The cult recovery paradigm of Ex-Scientology sets up a whole bunch of things you think you need to “recover” from because you were in Scientology. This is a dysfunctional view.
Paradigms are insidious things. They can hide all the assumptions and viewpoints and framing you are using to “understand” something. It’s always a good critical thinking exercise for Exes to develop the skill of stepping back and identifying what assumptions you are using to understand your previous spiritual pursuit.
The Cult-As-Sub-Culture Paradigm and the Process of Cultural Adjustment
Not as a metaphor for something else, not as a figurative ideology, but in concrete reality, cults are sub-cultures of the mainstream society around them.
Once you understand this, it’s clear that there is nothing inherently diseased or damaging about having been involved in one. For the overwhelming majority of people who leave these sub-cultures to re-join the mainstream society, there is nothing to recover from. To see your period of cultural re-adjustment as “recovery” is to weaken yourself, and to end up in disaster.
Being a member of a ‘cult’ is NOT a form of trauma
If you have trauma from being raped, or harmed in any way, then that very properly, should be treated. And your recovery is important to focus on afterwards. But to equate membership in a sub-culture as some kind of trauma that damaged you in the same way that rape does, and from which you need to recover, is very bad for Exes.
This way of thinking about membership in a sub-culture can weaken you, and it can hide the simple cultural re-adjustment period you need to engage in afterwards.
A great example of the kinds of things that are hidden by the dysfunctional cult recovery paradigm is the period of questioning an Ex must go through as he decides what he thinks about his previous sub-cultural beliefs and morals vs the mainstream society’s view of things.
For instance, in the sub-culture of Scientology, psychiatry is the root of all crime. It is a harmful pseudoscience to be avoided at all costs.
But in mainstream society, psychiatry is all they’ve got. It’s ideas and techniques are the way to approach mental problems and everything else is quackery and pseudoscience, including Scientology.
So who is right? Where, exactly, is Scientology correct and incorrect? Where, exactly, is mainstream medicine correct and incorrect?
The Cultural Adjustment Process After Scientology Requires Careful, Disciplined Examination
This cultural adjustment process is vital for an Ex of any minority sub-culture, or ‘cult’, who is re-entering the mainstream. You must approach these questions in a disciplined way, trying not to be too over-emotional. The hard part is when you find where Scientology was right – TO LET IT BE RIGHT.
Don’t just consider everything your former cult believed in to be a toxic disease. That can be hard to do for a while after getting out, but allowing yourself to stay over-emotional about your former “cult” can be very destructive – and itself can be a source of anxiety and depression for Exes.
If you have adopted the “cult recovery” paradigm, and assume that your Scientology belief in anti-psychiatry is something you need to “recover” from because it makes you damaged in the head, you miss the vital questioning and examination steps you need to perform to figure out what YOU think about these questions. A cult recovery ninnie will just swallow the mainstream view after Scientology. He will never come up in his own views. And he will get stuck with the results.
This process of questioning the mainstream beliefs and values vs your previous sub-culture’s values – and coming up with your own views – is not “recovery”.
It is a process of cultural adjustment that leads you closer to self-actualization. And it is one of the reasons I say that getting out of a cult is not something that you recover from, it’s something that you are strengthened by.
It is this process of cultural adjustment and questioning after Scientology that makes you stronger.
Believing that you were somehow damaged by your previous sub-cultural beliefs, and that every thought you had while you were a member is a toxic poison which you need to recover from, is exactly what damages an Ex more than Scientology ever could.