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Cult-ish or Maybe Not? - 7 Red Flags (3 min 05 sec read)

A cult is a group or organization that is characterized by a set of beliefs, practices, and behaviors.
A cult's beliefs, practices, and behaviors are regarded as being outside the norms of the larger society.

    1. Red flag #1 - An absolute devotion to a charismatic leader.

    Cult members have an unwavering devotion to a charismatic leader who is seen as a figure of authority and wisdom.

    2. Red flag #2 - Mind control techniques.

    Cults use mind control techniques to manipulate and control their members.
    Such tactics include things such as sleep deprivation, isolation, and manipulation of information.

    3. Red flag #3 - Isolation from outside society.

    Cults isolate their members from the larger society to create a sense of dependence on the group and its leaders.

    4. Red flag #4 - Use of group pressure tactics.

    Cults use group pressure tactics to enforce conformity and discourage dissent.
    Such tactics include peer pressure, public shaming, and punishment for those who disobey the group's rules.

    5. Red flag #5 - Belief in a unique ideology:

    Cults have a unique belief system that is not shared by the larger society.
    This can include beliefs about the end of the world, the superiority of the group's beliefs, or the group's special relationship with a higher power.

    6. Red flag #6 - Financial exploitation.

    Cults exploit their members financially, through tactics such as requiring members to donate large sums of money or to work for the group without pay.

    7. Red flag #7. Emotional manipulation.

    Cults use emotional manipulation to create a sense of dependence and loyalty among members.
    This can include tactics such as love bombing. Love bombing is a manipulative tactic used by cults, abusive partners, and other controlling individuals or groups.

    How does love bombing work?

    It involves showering a person with excessive attention, affection, and compliments in order to quickly build emotional bonds and gain their trust and loyalty.
    The love bomber uses lavish gifts, frequent phone calls, texts, and emails, or other grand gestures to overwhelm and flatter the target.
    This can make the person feel special and loved, but it is often used as a way to control or trap them into a relationship or group, and is a precursor to other manipulative behaviors.
    Showering members with attention and affection creates a sense of indebtedness.

    8. If you willingly follow anyone for any reason without critical thinking are you a "victim" or a willing participant?

    It is paramount that you follow no one.
    It is important that you critically think for yourself.
    Blindly following a leader without doing your own research will lead to negative consequences.
    What could belonging to a cult possibly give you that you don't already have?
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