In addition, it acts like a drug: subsequently, the cult members will treat the newcomer less gently, and he will crawl out of his way to regain his former love and relive the euphoria.

Black sheep screening. Cults don't need any followers - they need those who are able to obey. Try asking a question during a lecture (usually it starts as a simple lecture or discussion). If this is a regular course, then the lecturer will be only happy: this indicates that you listen carefully and perceive the information. But cults don’t need inquisitive people. The lecturer will begin to ridicule and humiliate such a person. Sometimes strange rules are specifically established in order to get rid of inappropriate “human material” as quickly as possible, such as the ban on going to the toilet during a lecture.

By the way, this logic works in the "letters of happiness" from the Nigerian princes. Illiterately written and absolutely fantastic in content, they in principle can not mislead a rational person, and rational people are not needed by fraudsters. They are eliminating themselves in this way, saving time and money to thieves, economists Stephen Levitt and Stephen Dubner explain.

If at this moment you breathed a sigh of relief - “I am a critical thinking person and will not fall into this trap” - do not rush to conclusions. Everyone has periods in life when they are extremely vulnerable: after a divorce, a major defeat, a job loss, a loved one, in a situation where the country is experiencing tragic events.

Cult leader The authority of this person is undeniable. In particular, and therefore questions can not be asked. From time to time, he or she abruptly changes his attitude towards followers: from hard and cold to warm and gentle. The followers with might and main want to remain committed to the leader, for the sake of which they are ready for something they couldn’t even think about before: give up their family, their savings, deceive other recruits by luring organizations to the network.

The mystery of the doctrine. If you come to the usual training, then you will be acquainted with its program at the very beginning, or at least will not hide it if you ask. In the cults they will tell you: “you are not ready yet,” “if you find out too early, you will harm yourself,” and the like. Singer explains this by the fact that, as a result of the influence of a cult, its members shift the boundaries of the normal, and critical thinking regresses. If a neophyte is immediately informed that after he spends a lot of time and three thousand dollars, he will be accustomed to obey the leadership team, he will turn around and leave.

Neglect of all who do not share the teachings of the cult. If you came to study the video editing program Adobe Premiere, the instructor can be convinced that this program is much better than Final Cut Pro. But he will not prove that all who use it are human beings of a lower order, and sin Final Cut Pro can only be washed with blood or financial donations to the instructor.

If everyone outside the group into which you fall is treated with disdain and called some kind of fictional nickname, then this is already a sign of cult influence.

Destruction of family ties. During the sermon of traditional religion, you will be reminded of the need to “honor your father and your mother” and also take care of your own children. But in cults, from the very first day, an attack begins on the neophyte’s connection with his family, because the cult should become his family, and the leader should become his father and mother.

And if adults in the cult become infantile, then children, on the contrary, are perceived as small adults. Singer, in the section on children in the cult, gives many examples of abuse, including sexual abuse, of children and neglect of their basic needs - children can go without sleep or food for days.

And those children who were born and raised in cults are often simply not able to live in society - they do not have an education, and often the skills to make decisions on their own. Psychologist Bruce Perry studied children who were turned over to authorities by Branch Davidian cult leader David Koresh. These children identified two leaders from their group who made everything, even the simplest decisions, for everyone. They did not know what a family was, and the concept of themselves as individuals was at the most primitive level.

In the cults used numerous methods of physiological and psychological impact. Certain activities, such as chanting hymns or special breathing exercises, have expected physiological consequences. Hyperventilation of the lungs creates a feeling of lightness, floating, or, conversely, heaviness. In a cult, this can be interpreted as they wish - contact with alien life or the release of original sin.

Poor nutrition, hard work, and lack of sleep cause women to stop menstruating and men to grow mustaches and beards. And this is also open to interpretation. Like they went back to childhood innocence and stuff like that.

Very often, members of the cult are kept in a completely depleted physical condition for years, so that they simply have no strength left for self-reflection, an assessment of their condition. Hard work and unsettled life - this is what helps to keep in check and the inhabitants of totalitarian countries, which is very well described in the book "Nothing to be envied: The life of ordinary people in North Korea."

Psychological methods include hypnosis, trance, imposing a sense of shame, inferiority, rewriting your personal history, false memories, and psychological regression when children are returned to children with a high level of dependence.

Life is complex, and even the simplest problems require complex solutions. And the one who offers a panacea for all ills will almost certainly turn out to be a charlatan and a fraudster who is after the money, and even the souls of other people.

The original column is published on the website. Ukrainian service "Voices of America". Reprinted with the permission of the author and the publication. Translated from the Ukrainian language "New time".

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