In some ways, imo, joining the Fam was a way to escape some of the abuses of the evil world - we wanted to get away from the 'SYSTEM' and the evils in this world and make a better world......But you're right, had we done a bit of research, had we not been so dysfunctionally blind, we probably would have seen through the shiny exterior and run the other way. Now we know. The system we condemmed was no worse than the system we were a part of creating, really, imo.
I know, in my case, the ideology and the commitment to create a better world kept me in denial about what we were doing. Also, as Mr. Ed the talking horse brought out in his confession, the Fam's dysinformation campain played a big part in keeping the denials up. Denial would play a HUGE part in why it took so long for many of us to recover. You could really see denial at work when WG and Ironsides, for example, first came to the boards defending the Fam. Like you, I, too, feared the airplane thing, so I guess fear played a part too.
I think that once the denials have been broken through coming to the boards here and getting to the bottom line, or in finding Family informed professional help that knows the bottom line, we can move rather quickly through the rest of the grief process and reach resolution. We can then proceed to pick up the pieces and rebuild from the effects of all that past, dysfunctional devastation. That, in itself, is no easy feat, but thankfully, the emotional healing can give us the strength to do it. It took me several years to bail out finacially, and I'm still rebuilding in other ways - job, family, house, future etc.... At least I'm able to stand on my own two feet now, separate of the dependence I once had on groups and/or isms as in the past.