The longer the indoctrination period, the longer a recovering survivor must work at recovery, and the less likely family members outside the cult organization can achieve any beneficial impact.
Brain washing or indoctrination can last a life time. It takes someone with the strength and ability to change attitudes and look outside the box and weigh up their beliefs and faith against what is the reality and what are the genuine facts from creditable sources. Very few who are brainwashed from childhood would be able to do this.
Either way, the brain has a thing called ‘plasticity’, meaning that it can add to, create, ignore, or bypass neural networks with time (and experience, thought). One thing is for sure in all cases, thought: it is harder to ‘forget’ something than to remember it. Can you imagine trying to ‘un-learn’ how to ride a bicycle?
And, unfortunately, a few conniving critically-thinking humans have learned to exploit that to dominate other humans, and do their all to prevent as much of humanity as possible to learn/switch to an autonomous (critical) thought that allows us to control, ourselves, our brain’s contents (plasticity).
You don’t need to be an expert, but you do need to know your enemy. In this case, the blocks and walls that have been placed in his or her mind, the ways they’ve been taught to mentally fight back against reason, etc. And be as kind as possible, though firm. It is a very hard thing to find out you’ve been brainwashed to any extent. And it takes a long, long time to deprogram. I don’t how long yet. Working on it though.
‘Brainwashing’ is such an overused word these days, especially by young people who use it to mean ‘to firmly convince someone of a view that is not like mine’ that I have come to dislike it. Children are not “brainwashed” or “indoctrinated”, they are raised, often by parents just like yours, in a certain environment.
This brainwashing is an integral part of the reason why certain children carry irrational hatred toward one of their parents, a prime indication these children have been victimized by one of their parents through the process known as “Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS).”
Though there are several definitions of brainwashing, I find the following Wikipedia article especially helpful and applicable for children traumatized by PAS:
“Brainwashing (also known as mind control, menticide, coercive persuasion, thought control, thought reform, and re-education) is the concept that the human mind can be altered or controlled by certain psychological techniques. Brainwashing is said to reduce its subjects’ ability to think critically or independently, to allow the introduction of new, unwanted thoughts and ideas into their minds, as well as to change their attitudes, values and beliefs.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brainwashing
More Advance Praise for Brainwashed
“An authoritative, fascinating argument for the centrality
of mind in what, doubtless prematurely, has been called the era
of the brain.”
—Peter D. Kramer, author of Listening to Prozac
“Brainwashed provides an engaging and wonderfully lucid tour
of the many areas in which the progress and applications of
neuroscience are currently being overstated and oversold. Some of
the hyping of neuroscience appears fairly harmless, but more than a
little of it carries potential for real damage—especially when it
promotes erroneous ideas about addiction and criminal behavior.
The book combines clearheaded analysis with telling examples
and anecdotes, making it a pleasure to read.”
—Hal Pashler, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and
Cognitive Science, University of California, San Diego
“Satel and Lilienfeld have produced a remarkably clear and important
discussion of what today’s brain science can and cannot deliver for
society. As a neuroscientist, I confess that I also enjoyed their persuasive
skewering of hucksters whose misuse of technology in the courtroom
and elsewhere is potentially damaging not only to justice but also
to the public understanding of science.”
—Dr. Steven E. Hyman, Director of the Stanley Center for
Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute of MIT and
Harvard and Former Director of the National Institute
of Mental Health
“There is a widespread belief that brain science is the key to
understanding humanity and that imaging will X-ray our minds,
revealing why we buy things and whether we are telling the truth and
answering questions about addiction, criminal responsibility, and free
will. Brainwashed is a beautifully written, lucid dissection of these
exaggerated claims, informed by a profound knowledge of current
neuroscience. It is essential reading for anyone who wants a
balanced assessment of what neuroscience can and cannot
tell us about ourselves.”
—Raymond Tallis, author of Aping Mankind: Neuromania,
Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity
Written by a cult survivor and renowned expert on cults and totalitarianism, Terror, Love and Brainwashing draws on the author’s 25 years of study and research to explain how almost anyone, given the right set of circumstances, can be radically manipulated to engage in otherwise incomprehensible and often dangerous acts.
This important book offers clarity and a unique perspective on the dynamics of these systems of control, and concludes with guidance to foster greater awareness and prevention. It will be essential reading for mental health professionals in the field, as well as policy makers, legal professionals, cult survivors, and their families, as well as anyone with an interest in these disturbing groups. Students of social and developmental psychology will also find it fascinating.
Mind control (also known as brainwashing, reeducation, brainsweeping, coercive persuasion, thought control, or thought reform) is a controversial pseudoscientific theory that human subjects can beindoctrinated in a way that causes “an impairment of autonomy, an inability to think independently, and a disruption of beliefs and affiliations. In this context, brainwashing refers to the involuntary reeducation of basic beliefs and values”.
In Children Held Hostage, Stanley Clawar and Brynne Rivlin use important new research involving over 1,000 families to demonstrate that children can and are being used by parents in the divorce battle. Their research shows how negative actions by parents toward their children show up in court proceedings where children testify or are questioned by mental health professionals. The major issue in confronting this problem of programmed and brainwashed children has been identification of a child alienated by one parent against the other; proving it in court; and then finding a solution that not only works, but that a court will buy into. The updated edition of Children Held Hostage explains these issues in detail, with practice-focused explanations on every step in the process. The authors offer further insights into gender issues and differences. Other new material includes a social-psychological profile of programmers and brainwashers; identification of the most commonly asked questions by judges, target parents, lawyers and children; an expanded social explanation to the causes, impact, and interventions; development of an abductor profile; charts to visualize key findings and processes; and much more.