Believe me, I once met one person at a lunch who proclaimed his voice alone can gain a cult following. Everything he said was a blatant lie, but his gaslighting made people believe what he said. I had so much trouble being civil to him – I wanted to confront the lies. The statements were based on nothing but his own imagination. He threw out big names of his acquaintances that were supposed to impress people but did not impress me. I saw right through it. He felt he was famous because of his associations. He was struggling to make money, so he was looking to take advantage of someone and beg off other people. He had someone else pay for the lunch and pretended it was him. I’ll explain below.
He acted with authority and spewed lies with total ease. He was not good-looking - overweight, long stringy hair in a ponytail, and much less than average looks. In the middle of lunch, he said he saw a wealthy friend of his eating at another table and made it clear how wealthy that person was. Then he ran off to talk with the other guy, not even caring to introduce us, which was fine with me.
He knew he was lying – he just wanted to trick everyone else to think he was always right and then getting his way by being the only authority anyone needed. He said he had life experiences, so he knows pretty much everything about everything. Really – no one knows everything about everything. He got so much wrong - not an authority on much except in his own mind. He created situations and issues just so he could “fix” them. So many lies and gaslighting, to mold minds.
He knew he could throw back all his mistakes and issues at another person, gaslighting and deflecting all actions of his own onto others and making them either the enemy or beholden to him to be sorry and do better in his eyes, even though the person did none of what she was being accused of.
He had a girl wrapped up in his lies, half his age. He had convinced her to marry him because he was “older and knew better” (but she had money he wanted access to), so she figured it was more of a joke and went along with it. He became her authority in life, saying she knew nothing, was broken, and only he can fix her. He told her everything of hers is then his, including her money. It was disturbing – he shadowed her, controlled her friends and outings, monitored her phone, listened in on EVERY conversation, beat her when drunk or on drugs or angry, and more. She confided in me, and I made sure to get her help. When I say people need to be educated to look for their own answers (research and critical thinking) and not fall into others’ webs of lies, I am dead serious. People need to feel they are accepted and belong to a group of some sort, so they don’t go looking for some cult that picks up on the disconnect and grabs them. They are forced to trust only one source which is limited in truths.
Cults lure victims feeling a need to be accepted. There is typically a little bit of truth to pull people in and gain trust before the lies come. Then people believe more lies and gaslighting and forget to question for the truth as it molds minds. Some people start to realize the lies but are too invested to admit to anyone that they were wrong, so they continue to promote and live out the lies. Others believe everything without question and become “brainwashed” by various lightings, sounds, repeated lies over and over, drugs, and such. Occasionally, someone will have the strength and courage to leave and get away from the situation (it’s especially hard if one needs to leave family and children to get out).
Radical groups seem to be on the rise and people are falling for their lies, getting more radicalized. Girls think they will marry militants in war torn countries and be well taken care of. Boys get it into their heads to become fighters for causes they never dreamed of. They find out how wrong they are once they meet up with those people, and often cannot get out without being killed. People make up ridiculous stories about others with zero proof or backing, to create a “common enemy” to push against. Worshipping people and cults goes further than you think. Common tactics are used in these various scenarios.
In college a girl wanted me to go to her church group for an evening. I kept putting it off, but I decided to give it a chance. I learned more about sucking people into a cult type group. They had us open their Bibles, but much was blacked out. They had us read and said it meant no sex before marriage. Nothing of the sort was mentioned in any of those passages – just gaslighting and blind acceptance of what was told to the girls – to trust only one source. They looked glassy-eyed paying attention to the leader person. I was not happy or amused, just worried about them. The study time finally ended, and I never went back.
Speaking of blacking out Bibles, many books are being banned because people do not want those truths to come out which are in them. If people can’t learn what happened to others in history, they lack empathy to understand others, and can’t learn from it. Various cults, groups, schools, communities, and such ban books that go against their teachings and doctrines. It’s helpful to read them and make your own judgments about them. Some can be rightly offensive and full of gaslighting, but most banned books are fine with historical perspectives of what truly happened, from a different source.
The nxivm group used blackmail tools to keep the girls in line. They made them admit things from their lives that would be used against them if they tried to escape - and recorded those sessions for “proof”. There are so many ways to get victims to comply and believe what is told to them. I have seen many stories and had experiences that taught me to be resilient to any efforts by liars and cult types. There are threats to harm other family members or sue them for all their worth – it’s all toothless but sounds very threatening. There are much worse ways to imprison and break a soul – so don’t get sucked in, in the first place.
Try to educate your family and your kids on how to reject the attempts to hijack their brains and emotions – not to trust only one source. Teach your children a secret phrase to use if ever in trouble. Education is a great tool to help discern the information thrown at them, to encourage critical thinking. For world views, pick up world history books and read the news – middle of the ground news, maybe BBC news for world issues. For government understanding, pick up a Civics book to understand how it works, so no other faction can trick you into believing their take - read the Constitution for yourself (I keep hearing it being quoted wrongly). For historical perspective, study history and see what should not be repeated, and take note of what works. Educate each other and don’t let someone teach you their own and only version which is often very limited in truths. Google various resources to see what is being said – and try to discern the more truthful unbiased ones. Searches tend to give you results that align with your previous searches – so be aware of this and search for different sources.
If you stop believing in cult type lies, do not be embarrassed to admit it – at least to others outside of it (there may be dangers to speaking out against the cult when in a cult). Try to leave it and find help and support. Many people will champion an awakening from it. Worshipping people and cults Is dangerous, gaslighting is dangerous, and blind belief in one person about all things is dangerous. Worshipping a person is dangerous – it gives too much permission to a person to take and take and take. The person will claim to give you so much, but the person is only in it for himself and only tell you that you are benefitting, but you, personally, are not getting those benefits (though he will convince you that you are benefitting). Only the cult leader is gaining and feeling more power in being able to control others.