Background

This note is the final communication from a narcissist to one of his victims. The narcissist ran a high-control religious group and became upset because the victim no longer wanted to meet with them. The narcissist’s pressure to attend was subtle at first, but became more overt and shaming when the victim would not comply. The narcissist then attempted to triangulate against the victim by spreading negative disinformation among his friends and acquaintances, attempting to either use them to pressure him into compliance or turn them against him. The narcissist sent this note to the victim when, after trying to contact the victim repeatedly on the phone, the victim stated that he did not wish to talk on the phone that day. He was simply tired of the passive-aggressive guilting and manipulation to join the group.

The note is a classic example of narcissistic rage, which can occur when their attempts to bend others to their will fail. However, it is more complex than that. It also neatly illustrates two principles associated with narcissists: DARVO and common manipulation tactics. If there was any doubt in the victim’s mind that he was dealing with a narcissist, this erased it all.

DARVO

DARVO stands for Denial, Attack, and Reversing Victim and Offender. It works like this:

  1. Denial – The narcissist will claim they never said or did that
  2. Attack – If you have evidence or an argument, they will bypass that and directly attack you. This can be very exhausting or even frightening, but the narcissist loves doing it so they will usually win. Most people will back off after two or three attacks, because it wears them down. The narcissist however, gets a high off all this and it will make them feel better. The narcissist can weaponize things you have told them in confidence. They can create a sense of menace without directly threatening you.
  3. Reversing Victim and Offender – After attacking you, the narcissist will reverse the victim and offender roles. They paint themselves as the victim and you as the attacker or problem. They may claim this is a witch hunt and everyone is out to get them, or that they are being persecuted. They may also make veiled threats about revealing the “truth” about you, now the offender, to the public. This is the gaslighting main event designed to put you on the defensive. Once you go on the defensive, they have you trapped.

    Below is the message from the narcissist, with the elements of DARVO highlighted in different colors. Misspellings and grammatical errors were retained.

    DENIAL ATTACK REVERSE VICTIM/OFFENDER

    Well its come to this between us? I stopped telling you my opinion on what you should do with your child and your spiritual life long ago. You pretty much told me you didn’t want to hear it and you were not going to do what I suggested anyway. I’m going to remind you of some FACTS!! When you were in trouble who talked to you DAILY? Who encouraged you in the Lord every time we talked? Who got you a place to live when you couldn’t get an apartment anywhere because of the problems you were facing? Who went and got your daughter away from a child molester even when it cost me my own daughter? Why did I do those things and many more things to help you get here and live here? I told you long ago that I loved you like a son I didn’t ever have. I cared for your spiritual walk and God showed me things you were doing and how it was going to hurt you seriously. What was your response to me, “I know I’m not walking like Jesus’ teachings but I just can’t muster the desire to do it”. I loved you enough to stop asking you to come to our group. And because I loved you enough to ask your friend for his opinion to help me try and see what else I could do to help you, you get mad and cut me off just like you have done with everyone else. Is that how you show love and appreciation for someone who loved you when NO ONE else did? No one! You never learned one part of your military creed, honor. You never learned how to honor someone who honored you when you weren’t honorable. I’ve always told you the truth but you haven’t been truthful with me. I’ve never tried to change you! I’ve given you truth and it’s up to you to do the changing. Rebel against God all you want, there are plenty of examples in the Bible of people who chose your direction and your attitude. You stay on this self pity victim mentality and you will see how that works out. Your issues are not with others, there your issues. No one has held a gun to your head and made you do anything! Not your wives, your job, your pastor, this group and certainly not me! Stand up like a man and accept the life you have is due to YOUR DECISIONS! You don’t want to come to the group, don’t! You don’t want to listen to me? DON’T! I’ve been praying for you several times a day! Every day! And because I care, you want to get pissy. Go a head, make God’s day. You want to be left alone, fine. Jonah wanted to be left alone too. Being alone doesn’t always work out the way you want. I guess I see exactly how you feel about me, no different than anyone else on the street.

    The narcissist implemented DARVO in two iterations. First denying what he had done, then attacking the victim, then portraying himself as the victim and the victim as the offender. He then repeated this a second time.

