1. You are no longer at war with your old way of making sense of the world, with their adherents, or with yourself for having been one of them.
2. You no longer feel threatened by the beliefs you used to have in the ‘cult’.
Those beliefs do not feel poisonous or toxic to you any longer. You are much more able to evaluate those old beliefs of yours objectively for their strengths and weaknesses. They are like any other book you’ve ever read.
3. Your old cult probably used this one against you as a critic or whistleblower, a tactic which provokes an ex-cultist’s apostasy against them: You’ve taken responsibility for your own choices you’ve made in your life, and the ways you’ve responded while you were in the “cult” and while you were leaving.
You have NOT taken responsibility for the actions of others, such as those who lied to you to recruit you. Their lies are their own responsibility – not yours.
But you have taken your own responsibility for never researching or even questioning those lies before you swallowed them, and made them part of your own belief system.
A person who has ‘recovered’ from his past cult involvement has spent the time and energy necessary (many years) to understand why he made the choices he made, and took the actions he took.
This seems to be the hardest for those whose parents introduced them to the “cult”. Many can never stop blaming their parents for their own decisions to stay in the cult – long into adulthood – even though an overwhelming majority of their “2nd Gen” peers left long before they did, or never got involved in the first place.
There are so many benefits for ex-cultists to blame others for their lives that many anticultists will never be able to get out of this trap.
Nonetheless, taking responsibility for your life decisions for your own participation in your old group is a sign or symptom of recovery.
4. You can easily tell the truth about your old cult.
“Truth” is defined here as “both the good and the bad”: You don’t have to lie about your cult any more.
A cultist will say that ‘there are so many good things in the cult that the bad part doesn’t matter.’
This is a lie.
An anticultist will say ‘there are so many bad things in the cult that the good things don’t matter.”
This is also a lie.
A very important sign or symptom of cult recovery is that you no longer have to lie about your cult.
5. You are no longer fooled by the mistakes in reasoning that the cult taught you.
For instance, in the cult of Scientology, you learned to use the label of “Suppressive Person” on certain people who you are mad at, have opposed you, or who criticized you or your group.
This label of Suppressive Person is also used in Scientology politically to discredit their enemies.
You are no longer fooled by this type of cognitive distortion tactic.
But you are ALSO not fooled by this tactic when it is used in mainstream society with labels such as ‘narcissist’, ‘sociopath’, or ‘psychopath’.
Labels give you the feeling you understand someone when you absolutely do not.
This is only one mistake in reasoning that cults, and other groups, even mainstream groups, teach. There are many more.
This sign or symptom of recovery from a cult occurs when you have learned your lessons from leaving the cult – and just because those same mistakes are practiced in mainstream society – your aren’t fooled by them, either.
You’ve learned your lessons from leaving a “cult”, and you’ve retained that learning, no matter what.
6. You are no longer manipulated by “never-ins”.
The hardest thing for a human being to understand is someone else’s cult.
By long experience, the majority of anticultists – when they are a fervent activist against a cult they were never in – are do-gooders and fanatics from other belief systems.
They have a very skewed & entirely negative view of the cult you used to be in, and no personal experience of what they are talking about.
When you first get out of your ‘cult’, these never-ins seem to be giving a dose of reality to you that you were missing. But if you observe closely enough, you’ll begin to see inaccuracies in their statements.
And when you correct these inaccuracies of theirs, if your correction makes it seem beneficial to the cult, they will accuse you of “going back into the cult” or “you can take the boy out of the cult, but you can’t take the cult out of the boy” or some such negation – rather than just admitting their inaccuracy.
If you scratch the surface on most of these people, you will commonly find that they are fanatical Jews, Christians or Atheists. They have an ideological agenda which makes them indifferent to being accurate, and completely against telling the truth about the cult if that truth is benignly in the cult’s favor.
If an ex-cultist has truly recovered from being in his cult, he can see the ideological agendae of Never-Ins, and is no longer fooled by it.
7. You have spotted and exorcised all the installed phobias and nocebos you swallowed.
Both cults and anticults install phobias and nocebos as a means to control the thinking of their members.
For instance, the cult Scientology installs the phobia that if you’ve been exposed to the Xenu story before you paid for it, you’ll catch pneumonia and die.
As well, anticults install the nocebo that if you adopted a spiritual or religious belief that runs counter or alternatively to mainstream beliefs, you have been ‘brainwashed’ and thus brain damaged by holding those beliefs.
>>>A sign of recovery is that you realize that holding any belief can not cause brain damage.<<<
And just like the engrams that L Ron Hubbard told you you have in your mind – which you no longer believe are there – you also don’t believe you have been “brainwashed” simply because you held beliefs for a while that only a minority in society hold.
The nocebo of “brainwashing” can be more damaging than any installed phobia from any cult.
And when you are free of this canard, it can bring huge therapeutic relief.
8. You understand ideologies and belief systems as entities unto themselves. You understand that they are ways humans use to make sense of the world.
As an Ex, having lived through the colossal struggle of watching one or two of my ideologies, ways of making sense of the world, collapse on me, I now realize I can pick and choose from any ideology I like, and I can craft my own worldview that satisfies no one but myself.
I hope you can see this for yourself, too.
These are the signs and symptoms of Cult Recovery