Pages: 1234Next
Current Page: 1 of 4
Do not expect gratitute when you warn people about a cult or
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 24, 2003 10:34PM

at least do not expect gratitude right away.

If you warn people that a cult recruiter is operating in their area, do not expect straightforward gratitude. People are complex.

Make certain you're clear you are doing the right thing and provide information that can be fact checked. Because your efforts to educate the public will cause a surprising number of people to get mad at you.

No matter how much damage their group or guru inflicts, they'll ignore that negativity and berate you for being negative. If sophisticated, they may declare that your presentation of the evidence is 'more about the writer than the guru.'

Its called denial-New Age style.

An especially fascinating variation is from persons who have linked their hope and peace of mind to the guru ideal, but have carefully avoided ever living under the authority of a particular guru. They'll accuse you of being cynical, unevolved, etc. if you suggest that people fact-check the background of a spiritual teacher before getting emotionally involved.

Your information gives them pain they want to stop the pain. That means assuming that YOU, not their guru (or group), are what's hurting them.

If you get flamed, treat it as a back-handed compliment.

I often see posts on my favorite computer bulletin board advertising groups or teachers who have been listed by and other sites as being harmful.

A friend of mine was hurt by a psychopath who was a practitioner of alternative medicine. Her health suffered. Her abuser fled the country and now prowls the New Age circuit in various countries, trolling for new victims. X's efforts to warn people about this man have met with resentment and she has been accused of cynicism.

We have both posted warnings providing information so that people could make informed decisions before joining these groups--or warn their friends.

Much to our suprise, we were screamed at. Oddly enough, warnings about unethical credit card services and moving van firms were greatly appreciated on Craigslist. But warnings about leaders and groups known to be dangerous--such warnings were met with screams of outrage.

The minute you become a spiritual teacher, you become free from ordinary accountability and people not even your followers will leap forward to defend you.

As my friend put it, 'Why is it spiritual to put blinders on, refuse to do fact checking and set yourself up to be burned by a smooth talking psychopath?'

Wilful naivete is regression, not spirituality. But it seems many of us are taught to equate it with spirituality.

Genuine spirituality includes adult discernment, street smarts, and the willingness to fact check everything and assume nothing.

This is plain common sense. In Las Vegas, casinos take precautions to ensure that no one deals from marked decks. Spiritual seekers could learn a thing or two from the casinos.

Accepting 50-50 odds is gambling--a form of honest play.

But as soon as someone covertly brings in a marked deck, its no longer gambling--it is robbery.

The spiritual scene is haunted by crooks who do the psychological equivalent of playing poker with marked decks. Learn who they are and warn your friends to stay away.

First stay anonymous. Omit your name or where you live.

Two, think carefully before you respond to correspondance. You may encounter vicious responses to your posts and be tempted to respond to anyone who thanks you. Think twice. You do not want to divulge your name to someone who is in a cult and trying to identify you.

If you live in certain 'New Age' parts of the US, you could be in for trouble if you are known to be against a particular guru or cult, with many members in your area. If you apply for a job, or a training program, your boss or an admissions officer could be disciples of a guru you've been warning the public about. Ouch!

Expect to be called 'judgemental' 'cynical' 'closeminded','negative' or 'unevolved.' You get the idea.

When you've linked your inner coherance and deepest hopes to believing an abusive guru is really a loving guru, you'll panic when confronted with evidence that your guru is harmful.

Your inner world is being shaken to its foundations. You will not like it when your guru is about to visit your city and someone broadcasts a ton of adverse publicity, disrupting your own PR/recruitment efforts. (And you may risk being yelled at by the guru and his minions if he discovers your PR is backfiring and eliciting bad publicity for him!)

According to Dr Arthur Deikman, in his article [i:e2f413311f]Evaluating Spiritual and Utopian Groups[/i:e2f413311f]: 'Confused with intimations of the spiritual are longings and impulses derived from childhood. Thus, although a person may wish to find meaning and certainty, to serve God and humanity, he or she may also want to be taken care of, to find a home, to be praised and admired, protected and loved. These latter yearnings are seldom acknowledged because adults are not supposed to be motivated by them. Nevertheless, in seeking to gratify those wishes we are drawn to join groups that seem to be new families and to accept leaders as surrogate parents. Covertly, the "bliss" that is sought and frequently experienced is that of children who have been rescued from uncertainty and responsibilities, who have found a home.'

People in this mindset HATE being told that predators do prowl the spiritual circuit. Part of the bliss of childhood is oblivousness to danger--which is precisely why tiny children need parents.

