Being Under Cult Mind Control is a Psychological Disorder - Steve Hassan

by flipper 89 Replies latest jw friends

  • flipper

    Thought perhaps some newer members who haven't heard some of Hassan's thoughts on mind control might relate to this from their own experiences in Jehovah's Witnesses . Even though mind control is initiated by the cult involved in controlling it's members - Hassan points out - it actually becomes a psychological disorder which can entrap the victim himself or herself - all the while - as they are being controlled by the leaders of cults.

    On page 55 of Hassan's book " Releasing the Bonds - Empowering People to Think For Themselves " it states what happens in a destructive cult , " In a destructive cult, the locus of control shifts to the group or it's leader . The new recruit abdicates his ability to make decisions. A pseudo - identity is created which suppresses the authentic self and surrenders control. Individuality is submerged, and free will subverted . People are kept in the dark, and the very processes that influence them are made to seem mystical or spiritual. Access to any contravening information is cut off. " So people mentally turn off so to speak and surrender their decision making processes to the cult leaders. Very dangerous.

    Hassan continues, " Cults consistently manipulate the elements that form an individual's identity , including important beliefs , values, and relationships. Cult mind control dissociates a person from his authentic identity , and makes his new cult identity dependent on the group. From a mental health perspective, cult mind control splits elements of an individual's psyche into another distinct personality. The cult member actually comes to exhibit symptoms of a " dissociative disorder " , as defined in the diagnostic manual for the American Psychiatric Association ( 300.15) the " Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders " copyright 1994. His behavior can also resemble that of a person with a dependent personality disorder. "

    Hassan goes on to say that cult members are expected to get new friends, new family, new styles of dressing - many things of your former life are compromised to " fit in " so to speak to be accepted by the cult. Many of us on the board here have found that after exiting the Jehovah's Witness cult - in just a few years our minds think more clearly, we think freely, we have re-gained our critical thinking ability again- as well as our individuality ! It's a great feeling. But it takes work to get that back.

    So how about you folks who have exited the witnesses ? What do you think about Steve Hassan's thoughts here ? Whether you havenewly joined the board or are an long timer here - have you noticed a difference in your clear thinking ability as years go by outside the witness cult ? As always I look forward to your comments. Peace out to all, Mr. Flipper

  • choosing life
    choosing life

    In other words, you are assimilated. Yep, that's exactly what happens.

    The biggest difference I have noticed since leaving is that I give myself PERMISSION to think and give my heart and gut reaction a lot of attention. I believe you have to give these processes over to the group to assimilate.

    I recently had a conversation with a jw and they were astonished that I dared to decide for myself how I felt on a moral question. They thought it was haughty of me to believe in my perception on the subject.

    I am surprised there are not more jws with schizoaffective disorder, or maybe I am just not aware of the true numbers. After all, you have to stuff away your real thoughts and assume two personalities at times.

    Dependent personality disorder sounds like it would serve a jw well, especially those who get most or all of their validation as a witness drone. I always thoughts of Bethelites as being institutionalized, same as cos, dos, missionaries and anyone else that depends on the borg for a living.

  • OnTheWayOut

    The new recruit abdicates his ability to make decisions. Let's see what the Watchtower Library says before we decide what to do about our personal life.

    People are kept in the dark, and the very processes that influence them are made to seem mystical or spiritual.Try to read about how the 'anointed' know they are anointed, how the Governing Body is 'spirit-directed' and how the light is getting brighter.

    Access to any contravening information is cut off.Members cannot read information from former members.

    I read Steve Hassan's first book, COMBATTING CULT MIND CONTROL, before I read anything by Ray Franz. I have since read RELEASING THE BONDS. CCMC was very powerful in that it was not at all about the JW's but still fit the JW's very well. Although larger than most cults in the USA, the book helped me see that WTS was just another cult using standard tactics. (Figuring out how and why they came to use such tactics is a long debate that many of us don't even agree on, but it's very valuable to see what the WTS has done.)

    RTB is excellent for making a plan to help a family member still in the WTS. It's a long haul and may not be successful, but it's a sound plan. I have not gotten my wife out, but I continue to reach her non-cult personality and help her to think for herself.

  • Finally-Free

    The JWs don't even try to hide what they're doing. There's the constant nagging to "strip off the old personality and put on the new personality". As someone who was recruited in my mid twenties, I can say that surpressing my "old personality" was a constant struggle. It was compounded by the fact that the JWs never really accepted me as one of them. As a JW I was socially isolated and always felt like I was on the outside looking in. No matter how hard I tried, I could never really be one of them - an equal. I was often angry at the JWs for going door to door looking for converts they really didn't want, expecting us to throw away our lives and loved ones and offer nothing but an emotional vacuum in return. After my first few years as a JW I stopped going to my "return visits" because I didn't want them to fuck up their lives like I had done to mine. I kept a few WWII vets that I visited regularly. They were old, alone, and had a lot of interesting things to talk about. Needless to say, I didn't talk cult shit to them.


  • GLTirebiter

    I recently had a conversation with a jw and they were astonished that I dared to decide for myself how I felt on a moral question.

    They thought it was haughty of me to believe in my perception on the subject.

