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How did you get out?
Posted by: concernedfriend ()
Date: May 05, 2006 11:37PM

For all of you who have been involved with Landmark or est or Lifespring or any other LGAT, how did you get out?

Here's my story:

In the summer of 1988 my wife and I were on the team to build and staff a special Lifespring training for educators. I had taken the basic training in 1985 and then the advanced course, the leadership program, and several workshops. I went to guest events almost every month and often conducted interviews after the basic course. I had staffed the basic, advanced, and masters courses. My wife and I met at a Lifespring graduation when I was in the leadership program. At that time she had done all the courses and had been involved for years (five or more?). We had gotten married in 1987 and almost all the guests were from Lifespring.

Back to 1988, building the educators' training: During the build my wife said that she wanted a separation. After the shock wore off I realized that I liked that idea. Having agreed to separate we continued to live in the same house (one of us sleeping on the third floor and the other on the first) and continued to build the training. One day, as my wife and I were in the middle of a fight, she went to answer the phone. I said, "Don't answer that! We're in the middle of a fight! This is important!" She replied, "It might be an enrollment." In that instant I saw how crazy was my participation in Lifespring. I withdrew from the educators' team, stopped all my other Lifesping activities, and soon moved out of the house. In January of '89 I told my wife that I did not want to be married to her and in December off '89 we divorced.

During my participation in Lifespring there were several times when I had fears that it was a cult. My boss gave me some literature identifying Lifespring as a cult and it did make an impression on me, although I certainly didn't admit that to him. Each time I had my fears I supressed them with one rationalization or another. But in that moment of my wife saying "It might be an enrollment" I saw clearly what I was doing.

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How did you get out?
Posted by: Lion ()
Date: June 22, 2006 01:22AM

any specific advice you can give to a family who has a family member getting involved in one of these groups?

How can we best open their eyes to see the truth?

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How did you get out?
Posted by: concernedfriend ()
Date: June 22, 2006 03:31AM

I wish I knew the answer to your second question. For the first, see this article: []

By the way, I'm still interested in reading how people got out.

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How did you get out?
Posted by: Dynamix ()
Date: June 22, 2006 08:55AM

It's never a good idea to condemn or demonize the cult or the cult leader, remember your friend has been pre-programmed to shut down and or disconnect whenever he or she hears that stuff (learned that one the hard way!). I believe probably the best way is just to ask a lot of questions, "why do you think they do A" and "why do you think they teach B" just to get their critical thinking back in action.

I believe it is also helpful to perhaps talk about the dangers of a similar cult, one the person does not have any allegiance too. Point out the things that are done that are similar to what goes on in your friend's group, but never actually draw a direct parallel for them, allow them to do that for themselves when they are ready. I hear that this is a technique deprogrammer Steve Allen uses. Read more about it on his website.

But most importantly of all, the cult has tried to paint you, a family member or friend of the participant as someone who will never understand the grand truth that they are offering. It is an attempt to separate them from the support group of their normal friends, to isolate them from their old life. Never let your friend doubt for an instant that you love and care for him/her. In other words, spread the love as much and as often as you can :). The cult is counting on you to either give in to the emotional blackmail and take the course, or give up on your friend all together.

One final thing, authoritarian groups depend on secrecy so that you can't get to your friend and say "wake up! I know what goes on in that course room!" Thank god for the Internet, where you can read and see all the secret stuff that they don't want you to know!

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How did you get out?
Posted by: estie ()
Date: June 23, 2006 10:13AM

How did I get out, or would I please introduce myself?

I don't know if you're asking how I got out of being involved with the group, or got out of being controlled by the mindset. They're two different questions. Well, here's the short version.

Estie's Cult Resume:
- did the est training in 1978
- reviewed it a number of times, reviewed the WE&A Forum
- took I don't remember how many, a lot, of graduate seminars
- did both the first two Communication Workshops
- did the Six Day
- assisted heavily for years, every team in the center: enrollment -
guests and graduates; registration; logistics
- team leader of a number of assisting teams
- did GSLP (Guest Seminar Leaders Program, the predecessor of IFLP/ILP)
- coordinated the next GSLP (in a host center)
- coordinated the assistants program in my center
- participated in the Hunger Project during its early years, was
heavily involved at times

I was very much a typical estie during my period of participation. I
thought it had more value than anything I'd ever done in my entire
life. I was just as obnoxious in my enthusiasm about est as the next
estie. (And isn't that a fun memory?)

I eventually stopped being involved because of growing (unresolved and
unresolvable) concerns about how the graduates and assistants were
often abused, and because of growing concerns (unresolved and
unresolvable) that est's values did not fit what I personally valued,
and did not allow me to be myself. I left with the opinion, one I
continued to hold for many years, that the programs were great but the
organization was fucked (to use the vernacular of the time). Over
time, gradually, I came to realize that almost everything about the
programs and the subsequent participant involvement was blown entirely
out of proportion. I still thought there was ~value~ in it, but I got
to the point that I thought the drawbacks exceeded the value, and I
stopped recommending that anyone do the programs.

About twenty years after I had first done est, I again began talking
about my involvement. Initially, I repeated, automatically and
verbatim, many of the things we'd been taught to say/think. Noticing
that, and looking at what my experience, and my observations of others,
had honestly been was a turning point. It wasn't long before I also
noticed that all the criticisms I had of the organization were not
separate from, but were actually sourced in, the programs.