As adults we must parent our inner children and make sure only honest kind persons get access to our inner children.

So, while there are many who are glad to get warnings that a cult is operating in their area, others may furiously resent your offer of information. It is very possible that the ones who resent your efforts do so because your reminder that danger exists has disrupted their
plunge into the blissful regression to childish thinking.

This craving for childish regression is PRECISELY what a counterfeit spiritual teacher/group exploits.

A genuine spiritual teacher wakes you up from spiritual childhood--he or she will never trap you in spiritual childhood--and will not molest your inner child.

Len Oakes, author of [i:e2f413311f]Prophetic Charisma [/i:e2f413311f]has this to add:

'A striking thing about the (cult) followers is how little they seek to know about the leader's background. Few ever ask searching questions and critically evaluate the answers. They prefer to let the leader's daily example (often enhanced through carefully scripted social settings, the support of an entourage-my note) serve as the testimony of his truth, and hence as a vehicle for their great work (that is, the followers' deepest hopes for their own transformation). TO QUESTION TOO CLOSELY wold be to disrupt the pleasant flow of here-and-now fusion.' (Oakes, p 129)

There is also a subgroup of people who have been badly hurt by spiritual teachers. They can only deal with thier pain by convincing themselves that thier suffering was unavoidable, was ncessary, and was good for them. They will aggressively insist that 'The spiritual path is never risk free' and often they may argue that gurus are infallible, are exempt from normal standards of ethics (and even exempt from good manners) and that 'there is no external platform' from which to judge the morality of a guru's behavior. This subgroup cannot allow themselves to feel the full sadness of how they were violated and exploited, how uttely vulnerable they were. So instead, they invoke the 'crazy wisdom' argument, identify with their abuser, and insist that the hell they endured made them better people, and that anyone who wishes to warn the public about cults and bogus gurus cannot accept the risks of the 'spiritual path.'

If you are unfamiliar with the crazy wisdom argument, its easy to be disoriented and taken in by this line of irrational 'reasoning.' But it is not a commitment to enlightenment, but a flight from the full painful realization of how the sufferer was violated.

It should be noted that true practitioners of crazy wisdom suffered hardship themselves--they did NOT live in luxury while inflicting hardship on their disciples!

So, be prepared. People who already have some commitment to critical thinking and who want to safeguard and further develop their adult spirituality are the ones who will thank you. You've enabled them to avoid a person or situation where they could have lost their capacity for critical thinking, lost valuable time and resources that couldve been better spent elsewhere.

But those who crave regression and equate regression with spirituality may resent your warnings, because any appeal to adult thought disrupts their attempt to adulthood and regress in bliss to childhood. Belatedly, when they resume adult functioning, they may appreciate your warnings.

So, just be aware that as you educate the general public, you will encounter gratitude and irrational fury.

If people hate you, be kind. They've linked their deepest and tenderest hopes to a false guru. They are vulnerable. To face that their guru is false confronts them with agonizing existential terror.

To question a bogus guru and leave him means walking into and through existential terror--a heroic act. Not everyone is ready to do it when they read your post. But later, if they do leave the abusive guru, what you have written may come back to them--and help them.

So, good friends, if you notice anyone peddling brain-poison on your favorite website, counterpost with information that people can use to make an informed decision whether or not to join

For those who say it is bad to be 'judgemental' Dr Deikman says this:

'We make judgments of groups all the time, whether we wish to or not.

'We decide whether to join or not to join, whether to support or to discourage, and it is necessary that we do so, both for ourselves and for others who look to us for guidance in these matters. As I discussed earlier, the unsatisfied hunger for spiritual fulfilment may take highly inappropriate forms and lead people to embrace organizations and leaders whose destructive activities can be extreme. In the case of less pernicious groups, precious time and resources are squandered and the person may be left with a barren and cynical outlook. For this reason alone it is necessary that we judge the legitimacy of a group and its leader.' (Same URL as above)

Share the love by sharing your research

Options: ReplyQuote
Do not expect gratitute when you warn people about a cult or
Posted by: cedusurvivor ()
Date: July 13, 2004 07:16AM

It is a cult. The big lie is that they help people. They do not care about anything except their own self interest. they use the kids for their own propaganda. They sprang out of Cedu and Synanon both in southern california. check out on the web it has a message board. if you are a survivor send me an e mail at i am one too and i can tell you how they lie and they bullshit they use to justify their lies.

