How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Ms Chase Your Own Question

Ms Chase
Ms Chase, Life Coach
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 2897
Experience:  Over 20 yrs experience with Relationships, Sexuality, Friendship, and Family Issues
Type Your Relationship Question Here...
Ms Chase is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Cult

Customer Question

What is the best way to get someone away from the influence of a mlm cult. I'm convinced my sister is brainwashed! -- her life is a disaster and she hasn't a care in the world. The real tragedy is that she has been scamming money from my elderly father for years and it needs to stop. He won't stop sending money to her (has even take out loans to do so) because he worries and cares for her.(if you have a child you will understand) Her behavior is ruining lives and it needs to stop.   I'm convinced she is being manipulated by someone (or a group) that sees my dad as an easy mark for money. Where can I get real help? She is in Los Angeles and the rest of the family is in the Midwest.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Ms Chase replied 6 years ago.

Hello Danforth,

Since mlm's are not religion based, they cannot actually be considered a cult, by many times they are so similar in practice and result that it's hard to tell the difference. It is very unlikely that you can do anything to stop your sister, short of going to CA and confronting her. You would have better luck, getting the whole family together and doing an intervention with your dad.

Try and gather as much information about what's going on with your sister. About the mlm, about her financial situation, her living situation, her job, etc. Even if it means hiring a private detective. If your dad feels that he must give her money, then perhaps you can get him to agree to giving her a certain amount and nothing more each month. If you and the rest of your family can get together at one time and sit with him it would be best, XXXXX XXXXX a third party involved like someone who works in law, or therapy that could explain to him how destructive his behavior is toward her even though he thinks he is helping. Sometimes we need a stranger to say something we are not willing to face.

Talk to your dad about helping him get his finances together, perhaps giving you or another family member power of attorney to help. The botXXXXX XXXXXne is legally, there's nothing you can do, as they are both adults. The best thing to try is to present a compelling argument to one or both and see if it helps. Does she know that her father has take n out loans for her? I welcome your thoughts, let me know if you want to talk more

Chase

Ms Chase, Life Coach
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 2897
Experience: Over 20 yrs experience with Relationships, Sexuality, Friendship, and Family Issues
Ms Chase and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
While I was waiting for an answer I found this interesting definition of a cult.

What is a Cult?

"A cult is a group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control (e.g., isolation from former friends and family, debilitation, use of special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience, powerful group pressures, information management, suspension of individuality or critical judgment, promotion of total dependency on the group and fear of leaving it, etc.) designed to advance the goals of the group’s leaders to the actual or possible detriment of members, their families, or the community." (West & Langone, 1986)

What Are Some Characteristics of a Cult?
Authoritarian in their power structure
Totalitarian in their control of the behavior of their members
Pyramidal structure
Uses thought reform techniques
Isolation of members (physical and/or psychological isolation) from society
Uses deception in recruiting and/or fund raising
Promotes dependence of the members on the group
Totalitarian in their world view
Uses mind altering techniques (chanting, meditation, hypnosis and various forms of repetitive actions) to stop normal critical thinking
Appear exclusive and innovative
Charismatic or messianic leader who is self-appointed and has a special mission in life
Controls the flow of information
Instills a fear of leaving the group.
---------------
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX for answering my question. I think your suggestions are good ones. My sister has ruined her credit, lost her regular job, drained her IRAs, is on the verge of eviction, lied to us about her situation, etc. etc.
She attends weekly groups meetings, has been assigned a "mentor" to keep her on track -- so I do feel she is being controlled. I think that as long as this group thinks they can get money from her in some way -- they will not leave her alone. I don't know what will happen to her when she can't get any more easy money from Dad. And yes, she knows he has taken loans for her. I would like to try to "save" them both, but my dad must be my priority. I will take your suggestions to gather as much solid info/evidence I can on what my sister is into. I would like to find a life coach or therapist as you suggested -- . He has heard "enabler" from us many times -- but as you say, maybe a stranger/professional would help him understand that he is not helping her -- it's all just so painful for him to think of her suffering or without food or shelter (as her lies suggest)
Is there an association you could recommend that I could contact to find someone in my Dad's part of the country? Thank you.
Expert:  Ms Chase replied 6 years ago.

