No one ever thinks they'll end up in a cult, but that's how they get you in the first place. One moment everyone is hanging out, singing songs, passing the pipe, then the next thing you know you're way in over your head and someone just handed you a cup of electric green Kool-Aid that does not smell right. It's time to get the heck out of dodge.
Unfortunately, it's not always easy to escape a cult, and sometimes you need to be prepared in order to extricate yourself from a sticky situation. The next time you find yourself in a little too deep with a group of leery-eyed cultists, refer to this handy list to find out how to get yourself out of there.
Pack Light For Your Great Escape
Whether you're living on the organization's premises, such as a compound, or living on your own, it's best to pack lightly. Take only necessities with you. Your driver's license, a new cell phone, cash, and the like. Place all of your items in a bag and keep it out of sight to avoid the risk of someone finding it. If you feel you're not putting yourself in danger by leaving, you can let them know you're no longer interested in being a member. This can be done in person, over the phone, or by email. You do not have to give an explanation for your leave. If you do not feel comfortable telling them about leaving, you are not required to do so. Further, if it is a situation where you are scared to go, let alone speaking to them about it, you could contact the police for help. It's essential that you do not give anyone your contact information. Make arrangements to leave in whatever way works best for you. Have family come pick you up, take a taxi a bus, or rent a car. Avoid using credit cards or anything that could disclose your new location. Make sure you're unlisted in the phone book.
Be Prepared For Backlash From The Cult
Some cults will go to great lengths to avoid losing members or become fearful of people speaking out against their group or making any kind of negative comments. Some survivors will find themselves being harassed and or threatened. Be sure to keep note of all of this and as hard as it may be, do not let them intimidate you. Whether they try to bring you back through manipulation or scare tactics, or they simply kindly reach out to you in order to talk you into coming back, do not give in. Cease all contact whenever you're able to.
Begin Keeping A Journal And Document Your Contact With Group Members
Keeping a journal after your exit from a cult could prove to be very therapeutic. Write down your experience within the cult and the things you went through while you were a member. Additionally, if members of your former cult try to speak with you, write down those exchanges. It's always a good idea to have a record of things in case law enforcement becomes involved, or if you just want to remember your experiences. Maybe you'll decide to write a book later in life and try to help others who have been through the same thing. In this case, your journal entries will be beneficial.
Take Care Of Yourself And Your Emotional Needs
Whatever the cult fulfilled for you in life, it's time to find that satisfaction elsewhere. If it was a religious community and you want to keep your faith, try finding a new church. Do your research online about the congregation and speak to members. If anyone or anything makes you feel uncomfortable, move on to somewhere else. If it was just feeling a sense of belonging, then try looking for community programs and clubs. Discover a new hobby like pottery classes, painting or yoga. It is also essential to see a therapist or counselor; they can help you to integrate back into society after a potentially traumatic experience.