Saturday, April 02, 2005

To Survivors of Rabbinical Misconduct AND Those Who Are Still Supporting Abusive Rabbis

Getting Better
by Kathy Ward

Recovery from spiritual abuse and cultic thinking is like recovery from a lot of damaging things in life. It's hard to do it alone and there are many things that are helpful along the way.

  • Find someone to talk to who understands.

  • Work on not judging yourself - no one sets out to become a member of a cult, a person who others can guilt-manipulate. We join with these groups because we think that we're going to learn about God, find ways to serve God and our fellow man. we join for reasons that are not bad.

  • It's okay that you see good things about the cult. Just as it's hard to find people who are totally 100 percent malignant, few cults or abusive religious systems are 100 percent in the wrong. It's okay to acknowledge that there are wonderful people there or that something good was there. It's okay to sit down and figure out any good things that have come into your life from the cult.

  • Understand that your cult experience was a stage in your development as a spiritual person. You are going to grow from here.

  • Don't be afraid to seek counseling outside of the cult parameters. Religious, don't be afraid to go to a respectful nonReligious counselor. There are organizations who have lists of counselors (Religious and non) who are well-versed in recovery from restrictive, cultic religious systems.

  • Find and be around people who will support you, not condemn you, in exploring the world outside of the cult. If you want to examine other belief systems, philosophies, ways of thinking find supportive people to back you up.

  • Expect to have BIG doubts from time to time. Relapses. Thoughts about going back to the cult. We all do. It's normal. It gets better with time. Sometimes it takes a lot of time - but it does get better. It's lonely on the outside. When shunning or other forms of punitive behavior is manifested toward you it can be almost unbearable. We all go through it. This is why having someone to talk to who understands can help.

  • Expect to feel lost sometimes, like you're between two worlds.

  • "Without the unequivocal pronouncements that once guided them, former members of restrictive groups are apt to feel lost and confused. In any transition, there is usually a period of time between the collapse of old beliefs and their replacement by a new set of guiding principles. Kuhn's (1970) account of the disorientation that occurs when a scientific viewpoint once thought to be definitive fails to fit emergent facts can be applied to the similar confusion that comes with shifts in religious belief. Bridge's (1980) concept of an "empty" middle phase as a stage in any transition can also be helpful in normalizing the ex-believer's sense of confusion and inner emptiness as a natural part of the process of moving beyond outmoded views about self and the world."

  • Psychological Issues of Former Members of Restrictive Religious Groups by Jim Moyers, MA, MFCC

  • Realize that you may be depressed sometimes. There is a grieving process going on here. You've lost big chunks of your life and although you're going to be moving into some new, exciting, even exhilarating territory, you're going to also be grieving for some of the things you've left behind. Take care of yourself and don't forget about the things that help depression, like a healthy diet, enough and regular exercise (even a daily walk), getting out and doing things that you enjoy, indulge yourself, make opportunities to visit with friendly, supportive people. If it begins to feel like too much - tell someone you trust - get some help!

  • Remember that your feelings are just that - your feelings. They aren't evil or sinful. Because you feel something doesn't mean that you're going to act on it. Feelings are okay.

  • If there was a time before the cult when you had a creative interest or enjoyed reading, art, music, or any kind of hobby or pursuit that you left behind - take the time to enjoy it again. There's healing for the soul in these places.


Blogger chutzpah said...

Great idea to post this, thanks!

I went googling for information on "Cultic Relationships", and found some interesting links:

This one was interesting:
---What specifically would define a group or "cult" as unsafe?

Unsafe groups or "cults" often abuse and exploit their members. This abuse may occur in the areas of finances, physical labor, child abuse and neglect, medical neglect, sexual exploitation and/or psychological and emotional abuse.


RESULTS: confusion, disorientation, psychological disturbances
Manipulate experience:
altered states of consciousness (trance)
Hypnosis: (see Ericksonian hypnosis)
speaking patterns
guided imagery
pacing of voice to breathing patterns
parables, stories with imbedded messages
stop paying attention to distractions, focus inwardly to what's going on inside you
the use of one's voice to get people's attention focused
Chanting, Meditation
Teach thought-stopping techniques
Work them up emotionally to a negative state:
re-experience past painful events
recall negative actions/sin in past life

April 02, 2005 4:15 PM  
Blogger chutzpah said...

On Cultic Relationships:

Abusive controlling relationships like cult brainwashing
The “Battered Woman Syndrome” often cited in court and by helping professionals assisting those victimized within abusive and controlling relationships parallels many of the same features identified within destructive cults.

In this sense abusive and controlling relationships, though seemingly romantic, can be seen as a type of “cult” with a dictatorial leader, usually a man, dominating a single follower as his victim.

This has been called the “cultic relationship” and/or a “one-on-one cult.”

Over the years cult intervention professionals have been called upon to apply the same expertise developed to free cult victims as an approach to free those caught within the web of abusive controlling relationships.

The Ross Institute of New Jersey has recently released an educational DVD/video titled In the Name of Love: Abusive Controlling Relationships, which shares the body of knowledge developed around this subject in an easy to follow format.

This educational tool makes an otherwise often confusing situation more easily understood.

The DVD/video offers a synthesis of what is known about brainwashing and how this process directly applies to both the Battered Woman Syndrome and most specifically to the dynamics and personalities most often involved in abusive controlling relationships.

In the Name of Love also recounts personal stories, such as the experience of singer Tina Turner and the tragic circumstances that led up to the death of Nicole Brown Simpson. Such compelling examples are helpful to better understand the personal cost, internal turmoil and dangers of such relationships.

What are the warning signs?

What can someone concerned do?

What type of individual fits the profile of an abuser?

Why don't those abused leave a bad relationship?

These and other important questions are answered within the DVD.

Darla Boughton the manager for a popular forum related to this subject says, “This DVD is a magnificent breakthrough--a must-have for every classroom, women's shelter, and abuse Web sites everywhere."

Much too often society blames the victim rather than attempting to understand the disturbing dynamics within abusive controlling relationships.

One third of American women reportedly have been abused under such circumstances, and millions more are potentially at risk.

April 02, 2005 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how do you know if what happened to you qualifys as cult stuff or not? i think mine was but i don't know because it wasn't by strangers who wanted me to leave my family and all that--it WAS my family (and extended 'uncles'). oh, and my dad's a rabbi... how can a rabbi be a part of a cult?
confused. Seeking

April 02, 2005 8:26 PM  
Blogger chutzpah said...

A manipulative, abusive relationship can be 'cultic'; even though it's not the same as an organized large group, similar tactics are used.

This info may be helpful too:

"What Makes Manipulation Possible"?

April 02, 2005 10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

< how do you know if what happened to you qualifys as cult stuff or not? i think mine was but i don't know because it wasn't by strangers who wanted me to leave my family and all that--it WAS my family (and extended 'uncles'). oh, and my dad's a rabbi... how can a rabbi be a part of a cult?
confused. Seeking >

Why don't you call Vicki Polin at The Awareness Center. I bet she can help you, or refer you to someone who can. The Awareness Center's phone number is 443-857-5560.

April 03, 2005 12:08 AM  

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