Current Page: 2 of 3 does not and cannot indoctrinate
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 09, 2003 11:59AM

it lingers but eventually wears off.

Thats why many of these groups want you to keep coming back. The euphoria turns into something to cling to. And as the Buddhists have discovered, clinging to anything impermanent is what leads to suffering.

Producing deep, changes in a person's inner landscape that is in harmony with that person's identity is not something that can be achieved quickly. Its just like dieting--if you lose weight rapidly, you'll gain it back just as quickly.

Slow, gradual change, where you can observe yourself in a variety of situations, both alone and with other people, is what works best.

There are some fascinating reflections on what really changes people in a memoir by a guy who spent a year studying aikido in Japan. The book is called Angry White Pyjamas, by Robert Twigger.

He says 'In Japan, a lesson was not the transfer of information; it was an experience.' He felt that the lessons in which a single exercise were repeated hundreds of times really changed him the most--because it was something learned through the body, as well as intellect.

Its a very funny and entertaining book, but it is full of unexpected observations and reflections on what kinds of situations really transform people. I gave a copy to a priest at our Zen Center and she found a lot of material that unlocked some Zen secrets for her.

Lessons Ive learned that affect me physically as well as mentally are the ones that have made the biggest difference. And I could only pick up my own physical cues when in a quiet place--a hectic seminar atmosphere would have made that kind of self-observation more difficult. But, thats how introverts tick.

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Posted by: elena ()
Date: September 09, 2003 12:59PM

What you've described is referred to as "sell by zealot" in the cults. Among other things, Landmark is salesmen's training. Lots of "How to Win Friends and Influence People" stuff, mixed in with the scientology, Mind Dynamics, cognitive therapy, hypnosis, "personal growth" content, and anything else they have "borrowed" over the years. But there are some weird philosophical underpinnings and scary manipulative elements that can harm some people to the point of suicide or insanity. People with no prior psychiatric problems. People who are no longer alive to tell what happened or how the content played out in their imaginations. It's not the harmless program you portray, though it may not cause you any harm. You may be one of the lucky to emerge relatively unscathed. Wait a few weeks and ask someone close to you if they notice anything that disturbs them. Sometimes it will be nothing more than the misuse of certain words. But often, with Landmark graduates, it is a new sense of superiority or privilege with also looks a lot like conceit. Some have likened it to "catnip for the conceited" or "entitled." Landmark teaches many the art of manipulating others.

Are they still using the "fear process" or "danger process?" Did any of the program strike you as odd or cruel? Did you realize there were plants or shills in the audience? What brought you here to this site? Did you do any research on Landmark before you attended?


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Posted by: Hope ()
Date: September 09, 2003 09:00PM


I likened my Forum to continuing ed for narcissists (or sociopaths, for that matter). By believing everyone is responsible for their own suffering, narcissists get off the hook if they hurt someone because it's not what they did, but what the recipient of their actions did. Like the naturopath who introduced me to LE, when things came out about him, he blamed me for going to him. With LE, if you have a bad experience, you didn't get it or are running a racket. It's never about them because they enlightened.

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Posted by: Adrienne ()
Date: September 28, 2003 08:15PM

I am getting married in one month. Two of my three bride's maids are best friends and live together. Over the last few months, there lovely women have become flaky. They haven't responded to calls or emails about important wedding stuff (ie. your dresses have been sitting in the store for 3 months and they will be sending them back if you don't pick them up and what is your shoe size.) It has been very stressful especially because I choose these women to be my bride's maids due to their qualities of sensitivity, responsibility, sweetness....

Then I get a call at 8am. It's urgent! One HAS TO talk to me before 10 am when their class starts. I am at work, quite busy, just in fender bender but I clear the schedule thinking either my friend is going to apologize or at least try to straighten out things or something. No. No mention of the wedding. So self absorbed it made me nauseated...and she sounded borderline psychotic. She was rambling about how her whole life is a fraud, she's been a bad friend, everything is a lie, and she's afraid of loosing me if she changes....oh and she's been unhappy her whole life. My friend sounded like she was having a nervous breakdown (by the way I work in a Psych ER and see psychosis on a daily basis.)Oh yeah, the kicker was that she was making these discoveries at a Landmark Seminar and had to get through this "heart-to-heart" conversation in 15-20minutes so she could get back to class and talk about it in this great group of people she barely knew. I felt SO manipulated...and I felt this may be the being of the end of my friend.

I don't know what to do. She called a few other friends with the same message. It sounded more like she had been beaten into submission than an sort of theraputic insight. She was hurting. Her family is not in this country but I am going to try to track them down...I don't even have their names or addresses.
I think the other friend is a lost case and I blame her for getting this friend I am describing into this. What can I do? Talking to her again would be so painful and I am getting pissed so might say something sarcastic...

And I have a wedding in one month. Friends are suggesting getting back-up bride's maids. This is so ridulous. Am I going to get my friend back? Can I get someone to "deprogram" her. We live in different cities now but I will go to the end of the earth if I must to get her back. (Explicative here!)