    Iteration #1

    Denial

    The narcissist denied trying to manipulate the victim into obeying him with respect to attending religious events and raising his child. He had been pressuring the victim into adhering to his views on both for many years, even though the victim had just as much or more experience in these areas as him. At first, he gave frequent suggestions as to how the victim should pursue religion and raise his child, but the victim did not quickly and smoothly obey. This led to more passive-aggressive methods like comments that included subtle shaming or guilting, eye-rolling, and slandering him behind his back in attempts to triangulate others against him.

    Attack

    The narcissist then attacked the victim by telling him all the things he (the narcissist) had done for him, with the clear insinuation that the victim was both ungrateful and disloyal. The “facts” that the narcissist stated were greatly embellished and even outright false in some cases. The victim did live in the narcissist’s apartment when he ran into some difficulties, but the narcissist did not “get him a place to live.” In fact, the narcissist was facing a heavy fine for breaking the 2-year apartment lease, which he had impulsively signed. The victim took over rent payment for those two years, then repaid the deposit to the narcissist out of his own pocket, and paid to have the apartment cleaned after the lease was fulfilled. He saved the narcissist thousands of dollars. The narcissist did help in rescuing the victim’s daughter, who the narcissist’s own daughter had abducted. However, that did not cost him his own daughter. She had already disappeared long before that. Finally, the narcissist did nothing to help the victim “get and live here,” which was move to a new home in another state. The victim did all that himself, with a little help from two friends, but not the narcissist.

    Reversal of Victim and Offender

    Finally, the narcissist reversed the victim and offender roles, by painting himself as an honorable, caring and loving man who the victim did not appreciate and kicked to the curb. Once again, many of his statements were either misrepresentations of what happened or outright lies.

    The age difference between the narcissist and victim was only 6 years, hardly enough to claim being like a father to him.  This was simply at tactic to paint the narcissist as wise and sacrificial, caring for a wayward “son.” It also served to place the victim in an automatically inferior role as his “child.” Similarly, the “cared for your spiritual walk” was more embellishment. All the narcissist had done was try to impose his personal rules upon the victim, framing them as commandments from God.

    The victim never stated that he did not want to walk like Jesus’ teachings, only that he did not want to meet with group led by the narcissist because of the hours of mindless babbling associated with it. The narcissist falsely framed this as not walking in Jesus’ teachings and then applied a broad brush to paint the victim as following none of Jesus’ teachings. The message here is clear. The narcissist is a pious man who follows Jesus, while the victim is a sinful apostate who does not.

    The narcissist framed his triangulation attempts, which he correctly assumed the victim had seen through, as enlisting a friend to further “help” the victim.  Notice that the issue of whether or why the victim needed any help in the first place was never addressed. The narcissist just portrayed himself as helpful, and therefore good.

    Finally, the narcissist made a low blow by framing himself as an honorable man at the expense of portraying the victim to be dishonorable. No details or reasons were given for this. It was left for others to paint in, hopefully with their own reasons why the victim was dishonorable. This also served double duty as being another attack upon the victim.

    Iteration #2

    Denial

    The narcissist began his denial in the second iteration by stating he was truthful with the victim and never tried to change him. Both assertions were blatantly false. The narcissist hid many things from the victim and misrepresented even more. First and foremost, he hid his true nature of wanting to control and dominate, concealing it behind a façade of caring concern. He secretly slandered and talked down the victim to others for years, something the victim had only recently discovered. The narcissist had tried to change many things about the victim, from his religious practices, to his parenting, to his daily schedule, to his partner, to with whom he was and was not permitted to associate. When the victim did not accede to the narcissist’s “suggestions” about these, the narcissist proceeded to apply passive-aggressive pressure by guilting, shaming and triangulating.

    Attack

    The narcissist attacked the victim a second time by accusing him of rebelling against God and not being a man. This was not only hyperbole, but also projection of what the narcissist himself was doing. He accused the victim of not following God because he declined to attend group meetings, something that has nothing to do with God’s commandments. Meanwhile he himself lied, manipulated, slandered and verbally abused. A good argument can be made that all of these actions by the narcissist indicated that he was not following God. He then accused the victim of not being a man with respect to past relationships, when the narcissist himself cheated on his dying wife, then threw his three teenage daughters out of their home at the behest of the adulteress who moved him with him, just days after his wife, the girls’ mother, died. These below-the-belt blows from the narcissist described him, not the victim.

