At one point in our lives, many of us have experienced the sensation of loneliness.
We've tried our best to fit in but seemed to fail at every turn to join an accepting community of like-minded people.
But that doesn't always come easily, but when it does, we go all in without really doing our research because we prefer to hold onto that initial feeling of acceptance.
Unfortunately, not all groups have genuinely good intentions. Because before you know it, you find yourself having been sucked into a cult.
Or maybe something that isn't but feels like one. But what is that exactly?
Thankfully, Redditor MichaelScottssmug put our minds at ease and asked the Reddit beehive:
"What isn’t a cult but feels like a cult?"
Facebook groups can include some very manipulative personalities.
The Dog Owners Group
"Some dog owners groups on facebook are very culty like. Got banned from one group for not crate training my pup. I like her sleeping in my bed as it helps with my anxiety."
"Yep, and they can be completely nutso in either direction. Some of them are all micromanage every moment of your dog’s life, constantly showing dominance so that it knows you’re the alpha. Flip it on its back twice a day and stare directly into its eyes until it looks away in submission. Take away its dinner every now and then and make it watch as you throw it all in the trash, just to keep it from getting too comfortable. If it doesn’t respond to hand signals and commands in six languages, you’ve utterly failed.”
"And others are like 'if you have any rules or boundaries whatsoever with your dog, then you’re basically Cruella DeVille. Your dog’s needs and desires should be prioritized over literally everything and everyone else in your life, including your other pets, your spouse, your children, and yourself. If anyone is allergic to/scared of/just not a big fan of your dog, you should instantly cut them out of your life because your dog should BE your life.'”
"Mommy groups. And even specific groups. Like a cult within a cult."
"Joined a cloth diapering group. I was excommunicated for using Pampers at night."
"Breastfeeding? If you aren’t nursing till 4? Bye!"
The One That Got Away
"My wife just left one. For a while, she found some feeling of belonging when she was feeling lonely at home. However, it wasn't worth the toxicity. Even by social media standards, there were some sh*tty indoctrinated people in there."
Consequences Of Soliciting "Mom Knowledge"
"An acquaintance of mine got called out in the most glorious fashion when she got sucked into the local Facebook mommy group."
"She posted asking for 'mom knowledge' of how to handle a teething baby and got the insane responses you would expect. (Giving the baby hard liquor; puting special crystals around the house; you name it) Her husband caught whiff of the insanity, and instead of waiting to get home that evening, replied to the post, 'Perhaps you could ask your husband, the PEDIATRIC DENTIST. He probably has actual, proven medicine for this situation.'"
"I don't know what he said when he got home that night, but she never publicly posted in the mommy group again - probably to the benefit of their son."
"I have a good friend like this who is always trying to win motherhood. We have similarly aged kids and I’m a pretty laid-back parent for the most part so I make an effort to not compete in any way. She is a great mom, I can’t argue with that. But the more I avoid the competition, the more intense her parenting hacks become. She now has an entire household economy based on pom-poms that her kids have to earn and then pay back for things as simple as going outside or reading a book. Apparently this is supposed to teach them… Some thing. And apparently asking my kids to do chores to earn actual cash is somehow harming their psychology but I couldn’t tell you how or why."
"I agree with this 100%. I'm a lawyer the number of times I've had Mom's come to me about something being discussed in their mom group and how I need to make it right is astonishing. It gets even worse when they bring up how Laura said whatever the issue is is illegal and they need to be compensated for it. It's like I'm sorry but no you aren't entitled to compensation because you are concerned about the perfectly legal fertilizer your neighbor is using on his lawn unless there are actual damages or injuries caused by it. And 'as a mother' isn't a sound legal argument either."
"Those insane pro breastfeeding groups are very cult like in my experience. (Not bashing breastfeeding, I did it myself. But so many women in those groups talk about formula like it’s literal poison)"
"Similarly those crazy free birth types."
Certain auto communities make Redditors feel like they're going nowhere fast.
"Audi ownership (at least in the UK). I had an Audi Q3 as a hire car recently and other Audi drivers were suddenly letting me out at junctions, offering me parking spaces and even stopping to talk to me as if we'd known each other for years. I'm actually serious about this. It was weird."
What The Duck?
"I add Jeep owners to this. They leave ducks on each other's Jeeps??? Why???"
The Duck Discussion
"I only recently found out about the duck thing. I was walking out of the gas station and there's this lady just staring in my jeep, making little apprehensive motions as if she was going to get in. I ask if I can help her and she's saying she wants to leave a duck on the dash but she was afraid my dogs in the back seat might bite."
"She was so determined to give me, a random jeep owner, a duck that she was; standing in the cold, risking dog bites (not really as my boys are friendly goofballs but she didn't know that) and taking the risk that I might perceive this as someone trying to steal my truck/mess with my dogs or any other conclusion I could jump to at the moment."
"Ultimately I took her little Dracula duck and chatted with her for a couple of mins. Nice lady but very eccentric. The entire dash of her jeep was COVERED in rubber ducks. Like a duck army large enough to make her jeep float, no space to spare."
"It still sounds way nicer than "BMW cult" which consists of constant attempt to break as many road rules as possible in certain time."
Some Redditors' cult-like fears hit too close to home.
A Living Nightmare
"My condo association.. No I will not host the ritual at my place again this month, Dave!"
Fixing The HOA
"My wife worked her way up to president of our condo association. She's so anti-HOA that she has basically made it non-functional and doesn't enforce anything. One of our neighbors is also anti-HOA and he got elected as treasurer so now they have a majority vote on the board and overrule the other voting member who is a snobby hateful old lady."
"Thanks all for the kind words, I want to clarify when I said that my wife has made the condo association non-functioning, I'm referring to the petty BS like welcome mat size and thickness that the previous HOA board seemed overly obsessed with. As a result, they ignored a lot of building maintenance and my wife is solely focusing on upgrading and fixing issues that were ignored for years or even decades."
The One To Vote For
"My father made a point of becoming president of any condo association (called Strata where I live). He didn't want power, he just wanted to make sure nobody else abused the position."
"At his previous apartment he was president for 5 or 6 years. He was pretty strict about maintenance. No matter how expensive, if something needed fixing, he levied for it and got it fixed."
"An older member (it was kind of a retirement home) really didn't like that. He wanted to pay as little as possible until he sold his unit. So when a roof levy came through, he went to every resident who was super old and kind of confused. He spun elaborate tales of corruption and got a couple dozen proxy votes in his pocket. He then used those proxy votes to vote himself in as president and vote my dad out."
"My father sold his unit less than 30 days later. He knew the guy was going to run the place into the ground and wanted out."
"Less than a year later the whole apartment complex was sold off to a developer who was going to level it. Apparently the roof maintenance they decided not to do caused big problems they couldn't afford to fix."
I'm admittedly a hardcore fan of Disney, but let's be real. There are some weird, obsessed fanatics who are literally mad for the mouse, and I'm not even close to that level of mania.
Especially when it comes to merchandise. When I used to work at a Disney park, there would periodically be limited edition merchandise for sale to commemorate a specific event or anniversary. Annual pass holders would line up before the park opens to make sure they can snatch as many of these coveted items are allowed per purchaser so they can sell them on eBay for a king's ransom.
Disney pins are what many of these crazed fans are after, and they show up in line wearing lanyards decorated with their rare collection of pins for bragging rights.
I have no idea what they do for a living since they were always at the parks. Probably living off their eBay money.
I love Disney, but there are definitely others in the cultish community that put my level of passion to shame.