Understanding Radicalisation as Cultic Abuse to Support Detection and Prevention
The precise, narrow definition of what is meant by Cultic Abuse:
Cultic Abuse occurs when an ideology or belief system is used alongside the systematic and sustained application of an array of recognised techniques for psychological manipulation without the knowledge or informed consent of the victim (aka brainwashing), in order to effect a breach of a persons psychological, emotional, intellectual and social integrity for the purposes of abuse, exploitation, slavery and/or pecuniary gain, and to so inhibit their critical faculties that they do not recognise their own predicament so that they may act in ways harmful to their, their family’s and their society’s best interests on instruction, by command or by neglect.
Although there are similarities and overlap with other forms of coercive persuasion – such as grooming for sex and coercive control in domestic abuse for example – one of the defining characteristics of Cultic Abuse is the use of a belief system or ideology to which the victim is encouraged to adhere, but which acts as a diversion from the deceptive use of a range of manipulative behavioural, emotional and intellectually methodology so that the victim is unaware of the extent of the exploitation they are suffering and sincerely believes they and their group are doing good.
Cult leaders are self-appointed, unaccountable, authoritarian and charismatic. In order to be useful as cult members, recruits will tend to have robust minds and be in good health. People are more susceptible to recruitment if they are open minded seekers at a time of transition in their lives. They may also, but not always, be empathetic and altruistic.
Recruits are enticed by a message but controlled by a method. The message or ideology of any group reflects the interests of the leader and is how we identify the group are religious, political, therapeutic, financial, etc.
The main use of the ideology is as a recruiting hook to draw people into the sphere of influence of the manipulators. This is done by sincere believers who want to persuade others to believe the same as themselves – usually first level cult members themselves. Experienced manipulators will then use, by stealth, an array of recognisable psychologically manipulative techniques to first isolate, engulf and then indoctrinate recruits. It is important to recognise this as a physical process which rearranges the brains synapses rather than simply a process of talking to someone to persuade them to change their mind. Because they are not Radicalised by ideas, but by a method, it becomes impossible to talk a person out of it just by rational argument.