Leaving an abusive cult or relationship is difficult enough, but for those who were born or raised in a totalist environment, the transition into “mainstream” culture can be daunting. The regular “life maintenance” tasks most of us take for granted – opening a checking account, finding work or a place to live, or simply fitting into the culture – can be overwhelming and seem even impossible for someone who has grown up inside the world of a high-control group.

Livia Bardin, M.S.W., a clinical social worker who has engaged with cult victims and their families for more than fifteen years, in partnership with ICSA, has created Starting Out in Mainstream America, a free, online guide providing practical solutions for people with needs like:

  • getting a driver’s license
  • finding a place to live
  • finding a job or job training
  • getting health care
  • finding your way around the legal system

and information about broader concepts like

  • Abuse and neglect
  • Communications skills
  • Relationships
  • Parenting skills
  • Aspects of mainstream culture like music, movies, and sports

For all these issues and more, Starting Out in Mainstream America is a valuable resource with a wealth of helpful information. Be sure to check it out, as well as the other sites listed in our resource section.