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Beeze

How I got sucked into a Cult-like organization :(

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Beeze

I know this is completely off topic, but this has been bugging me for several months, and I feel I need to get this off my chest. I'm too ashamed to open up to friends and family about this, and I wanted to be anonymous while getting my story somewhat out there, so here goes.

So last November, I had a friend (and co-worker) of mine suggest I take a Personal Development course with PSI Seminars. At this time, I was feeling quite down. I moved to a new city and I didn't have many friends. I was struggling quite mightily professionally, all well trying to come to terms with my asexuality. So, against better judgment and the advice of another co-worker who was telling me to stay away because PSI was a "cult", I paid $650 and did their "Basic" course.

The course itself was... interesting. It was a Large Group Awareness Training (LGAT: look it up on Wikipedia for more info)). It consisted of 3 consecutive 10 hour days of various activities. These activities included telling complete strangers about my worst moment of my life, a personality test, and weird game with vague rules that, when we inevitably failed, we were told that we were horrible people who needed to improve our ways. Overall, it was a very intense and emotional experience that purposely tore down its "students" both mentally and emotionally, and then built us all up again so we all left on a high. The weirdest part of the experience was that there were 2 rows in the back of the room of former "graduates" who were "re-auditing" the course. These people would cheer wildly when the facilitator (who had very strict rules and absolute control) said and did certain things. Looking back, it was all pretty weird.

During this Basic seminar, however, I got sucked in to doing something beyond stupid. I signed up to do an "Advanced" course in California (I live in Canada). I was told if I wanted to do this course, the Universe would ensure that everything would line up so I could go (see the quasi-religious aspect here?).

But I am getting ahead of myself. I was intensely pressured into signing up. I signed my cheque crying, knowing that it was a bad idea. I felt extremely pressured, and was also told that it was the only thing that could possibly turn my life around. Basically, after being emotionally drained and after all critical thinking had been brainwashed away, I was verbally coerced into doing this. The course cost $4000 and it is non-transferable and non-refundable.

A few months later, I was still regretting my decision but I was kind of sucked into the PSI community. I attended a few events and people ensured me that I had made the right decision.

Then, I decided one day to do some research. To my horror, I discovered that the Advanced course (known as PSI 7) was a week-long intensive course at the "ranch". You can only get to this "ranch" by bus. After paying four freaking thousand dollars for "tuition", you must share bunkbeds and showers with complete strangers. You have no access to cell phones or Internet while working on team building exercises (which apparently include telling complete strangers what you don't like about them).

I had also discovered that, when looking back at my encounters with the PSI community, there was always something artificial about them. They all spoke in PSI jargon (no saying but-can't-try!), all were abnormally bubbly and enthusiastic. They were all, in other words, slightly crazy. I decided then that under no circumstances would I ever attend PSI 7 or go to any more PSI events.

But here is the kicker: I had to at least ask for a refund. When I did, the person who I asked and the area director for PSI in my city asked to meet with me. I said "yes" thinking that I might have a chance. When I met them in a public place, they purposely prodded into the things in my life that were distressing me (my relative lack of social life in my city and my lack of professional success). They told me, and I quote that I am "difficult to love" and that if I were to go to PSI 7, there would be "people waiting to love me and for [me] to love them". In other words, only with PSI 7 will I have friends. This is complete and utter bullshit.

Needless to say, I said goodbye and left. I deleted all but one of the PSI community from my friends' list of Facebook. I will probably end up losing one of my best friends over this (I got quite close to the person who brought me into the community, and I'm not sure how she will view my opinion on this cult-like personal development seminar crap).

If you actually read this, thank you! You deserve the cakiest of the cakes. I just hope that my experience may discourage others from joining these expensive and potentially harmful personal development cult-seminars

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Viotora

Never heard of that but if it were to be here in Iceland, I'd never join that and I thank you for the warning. There are too many cults out there though, good to have been warned about one tho, no matter how far away I am.

But biggest thing of all, is how proud I am of YOU for pulling yourself out of this, some people just... don't come back, they devote their time to shit like that.

I'm glad you noticed.

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S0UL

Oh my... This is sad. I am glad you're living life your own way now, instead of the cult's way. Good job on breaking free. ^_^ :cake:

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deltaX

Wow, that sounds incredibly intense. It's kind of amazing that you were able to get out, because a lot of times people get sucked in and they can't. Thanks for having the courage to share your story here! :cake:

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Beeze

Wow, thanks everyone (and takk fyrir Cord Fortina) for your kind words and support! It means a lot to me.

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Waist of Thyme

What does PSI mean/stand for?

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SilentButFriendly

I wasted a good chunk of my twenties in a cult. I am still digging out of that pit, financially, relationally, emotionally. My heart breaks for the frustration, the loneliness, and the financial loss you are facing. However, I am glad you got out so soon. I wasted *years*. :/ On another positive note, you gained a valuable experience. It will be much, much harder for someone to fool you a second time.

Have some cake. <3

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Viotora

Wow, thanks everyone (and takk fyrir Cord Fortina) for your kind words and support! It means a lot to me.

Ekkert að þakka. :) I'm glad I could help someone!

Take care!

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Beeze

Waist of Thyme, funny enough, it's not well advertised at all what PSI stands for, and they didn't tell anyone until I asked them. It stands for Personal Self Improvement.

SilentButFriendly, I'm so sorry you had to go through something similar. I'm glad you are also getting out :)

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Waist of Thyme

Oh, ok. Well, I'm happy you got out of it. With a lot of cults, they don't reveal their agenda to new members right away. They only tell them what a reasonable person could be convinced of, and slowly reveal their true colors instead of all at once. Like how a frog will jump right out of hot water, but if the water is warm and slowly gets hotter it'll just stay until it fries. I've heard the frog thing is actually not true, but it's an accurate example to how a lot of cults (and abusive relationships) operate. It seems this cult didn't really do that, so I'm guessing most of the people who joined had literally nothing/no one else. Either way it's definitely the weirdest I've heard of and I'm glad you didn't "convert" to it, so to speak.

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Kisa needs a coffee
On 8/26/2015 at 9:08 PM, Waist of Thyme said:

Oh, ok. Well, I'm happy you got out of it. With a lot of cults, they don't reveal their agenda to new members right away. They only tell them what a reasonable person could be convinced of, and slowly reveal their true colors instead of all at once. Like how a frog will jump right out of hot water, but if the water is warm and slowly gets hotter it'll just stay until it fries. I've heard the frog thing is actually not true, but it's an accurate example to how a lot of cults (and abusive relationships) operate. It seems this cult didn't really do that, so I'm guessing most of the people who joined had literally nothing/no one else. Either way it's definitely the weirdest I've heard of and I'm glad you didn't "convert" to it, so to speak.

It sounds like they were looking for vulnerable people who were feeling low in life to target and were just using this as a way to scam people out of money.

 

Screw these guys.  May the people who knowingly do the things that they do sit on throne made out of cacti.  Sitting on one cactus is too nice for them.

 

Anybody who is sucked into it and who really thinks that they are helping I feel bad for and I don't want them to sit on a cacti throne, I just hope that they find out that there ARE people who love them outside of cultlike things.

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