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Take Back Your Life: Recovering From Cults & Abusive Relationships: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships Paperback – 10 Sep 2009

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Bay Tree Publishing; 2 edition (10 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0972002154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0972002158
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.6 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 271,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've spent over three decades talking with cult members, and for anyone who has been involved in a cult or fanatical movement of any kind, this is an easily understood roadmap to recovery. If you or someone you love has been involved in a 'high demand' or totalist group this is one of the must read books - along with Steve Hassan's new edition of Combating Cult Mind Control.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has changed my life! It gave me the confidence to realise that what happened to me in the cult was not my fault. I am going to read it again in a year's time to see how I have progressed in my attitude to life. I would encourage anybody who has been in a cult to buy this book, as it could help you to move on in life & put the past behind you.
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By A Customer on 2 Nov. 1997
Format: Paperback
This book will prove invaluable help for both those with loved ones in a religious cult, and those coming to terms with leaving a religious cult. The authors Tobias and Lalich treat this difficult subject with care and sensitivity. It's a shame more young people don't get a chance
to read this before they get mixed up in a destructive group... :(
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews
80 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential roadmap to recovery 7 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For me, the special usefulness of this book came in the form of material directed at children who grew up in a cult, who have no other frame of reference to go back to.

The information I gleaned here gave me that frame of reference, and helped me to "detox" from the environment which was so seductively calling me back. It explains and makes sense of some very bewildering and deceptive manipulation techniques. And it has helped my therapy by outlining the kinds of issues that children coming out of cults usually face.

This book has a universal appeal for all cult escapees because it focuses not on beliefs or practices, but rather on manipulations and psychological pressures which are commonly brought to bear in cults. I found it easy to identify experientally with the material, without being challenged and put off by attacks on my strange beleif system which I was still disengaging from.

It's been a big part of my recovery. My thanks to the authors!

UPDATE January, 2012

Have loaned out and recommended the original 'Captive Hearts' many times over the last decade and a half, and was disheartened to find that it went out of print. Recently I've been excited to discover that the same material, vastly updated, is now available from the same authors under the title, 'Take Back Your Life.'

I still refer to this book periodically. It is a primary source for understanding the cult phenomenon, even those tendencies increasingly found in the modern corporate culture. We ALL are hard wired to respond to authoritarian influences in the same way, and this material acts as a healthy immunizer.
60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for former cult members. 23 Oct. 1998
By Troy Waller (carmaust@iname.com) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I wish I had found this book immediately after leaving the cult I was involved in.
This book offers invaluable assitance to those who have been involved with a destructive cult, whether it be relgious, political or psycho-theraputic. The text gives former members indications of what to expect in recovery as well as practical assitance to cope with their recovery.
The text also gives a breakdown of how and why cults operate as they do; how and why people get recruitted into cults; and how and why people leave cults.
This book is truly a gift from the authors' heart, experiences and study. Thanks to them.
55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sane Advice for Those Leaving Cults 24 Aug. 2006
By D. L. Barnett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
We don't hear much these days about the Branch Davidians, Heaven's Gate or even Jim Jones. It's tempting to think that the cult movement has faded and that the world's attention is on more pressing matters -- like suicide bombers. But they are all of a piece, according to Chico State University Associate Professor of Sociology Janja Lalich.

In "Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships" ($19.50 in paperback from Bay Tree Publishing), Lalich and co-author Madeleine Tobias, a Vermont psychotherapist, make clear that modern day cults have not disappeared. "If there is less street recruiting today, it is because many cults now use professional associations, campus organizations, self-help seminars, and the Internet as recruitment tools" to entice the unwary.

Who gets sucked into a cult? "Although the public tends to think, wrongly, that only those who are stupid, weird, crazy and aimless get involved in cults, this is simply untrue. ... We know that many cult members went to the best schools in the country, have advanced academic or professional degrees and had successful careers and lives prior to their involvement in a cult or cultic abusive relationship. But at a vulnerable moment, and we all have plenty of those in our lives (a lost love, a lost job, rejection, a death in the family and so on), a person can fall under the influence of someone who appears to offer answers or a sense of direction."

For the authors, "a group or relationship earns the label 'cult' on the basis of its methods and behaviors -- not on the basis of its beliefs. Often those of us who criticize cults are accused of wanting to deny people their freedoms, religious or otherwise. But what we critique and oppose is precisely the repression and stripping away of individual freedoms that tends to occur in cults. It is not beliefs that we oppose, but the exploitative manipulation of people's faith, commitment, and trust."

Written for those coming out of cults, as well as for family members and professionals, "Take Back Your Life" deals with common characteristics of myriad cult types: Eastern, religious and New Age cults; political, racist and terrorist cults; psychotherapy, human potential, mass transformational cults; commercial, multi-marking cults; occult, satanic or black-magic cults; one-on-one family cults; and cults of personality. Chapters deal with the cult experience, the process of healing, stories of families and children in cults and therapeutic issues.

The book features riveting personal accounts from ex-cult members and offers a wide range of resources for the person who is trying to retrieve his or her "pre-cult" personality. Education looms large, for that can begin to break down the narrow black-and-white thinking cult members often display. Many cults redefine common terms or introduce special vocabulary making it difficult for members to make sense of the world outside of even their own inner aspirations.

The authors are also concerned about those in the education and helping professions who don't see the dangers posed by cults both to the individual and the larger community. Part of the purpose of the book is to make a credible case that any course of therapy needs to take into account a patient's cult associations.

"Take Back Your Life" is a book of hope, an excellent starting point for those thinking of exiting a cult and for those who are taking back their lives, one day at a time.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A self-help resource for survivors of harmful relationships 14 Sept. 2006
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Take Back Your Life: Recovering From Cults and Abusive Relationships by co-authors Janja Lalich (Associate Professor of Sociology at California State University, Chico) & Madeleine Tobias (The Clinical Coordinator and a psycho therapist at the Vet Center in White River Junction) is a self-help resource for survivors of harmful relationships, whether with an individual or a group, and their loved ones. Chapters explain in plain terms the siren call abusive relationships have some people, and the confusion, low self-esteem, and post-traumatic stress experienced by the victim, along with suggestions for picking up the pieces of one's life and embracing the healing process. Of special note are the chapters addressing problems with family members and children in cults, and therapeutic concerns. Take Back Your Life is written primarily for lay readers however, and is a very sober, serious, and practical guide.
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource! 13 July 2006
By Sharon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Since leaving the cult Eckankar in 1998, and spending a lot of time on the internet trying to help others wake up, get out, and recover, I've read a lot of books on the subject of cults. "Take Back Your Life" is one of the best!! An invaluable resource for both recovering cultists and people involved in abusive relationships, and concerned friends and family members.
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