I have left a religious cult. Can anybody help me???
Thinking of Leaving? Here’s a great leaflet for you. Download here: Thinking Of Leaving Leaflet for all cults
Imagine if you could speak to ex-cult members, cult survivors, people whose families had been destroyed by a cult, and could ask them for their advice and wisdom. That is exactly what I did with the following question:
What is the best advice from your experience, that you would give to someone, who has just left a cult?
and here is what they said… (from a whole variety of cultic backgrounds)
(plus, see cult help organisations and resources contact details at the end of this list…)
1: It can help to know that you are not the first person to leave a controlling group and you won’t be the last.
2: Go on Facebook or the web and search for groups of ex members from the group you were in. Get talking and learn how they coped and overcame their challenges. A problem shared is a problem halved.
3: Don’t pretend that life in the cult didn’t happen. I tried that and know from experience that it’s not healthy. Just take your time, realize that it’s okay to have bad days but the good days will quickly outweigh the bad.
4: People on the outside are a lot nicer than you think.
5: Don’t EVER do that again!
6: Cults all use the same bullying tactics, it’s not you at fault its them.
7: Be yourself! Don’t be afraid to question your beliefs/ideas/thoughts etc; and surround yourself with people who accept you for who you are. More than anything, be kind to yourself.
8: Surround yourself with people who understand and can relate.
9: Remember you are enough you do not need a religion to define you. Learn who you are and seek friends who are self AWARE.
10: From my experience:-
Don’t rush into trying to be the same as the wider population. A lot of them are not even sure about themselves.
It’s actually good to be a bit different.
It is part of your character.
Remember that you are a strong person, otherwise you wouldn’t have got this far.
Don’t try to make too many friends too fast. There’s a small contingent of people that will take advantage if you let your guard down.
Try to build your network of friends slowly from the people you know and trust.
Be prepared for some knock backs, they will happen.
Also there are some people that are in much worse circumstances that have been through dreadful abuse so always be cautiously compassionate.
Weigh things up carefully before you make a decision.
Never be afraid to love someone if it feels right, just don’t rush.
You’ll get there!
11: Don’t jump into another “program” learn to create for yourself, it’s beautiful. Let this be your rule: if your right to create gets highjacked, then you have given up on yourself. Live in love, you don’t need anyone to tell you that your living life right or wrong, you already know the answer.
12: Be gentle on yourself, give yourself time to readjust, to find out who you are before making huge decisions.
13: Seek out the best counselor you can find.
14: Stop judging yourself.
15: Just spoken to my nephew first time ever, he’s 43! He was loving that we weren’t all evil!! I said just breathe and live! X
16: Thousands of us have taken this brave, daunting and liberating journey. Your experiences will be as unique as each of us. It will take time to adjust to the unfamiliar freedom which at times can feel like loneliness or not belonging. Try not to feel guilt, regret or bitterness, but go easy on yourself when you do. We cannot change our past but as you shape your future, make your own choices, – let go of ingrained beliefs and judgments to discover your own truth. Own mistakes you make along the way, that’s how we learn (or re-learn) about life, and be open-minded, be forgiving, be patient – you now have the opportunity to express yourself, to explore innate talents and desires, to live life as you want to. Ask for spiritual guidance any time you need to, and be grateful. Be openhearted and believe in love in all its forms. Go well
17: Reach out to your local community, join clubs, voluteer at the library, senior center, or local animal shelter…help out and you will make friends in your community that will help support your healing by not letting you slide back into feeling the only place you are.
18: I would say , don’t run the cult down, I was very defensive for several years , be sensitive!!
19: Dont let them emotionally manipulate you and dont get sucked into another one xx
20: Get new friends right away. Take up new hobbies. Disc golf is cheap, easy to learn, free to play and a close community of good people.
21: Sit back, relax and take a deep breath, give yourself time to get your head together….don’t jump into anything right now..what you might think or believe now is not likely what you are going to think or believe a year from now.
22: Take your time figuring out who you are. Don’t make important decisions, relationship, job, home etc for a year at least, if you can manage it. Your idea of who you are will change in that year.
23: Learn to love yourself just as you are, accept yourself, know you are a wonderful human being. And that there are many people out there who want to help – but be careful. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
24: Change your telephone number!
25: Do your research and read books.
26: 1) Fight the real enemy – which is your own flawed reasoning skills.
2) Rejoin the “world” enthusiastically
3) Don’t refuse to band together with other people to accomplish common goals now that you’re out, but DO constantly reassess the day-to-day motivations behind the organizations you support or join.
27: I guess after I made that decision 5 years ago to leave the Witnesses I just cut myself off from them ‘ I never went back to the Kingdom Hall though they were many times I wanted to due to loneliness after all for eighteen years I had very little to do with the world outside of The Witnesses. I had contact with the elders once after that and it was because I handed in my letter of disassociation . They called and asked if I was sure and basically talked me out of that decision. I never went to the meetings but they have never come to see me . I saw an elder once at Home Depot and said hello and he walked on by as if he did not recognize me . I made the right decision.
28: Ask…What does an absolute truth have to fear from a thorough investigation?
29: I feel it is important to remind people that now, right when they leave a cult, might not be the best time to start dating. If you’re single, stay that way while you decide what healthy relationships will look like and, most importantly, as you decide who you really are/want to be!
30: Try to make contact with people who have left the same cult or a similar cult. These are the ones who will best understand you and are most willing to help you.
31: One of the major things to get your head around will be to find out the people who you were told were ‘evil’ ,really weren’t..and to recognize that the that the same people who smeared them to discredit them ,are smearing you right now..kinda makes you embarrassed and chagrined that you bought into their lies doesn’t it?
32: Go on Youtube and Google and find out what others have said about the cult you were in. It can be very helpful learning about other people’s perspectives. Be strong. You are worth it.
