I'm sure everyone has heard about them and the groups that they form around them and their "teachings". I'm also sure you're aware of how they act...
Well anyways, I've been examining cult leaders for a long time, and people who act like cult leaders as well. During my observations I've notice certain traits that most of them have, and from that I've come up with five things they all tend to share.
So here are five things I've noticed about cult leaders:
5. They're narcissistic.
If you were to ever meet the leader of a cult they will tell you that all of their teaching are for you to help better your life, and on the surface that sounds great... except this is a lie.
In reality it is all about the leader of the cult, and the power that leader has over you and the members of that cult.
The leader doesn't actually care about you, they only care bout what you can do for them, and how much you respect (or fear) them.
And as for their teachings? Well, just remember this is something that THEY created, and therefore can change at any time they want to (which most do) to suit whatever needs that they have, and they do this while telling you it's for your own good.
4. They like to surround themselves with important people.
Because of a cult leader's narcissism and their need to feel important, and also feel the need to gain influence (as well as new members), they tend to try also try to surround themselves with people who are either important, or they feel are important. This of course could be politicians, community leaders, celebrities, Playboy models (which I can't really blame them for), and especially people who are rich.
They do this because not only does it help them get new members (via influence of the important person), they also do this because they feel it gives them a kind of bubble of protection (which does work sometimes).
Now, if they can't actually get important people into their cult, then they'll do the next best thing: make members of their cult important and rich (as this helps get them more money).
3. They try to destroy their critics.
Probably one of the most well known and enduring practices that L. Ron Hubbard created for his Church of Scientology was the Fair Game policy, which is basically guidelines on how to destroy a critic of Scientology using whatever means necessary to silence that critic. This policy is still used today (although some in the cult claim it isn't), but it is far less effective than it was years ago as most people are no longer afraid of the Church of Scientology.
L. Ron Hubbard isn't the only cult leader whom did this, or something similar to this. In fact many, if not all cult leaders do this, mostly because they see their critics as their enemies (although this might not be to far off in some cases, it's usually for good reason).
While most have a direct hand in their handling of critics, most of the time they aren't the one whom actually handle their critics. In fact the actual handling of their critics is done by other followers, they just give out the orders on whom they feel should be targeted, and how, and this is because...
2. They prefer have others do their dirty work.
While a cult leader is usually responsible for the unethical (or illegal) stuff that their cults do, they're usually not the ones who actually do it. More often times they have other people within the cult actually do it for them, usually so they can do what ever they want (and to whomever they want) and not face the consequences via denial of knowledge that their members were doing what they were doing (which doesn't always work).
Of course they could also be having others do their dirty work so that they can fight their enemies, while at the same time not look bad to the public at large (which again, doesn't always work). Or they could be doing that so that they don't look bad infront of their members as well, or so that they don't look weak.
1. They're paranoid.
Besides being narcissistic, cult leaders tend to be paranoid as well.
While their paranoia could be the result of their narcissism (you think that you're important, so you start to believe everyone is out to get you) it could be that they are already paranoid, and because they think that someone or some group is out to get them, they start to believe that they must be important, which can result in them developing narcissism.
Regardless of the reason why they are paranoid, because of their paranoia, it can cause them to do things that are not only morally and ethically wrong (and possibility illegal) it can cause them to attack anyone whom they feel is threatening them, and it can also cause them to lash out at their followers as well (including their most loyal ones). The results of this is that they could either kick out any members without any reason, or force them to do acts to prove their loyalty, sometimes with extremely tragic consequences.