Are cults a hidden epidemic? Truthloader debate

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Are cults a hidden epidemic? Truthloader debate

Post17 Nov 2014

Are cults a hidden epidemic? A Truthloader debate.

Interesting concept of "Trauma Bonding" expounded upon by Dr. Alexandra Stein.*

Guests include:

- Dr. Alexandra Stein - Former member of political cult, The O in Minneapolis. Board member of the Safe Passage Foundation, a non-profit organisation that works to protect children from abuse in cults. Also teaches social psychology at Birkbeck. -
    Alexandra has a concise and interesting reading list, here.
- Steve Hassan - Left the Moon cult and founder of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center Inc. -

- Dr. Lois Kendall - Ph.D in the psychological effects of growing up in a cult, which she happened to do herself.
If you need help on exiting a cult, or are seeking advice for a friend, she recommends Dialogue Centre in the UK - - and Meadow Haven in the US -

Traumatic bonding occurs as the result of ongoing cycles of abuse in which the intermittent reinforcement of reward and punishment creates powerful emotional bonds that are resistant to change ... "a strong emotional attachment between an abused person and his or her abuser ... A trauma bond means that the victim may wish to receive comfort from the very person who abused them.

Unhealthy, or traumatic bonding, occurs between people in an abusive relationship. The bond is stronger for people who have grown up in abusive households because it seems to be a normal part of relationships. The longer a relationship continues, the more difficult it is for people to leave the abusers with whom they have bonded.

From a book on the effects of trauma (and repair), 'The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma' by Bessel van der Kolk MD.

I wonder if this sounds familiar to exiting BKs?
Intense relationships also tend to hijack all of a survivor's relating capacity. It is like a state of being burnt out. First, while it is very easy to become attached to a very chaotic and inconsistent person, it is simply not possible to form a consistent internal object representation (feeling memory) about them. When separated from the intense [group], the urge to make contact is usually intense because it is a stable feeling memory (or internal object) that makes separation from an important other person tolerable in any circumstance.

Second, the survivor can come to find that it can be almost impossible to relate to anyone, even family or old friends, except superficially. There is a biological craving for intensity that no normal relationship will satisfy. This provides a feeling of being totally alone, and totally empty. At first, only going back to the primary [abuser] can overcome it. It would be normal in this state to believe that something is horribly wrong with leaving (even if it seems equally true that something is horribly wrong with staying). If it can be understood that abstinence from unnatural intensity will eventually restore normal relating capacity, the period of distress can be better endured.

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