33: I would say broaden your mind in everything, try if you can to see the other side of everything….you’ve been taught. So much of that is the opposite of what is real!! Take off the cult glasses and use your own eyes, it’s amazing what you will see.
Contact an ex member that you know or have reason to trust as soon as you’re comfortable to do so….and learn to create a life you have always dreamed of having!
And have fun ?
34: Someone once said that ‘you can get out of the brethren a lot easier that to get the Brethren out of you.’…I am reminded way back in 1970 we went to a brother who we had withdrawn from as a ‘wicked person ‘back in 1960,and apologized to him,telling him we had ‘judged’ the system..he was most gracious and accepted our apology but said ‘as time goes on,you will realize more and more how brainwashed and wrong you have been’we were puzzled by this thinking we had ‘judged ‘it, but he was right,it was a process we all have to go through,the rot was far deeper than we thought and you just have to go through it.Nobody other than those who have been there understand.
35: Don’t be afraid to reach out for help – there are some lovely people in the “so-called evil world”.
36: Believe in your self be strong.
37: Examine your beliefs. If they don’t make sense and no longer serve you, then let them go.
38: Get a network of healthy, non-JW friends around you ASAP. Be open-minded to therapy. Learn that there’s a big world out there that isn’t connected to JWs at all – learn to embrace that. Ex-JW friends aren’t any better than never-JWs and can be, in fact, far more damaged and unstable than never-JWs.
39: Even the darkest day will end and the sun will shine again. For us this has been a huge learned experience.
40: Don’t feel guilty of all the things you can now do freely. Easier said than done I know.
41: Be strong. Surround yourself with positive people. Let the past go.
42: Question Everything.
Know you have that right and freedom to do so.
Questions lead to dismissing lies and embracing truths.
Deep down, know that GOD created and loves you and absolutely hates the destruction of religious cults.
43: It‘s like we tell clients who just lost a spouse, postpone making as many major decisions as you can ,concentrate on getting through one day at a time..recognize you have gone through a very traumatic emotional experience.
44: As EB we lived in constant fear God was going to stomp on us..we had that constantly ramed down our throats..even if we make a mistake..He isn’t..The god of the brethren( mammon) is not the God I know.
45: Keep walking don’t look back!
Realize and Embrace a freedom of life that you were forever told was evil!! Most is not evil..choose right and enjoy and don’t feel guilty!
46: The thing is, I like many others never considered it a “cult” until I was out for many years already. The word cult itself was tainted by Jw dogma for many who leave.
47: What you’re going through is “not nothing”, even if it’s hard to see from the outside. And it takes years…
48: Be kind to yourself. Accept your grief. Find people who understand where you are at. When you feel ready start sifting through your beliefs and values….some you will still believe and some you can discard straight away but others you might need to shelve and come back to.
Forgive yourself, learn to trust your own judgements. It’s tough after being told what to believe and do all your life.
Get some support from Ex EBs, counsellor and new friends.
Think of yourself as a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, take the time to let your wings dry and soon you will be able to fly.
Gods love has nothing to do with being in the EB. God still loves you out of there.
49: Absorb the wider world.
50: Do your due diligence and just breathe.
51: Don’t jump into another religion thinking it’s a temporary fix to a solution. Give yourself time to grieve the loss and take your time to figure out what you really want. Enjoy. And Cheers to real peace and freedom.
52: Resist the urge to return, however difficult it may be.
53: Expect years of roller coaster emotions and expect specific things that will trigger emotions you never expected.
54: Find a therapist asap. Its one thing to find people who just listen. Its totally another, if someone can mentor you with also taking you to another level in figuring things out for yourself!
55: Make time to research and prove that it is all factually wrong. It allows you to let go of fear and in uncertain times – there will be some – you are not tempted to doubt and consider going back. Instead you can join the rest of humanity and work together.
56: Develop a plan.
57: First of all…just exhale. That’s going to take a minute on it’s own. You are FREE!!!!! I want to congratulate you. you have a journey of healing in front of you. Be kind to yourself and try to enjoy life without guilt. Work on enjoying things. Wipe your slate clean, and find out who you are and who you want to be. The best of luck to you. ….hey! You can say luck now! Lol.
58: Don’t run to another.
59: Gently does it. If alone, find a friend ( or someone who cares) to help you ease into the areas of life that are intimidating. I was so grateful for the efforts and gifting of exmembers who helped me through some intensly challenging times.
60: As we were shut up for 3 years, it was a great relaxing time with the children.
No rushing to meetings and no interchange.
We went to different events like concerts which were not challenging to us in any way.
Just slowly learn about the real world.
61: Try new things when you are ready. Go with a friend. I remember being totally freaked out going to a restaurant for the first time, a church, a wedding. We were so used to being judged and being under the microscope, I worried about what to wear or doing the wrong thing plus the feeling that so many of these “evil” things would mark me. I found though that people out here are often less judgy and don’t care if you conform and are less likely to care what you wear. They have better things to do.
62: Do not be afraid to look for a support group or get professional help….
PTSD is real….
63: Start Reading the Bible for yourself, get a New Living Translation Version, and start with Book of John.
64: Because you have been controlled, you may have the tendency to be controlling.
65: It depends on on why you find yourself outside the JW’s were you disfellowshiped, did you disassociate your self there are lots of different circumstances. Myself I had a crisis of conscience when it came to shunning, with distance from them I began to think for myself, I looked on line(jw facts, John Cedars exjw critical thinkers and many testimonials, they are not apostate liars. Then I talked and talked and talked some more, I joined an ex jw support group, I used my own thoughts and I greived the loss of belief and people that I once held dear and slowly life got better, still got problems but that’s life for everyone but we now face life free from the cage of a cult that made everything in life so much harder.