Options: ReplyQuote
Do not expect gratitute when you warn people about a cult or
Posted by: Leopardgirl ()
Date: July 13, 2004 11:56AM


There is also a subgroup of people who have been badly hurt by spiritual teachers. They can only deal with thier pain by convincing themselves that thier suffering was unavoidable, was ncessary, and was good for them. They will aggressively insist that 'The spiritual path is never risk free' and often they may argue that gurus are infallible, are exempt from normal standards of ethics (and even exempt from good manners) and that 'there is no external platform' from which to judge the morality of a guru's behavior. This subgroup cannot allow themselves to feel the full sadness of how they were violated and exploited, how uttely vulnerable they were. So instead, they invoke the 'crazy wisdom' argument, identify with their abuser, and insist that the hell they endured made them better people, and that anyone who wishes to warn the public about cults and bogus gurus cannot accept the risks of the 'spiritual path.'

This is so much like the people who got kicked out of the group I was in! They were desperate to be "let back in" and sometimes this woman would allow it and sometimes she would string them along for years, trying to control their behavior by dangling some sick "redemption" in front of them. It was really disgusting. When I left, after the trauma the evening that led up to my leaving caused me, I never had any desire whatsoever to return. I was through. That was it. But a lot of people came crawling back, desperate, thinking that she was their only answer to happiness. It was so cruel and messed up! And yet, like a lot things, at the time it seemed normal.

My freind who was in the group and who introduced me to this nutjob was extremely defensive about her. She didn't want anyone popping her magical little bubble. I guess over time I invested a lot in the fantasy myself, whether I realized that's what I was doing or not. I thought that it would have been crass and "Doubting-Thomas-ish" of me to actually research her claims and dig deeper into her background--not that a lot of it was verifiable, anyway. When I did try to find info on her, I felt guilty, like that it meant I didn't have faith, or something. When I expressed any doubts she told me I was "attached to my suffering."

Options: ReplyQuote
Do not expect gratitute when you warn people about a cult or
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 13, 2004 12:43PM

Hi LG:

I was reading some material on a thread dedicated to faux Gurdjieff groups and began to suspect that certain small group leaders enhance their power just as much by knowing whom to kick [i:83e3484d06]out [/i:83e3484d06]from the group, as whom to recruit [i:83e3484d06]into [/i:83e3484d06]the group.

First, an adroit spiritual counterfeiter may operate in a manner similar to serial pedophiles. THere are people who are very skillful at identifying people who are in adult adult bodies, intellectually and socially sophisticated, but emotionally still in early childhood. A skillful spiritual countefeiter recruits from this pool of nice but gullible people, many of whom already equate spirituality with regression and refusal to fact-check.

Anyone who is a street smart skeptical adult is jeered at and written off as cynical and judgemental. Spiritual counterfeiters devalue mature adults precisely because such persons are a threat.

Another strategy is to recruit only persons who will tolerate abuse and drive away anyone likely to protest such abuse. Some successful gurus will use vicious, provocative behavior, rationalize it as crazy wisdom. Anyone who puts up with it is a promising disciple. Anyone who is put off, and marches out of the room--the counterfeiter doesnt want such followers anyway.

Another tactic is to present the teaching (and the guru's abuse) as something that can only be appreciated by persons 'ready for a challenge' 'strong enough to take it.' Anyone who is put off by nasty behavior is jeered at as 'weak', 'narcissistic', 'touchy feely' etc.

A lot of us are ashamed to imagine being weak, so we may let ourselves be recruited into a situation that is a theatre of cruelty.

I experienced a crude, unsophisticated form of strategic rejection when my leader abruptly cut me loose. After reading stuff from other members, I began to suspect certain group leaders hone this 'strategic rejection' to a fine art.

In certain harmful groups strategic recruitment of especially vulnerable persons may be combined with what I choose to call strategic rejection.

When used together, these two ploys enhance each other and inflict such trauma that victims may never understand what was done to them.

And unless very perceptive, many mental health professionals may not be able to identify exactly how these survivors were traumatized.

I'm still grappling with how to express this process. It is subtle, and disables conscious insight.

I suffered a form of strategic rejection from my former leader and years later, when finally able to understand what was done to me, I summed it up:

'When it happened, I was in a state of mind that could not describe its own anguish.'

Severe, shattering trauma eludes insight because it hits us at two levels:

1) The adult level of conscious awareness

2) The level where thought processes and emotions are below conscious awareness and still operate as they do in early childhood.

When trauma is severe enough to have impacted both levels our wounded selves may shift wildly between an adults way of experiencing things and a child's way of experiencing things. Our suffering is enhanced because we have difficulty accessing an 'observing self'-- the part of ourselves that integrates the child-level of functioning and the adult level of functioning.

