Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What makes People join Cults/Stay in UnHealthy Relationships?

Growing up I took quite a while to come out of my proverbial shell.

I was quiet and preferred the company of my mother as opposed to almost anyone else. But I do recall watching people. Their faces, listening to the words they used and the actions they took.

I thought mistakes were unnecessary. I wanted to figure what was right and do that for as long as possible.

Well, you can see how that could pose problems later. Not only did I fail to see the value of learning from failure, but I also had developed an all or nothing, do or die, judgemental attitude to life.

That thinking set me up to be the perfect candidate to join an Organization that claimed to have 'figured it all out'. Young, disillusioned and impressionable. Yep, I fit the bill. At least for a while....

After some years of mind control and manipulation, I began to do what I had honed as a child. I watched people. Their equivocations. Body language. Actions.

Next I did the unmentionable. I started to ask questions. Like "Why?"

Why is your answer the only correct one? What's wrong with debating something openly? Isn't this a personal issue that I should decide?

So it was all downhill from there. Or perhaps uphill, in that it took a while to trust my personal instinct and people again. I also had to forgive myself for having made a mistake. And accept it as life. Something that I have only just found peace with this very weekend.

The Organization used bullying, cajoling, then ostracizing in an attempt to minimize the affects of my defection.

The sad part; that made me relive this experience, is that I interact regularly with people who are still under the sway of someone else.

Some are in fact members of the said Organization. While others are just in unhealthy, life-draining relationships. Both lead to a sense of deep disturbance, guilt, and dissatisfaction. The type that can't be remedied or explained away.

Some of these individual understand the reasoning behind the listlessness and lack of joy, while others refuse to put their fingers on the pulse of what's wrong.

Its a hard, hard thing to do. To break away from something that is eating your soul alive. To do so would mean to set out in the unknown. It would also mean admitting to have made a mistake. To have "wasted years" so to speak. Sometimes letting your personal err become public keeps even the most brave people silent and sentenced.

All I can do for the people I know and love is what my mother did for me. Love them. Listen to them.

And ask questions.