66: Be patient with themselves while they are adjusting to regular society. Leaving a cult is weird and complicated. Healing takes time and can be a very messy process. Always be patient.
Also, always ask yourself “is this what I really believe, or is this what I’ve been told to believe?” Do research on the topics that the cult is adamant about (like JWs are with sexuality or the blood issue) and form your own opinions on those topics through research.
Those are my top two bits of advice.
67: Education. It’s not uncommon for individuals to leave one cult for another… understand the traits.
68: Take the time Read things YOU want to read. Follow your heart. You will not die for leaving the cult…you will finally LIVE.
69: Get some good friends – real friends , based on common interests and passions.
70: Take the time to find out who you really are and what you really believe and WHY you believe this way. It takes time to recover your feeling of self sufficiency. At first you may still seek approval of others you deem smarter and more capable than you. But to get past this you MUST learn to start trusting your gut, your own instincts and feelings. Becoming an individual is a process. Best wishes to everyone who has enough courage to take the first step and get yourself/children out.
71: Be glad it wasn’t Jonestown?
72: Take the iniative and make friends on the outside.
73: A great way to meet new people is to develop hobbies and interests, there is always a local Facebook group of like minded people.
75: Do the work…it will just wait for you if you don’t. To move on you have to move through it. There are lots of layers to mind control we don’t understand, nor should we. Get help, however that translates to you. It took me 40+ years to figure it out. I left as a teen and had a great life. Then…I broke and had no idea why. Be kind to yourself, it helped me to dive into what they really teach. I never wanted to go back, even then it’s affecting us in ways we don’t understand. Do the work and find out who you really are, not who you were manipulated into being. Your new mantra should be…YOU ARE ENOUGH. Don’t feel like you have to find something to replace it with besides figuring yourself out. Be selfish and do you. The rest will come. I wish you a peaceful journey…?
76: Study study undo undo chat on X boards get the stinking thinking out, discover, relax make it happen, go to school, plan for retirement enjoy everything that WT took away from you.
77: One of the other things that helped a great deal was to watch the Leah Remini special about Scientology . As I watched I was able to see all the similarities between The Witnesses and Scientology or any other cult . I saw the warning signs that one may be in a cult . One other thing is not to be ashamed or get angry about being in or having been in a cult . It can happen to anyone. Cults prey upon people who have reached low points in their lives and offer them something to ease the pain. I guess that is why we find them in parking lots or going door to door .
78: If you have children who haven’t left with you then make sure you keep regularly in contact with them even if you don’t get replies. Keep a copy of every correspondence whether it’s an email, letter, WhatsApp etc as you’ll need these if you go to court for access rights. Also inform your children’s school to advise you wish to still be involved in your children’s education.
79: As a Christian leavung the Brethren I can say without a doubt, the absolute BEST advice we ever got was to get a different translation of the Bible. (Sydney Ward’s advice) As brethren we are conditioned to think any other translation is evil, but we also know that the JND is so very hard (nearly impossible) to understand. There ARE people who leave and are starving for moral help as well as there are people who leave and want nothing to do with it ?
80: Don’t be taken in by promises they may make if you go back.
81: Be patient with yourself. It will take time for things to feel normal, and they’ll feel weird/bad in lots of unexpected ways along the journey. Find yourself a tether to reality outside the cult (researching the facts about it, connecting with others who have gotten out, whatever works for you). That will help you hold strong against the old patterns of thought, guilt, shame, fear, etc.
82: Turn on Mormon Stories and listen to how people have gotten out and thrived.
83: 1. Keep researching, find others who quit the Mormon church on social media. 2. Get therapy from someone who knows about cults and get support. 3. The shunning part is painful from friends who you have none for years be strong 4. No it’s ok to feel angry shame guilt and to express these emotions unbelief of church history and leaders 5. It’s important to make friends outside the cult to when your transitioning I had no friends outside the Mormon church and had a breakdown when I left make sure that you find a tribe you feel safe and comfortable with be kind to yourself no that being a Mormon and in a cult it will take time to deal with the rules and regulations the cult controls it’s members ???
84: You’ve never made a wrong decision/choice in your life. You made the right decision/choice for where you were and how you preceived what you wanted. It may not have worked out well or as you planned, but that’s how we learn to be more specific.
Thinking or being told you make bad/wrong choices is a tool of manipulation to envoke guilt, ultimately to make you lack self confidence … This is blatant coercive maneuver to gain control and have you relinquish your will…
There is nothing wrong with you finding your own way to live your own life… Freedom aways, ENJOY!
85: Keeping records and documentation, photographic records, etc. are very important as lying and bullying is a way of operating by a certain ‘church’.
86: Find others like yourself so you can have a tribe while healing.
87: Seek a community of those who understand. Talk with a trained cognitive and behavioral therapist. Failing that, talk with a trained counselor who can guide your thinking and assist with the deprogramming process. DO NOT seek out a counselor who is still a part of the cult you are escaping.
88: Get professional therapy. I was surprised how many therapist have experienced and training on this.
89: You have the power to set yourself free. You hold the key not anyone else. Use the key to open the door and go where you want to go to become who you want to be. Get quiet listen to your heart and soul speak. Don’t look back. You are free.
90: Specialized Therapy.
91: You were made to judge your community, well, they are mostly just regular people. Some good, some crazy, some amazing, join and become a part of your community. Register to vote, there are people who really want positive change. Help out, volunteer, give blood. Go to a play, go to a bar. I am a bartender now, im glad I finally can see what “worldly” people do and say, come to find out, I’ve seen more love at the local bar tgan a kingdom hall!
92: Find Jesus for yourself , with new eyes , you’ll need him more than ever to comfort and guide you ,I wish I had done this when I left ,instead I ran as far as I could in the other direction, in other words “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”…..he will heal you !!!!
93: Don’t look back, move ahead!