Sever trauma of this kind can literally dis-orient this. Its like a visual field where objects are going in and out of focus, like a home movie that has been filmed using a camera held in a pair of trembling hands.

In such a condition, you can dread you're going crazy. And if an abusive guru leader suggested that you WERE crazy while he or she inflicted the trauma of Strategic Rejection, you're tempted to believe what he says--because you're still idealizing the person who is injuring you, and value his take on reality.

Here are some hunches how Strategic Rejection works. I hope more persons who have experienced this will come forward and describe the process--and especially what helped them recover.

[b:83e3484d06]Speculations Concerning Use of Strategic Rejection and Selective Recruitment.[/b:83e3484d06]

Strategic Rejection is a trauma that clobbers us both at the (adult) conscious and (childlike) unconscious levels. It may cause us to feel terrified of anything that could help us heal.

In Strategic Rejection, you're kicked out of a group (or scapegoated before being kicked out) precisely because you were actually getting healthy and were about to wake up and out-grow the group/guru.

But you dont yet know this. You still idealize the guru and let him/her define reality for you. You're 'half in and half out' but dont realize this.The guru does, but you dont.

A real teacher welcomes it when the student shifts from idealizing transferance to a realistic adult perception of the teacher. A real teacher doesnt want narcissistic affirmation from students--its an obstacle to genuine spiritual growth. A real teacher will encourage students to out-grow thier idealizing transferances, not stay stuck in them.

But an abusive spiritual teacher only wants students to idealize him, provide narcissistic affirmation and prop up the gurus false self.

If that teacher senses that the student is on the verge of out-growing the idealizing transferance, the teacher will punish the student for such healthy maturation.

This makes you extremely vulnerable. You have made real progress but you do not yet know that your trusted teacher is getting ready to punish you for being on the verge of outgrowing him and seeing through his facade. Because you still idealize the group and guru, still trust the guru's take on reality more than your own reality, you'll be unable to trust your new knowledge when the the guru you idealize sudden turns a cruel, rejecting face in your direction.

In the instant that you're being covertly punished you're still idealizing the guru--so you cant defend yourself.

Its Similar to Date Rape[/b:83e3484d06]

Its a lot like the sudden shock reported by victims of date rape where a sweet wonderful person suddenly turns vicious and brutally assaults them. They're seeing the person as a friend, and go into shock and cant protect themselves when suddenly and brutally the assailant reveals he's not a friend at all, but a predator.

You still think the guru desires you to grow. What you do not yet know and are about to find out is that this particular guru is threatened by disciple's authentic growth--and will punish you for outgrowing him/her. Its like deliberately punishing a plant when the first petals begin to break the bud open.

The fake guru percieves your progress as abandonment, because you're no longer idealizing the guru.

Without knowing it, you've reached a point where, despite your conscious devotion, [i:83e3484d06]you've actually grown enough that your beloved gru now considers you a threat. [/i:83e3484d06]

Your eyes are still closed in devotion, but you are about to open them.

You dont yet know your guru is a fake, who, despite all the fine words, is threatened when disciples embark on authentic progress and threaten to outgrow the guru. And because you still idealize this guru, you dont WANT to know this.

Thats what makes you vulnerable.

The only way to recover from shattering strategic rejection is [i:83e3484d06]to stop idealizing the guru[/i:83e3484d06], break the transferance and realize he or she actually hated it when people showed genuine progress.

But this is difficult. A lot of nonsense has been written about crazy wisdom, or non dual realities where teachers are considered exempt from normal accountability and excuses are made for every cruddy thing they do. As long as you believe these alibis, you'll remain estranged from yourself.

And, many of these gurus may intentionally recruit persons who most desperately form idealizing transferences--those who are the most eager to cling to the illusion that a bad guru is really a good guru.

Certain bad gurus will avoid people who are self confident adults and devalue them. Instead, they will deliberately recruit persons looking for a surrogate parent. I call this strategic recuitment.

----------------STRATEGIC REJECTION---------------------------------

One thing that can keep small groups tightly bonded is some leaders are very skillful at

1) recruiting new members (often through word of mouth when members co-opt vulnerable friends to join the group, or if mental health professionals violate professional ethics to recruit clients into the guru's circle)

2) And just as expert at selecting [i:83e3484d06]whom to kick out[/i:83e3484d06]--even timing the victim's ejection to ensure maximum trauma.

If there's fringe group of shattered, shame ridden people hanging at the edges of the group, they demonstrate the terrible consequences of incurring the guru's displeasure, and their desperate attempts to return to favor make the leader seem all the more powerful to the remaining (and awestruck) members.

