How MLMs And Cults Use The Same Mind Control Techniques | HuffPost Life
In cults and other organizations that employ mind control, undue influence is first imposed on victims by showering them with praise and affection and promising a fantasy world or elite status. Once a member is hooked, the organization employs a systematic method of control to disrupt that person’s identity and ability to think independently and rationally.
That process of gaining undue influence follows what Hassan calls the BITE model:
Behavior Control: This type of control is all about dictating who a person is and what they do. Behavior control can include restricting what types of food a person eats, what they wear, when they sleep and who they are allowed to associate with. Financial exploitation, manipulation or dependence is also often a key component of behavior control. Individualism is discouraged and groupthink is encouraged.
Information Control: To exert undue influence, cults will often withhold or distort information to make it more acceptable (or simply flat-out lie). Information control involves using deception, discouraging access to non-cult sources of information, encouraging spying on each other and producing propaganda such as newsletters, YouTube videos, movies and other media.
Thought Control: Cults will also seek to control how members think so that the group’s doctrine is accepted as the truth. Loaded language and clichés are used to stop critical thinking and reduce complex ideas to platitudes and buzzwords. Often, only positive thoughts are allowed; constructive criticism or questions are immediately shut down.
Emotional Control: Members of cults experience extreme emotional highs and lows; they’re showered with praise one moment and then made to feel guilty, fearful and unworthy the next. They’re told that any problems they experience are their own fault and never that of the leader or group. The cult instills irrational fears about leaving or questioning the leader’s authority.
These are just some of the examples of how cults and other mind-controlling organizations employ the BITE model of undue influence. They likely sound very familiar to current and former MLM participants…