Within this Web site archive there is information about how destructive groups get people to believe them and change their way of thinking.
Such groups use techniques of coercive persuasion.
These methods are not the same as those used through speeach and words in the other types of persuasion such as education, advertising, propaganda or indoctrination.
The distinctions between coersive persuadion/thought reform and other means of persuasion are discussed and the distinctions drawn by the clinical psychologist Margeret Singer in the above linked material.
It's important not to mistakingly blame the victims of destructive groups, but rather more closely examine the groups and understand what they do.
Also see [www.culteducation.com
We can also be careful to understand and watch for warning signs regarding the behavior and structure of destructive groups.
It is true that people victimized by destructive groups often are going through a particularly vulnerable time when they are first recruited by a group. But all of us go through such vulnerable times.
At the time people are recruited by destructive groups they may be struggling with feelings of loneliness, isolation or depressed over some personal, family or work situation. For example, new recruits may be college students away from home for the first time in a new environment.
Those recruited may also be persuaded by someone that is a trusted friend, family member or co-worker, that is already a member of the group.
It is important to question and challenge what people say, but it is specifically important to gain a better understanding of the mechanics and methodology of persuasion used by destructive groups to avoid their recruitment efforts.