All this is a nifty way to enforce discipline and keep the remaining members in line. It also creates an atmosphere of intrigue and drama that distracts from how cruel person the guru actually is.

Very often, when the group has been around long enough and older members see how very often the guru is pulling this stunt, they decide that the guru is cruel and find the courage to leave on their own. But they may still feel devastated when the remaining members shun them.

[b:83e3484d06]Leaders and Gurus Who Play Games[/b:83e3484d06]

In his book [i:83e3484d06]Prophetic Charisma[/i:83e3484d06], Len Oakes studied 20 charismatic leaders and found they all had various forms of narcissistic personality disorder and were stuck in childhood stages of development. He suggested that like small children, these charismatic adults may have been able to suss out non verbal cues that most adults are not aware of, and the charismatics used this to become expert social manipulators.

(This ability to pick up on non verbal cues that most of us are not aware of is a skill that can be taught; but many charismatic cult leaders may learn it on their own. This has been researched for 25 years by Paul Ekman at the University of California, San Francisco).

Applying Oakes hunch to this situation:

Certain group leaders may enhance their power by kicking you out when you reach a certain point: when you're still [i:83e3484d06]consciously [/i:83e3484d06]devoted to them, but unconsciously you're getting bored, or you about to WAKE UP and realize the guru is harmful or just plain fake.

This 'selective recruitment+selective rejection' works best in small 'coterie' type groups. Esoteric groups, Gurdjieff groups, badly run Sufi groups, magical/shamanic groups would all be vulnerable to this kind of abuse.

If the guru intuits exactly when some members remain consciously devoted, but have the beginnings of unconscious skepticism, and the guru targets these people and kicks them out, this will enhance the guru's power. Using Len Oakes' hunch as a spring board,

The guru may be an expert at picking up subtle non verbal cues that signal a member is still consciously devoted but is subconsciously beginning to lose enthusiasm, or starting to become bored.

The intended victim [i:83e3484d06]consciously idealizes the guru[/i:83e3484d06]. (thats what makes this kind of rejection so shattering)

But unconsciously the targeted victim is starting to 'smell a rat'. The person is not aware of these covert misgivings. But the misgivings are beginning to show up in the person's non-verbal behavior.

The person doesnt yet know this, but the guru, who can read non verbal cues, [i:83e3484d06]does [/i:83e3484d06]know this.

Without realizing it, this still devout member has become a threat to the guru. The person is about to be viciously attacked and doesnt know it.

Meanwhile the intended victim may be trying to combat his or her still unconscious skepticism by consciously increasing various acts of devotion.

Some bad leaders will single the targeted person out for special favor, maybe even declare they're about to be promoted, or that they could become the guru's successor. But, the victim is actually being set up for massive rejection.

I met two persons who were traumatically ejected from a cultic organization right after they received glowing job reviews and promotions. I met one victim minutes after she got news she'd been fired; she looked like she'd been gang raped.

The rest of us felt shocked and frightened--life in the group suddenly turned irrational.

Or perhaps the intended victim is singled out for scapegoating and additional shaming. This is a [i:83e3484d06]great [/i:83e3484d06]time for the leader to nag the person to make additional sacrifices.

The target will probably redouble his or her efforts--it's a good time to gouge extra money from the victim. Then--suddenly the guru will boot the person from the group--perhaps arranging a public disgrace, and often instructing other members to shun the victim.

The guru may give you a totally misleading reason why you've been kicked out--or may give no reason at all. Suddenly the line goes dead and you're shunned.

This 'theatre of cruelty' is fiendisly effective. People can be driven crazy--and have been.

First it makes it seem the guru is genuinely a mind reader. The victim is cut off from the guru's 'magic', and that 'magic' seems all the more powerful in the very instant you're rejected.

You feel like you've been thrown to the wolves--and thats how the guru [i:83e3484d06]wants you to feel. [/i:83e3484d06]

A leader of this kind doesnt want anyone else to have a sense of mastery. Its precisely because you were about to become masterful that you were targeted and kicked out!

Because your devotion is still conscious, such a rejection is shattering. You cant consciously imagine that your guru could do anything wrong. That means [u:83e3484d06]you're [/u:83e3484d06]the bad person, not the guru.

Yet because subconsciously you [i:83e3484d06]were [/i:83e3484d06]starting to realize the guru was bad, you are unconsciously convinced you 'did something' to deserve expulsion, and go crazy trying to figure out your badness.

