How to Get a Family Member Out of a Cult
What's In This Article?
- They Refuse Communication with a Suppressive Person
- Solution: Leave a Seed of Hope and Show Assistance
- Lay Low, Say Nothing, And Don’t Be Suppressive
- The Next Generation of Children Can Be Totally Lost
- Be Ready to Help With the First Request
There are many ways people get involved with cults. They may be married to someone who becomes active with it and they follow along. They may find satisfaction from the way they are treated at first. Or they need something more out of life and they think this is the answer. Even a trusted friend can suddenly introduce them to it, someone on a mission to indoctrinate more members.
If you know anyone who has lost a family member to a religious cult, this personal story may offer inspiration to help get him or her out. It may become impossible to communicate with that family member because they are brainwashed to an extent that normal communication fails. Or they may be threatened and afraid to share their feelings with other family members who want to help.
There are methods however. It might be possible to locate a weakness and take advantage of that vulnerability to break through their feelings. Once this is accomplished, sometimes a loophole can be found that will hopefully get the person to turn around and ask for help.
It's only our guess that they need help. We have to accept the fact that they may actually no longer want to be close with the rest of the family anymore.
If there's a sign of some kind that they want help, the next step is to find out how much help they want or need. It may be possible that their life is threatened by the cult in some way, and they may be afraid to make changes. We have to try to work with them and not pressure them. Pressure can only have a negative effect and we might lose the little chance we have to allow them to share their true feelings.
Communication with a Suppressive Person
The cult my sister was in considers people who try to get them out to be a Suppressive Person. They don't allow communication with people classified as such.
My father died without having had communication with his daughter. In the last remaining days of his life he tried and tried to get through to her. But his calls fell on deaf ears. She never responded to the numerous phone messages he had left for her.
Then he died without saying goodbye to his daughter.
I witnessed this and it wasn't pretty. He was classified as a Suppressive Person because he attempted to obstruct the progress of his daughter’s training within the cult. His attempts were met with hostility that created anxiety and confusion.
He left this world with deep emotional stress over having lost his only daughter to a cult that refused to allow any communication with him at that time.
I, too, never could get my sister on the phone when I tried to call her. I left messages. But she never called back.
My calls were only put through to her when I said someone was dying or that someone had died. So when my father died, I got to speak with her.
She came to attend the funeral. But she was distant and her visit didn't last long. The cult didn't let her stay to mourn the death of her father with the rest of us. She came and then left to return to the cult within a day’s time.
A few years later, after another long period of non-communication, I called to inform her that our Aunt had a heart attack. Of course I got her on the phone and she came to be with us for a very brief visit.
My Aunt recovered at that time, I’m glad to say. And something good came out of the situation. I stumbled upon a method for breaking through. It’s something that you can take advantage of, if you ever need to. I’ll tell you about it.
Solution: Leave a Seed of Hope and Offer Assistance
I took advantage of my sister’s visit to get in touch with her deep-felt feelings.
I detected she might be in need of help. I realized that she might have been controlled beyond her own wishes.
I could tell she was not herself. She had no mind of her own. I once knew her to have a strong mind when we were young kids growing up decades before.
I had to be careful not to alienate my sister. But at the same time I needed to plant a seed. So I told her,
"I suspect you are not happy. I'm your brother and I want to help you. But I'm not going to lift a finger unless you tell me that you want help."
It worked. A few weeks later she called and said,
"Will you come and get me?"
Those were such precious words to me. I quickly responded with joy that I was getting my loved sister back!
I bought a one-way plane ticket to go to get her. When I picked up my sister I discovered that her kids (my nieces and nephew) were not living with her. They were living in separate quarters in a military style unit where they were brought up by the cult.
We rented a U-Haul, filled it with all her possessions, and we shared the driving to bring her home.
I wanted to bring all three of her children too. But I was met with anxiety and apprehension. So I gave in on that.
To this day I regret that I didn’t forcefully influence the outcome to bring back all her kids. But little to my knowledge at the time, there was a reason why it was so easy to pick up my sister and take her away.
I think it was so easy to get her out with no resistance from other cult members because she agreed to leave her kids behind so that she would be left alone. I got one of them out with my sister, but that didn't last long. All three of them are still involved with the cult life, 30 years later.
Lay Low, Say Nothing, And Don’t Be Suppressive
Things have lightened up and they are allowed to communicate with family now. It’s very different from 30 years ago. But the harm has been done. Any time I tried to discuss the cult and its effect on our family, I was met with a defensive argument that went nowhere.
I realized the only way to keep any sort of relationship, although really non-existent, was to lay low. I had to avoid saying anything about how I felt, about the past, about how their grandfather was emotionally destroyed, or about what I witnessed.
I know I can never ask questions or bring up the subject. I had tried.
They would just argue and insist that my interpretation is wrong or that my memory is faulty. I couldn’t deal with that! That kept us from regaining any kind of a relationship. And it created a further distancing and separation from the next generation of grand kids. I wish I had that.
The closeness I remember having with my two nieces and nephew long before they were mentally incarcerated, was long gone. I could have had a close heartfelt family connection with my sister’s kids and with the grand kids.
They are all in their own world, whatever that is. I believe they are all in denial. I am sure they have no clue why we have no close family ties.
I am certain that the grand kids are even further brainwashed and are totally clueless. I often wonder what they think. What they might be thinking, if they are thinking at all?
Would they ever reach out and ask questions? Or did the cult’s brainwashing completely remove their own ability to have their own thoughts, their own life, and their own sole!
The Next Generation of Children Can Be Totally Lost
What if a larger portion of the family is already drawn into the cult? What if children were born into the cult in a second or third generation? These children will not only be totally brainwashed but they won't even have a clue why they are disconnected from the rest of the family. That's the saddest thing of all.
This is why it’s so important to try to save a brainwashed family member before complete harm is done. The first generation of children may only be semi-indoctrinated. They may ask for help of their Aunts, Uncles, or others.
Years later the children may even forget that they wanted out. Or the memories may have been erased from their minds by some form of mind control. Or, on the other hand, they may just not be willing to admit a memory of the time they wanted out. This might be due to some fear imposed on them by the cult.
When they are young they may want their relatives to take them away. But it's not easy to take over the upbringing of a child. So the children are left with parents who are in a cult.
When these children grow up and have their own children, that next generation is totally distant and uninvolved with family members who are not in favor of the cult.
Be Ready to Help With the First Request
Remember how I helped my sister by planting a seed of hope and assistance that later blossomed and resulted in her call asking to come get her? Well, it can work for you too.
If you have a family member in a religious cult, and you’ve lost the ability to communicate, plant that seed and wait for it to grow. Do it before it’s too late. Then be ready to do whatever you can when the call for help arrives.
For all we know, these people are threatened. They may be brainwashed. Or they may simply be scared. They may be in a predicament that we don’t know about or one that we don’t understand and they may not know what to do about it.
I wonder if they ever have the same thoughts that I have. Thinking of why there is no family tie. Thinking of wanting to be on the other side. Thinking of asking for help.
If you ever get that call, be ready to run and welcome your family with open arms. Be ready to help them and welcome them to the real world.
© 2012 Glenn Stok
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