94: Go do things that are fun. Talk to different people so u can see not everybody is a”wog”. Like you’ve been told. Stay out of comm with the scners. Spend time with your family, find ways to enjoy yourself.
95: Get good and sound based mental health help immediately.
96: Dont look back.
97: Don’t reject everything the cult offered, reject only the bad parts.
Question: How do they know what we’re the bad parts? Usually they’re so brainwashed it’s hard for them to know.
Reply: Great point, well, I figure there is usually something they liked about the cult before it went bad, like for me in Scientology I was taught to enjoy another’s friendship and share good times. That was before we were made wrong for not supporting EVERYTHING about scientology. I know it is hard to leave a cult and I did go through a lot of turmoil but once I sorted the garbage out I am now quite calm and life is infinitely more enjoyable! Took me about a decade to shed the final dregs and honestly still occasionally find concepts to look over before deciding the value of it.
99: Seek the truth of the real world. Embrace your freedom to think and make your own decisions.
100! Get the book Cult Escape! (non-coercive caveat; if you are inspired to).
Hi, John here, I’ve been adding these excellent pieces of advice, wisdom and experiences to this Help Page.
Congratulations on getting this far down the list. I had no idea I would get so much response from so many people who have been through the wars, traumas and deaths that comes from leaving a cult.
Thank you to all who kindly contributed to this list. As this is on the Cult Escape website that I created, I shall take the liberty of shamelessly (I’m free from shame nowadays) plugging the amazing book that I wrote called Cult Escape, my full story of my 22 years and the 6 1/2 years in two religious cults.
Here is my best advice to you. Get Cult Escape today because it is written with you in mind. You will be able to relate to many of the same principles that I was coerced to live through; the rules, the regulations, the laws, the indoctrinations, the awkward times, the false authority, the punishments, the boredom, the restrictions, the separations from loved ones, the struggles at school and work, the secret desires to escape, the guilt, the shame and the rebellion and the plan of escape leading right up to my first tipping point after 22 years.
My two kid-in-a-sweetshop wild years came next before, yes, back into the frying pan, another cult for 6 1/2 years! I had not learnt my lesson the first time. The rest of the book draws on the last 24 years of reflection, the psychology, massive healings, letter to my parents and my old friends still inside the cult, ‘how to escape the cult you are in,’ deep scrutiny and exposing of cultic control, cultic coercion and a bold legislation proposal, all ending with a conclusion that, I’ll tell you now, is that the answer to this crazy journey of man-made religion and abuse….. is love. Oh you’ve got to read it! Love really is the only hope for us all.
So before you carry on reading this list of help and advice, order the book/eBook now. It’s an International Best Seller in the UK, US, and Australia and here are the links to make it easy:
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101: Move on with your life and find something that excites you.
102: Find friends that were not involved. Locate great healing and help in cult exiting. And most important find something to replace your activites so that you no longer associate what you are doing with your past. Forgive yourself, never blame yourself. You deserve healing.
103: When leaving a cult it is common practice to seek therapy, however these recovery groups are cults themselves. I would suggest take life slow by yourself.
104: Look at the Aftermath stories, and see that you’re not alone. It may be confusing at first, but be patient with your healing. Exercise, talk to friends and people who are supportive of your freedom, and want to see you heal.
105: Don’t ever go back.
106: You will meet people in your everyday life that have left. Ask them about there experience! We are happy to talk because we know how hard it is to change your whole world. Sharing experiences help not just you but them to validate that again you are never alone. It isn’t just people online that have left.
107: It just takes time and a lot of time.
108: The best thing I ever did was walk away from my TBM family members. The worst thing I did was try to let them back into my life when they asked. Mind you this is after both my parents died. My parents understood and never pushed me to be in the church.
109: Forgive yourself for being deceived.
110: Allow yourself to vent; give yourself time to process a myriad of complex emotions. Be good to yourself-do not blame yourself. Realize that you made the smart decision not to stay in the Morg. Rejoice in the fact that you are now free from a money-grubbing faith. And do go grab that cup of coffee-that either may be your first or before you turned LDS. Either way-happy sipping:)!
111: Recognize that the chances of changing your family and it remaining intact is not likely. Doesn’t mean don’t try but recognize that you will likely change those relationships forever but freedom and living authentically is absolutely worth it.
112: Try your genuine, original laugh for a change.
113: Healing takes time. Love yourself.
114: They’re vulnerable. Surround yourself with friends for protection; literally, emotionally and psychically.
115: You are not alone!
116: Counseling and support group.
117: Don’t repeat the mistake, don’t go back.
118: Never look back!
119: Love life!!! Don’t let the past ruin your future. You are lucky!! You got away!!
120: Have a few good “spotters” to make sure you don’t go running headlong into bad relationships and bad habits.
121: The best advice… Hmmm… Take time to get used to things on the outside.
122: Breath in your freedom deeply.
123: I would not give any unsolicited advice and if solicited it would depend what was asked, an ex cult member needs to learn to think freely.
124: DO THE WORK!!!! Leaving isn’t enough. You have to get it out of your head, even if you feel like it’s going to kill you. We have so many exjw family members who just left, but didn’t research, didn’t do any critical thinking, they just had the attitude that ‘Oh well, it’s just not my thing’, but they still subconsciously lived by the same rules as the cult. They’ve wastes decades because they didn’t do the work. There’s nothing worse than losing your whole family, but still thinking that you’re a piece of trash who deserves to die.
125: Patience… with yourself.
126: There are people here for you.
127: Get professional help!
128: Get a therapist and stay single for at least 6 months.
Reply: Or 6 years lol…. Being in a cult makes you suck at relationships. It takes a looong time to figure out how to do it right.
129: Prepare to understand that unlearning things can be just as or more important than learning them.
130: Let them know that these’s support groups out there, and they’re not alone! ❤️❤️
131: ealize that your going to still have moments but they will pass. Work hard on inner peace that will help. ??
