How to help

How to Help a Loved One

If you are concerned that a family member or friend has joined a destructive group, you would be well advised to get help before you confront the individual. 

Just keep calm and try to maintain normal behaviour. Do not become agitated or confrontational, and do not ask or tell him/her that you suspect s/he is in a cult, or that you believe s/he been brainwashed. Don not contact the group, but get some immediate advice on the phone and carefully plan and decide what to do next based upon that advice. No not let your loved one feel threatened by you; the last thing you want to do is chase him/her away.

Possible Warning Signs that an Individual has been Recruited by a Cult:

  • a sudden and radical change in personality
  • neurotic and psychotic tendencies
  • suicidal behaviour
  • the appearance of being distant and in trance-like state
  • a change in physical appearance
  • physical deterioration from poor diet, overworking, and/or insufficient sleep
  • a dramatic change from analytical to magical thinking
  • speaking using cult language
  • a spaced out expression and glassy stare
  • the giving away of money and assets
  • abandonment of hobbies
  • self-imposed isolation
  • preaching to family and friends
  • decreased physical contact
  • evasive, aggressive and defensive
  • sudden, unusual mood swings
  • secretive and withdrawn
  • display of poor judgement
  • a sudden interest in new information, books, websites
  • extreme sensitive to criticism
  • new friends and social group taking up all his/her time
  • emotionless and cold towards family and friends
  • the sudden, unexplained ending of a relationship
  • lost sense of humour
  • change in religious or political beliefs
  • drop out of school
  • sudden ending of a career
  • new diet

Please remember to consider taking advice before you raise your concerns.