    Reversal of Victim and Offender

    The narcissist smoothly created three role reversals here within the space of a few sentences. First, he was the pious man, praying for the sinner. This assumed he actually prayed at all, which is impossible to verify. We will just have to take his word for it. Second, he cared and the victim was ungrateful and “pissy.” Ironically the tone of the narcissist’s entire message accurately fits the definition of “pissy.” More projection. Third, the narcissist implemented the pity play by stating that the victim was no better than all the other mean and ungrateful people on the street who do not appreciate the narcissist for all he does.

    Manipulation Tactics

    A psychology professional to whom this message was shown said it was jam packed full of different manipulation tactics. I counted ten within the space of 505 words. Also, the narcissist used the accusatory pronoun “you” or “your” 62 times.  Over 10% of the message contained the finger-pointing you, you, you.

    The following ten manipulation tactics are present in the message:

    • Imperative Thinking
    • Guilting
    • Nobody Loves You Like I Do
    • Triangulation
    • Deflection
    • Shaming
    • Projection
    • Threats
    • Pity Play
    • Gaslighting

    The text is color-coded to highlight the manipulation tactic and each tactic is described below the message. Sentences with two colors display more than one tactic.

    Imperative Thinking Guilting Triangulation
    Deflection Shaming Projection
    Threats Pity Play Gaslighting
    Nobody Loves You Like I Do

    Well its come to this between us? I stopped telling you my opinion on what you should do with your child and your spiritual life long ago. You pretty much told me you didn’t want to hear it and you were not going to do what I suggested anyway. I’m going to remind you of some FACTS!! When you were in trouble who talked to you DAILY? Who encouraged you in the Lord every time we talked? Who got you a place to live when you couldn’t get an apartment anywhere because of the problems you were facing? Who went and got your daughter away from a child molester even when it cost me my own daughter? Why did I do those things and many more things to help you get here and live here? I told you long ago that I loved you like a son I didn’t ever have. I cared for your spiritual walk and God showed me things you were doing and how it was going to hurt you seriously. What was your response to me, “I know I’m not walking like Jesus’ teachings but I just can’t muster the desire to do it”. I loved you enough to stop asking you to come to our group. And because I loved you enough to ask your friend for his opinion to help me try and see what else I could do to help you, you get mad and cut me off just like you have done with everyone else. Is that how you show love and appreciation for someone who loved you when NO ONE else did? No one! You never learned one part of your military creed, honor. You never learned how to honor someone who honored you when you weren’t honorable. I’ve always told you the truth but you haven’t been truthful with me. I’ve never tried to change you! I’ve given you truth and it’s up to you to do the changing. Rebel against God all you want, there are plenty of examples in the Bible of people who chose your direction and your attitude. You stay on this self pity victim mentality and you will see how that works out. Your issues are not with others, there your issues. No one has held a gun to your head and made you do anything! Not your wives, your job, your pastor, this group and certainly not me! Stand up like a man and accept the life you have is due to YOUR DECISIONS! You don’t want to come to the group, don’t! You don’t want to listen to me? DON’T! I’ve been praying for you several times a day! Every day! And because I care, you want to get pissy. Go a head, make God’s day. You want to be left alone, fine. Jonah wanted to be left alone too. Being alone doesn’t always work out the way you want. I guess I see exactly how you feel about me, no different than anyone else on the street.

    Imperative Thinking

    A narcissist believes he has the correct answer for everything. The correct way to live your life. The correct way to make all your decisions. The correct way to raise your children. The correct way to worship God. The correct way to do everything. Here, the narcissist believes he has both the wisdom and the right to tell the victim how to practice religion, how to raise his child and how he should live his life. He is 100% sure of this, despite much evidence to the contrary. In reality, the narcissist’s advice on religion was purely his own opinions and his advice on parenting was so full of holes with respect to his situation that the victim could not use any of it.

    Guilting

    The message here is that the victim owes the narcissist for everything that the narcissist has done for him. The expected payment is loyalty and obedience. Most of the “facts” stated by the narcissist are either embellished or outright false, as already described above in the attack portion of the first iteration. Ironically, in the past the narcissist had lived rent free a the victim’s home twice for months at a time, without even so much as buying groceries. The victim had also gifted the narcissist $10,000 for purchasing a new home, which he quickly gave up. The victim paid the narcissist’s phone bill for several years too. He provided free storage for the narcissist’s motorcycle and other items at his home for years, and also paid to have the narcissist’s household belongings moved to another city. The narcissist had helped his daughter try to defraud the victim of almost $200,000. The attempt failed and the victim never held it against the narcissist. It would appear that the narcissist is the one who owes the victim far more than vice versa. The narcissist even claiming to be owed by the victim indicates a huge lack of introspection and self-awareness. This is the typical toxic amnesia narcissists often display.

