Showing a Loved One You Care
Why are people drawn to groups like Love Has Won, and what keeps them involved? How can we maintain open lines of communication with those we care about without sharing the same beliefs? Who can we turn to if we are concerned for the safety of a member? Find out more here.
This video released by TedTalk may help you better understand why a friend or family member became involved with Love Has Won or a similar group.
These blog posts were written with the hopes of offering a unique perspective into the thought process of a loved one involved in an unsafe group.
How to Talk to Someone Involved in a Damaging Cult - helpful tips from The University of Salford - Manchester:
"What do you say to them? How can you help? And how do you express your concern or surprise at their change of appearance or lifestyle and their utter devotion to someone or something that, to you, seems really crazy?
Try Not to Criticize
Think back to when you fell in love for the first time and got those disapproving looks or critical comments from your parents or friends. Remember how angry that made you feel? And how determined you were to love the person all the more.
The most important piece of advice is to not criticise, condemn or judge, even if you have serious concerns. Instead, focus on why this person identifies with the group so much, and what they believe they are getting from it.
Keep on Talking
This means you have to keep talking. Keep the dialogue going and help your loved one measure the group against their own hopes and standards. In time, the scales will start to fall from their eyes, and you can be ready for that moment.
Be a Caring Friend
This is where you come in again: be there as the unconditionally loving and caring friend or family member that you really are. Where the cult judges and condemns its members, you will be there as the person who says:
Sure, it is a crazy destructive group, but I understand why you got involved. We all fall for con artists and swindlers once in a while – you still have a lot to offer and I can help you move on with your life."
When it comes to communicating with a loved one who is involved with an unsafe group, The Cult Education Institute says:
"Remain calm...investigate thoroughly and discretely discover as much information as possible. First, check the Internet, library and public records for specifics about the group/leader.
Be nurturing, loving and attentive, which may contrast with the treatment they receive from the group/leader. Don't rush to judgment. Remember that doing nothing is always an option. It is also crucial to maintain meaningful and positive communication and seek support from family and friends. Don't be negative and critical and remember, when in doubt, don't act. If you are not sure, seek out and gather more information.
...communication with the cult member is vitally important and should be ongoing. Hopefully, the group and its leaders will allow that communication and not interfere with any existing relationships. Most often when family and friends are not visibly hostile and remain at least seemingly passive--communication will be allowed.
Communication is absolutely essential for the following two primary reasons:
First, to demonstrate continuing love and commitment, which should remain intact regardless of cult involvement.
Second, because by communicating you can offer the cult member a link to the outside world, more accurate feedback and an outside frame of reference."
Read more here:
More resources to consult when dealing with a loved one in an unsafe group: