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[This excerpt is from Survivor Psychology: The Dark Side of a Mental Health Mission by Susan Smith, pp. 133-134. Upton Books and SIRS Mandarin, Boca Raton, FL. Copyright (c) 1995. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. Read our review or order it from]

The entire system of survivor psychology and recovery culture psychology is built on "true believer" logic. True believer logic is defined by Steven Goldberg, author of When Wish Replaces Thought, as a system of fallacious and subjective arguments which "have no logical consistency, are discordant with the empirical evidence, and either fail to explain that which they claim to explain or offer explanations of that which does not exist." This is the definition I have used for survivor logic as well.

The basic principles of survivor logic are outlined below. Examples will follow the list.

Principle 1-Personalize the issues.
The arguments are based on emotionally charged statements and "I messages."

Principle 2-The opposing argument becomes the proof.
Hard evidence in support of the opposing viewpoint, or the lack of evidence for the belief is used as "evidence" and strengthens beliefs instead of challenging them.

Principle 3-When confronted with logical discrepancies, revert to God, society or morality.
When the evidence is stacked against the beliefs and the true believer is backed into a corner, they retreat behind their preferred social control modality-religion, political rhetoric and moral crusade monologues.

Principle 4-When in doubt, abort further interaction or exploration of the issues by playing "Ain't it Awful" games while stepping up the intensity.
When the true believer is backed into a corner, he or she often reverts to a favorite ideological or abortive interaction game (or plays all of them sequentially): God's Will; The Oppressor and the Oppressed; The Power of Evil and What Happens When Good People Do Nothing; Social Decline and Moral Decay; This Hurts Me as Much as It Hurts You; I Know This Is Hard to Believe-I Used to Be a Skeptic Too!; The Experts Know Best; Suicide; Revictimization; No Motive; and I'm Only Trying to Help.

Principle 5-When all else fails, bring up denial and conspiracy theories.

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