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Vol. 2, No. 1 -- January, 1998
SHATTERED HEARTS Archive of Past Issues


Ask yourself these questions:

blackball.GIF Are you frightened by your partner's temper?

blackball.GIF Are you afraid to disagree?

blackball.GIF Are you constantly apologizing for your partner's behavior?

blackball.GIF Do you have to justify everything you do, everything you say, everywhere you go, or every person you see just to avoid your partner's anger?

blackball.GIF Does your partner put you down but then tell you that he/she loves you?

blackball.GIF Have you ever been hit, slapped, kicked, shoved, or had things thrown at you?

blackball.GIF Do you not see friends or family because of your partner's jealousy?



doll.JPGAntisocial Personality Disorder. Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Psychopathic tendencies. Crazy.

These are all terms that you will hear the professionals to the layperson use when discussing the person that is abusive in a cultic relationship or even the cult leader. Just what do these terms mean? How do these descriptions actually compare to the person that is abusive? The following excerpts from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fourth edition (DSM-IV) have been provided as a reference point.


Psychological & Sexual Abuse in a Cultic Relationship

continued from previous issue
DoveWell, this is it folks. The final chapters to the book that my former partner wrote about the trip across the United States.

I know some of you would consider that what I went through as not the norm -- how many people undertake something of this nature in their lifetime, right? But if you look behind the excitement and the drama you will find that the very nature of how a cultic relationship is set up in this book.

Article temporarily under construction due to threatened legal action. continued....

Freedom and Recovery from Cults and Abusive Relationships


By Madeleine L. Tobias and Janja Lalich, summary by Pamela Fitzpatrick

Chapter One, Summary - The Cultic Relationship

The one-on-one cult is a deliberately manipulative and exploitative intimate relationship between two persons.

In the one-on-one cult, which we call a cultic relationship, there is a significant power imbalance between the two participants. The stronger uses his (or her) influence to control, manipulate, abuse, and exploit the other. It may even be more intense than participation in a group cult since all the attention and abuse is focused on one person, often with more damaging consequences.

Since the upsurge of interest in the issue of domestic violence, there has been to the link between mind control and battering. People who batter their partners sometimes use manipulative techniques similar to those found in cults. The most common include "isolation and the provocation of fear; alternating kindness and threat to produce disequilibrium; the induction of guilt, self-blame, dependency, and learned helplessness." The degree to which these features are present in a relationship affects the intensity of control and allows the relationship to be labeled cultic.

An abused partner is generally made to submit to the following types of behaviors:


Cults Have Scored With Youth, Now They're After You


hand.JPG Bluntly put, the cults see where the money is and it's in those retirement funds that mom and dad have been saving all those years. You won't get a phone call from your loved one about this happening to them because there is just way too much shame involved in being duped into the cult. Losing money is usually the least of the elder's concerns; they are more concerned in losing the trust and love of their children. So, the secret stays hidden.

The shame is that the cults actively recruit the elderly now, and they use methods that prey on the fears of getting old and being alone. Hopefully the following articles will open your eyes up to this concern and maybe encourage you to keep in contact with that person that means so much to you. Be it Aunt Clara and Uncle Joe or your own mom and dad these people deserve to know that we are there for them.

Lets keep the cults from knocking on their door. Spend time with Aunt Clara and Uncle Joe -- call mom and dad. Guaranteed this will make it that much harder for the cults to become involved in their lives.

The first article is linked with permission of Grand Times. It is entitled "Cults Not Just for Kids," written by Beth Niestat.

The second article is "Let Us Prey," written by Catherine Collins and Douglas Franz, Modern Maturity, June 1994. Copyright to: American Association of Retired Persons 1994.

Cults have changed the focus of their attention from young people to older people. The most obvious reason for the shift in attention is the wealth older people have accumulated. There are as many as 5,000 cults operating in the US, with an estimated one million members over the age of 50.

