What do I do? I think my loved one is involved with a cult.

If you’ve read the posts of my personal experience of Universal Medicine and have a loved one involved with this group, you may be freaking out. First, prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the time ahead.


If you’re feeling unwell or in a delicate state, perhaps withdraw and take some time out for a few days to get your bearings and improve your energy level.

Importantly, know you are not alone. Hundreds of loved ones of UM students read my blogs every day and have commented on from time to time.

Next step is to become informed. Universal Medicine’s websites are highly unreliable and propaganda laden, with Serge’s sycophants competing to make glowing praise of their master/paycheck. This blog may help as a resource for links to other Resources and News Reports. The first resource I’d recommend is the Rick Ross Cult Education website, an excellent site for arming yourself with pertinent advice and information. I’d start with the warning sign checklist that a group is harmful or a cult.

Followed by Coping Strategies. When confronted with the prospect that a loved one has become involved in a harmful group, your reactions may include confusion, frustration, disappointment and anger. The way in which you approach your loved one may have critical consequences. As Rick Ross says, ‘don’t panic’. Keep as calm as you can. Quoting from the page:

It is unwise to offer any response without first educating yourself—by specifically researching the group/leader in question, the general subject of cults and carefully considering what response best suits your individual situation. After this process of education you will better understand your options and can develop a practical strategy.

The ‘Coping Strategies’ page also contains good advice on how to communicate with cult members, so as to keep the lines of communication open. This is particularly important since group members can be extremely defensive about their involvement. Their cult personality may be very removed from the person you knew. Aggressive or highly charged emotional confrontations erode trust and good will and may make the follower hesitant to reach out at a later point when they may be ready to leave. Contributors from the forum thread on Universal Medicine also had a very constructive discussion on communicating with their loved ones in cult.

There’s also a section on the Rick Ross coping strategies page on pacing your response to your loved one when they begin to voice doubts about the group or their involvement. A cult member may perceive strong objections to their involvement as an attempt to control them, which may send them running back to the group. It may be a struggle but it helps if you avoid punitive speech, such as ‘I told you so’, and try to accept that your loved one will come around when they’re ready. If and when that time comes, they will need a lot of support to rebuild their lives. If you’re feeling too hurt to renegotiate and resume the relationship, perhaps have a friend, therapist or service you can refer them to.

My personal favourite book on this subject is Take Back Your Life, by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias. It’s comprehensive, well laid out, easy to read, non judgemental and features recovery strategies and real life accounts of damaging cult experiences and successful transitions to more healthy and satisfying lives. It was written by two women, both ex cult members. I’d also recommend Cults in Our Midst by Margaret Thaler Singer. From there you might consult with family or friends to devise a cool headed strategy for intervention. If that’s not possible, try to develop a plan for managing the relationship and your own wellbeing until your loved one decides to leave of their own volition.

Consider joining or forming a support group for loved ones of UM followers or joining the discussion here.

Finally, Universal Medicine has already damaged enough health, so please don’t become one of their statistics. A good part of the reason we’re running this blog is to minimize harm and assist everyone involved in making healthier and more autonomous life choices.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the situation and are experiencing poor health and extended periods of low moods, see a non UM affiliated doctor to discuss a plan for preserving your health.

Be sure you’re getting 3 meals a day and at least one snack of high quality, nutritious and maximally yummy food. I recommend eating an amount of protein (eggs, fish, meat, legumes, nuts) with each meal. Keep regular sleeping hours, but if you’re having difficulty sleeping at night, try to stay in bed and do a relaxation exercise. As you lie there, try relaxing each of your tense muscles one by one, then repeat as many times as necessary. Have some time in the day where you are not consumed by thoughts of Universal Medicine. Play the best music you’ve got or buy some new stuff, watch good movies, go to the theatre, play sport, exercise and keep fit, stay in touch with your friends and lean on your more reliable and trusted friends for support.

You’re welcome to chat with us here too.

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