Hello Dan,

Do you belong to a church? Whats your dad's city/state?

Chase

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply to Ms Chase's Post: I'm not particularly active in organized religion (that is -- connected to a "building" as I call it) -- but I am a christian. Same goes for my parents.

The area is Fargo, ND

Thanks
Expert:  Ms Chase replied 6 years ago.

Dan,

Understandable. While I do a little looking around in that area, I noticed you said parents, I guess I assumed your mother wasn't around. What's her opinion of all of this?

Chase

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply to Ms Chase's Post: She is against sending more funds and is angry with my sister for hurting and worrying my dad so with her behavior. This of course causes conflict in the household -- but dad "rules and roost"
Expert:  Ms Chase replied 6 years ago.

Dan,

I don't personally know someone in that area, and I would just pick a name and send it to you if I don't know the person and possibly make matters worse. I did a search and came up with this list. I would go down the list and contact each person and ask them if they have counselors familiar with this type of situation. People who are familiar with addiction are the type of people you want to talk to. You can also contact the organizations here, here, here and here. Get a notebook, and for each organization you contact, give them a page. On that page you'll want to write who you spoke to, any references they give you, costs, location, phone numbers etc. Once you go over all of the people you called you can make choices based on how they helped you, what the costs are, etc

When a parent goes so far above and beyond for a child, there's usually a fair amount of guilt involved about something. The parent usually feeling like they didn't do something right, they did something wrong or they didn't do enough.He may need to get into therapy, but many times this isn't something that can accomplished....it's worth a try, if you think he would consider it.

Here's a few more links about MLM and how they coincide with 'cults' or a cultish way.

http://www.consumerfraudreporting.org/MLM_ethics.php

http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/summary_0198-322360_ITM

http://www.scam.com/showthread.php?t=16627

http://www.culthelp.info/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=772&Itemid=9

I welcome your thoughts, let me know if you want to talk more

Chase

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you so much for all this information. I can see why you have a top rating.
I knew when I asked the question there really wasn't an easy answer. Just trying to do my best and what's right.

You have been very helpful -- and most kind.
Have a good night.
Danforth
Expert:  Ms Chase replied 6 years ago.
THIS ANSWER IS LOCKED!
You can view this answer by clicking here to Register or Login and paying $3.
If you've already paid for this answer, simply Login.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
< Last | Next >
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
  • Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know. Robin Elkton, Maryland
  • He answered my question promptly and gave me accurate, detailed information. If all of your experts are half as good, you have a great thing going here. Diane Dallas, TX
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dear Debra

    Advice Columnist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1719
    I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DE/deedeeham/2011-1-24_51523_408.64x64.JPG Dear Debra's Avatar

    Dear Debra

    Advice Columnist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1719
    I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy's Avatar

    Kate McCoy

    Counselor

    Satisfied Customers:

    1235
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1215
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CO/CoachJenK/2012-3-9_31019_Jen.64x64.jpg Coach Jen K.'s Avatar

    Coach Jen K.

    LMSW, CPC

    Satisfied Customers:

    726
    Providing the utmost care and support.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/IN/intrapsyc.com/2012-2-20_161928_RGMTPicturex5002012.64x64.png Rafael M.T.Therapist's Avatar

    Rafael M.T.Therapist

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    549
    MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/HU/hungryjack20/IMG_1281_edit_2.64x64.jpg Dr. L's Avatar

    Dr. L

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    349
    Licensed as a Psychologist and Marriage & Family Therapist.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/SU/suzmsw/2011-9-2_184634_Thisone.64x64.JPG Suzanne's Avatar

    Suzanne

    Therapist, LCSW

    Satisfied Customers:

    338
    Experienced in treating trauma, relationship issues, co-dependency