    Nobody Loves You Like I Do

    Contrary to the way he treats you, the narcissist will claim to be your best friend. Nobody loves you like he does. Nobody has your back like he does. Nobody sacrifices for you like he does. It does not take a very close examination however, to discern that he does not love you, he is not your friend, he does not have your back, and he sacrifices very little for you, if anything.  The “loving you like a son” claim is over the top manipulation to try to make the victim feel bonded to the narcissist. In this case, there was only a 6-year age difference, so claiming to be a father figure was ludicrous. The narcissist also frames giving the victim permission not to attend the group as “loving” him. It was not love and he did not give permission. It was the victim’s choice. Love would be accepting that choice and not manipulating the victim into changing it.

    Framing the prayers, if they even occurred, as love is just more manipulation. It would be one thing if the victim had asked for them, but the narcissist placed the victim in the position of sinner without even telling him of the sin. Having declared the victim defective, he now claims to pray as a form of love.

    Triangulation

    The narcissist attempted to get around the victim’s boundaries through triangulation, by enlisting the help of a third party to manipulate or shame the victim into compliance. In this case, compliance equaled attending the narcissist’s meetings and obeying him with respect to how the victim should live his life. He did not call the victim’s friend to get his opinion, but rather to slander the victim to him with the hope of either mobilizing the friend to pressure the victim into obeying the narcissist, or turning the friend against the victim to cut off any support the victim might receive from him. The narcissist, once again, framed his manipulation as “help,” while never addressing whether the victim even needed any help.

    His conversation with the friend lasted over an hour, during which he raised over a dozen slanderous accusations against the victim’s integrity, character, faith, and intelligence. Every time the friend would make an effort to help the narcissist try to understand the victim’s point of view or situation, offering suggestions on how to approach it, the narcissist would ignore it and switch to the next slanderous accusation. It was as though he heard nothing the friend was saying. Indeed, his goal was to get the friend to agree with him about what a stupid, dishonorable and sinful man the victim was. Since it did not work, he never contacted the friend again. His parting words to the friend were, “Watch your back. If he would do this to me, he will certainly do it to you.” This comment goes beyond simple narcissistic slander. First, the narcissist implied that the victim committed some heinous act of betrayal, which at this point merely consisted of not wanting to talk on the phone. Second it elevated the narcissist to a superior position. If the victim would betray great, amazing and wonderful him, he would betray anyone. The triangulation attempt failed and the narcissist had no more use for the friend.

    Deflection

    Deflection is an attempt to avoid criticism or blame by shifting the focus or responsibility onto someone else. In this case, the narcissist shifts the focus from his abusive behavior onto the victim by fabricating supposed offenses that the victim has committed. He accuses the victim of being a liar. He accuses the victim of saying the narcissist is trying to change him. He accuses the victim of refusing to accept the truth. None of these have any substance. The victim did not lie, he just declined to attend meetings or accept a phone call. A good argument can be made that the narcissist was indeed trying to change the victim through manipulation. Finally, the narcissist’s definition of truth is highly subjective. In fact, he does not even define it, just asserts that the victim will not accept it … whatever it is.

    Shaming

    The narcissist attempts to make the victim feel like a despicable and dishonorable person, leveraging both the guilting and nobody loves you like I do tactics to make the victim feels like he is being ungrateful and disloyal. He accuses the victim of showing no love or appreciation for someone who supposedly sacrificed for him. He accuses the victim of having no honor. He accuses the victim of not standing up and being a man. He accuses the victim of not taking responsibility for his decisions. This tactic ties in perfectly with the tactic of projection, which I will cover below. Even a cursory examination of the charges against the victim shows that none of these are true. They are simply more over-the-top hyperbole designed to elicit shame and then compliance.

