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Word Count: 648
Why are some people so damaged by their cult experience while others walk away seemingly unscathed There are predisposing personality factors and levels of vulnerability that may enhance a persons continued vulnerability and susceptibility while in the group All these factors govern the impact of the cult experience on the individual and the potential for subsequent damage In assessing this impact three different stages of the cult experiencebefore during and afterneed to be examined Individual Differences Affecting Recovery Each persons experience with a cult is different Some may dabble with a meditation technique but never get drawn into taking advanced courses or moving to the ashram Others may quickly give up all they have including college career possessions home or family to do missionary work in a foreign country or move into cult lodgings After a cult involvement some people carry on with their live seemingly untouched more typically others may encounter a variety of emotional problems and troubling psychological difficulties ranging from inability to sleep restlessness and lack of direction to panic attacks memory loss and depression To varying degrees they may feel guilty ashamed enraged lost confused betrayed paranoid and in a sort of fog Before Involvement Vulnerability factors before involvement include a persons age prior history of emotional problems and certain personality characteristics During Involvement Length of time spent in the group There is quite a difference in the impact a cult will have on a person if she or he is a member for only a few weeks as compared to months or years A related factor is the amount of exposure to the indoctrination process and the various levels of control that exist in the group Intensity and severity of the thought-reform program The intensity and severity of cults efforts at conversion and control vary in different groups and in the same group at different times Members who are in a peripheral associate status may
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