Damn it! Her life and our 13 years of friendship was not some fraud or group assignment...but now it is. How dehumanizing!

And I am afraid they aren't stable with all this Landmark stuff to be in the wedding...but I do not want to isolate them...

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Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 28, 2003 10:04PM


Before we go further, first thing to do is take a deep breath and take care of yourself. You mention that you were in (or nearly were in) a car accident. Plus you work in a psych emergency room. So it sounds as though you're already maxing out.

As they say during the safety lecture on airplanes, first put on your oxygen mask before taking care of others.

I recommend contacting their families if you possibly can, and if you need to stay in contact with them to get their families information, that might be a good idea. Their families need to be warned. If your friends are minors or being supported by a family trust fund, they may need financial guardianship, so long as they remain enthralled with the group.

Right after the first seminar participants are often in a 'high' befuddled state of mine when they do this--your buddy may have had a long list of people she thought she needed to make amends to, and crossed you off the list as she worked down through it. She was very likely in a state of trance.

The next step in an obnoxious progression is often the LGAT graduates pressure everyone they know to do the program. More about this later.

Lets look at your upcoming wedding. The way your friends are flaking out, it doesnt sound like they are able to concentrate on their day to day responsibilities--or the commitment they took on as your bridesmaids.

I see being your bridesmaid as a 'job.' Your pals are not following through on their 'work assignments' (eg getting the dresses fitted, staying in touch with you). In an ordinary workplace, a supervisor (you!) would fire or reassign employees who were not working in a satisfactory manner and would hire someone else.

For your own peace of mind, it would be wise to consider getting some calmer more attentive girlfriends to be your bridesmaids.

You can still invite your pals to the wedding as guests, but say, 'You sound like you're both very stressed out. You've been having great difficulty following through with your earlier commitment to be my bridesmaids. There were things you needed to do on schedule and did not do them. I still want you to be at the wedding but as guests, not as the bridesmaids. You both seem too stressed to be bridesmaids.'

This is probably going to be a miserable, stressful experience. They may scream at you and accuse you of being a selfish person. You are NOT being selfish. You are responsible for a complex rite of passage that requires lots of teamwork and your pals are not following through on their part of the assignment.

[b:c1858740a6]Telling people stuff they do not enjoy hearing does not mean you are a bad person[/b:c1858740a6].

They may be too far gone, but your friends may need a wake up call that the mental and emotional disarray that their experience has produced in them has made them unreliable people. It doesnt mean they are not loveable, but they have become unreliable and 'unemployable' as your bridesmaids, though they can, if they wish attend the wedding.

I would consider combining the wedding invitation with a request that they not use the wedding as venue to recruit people for their LGAT. You are not being selfish to request this. A wedding is a time to rejoice--not hit on people for recruitment purposes.

If you cant be sure they can attend your wedding without trying to function as recruiters, you will be within your rights to ban them.

You really have an agonizing situation on your hands. Good luck, and tell us how things work out.

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Posted by: elena ()
Date: September 28, 2003 10:36PM

Hi Adrienne,

Tough Luck!

You might liken it to having your best friend "relapse" into alcoholism or drug abuse. Landmark works in a similar fashion on some people. She sounds as though she is in the middle of the indoctrination when emotions are their highest and normal functioning is compromised. Landmark can be very seductive to the weak or uninformed. She will be flooded with positive reinforcements for "adopting" their new ways of thinking, speaking, and acting. They have promised her "unlimited possibilities for an amazing life," which is their way of promising nothing but the weak or uninformed interpret is as meaning whatever their most treasured dreams consist of. These people are super-slick, high-pressure salesmen, selling Landmark garbage psychology, metaphysics, and influence tactics so that they can turn out more salesmen who will follow instructions without question, smile the smile, talk the talk, and dress and look successful to present themselves as examples of the amazing power of Landshark to transform people's lives. (Which they actually do, but of course, not in the way most people would want or expect.)

Unless they make some mistake with her, or say something that causes her to question the whole thing, she is probably lost, for a while anyway. Distance yourself from them as much as you can. Learn more about what you are dealing with. Though Landmark is not a cult, technically, it functions as one and uses the same tactics and manipulation of people's minds that the cults have developed.

If you can't find someone to fill in for her, you might use Landmark's own tactics to get her through the wedding. Remind her of her "agreement." "Agreements" are contracts in Landmark-land. Remind her that her "integrity" is at stake. "Integrity" is a biggie, also, though it only really applies to other Landmark interactions. (She may not have figured this out yet.) You might ask her why she is not "being her word" in regard to her obligation to you. (You can pick up more of the manipulative phrases by listening to her and the other friend.)

