Trivia

Charismatic Cult Leaders And The Common Traits That Make Their Personality Type So Dangerous

Jim Jones. (Wikipedia)

Personality is a dangerous thing, and the ability to influence people can be used for ill just as easily as it's used for good. We naturally find ourselves attracted to magnetic people, allowing their charisma to blind ourselves to their intentions and ideas.

Criminology and psychology researcher Joe Navarro has dedicated his life to understanding the twisted charisma of cults and cult leaders. Here, we've outlined his list of 50 traits common to cult leaders that help them dominate the lives of others.


(1/50)

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He has a grandiose idea of who he is and what he can achieve.

(2/50)

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Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, or brilliance.

(3/50)

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Demands blind, unquestioned obedience.

(4/50)

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Requires excessive admiration from followers and outsiders.

(5/50)

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Is arrogant and haughty in his behavior or attitude.

(6/50)

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Has a sense of entitlement - expecting to be treated special at all times.

(7/50)

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Is exploitative of others by asking for their money or that of relatives putting others at financial risk.

(8/50)

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Has an exaggerated sense of power (entitlement) that allows him to bend rules and break laws.

(9/50)

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Takes sexual advantage of members of his sect or cult.

(10/50)

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Sex is a requirement with adults and sub adults as part of a ritual or rite.

(11/50)

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Is hypersensitive to how he is seen or perceived by others.

(12/50)

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Publicly devalues others as being inferior, incapable, or not worthy.

(13/50)

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Makes members confess their sins or faults publicly subjecting them to ridicule or humiliation while revealing exploitable weaknesses of the penitent.

(14/50)

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Has ignored the needs of others, including: biological, physical, emotional, and financial needs.

(15/50)

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Is frequently boastful of accomplishments.

(16/50)

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Doesn't seem to listen well to needs of others, communication is usually one-way in the form of dictates.

(17/50)

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Needs to be the centre of attention and does things to distract others to insure that he or she is being noticed by arriving late, using exotic clothing, overdramatic speech, or by making theatrical entrances.

(18/50)

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Has insisted in always having the best of anything (house, car, jewelry, clothes) even when others are relegated to lesser facilities, amenities, or clothing.

(19/50)

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Haughtiness, grandiosity, and the need to be controlling is part of his personality.

(20/50)

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Behaves as though people are objects to be used, manipulated or exploited for personal gain.

(21/50)

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When criticized he tends to lash out not just with anger but with rage.

(22/50)

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Anyone who criticizes or questions him is called an enemy.

(23/50)

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Refers to non-members or non-believers in him as the enemy.

(24/50)

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Acts imperious at times, not wishing to know what others think or desire.

(25/50)

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Believes himself to be omnipotent.

(26/50)

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Has magical or unconventional answers or solutions to problems.

(27/50)

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Is superficially charming.

(28/50)

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Habitually puts down others as inferior and only he is superior.

(29/50)

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Has a certain coldness or aloofness about him that makes others worry about who this person really is and or whether they really know him.

(30/50)

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Is deeply offended when there are perceived signs of boredom, being ignored or of being slighted.

(31/50)

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Treats others with contempt and arrogance.

(32/50)

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Is constantly assessing for those who are a threat or those who revere him.

(33/50)

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The word I dominates his conversations. He is oblivious to how often he references himself.

(34/50)

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Hates to be embarrassed or fail publicly - when he does he acts out with rage.

(35/50)

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Doesn't seem to feel guilty for any wrongdoing nor does he apologize for his actions.

(36/50)

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Believes he possesses the answers and solutions to world problems.

(37/50)

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Believes himself to be a deity or a chosen representative of a deity.

(38/50)

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Rigid, unbending, or insensitive describes how this person thinks.

(39/50)

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Tries to control others in what they do, read, view, or think.

(40/50)

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Has isolated members of his sect from contact with family or outside world.

(41/50)

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Monitors and or restricts contact with family or outsiders.

(42/50)

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Works the least but demands the most.

(43/50)

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Has stated that he is destined for greatness or that he will be martyred.

(44/50)

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Uses enforcers or sycophants to insure compliance from members or believers.

(45/50)

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Seems to be highly dependent of tribute and adoration and will often fish for compliments.

(46/50)

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Sees self as unstoppable perhaps has even said so.

(47/50)

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Conceals background or family which would disclose how plain or ordinary he is.

(48/50)

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Doesn't see anything wrong with himself; in fact, sees himself as perfect or blessed

(49/50)

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Has taken away the freedom to leave, to travel, to pursue life, and liberty of followers.

(50/50)

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Has isolated the group physically (moved to a remote area) so as to not be observed.

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Here are a some people admitting strong opinions they no longer have, and what it took to change those views. Redditor u/segafarm asks:

What is the strongest opinion you once held but no longer hold, and what make you change your mind?

Jade-Colored Glasses

I used to think that being cynical/negative was realistic and somehow smarter than being positive. I've since realized that a "be prepared for the worst but expect the best" is far better. We can't control the outcome of anything in life. Being negative makes you miserable rather than protected from bad things happening.

nanaimo

Cant' Have A Conversation With A Parrot

I used to be a conspiracy theorist. Believed that 9/11 was committed by the US government and that we never landed on the moon.

