Cult Commands Part II: Long Term affects

I talked about cult commands a few months back. Cult commands are the nasty voices in our head. Cult commands lack truth but feel true and very real. For a refresher, click here. But how do cult commands affect our behavior long term?


Cult commands may be one reason we get stuck in a "I don't deserve____" mindset. When we've been told we're "making a big deal", that no one will believe us, that we are "too much", it's easy to settle for less. When our pain, emotional or otherwise, has been minimized, we minimize our own wants and needs. And we act from a place of scarcity:

  • We choose a partner who doesn't deserve us.

  • We accept the first offer.

  • We say "yes" to whatever crumbs people throw our way.

  • We hope (and wait) for payment or resolution in our favor.

  • We neglect our own health.

In addition to our behavior, cult commands also influence the language that we use. We speak language that minimizes us, that disparages our skills, believes or ideas. We use language that doesn't reflect our talents, skills or worthiness.

  • "I'm bad at picking partners,"

  • "JMHO" or "That's just what I think,"

  • "He's not terrible...."

  • "It's just sex,"

Cult commands also engage and keep us in a "keeping up with the Jones” trap. Comparing ourselves to others, however, is one way we stay stuck in a place of hopelessness or despair. Our focus on others, what they have, what they experienced shifts us out of our own lane, into our worst judging self. In short, comparison keeps our attention off ourselves and keeps us miserable.

  • "I'm failing at parenting."

  • "She's a much better therapist/teacher/artist than I am,"

  • "They had it way worse than me."

  • "Why is everyone else okay/normal/succeeding?"

Continual comparison is an open wound in our soul. It not only never heals but the massive Band-Aid it requires blocks our ability to see things as they really are.

The words we hear matter. Cult commands have the power to cut us as deeply as a knife. I can't count how many survivors have told me that what they heard growing up or what they were told by an abusive partner stays with them, even decades later. Words that were hurled at them were often worse than any kick, punch or choke.

Cult commands hurt and diminish ourselves. They minimize our capabilities and undermine our potential. They are one of the reasons we neglect ourselves or never really cared for ourselves to begin with. But it's never too late to start. Next month, we'll end this short series with a powerful way we can start to change our cult commands. Take a moment to share this post if it resonates with you or you think it might resonate with someone you know! Thanks for reading.