    Projection

    Projection involves taking an unacceptable part of oneself, disowning it, and placing it onto someone else. The narcissist describes the victim and paints him in a light that more accurately portrays the narcissist himself. He claims the victim displays self-pity, which is exactly what the narcissist himself is doing, even in his short message.  The narcissist, who clearly has issues with others, projects this onto the victim by claiming the victim blames others for his issues. The narcissist then states that nobody has forced the victim to do anything, where the narcissist has aggressively tried to do exactly that.

    The narcissist closes by accusing the victim of not standing up like a man, where the narcissist himself has a past of not standing up by cheating on his dying wife and abandoning his children. He received a house, land and many possessions from his new wife after having squandered and mismanaged his finances for decades and not holding a job. He spent many years using and addicted to drugs. The victim, on the other hand, had managed his finances wisely enough to pay off his home and recover from several setbacks by working hard at various jobs for years, never relying on someone else to provide for him. He did not use drugs. The narcissist is the one not standing up and being man, through all the above and by hiding behind his façade of manipulation tactics and lies.

    Threats

    The narcissist invokes the name of God to carry out his threats. Once again, he adds no details or substance. Just a vague, but ominous, threat that God will punish the victim for his horrible transgression of wanting to be “left alone.”

    Pity Play

    The narcissist closes with the classic pity play, playing the victim after his nasty and accusatory tirade. Ironically, he is doing exactly what he accused his victim of doing just a few sentences earlier. The message here is, “Nobody appreciates my sacrifices and wisdom, including you. You are just like all the other mean and ungrateful people out there.” This, once again, is an attempt to make the victim feel like an ungrateful and unloving person.

    Gaslighting

    Narcissists gaslight their victims to manipulate them into doubting their own perceptions, experiences and understanding of events.  It makes the victims unsure of their judgments and decisions, thereby making them easier to control. The narcissist’s entire message is full of gaslighting, interspersed with all the other manipulation tactics. He claims to have stopped telling the victim how to parent or live his spiritual life, all the while attempting to passive-aggressively manipulate him into doing exactly that. The “facts” the narcissist presents to guilt and shame the victim are half-truths, twisting of truth and outright lies. His “facts” create an alternate reality very different from what actually occurred, with the goal of making the victim doubt his recollection of events and his own discernment.

    Next the narcissist targets the victim’s own words, claiming he said something he did not, namely not mustering the desire to follow Jesus’ teachings. What the victim actually said was that he could not muster the desire to listen to people babble endlessly for hours. Then the narcissist states that he has always been truthful with the victim and never tried to change him. The reality is that the narcissist lied extensively to the victim, deceived him, and tried to manipulate him to change many things about himself. The narcissist’s goal with all of the above is to have the victim question his grasp of reality, determine it is unsound, and give in to living in the false reality the narcissist has created for him.

    Conclusion

    It amazes me how many manipulation tactics were packed into this one paragraph. It amazes me even more how predictable, unimaginative and rote they all were, especially the after all I’ve done for you ploy. C’mon, narcissist. You’ve been doing this for decades. Surely you can craft something more original and compelling. No, you cannot. You do not want to learn or improve because, in your mind, you already know it all.

    Had I received a message like this in my younger years, I would have responded by defending and explaining myself. I would have tried to convince the sender that they were wrong about me.  I learned over time that it is both useless and exactly what the narcissist wants. Despite whatever evidence you show them, whatever logic you use, they will firmly believe in their head that they are the aggrieved party and you are the evil person.

    In closing, think about this. The narcissist engaged in this outrageously childish and abusive display because it has succeeded for him in the past. Probably many times. In past years, it would have succeeded with me too, but fortunately I have grown wise to their tactics. Do not let it succeed with you either. If they can keep you engaged in back-and-forth banter, no matter how toxic, they can keep their hooks into you and work towards manipulating and controlling you again. No contact = no control.  They know this and will try to get you to engage again. Do not fall for it.

Site Footer

Sliding Sidebar

A Chad is a stereotypical alpha male. He is depicted as attractive, successful, muscular, cocky and very popular among women. He has a tendency to play the field and will not commit to any woman.

An enabler of a highly narcissistic person or someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). A flying monkey is an agent who acts on their behalf.

Projection involves taking an unacceptable part of oneself, disowning it, and placing it onto someone else. The manipulator describes the victim and paints them in a light that more accurately portrays the attacker himself.

