Language can be used without effort by them to confuse and convince their audience. Captivating storytellers that exude self-confidence, they can spin a web that intrigues others. Since they are persuasive, they have the capacity to destroy their critics verbally or emotionally.
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They dominate and humiliate their victims.
Feels entitled to certain things as "their right." Craves adulation and attendance. Must be the center of attention with their own fantasies as the "spokesman for God," "enlightened," "leader of humankind," etc. Creates an us-versus-them mentality.
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and able to pass lie detector tests.
When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion, it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
While they talk about "God's love" they are unable to give or receive it. Since they do not believe in the genuineness of their followers' love, they are very harsh in testing it from their devotees and expect them to feel guilt for their failings. Expects unconditional surrender.
Living on the edge, yet testing the beliefs of their followers with bizarre rules, punishments and behaviors. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal.
Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others' feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them. Their skills are used to exploit, abuse and exert power. Since the follower cannot believe their leader would callously hurt them, they rationalize the behavior as necessary for their (or the group's) own "good" and deny the abuse. When devotees become aware of the exploitation it feels like a "spiritual rape" to them.
Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others. The followers only see them as near perfect.
Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet "gets by" by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.
Not concerned about wrecking others' lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blame their followers or others outside their group. Blame reinforces passivity and obedience and produces guilt, shame, terror and conformity in the followers.
Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future. Many groups claim as their goal world-domination or other utopian promises. Great contrast between the leader's opulent lifestyle and the followers' impoverishment. Support by gifts and donations from the followers who are pressured to give through fear and guilt. Highly sensitive to their own pain and health.
Changes their image and that of the group as needed to avoid prosecution and to increase income and to recruit a range of members. Is able to adapt or relocate as needed to preserve the group. Can resurface later with a new name, a new front group and a new twist on the scam.
Other Related Qualities
PS This is just my first try at this post. If you have a link that would illustrate any point better or have a major link I missed let me know.
PPS Ignore the vagaries of Haloscan that say there are no comments to this post. There are comments. They're worth reading. Regards, C
Now Updated with extra linky goodness suggested by readers