Cult groupthink or am I just ridiculously sensitive due to a need to fit in and be accepted?
Are you or have you been an integral part of a closely knit group, to the point where it influence really personal choices? For instance, being a part of a faith-based group that eschews make-up and upholds natural as the “correct” choice? Certainly not a rule of the group, it’s just known, it’s the culture. For example, I love make-up, it satisfies the girly-girl in me! Yet, for years, I chose (no guns to my head) to mostly forgo this choice. Why? In order to fit in and not be looked down upon for my different choice- to be accepted.
Remain True to Self
I never consciously chose to become like ‘them’ instead of remaining true to myself – but now that I am out from under the influence – wow the freedom to be me is exhilarating! Never, will I give up part of myself again to ‘make’ anyone like or accept me. From eating choices to clothing and basic personality traits, groups of all sorts have unspoken rules. And really, most are not bad, per se. On the contrary, my response, well – that’s unhealthy. At any rate, I know now, but I didn’t see it when I was in the midst of living it.
With an intense, truth seeking, forthright personality it is odd to me to be recognizing all the ways I chose to”fit” in. See my article When Truth Offends.
Crunchy Mama Wannabe
Concurrently I wanted to be a ‘crunchy mama’, one who fed her family only organic, whole foods, always cooked from scratch with the best ingredients. This easily allowed me to feel bad when my offerings don’t meet that standard. Oh yikes. This is about me! Not “them!” I didn’t experience any rudeness over my less than healthy potluck offerings….yet, I still knew, I was not only letting them down, but I also allowed myself to believe I was letting myself down. Perfectionists are low hanging fruit for the grip of cult mentality. If we agree (whether we live up to or not) with the basic premises of a group of people we love, we will feel shame when we miss the mark. And, if we aren’t careful, we can begin resenting those holding forth the standard, even when we agree with it!
How people become sheeple
When people gather for a common purpose it is easy for groupthink and mob mentality to reign. It is easy for the majority to believe strongly in its own righteousness, simply due to the power of numbers. Fellowships and other groups need to be wary of judgmental attitudes and critical posturing.
Frugality – another important trait expected and revered in our experience. Yes! I can be that! No problem, being frugal is good – yes, I try to be that too. Not always worrying about money is considered foolish – another area I allowed groupthink orientation to keep me under its not so pretty thumb. No, I actually don’t want to win any kudos for being frugal. That’s actually a personal area – and I want to live life and make memories while the making is good. Am I suggesting frugality is bad? No! Absolutely not! But judging one another on this subject is unacceptable.
Been There Done with That!
My cult mentality days are in my past now. I live each day, being me, and making choices based on my beliefs, understandings, current needs, etcetera. No more groupthink for me!
Choices that are only your business, (not your best friends, not your pastors, nor any group):
- medical stuff
- beliefs and how you walk them out
2 thoughts on “Cult Mentality? Been there. Done.”
Very well said…..Thank you for sharing!
It’s a hard concept to really grab hold of! At least it has been for me! Blessings!