Benign curiosity refers to a type of curiosity and investigation that is not harmful or destructive in nature. It is a method of questioning that seeks to gather information, engage in a positive relationship, and avoid intrusive probing.
In cult intervention, benign curiosity helps minimize defensiveness or lack of engagement from the cult-involved person being questioned. Families and friends of a cult-involved person may sometimes find it difficult to ask questions about a group - or why someone chooses to join.
By suspending judgement and expressing sincere interest, it's easier to make a sincere connection. It can also foster empathy and understanding, as it allows individuals to gain insight into the perspectives and experiences of others.
Overall, using benign curiosity can help create a more positive and constructive conversation, even when the other person is defensive. By approaching the conversation with openness, empathy, and a genuine desire to understand, you can create a safe space for connection and growth.
Here are some tips for using benign curiosity to connect with someone who is defensive:
1. Start with empathy: Begin the conversation by acknowledging the other person's feelings and perspective. Show that you respect their point of view.
2. Ask open-ended questions: Avoid asking yes-or-no questions, which can shut down conversation. Instead, ask open-ended questions that invite the other person to share more about their experiences and perspectives.
3. Listen actively: Give the other person your full attention, and listen without interrupting or judging. Show that you are interested in what they have to say, and ask follow-up questions to clarify or deepen your understanding without judgement.
4. Share your own perspective: When appropriate, share your own experiences and perspectives. This can help the other person feel less alone, and can also help build trust and rapport.
5. Practice patience: Connecting with someone who is defensive may take time and effort. Be patient, and don't expect immediate results. Keep the conversation focused on curiosity and understanding, and avoid becoming defensive yourself.
Connecting with someone who is defensive can be challenging, but using benign curiosity can help create a safe space for communication and understanding.
It is a natural and healthy desire to seek knowledge and understanding about the world, people, and things around us, without any malicious or harmful intentions. Tapping into this desire and separating one's personal judgement can help you understand the reasons a cult or coercive group appeals to your loved one.