Truth is you DID do something to trigger your expulsion: unconsciously you [i:83e3484d06]were [/i:83e3484d06]starting to smell a rat, were becoming skeptical of the guru, and [i:83e3484d06]without knowing it, you emitted nonverbal cues that tipped the guru off that you were outgrowing him/her[/i:83e3484d06].

You were punished for becoming healthy. Worse, you may now feel terrified of any future situation where you start to grow and heal, because you may associate unconscious movements towards health and greater awareness with the horror of rejection. You may find yourself froze, afraid of your own capacity for spiritual growth, because the guru punished you for exactly that, and in such a way you could not see it.

As long as you still are convinced the guru was good and could do no harm, you cant imagine the guru actually punished and traumatized you for growing to a point where you were ready to see through the guru's pretensions. Punished you for growing, period!

And because this shattering rejection was inflicted as you were becoming conscious, but before you were conscious, you are out of the group but have no sense of satisfaction or mastery in having departed. You feel more helpless than ever.

If the guru combines this with suggestions that you're life will be full of failure, this can be shattering.

Worst of all, you may now feel terrified of your own inner growth process. You may become anxious in any future situation in which you're subconsciously beginning to awaken and become aware of something important. This can greatly hamper your attempts to benefit from psychotherapy. Few therapists are sophisticated enough to understand that such ghastly forms of punishment are being perpetrated.

A strategic rejection of this kind can cause you [i:83e3484d06]to fear your own capacity for awakening[/i:83e3484d06], precisely because the guru knew you were about to wake up to his or her phoniness and booted you before you could wake up on your own.

Its harder to recover from being kicked in the head if you were kicked while you were asleep, just on the point of waking up, then if you received the same concussion when fully awake.

It will be interesting to see if other members have been through something like this.

Once you've been in such groups, you'll be astounded at how similar the dynamics are. In these two groups, with totally different histories, totally different belief systems, you still see the same kinds of mind games, scape goating, people being kicked out, some grovelling and returning to favor.

[i:83e3484d06]Enlightenment Blues: My Years With an American Guru [/i:83e3484d06]by Andre van der Braak is an excellent insider's account.

[i:83e3484d06]The Buddha From Brooklyn [/i:83e3484d06]by Martha Sherrill describes a painful situation that developed around a woman who became a guru.

Yes, early on you are set up to feel like crap if you so much as think of doing background research.

Also, there's often such a joyful happy atmosphere in these groups that you find it unbearable to disrupt it--its like breaking up a visit by Santa Claus. And these days (2004) we are going through so much anxiety, social uncertainty and depression that it seems dreadful to shake things up when people are gathered together and in bliss.

Options: ReplyQuote
Do not expect gratitute when you warn people about a cult or
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 14, 2004 04:32AM

It may be that Selective Recruitment (when child molesters do it, its called 'grooming the victim') and Strategic Rejection are often perpetrated in tandem. In certain cultic relationships and groups, they fit together, like a pair of clam shells.

And form an airtight seal when they snap shut.

Strategic rejection can range from amateurish to fiendish.

Amateurish strategic rejection doesnt necessarily prove that the perpetrator is a cult leader; it just means he or she is insecure, lacks empathy, is must plain mean, and has dumped you because you were making the person feel insecure. There are people who only feel at ease when they can dominate the relationship, and will resent it when you become more confident and threaten to outgrow them. The person may not even be consciouly aware of that he or she behaves this way. It hurts like hell to be the 'dumpee', but at least you're out of a bad situation.

It becomes a more strategic kind of rejection when the perpetrator talks you out of leaving the relationship when YOU express doubts and try to leave, then later the person kicks you out exactly when you're totally unprepared. The key here is, the person wants to be [i:8d675cb07c]in total control [/i:8d675cb07c]of the rejection process. They dump you and run for the hills before you can dump them. But even here, the person is pretty unconscious. And they're not running a group and recruiting members.

But [i:8d675cb07c]cultic [/i:8d675cb07c]use and abuse of strategic rejection is at a much higher level of expertise than teh first two examples. If you assemble enough former members of a group and get them to tell and compare stories, you'll see that the way they were (often) recruited but (especially) the way they were kicked out follows a similar pattern.

That's what makes it so valuable to read memoirs written by survivors of different groups--such as [i:8d675cb07c]Enlightenment Blues[/i:8d675cb07c], by Andre van der Braak, [i:8d675cb07c]The Buddha From Brooklyn[/i:8d675cb07c], by Martha Sherrill, and [i:8d675cb07c]The Sorcerer's Apprentice:My Life With Carlos Castaneda[/i:8d675cb07c], by Amy Wallace.