132: Enjoy life to the fullest never let anyone control you like that ever again.
133: Try to find a therapist that deals with coming out of a cult. They know what to expect and will guide you back into society. Good luck.
134: Don’t switch one religion for another. I’ve know so many that jump out of one organized religion to another. Take time to breath. Its ok not to be part of a “group”. Find yourself, take up a hobby, volunteer…pay it forward, change the world!!
135: Do not go back under any circumstances.
136: You were in a very special learning community about things Kings and Priest have wanted to know throughout the Centuries. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Go to E-watchman.com the watchmans post and read his book to make sense of it all. And enjoy your freedom to stay home on weekends and weeknights.
137: Therapy… live saving…
138: Go to therapy, if you can find a group of cult survivors, it could be a big help. I’m a Marine Veteran who served and I can’t tell you how much group therapy helps. All I can tell you is that it does help. When you can vent to people who understand what you’re going through, it helps you deal with things. I know it helps me. I suffer from PTSD, anxiety and depression. I see a psychiatrist on top of going to group. It would be a great benefit to you.
139: Find your tribe. One of the comments I see a lot of is about being lonely, and many want to go back to just for family/friends. Find people you can talk to, go out with (once lockdowns are lifted), do stuff with. I found mine before I left, made it much easier.
140: It wasn’t your fault.
141: Have a drink, chill, think about it. then get on with life!
142: Cut all contact with anyone from that cult for at least 90 days. And please get counseling. You need a support system to encourage you to not go back.
143: Talk about it. Find a good therapist you can tell the whole story too. It will likely take years, but therapy is worth it.
144: Don’t let anyone tell how how to feel or really anything. Do you, your way. It’s freaky trying to figure out who you really are and what you like and what you believe. But it’s also liberating and awesome. I’d say develop a new hobby/vice, something mormons aren’t allowed to do.
145: Give yourself at least one year, free from anything. Then slowly explore your world view.
146: Don’t think you can change anyone’s mind.
147: Now you can start living. You’ll still experience challenges in life, but do not for one second attribute it to your leaving the cult. And each person’s journey is different. Travel yours. Also, create a strong network of people who’ve left until you feel strong enough to face the world on your own.
149: Find others who have left cults or join a support group. It helps tremendously to talk to others who’ve experienced cult abuse.
148: Be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to process your experiences in the cult at your own pace. Know that you’re not alone and their are MANY others who have had similar experiences and are also recovering.
150: It’s not your fault, you didn’t do anything wrong, you are worthy, and you are not alone.
151: Enjoy your freedom save your money it’s yours and no one else’s.
152: In time you’ll come to realise that some of the decisions you made were not altogether your fault, you had a need and they knew how to take advantage of that need.
No one will ever get to the end of their life without at least once saying “Well that ended up being a Waste of Time” for something they’ve done. The thing is to look back on it as a lesson learned, and move on.
153: Celebrate the small things and enjoy the simple things eg talking to a friend outside of the cult walking in the sunshine and dance a little even though you may be bad at it.
154: Don’t join another one.
155: Run don’t walk and don’t look back!
156: Have a break up party then go get some professional reprogramming!
157: Be patient. You’ve gone from having ALL the answers to realizing just how little you really know. It’s going to take time. Embrace the new journey you’re on. It’s going to be ok. A hard day in the world will always be better than a good day in the cult.
158: Find an ex cult member who is years into recovery and ask them to sign post you to organisations and books and talks and therapists. ??
159: Find a group that helps people who have been in cults. Back in the 90s when my ex-wife and I got out, we found a support group like that. It helped. Not sure if they are still around.
160: Get a support group!!
161: Educate yourself. Read everything you weren’t allowed to read while in the cult, everything having to do with the history of the organization, mind control techniques, healing.
162: It gets better.
163: Remember the religion has no real power. Their power is invented by them. Be free!
164: Research Research Research !!!
165: Do not be afraid to ask questions. If something doesn’t sound right, don’t simply accept it. Research everything you come across.
166: When I left the organization in 1979, I have found it helpful to just keep doing as much research as I could to find out where the errors were. Each error I found made me more convinced that I had done the right thing.
167: Find basic safety (shelter, income, food etc);
Find a hobby;
Find something to do that connects you to your body;
Find information (about psychology/philosophy/sociology, cults, Trauma, other perspectives);
Find out about the world.
Write/record your thoughts/musings;
Find social support/company (especially people with respectful boundaries, proffessional support, former cult members);
Be gentle on yourself.
168: Remember that your initial reactions to any circumstance has been molded by a cult— be patient with yourself as you rebuild neural pathways that support critical thinking. It will be hard at first — take a philosophy class to help bridge logic.
169: If possible position yourself to relocate, take online educational or fun continuing adult education courses, and align yourself with people who actually engage in fun, helpful activity something other than just talk-talk. Rediscover your favorite things to do, return to forbidden hobbies. Leah Gannon Bryant’s comment is accurate the only “power they have is invented by them.” This is artificial authority and manufactured power.
170: Question everything
Do not join another religion on the rebound
Research JW’s to death
Build your own family.
171: Move away from the community and start a new life. Also, get some help in the form of counseling or a new best friend.
172: You are not a sheep. you are not lost. You are a human being. Let that be your mantra.
173: Depending on what is needed, look for government services, many are there to help get back on your feet. It would also be a good idea to seek group counseling as it will give you some connections as well people to contact when you need the support.
174: I’ve been in therapy over past 10 years. Cult therapist are the best or for being in an abusive relationship, you should look at it like that. They abused, brainwashed, fear mongering, control of EVERY aspect of our lives. It takes a hell of a lot of courage to escape that life, and longer to heal from it. Stay busy, stay strong, stay positive.
