We, as a true-crime-consuming, armchair-psychologizing public, can't help but be fascinated by the minds of the strangest and most mysterious among us. If you aren't thinking of serial killers right now, you're probably thinking of cult leaders instead. And, in the same way that serial killers share certain tendencies and personality traits, so, too, do cult leaders
Regardless of the goals or nature of their cult, most cult leaders behave the way they do in order to cultivate and maintain a power imbalance, Dr. Lalich says. If their followers never know how they are going to react to something, they're in control. If their followers don't know when they'll make their next appearance, they're in control. If their followers can't guess what their next demand will be, yes, they're still in control.