In case of interest, this article relates to parental favouritism, which is not the same as the guru / adherent situation however (in my own, personal view) does share the same dynamic overall.
What are the effects of favoritism on the children?
According to Mallory Williams, LCSW, there are serious long-term effects to growing up in a household of parental favoritism. “The biggest long-term dangers are depression, anxiety, unstable or even traumatic reactions in personal relationships, and performance anxiety for both the favored and non-favored children,” says Williams. She also discusses self-esteem issues and feelings of rejection following the child into adulthood.
“The non-favored child will experience low self-worth and value, feelings of rejection and inadequacy, and a sort of “giving up” due to feeling like they can never be worthy of the same attention, love, and affection that the favored child receives. This often has long-term implications on their performance on jobs, in school, and in interpersonal relationships, as the parenting relationship sets the foundation and expectations of future relationships,” says Williams.
A surprising effect of parental favoritism is that feeling neglected can lead to a very independent outlook on life. They don’t need their parents. They don’t need anyone. While a bit of independence is usually good, this kind of outlook usually leads to isolation.
While being the favored child may sound like a walk in the park, it’s far from it. Being favored means almost always being resented by the other children. The parents’ unequal attention poisons sibling relationships without even trying.
Williams says that she’s consistently seen problems arise for favored children. Parents are often surprised, because it seems they should have no reason to be affected. “Because of the praise and favoritism they experience, they often have difficulty with failure of any kind,” says Williams. “They often feel so much pressure to keep up their star performance that they feel that there is no room for mistakes.
They also are prone to rejection or a tense relationship, at the very least, with the non-favored sibling, and find it hard to repair such a relationship, considering that they did nothing to create the situation.”
The dynamic here, it is written in the case of children and siblings, but when looking at how the cult and cult like groups etc are formed and running, maybe it will be easier to see how these disharmonious results are so alike situationally.