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18 Signs of a TOXIC GROUP

STRUCTURE OF THE ORGANIZATION:

Group with strong hierarchical structure, strict adherence to rules

Leader figure with prophetic claims, political extremist

OPENNESS OF THE GROUP:

Isolation and strong separation to the outside

SOCIAL LIFE, FRIENDS & FAMILY:

Ongoing contact is discouraged, minimized or forbidden

GIVING TO THE GROUP:

Paying for an overpriced course, mandatory tithing, forced labor or excessive volunteering is required

WORLDVIEW:

Division of the world into good and evil, black-and-white thinking, all-or-nothing mentality

ABSOLUTE CLAIMS:

Exclusive belief in the absolute truth of group’s own system, teaching, path, and methods; claiming the “only truth”

PROMISES OF SALVATION AND HEALING:

“Universal recipes” and simplified solutions for all problems, no checks-and-balances, unverifiable claims

VICTIM BLAMING:

If it doesn’t work, the member isn’t trying hard enough

ELITE THINKING:

The members of the group see themselves as chosen, as a spiritually evolved and superior elite of humanity

SACRIFICE:

Members are expected to sacrifice time, money and sometimes their health or life for the group’s purpose; sacrifice is hailed as a virtue HEALTH:

Physical health problems are ignored, doctor visits discouraged, mental health problems stigmatized; those with burnout or depression seen as weak

END TIME EXPECTATION:

The end of the world or a political escalation and war are dooming

EXTERNAL INFORMATION:

No open communication to the outside, misleading propaganda, covering up of sexual abuse or other crimes

INTERNAL INFORMATION:

Only selective information is given to members, sometimes deliberate disinformation within the group DOUBT AND CRITICISM:

Doubt and criticism are banned within the group; critics on the outside are ridiculed and sometimes punished

MILIEU CONTROL:

Control and monitoring of all areas of life, lack of privacy and choice

UNETHICAL METHODS:

Misleading recruitment, indoctrination, use of mind-altering methods and fear

CONTROL OVER THOUGHTS AND EMOTIONS:

By creating shame and fear, the member is manipulated; by excessively practicing relaxation techniques or violence, thoughts and feelings become controlled and sometimes an “inner leader” is constructed, replacing one’s own conscience






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