When people think about cults, often they assume “I would never fall for that.” However, people don’t get indoctrinated because they are unintelligent. That’s what makes cults so sinister; they slowly get into the heads of very smart people. Their tactics are often emotional, such as undermining a person’s self-confidence and tricking them into becoming reliant on the cult. But it’s easy to think “it would never happen to me,” because it’s terrifying to realize that no one is immune to a cult’s psychological attacks. Especially with how well they hide their tactics behind compassion and appealing promises. 
But beyond the happy façade, the dark cracks begin to show after a while. Here are some stories about people who were raised in cults about the moment they decided to leave.
Why 15 People Left Their Cults
#1 When I couldn’t speak to my sister anymore
“When the ‘Elders’ told me that I could no longer speak to my younger sister anymore because she was in ‘bad standing’ with the organization. She’s the only family I have left. They made her out to be this monster just because she wasn’t actively going to church. That’s when the glass shattered for me“
“I was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and my sister and I are still close. She’s doing great things for herself and I do not regret my decision at all. Don’t let someone else make decisions for your life, you’ll be much happier!” – BananasAn69
#2 When they took our home
“Scientology. When they took our second house.” – Reddit user
#3 Something more than a community
Famous actor Joaquin Phoenix has opened up about growing up in a cult called The Children of God. “Cults rarely advertise themselves as such,” he said. “It’s usually someone saying, ‘We’re like-minded people. This is a community,’ but I think the moment my parents realized there was something more to it, they got out.” For instance, the cult “infamously encouraged both incest and adultery” among other disturbing beliefs and his family eventually left. 
#4 They started pushing “free love”
Rose McGowan also grew up part of a branch of Children of God. In fact, her father was a leader. The beliefs included the upcoming apocalypse and free love. But when they started to push the idea of relations between adults and children, the family escaped.
“My dad, Nat, Daisy and I escaped with my dad’s other wife in the middle of the night,” she said. “I remember running through a cornfield in thunder and lightning, holding my dad’s hand and running as fast as I could to keep up with him … [The cult] sent people to find us. I remember a man trying to break in with a hammer.”