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Have you ever felt this way?

Posted by Karen for Michael Langone on August 04, 2002 at 08:01:51:

In Reply to: stages....ray posted by reposted by Karen on August 04, 2002 at 06:32:36:

from "Cultic Studies Journal, Vol. 9, No.2"

"...research strongly suggest that the level of post-cult distress is quite high. These findings cause Langone to comment:

And yet the majority eventually leave (Barker, 1092). Why? If they were unhappy before they joined, became happier after they joined, were pressured to remain, left anyway, and were more distressed than ever after leaving, what could have impelled them to leave and to remain apart from the group?

The inescapable conculsion seems to be that the cult experience is not what it appears to be (at least for those groups that deem it important to put on a "happy face"), either to undiscerning observers or to members under the psychological influence of the group. Clinical observers, beginning with Clark (1979) and Singer (1978), appear to be correct in their contention that dissociative defenses help cultists adapt to the contradictory and intense demands of the cult environment. So long as members are not rebelling against the group's pscyhological controls, they can appear to be "normal," much as a person with multiple personality disorder can sometimes appear to be "normal." However, this normal-appearing personality, as West (1992) maintains, is a pseudopersonality. When cultists leave their group, the flood gates open and they suffer. But they don't generally return to the cult because the suffering they experience after leaving the cult is more genuine that the "happiness" they experienced while in it. A painful truth is better than a pleasant lie."