Help is Essential
Date: August 20, 2004 11:20AM
**Is the leader of the group considered infallible or perfect? (Dont just rely on verbal answers to questions. Observe how the leader and the group actually behave)
**Does the group or leader have pretensions to do psychotherapy? If so, I advise avoiding this whole situation--the risks are too high. Psychotherapy rapidly goes bad when used as a 24 hour lifestyle, because the psychotherapist often turns into a guru, intrudes on all areas of ones life, and in a group situation there is zero privacy, zero accountability and constant psychological intrusiveness. Lots of these groups have been studied and the casualty rates are high.
Does the group think it has a monopoly on the truth? Do they constantly make distinctions between us vs them?
Groups and leaders with delusions of perfection almost inevitably manufacture scapegoats. All persons and organizations harbor imperfection. If they refuse to admit this, the imperfection is projected onto a designated villain--the scape goat. That person could, some day be you or someone you love.
(If you visit the place, persons who are the scapegoats may be kept out of sight, expiating their sins by shovelling manure in a distant pasture, where new visitors cannot see them. Make a point of asking, 'Who are [u:166a75716e]all [/u:166a75716e]the people who live here?' Then see where they are, and how they're treated.)
I strongly recommend that you go by yourself for 2 weeks to a month, before you uproot your family.
Once you're there with your family, it can be more difficult to leave. One member of a family may be seduced and fall in love with the group, while the others may have misgivings and want to leave. Spouses can be turned against each other, or one or more children can be turned agaisnt the parents and demand to stay against your wishes.
If you're under any pressure to go there as a family, at short notice, I'd be very concerned and see it as a red flag. Well run intentional communities would want you to make a decision that is fully informed, uncoerced and based on mature reasons.
(Take a careful look at yourselves, too. Are you feeling some anxiety to get away from Big City living? Eager to get your kids away from a bad social situation? Is the group that runs this farm exploiting anxieties you currently happen to have? If you are under a self imposed set of pressures--eg you want wholesome influences for your children--this can make it tempting to jump in, feet first, to a situation that could prove unworkable, later on.
An honorable group would NOT want to put you under that kind of pressure, and would respect your need to gather information and decide things carefully.
(You say you live in Canada. That means you're far enough north that winters can be severe. Imagine if this farm community didnt work out, you wanted to leave, and were all snowed in because a blizzard hit, or its spring and the roads are a mess because they're muddy and cannot be navigated by automobile----you want to do as much advance research as you can, before putting yourself and your family in a position where you could, quite literally get stuck.