Personllay, I would write her off, for a while anyway. Landmark is designed to destroy non-Landmark relationships so the new member has to rely more and more on his or her new Landmark friends. And Landmark recruitment "friends" are so intense and intrusive they will take up all her time and energy. They will also try to convince her that if you are not recruitable or you say negative things about Landmark you are not a friend.

Good luck!


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Posted by: Cosmophilospher ()
Date: September 29, 2003 01:10AM

This is just my opinion, and nothing more.
Its great to try and "help" people in life, but sometimes you have to "cut your losses".
We cannot control other people.
If all that were happening to me, my first thought would be...

I cannot control other people.

Also, other people cannot control my emotions and life experiences. That is up to me, to manage my own thinking.

Next, if people were persistently not keeping their commitments with me, Landmark or no Landmark, i would just cut them loose.
I would not allow them to spoil my wedding, or anything else.
If a person is going psychotic, they need to be referred to a professional.

This may sound harsh, but this is just my opinion.

Some times in life, people scew up really bad. I have had friends who died from doing dangerous things while on drugs, other people have committed suicide, and lots of people who have basically totally screwed up in general.

Don't allow other peoples psychosis or craziness to drive you nuts!
The world is a nutty place sometimes, and people do crazy things.

Personally, i try to have Empathy for others, yet at the same time cultivate a certain detachment. Because we can't CONTROL other people, unless we want to use the same techniques as the cult leaders.
We can Influence them at times, but sometimes people just lose it.
Its sad, but that's life.

This is my coping strategy.
Perhaps it will help you.


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Posted by: Adrienne ()
Date: September 29, 2003 03:38AM

Thank you so much for your rapid reply. She has now also called my mother and freaked her out too. We are in the process of tracking the families down but they live in Asia...I am afraid their trust accounts will be tapped dry. Thank you for the warning. Is there any way I can help my friend get deprogrammed or do you think I have lost her for a long time...

Why isn't this cult more known? This seems just as bad as Scientology...

Thank you so much. I'll read your posting frequently when I get stressed out. I suspect her psychotic trance state should be over by the end of the week? And then, I agree she needs to be banned fiance and parents feel the same way...

This is horrible.

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Posted by: Adrienne ()
Date: September 29, 2003 08:11PM

Elena, thank you so much for yout reply. The more I have thought of it, the more I think I'll need to uninvite them. I have other friends willing to be bride's maids at the last minute ... and we can make due with what we have.

I think it's important for me to have some connection to her and not to totally isolate her...and we have been friends for so long I can't give up all hope. Yet, am afraid to have them at the wedding. Many of the attendants are mental health professionals and I think the recruiting stuff would be a total freak out. Is there a way I can use the "Landmark Lingo" to help them to stay at home? Something like "I have been selfish to ask you to be a bride's maid. This should be about YOU now ect?" Any lingo-speak suggestions that I can use to distance myself but not sound sarcastic (it is so tempting to be sarcastic at this point but it wouldn't be helpful anyway.)

I called the bridal store yesterday and found out that all the delay/flakyness, the shoes and dresses are likely not to be done in time for the wedding anyway. I had picked out dress store / styles last winter in order to prepare for any hitch in plans. I never imagined that the hitch would be this. They certainly have changed. This is "transformation" :confused:

I called my sister after I received the hysterical call (she is my sole bride's maid for now) just to make sure she was still sane and okay. She is and has promised me that she has no intention of joining any "self help groups" in the near or distant future. Whew!

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Posted by: LoriS ()
Date: September 29, 2003 08:52PM

The timing couldn't be worse.

I have a bit of a different take on these things, as my boyfriend went to one and came home much like your friend. I stayed and fought it out, and it worked. Three months later he "woke up" to what happened to him and is back to normal (although pretty ticked off about the whole thing).

I had a couple things going for me though, we lived in the same house so I could monitor things, and get my viewpoint in every chance I could. I didn't let up, and he didn't write me off.

These people are victims who have been manipulated. You should do what you can to help your friend, while also keeping a safe distance. The "high" usually lasts about 10 days or so, which is right about the time they bring them back in for more, to reinforce it.

Try like hell to reach her parents. Perhaps when she gets home, invite her over, and you, your mother, and any other concerned friends sit her down and try to explain what's happened to her, give her the documentation on this site to read. It may not work at first (it didn't for me) but it plants a seed.

The most heartbreaking thing to me was what you described in your friend also, they take a wonderful person and convince them that prior to this experience, they were horrible worthless people, and everything good about them comes from a realization during Landmark or Harmony whatever LGAT they attend. That is such a ripoff. It's also what helps to convince them that eveyone who hasn't been through is a closed off, unhappy person, and if they refuse to go they aren't worth talking to. It also helps to keep them involved, because they are told that they will "lose the result" ie, go back to being those terrible people that they never were in the first place. It's slick and scary.

Good luck with your wedding. I hope everything works out for the ceremony. I wouldn't count on your friends coming through for you right now, so go get backups. But try not to write them off completely. When they begin to have doubts, they'll need someone to talk to.

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