Abusive Relationships


bookpile1.gifThese books and more are available through's bookstore.

blackball.GIFStraight Talk About Cults by Kay Marie Porterfield: "Written in a clear, straightforward style, Straight Talk about Cults explains in detail how the thinking and behavior of average people can become so twisted by cult leaders that their lives end in tragedy. It is the most complete resource of its kind, giving teens the factual information they need to understand what distinguishes cults from small religious groups and 'fringe' political groups. It also examines the possible dangers and/or complications of joining a cult and provides resources where young people can go for help and further information. Published by Facts on File, it is part of the Straight Talk Series."

blackball.GIFCommunication, Cognition, and Anxiety by Melanie Booth-Butterfield: "Adding to our knowledge concerning anxiety and anxiety-related constructs, this unique volume uses diverse research perspectives to explore the interrelationship of communication, cognition and anxiety. Two major aspects are emphasized: how cognition and communication are altered by anxious arousal and how the cognitive thought process acts to enhance or diminish anxiety."

blackball.GIFTo Be An Anchor In The Storm: A Guide For Families and Friends of Abused Women by Susan Brewster: "This is the first hands-on guide for assisting a friend or loved one in her struggle to escape the cycle of domestic violence. A survivor of battering herself, the author has counseled abused women for over a decade. Weaving together lessons from her own life and many case histories, this compassionate book will teach you to recognize the signs of abuse, handle your own negative feelings, become an effective advocate, deal with the batterer, and so on."

From the
Editor's Desk


sun.JPGWhen the cultic relationship ended it was like my life was still on hold. I was still modeling my behavior as if I was still in the abusive relationship. I was isolating myself and still not taking care of my needs (physical or financial). I had come to believe heart and soul the lies that I was told by my former partner about what kind of person that I was.

Sometimes a person in the recovery process from a cultic relationship will not deal with "real life" for years, as was true in my case. It is almost like my life was on hold until I could trust someone enough to care about me and be in my life.

Recovery does not occur in a vacuum -- the abused have to get back into the world to even begin the process of recovery. Otherwise the victim of abuse will continue with





star.JPGThis is your place to tell me what you would like to see in future issues, discuss what has worked for you in your recovery process and let me know if I did good (hey, it's nice to know!)

I also would like this to be a place for what isn't getting discussed regarding cultic relationships -- how you feel if you are seeing your loved one in such a relationship. Or share with us what is working. All postings will be anonymous if you request and will not be stored/saved once posted.

These are just some ideas to get us started here. Email me at Pam Fitzpatrick

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Have you or someone you know ever experienced the following by a boyfriend, husband or intimate partner?

  • name-calling or put-downs

  • isolation from family or friends

  • withholding of money

  • actual or threatened physical harm

  • sexual assault

These are examples of domestic violence, which includes partner violence, family violence, spouse abuse, child abuse, battering, and wife beating.

This violence takes many forms, and can happen once in a while or all the time. Although each situation is different, there are common warning signs - "red flag" behaviors - to look out for, including those behaviors listed above (see Section 4 for a list). Knowing these signs is an important step in preventing and stopping violence.

In this booklet, we will focus on domestic violence as partner violence, defined as violent or controlling behavior by a person toward a partner, usually a wife, girlfriend, or lover. Although the partner is the primary target, violence is often directed toward children as well, and sometimes toward family members, friends, and even bystanders in attempts to control their partner.

