Characteristics of cult members
Date: September 13, 2005 10:12AM
Cults use coercion and deception to lure us/you in,as do con artists, or salespeople for that matter.
IMO, however, it's up to the individual to educate himself to avoid these kind of heartaches.
[b:45f158827d]I'm not victim bashing[/b:45f158827d]- just want to make that clear right from the start- but we do have some responsibility when we are taken in.
If I am lonely, I might be captured by the promise of companionship.
If I am hungry, food might be a good lure.
And yes, a need to belong CAN be the bait; not that there's anything sick or abnormal about a need to belong, most people want to.
I have been exposed to a variety of different "recovery" programs and techniques.
Some encouraged the victim to be just that; you were rewarded with sympathy and praise if you took the victim stance.
How does that teach a person to avoid being victimized again?
Some recovery programs tried to teach me that I was always 100% responsible for whatever happened.
That's bologna; sometimes we're just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I prefer the middle path, by which I mean this:
[b:45f158827d]How was I vulnerable to whatever sales pitch was delivered to me?
Did I ignore warning signs when I went after the bait?
How can I wise up without closing myself off from humanity?[/b:45f158827d]
I personally have been almost-trapped by a desire for companionship, (translate: [b:45f158827d]need to belong[/b:45f158827d]), promises of the "too good to be true" variety, and wishful thinking.
I've heard it said that a con artist traps you by appealing to your greed, the [b:45f158827d]"too good to be true"[/b:45f158827d] lure.
Threats of hell and divine punishment seem to me to be one of the more effective ways to coerce people into cults- the [b:45f158827d]fear[/b:45f158827d] lure.
[b:45f158827d]Pleasure[/b:45f158827d] is also very effective as bait. The last cult I was involved with nearly hooked me through my love of musical harmony- I never experienced singing like that, and it was hard to let go of it.
Having an extremely willful nature , (for which I have been criticised severely most of my life), has saved me at the last moment from falling into most of the traps people have for me. I didn't enjoy the shaming I recieved when I went my own way, and it has been hard at times to walk away from toxic groups. but so far I've lived through any resulting lowering of my self-esteem.
I was taught at that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. I consider myself lucky to have been taught that.
I think it's a good idea to [b:45f158827d]take responsibility[/b:45f158827d], look at ourselves, and not see ourselves too much as victims. That's the only way we can learn from our experiences.