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Chapter 4:
The Role of the Family

A life is beautiful and ideal, or the reverse, only when we have taken into our consideration the social as well as the family relationship.

-Havelock Ellis

In the previous chapters, I have written to ex-cultists. In this chapter I hope to help ex-cultists by speaking to their families and those in a supportive role. (See Ross and Langone, 1988.) For additional excellent information, please review the Reference List. Much of the information in this chapter with some modifications will also be of great help to a spouse whose partner is involved with an excessive group.

The family is usually greatly relieved to have their loved one home. It's an adjustment for everyone. Months, often years, of anguish and fear are over. As in the return of the prodigal child, it is a time of great joy.

Not all families are fortunate enough to see the return of their loved one(s). The group may have isolated the loved one to an unknown place where no contact is allowed. Some families continue indefinitely to send letters knowing the letters are screened by the group's leaders. Most families learn early not to send money, as it is usually turned over to the group. These families can often benefit from professional counseling to help them cope with their frustration and despair.

Those families whose member leaves the group can be a source of great support and encouragement. Through the ups and downs of recovery, the family can be there with love and understanding, to listen and empathize. Years of strained communication can melt away as new memories of love and laughter replace the years of frustration and anguish.


Here are a few pointers which can help families provide a nurturing environment that simultaneously encourages independence:

(Balance of chapter commented out. Please consider purchasing the book from the American Family Foundation .

[TOC] [Title] [Author] [Endorse] [Acknow] [Preface] [Intro] [Ch 1] [Ch 2] [Ch 3] [Ch 4] [Epilogue] [Ap A] [Ap B] [Ap C] [Ap D] [Ap E] [Readings] [Bib]