175: Reframe in your mind what was taught to you. Like the Bogart in Harry Potter, look at it as something absolutely ridiculous. Make fun of it. Poke holes in it. See it for what it is: teachings of power hungry men/women and nothing more.
176: Breath deep your mind is your own!
177; Don’t be ashamed! Get some professional help! It’s gonna be a rough ride but trust me…. You are NOT alone!!
178: I would say, take it easy about jumping into things as it will take a little while to learn who you really are. Its sort of like in the Matrix when the One woke from the computers and was like why cant I use my body, its because you never used it before and you have to learn how!
179: Seek out a therapist immediately to help you transition into the real world.
180: Don’t join a new f’n cult…..
181: First decompress and give yourself time to find out who you are, none of it is your fault.
182: If you’re feeling scared don’t go back. The first step of leaving is the hardest, but now is the time to embrace the things you love guilt free.
183: Take a personal finance class or teach yourself.
184: You need to develop a *very* robust bullshit meter. Everybody does, but it’s going to be especially hard for you as an Ex, because you’ve been fed pure bullshit about *everything* (science, medicine, music) for your entire life.
Any new thought or information or claim should be considered suspect until you’ve thoroughly investigated it. Learn to distinguish between reliable sources and nonsense sources. Be aware that the world is full of people who’s only job is to break your BS meter, and they’re good at it. They will fool you sometimes. Don’t’ be discouraged, just adjust your meter and move on. Maintaining and improving your meter is a life-long endeavor. And it’s great fun to dig in and discredit those who are spewing BS.
When someone proves you wrong, try to embrace it. It’s difficult at first because we all like to be right about everything all the time, but try to adjust your attitude to “Cool! Now I’ve learned something new. Thanks!” It’s difficult to do at first, especially with your background, but it can be done and it will make your life better.
Do NOT go on a search for The Truth. Everyone offering you The Truth is trying to rip you off, usually with nonsense. I’ve seen people escape this cult and end up in a different one, convinced that they’ve finally found The Truth. Poor bastards.
Instead, search for *facts*. Solid, reliable facts. Once you’ve gathered all the available facts, you know the truth (in lower case letters.)
Get obsessed with something, and devote too much time to it. It doesn’t matter if it’s collecting baseball cards or playing the guitar or watching Dr. Who. Obsessions are not only fun, but they’ll put you in touch with other people who share your obsession. It’s a great way to make friends. (Don’t become a Brony, though, because they’re ‘effin ridiculous.)
When you find something to obsess about, look around for groups and charities and non-profits who are looking for volunteers. It’s a great way to make new friends.
Reverse Disfellowship everyone in the cult, *especially* family members. Refuse any contact. When they attempt to contact you respond with a request they never contact you again. Otherwise, they will make you miserable trying to drag you back. You don’t need them. Discard them the way they discarded you and your life will be much better.
185: Be patient. Be forgiving. Not necessarily for or to others; but to yourself.
186: It will exciting at first but you will have strong emotions later – but you did the right thing.
187: Therapy to help you shorten your recovery time. I didn’t and it took me 10 years to beat depression.
188: Yes, talk it out with fellow survivors, like me.
189: It doesn’t define you. It will always be a part of your history but it should never make you feel bad.
190: Seek therapy to work through and sort.
191: Get Therapy and be patient with yourself and kind.
192: I suggest connecting with other EX-JW who have learned to live healthy happy lives. And therapy is also good depending on how long you were brainwashed. I am always willing to help, been out over 30 years.
193: Find purpose in life or make one…because idle minds are prey for any cult.
194: LIVE YOUR LIFE NOW!
195: Keep going in the direction you left, the only way to happiness is that direction!
196: Congratulations, get a good therapist and never look back! And I am proud of you because it is not easy to leave this cult.
197: Be kind to yourself!
198: Forgive yourself, start your new path you are free.
199: Question everything‼️ Seriously even looking up at the sky at night…the borge told us those were stars, just burning rocks of nothing. Watched NOVA the first time and my mind was blown that those are whole galaxies full of planets like earth and very well have life.
200: Research how the doctrine changed over time which is clear indication that YHWH’s spirit did not direct them. It was man’s thoughts masquerading as truth. The more you find out the better you will feel.
Take off the watchtower glasses when reading the Bible.
201: Don’t feel guilty, and don’t join another cult!
202: Create a new circle of friends. Get closer to work colleagues, maybe people you recently went to school with (if applicable, if you’re a younger person), any friends that you had outside the cult, make an effort with them etc
203: There is a foundation calle Recovering from Religion . They should try it . With that said , the first thing the person will need is community . One must also strengthen their mind . I recommend a channel on YouTube called Telltale , it talks about “high control groups” ( cults).
204: Hang tough. Run and never look back.
205: Live your life. Don’t become a prisoner of your past. And remember, none of those people have power or authority over you. They are not above the law! Please don’t wait for ‘Jehovah to take care of things.’ Tell the the cops, tell the DA, if that’s part of your experience. You’re not just helping yourself. You may be preventing it happening to another child!
206: DON’T GO BACK!!!
207: Take advantage.
208: Surround yourself with someone/or a group of people who support you, preferably someone who left the JWs.
Knowing someone who exited before you will give you confidence and encouragement to start figuring out what YOU believe.
My daughters went before me. I have been able to mother them and befriend them in ways I never would have been able to if we had stayed. We have our scars. But we take one day at a time. You’re free! It’s YOUR time now. ♥️??♥️
209: Separate yourself completely from any active jw. They only cause drama and try to make you feel like shit. Ive been out 31 years now. The last 5 I’ve had no contact with my jw parents. It’s been the best 5 years of my 31 out.
210: Educate yourself. I read every word of
211: Enjoy finding yourself.
212: Dont feel guilty.
213: Live life to the fullest..
