[Serious]Reddit, when and how did you realize you were being manipulated/ brainwashed?

Several years ago my wife and I got involved (through a friend) in the Landmark Forum. Landmark Forum is a successor to EST (Erhard System Training), popular in the 70's. Cultish things like this are actually a popular thing on the west coast since Jim Jones days, but surprisingly I see very little press about it.



So we went to the first intro session, which was about three hours and really a teaser about how you can be free of all the crap in your life you carry around with you. We signed up for the full first session after that. There was a lot of pressure to sign up. I remember they actually had people that had not signed up for the first session at the intro stand up, and they isolated them into smaller and smaller groups and worked them. Should have been a signal, didn't see it.

We went to that first session. Actually really good stuff overall, the theme was about confronting issues in your past that are blocking you from moving forward. There were moving testimonials from people that contacted their abusive parent and at least reached some sort of closure, etc. All that went well and we liked it, signed up for the advanced class.

It was one day into the advanced class and I just, I dunno, woke up and realized something was amiss. I realized suddenly that the class was really built to get me to sign up for more classes, just like the prior class was built to sign me up for this class, and the intro class was built to sign me up for the first class. We didn't come back. They contacted us several times after that.

I think the scary part for me is that I think of myself as a rational skeptic, but I almost fell for it.

Footnote: if you want the good stuff from that first class without the brainwashing, I recommend Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen.


/r/AskReddit Thread