Personality is a dangerous thing, and the ability to influence people can be used for ill just as easily as it's used for good. We naturally find ourselves attracted to magnetic people, allowing their charisma to blind ourselves to their intentions and ideas.
Criminology and psychology researcher Joe Navarro has dedicated his life to understanding the twisted charisma of cults and cult leaders. Here, we've outlined his list of 50 traits common to cult leaders that help them dominate the lives of others.
He has a grandiose idea of who he is and what he can achieve.
Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, or brilliance.
Demands blind, unquestioned obedience.
Requires excessive admiration from followers and outsiders.
Is arrogant and haughty in his behavior or attitude.
Has a sense of entitlement - expecting to be treated special at all times.
Is exploitative of others by asking for their money or that of relatives putting others at financial risk.
Has an exaggerated sense of power (entitlement) that allows him to bend rules and break laws.
Takes sexual advantage of members of his sect or cult.
Sex is a requirement with adults and sub adults as part of a ritual or rite.
Is hypersensitive to how he is seen or perceived by others.
Publicly devalues others as being inferior, incapable, or not worthy.
Makes members confess their sins or faults publicly subjecting them to ridicule or humiliation while revealing exploitable weaknesses of the penitent.
Has ignored the needs of others, including: biological, physical, emotional, and financial needs.
Is frequently boastful of accomplishments.
Doesn't seem to listen well to needs of others, communication is usually one-way in the form of dictates.
Needs to be the centre of attention and does things to distract others to insure that he or she is being noticed by arriving late, using exotic clothing, overdramatic speech, or by making theatrical entrances.
Has insisted in always having the best of anything (house, car, jewelry, clothes) even when others are relegated to lesser facilities, amenities, or clothing.
Haughtiness, grandiosity, and the need to be controlling is part of his personality.
Behaves as though people are objects to be used, manipulated or exploited for personal gain.
When criticized he tends to lash out not just with anger but with rage.
Anyone who criticizes or questions him is called an enemy.
Refers to non-members or non-believers in him as the enemy.
Acts imperious at times, not wishing to know what others think or desire.
Believes himself to be omnipotent.
Has magical or unconventional answers or solutions to problems.
Is superficially charming.
Habitually puts down others as inferior and only he is superior.
Has a certain coldness or aloofness about him that makes others worry about who this person really is and or whether they really know him.
Is deeply offended when there are perceived signs of boredom, being ignored or of being slighted.
Treats others with contempt and arrogance.
Is constantly assessing for those who are a threat or those who revere him.
The word I dominates his conversations. He is oblivious to how often he references himself.
Hates to be embarrassed or fail publicly - when he does he acts out with rage.
Doesn't seem to feel guilty for any wrongdoing nor does he apologize for his actions.
Believes he possesses the answers and solutions to world problems.
Believes himself to be a deity or a chosen representative of a deity.
Rigid, unbending, or insensitive describes how this person thinks.
Tries to control others in what they do, read, view, or think.
Has isolated members of his sect from contact with family or outside world.
Monitors and or restricts contact with family or outsiders.
Works the least but demands the most.
Has stated that he is destined for greatness or that he will be martyred.
Uses enforcers or sycophants to insure compliance from members or believers.
Seems to be highly dependent of tribute and adoration and will often fish for compliments.
Sees self as unstoppable perhaps has even said so.
Conceals background or family which would disclose how plain or ordinary he is.
Doesn't see anything wrong with himself; in fact, sees himself as perfect or blessed
Has taken away the freedom to leave, to travel, to pursue life, and liberty of followers.
Has isolated the group physically (moved to a remote area) so as to not be observed.