214: I think the thing I needed to hear when I escaped was “it will take a long time to recover”. I still find myself having to shake off the brainwashing since I was born in.
215: Read a lot from other people that pass through that same cult.
216: Investigate and that things that make afraid to look, face it and discover for yourself if is true all the things that they programmed you to not look or investigate about it, don’t be afraid to put something in doubt. That it’s a path that will make you free (the beginning of a long walk). It’s hard but not impossible.
217: It gets better.
218: Replace that devotion you had for the cult and whomever the leader was with Jesus Christ he will help you through anything. God bless.
219: Keep going forward and don’t look back!
220: When you meet someone new, shut up about your past. Don’t put your business in the street.
Reply: Thats an interesting take. I have found that when I actually tell people where I came from, what happened, how I came out of it, they actually have such deep respect for me and how I made it through to life and am even half normal.. they become life long friends. But I get that not everyone is comfortable doing that.
221: Research everything you think you believe.
222: Don’t look back❣️
223: Have patience with yourself. It takes time to see it through .
224: It’s ok to mourn the life you could have had. Waking up made me resentful of time wasted and chances I missed out on. Let yourself be a little angry about the time, freedom, and opportunities that were robbed from you. Acknowledge those feelings. Don’t bitterly cling to them, but do let yourself feel them.
225: “Try to get back in contact with family and friends, first of all. Take a deep breath and get your bearings.”
226: Tell yourself Truth isn’t afraid of scrutiny, Make sure of all things.
227: Think of Adam and his beautiful wife’s religion… NONE????
228: Take your time. Nothing is so important right now other than you.
229: Take time to do research, don’t get to angry as I did as I discovered more lies from watchtower.
Love your family and keep them with you to have support.
It is quite emotional rollercoaster ride.
Give yourself time to process things.
Take care of yourself. Xx
230: Follow your heart, achieve your goals. Be happy.
231: Life will be good if you want it to be good, learn how to let go and make effective choices.
232: Two part advice from a current Christian and former JW: 1) Always remember that YOU ARE NOT IN THIS ALONE!! You are loved, and you are worthy of living a happy, fulfilling life. 2) Rediscover **your own** relationship with God and Christ, unencumbered by the Watchtower Society. I made the mistake of disconnecting from faith completely, and it left a giant, bitter void. I was so afraid of the angry God that was portrayed my whole life, and that there was only one way to worship, which was heavily controlled and measured by a group of people in NY. But don’t be afraid of that unique and personal spiritual walk. DO be afraid of people and organizations that try to diminish and control it. I believe that is another intentional side-effect of the Society’s heavy indoctrination; not only do they aim to separate you from family/friends, but from God as well. My two other close family members who left have nothing to do with Christianity at all (we just agree to disagree). But if you’re like me and need God in your life (just not in JW form), dive right in, because guess what? He loves you, and he’s just happy you’re home safe. ?
233: Use positive affirmations and meditation. Make friends but be careful who you tell about your cult you left because a lot of people have used it against me instead of being supportive.
234: Clear your head of all the brainwashing. Go back in history to before JND. Get an NIV Bible, still keep God in your life.
235: Question all beliefs to see whether they are yours, your parents or your programming.
236: Enjoy your freedom.
237: Don’t ever go back. EVER.
238: Talk about it – a lot and remember you’re not elite and never were.
239: And never ever,let yourself be conned into doing something you really don’t believe is right or true by somebody stamping and shouting and waving their arms about ‘setting on’ somebodies agenda.Tell ‘em to take a hike( especialy if they talk funny)..we didn’t and paid dearly for it…’shoulda,woulda,coulda’..quoth the raven,never more…but one thing I did get out of it was backbone.
240: Try to connect to all the people the cult wanted you disconnected from.
241: Take your time to decide how much of your upbringing should be discarded and how much is worth keeping. Don’t let anyone press you to decide in a hurry. It’s none of their business.
242: Take one day at a time as you are getting reacquainted to yourself. Same I would suggest to someone leaving an abusive relationship.
243: Separate what was bad from what was good. Cults have a strong deep black or white view. I left my cult when 51% was bad but never rejected the good points I was attracted to. It is the best way to rebuild your life.
244: Don’t allow the men who call themselves elder to intimidate you. You don’t need to answer their questions or attend their hearings. Just walk away and do your research. Your life is none of their business.
245: Go to school. Get a good education and learn how to think critically.
246: ‘The difference between a religion and a cult is what happens when you leave.” Mike Rinder “NO one’s family should be torn apart because of a belief system.” Leah Remini.
247: Always have an escape route for the times when things can seem overwhelming. I stayed in my home city so at least sounds and smells were familiar and I knew the layout of the place. Carrying a taxi fare for a quick escape from sticky situations went a long way to reducing anxiety when confronted by new experiences. When I did have to make an exit I would excuse myself calmly then when home, think about why I felt out of my depth and how I could improve the experience. This way I managed to avoid losing confidence altogether and staying at home . Go easy on alcohol and avoid illicit drugs.
248: Not doing anything in a hurry would be my advice.
Are you trapped in a religious cult? Were you once part of a cult? Do you need help? The following list are resources that can offer experience in helping people with challenges you may be facing. Why not make some enquiries? Keep your hope alive, nothing is impossible.
CULT INFORMATION CENTER
Address: BCM CULTS, London, WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: 0845 4500 868
CIC is a charity providing advice and information for victims of cults, their families and friends, researchers and the media. CIC was founded in 1987 and became a registered charity (No. 1012914) in 1992. It was the first charitable organisation, established in the United Kingdom, focusing critical concern on the harmful methods of the cults.
CIC is concerned about the use of deceptive and manipulative methods used by cults to recruit and indoctrinate unsuspecting members of society.
CIC believes that these cult methods present a threat to the well-being of the individual and the family.
