Cult Dynamics in (some of the) Houses We Grew Up In?

Here’s a list put together by Emotional Intelligence author Daniel Goleman. Does it ring any bells for anyone?

Taboo topics: questions that can’t be asked, doubts that can’t be shared, misgivings that can’t be voiced. For example, ‘Where does all the money go?’ or ‘Does Yogi sleep with his secretary?’

Secrets: the suppression of information, usually tightly guarded by an inner circle. For example, the answers, ‘Swiss bank accounts,’ or 'Yes, he does - and that’s why she had an abortion. ’

Spiritual clones: in its minor form, stereotypic behaviour, such as people who walk, talk, smoke, eat and dress just like their leader; in its much more sinister form, psychological stereotyping, such as an entire group of people who manifest only a narrow range of feeling in any and all situations: always happy, or pious, or reducing everything to a single explanation, or sardonic, etc.

Group think: party line that overrides how people actually feel. Typically the cognitive glue that binds the group. Eg ‘you’re fallen, and Christ is the answer’, or ‘you’re lost in Samsara, and Buddha is the answer’, or ‘you’re impure, and Shiva is the answer’.

The elect: shared delusion of grandeur that there is no way but this one. The corollary: you’re lost if you leave the group.

No graduates: members are never weaned from the group. Often accompanies the corollary above.

Assembly lines: everyone is treated identically, no matter what their differences; eg mantras are assigned by dictates of a demographical checklist.

Loyalty tests: members are asked to prove loyalty to the group by doing something that violates their personal ethics; for example, set up an organisation that has a hidden agenda of recruiting others into the group, but publicly represents itself as a public service outfit.

Duplicity: the group’s public face misrepresents its true nature, as in the example just given.

Unifocal understanding: single world view is used to explain anything and everything; alternate explanations are verboten. For example, if you have diarrhoea its ‘Guru’s grace’. If it stops, it’s also Guru’s grace. And if you get constipated, it’s still Guru’s grace.

Humourlessness: no irreverence allowed. Laughing at sacred cows is good for your health. Take, for example, Gurdjieff’s one-liner: ‘If you want to lose your faith, make friends with a priest.’

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There is nothing wrong with a good cult.

I suppose I’ve been subject to things that are taboo and group thinking. My step mother is the personification of duplicity. I don’t remember where I heard this but when I was young God was used to explain everything. I’ve also have used humourlessness against my step mother. Maybe it’s a bit cultish here.

Dude, listen.

Someone grabbed me in my kitchen and yet no one was there. I was quickly booted into the street and left to die. But then i was invited to live elsewhere with my family, my other family.

I went all the way across country man to get there. The first step i took into the house is when the voices and strange thoughts began.

I wish they had warned me before hand that they were all having paranormal things happening before my journey out there. They were seeing alot of ■■■■ and someone was messing with them pretty bad i heard later.

So i got there and boom i get tortured for fifteen years and it’s looking bad.

Cult dynamics, thats ■■■■■■■ laughable compared to this crazy ■■■■. Yeah much of that goes on though but there are other other other elements involved here in this stuff.

Im so ■■■■■■■ ■■■■■■.

I’m familiar with the list you wrote.
You didn’t mention practically starving people to weaken the bonds in their mind and body, that and constantly stirring up unnecessary drama so they never have time to sit down and think rationally.
Feigning sudden feeble mindedness or disorganization to the point others feel they have to take over all the duties and responsibilities, and becomes exhausted in a short time.
The best they do at the beginning, over playing the love and attention to make you feel extra special and cared for like no other time in their life,then once your hooked, they suddenly withdraw both and leave you confused as to what you did wrong, and you spend most of your time trying to get it back-just like they want you to do.

Because Goleman didn’t mention it on his (not my) list. Did you encounter this in your family of origin?

Those who live in SoCal and who read the LA Times are familiar with their reports of how the dynamics you wrote about are evidently used at a very large cult compound about 75 miles east of d/t LA.

Not learned from my family of origin,
but rather from personal experience in the 25 years of my 1st marriage.

Ever wonder what the answer is when the question is asked "Why didn’t you just leave?

Have worked with too many present and past cultees to wonder anymore.

Which is one of the reasons I see a great deal of similarity between cultees and neurotic, borderline and psychotic spectrum pts:

Most appear to have been gradually but very effectively “programmed,” that is: behaviorally conditioned via observation of others’ behavior as well as instruction, socialized, habituated and normalized to the (pseudo-) “reality” of the cult or family.

The CBTs and MBCTs listed below can be used effectively about 75% of the time to de-program neurotic, borderline, psychotic spectrum and cultee pts from that programming.

Schematherapy –
Learned Optimism –
Standard CBT –
10 StEP –

I sure had that when I was growing up - huge misgivings that could not possibly be voiced.

Forgot to mention that the concepts and principles of Co-Dependents Anonymous and Adult Children of Alcoholics / Dysfunctional Families also work well to uproot and dis-empower the programming of both cults and “sick” families… and participation therein is like AA and really inexpensive.

Dysfunctional families have the advantage to create their own members from scratch, but they incur the cost of raising them until they separate.
Cults seek these kids out since they don’t have to retrain them.

Cults have approached me in the past and gave their best performance to get me to jump their bandwagon, but when they found out I could think for myself, they disappeared just as quickly as they appeared.

Seems they really need those who think they are an individual, but will do anything to be part of a group.

You obviously don’t have JWs waking you up on the rare Saturday morning you managed to plan a sleep-in on.