Have you ever wondered how cults exert such a tight grip over their members? These are the 4 tactics that cults use to control their members, as laid out by my friend Steven Hassan, Ph.D., in his dissertation, "The B.I.T.E. model of Authoritarian Control: Undue Influence, Thought Reform, Brainwashing, Mind Control, Trafficking, and the Law”
1. Behavior Control - Cults use a variety of methods to control the behavior of their members. These can include things like strict rules and regulations, sleep deprivation, and physical abuse. By controlling what members can and cannot do, cults keep them in a constant state of anxiety and fear. This makes it very difficult for members to think clearly or make decisions for themselves.
2. Information Control - Cults limit the information that members have access to. They do this by censoring information, preventing members from talking to people outside the cult, and spreading misinformation. This allows cults to control what members know and believe, making it easier for them to manipulate them.
3. Thought Control - Cults use techniques to control the way members think. They isolate members from friends and family and pressure them to conform. Cults also use indoctrination or brainwashing techniques to keep people under their control.
4. Emotional Control - Cults often try to control their members' emotions. They may do this by making members feel guilty or ashamed, making them feel dependent on the cult leader for approval or validation, or using fear tactics such as threats or intimidation. This type of emotional manipulation can be very effective in keeping people in line and under the thumb of the cult leader.
As you can see, cults use a variety of methods to exert control over their members. If you're ever worried that you or someone you know may be involved in a cult, keep an eye out for these warning signs!