Toxic amnesia is a tactic where the perpetrator pretends to not remember abuse, betrayals, lies, and other hurtful and dysfunctional behaviors they've engaged in. Its a form of gaslighting. Its purpose is to make you doubt your perceptions and memories.

Narcissistic rage can be triggered by various situations, such as criticism, perceived rejection, or being ignored. The reaction is often extreme and disproportionate to the event or comment, as the narcissist's fragile ego struggles to cope with the perceived attack on their self-image.

Triangulation is when a toxic or manipulative person, often a person with strong narcissistic traits, brings a third person into their relationship in order to remain in control. There will be limited or no communication between the two triangulated individuals except through the manipulator. It may appear in different forms, but all are about divide and conquer, or playing people against each other.

The action or practice of lavishing someone with attention or affection, especially in order to influence or manipulate them.

Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors. This produces a feeling of mental discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance.

To gaslight someone means to manipulate another person into doubting their own perceptions, experiences or understanding of events. ~ American Psychological Association

Because their sense of self is determined by what others think of them, narcissists use relationships for self-enhancement. Everyone must feed them. In addition, they seek validation and attention in their public and professional life. Other people are used as objects in order to provide their supply. For example, they may need constant compliments or applause, more status and money, or may check their appearance in the mirror several times a day. ~ Psychology Today

Fraud that targets people belonging to a particular community or group, typically that in which someone pretends to be a member of the group in order to gain the trust of others.

Second Attack
Second Attack
First Attack
First Attack
Initial Dispositions
Initial Dispositions
ZSU 23-4
ZSU 23-4 Anti-Aircraft Gun
TOW Missile
TOW Anti-Tank Missile
T55 Tank
T55 Tank
SA7
SA7 Surface to Air Missile
M113
M113 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC)
M48 Tank
M48 Tank
Hawker Hunter
Hawker Hunter Jet
BTR-50
BTR-50 Armored Personnel Carrier
BM21 Stalin Organ
BM21 Stalin Organ
Howitzer
Howitzer
AT7 Anti-Tank Missile
AT7 Anti-Tank Missile
AT3 Sagger Anti-Tank Missile
AT3 Sagger Anti-Tank Missile
120mm Mortar
120mm Mortar
AT4 Anti-Tank Missile
AT4 Anti-Tank Missile

Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

A religious leader uses valid verses or concepts from the Bible about following and obeying God to generate enthusiasm in people, then misdirects that obedience to himself as a representative of God. The group believes they are following and obeying God, but in reality are obeying the leader.

A fictional, exaggerated version of an opposing viewpoint, especially one that is intentionally created to be easy to dismiss or argue against and to make one's own argument seem stronger. Straw man arguments can be made unintentionally, but most are made on purpose to make the other side seem evil, incompetent, or extremist.

The religious leader distracts members from mentally registering what he is doing.  Screaming praise to God when something he proclaimed does not come to pass.  Acting like a bad thing is really a good thing.  Just keep talking and talking and talking, while ignoring that nothing is happening. It is the same thing politicians have done successfully for years.

The leader calls members flattering adjectives or nouns, like righteous, holy, or saint.  These are often vague and difficult to define, so the member feels the leader’s superior knowledge has recognized something good in them.  Conversely, if the leader later withdraws this praise, the member is eager to toe the line to recover it.

Manipulation of a person or group's emotions in order to make them believe something is factual (or false) in the absence of any evidence. The manipulator tries to draw on the recipient's inward feelings such as fear, pity, or joy with the goal of convincing them that the statements being presented are true or false.

Essentially a black-and-white worldview with the leader as the ultimate moral arbiter. This creates an atmosphere of guilt and shame, where punishment and humiliation are expected. It also sets up an environment wherein members spy and report on one another. Through submission to the guilt-inducing and impossible demand for purity, members lose their moral bearing.

The use of jargon internal to (and only understandable by) the group. Constricting language constricts the person. Capacities for thinking and feeling are significantly reduced. Imagination is no longer a part of life experiences, and the mind atrophies from disuse.

The process whereby the group becomes the ultimate arbiter and all nonbelievers become so-called evil or non-people. If these non-people cannot be recruited, then they can be punished or even killed. This process creates an us-versus-them mentality that breeds fear in followers who learn that life depends on a willingness to obey. This is when individuals merge with the group’s belief.