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Separating Fantasy From Reality

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Separating Fantasy From Reality:

After the leader of a religious cult has established himself or herself into a position of authority and the cult begins to turn destructive, the structure of sermons or speeches quickly begins to change. Having successfully embedded themselves and their beliefs as a primary or secondary requirement for worship, the minds of the people are now more receptive to manipulation by the central figure. It is at this point when the traits of narcissistic personality disorder began to manifest.

People with narcissistic personality disorder believe they are "special" and unique. They have a grandiose sense of self-importance, and because of this, they embellish stories with fantastic details to exaggerate their achievements and talents. When others in their field are recognized, they become envious or angry. At all costs, they must return to the center of focus -- even if it requires exploiting others to do so.

Narcissists are preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success or power, and in the case of religious cult leaders, these fantasies enter into the sermons or speeches. Adding fantastic details to ordinary stories to make them "supernatural", claiming to have "spiritual visions" or "prophesies" and more, the religious cult leader begins to focus attention to himself or herself. As these fantasies are implanted into the minds of the following through repetition, a mythology begins to form. The fantasies of the cult leader become embedded into the identity of the cult followers.

After a cult follower awakens, they face the difficult task of separating fantasy from reality. To escape, they must determine which parts of cult mythology were true, and which were creations of the narcissistic mind. To make it more difficult, burden of proof does not lie with the cult making the claim. Cults ask skeptics to "prove a negative", demanding those who awaken to prove a fantasy did not happen to avoid offering proof that it did.