Recovery Issues

A former member of the Legion of Christ, a cultic organization within the Roman Catholic Church, details the difficulties of re-entering normal life after being in the Legion from the age of sixteen to twenty. Lots of parallels.

What Are the Recovery Issues Following a Cultic Experience?

  1. 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
  2. Feeling disconnected
    • Sense of anomie (defined by Webster as "personal unrest, alienation, and uncertainty that comes from a lack of purpose or ideals")
  3. Grief
    • 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
    • Anger
  4. 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
  5. Trust issues
    • Test the waters, build up a relationship before you trust someone
  6. Magical thinking of cultic group
    • Beef up your critical thinking skills!
  7. Varying symptoms of post-traumatic stress
    • Panic attacks
    • Floating/triggers
    • Nightmares
    • 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
    • Underemployment


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