Psychopaths and Cult Leaders


A psychopath has no empathy, feels no guilt. One former cult member said of her experience with a psychopathic cult leader:

"I had absolutely no concept of all the evil he was capable of! When he hurt me, I thought he must not have meant it. When he told me, it was for my own good, my spiritual growth, I believed him. I was measuring him by my own standards, which clearly did not apply to


Psychopaths are very pleasure driven, trying to get the most out of any situation and other people. Psychcentral describes a psychopath as having “a greater ability to disassociate from their actions. Without emotional involvement, any pain that others suffer is meaningless to a psychopath.” 


Recent research suggests that psychopaths have a different reaction topain than most people and do not experience guilt. They also tend to be more calculating than a Sociopath.

Most people are unable to see the warning signs of a psychopath. Often by seeking the good in others, people can quickly and easily become charmed by a psychopath. Keep in mind, that they also come in a range from mild to extreme. 



Traits of a Cult Leader:


  • 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 exploitative of others by asking for their money.

  • Has an exaggerated sense of power (entitlement)

  • Bends rules and breaks laws.

  • Sex is a requirement with adults and sub adults as part of a ritual or rite.

  • Publicly devalues others as being inferior, incapable, or not worthy.

  • Makes members confess their sins or faults publicly.

  • Insist on always having the best of anything (house, car, jewelry, clothes). 

  • Behaves as though people are objects to be used, manipulated or exploited.

  • When criticized he tends to lash out not just with anger but with rage.

  • Anyone who criticizes or questions him is called an “enemy.”

  • Has “magical” answers or solutions to problems.

  • Is superficially charming.

  • Doesn’t seem to feel guilty for anything nor does he apologize for his actions.

  • 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.

  • Works the least but demands the most.

  • Has stated that he is “destined for greatness” or that he will be “martyred.”

  • Highly dependent of tribute and adoration and will fish for compliments.

  • Conceals background or family which would disclose how ordinary he is.

  • Has taken away the freedom to leave, travel, or pursue life of his followers.


For the full (and very long list) by Joe Navarro M.A. see this article.


Cult Leaders / Psychopaths


  • It's never their fault

  • Lack of guilt & remorse

  • Pathological liars

  • Superficial charm



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