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Emotional abuse and manipulation

The narcissitic guru and emotional manipulation

Every narcissitic guru loves the charismatic power that enables them to manipulate their followers. Most do so without even being aware that they are doing it; indeed their sensitive side would be horrified at the suggestion. Others however freely admit that they do it, but genuinely believe that it is for the purpose of breaking down the devotees ego. The gurus who fall into that category are the most deluded of all, because they are consciousnly deluding themselves, as well as their devotees, but justifying their emotional parasitism and sado-masochistic "guru"-disciple relationship in superficially spiritual terms.

Emotional abuse does not seem to occur on its own, but rather as a part and parcel of a larger pattern of cultic abuse. Emotional manipulation may be used to enable sexual or financial abuse, or to cover up questioning or doubts.

Emotional Control - extremely cases of cultic abuse

cover - click for Amazon pageThe following, from the ex-cult resource center webpage external link Mind Control - The BITE Model. I would categorise this under extremely abusive in the above scale. This material is from chapter two of Link to Amazon com Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves © 2000 by Steven Hassan - published by Freedom of Mind Press, Somerville MA

1. Manipulate and narrow the range of a personís feelings.

2. Make the person feel like if there are ever any problems it is always their fault, never the leaderís or the groupís.

3. Excessive use of guilt
a. Identity guilt
1. Who you are (not living up to your potential)
2. Your family
3. Your past
4. Your affiliations
5. Your thoughts, feelings, actions
b. Social guilt
c. Historical guilt
4. Excessive use of fear
a. Fear of thinking independently
b. Fear of the "outside" world
c. Fear of enemies
d. Fear of losing one's "salvation"
e. Fear of leaving the group or being shunned by group
f. Fear of disapproval
5. Extremes of emotional highs and lows.

6. Ritual and often public confession of "sins".

7. Phobia indoctrination : programming of irrational fears of ever leaving the group or even questioning the leader's authority. The person under mind control cannot visualize a positive, fulfilled future without being in the group.
a. No happiness or fulfillment "outside"of the group
b. Terrible consequences will take place if you leave: "hell"; "demon possession"; "incurable diseases"; "accidents"; "suicide"; "insanity"; "10,000 reincarnations"; etc.
c. Shunning of leave takers. Fear of being rejected by friends, peers, and family.
d. Never a legitimate reason to leave. From the group's perspective, people who leave are: "weak"; "undisciplined"; "unspiritual"; "worldly"; "brainwashed by family, counselors"; seduced by money, sex, rock and roll.

It would be worth comparing this list with the experiences of those who have suffered under Adi Da or Andrew Cohen. It may be that some will report exactly all of those experiences; others only some of them, others again none of them. In this respect, the intermediate zone ambigious guru is quite distinct from the totally false guru. This is because with an ambigious guru some do genuinely benefit (that's the way Intermediate zone works). With the psychotic guru, such as David Koresh or Shoko Asahara, no-one benefits. There isn't even any intermediate or mixed light, it is totally false.


Emotional abuse by false gurus

The following is a possible tentative rating scheme in this area, from authentic spiritual teacher to extremely abusive false guru, as regards to emotional manipulation:



Do you have reports of, or have you been the victim of, an emotionally abusive guru? If so, please contact me and I will add your accounts to those listed here. Alternatively, do you feel that my assessment of your guru on this or other pages has been harsh, unfair, biased, or bigoted? If so, contact me also, so that I might correct any errors or, if the guru is ambigiious, presnet both sides of the argument.


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page by M.Alan Kazlev, quoted material © 2000 by Steven Hassan
page uploaded 16 December 2006, last modified 18 December