10 signs of cult brainwashing (and what to do about it)

Cult brainwashing is a scary thing.

It can lead people to do things they wouldn’t normally do and make them ignore the fact that something isn’t right.

Trust me, I’m speaking from experience. Just a few months back, I found myself completely brainwashed by what I thought was just an innocent group of friends.

However, I thankfully figured it out and noticed the signs of cult brainwashing, helping me to escape from this nightmare.

In case you find yourself in the same situation, here are the signs you need to look out for and what you can do about them:

1) There is the presence of a charismatic leader

This is one of the most common signs of cult brainwashing.

There is often a leader who is extremely charismatic, and he is often seen as having all the answers to life’s problems.

Often, this leader has created an image for himself as a godly figure who has all of the solutions to the world’s problems.

He is worshipped by his followers, who often treat him like a celebrity.

He lives a very lavish and luxurious lifestyle and often travels to different parts of the world in order to recruit more members for his cult.

The reason why this is such a big sign is because you’re basically handing your mind over to a crazy person.

Someone who thinks that they are more important than everyone else and has the answers to everything isn’t a good person to be around.

It’s scary to think that people can be so easily manipulated by someone like this.

The best thing that you can do if you find yourself in a group like this is to leave immediately. The longer you stay, the harder it will be to get out.

Now: it can be hard to spot signs within yourself, at first, because you wouldn’t believe that you are easily brainwashed.

Trust me, I’ve been there.

That’s why I’m starting with a sign that has nothing to do with you – something you can simply observe.

So, try to think about it: is there a leader in this group who everyone looks up to?

Are they treating this person almost like a god?

If so, you’ve found your answer.

2) There’s constant pressure to recruit more members

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A cult is basically a group that is so controlling that it constantly wants to grow in size.

A lot of cults have strict rules and regulations that members must follow.

What’s scary is that these rules are so strict that they completely control your thoughts and ideas.

If you break a rule in a cult, you can be kicked out and sometimes even shunned from society.

Many people join cults because they are lonely and want to feel like they belong somewhere.

They are often promised a sense of belonging, but what they get is a whole lot of controlling and abusive behavior.

One of the signs of cult brainwashing is that there is constant pressure to recruit more members.

This means that members are constantly being told to find other people who are lonely, depressed, and unhappy and convince them to join the cult.

When you find yourself in this situation, the best thing to do is to run away.

If you find yourself in a cult, you need to be careful.

Find a person outside of this network who you can trust and talk to them about what is going on.

The thing is, if it was a normal group of friends that you were with, there would be no need to recruit other people, would there?

If you are expected to recruit more members for something, always second-guess it!

3) Group activities are constantly worshiping the leader

Another common sign of cult brainwashing is that group activities constantly worship the leader who thinks that they are a god.

If you find yourself in a group where this happens, you’ll notice that the leader is treated like a celebrity.

He is treated like someone who is above everyone else and he always has to be in the spotlight.

Group activities are usually very repetitive, such as chanting and praying to the leader for hours on end.

There are also usually other weird practices as well, such as asking members to give up their possessions in order to show how much they love the leader.

A lot of times, it’s hard to tell if you’ve fallen into a cult since the signs are often very subtle and many people are blind to them.

However, if you feel like something is off, it’s important to investigate the situation further.

The thing is, if you are made to worship another person, no matter who they are, always try to second-guess it a bit.

The thing is, no matter how famous or great someone is, they are not a god.

Therefore, you should be careful that this is not some kind of brainwashing!

The thing is, it’s kind of easy to fall into this type of brainwashing when you have low self-esteem.

I was definitely in that position, and so praying to another person and idealizing them seemed easier than facing my own issues.

The thing is, in the end, building up your own confidence is what will help you break out of that cult.

I learned that from the shaman Rudá Iandê. I watched his excellent free video, in which he explained how to tap into your own personal power.

Because of him, I realized that the most important thing was the relationship I have with myself.

Once I figured that out, it was as though the brainwashing was washed away (no pun intended).

Trust me, if you want to get out of this situation, try to find your self-esteem.

Here’s a link to the free video again.

4) Members Are Only Allowed to Communicate with Each Other in Group Meetings

Another sign of cult brainwashing is that members are only allowed to communicate with each other in group meetings.

If this is happening to you, you should definitely be concerned.

You see, they have these rules in place so that you can’t start thinking for yourself with other members of the cult.

One of the things that cults do is they cut you off from the rest of the world.

They do this because they know that if you have a connection to society, you’ll quickly realize that something is wrong.

That’s why many cults require members to cut off all ties with friends and family.

If you find yourself in a situation like this, you need to get out as quickly as possible.

