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Ms Chase
Ms Chase , Life Coach
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 2897
Experience:  Over 20 yrs experience with Relationships, Sexuality, Friendship, and Family Issues
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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: 8 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Ms Chase replied 8 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


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 8 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 8 years ago.

Hello Dan,

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


Customer: replied 8 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

Expert:  Ms Chase replied 8 years ago.


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?


Customer: replied 8 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 8 years ago.


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'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.

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


Customer: replied 8 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.
Expert:  Ms Chase replied 8 years ago.

Thank you sir, I'm glad I could be of assistance. If at any point you need to speak to me, feel free to ask for me by name, I am at your service.




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