Consequently CIC sees the need for gathering and disseminating accurate information
Families Against Cult Teachings
Families Against Cult Teachings and abuses, Inc. (F.A.C.T.) is a secular 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and educating about destructive high-control / high-demand groups, as well as providing victim support services in the United States and abroad. We are also the only non-profit of our kind fighting to rescue victims from cults and working to hold these abusive groups accountable for their actions through law enforcement and legal action.
International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA)
International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) provides information on cults, cultic groups, psychological manipulation, psychological abuse, spiritual abuse, brainwashing, mind control, thought reform, abusive churches, high-demand groups, new religious movements, exit counseling, and practical suggestions for those needing assistance.
Fighting For Me, Inc
www.fightingforme.org Free professional counseling to anyone affected by sexual abuse. Send a request for a counselor on the Contact page of Fighting For Me. The founder, Amanda Zarate, personally advocates for each brave survivor who reaches out. She happens to be an ex JW but services are offered to everyone and counseling is not specific to leaving JW or any other cult.
Fighting For Me: Overcoming Sexual Abuse & Becoming the Person I was Meant to Be https://www.amazon.com/dp/1687087539/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fab_OjFHFbFX83834
Catalyst is a registered charity set up in 1995 to offer help, assistance and counselling to people who have been damaged by religious groups or abusive relationships. We also address other problems that are faith, philosophical or relationship based.
Such issues include:
Problems arising from an individual’s conversion to a faith different from other members of their family
Cultural problems where two people from different ethnic or religious backgrounds wish to marry
Clients who have issues with their religious upbringing.
Individuals who have had problems with abusive religious and therapeutic groups (i.e. *cults, new religious movements and sects) or abusive relationships.
Catalyst as an organisation has no religious beliefs or objectives and is willing to work with clients from any religious or ethnic backgrounds, firmly maintaining an individual’s right to believe in whatever they so wish.
However, it is clear that under the auspices of religion or therapy many groups can be abusive and damage people financially, medically, psychologically and socially. This often entails breaking up families and damaging individuals’ careers whilst costing them substantial amounts of money.
Cultwatch is a para-church organisation made up of people from different Christian denominations.
(Para-church means not founded, owned, or controlled by any one church group.)
Cultwatch’s two main aims are to help the people trapped in the cults and to warn people about the cult danger before they are ensnared. Cultwatch is a Christian based organisation dedicated to helping people from all walks of life.
How to Get a Family Member Out of a Cult
Do you have a family member who is in a cult, such as Scientology? This is a personal story of how I got my sister out, and how you can attempt to do the same.
Glenn helped get his sister out of Scientology when they blocked communication with family in the early 1980s. This is his story.
EXIT AND SUPPORT NETWORK
Aiding Former Members and Survivors
Worldwide Church of God, Philadelphia Church of God & Offshoots
Many have suffered emotionally, psychologically and spiritually as a result of involvement with a deceptive, authoritarian group that focuses on end-time apocalyptic events and claims to be “God’s one true Church” with “God’s truth.”
If you are seeking to understand what happened, need recovery info, or if you have a loved one inside, then we trust that you will find these pages helpful in unraveling the lies and propaganda, while furnishing validation, encouragement, and hope for recovery.
How To Select A Cult Expert
Leaving a cult
Many make it out by themselves, or with the help of friends and family.1
Others need intervention and/or follow-up counselling — from cult experts, for instance.
The Cult Education Institute
The Cult Education Institute (CEI), which was formerly known as the Rick A. Ross Institute of New Jersey, is an Internet archive of information about cults, destructive cults, controversial groups and movements. CEI is an educational nonprofit tax-exempted charity and an institutional member of both the New Jersey Library Association and the American Library Association. The CEI online library, which was first launched in 1996, is constantly under construction and expanding to include new research and information. The archives contain thousands of individual documents. Within the CEI files you will find news reports, research papers, court documents, book excerpts and personal testimonies, all carefully organized within hundreds of specifically titled subsections. There are also links to additional relevant research resources.
Encourage Survivors of Cults and Abuse
EnCourage was set up in order to offer support to those who have left a cult, abusive group, one on one cult or been spiritually abused (called former members). This includes first generation (joined or recruited) and second/third generation (born and or raised).
Whilst Encourage has a wide range of aims (set out on this page) we are only able to offer one service at this time (when funds allow) which is to subsidise counselling for those who cannot afford to pay. Counselling can be subsidised if the former member is seeing an already approved Service Provider (ASP). This ASP will have been approved by EnCourage and thoroughly checked (counselling accreditation a requirement).
Freedom of Mind Resource Center
Since 1976, Steve has helped people with destructive cults, mind control, brainwashing, parental alienation, estrangement, unethical hypnosis, abusive relationships, human trafficking, multi-level marketing, violent extremism & other forms of undue influence.
ex-member support & recovery
coaching and consultations on how to help someone who may be in danger
non-coercive interventions using the Strategic Interactive Approach
individual recovery sessions
week-long intensive healing sessions, locally in Boston or on-location as requested.
(temporarily down) This is a resource available to assist leavers of the Exclusive Brethren. They can help find assistance in the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, United States, Wales.
The site also includes a library with lots of up to date information, historical articles and testimonies of people who have left.
How to Leave a Cult
It’s not always obvious when a group is a cult, and by the time you realize you’re involved with one, getting away can be difficult. While no group or organization admits to being a cult, you’re probably dealing with one if you are not allowed to ask questions, make your own decisions, or disagree with the leader. Anyone can get pulled into a cult, but not everyone has the courage to leave and rejoin mainstream society. You can escape a cult by planning your getaway carefully and finding ways to recover from spiritual and emotional abuse.
Cult Escape, is not responsible for any of the sites linked in to this website, nor for their opinions or any result or outcome of having looked at or contacted those sites.
Thinking of Leaving (Booklet) Download here: