I am working here with Steven Hassan’s* model to ask some questions to help people exploring the possibility of cultic energy in a group or relationship. See Hassan’s website www.freedomofmind.com or his book “Combating Cult Mind Control” chapter 4 for more information on his model.
To start getting a sense of the level of cultic flavor (or tendency) of a group or person I invite you to rate each of these questions on a scale of 1 to 10
- How controlling and coercing do you experience the “rules”** to be around your behavior?
**The word used for these requirements varies greatly…they all come down to what is acceptable for you to do.
- When you are within the group or with the person?
- When you are outside the group or away from the person?
- At work, school, home, other communities, or gatherings?
- How strict are the rules around your relationships?
- Around people outside the group or relationship
- Around people who have left the group or person
- How okay is it to look at outside sources of information?
- How okay is it to talk about outside information within the group?
- How are you/others treated if they do access or talk about outside perspectives?
- How much do they tell you what to think about yourself, the world, others?
- How accepted within the group is it to talk about what you think when it differs from what the leader teaches/thinks?
- How often are you told what to feel?
- How often are thoughts/information/behaviors tied together with specifically defined emotions.
- When you do or think ‘X’ you should feel ‘Y’.
- How okay is it to feel something different from these instructions or teachings?