This list appears on the ReGAIN website at the end of a personal
account by a former member of the Legion of Christ, a cultic
organization within the Roman Catholic Church. The writer details the
difficulties of re-entering normal life after being in the Legion from
the age of sixteen to twenty. Lots of parallels! Don't be
discouraged if some of the issues listed below are still a problem 3+
years after leaving the Assembly. As she says at the end, "Patience!"
What Are the Recovery Issues Following a Cultic Experience?
- Identity Crisis
- Who am I now?
- What do I believe? (Take your time with this one!)
- Integrate cultic experience into prior personality
- What are my interests? Talents? Relationships? Education? Hobbies?
Even favorite color is a starting point
- Feeling disconnected, sense of anomie (defined by Webster as
"personal unrest, alienation, and uncertainty that comes from a lack of
purpose or ideals")
- People you left behind
- Loss of a cause
- Loss of “belonging”
- Losses you had to give up in order to join group
- Loss of innocence
- Loss of career goals; finances; belongings
- Missing the “buzz”; looking for it elsewhere
- Boundary issues
- Rebuild healthy boundaries
- It’s okay not to divulge everything to everyone
- Learn how the group tore down your boundaries between you and
other group members/leaders
- Learn how the group built up unhealthy boundaries between you and
the outside world
- Trust issues
- Test the waters, build up a relationship before you trust
- Magical Thinking of cultic group
- Beef up your critical thinking skills!
- Varying symptoms of post-traumatic stress
- Panic attacks
- Sleep disorders
- Inability to make decisions
- Inability to concentrate
- Fears not grounded in reality – fear the group was “right”
- Difficulty with relationships and authority figures
PATIENCE! PATIENCE! PATIENCE!