]Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader.
1. Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.
2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.
3. No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.
4. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.
5. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.
6. Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.
7. There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.
8. Followers feel they can never be "good enough".
9. The group/leader is always right.
10. The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.Ten warning signs regarding people involved in/with a potentially unsafe group/leader.
1. Extreme obsessiveness regarding the group/leader resulting in the exclusion of almost every practical consideration.
2. Individual identity, the group, the leader and/or God as distinct and separate categories of existence become increasingly blurred. Instead, in the follower's mind these identities become substantially and increasingly fused--as that person's involvement with the group/leader continues and deepens.
3. Whenever the group/leader is criticized or questioned it is characterized as "persecution".
4. Uncharacteristically stilted and seemingly programmed conversation and mannerisms, cloning of the group/leader in personal behavior.
5. Dependency upon the group/leader for problem solving, solutions, and definitions without meaningful reflective thought. A seeming inability to think independently or analyze situations without group/leader involvement.
6. Hyperactivity centered on the group/leader agenda, which seems to supercede any personal goals or individual interests.
7. A dramatic loss of spontaneity and sense of humor.
8. Increasing isolation from family and old friends unless they demonstrate an interest in the group/leader.
9. Anything the group/leader does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.
10. Former followers are at best-considered negative or worse evil and under bad influences. They can not be trusted and personal contact is avoided.
Also see [www.culteducation.com
]Psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, who wrote the definitive book about thought reform (often called "brainwashing") also wrote a paper about cult formation. Lifton defined a cult as having the following three characteristics:
1. A charismatic leader, who increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose power.
2. A process [is in use] call[ed] coercive persuasion or thought reform.
3. Economic, sexual, and other exploitation of group members by the leader and the ruling coterie.
]The key factors that distinguish coercive persuasion from other training and socialization schemes are:
The reliance on intense interpersonal and psychological attack to destabilize an individual's sense of self to promote compliance
The use of an organized peer group
Applying interpersonal pressure to promote conformity
The manipulation of the totality of the person's social environment to stabilize behavior once modifiedRobert Lifton labeled the extraordinarily high degree of social control characteristic of organizations that operate reform programs as their totalistic quality (Lifton 1961). This concept refers to the mobilization of the entirety of the person's social, and often physical, environment in support of the manipulative effort. Lifton identified eight themes or properties of reform environments that contribute to their totalistic quality:
Control of communication
Emotional and behavioral manipulation
Demands for absolute conformity to behavior prescriptions derived from the ideology
Obsessive demands for confession
Agreement that the ideology is faultless
Manipulation of language in which cliches substitute for analytic thought
Reinterpretation of human experience and emotion in terms of doctrine
Classification of those not sharing the ideology as inferior and not worthy of respect
This chart done by psychologist Margaret Singer demontrates and dileneates the differences between various forms of persuasion, as contrasted with throught reform, commonly called "brainwashing".
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/25/2012 04:58PM by rrmoderator.