Cultlike behavior in... geez, who'da thunk it?

by COMF 12 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • COMF

    Found this interesting list on a website devoted to recovery from substance abuse. They're talking here about Alcoholics Anonymous. Not the organization as a whole, but individual groups where someone emerges with a narrow view of what constitutes "true recovery" and... well... just read the list.

    Cult Watch 10 Points to look out for in your group members

    1. Obsession about group or the leader putting it above most other considerations.

    2. Member?s individual identity becomes increasingly fused with the group, the leader and/or God followed by the group.Cloning of the group members or leader?s personal behaviors.

    3. Emotional overreaction when the group or leader is criticized. Seen as evil persecution.

    4. Belief that the group is "THE WAY" and they have a mission

    5. Increasing dependency upon the group or leader for problem solving, explanations, definitions and analysis, and corresponding decline in real, independent thought.

    6. Excessive hyperactivity and work for the group or leader, at the expense of private or family interests. Drifting away from family and old friends

    7. Preparedness to blindly follow the group or leader and defend actions or statements without seeking independent verification.

    8. Demonization of former members or members of alternative groups.

    9. Desire to be praised for doing the right thing and fear of public rebuke

    10. Unhealthy wish to be seen with or aligned publicly with the leader(s) of the group

    Cult Leaders 5 Points to look out for in your group leader

    1. Authoritarian approach and intolerance of questioning or criticism. Lies about and insults opponents.

    2. Leader shows anxiety about the world, speaking of threats or conspiracies against the group.

    3. Leader regularly accuses dissatisfied members who leave of having something wrong with them, having personality disorders or being transgressor and deserters.

    4. Ex-members have similar stories of abuse and ill-treatment by the leader(s).

    5. The group/leader is always right and followers never feel they can be "good enough" .

  • drwtsn32

    Very similar to the list at

    Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader.

    1. Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

    2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

    3. No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.

    4. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.

    5. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

    6. Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.

    7. There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.

    8. Followers feel they can never be "good enough".

    9. The group/leader is always right.

    10. The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.

    Ten warning signs regarding people involved in/with a potentially unsafe group/leader.
    1. Extreme obsessiveness regarding the group/leader resulting in the exclusion of almost every practical consideration.

    2. Individual identity, the group, the leader and/or God as distinct and separate categories of existence become increasingly blurred. Instead, in the follower's mind these identities become substantially and increasingly fused--as that person's involvement with the group/leader continues and deepens.

    3. Whenever the group/leader is criticized or questioned it is characterized as "persecution".

    4. Uncharacteristically stilted and seemingly programmed conversation and mannerisms, cloning of the group/leader in personal behavior.

    5. Dependency upon the group/leader for problem solving, solutions, and definitions without meaningful reflective thought. A seeming inability to think independently or analyze situations without group/leader involvement.

    6. Hyperactivity centered on the group/leader agenda, which seems to supercede any personal goals or individual interests.

    7. A dramatic loss of spontaneity and sense of humor.

    8. Increasing isolation from family and old friends unless they demonstrate an interest in the group/leader.

    9. Anything the group/leader does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.

    10. Former followers are at best-considered negative or worse evil and under bad influences. They can not be trusted and personal contact is avoided.

    Ten signs of a safe group/leader.
    1. A safe group/leader will answer your questions without becoming judgmental and punitive.

    2. A safe group/leader will disclose information such as finances and often offer an independently audited financial statement regarding budget and expenses. Safe groups and leaders will tell you more than you want to know.

    3. A safe group/leader is often democratic, sharing decision making and encouraging accountability and oversight.

    4. A safe group/leader may have disgruntled former followers, but will not vilify, excommunicate and forbid others from associating with them.

    5. A safe group/leader will not have a paper trail of overwhelmingly negative records, books, articles and statements about them.

    6. A safe group/leader will encourage family communication, community interaction and existing friendships and not feel threatened.

    7. A safe group/leader will recognize reasonable boundaries and limitations when dealing with others.

    8. A safe group/leader will encourage critical thinking, individual autonomy and feelings of self-esteem.

    9. A safe group/leader will admit failings and mistakes and accept constructive criticism and advice.

    10. A safe group/leader will not be the only source of knowledge and learning excluding everyone else, but value dialogue and the free exchange of ideas.
  • Surreptitious

    Glad to see ya again COMF!

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    I have had many discussions with ex-12-step members who all state that the 12-step groups they were in felt very controlling and were cult-like.

    This doesn't surprise me at all. But it sure is nice to see the information getting out there.

  • darkuncle29

    Is it just me? or does anybody else see the political climate getting this way too?

    Sorry to hijack, I just think this is interesting.


    Geez ...COMF

    You think this could apply to the dubs ...?


  • Maverick

    Good material, thanks for sharing it! Maverick

  • think41self

    Thanks for sharing this Comf,

    I've seen some of this same behavior myself in support groups, and Doug and I have had "spirited debates" with other members about it. Their denial is every bit as severe as the JW's. Granted, not all support groups are this way...but there seems to be a human tendency to form this kind of thinking in a gorup that's out to "save" you.


  • Billygoat


    Just popped in to say hello and that I miss you!


  • COMF

    Surreptitious... Estee... Billygoat!

    Hi, y'all. All is well here. I pop in now and again... maybe once a month.

    Dallas natives (that means you and Neil, Billygoat)! Check us out at Sneaky Pete's this Thursday (January 22nd) and again at Thunderhorse Saloon the 31st.

    Broken Code Band

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