    Compare this to how healthy parents behave. The most important thing parents teach their children is how to make good choices in new situations they encounter, how to think about and make moral choices when nobody is there to guide them and when nobody is watching. When the moral and ethical training takes hold, there is no need to worry about the decisions they will make. Sure they will make some mistakes, but those will be corrected, and are greatly outnumbered by the good choices.

    Good parents want their children to grow into adults who will stand on their own feet and be capable of raising children of their own. The Watchtower "mother organization" won't let go. It wants them to remain dependent and helpless forever. Cults and dysfunctional families have that in common.

  • mostlydead

    Supposedly, making their own decisions and choices is what got Adam and Eve into trouble. Humans don't have the ability or the right to decide what's good and what's bad, only God does. God uses humans to convey his thoughts to other humans. If you accept all this, it's the perfect set-up for abdicating your thinking ability to a man-made organization that claims to be being used by God.

  • flipper

    CHOOSING LIFE- Exactly, good point. A person gets assimilated into the group or cult and hands over desicion making to the cult. Or in essence- the cult TAKES the decion making process away from people. Like yourself I follow my heart and gut instincts more since leaving the witnesses. Seems to work good.

    OTWO- You've done a good job in being patient with your wife for sure ! As you state it just takes time. The WT society does try to keep their members under information control from not finding out anything negative about the organization. Thus they keep them in more uniform control that way.

    FINALLY FREE- Good points you make. I always felt like a odd man out as well inside the witnesses as they couldn' t stand my " independent " spirit. Then finally that independence assisted me to break for my freedom.

    GL TIREBITER- Very true what you say about good parents training their children to make desicions on their own as there will be a gradual growing up process in regards to the freedom coming our way. But good parents don't make their adult children Co-dependent on them . But the WT society practice makes people dumbed down where they are extremely co-dependent and have no where to go but witness ville . So they get stuck.

    MOSTLY DEAD- Yeah- that was another teaching I disagreed with in the JW's - that man couldn't direct their own steps . Thought it was a bunch of hogwash. So once again God tries confer to these people that they are inherrently hopeless and will not be able to follow their own trust in their hearts. So essentially they rip a person's heart out due to control

  • finding my way
    finding my way

    Hi Flipper :0)

    I'm now reading CCMC upon your recommendation and agree with you and OnTheWayOut that it fits the JW's very well. I've been putting pieces together for a bit now and it's helping me put even more together. Being raised in seems especially boggling because I don't have a pre-witness life to reference. My life began being manipulated and controlled. I can really identify with the symptoms of a dependent personality disorder. I feel like I've come a long way but I know that most of my life I've had trouble making decisions, I've felt devastated after relationships end and can be very hurt by criticism. (symptoms I found when I googled it) I wrote in a different post that I once called up an older friend when I was in High School and asked if we believed in Dinosaurs!! How ridiculous is that?! But if he would have said "No" despite the evidence, I would have believed it. So, if I couldn't make up my own mind on that than you can imagine what other decisions I left up to them.

    I saw a therapist last year who helped me gain some confidence. I went initially for marital issues that I pretty much blamed on my husband and I ended up realizing I had some real issues. I eventually realized they were coming, not only from being disfellowshipped but from being raised in such a demanding religion. I have a tendency to be really hard on myself and I have a difficult time realizing when I'm being hard on myself or allowing others to take advantage of me. When we started talking about my disfellowshipment, my feelings about being rejected by the religious leaders I had always trusted and my strained relationship with my Mother, she helped me to see that my incites are usually on point and that I should listen to that voice that I never listened to before because it was "bad".

    I'm starting to hear that voice pretty clearly now and I really like it. I felt like a bad person for SO LONG because I wasn't as "good" as sister so and so or whatever. I finally feel like maybe I am a good person. "Gosh darn it. People like me!" LOL I've had such a great opportunity to share all my feelings I've stuffed on this site that I'm getting tired of my sappiness.

    I still feel anxious about being rejected and I second guess myself quite a bit, but it's getting less and less.

    p.s. I think it's strange how I could have such a lack of confidence in myself and yet so confident in my religious beliefs... weird. I now feel like I should be very cautious when it comes to forming concrete religious beliefs. There so many different views out there and who am I to know what's "truth"?


  • lifelong humanist
    lifelong humanist


    Many congratulations, Mr & Mrs flipper, on your recent 3rd wedding anniversary!

    I think that you've done a great job here by highlighting the excellent work done by Stephen Hassan in his 2nd powerful anti-cult book.

    On the advice of leavingwt, I bought it and read it carefully. I also bought his first book. My reason for doing so was to help my JW wife get out of the cult. So far, I'm having reasonable success, but nothing concrete as of yet - I think it'll take a longer time than I expected.

    Anyone that is still associated with JWs, and has the courage to read this book, will soon learn that they are in one of the world's most destructive cults. The reader will soon identify with all of the hallmarks identified therein. I sincerely hope that the tips the author suggests will enable many JWs to make a speedy exit and start building a more meaningful , new life free from the JW mindset!

    lifelong humanist

  • MidwichCuckoo

    The WT has manipulated its 'members' into believing they are 'safe' within the Organisation. It's almost like a mass hypnotic state (which is ironic really, as JWs are fearful of hypnotism as a form of mind control)

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