Thursday, January 29, 2009

Post-Cult After Effects: Decision-Making and Independent Thinking Difficulties

In the beginning, I will point out again that not all the ex-members of cults and abusive churches experience all the post-cult after effects. It is normal to experience only some of them. If you did not notice that you experienced some post-cult after effects, do not try to find them out in your experience. You may never experience them.

I personally have never experienced decision-making difficulties after leaving. I experienced independent thinking difficulties only in religious matters and did not experience them in other matters. However, I know that some people experience these problems.

It is well known that cult leaders require submission and suppress critical thinking, questions, and disobedience. They make their followers dependent on them in their thinking and making choices. Some (not all) of the ex-members of cults after leaving have difficulties with independent thinking and independent making decisions. They tend to take uncritically what they are told and follow anything that looks like instructions for them even if they do not want to follow these instructions. They have a tendency to rely on somebody else to make decisions for them and to think for them.

In principle, they can rely on anybody - their parents, relatives, friends, bosses, and so on. They even may rely on their therapists or counselors. Since their therapists or counselors, as they think, help them a lot, they may consider them as authoritative and respectful people who they can trust to make decisions for them and take their words uncritically. This may be quite dangerous if the therapist is not very ethical person. One of the types of cults is therapeutic cults that are formed by therapists who use unethical methods in their counseling. Of course, many things depend on the therapists. However, clients of any therapist do not need to take uncritically everything that they are told and should not trust in their therapist that he or she will make decisions for them.

Free mind and free will are wonderful things. Everyone has a right to use his or her mind to think independently and critically, make his or her own conclusions, and have his/her own ideas. Everyone also has a right to make his or her own decisions instead of following others' instructions.

There is one thing that frightens some people in making their own decisions. They are afraid to make a mistake. However, everyone sometimes makes mistakes. This is normal. The people who some ex-members of cults tend to trust in making decisions, also make mistakes sometimes. There is nothing wrong in making mistakes.