This is another important life lesson I have learned. I'm not sure yet if it is a universal rule and one should absolutely never join groups or if it just should be a general guideline that one should be skeptic of the groups and joining them sometimes is justified. After many experiences of that kind I tend to think it is some kind of universal rule and absolute statements sound better anyway.
I probably need to define group first, since it could be confusing what is meant with that. Well let me explain it with an allegory, it is obvious to most people that you should not join cults. Why should you not join cults? Because you get brainwashed, exploited, enslaved, harassed, harmed etc, well not absolutely, but tendential you will encounter at least some of those negative consequences to some degree. What does that have to do with "groups"? Well a group is the same as a cult, it usually just has a lower intensity and is therefore not recognized as a cult.
The social dynamics of cult like behavior probably starts as soon as you form or join groups. On one side you have the individual, which is the most independent and free form of human being and on the other side of the spectrum you have the fully assimilated group member who is fully dependent on the group and fully identified by it. The individual can think and behave how he wants, he is free, but as soon as he starts to be part of a group, he has to limit his individuality and his freedom to be part of the group and the more he is part of the group, the less he is himself. Don't tell me you can be in a group and an individual at the same time, since if you have a group completely made out of complete individuals, there would be nothing that would identify them as being in that group and so they are not a group.
People usually join groups because they like the benefits of the group, for example they automatically gain the reputation that the group brings with it and they can be together with others and feel loved and accepted. However this all is a dangerous double edged sword since you first have to give up something of yourself in order to gain the groups favor and the acceptance and love you gain turns into rejection and hate, if you don't conform enough. For example you gain the groups reputation by being a good member slave, but you also automatically gain the bad reputation the group may have in the normal population or in rivaling groups, which is almost always the case. Even if the group is universally hated by anyone else except the group itself, people still see it as a benefit, because it strengthens the relationship inside the group, but this is where cults start and you start going down a one way road into hell and/ or insanity, since you lose touch with the real world.
Most of you probably have had experiences where they were judged by the group they were in or judged others because of the group the others were in. If you are in a group, you make it easy for others to label and judge you and when you are in a group that is very cult-like already, you are automatically dismissed by normal people and not taken serious ever again by anyone outside your cult. That is why I see it as very important now to never join groups, of course sometimes you have to go into groups etc but you should never assimilate into them fully and keep your individuality.
For example if you want to play tennis, you may need to join a tennis club and be part of that group so you have someone to play with, but you don't have to become a snob like everyone else there, you can stay yourself in your private life.
That's how I deal with it in my life also if the group tries to draw me in and starts trying to manipulate me, I just leave or better said, I get banned, because I don't go along with their manipulation. Very cult like groups automatically kick out non compatible people, but it usually takes a while for them to find that out, so you better figure it out before them and leave to save yourself a lot of drama and trouble. But don't worry if you fall for cults again, since even I as very non cult compatible person who is pretty much an expert in that area occasionally falls for cults, since cult like dynamics can start very subtle as soon as you have groups and only get worse over time. That's why I say to never join any groups to make sure you never fall for that again.
First I wanted to write about my personal experiences with several cult groups, but then I decided to make it more general, since if I name the cults I just get harassed again by their cult members. It is already bad enough since they already attack me, if they just think I'm talking about them, even though I ignore them. But luckily most of the cult members cannot escape their cults and move freely on the real internet to be able to read that here anyway.