So, one doesn’t become prey to a cult of any kind, and a cult can be philosophical, ideological, political, self-help groups, one on one (think domestic violence), a self-proclaimed guru, religious, etc.
You get the picture. It’s all-encompassing when it comes to what can be a cult.
Now, what does a cult do?
Edgar Schein whittled it down to three succinct steps (as I stated above this is only an abbreviated version):
1) Break them down by whatever means necessary
2) Change them
3) Freeze them
Deprogramming would involve the opposite process.
When people talk about the zombie, robotic affect of a cult member what they are describing is the pseudo-personality, a superimposed personality over the authentic one.
One may well ask, and say, how does someone fall for this hooey and I wouldn’t be dumb enough to get suckered in.
Ah! Think again, my friend.
You are in the market to buy a car.
You have intent and you know what the end-game is. A car. You are fully aware that the salesperson’s agenda is to sell you a car and have you drive off the lot, that day, in your new vehicle.
Both of you know the beginning, middle and end and, once completed, the transaction is over. The game is transparent.
Cults, cult leaders, cult members don’t work that way. You are slowly led along, step by step, like the frog in the pot scenario.
If the frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out. But place it in room temp water, slowly increase the heat and you have one nicely boiled frog.
Subterfuge is everything in a cult, from beginning to end.