[b:8d675cb07c]Intentional Strategic Rejection[/b:8d675cb07c]

First, there's a group involved--and the group is much like an old fashioned royal court. Think [i:8d675cb07c]Six Wives of Henry VIII[/i:8d675cb07c], or [i:8d675cb07c]The First Churchills[/i:8d675cb07c], or [i:8d675cb07c]I Claudius [/i:8d675cb07c]and you'll get the general idea.

Such groups may be very secretive--and may even deny they exist; the group whose members say, 'I'm not in a group'--but who spend all that time together...

A -- You're (quite often) selectively recruited into the group, usually through a friend, a schoolmate or coworker, or (very effective) by someone in the helping profession who is under the guru's spell and ignores professional ethics by recruiting clients. (Shrinks who equate spirituality with psychotherapy and have charismatic guru/Human Potential types as professional mentors are at very high risk of entangling clients into these traps--and the sad thing is, they commit these harmful boundary violations with the best and most loving intentions.)

B--You devote more and more time, resources, and attention, the group becomes your main social outlet. The group may be (or seem) prestigious, with an allegedly illustrrious history. The group becomes your world, the guru defines reality, and you may be taught that the group is a force for good in an intrusive, evil world. You get more and more afraid to fail and be kicked out, and gradually you're made aware that people are kicked out. You gossip about them, maybe gaze pityingly at them if you meet in public. You dont want to become one of them!

C--You're suddenly and brutally ejected just before you reach a point of being able to question the group's agenda and leave your own. You may be kicked out after you've been lavishly praised for making progress, or after youve busted ass proving your devotion (to stifle your unconscious but growing skepticism). But suddenly you're kicked out and you're shattered.

The leader does not want you to have [b:8d675cb07c]any [/b:8d675cb07c]sense of mastery when you depart. Ideally, the leader wants you to slink away so shattered and disoriented that you'll spend the rest of your life feeling like a failure--and you'll never imagine that your guru kicked you out because you were on the verge of seeing what a dangerous creep the guru was!

[b:8d675cb07c]The only one allowed to feel power and masterful in the group is the leader[/b:8d675cb07c]. So if you leave, you cannot be allowed to leave with any sense of mastery. A leader like this is determined that anyone who leaves feels like shit.

In strategic rejection, you're punished for unconsciously reaching a point where you were on the verge of waking up and leaving ON YOUR OWN.

Instead, the strategic rejection is timed so cleverly that the victim
may never realize that he or she had made genuine progress--and that the guru saw this as a threat.

[i:8d675cb07c]As long as you still think the guru is good, you cant imagine he or she would punish you for making genuine spiritual progress![/i:8d675cb07c]

In strategic rejection, you are punished for being on the point of outgrowing the guru and group. You are tricked into fearing the very process of healing that caused you to go out of synch with the leader and turned the leader against you.

Its like punishing a baby each and every time that baby is about to stand up and walk.

Do that often enough, and the little kid will become someone who crawls on his hands and knees forever, thinking he or she is a congenital cripple--afraid of the slightest unconscious surge of vitality that might inspire an attempt to stand and take a step.

Gurus and groups who practice this kind of strategic rejection are doing the equivalent of punishing a baby for each and every impulse to stand up and attempt walking. They want to keep you crawling, forever, punish you for even imagining what it would be like to walk.

Someone who can read your nonverbal cues can intuit when you're about to outgrow them and do this to you.

A trauma of this kind can be very hard to identify--many psychotherapists may not appreciate that there are people who have learned how to administer banishment so that the victim feels ashamed to have entertained even the most unconscious misgivings, even the subtlest unsconsious urge to grow and wake up.

The other difficulty is this kind of 'precision surgical strike' abuse is inflicted in small, under the radar groups, the kind that rarely make the news or become famous the way larger groups do. So mental health professionals may not know exactly how life denying forms of discipline are administered in such groups or which methods foster recovery for persons traumatized in this manner.

One type of group abuse that can be very difficult to identify and hard to recover from is when a group operates on two levels:

A larger group with a benign reputation, perhaps one that has garnered community respect by providing quality service, but is centered on a very cliquish inner circle centered on the leader who is glamorous but keeps a low profile.

But the members of the prestigious inner circle may secretly suffer horrendous forms of abuse from the leader, and because they are skillfully recruited and pre-selected on the basis of their willingness to tolerate abuse, they will keep all this a secret from both the outside world--and the respectable, outer core of the group.

Carlos Castaneda created a set up of this sort. Members spied on each other and ratted to Carlos to gain favor. When he died, 5 members of his inner circle vanished, and are now presumed dead, very likely by suicide.

