Thursday, July 16, 2009

Withdrawl Stages and Recovery from Mind Control

I found this article a great help. I have shared it here, condensing some of it and adding my own notes in italics. It states several stages I have been through and the stages I see others going through. It's kind of amazing to live it, led by the Spirit of God, and then see someone write about it. May it be a help to others.

Stage One: After conversion the mind and will may be completely taken over by the logic presented by a "group". However, the gut feeling, emotions, or conscience often indicates that something is not quite right. The Spirit of God will be faithful to keep telling you something is not right.

Stage Two: This doubt causes a feeling of guilt which the person attempts to stuff and deny. The guilt drives him or her to deeper resolve to "do right" or submit and to ignore any information that conflicts with the groups' message. However, the conscience the Spirit of God continues to exert itself causing the person to question things. Most people don't know what to question. They may question the "standards" or even the existence of God or the truth of the scripture. They rarely have enough wisdom to question the history or the doctrine of the group.

Stage Three: The person will give lip service to the group but in reality often behaves or does things that are against the rules. This causes even more guilt and more resolve to "get right."

Stage Four: If the person is observant and alert, he or she may notice some discrepancies between what the scripture says and what is done within the group. Or he may hear of a scandal or problem that bothers him. This may worry some people but many others just think, "Oh well, the people aren't perfect but the organization or church is perfect." Or "Oh well, what can I do?" or "Oh well, God will take care of it."
A person can be so passive willing to sit back and not do anything.

Stage Five: The person may hear of the history of the group and begin to wonder why he was lied to regarding the founder of the group. An inquisitive person may begin an investigation. At this point, the person usually becomes very quiet and fearful about letting others know of his questions. By this time he has found out that it is socially unacceptable to voice any doubts.

Stage Six: The denial stage in which the person decides to ignore all the warning signs. They are actually afraid of or angry at anyone who has information that exposes the deceit of the group. Some people NEVER get past this stage. They are hostile towards any information that spotlights the deceit and errors of the group.

Stage Seven: The "Don't know what to think" stage. MANY people get stuck here. They will try to figure things out on their own. They are suspicious of everyone. They don't trust their friends or family and they don't trust themselves. They don't trust traditional Christianity. They don't trust the information that exposes the group. They may not trust the scripture and might try to find reasons to believe the Bible wasn't translated correctly. This stage is very critical. The stress of it can cause illness, anxiety, nightmares, emotional problems, marital problems, divorce, etc. Usually the longer a person or his family has been in the group, the more painful it is.

At this stage, some people try to reason with the leaders. They will either arrange for visits or write long letters. Some hope that they can change the system or get some to agree with them. They are AMAZED at the total inability of leaders to hear what they are saying. However, some will agree with their arguments, pat them on the head and try to smooth their ruffled feelings.

Stage Eight: The state in which a decision is made to leave the group. The person may go in several directions. They may become angry with God or become an agnostic, atheist, hook into another cult, leave their spiritual part of their life hang in mid-air for awhile. Some get stuck in a yo-yo syndrome leaving the group and going back. Or (AND I LIKE THIS) may do some intense praying, in depth study and reaching out to normal Christain information. This stage is extremely crucial. If a married couple doesn't agree or reach this stage together it can destroy their marriage.

Almost total rejection from the group and professing family occurs if the person announces his new allegiance to Christ instead of to the group system.

Stage Nine: The state in which the old personality disintegrates and a new one is formed. The person will get rid of "old things". Some people experience a lot of anxiety in adjusting to a new identity because their whole self concept was so closely tied to the group. New interests, charitable activities and hobbies are found. Bible study and Bible classes become the new excitement.

Stage Ten: The person is in constant amazement at the difference between the old life and the new life. The person is able to pity those who are still in the old group and will eventually be able to laugh about his old experiences. The person will often want to reach out to others who he has know while in the group. He feels a strong need to talk about the experience in order to understand the strong emotions and confusion he felt while inside the group. Talking to other ex-professing people seems to be the best therapy for those going through this process. Writing down what one has heard, experience and believes also helps clarify one's thoughts.


  1. where did you find this?

  2. Very good thoughts you found here. Thanks for sharing what you read. :o)

  3. What a great write-up! We have been through these steps to varying degrees. Interesting that no matter which church group/system/denomination/cult one may have been in, the same steps apply to all when trying to break free.

    As they used to say years ago, innocent people caught up in the Institution Church are "drunk" on her wine. And as with so many alcoholics, they keep drinking but are in denial.

    Glad to be free from it ALL! And glad to be sober! :o)

  4. Thanks for your comments. Lori, I don't have the paper in front of me that I printed off the web. I'll show it to you.

  5. Thank God for His faithfulness! Thanks for sharing, Janie. It does help to see our feelings and experiences written down.