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Unraveling The Stories

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Unraveling The Stories:

Many central figures of religious cults have the appearance of very likeable, charismatic people. They have a unique charm that can inspire the devotion of followers when they speak. Though narcissistic tendencies prevent them from building intimate relationships with individuals, they are capable of convincing groups of people to believe in their supernatural abilities, doctrine, and agenda. Even long after escaping, some former cult members are unable to recognize the manipulation techniques used in charismatic speech patterns.

Charismatic cult leaders are great storytellers. They are able to capture the emotion of their listeners through heart-wrenching stories. They are able to plant vivid images into the minds of the people, using familiar references, emotional situations, and memories that are similar among people of varying demographics. Their greatest power is their tongue, and any weaknesses are used to their advantage in their charismatic technique.

One of the more powerful techniques used by charismatic cult leaders is "self-targeted fictional symbolism". Capturing the emotions and complete attention of their listeners, cult leaders who use this technique are able to manipulate perception. Using the mind as an empty canvas, they paint a picture that is easily recognizable, yet fictional. Then, introducing a fictional representation of themselves into the story, they can say incredible things about the fictional character directly, while indirectly saying the same about themselves. As the fictional scene is imprinted into the memory of the listener, the cult leader's relation to the scene is also imprinted. Over time, as the fictional elements begin to fade away from memory, the cult leader's image in the scene remains. Also remaining are every point the cult leader wishes to manipulate the listener into believing. When these stories begin to unravel, however, the cult leader's grip also unravels.