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Seek First to Understand

by Brenda Lee

It’s important to understand why a loved one won’t have contact with you. Understand the group’s dynamics and how the group thinks as one mind. This means that you must research the group thoroughly and try to understand why your friend/relative wants to believe in this group’s mission/utopia/idealistic endeavor. What are the payoffs/downsides? What vulnerabilities does the group manifest? What doubt is your loved one secretly fostering—is he/she tired of the endless and non-climactic routine, the eternal carrot, the hypocrisy, the financial outlay, the disassociation from loved ones?

There is a common component in all relationships which Dr. Stephen R. Covey, cites as a good habit #5 in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It is: Seek First to Understand , Then to be Understood. Seeking first to understand can pay huge dividends in all relationships.

A caution, however, based upon my own personal observations: While you are researching your loved one’s high-control group, be careful that they do not indoctrinate you! Keep yourself grounded by reading books about thought/mind control and having your own support network. Remember that most people fall prey to cults because of some emotional need that isn’t being fulfilled. Think about it—what stronger emotional need do you have right now than to have your loved one back in your arms? Are you vulnerable at this time? You bet you are!

Lee is a regular bullet columnist who has appeared as a regular on the TV documentary The Secret Lives of Women “Cults” segments. She has written several pieces in our starting rotation but her first essay for the bullet was on Mothers Day “An Author’s Reflection on Mothers Day…” She overcame her mother’s (mis)using religion like a scalpel in a power-mad effort to break her will, only to write a powerful book of revelation and triumph.

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