I then went through a process of looking at, re-examining, in depth, my
entire est experience. Without any undue influence, with very little
outside input at all, I came to recognize that both the programs and
the centers were extremely controlled environments, based in est's
simplistic and one-sided ideology, and realized the tremendous role
manipulation, influence, exploitation, intimidation, control, peer
pressure, traditional hypnosis, NLP hypnosis, humiliation, fallacious
thinking (I'm sure I'm forgetting a few) played in determining the
outcomes. You could think of it all as a "magic show." It was
illusion. It was a con.

Very little of what I had always thought to have been ~value~ stood up
to examination. Most was the result of the manipulation of my

Since then, while I've made new discoveries about some of the nuances,
I've never found any reason to discard the validity of these

Th-th-th-that's all, folks! :!:


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How did you get out?
Posted by: skeptic ()
Date: June 25, 2006 04:45AM

I don't know if you're asking how I got out of being involved with the group, or got out of being controlled by the mindset. They're two different questions.

Recently I met someone who said she'd been involved with Landmark. I asked how she got out. She just drifted out, seemingly unaware of the true nature of Landmark/LGATs. I started to think: just because someone is out of an LGAT does not mean the LGAT is out of them.

estie, I like your description of your deepening awareness of the LGAT LIE. You describe well the [u:c4db6224b8] s l o w[/u:c4db6224b8] process of coming out of the trance that I experienced.

While I had reservations, questions, confusion and disagreement when I was involved (not Landmuck, another LGAT), I *chose* to ignore them (part of the training). In hindsight, I am thankful for a few very painful events (five years ago) that cracked the trance-illusion. When that crack happened, I revisited my reservations, etc. and thus began a two year+ examination of all the so-called teachings. Had those events not happened, I shudder to think that the LGAT would still be alive in me, unexamined, and unbeknownst to me. I'd still be a candidate for more of it.

In the beginning of my examination, I was STILL INSIDE the LGAT mindset, as I analyzed the mindset!!! But I was on my way out, if only slowly. I clearly saw flaws, *and* I also thought there was wisdom in the so-called teachings. Things were starting to unravel.

I solidly identified the ILLOGIC I'd been taught. THEN, I stumbled upon a person who referred to est as an "abusive cult". From what this person said, est & this other LGAT sounded similar enough that I immediately started searching for information on est & cults.

What I found shocked me. Not only was every single thing I had identified validated, I learned that I had been intentionally and deliberately deceived and exploited. I was, and still am, outraged.

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How did you get out?
Posted by: estie ()
Date: June 26, 2006 10:52AM


Yeah, I know what you mean. Many people get out of being involved, and sort through some of the teachings and opinions, but they don't recover completely.

There were things that went on *for years* that I hadn't associated with est. My mind wouldn't let me. Funny thing about the psyche. If you suppress things that "aren't allowed", they'll just hang around in there trying to be experienced, turn up another way. I had had recurring dreams, my suppressed est experiences disguised in imaginary circumstances. I had to consciously give my mind permission to know whatever was true. I was having a lot of concentration problems as a result of all the dissociative states (which we called being "at observation" - - psychologists consider them to be abnormal). I used to spend a lot of time "spaced out" when all those wonderful induced trance states (we called them "unconsciousness") were triggered. I had PTSD-like flashbacks. Had one doozy one day when I looked into the rear view mirror of my car! (There's a thing about going through life using the rear-view mirror instead of the steering wheel.)

I went back and re-experienced everything, looking for/at what was true, not the way it was "framed." It was like untangling a tangled up skein of yarn. I finally ~experienced~ (this stuff works in reverse, too) freeing my mind. It was glorious! The mind does not *like* being imprisoned! That little god wannabe had the defense of the training tied into actual physical survival! "The purpose of the mind is the ensure the survival of the being or whatever the being perceives itself to be." Well, the being identified with Werner/est!

I'm really not angry now, but I still resent having being mentally imprisoned for all those years. No one has a right to do that to another.

BTW, the LECies on a.f.l think we "really" are mad at something else (being burned out, or whatever) and we've just made up the brainwashing stuff. They do not want to believe we really know!


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How did you get out?
Posted by: nutrino ()
Date: June 26, 2006 10:51PM

That little god wannabe had the defense of the training tied into actual physical survival! "The purpose of the mind is the ensure the survival of the being or whatever the being perceives itself to be."

Point: The Hubbardians and the Erhardians are obsessed with [b:fb555abf02] survival [/b:fb555abf02] ... Scientology has the importance of their work [b:fb555abf02] framed in survival terms [/b:fb555abf02], or one better than that , [b:fb555abf02] species survival [/b:fb555abf02] . Loss of the Werner Gohead is equated with the loss of self, the loss of source, the loss of authenticity.... rather bad Gothic Novel stuff packed into dismal training rooms...

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How did you get out?
Posted by: estie ()
Date: June 27, 2006 12:24PM

Hey Nutrino,

I've been looking forward to meeting you. Your reputation precedes you. 8)


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How did you get out?
Posted by: nutrino ()
Date: June 28, 2006 01:55AM

[b:e745aae229] "One is known by the quality of one's enemies" [/b:e745aae229]

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