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Brainwashing is possible and does happen

Posted by Reader on August 29, 2006 at 07:48:45

In Reply to: The girl & the beast posted by Farmer on August 29, 2006 at 03:48:23:

When I read this I couldn't help but see similarities between the fear, captivity and sleep and food deprivation, etc used by cults like The Family to keep its converts captive. Many parts of this report jumed out at me, like:

"what appeared to be freedom was in fact a form of captivity that was based on her fear of trying to run away. She wore invisible chains."

Maybe we weren't treated exactly like Carol Smith, but the similarities are unmistakeable. It was never always clear to outsiders or our relatives that we were trapped in a cult, held by invisible chains, with a real fear of punishment by God if we backslid into the system, submitting to the "contract" we made to give our lives back to Jesus for saving us from death in the system (all part of a one-size-fits-all disciple profile drilled into each of us which we parroted back as "testimony" to outsiders), etc.

We may not have been held at physical knife point, but there was most definitely a mental, emotional and spiritual knife held to our throats. More excerpts that stood out:

"Then psychologist Chris Hatcher, with impressive credentials and experience in such cases, explained to the jury how mind control worked. He addressed the dynamics of sado-masochism, and the dominant and submissive personalities involved—particularly the excitement factor for the 'master' in getting someone to submit to his whims. Hatcher then talked about how the effects of sudden kidnapping, death threats, being housed in a dark tomb that disturbed daylight patterns, the physical abuse, the loss of control over necessary bodily functions, and the lack of communication were collectively effective in breaking down Carol's will. He had examined the crime scene and had interviewed Carol at length, and he believed that she had been coerced into staying with the Hookers. In other words, her values, her identity, and her whole way of looking at the world had been changed.

"There was talk throughout the trial of what was known as the Stockholm syndrome, which occurs under the unusual conditions of extreme stress in captivity, where there may be torture and a high degree of uncertainty. Kidnapping victims, abused spouses, and tortured prisoners are most prone to it. The captive appears to become involved to some degree with his or her captor, and even to consent to abuse and captivity. That person may express feelings of affection in a way that surprises outsiders and makes them wonder at just how captive and abused the person really is.

"What appears to occur, according to experts who have studied the phenomenon, is that the person 'freezes' as a way to avoid further torture, and then yields to try to appease the captor. If the captor then takes care of basic needs, the captive may feel gratitude bordering on affection.. Such victims become susceptible to suggestion, and having their own world shrink to that shared with the captor, may become sympathetic. Identifying with the captor and seeing no way to escape, it becomes easier to acquiesce, even to the point of acting as if they love their captors. They are trying to arrange their otherwise unsafe and difficult world for maximum comfort and safety."