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10 Signs of a Cult: A Women's Guide to Safe Self-Discovery

Strong, independent women may find themselves seeking new experiences and connections as we strive to find our place in the world. Each person may be jostling with experiences and conditioning that made up vital parts of childhood. Unfortunately, the quest to find healthy groups to join, alongside the potential reconciliation of childhood encounters, can sometimes make us vulnerable to the dangers of cults. With a myriad of groups vying for our attention, it's essential to know how to identify and avoid cults or coercive groups. In this blog, I aim to offer 10 key signs to spot a cult and stay safe on our journey of self-discovery and empowerment.

1 - Charismatic Leader

Cults often have a captivating leader who demands unwavering devotion. These leaders may possess charm and magnetic personalities, but ultimately, have a main goal of manipulating and controlling followers.

2 - Exclusivity and Elitism

Cults thrive on the idea that they are unique, exclusive, and superior to other groups. They may claim to have a special mission or secret knowledge that can only be accessed by their members.

3 - Control Over Members

A cult will often exert an unhealthy level of control over its members. This can manifest in various ways, such as monitoring members' activities, controlling their finances, or dictating their personal relationships.

4 - Isolation from Friends and Family

Cults frequently separate members from their loved ones to foster dependence on the group. They may encourage members to cut ties with friends and family or create an "us versus them" mentality.

5 - Fear and Intimidation

Cults often use fear and intimidation to keep members in line. They may threaten punishment, social isolation, or even eternal damnation if members don't comply with the group's rules or teachings.

6 - Black-and-White Thinking

Cults generally promote black-and-white thinking, labelling the outside world as evil or dangerous. This mindset can make it difficult for members to question the group's beliefs or actions.

7 - Rituals and Routines

Cults often have strict rituals and routines designed to create a sense of unity and purpose. However, these practices can also serve to further manipulate and control members.

8 - Emotional Manipulation

Cults may use emotional manipulation to break down members' sense of self and make them more susceptible to the group's influence. This can involve love bombing, guilt-tripping, and shaming.

9 - Exploitation

Cults frequently exploit their members financially, emotionally, or physically. They may require members to give large sums of money, perform unpaid labour, or engage in abusive practices.

10 - Difficulty Leaving the Group

Finally, cults often make it challenging for members to leave. They may employ tactics such as shaming, threats, or even physical force to keep members from walking away.

By recognizing these 10 warning signs, women can protect themselves from the dangers of cults while finding their place in the world. Of course, this is not limited to one gender and the essence of these points can be applied to all. By sharing this knowledge and supporting one another, we can create a safer and more empowered future for all. Stay vigilant, and always trust your intuition.

Click here! for more on cults, coercive control and interviews with survivors -

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1 Comment

Sue Winter
Sue Winter
Apr 04, 2023

Well written Kacey! It happens to seniors too. We are women who have lived through socially acceptable misogyny and toxic masculinity in both the workplace and at home. We were quashed and mocked, but fought to live on our own terms.

And it continues with our fight to get the government to compensate us for a lack of appropriate warning over the raising of our state pension age. We are told that we wanted equality, but there is only true equality when women start from a place of equality.

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