If you are only allowed to talk to people in certain settings, that’s a pretty big sign of brainwashing and a cult.

5) Members Are Discouraged From Thinking for Themselves

Another sign of cult brainwashing is that members are discouraged from thinking for themselves.

What this means is that members are not allowed to have their own opinions.

They are encouraged to completely accept everything that the leader says and think that he is the only person who has all the answers.

If you find yourself in a cult, one of the first signs is that you’ll find yourself thinking that the leader is absolutely correct.

You’ll think that everything that he says is correct and you won’t be able to think for yourself.

This is dangerous because it’s the sign of a cult.

What happens is that your mind is basically hijacked and you lose the ability to think for yourself.

One of the scariest things about this is that you don’t even realize it’s happening.

When this happened to me, I didn’t realize it at first. Only in hindsight, I notice how messed up this entire situation actually was!

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and I have to say that this is by far the most important thing you need to know about cults.

If you are in one of these situations, you need to really tap into your own thoughts again and think for yourself.

6) The Group Tries to Break Up Your Relationships

Another common sign of cult brainwashing is that the group tries to break up your relationships.

This is often done through criticizing your friends and family and making them out to be the bad guys.

For example, if you have a friend that is not part of the cult, the group might criticize you being friends with them.

They might say that they are abusive or that they just aren’t right for you.

This is done so that you break off ties with them and only have contact with the cult members, who are brainwashed and will agree with what the leader says.

If you notice that your friends and family are being criticized and put down, it’s a big sign that something is wrong.

Especially when you notice that you are starting to believe the cult more than them.

7) Members have no purpose other than the cult

Another sign of cult brainwashing is that you begin to lose all sense of purpose and meaning in your life.

You begin to think that the cult has all the answers and there is nothing else that you need to do or be.

This is a very dangerous thing because it will cause you to give up on everything else in your life and only focus on the cult.

If you notice yourself thinking like this, think about what other things in your life are important to you and why they are important to you.

For example, I used to love working out every day but since I joined my cult, I stopped feeling like that was a part of my identity.

The cult became more important than anything else in my life, and it was my sole purpose.

Obviously, that’s a huge red flag. I couldn’t see it at the time, but I had stopped doing everything I loved because I made this cult my entire purpose.

8) You constantly feel guilty

Guilt is a very powerful emotion and cults take advantage of this by constantly making members feel guilty.

If you’ve found yourself in a cult, you will constantly feel guilty.

You will feel guilty for the way you look, you will feel guilty for the way you act, and you will feel guilty for everything in your life.

This is done so that you are more submissive and willing to do whatever the leader says.

Guilt is a very powerful emotion because it can make you feel like there is something wrong with you.

It can make you feel like you don’t deserve anything good in your life because you are not worthy of it.

This is what cults want. They want you to feel so unworthy that you stay in the cult and do whatever they say without question.

Once you tap into your personal power again, you will realize that there is no need to feel guilty for everything, you are exactly where you need to be in life.

When I first realized this after months of being brainwashed, it was such a beautiful feeling.

I finally had a sense of peace and I was able to see myself once again.

9) Your identity is stripped from you

One of the scariest signs of cult brainwashing is that your identity is stripped from you.

What this means is that you don’t feel like you have an identity anymore.

One of the ways that cults do this is by giving you a new name.

This is very scary because you don’t feel like you are who you used to be anymore.

But not just your name – they will want you to stop doing all the things that made you you.

They will want you to stop being proud of the things you used to love, they will want you to stop doing the things that made your life special, and they will want you to stop being yourself.

Once I realized this, it was such a relief because I didn’t have to worry about all that anymore.

I could finally be who I was without feeling guilty or ashamed of myself.

10) You don’t know what’s real anymore

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Last but not least, one of the scariest signs of being brainwashed is that you don’t know what is real anymore.

You start to doubt everything.

You start to believe that the leaders are special and have supernatural powers.

You start to believe that the leaders know all about you, and they can tell if you’re lying or not.

This is a very powerful way to brainwash people because it makes them feel like they have no choice but to obey the leader no matter what he says or does.

When you start to doubt your own reality, that’s when things can get dangerous. The amount of gaslighting in cults is incredible.

What now?

So these were some of the things that I noticed right after leaving my cult.

I hope you found this helpful and that it will help you if you find yourself in a cult.

This is a really difficult thing and if you or a loved one is dealing with this, it might be good to find some help.

Sometimes, brainwashing can be really intense and you might not be able to combat it all without professional help.

With these signs, you can at least identify it, and then you know you’re on the right track.

Good luck!

Picture of Anna Scheucher

Anna Scheucher

Freelance writer specializing in holistic health, wellness, and psychology. Check out my blog to find out more https://www.fullyholistic.com/!

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