Approximately 95 percent of the victims of domestic violence are women. However, violence also happens in both gay and lesbian relationships. and in a small number of cases, by women against men. 4. Warning List This list identifies a series of behaviors typically demonstrated by batterers and abusive people. All of these forms of abuse, psychological, economic, and physical - come from the batterer's desire for power and control. The list can help you recognize if you or someone you know is in a violent relationship. check off those behaviors that apply to the relationship. The more checks on the page, the more dangerous the situation may be. Emotional and Economic Attacks *Destructive Criticism/Verbal Abuse: Name-calling; mocking; accusing; blaming; yelling; swearing; making humiliating remarks or gestures. *Pressure Tactics: Rushing you to make decisions through "guilt-tripping" and other forms of intimidation; sulking; threatening to withhold money; manipulating the children; telling you what to do. *Abusing Authority: Always claiming to be right (insisting statements are "the truth"); telling you what to do; making big decisions; using "logic." *Disrespect: Interrupting; changing topics; not listening or responding; twisting your words; putting you down in front of other people; saying bad things about your friends and family. *Abusing Trust: Lying; withholding information; cheating on you; being overly jealous. *Breaking Promises: Not following through on agreements; not taking a fair share of responsibility; refusing to help with child care or housework. *Emotional Withholding: Not expressing feelings; not giving support, attention, or compliments; not respecting feelings, rights, or opinions. *Minimizing, Denying & Blaming: Making Light of behavior and not taking your concerns about it seriously; saying the abuse didn't happen; shifting responsibility for abusive behavior; saying you caused it. *Economic Control: Interfering with your work or not letting you work; refusing to give you or taking your money; taking your car keys or otherwise preventing you from using the car; threatening to report you to welfare or other social service agencies. * Self-Destructive Behavior: Abusing drugs or alcohol; threatening suicide or other forms of self-harm; deliberately saying or doing things that will have negative consequences (e.g., telling off the boss).. * Isolation: Preventing or making it difficult for you to see friends or relatives; monitoring phone calls; telling you where you can and cannot go.. * Harassment: Making uninvited visits or calls; following you; checking up on you; embarrassing you in public; refusing to leave when asked.. Acts of Violence * Intimidation: Making angry or threatening gestures; use of physical size to intimidate; standing in doorway during arguments; out shouting you; driving recklessly.. * Destruction: Destroying your possessions (e.g., furniture); punching walls; throwing and/or breaking things.. * Threats: Making and/or carrying out threats to hurt you or others.. * Sexual Violence: Degrading treatment based on your sex or sexual orientation; using force or coercion to obtain sex or perform sexual acts.. * Physical Violence: Being violent to you, your children, household pets or others; Slapping; punching; grabbing; kicking; choking; pushing; biting; burning; stabbing; shoots; etc.. * Weapons: Use of weapons, keeping weapons around which frighten you; threatening or attempting to kill you or those you love.. from "Domestic Violence: The Facts" - A Handbook to STOP violence (courtesy of Peace At Home (formerly Battered Women Fighting Back), Boston)

Cults come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Categories of cults that are recruiting successfully today include:

Eastern meditation: characterized by belief in God-consciousness, becoming one with God. The leader usually distorts and Eastern-based philosophy or religion. Members sometimes learn to disregard worldly possessions and may take on an ascetic lifestyle. Techniques used: meditation, repeated mantras, altered states of consciousness, trance states.

Religious: marked by belief in salvation, afterlife, sometimes combined with an apocalyptic view. The leader reinterprets the Scriptures and often claims to be a prophet if not the messiah. Often the group is strict, sometimes using physical punishments such as paddling and birching, especially on children. Members are encouraged to spend a great deal of time proselytizing. (Note: included here are Bible-based neo-Christian and other religious cults, many considered syncretic since they combine beliefs and practices). Techniques used: speaking in tongues, chanting, praying, isolation, lengthy study sessions, many hours spent evangelizing, "struggle" (or criticism) and confession sessions.

Political, racist, terrorist: fueled by belief in changing society, revolution, overthrowing the "enemy" or getting rid of evil forces. The leader professes to be all-knowing and all-powerful. Often the group is armed and meets in secret with coded language, handshakes, and other ritualized practices. Members consider themselves an elite cadre ready to go to battle. Techniques used: paramilitary training, reporting on one another, guilt, fear, struggle sessions, instilled paranoia, long hours of indoctrination. -- Captive Hearts, Captive Minds, Lalich and Tobias, Hunter House, 1993.