What Never to Say to Someone Who Has Been Deceived


  • “Why did you take so long to leave?”
  • “You certainly are the last person I would think would join a cult.”
  • “You need to get into a good church.”
  • “Getting into the Word of God is your answer.”
  • “You need to repent of your sins.”
  • “You were in Satan’s clutches.”
  • “What do you have to be depressed about? You’re out, aren’t you?”
  • “There are people worse off than you are.”
  • “How could you have been so foolish? (or stupid)”
  • “I hope you’re smart enough now not to get involved in another cult.”
  • “Why can’t you just forgive and forget?”
  • “I don’t want to hear anymore about your former group.”
  • “Why are you continuing to dwell on this? Get on with your life!”
  • “You must have been weak spiritually.”
  • “You’re over-reacting.”
  • “Forget about those people! You’ll make new friends at a new church.”
  • “No one in your kind of group could be converted.”
  • “If you had just stayed in the Word, you never would have been deceived.”
  • Someone sent me one of HWA’s booklets and I saw right through it.” (Translation: “I am beyond being deceived, you weren’t.”)
  • “Are your children [that were raised in the group] saved?”
  • “Why give up on God? You’re the one that turned away from Him!”
  • “What do you expect? You caused your family to act the way they do toward you.”
  • “You chose to go into a cult.”
  • “Aren’t you glad you got out before you went to hell?”
  • “How could someone as smart as you, do something as dumb as that?”
  • “God told me to tell you…” (Really? Wouldn’t it be easier if He just told me?)

COMMENTS: Besides saying hurtful and patronizing words such as the above, Christians who have never been involved with an exploitive, deceptive, mind-controlling group can often appear “afraid” of the one that has just exited, being unable to talk to them beyond a few words. Others try to avoid the exiter, acting like something bad might rub off on them. Survivors can unfortunately be treated (at least, at first) as if they are “unintelligent,” “weird” or “fragile” and others may think they have to take special pains to try to “explain” something to the exiter or to “protect” them. They may even presume the exiter has the “wrong Bible” and try to offer them a new one.

Wood Thrush on branch
Wood Thrush

What a survivor needs most is for someone to listen to them and try to understand how the experience has affected them, without downplaying it. They have traveled down paths others have not trod and, as a result, have accumulated certain knowledge, insight, discernment, and strength that many others do not have.

By D. M. Williams
Exit & Support Network™




Also read:

How do I tell others I was in a cult? (Q&A)

How do I help someone recover? (Q&A)


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