Warning Signs For Your Friend/Family Member is Under Undue Influence
On the Freedom of Mind website, there’s an evaluation checklist that one can use to determine if a friend of family member has gotten themselves involved in a cult-like situation. As Freedom of Mind’s Steven Hassan points out, this could happen in a variety of contexts: “religious, political, therapy, education, business.” This blog is focused on MLMs, and the checklist definitely applies here.
New commenter @AgeOfWisdom51 (formerly @MustHaveBeenTerribleMother), recently posted her thoughts after observing the changes in her son following his involvement with TEAM/LIFE. Does this checklist look familiar to you?
@webelieved, @Calie etal, and to the others who helped us to get to good sources of information to help us understand what happened to us this summer as family members of a loved one being drawn into team/LIFE–this is what we have found, and the data collected just is what it is and as long as it is–can’t be helped:
Next, it goes without saying: many thanks to Steve Hassan’s ‘Freedom of Mind Resource Center’–this site has begun to help us to understand what has happened to our loved one being sucked into the vortex of Team/LIFE, even as a newbie:
The evaluation checklist to see if our loved one is under ‘UNDUE INFLUENCE’ (to not get hung up on the word ‘cult’ as Hassan suggests).
Here are some of the EARLY warning signs—we’ve picked out those that apply specifically to what we have seen in our own family member in just the early phases of involvement in team/LIFE, i.e., the “motivational indoctrination”, to one degree or another (some were subtle changes):
Hassan uses 4 major categories of: Change in Prior Commitments; Financial; Radical Personality Change and Health. From those we saw these points to be true:
- change in prior commitments: yes
- change in goals: yes
- change in relationships: yes
- financial repeated surrendering of money for group sponsored events: yes
- change in physical appearance: yes
- personality change: secretive, evasive, defensive behavior: yes
- personality change: from analytical to magical thinking: yes
- personality change: move toward a proselytizing behavior: yes
- personality change: judgmental attitude toward family members: yes
- personality change: change in level of honesty: yes
- personal habits: change from tardy to punctual or vice versa if organization made demands: yes
- personal habits: change from irresponsible to responsible and vice versa: yes
- communication style: defensiveness and evasiveness: yes
- communication style: use of canned speech and buzzwords: yes
- relationships: family preached to as though they need to be saved: yes
- relationships: more time spent with group: yes
- career: radical changes in goals: yes
- career: abruptly ends career: yes (wants to soon)
- health: sleep deprivation: yes
We don’t know what the future holds–we are now in a ‘holding pattern’ position to see if our loved one will fall deeper into the vortex.
As newbies to this nightmare, we can only suggest this: before you do much of anything else:
1) Read the links offered on Amthrax. Learn the money-making methods and odds of success and read the stories of those affected;
2) read Eric Scheibeler’s online book: Merchants of Deception (about his 10 year meteoric rise and subsequent crash in Dexter Yager’s version of Amway (and note: you may find reference to a court case out there where Eric may have been pressured in a suit to back off on one or two of his claims–just remember, he’s not the only one his journey happened to, i.e., lawsuits popped up around the country.).
Keep in mind: If you think the hidden side (the motivational tool side of a business being the actual money-making scheme instead of selling renewable product to an end consumer side) , the Dexter Yager–the U.S. mastermind creator “motivational tools’ in Amway–has nothing to do with team/LIFE, you’d be very wrong. Team/LIFE’s founding principles are lock/stock/barrel, Dexter Yager’s. The current iteration of LIFE is only a new spin-off of what has existed for decades on end, albeit quite refined.
3) Then, after you recover from the shock of Eric Scheibeler’s journey, look at the education/training/recovery sites he recommends, such as Hassan’s.
Will you be guaranteed solace? No. But you will be forearmed and your preconceived notions about everybody and everything associated with this entity known as LIFE (or team/LIFE) will be in the trash can.
However, you will be building the strength and knowledge of how to counter the fallout that made you an indirect victim of ‘undue influence’ in the motivation explosion which is covering nothing but a scheme to sell motivational materials and build wealth for the almost-negligible few near the top.
What other warning signs of undue influences can you list? Leave your thoughts in the comments discussion below.