Once I started looking outside of the echo chamber I was in and started looking at alternate explanations, theories and listening to different viewpoints I soon realized how ridiculous those notions were.

Not-A-Real-Subreddit

A Big, Mysterious Universe

I used to be a strict, hardline atheist. I was the kind of bastard that would bring the subject up for no reason, just to argue. I don't know what the hell my problem was. Now I feel like, the universe is big, I don't know what all might be out there, I don't really care. I live as if there is no afterlife, because that makes sense to me. But if you don't, and you believe in one, that's perfectly fine, and maybe you're right. Who knows?

CDC_

Portrait Of An Artist As A Young Man

I used to believe anyone can be a successful artist if they just put the time and effort into it. There is no such thing as talent, only hard work.

What changed my mind: Art school. There were quite a few people that tried hard, but just weren't able to achieve professional level art.

berfica

You're Not Your Emotions

For the longest time, I thought my emotions were in a sense the most "real" part of me. I was always a very emotional person and I didn't make a real effort to control it as I thought it was a good thing, that I was just being honest with myself. Over time though, I started to become very depressed and the negative emotions just keep adding on and on. I thought "this is just how I am I guess". Unfortunately it started hurting other relationships I had, and everything changed when my girlfriend broke up with me. After a lot of reading I found that emotions are not who we are at all. They're just reactions and there's nothing that requires us to act on them or feed them. I'm learning to let it go through me instead of hanging on like I used to.

inca829

Don't Forget Big Willie Style

I used to think that hip hop was bland, repetitive, and all about clubbing and sh*t. Then one of my friends pointed me towards people like Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Nas and Run The Jewels, who all have great songs and clever lyrics, and I realized that Hip Hop is pretty great.

6quid

The A**holes Will Always Find A Way

I used to think that the catholic church was responsible for all of the hateful people in it. I gave people the chance to challenge my opinion and someone explained it very nicely to me. Basically, the hateful people use the church as an excuse, if you remove the church they will gladly find another excuse.

TianaLeFong

High Times

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I used to tell myself that I would never stop smoking weed, and that I'd be happy if my kids grew up to be pot smokers... Now I have a kid, don't smoke, and realize what an idiot I was when all I did was smoke all day. I could probably be in a much better position if I hadn't smoked all through college.

But I mean, I still think pot's okay... Just in moderation.

edgar__allan__bro

The Road Less Traveled

"All taxation is theft, man! I made my money without any help from public institutions or the infrastructure they support, I should be able to keep every last dime of it!"

Naturally that was when I was 18, living at home rent free, and working at Pizza Hut as a delivery driver who relied upon public roads for pretty much every cent I made.

ExtremelyLongButtock

All Those PSA's Didn't Do Much

The whole D.A.R.E anti-drugs. Yes crack and heroin is bad, but they over dramatized what happens when you do smaller drugs. Weed isn't even a gateway drug, alcohol is more of a gateway drug. When I saw weed for the first time I thought it was tobacco (This was after all the D.A.R.E training too). Letting the government teach you your morales and philosophy is a thing that sheep do. Don't be a sheep.

PlantTreesForToday

Where Would We Be Without The Kindness Of Strangers

I used to think people on welfare and state assistance just weren't trying hard enough. I grew up spoiled and entitled and it seemed like any kind of charity was a stigma.

Then, my husband became chronically ill, and the economy took a shit. My family has been close to homelessness more than once, and have relied on state insurance and assistance off and on throughout the past few years. There are definitely people out there who abuse the system, but some just get stuck in a horrible cycle of poverty.

I also work in a school that has a high number low income and refugee families. It has really opened my eyes to the struggles that some people face.

BuffyandtheHellcats

He's Still There For You, The Best He Can Be

I could go through life and could seek meaningful advice from my Dad who has always been there for me.

Now he has been reduced to a feeble condition, I am starting to understand I'm out there on my own, and even what he's sure of is suspect given his mental and physical facilities have been rapidly deteriorating in his late seventies. I feel horrible that I have noticed this long before he did - or at least admitted as much.

june606

Clear Your Mind

This was before I received an ADHD diagnosis. When my doctor referred me to an ADHD specialist, first of all I refused to believe him and was kind of slighted that he even suggested that I could possibly have ADHD.

I had a very strong opinion that if I get a diagnosis that I would refuse to take prescribed amphetamines because they are "bad" and "addictive" and that they would ruin my life.

Then I actually tried the prescription and it was like magic.

Xingua92

Going Through The Whole Spectrum

Used to be fairly open with my views on immigration policy. Then I worked for a while down near Corpus Christie doing immigration work. I'd say one out if every hundred people that came through our office was going to somebody who actually wanted to work and try to make a living here. So many people simply wanted to exist enough to get welfare. Many were young men who we would later defend against exportation as a result of their criminal activity. I began to despise the work of defending these men and wished they would be deported.

Now, I'm dating a foreign girl and we are in the legal immigration process. She has advanced degrees and skills, so that makes things a little easier. But it does make me resent people who just bypass the system. We can't bypass the system because I imagine my participation in immigration fraud could get me disbarred.

RogerDeanVenture



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