A partner's experience
My partner became involved in the TQ organisation a few years ago. She went to see the 'video' promoting the 2 week seminar & encouraged me to join her to see this 'important' film. I went to see it with no idea what it was beforehand thinking that it was a blockbuster. I came home after viewing it disappointed with its content and angry that I had been forced to leave work early, book a babysitter etc. To me it was a sales video advertising a product with dubious claims. Being a scientist it was full of graphs & claims with non scientific support e.g. 'A university study has shown that ...' with no university named. There was no reference to where TQ or should I say Dr TQ has received his doctorate.
When my partner said that she had already decided that she was going on the seminar at over $20,000, which she was able to finance herself, I was dumbfounded, but when told by her that if I prevented her from going 'she was out of here', I decided to 'go along with it', 2 weeks of juggling my career & our children's home life & thought, wrongly I add, that things would return to normal.
On return, my partner had local TQ meetings or meals out etc and bi monthly Dublin meetings to go to, which of course, I was excluded from, unless, she told me, I did the seminar. Of course I was getting crosser & crosser & had no intention of wasting 2 weeks of my life never mind the price of car to listen to someone spouting what I considered to be nonsense.
However I was, underneath it all, embarrassed at my partners egotistical behaviour for example buying a smart sports car in addition to the one she already had, boasting to our friends that 'work is for dead people' and endlessly talking TQ talk . She promptly gave up her work commitments as she 'couldn't express herself fully in the workplace & would prefer reading new age religion books all day. In addition the material that she learnt from the seminar centred on materialism & greed which was not the humble, gentle person that I committed myself to all those years ago.
Every thing came to a head, when a few months after returning form the seminar, she said that she was going on the 'mind masters' seminar at over $70,000 & I pleaded, begged etc her not to go (which I now discovered is not the best reaction as the person just digs their heels in more) & got her usual threat of I'll leave if you stop me going. She raised the funds on credit cards etc on the advice of the local TQ agent who told her 'you'll pay it back in no time'.
The mind master seminar seemed to centre on new age spiritualism i.e. appealing to those who are vulnerable due to a lost or no deep faith of their own & focused also on the body beautiful. A free supply, if you call it free, of TQ own vitamins were supplied for the seminar which the graduate, e.g. my partner, felt on return that she couldn't survive without & could only buy TQ brand as they were' purer' despite that fact that most of the 100 of different brands of vitamin & food supplements are manufactured by only a handful of companies & repackaged for each individual brand. Debts were by now increasing for her. Having at that point decided to sort out my own & own children's life I had, albeit it late, taken advice from many sources to help me react & act in the most appropriate way to hopefully (I 'm not out of the woods yet) achieve the best outcome.
Not knowing who to turn to I sought advice from the local alcoholism counsellor as I felt that he would have useful strategies for a person addicted & finances disappearing fast The counsellor (having claimed not to have any experience in 'cult' type addictions per say) did give me very important though basic advice. He told me:
About the same time I confided in her family & my family & mutual solid friends who without their support I don't think I would be as sane as I am. In retrospect I should have sought their advice earlier but was too embarrassed about my situation and perhaps too proud that my family life should be 'falling to pieces'. They spoke to her on occasions when it suited but she got more & more aggressive and agitated & in retrospect confiding in family & friends is a very important step in supporting me. However debating with the person long-term is not that helpful as the TQ person is just getting more & more attention from it, which perhaps she wasn't getting enough of in the past either from me or her own family. In addition she seemed to actually enjoy the challenge of standing up for their 'new found' albeit it 'boring' TQ evangelism.
She was spending more and more evenings away in Dublin for mind masters follow up meetings etc & being at the end of my tether (having protected money. home etc) I decided to get in touch with a councillor who has experience of cult mind control groups. I contacted the Irish Institute of counselling & Hypnotherapy in Dublin through contacting Dialogue Ireland, who has been a constant support for me living in the mad house at that point. We were living together like flat mates that didn't really like each other-what effect it was having on the children I'd hate to think.
The sessions I have had with a councillor registered with this institute have been a terrific help. Of course the counsellor cannot write your life script-I sometimes wished that I would have one of those ear pieces that they have on TV that could tell me what to say/how to deal with situations as they arrive. Points that I have realised for these counselling sessions (in the true sense of the word) not TQ jargon!
TQ trains his followers to follow a no failure concept which is not normal. The result of this is that they are more & more vulnerable to his and others selling techniques for further courses, vitamins & conning other vulnerable people into doing the seminar for a $5000 commission. TQ has no concept of the family. He does not have one & has no conscience on the effect that he has on others or their families. However both he & his organisation do like the families of the participants in his seminars to feel threatened as this results in the family giving undivided attention to the participant which the participant attributes to attending the seminar. All of a sudden parents, partner/spouse, in-laws, and friends are concerned about them-they are in the limelight & enjoying it.
TQ recruitment agents target audience for seminar participation appears to me to be made up in the majority with vulnerable people. These include persons with low self esteem, person with troubled relationships/family upbringing, unhappy people (e.g. feel they are of no value in the home etc) or people going through a midlife crisis (i.e. work, family what is next/purpose of life etc). By buying the seminar the participant feels that all of a sudden they have a new group of 'happy' friends who think she or he is wonderful. These 'friends encourage the seminar participant to think only positively not of negative consequences even if what project they are embarking on is doomed to fail . As a result their normal defences are down & they crave more & more 'strokes' from their new network of seminarians. Old trusted long-term friends & family due to their normal correct consequential thinking are seen as negative & dismissed. I had to think of what gap TQ organisation was filling in her life.
My task, on the direction of my counsellor at this point was to bite my lip, put my grudges of the wasted money & time behind me & work on the family, making our home a happy and welcoming place for her. I had to work hard at making her feel respected & valued (which I probably never did enough of anyway so TQ was the final straw to break the camels back). I organised pleasant evening out with her old friends having warned them of the situation. I explained to then that the best tact at this point was, if she started preaching about her new found 'TQ evangelism' was to show disinterest (not distaste or debate) & change the subject to a more interesting part of her life e.g. her holidays, sports etc. In addition they could subtly create doubt but move on swiftly to another subject.
I'm still working on our family life being a better option than the TQ family Bad as this experience has been for me I have learnt a lot about myself, her & life as a whole at a deeper level.
I'm still struggling I don't know what's going to happen in the future but I do know that I had very good advice, help & support from trained counsellors, family & friends to whom I am indebted . Life is short so I guess for all of you caught up in similar situations I hope this is of help.
For those of you who have been lucky enough to escape the clutches of TQ please remember to always treat your family, spouses, partners with respect & value as there are plenty or organisations out there, TQ is only one of them, who are quite happy to charge high prices in money & emotional terms to make vulnerable people with low self esteem valued.