Cults, otherwise known in Psychology as a new movement or new order has fascinated many psychologists in history. This article will talk about the Cult Leader, and Cult member and characteristics of each. We will also begin to understand why a cult is successful in the information I provide after researching Cult leaders and members.
- Common characteristics in the personality of a Cult Leader is first, Scrutiny. The cult leader scrutinizes society and its norms. Cult Leaders simply refuse to believe in commonly held belief systems. This may include aspects of Politics and religion.
- Clear set of beliefs that are always extreme. Cult leaders literally create a set of beliefs and adhere to them.
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Cult Leaders classify themselves as special and unique along with their beliefs. They “expect” others to be subservient to themselves because they believe themselves to be of higher intelligence and have a belief system unique to them and the norms of society.
- Pseudo-charisma-These individuals, because they are narcissistic, get others to believe what they believe in by a false sense of attraction to others searching for answers. Cult leaders “appear” caring, confident, and begin what I call an investment strategy with its future followers. There is the unique ability to persuade a group by taking their personal possessions. Cult leaders demonstrate to followers they must “invest” in their particular belief system.
- Success of a Cult Leader is using Psychology, Law and Politics to persuade others.
- Repetition of their belief system, or brainwashing others, by repeating over and over something that begins to stick to the follower as “Truth”.
- Ability to use one’s weaknesses to manipulate or coerce others into believing their “truth”.
- willingness to use negative experiences and fears against the cult follower. They usually have members write down what their flaws and mistakes are therefore increasing their “lack of self-esteem”
Why does a follower of a Cult Leader do everything regardless of law to please the cult leader? What causes them to follow the Cult and leader to begin with? Why are they willing to give up loved ones, personal possessions, and self-esteem to be a part of a cult?
- The power of Unity. The cult follower has been searching for answers throughout their life. They feel by working with other followers developing meaningful, deep relationships through the same set of beliefs. they feel they have found the family they never really had. What once was important to the follower, the leader removes, one step at a time through manipulation of their weaknesses. Eventually they replace each priority the follower had with their own.
- “Sense of Elevation” (my terminology. elevating another human being to a higher spiritual figure more meaningful. They believe the leader is supernatural sometimes referring to them as prophets who are all knowing.
- Socioeconomic qualities of a follower is that they usually are poor. These followers have no faith in their own ability to manage life, stress and anxiety. They feel the leader of the cult and bond created with members they finally have a sense of security which ultimately is false.
- Followers are vulnerable making them susceptible to a cult.
- Ultimate surrender to another human being.
- Willingness to accept humiliation, punishment communicating their weaknesses to the leader and members. They often create this written or recorded communication to show loyalty to the cult itself through vulnerability. Members, because they are vulnerable with psychological issues, will do whatever the leader tells them they must. they share experiences in their life they are shameful of and can be used against them for ultimate control from their leader.
According to Sociologists, Cult begin to emerge when the world or their country requires them to be censored and its regime is led by a dictator. Sociologists also believe high levels of violence or chaos elevated within a country’s population is a major cause for “new movements” or cults to surface effectively. There is also a lack of unity within the population which contributes to cults forming. I want us to raise questions and think for ourselves. The whole purpose of this five-part segment is to raise awareness levels in each of us. If we can identify a cult prior to getting involved with one, it is a step forward. If we are broken with anxiety, stress, illusions and even dissociative states in our mind we are susceptible. Recognizing within ourselves who and where we are in life very well may change our course of action and attraction to the wrong answers. I think we all are vulnerable as a society and also as individuals when we feel a lack of self-esteem to begin with. Do you ever feel you are lost? Perhaps with Covid-19, we all do to some degree. Are you depressed? Do you suffer with anxiety or stress? Are you looking for answers to life or feel this world is ending? If the answer is yes to more of these questions than no, we are susceptible to cults or new age movements such as scientology. Violence within a cult and punishment is very powerful, along with elevating another human being and their belief system to a God-like presence or Prophet.
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