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How To Recognize The Signs Of A Cult: Protect Yourself By Avoiding Cult Membership

Nov 15, 2007
People go through life attempting to stay in a sort of psychological homeostasis. When they lose their sense of meaning or direction they take a path down a dark corner. There are a number of ways that people add meaning to their lives. Some people feel that their life should revolve around their profession. Others get a sense of significance from their chosen religion. Whatever the source of ones meaning a few things remain constant. They are the need for socialization, the need for meaning, and a need for core beliefs and convictions.

Many people in society fare well in the search for meaning. They end up being a productive member of society and of their social organization. They live with a healthy, practical, and human set of values and beliefs.

Unfortunately many people are also under the sway of personality cults, addictions, or life detrimental delusions. Why do people resort to joining extreme social groups or movements that fly in the face on realistic observation? The reason is that it is due to simple human psychological mechanisms.

Two things can happen when someone hits rock bottom in life. They can turn over a new leaf and take a better course in life or there failure spiral can continue at a rapid rate. It is at the worst negative turn that someone can be susceptible to joining a group such as a cult or violent organization.

When the human mind is in an extreme state of distress it can disconnect from reality and conscious control. Whatever is happening in the environment at this time can become ingrained into that persons psyche. In essence, when the mind gives up, it becomes subject to that which is impressed upon it. When the mind is weak it is less able to refute dishonest messages. It is at this point when indoctrination takes it strongest hold.

During World War II prisoners of war were often subjected to repeated indoctrination, making them disavow any loyalties they had for their homeland. Similarly cults conscript people who are down and out. At times of extreme mental duress people need something to believe in.

So how does one avoid getting into such a situation? The first thing one should do is realize that they are susceptible to joining a cult. This is important because the people who are most likely to join a cult are those who firmly believe that they would never join a cult. They feel that they are joining on their own volition. Therefore, one should remain wary of this attitude.

Second the person should know that their life has value. When someone realizes that their life has value they are more likely to nurture it. This means avoiding joining unhealthy social organizations.

Third, the person should be aware that their mental state could break down in the future and that by being prepared for such a situation they will be better able to combat any negative influences that try to take advantage of them at such a point.

Lastly, the person should accept themselves. This does not mean one should not acknowledge problems in life but it means that the person should accept their core self. Once they have acceptance they can look for ways to build their life upon it.
About the Author
Paul Barron works in the publishing field. You can visit his blog at http://pbarron.com/
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