All leaders of abusive groups use manipulative tactics. They seek to use their words, their behaviour, and their actions to gain power and control over their devotees.
Many people become passionately devoted to their guru. They give their money, their time and their skills for no other exchange than to be part of that which they have come to wholeheartedly believe in.
Abusive pathological leaders do not care about their devotees. They may pretend to care at times, but their care is no more than a façade to gain the needed compliance of their victims. They need their victims to comply so that they can fulfil the hidden agendas that permeate, out of view, within the fabric of cult life. They do this through abusive tactics and techniques, under the guise of the outwardly promoted goals of the cult. Many cults, outwardly, can have seemingly altruistic goals.
A base agenda for most if not all cults is…money. Cult leaders are driven by the stuff. If you don’t part with your cash, participate in ‘building’ the cult for free by offering time and skills, or generally help raise funds for the group you will be out on your ear.
Another base agenda is sex. Many gurus take full advantage of their power by having sex with cult members.
Having dominance over their devotees is absolutely essential for the guru’s psychological survival. Tactics can alternate between being actively hostile – name-calling, belittling, exposing ‘flaws’ and public humiliation; to passive controlling techniques like ‘cold-shoulder’ and shunning.
Cult leaders arouse the emotions of fear and guilt in their devotees. This fear and guilt, for many, is a strong driving force to do the ‘right’ thing. Natural human responses are hijacked by the leader and twisted for their own benefit.
Cult gurus are manipulative and cunning. They want what they want and have an insatiable appetite. For many people getting trapped in their guru’s web of deceit can last for many years. My most recent research would indicate that the average cult member stays in a cult for over ten years.
Part of recovery is seeing reality. Seeing the reality of the guru’s manipulations, lies and methods of control. It can be a painful process, but a process worth enduring to reach a place of internal freedom that comes from seeing the truth, clearly, as it is.
All cult gurus are master manipulators.