So you want to be part of the club, pay your dues...
I have put cliques and cults together as one subject because I feel they share much in common. Most people associate cliques with young people, but of course all of us belong to some kind of association, informal or formal. Like a tribe or pack, humans tend to want to belong. In any group there is a dynamic. Dr. Bernstein calls it "gravity".
"It is good to think highly of yourself - but for these people it is out of control" Personality disorders expert and consultant forensic psychologist Kerry Daynes on 19 British boy who killed parents
Among unsympathetic companions I hold certain views and standards timidly, half ashamed to avow them and half doubtful if they can after all be right. Put me back among my friends and in half an hour - in ten minutes - these same views become once more indisputable. The opinion of this little circle, while I am in it, outweighs that of a thousand outsiders.
"Destructive cults, groups, movements and/or leaders "maintain intense allegiance through the arguments of their ideology, and through social and psychological pressures and practices that, intentionally or not, amount to conditioning techniques that constrict attention, limit personal relationships, and devalue reasoning."
Margaret Singer, Ph.D.
"[Cults] prey on the most lonely, vulnerable people they can find, cage you with your own mind through guilt and fear, cut you off from everyone...they don't need armed guards to keep you. Liars, tricksters, it's been the same ever since Eve got the apple, and I doubt it will ever change. They're all basically, really the same, con men. "
Margaret Singer, Ph.D.
The connection between cult and cliques is based on the same dynamics - a central person surrounded by synchophants who feed that person's ego. Rosalind Wiseman's describes the dynamics in her book on Cliques, Queen Bees and Wannabees. This ground breaking book opened my eyes to how narcissists operate in groups. Written primarily for parents with girls in school, the author realized that girls and boys and even adults also form cliques that have the same characteristics as the ones found in the school yard. Her book was the basis for the movie, Mean Girls.
Her second book entitled “Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads” explores the adult world of cliques. The author formalized the structure of the clique as follows:
The book goes into a detailed accounting of how the clique forms and how people play each role. I would add that a narcissist can play any of the roles, but would prefer to be the Queen Bee or King Pin; but not all narcissists are equal, therefore only the brightest with the highest Emotional Quotient succeed. Even then, they may fall, as other narcissists jockey for position. Wiseman also gives good advice as to how to deal with narcissists using SEAL
SEAL stands for:
If the problematic behavior is part of a pattern and the other person has not responded to your requests, locking out the friendship is a reasonable option.