A survivor, Amy Wallace, wrote an account of the horror show, entitled [i:8d675cb07c]Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life with Carlos Castaneda[/i:8d675cb07c].

Persons who never met Carlos, were never members of the horrendously abused inner circle still refuse to believe the evidence presented by Amy Wallace and other survivors.

All this and much more has been discussed on the website

A group of this kind can be remarkably durable and avoid publicity for decades when structured in this manner and its leader has mastered the arts of:

1)Selective recruitment/grooming prospective victims


2) Brutal 'shock-and-awe' strategic rejection when a member has been bled dry and is dangerously close to waking up and seeng the leader's true agendas.

More obscure groups of this kind are discussed on these threads





Options: ReplyQuote
Do not expect gratitute when you warn people about a cult or
Posted by: Leopardgirl ()
Date: July 14, 2004 04:38AM

The guru of the group that I was in practiced this "strategic rejection" with cunning and precision. Not only that, but she spent obsessive amounts of time lambasting and criticizing those who left, holding them up as examples of spiritual degeneracy, failures in life and love, lonely, miserable and "attached to their victimhood." This is another thing that always bothered me about her and the group; how she abused people who weren't there to defend themselves. After a while I became convinced beyond all logic that I couldn't trust myself and my own judgement, that I was completely delusional on all levels and I needed her to tell me "truth" about myself so I didn't remain mired in self-deception, and that both my life and the person I was before I met her were selfish, self-centered, and pathological. None of this was true, but over time I became convinced it was. I didn't think I coud LOVE with out her. I thought that without her the love I had inside of me was too small, worthless.

No true guru would ever allow you to believe those things.

So of course, everyone lived in terror of being kicked to curb and therefore failing as spiritual beings. Looking back on it, I see how strtegic she was about it. She would go through stages when she was unhappy with the group as a whole and would start throwing out 3, 4 people at a go. That apparently whipped everyone else into shape pretty quickly.

Options: ReplyQuote
Do not expect gratitute when you warn people about a cult or
Posted by: Reverend ()
Date: July 20, 2004 06:12AM

I happened upon this website because my sister wanted me to do a
weekend course in self-activation. I've been in a state of figuring out
who I really am, and actively seeking answers to my own depression
and reasons for my self-defeating behavior. I was in a vulnerable
state. Yet, in my gut, I knew this weekend course sounded way too good
to be true. Turns out it was the landmark forum, and I thank whoever
is in charge of the universe that I researched this group THOROUGHLY,
and never took the course.

My sister is a school counselor. She has a masters in child psychology. How
can I ever hope to convince someone who is more educated than me in the arts of psychology,
that something is detrimental to her? People know me,
they know my cynicism, and they know my superficial hate for humanity
(it's really a fear of rejection). What in the world can I say that would convince
someone it's the real me warning them, not the self-protective me?

Any help much appreciated.

Options: ReplyQuote
Do not expect gratitute when you warn people about a cult or
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 20, 2004 10:56PM

It doesnt matter what your own state of mind is. There is plenty of evidence about the harm done by certain unsafe LGATs.

Meanwhile, give your sister the URL for this thread on how controversialLGATs produce their effects by manipulating the room environment.


Your sister will have to come to her own conclusions. At least she'll know information is out there, even if she does not read it right away.

Meanwhile, no matter what your sister does, keep working with your therapist. You have control over that.

Options: ReplyQuote
Do not expect gratitute when you warn people about a cult or
Posted by: Toni ()
Date: December 29, 2004 03:33PM

This is all tooo true!

(ouchie) but I'd rather be telling the truth!


Options: ReplyQuote
Do not expect gratitute when you warn people about a cult or
Posted by: glam ()
Date: December 31, 2004 01:27AM

Thanks, Corboy, for these posts. So much good information!

I've experienced lots of outrage and anger when I've tried to warn/inform people about these groups -- even when I'm warning people on sites that have nothing to do with cults.

Also, I've noticed that many of the people I chat with online -- who are clinging to old beliefs about the LGATs they were involved in years ago -- are almost all victims of Intentional Strategic Rejection. They start out saying they left the group on their own, but eventually it comes out that they were tossed out of one seminar or another because they'd started questioning certain facets of the organization. They sort of seem to get stuck right where they were at the time -- questioning only the things that seemed off to them back then, while still holding on to their "love" of the organization as a whole.

Sort of like when a lover rejects you; he/she is the one you always remember and pine for, even years later.

Options: ReplyQuote
Pages: 1234Next
Current Page: 1 of 4

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.