Making Your Own Decisions - Not!
After reading some things here something clicked with me about how a cult leader tricked me into thinking I was making my own decisions. And then how he used my supposed commitment against me. I had the misfortune of being caught by a self development cult for a few years and now that I am out I see things in a very different light.
I checked over emails I had exchanged with this evil manipulator and now it is very clear what was going on. At the start he used to write things like 'I would like to do… if you will allow me' and 'If it's ok with you let me know…' and 'drop me a line and we can make our decisions'.
I understand now that the 'doctrine' becomes the master program for how the cult adepts think and act. So this trickster knew before he wrote what my responses would be and to me it seemed that I was making the decisions, but the program was simply running and I was being the faithful slave.
Later, he was never slow in reminding me that I had said this or that and I wasn't living up to my side of the bargain. He constantly reminded me about my 'commitments'. He was just creating one guilt trip after another to manipulate.
On top of all this, he teaches people how to make their own decisions. What a joke that is! The whole idea teaches people to make decisions like a psychopath! It is totally self centered, egotistical, other people just have to learn to tolerate you, doing what the hell you like in any moment, including changing your mind despite any commitments you might have made to anyone else, and this is EXACTLY how he makes decisions himself. Constantly changing his mind to suit himself and the students just have to accept it because 'that's the way he is'. I understand now that they are manipulated and this is why they justify his awful treatment. (I know because it's what I did too!)
But if I changed my mind and it did not suit him, wow! There was hell to pay. Any normal person would pick up the phone to chat about why and if there was any way to resolve it. Not him. First of all there was the l-o-o-ong emails, again reminding me of my 'commitments', telling me that I owe him, (I understand now that this is a very common thing for cult leaders), and mild threats about our continued relationship. The emails themselves were a roller coaster of guilt, fear, shame, guilt, fear and more guilt. Oh, and they were all about him and his difficulties and hardships. Nothing about me and why I might want to change my mind.
Then there were the phone calls, with shouting, more threats and more fear and guilt. In the end it was easier to change my mind again and stick with my original decision and I felt bad for having used the system of decision making he was teaching. What a great double bind! Damned if I do use it, damned if I don't. Apparently it's good to make your own decisions… as long as he agrees with them. What kind of personal development is that?!?
There were the usual things in a cult, too. There was the warning about 'you're going to lose friends with these new ideas' and at the same time we were going to change the world, but it was a very small group and practically no-one knew about it. It was all about gathering new recruits and earning him money and he was offering independence and making people very dependent on him, to the point that many students discussed their decisions with him before deciding anything! You're supposed to be able to live your own life after the courses but everyone ends up with the same ideas, the same language, the desire to be like him etc.
Hope this is useful for someone who is having doubts about a group or who has left and is recovering. Good luck!