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Thoughts on Steve Hassan?
January 11, 2006
5:53 pm
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zinnia
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Did they do those maddening "reflective listening" questions?

I saw a great "Malcolm in the Middle" episode on TV in which the parents learned that technique and tried to use it on their sons! I still chuckle about some of those scenes.

January 12, 2006
2:52 am
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Hi Zinnia

"Did they do those maddening "reflective listening" questions?"

Sometimes. But RC has its own formula and unique things that happen in sessions which are hard to describe really briefly because even to describe them requires translating a lot of jargon. (If I say to you that sessions focus on discharge and the counsellor tries to find ways to contradict the distress.... you see what I mean?)

My ex-bf was very scathing about what he called "California-speak" and I have to admit that even though I like to read personal growth books, sometimes the language gets a bit much. I don't watch much TV, but I could imagine the show you mention being very funny.

January 12, 2006
11:46 pm
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"contradict the distress"??

Interesting that some jargon meant to obscure says exactly what it means.

"speak against the distress" or "rule out the ability to speak of distress"?

Those are the two alternative definitions that come to me, and I can see cult control in both.
---------------------------

The cult I was in for a long time, that was in every sense of the word a true cult and very destructive, actually used the word "violate" to describe the process of moving a person from one level of membership to another.

There were other "job titles" in it that are so logical that one appears very, very foolish and even paranoid to identify them as cult language, but I have had several brushes with other chapters of this cult. Each time, I was trying to tell myself common-sense English terms were triggering me, but each time, my perception that I have bumped into members turned out to be true. I would leave hoping they would be normal and never bother me again, but each time this happened, I faced some form of stalking from the group and interference in my life.

Other groups or relationships that I have left either because I sensed a similar dynamic or for some other reason never resulted in the same kind of stalking, or, frankly, any stalking at all.

I hate the dilemma of trying to assess triggers. Backing out of a relationship or group invitation when the numbers add up to a "positive identification" is scary because if I am in touch with that cult's members in a new setting long enough to notice that the same people produced three or four separate triggers for the same cult, then by that time "they know that I know."

The only thing I can do is try to maintain an independent enough lifestyle that I can back away from people on seeing even one trigger, but then there is a better than 50% chance I am wrong and isolating myself from decent people for no good reason.

January 13, 2006
1:37 am
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"speak against the distress" or "rule out the ability to speak of distress"?

Actually, neither of those is what that phrase means. "Speak against the distress" sounds like the technique used in cognitive therapy, where the therapist disputes the client's negative self-image. But in RC, "contradiction" means something entirely different. I was about to explain it but... never mind :-0
(unliess you're really keen to get a crash course in RC jargon?)

I know what you mean, though, about meeting new people and "smelling trouble". There are certain words, phrases, and even behaviours that set off the alarms on my "RC radar" and I walk the other way, very quickly.

Interesting, your saying that brought up a memory I hadn't thought of for ages. One time I read a personal ad by this guy and I just knew he was an RCer. I wanted to send him a really nasty reply. Then I actually happened to meet him at a social event and I felt this intense anger. I was barely civil to him and seethed with rage all evening. That was a couple of years after I had left RC and before I found the recovery group. Now I don't think I would have such an intense reaction.

I also know what you mean about sensing similar dynamics in other groups. I've had that happen to me, too. It's not necessarily a bad thing, to be forewarned and forearmed, but I hear you about the "dilemma of assessing triggers".

I never encountered any stalking or anything like that when I left, but then again, I left without making any fuss. Sometimes I had fantasies of contacting the media and doing a big exposee of RC, and then no doubt I would have come in for some negative attention from the local leadership.

I have heard that some people who sought to publicize the seedy side of RC did get harassed, even up to and including death threats. I can't imagine anybody I knew in this town doing anything like that, but who knows...

January 13, 2006
3:26 pm
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zinnia
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A lot of it also depends on what you did when you were in a cult. If you even were thought to have "inside knowledge" about the cult's core leadership, or if you had been in charge of a desk in a cult's office for any length of time, they might stalk based on their own paranoia about your intentions rather than based on any actual threat of whistle-blowing.

Years ago, I was socializing with cult members at my sister's request without understanding their hidden agenda.

She was getting help for her son, who had committed a serious crime, because she needed to raise money and move it discretely to get lenient treatment. She used every family connection and every form of influence she could.

I am the proverbial kid at the parade shouting "Hey look, the king's butt is hangin' out!" and so when I quit trying to please her supposed interest in my career and told her why, which was based on my gut reaction that these people were untrustworthy and unprofessional, I had made no connection between what they wanted from me and the trouble my nephew was in.

But they way they came after me and my own family caused me to take a much closer look at everything.

Had they not stalked and harasssed, I never would have given them a second thought.

As it is, I have to focus only on getting my daughter to a place she may survive as peacefully as I have been able once I put enough distance between us all.

January 13, 2006
3:49 pm
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Wow, Zinnia, that all sounds quite overwhelming. Good luck with your daughter.

Have you had a chance to look at any of Steve Hassan's stuff yet? I hope you find it helpful.

I'm supposed to be doing dome other stuff right now, so I better go and do it... but I do find this discussion very compelling. Thanks for sharing more about your experiences.

January 15, 2006
4:26 pm
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zinnia
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I did look and I sent them a note. I also found another group online, called http://rickross.com. This guy is more commercial and aggressive than Hassan appears to be, but maybe that is what will work? Who knows. I sent him a note, too. And there are links off his site to a lot of others, including http://cultnews.com which is like a big clearinghouse and a lot more up-to-date than Hassan, so maybe I will find other sources of help.

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