Which Mistakes Can a Family Make in This Situation?
- When someone is expelled, we don’t know whether it occurred by his own wish or not, and whether she or he wants to get back into the community. In any case, it is not a good idea, e.g., to say: “It’s good that you are finally out of this community,” or something similar. Even if someone was excluded by his own wish, that doesn’t mean that he won’t defend the community. There are various reasons for this reaction.
When somebody is in the community, then parents/relatives/friends shouldn’t phone too often. That could provoke a total breaking off of contact.
- My mother tried, in our first conversation, to say something about cults, and I rejected it immediately, because “you’re not allowed to talk about the community as a cult.” Even though I didn’t say that to my parents, and I hardly explained anything to them, only saying that I don’t want to talk about it, they respected it.
Don’t receive the excluded person, only to deny forgiving him for the previous rejections.
Don’t deny that which is good and attractive about the community.
Don’t call the community a cult.
Don’t exert pressure, telling the excluded person what he should do.
As in other cases, when one has lost someone close (e.g., by death), one needs time and peace to grieve, and to think about one’s own life. But maybe she/he needs someone to talk to, someone who understands and helps him/her to find his/her own answer.
To fill the void which arises through the loss of friends, the excluded individual will (after a while) need new relationships and activities. And I think it’s good to suggest some things and to invite them to some things. But you should not insist on certain things too much, especially activities that could seem too worldly to the excluded person.
When I was in the group (and also in my previous group, before I joined the Holic Group), there was a time when my father wrote emails criticizing the group to me. He didn’t know much specifically about the group, but he expressed some general fears like being dependent on the group or the possibility of being a bad influences on several friends. If someone’s having doubts about the group, critical information could possibly help, but often such a thing is understood to be an evil attack, and leads to breaking off contact.
Also, after being excluded, especially at the beginning, one tends to reject criticism, and to think that the community is right. An excluded person potentially wants to get back into the group, or has no hope that he can live further with God, i.e., outside of the (Holic) community.