Monday, October 31, 2016

MLM and Self-Esteem/Arrogance

Today's post is inspired by a few comments I read from other blogs. MLMs are very good at inflating MLMer's egos based on the love bombing mixed with the herd mentality. It is natural for people to be filled with a high sense of self-esteem when they are in an environment that treats them as though they are powerful and important. It is important to note that this isn't a true form of self-esteem, and can easily be washed away as soon as the external resources are gone. This self-esteem that is generated from the MLM herd usually generates a sense of arrogance, because they are fragile and they must protect the system that is giving them the confidence.

Arrogant - Having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one's own importance or abilities.

Self-Esteem - C
onfidence in one's own worth or abilities; self-respect.

After reading comments from many MLM defenders, I found there is often a level of arrogance in the way they form their programmed rhetoric. A self-confident person would not be bothered by people talking badly about their company, and would opt to spend their energy on a constructive project rather than being defensive. This in turn led me to a Psych Central article on the difference between self-confidence and cockiness (I will provide a link at the bottom of the page).

The arrogance really shines through after doing this for an extended period of time, because the stuff that the defenders say is roughly the same across the board. Therefore, I must eliminate the actual words and analyze the language used, the amount of research performed, and the responses given to a naysayer of MLM.

The language used is normally aggressive or condescending. It is very rare for an MLMer to start a counterpoint with language that would take into consideration the adversary is an actual human-being. They instead go into attack mode, and use loaded language, loaded questions, or some sort of equivocation that attempts to make the writer look stupid. The MLMer often has trouble separating the words written and the points given from the actual writer.

The amount of research an MLM defender does before posting on a blog is essentially 0. They do not provide links or references for their points, and they do not fact check themselves before they type in their robotic retorts. This makes talking to them difficult, because they have tuned out half of the discussion before it even began. The arrogance to believe only what the upline MLMer tells the downline is both bizarre and frustrating, and to not provide any evidence to support their points makes it even worse.

Finally, the responses they give to naysayers strike the strongest chord. They will spend a large amount of time writing a response that tears a person apart and end it with, "I'll pray for you", "Have a great day!", or "Good luck and god bless!". This is one of the worst forms of arrogance, because they are attempting to put themselves on a moral high ground and elevate themselves above the naysayer. This is also is their way of "winning" the discussion while conveniently allowing them to exit without allowing for a response. It is the MLMer getting their quick jab, while still remaining morally above the naysayer that provided an initial discussion, and then quickly leaving while feeling unscathed from the nastiness of a "negative" point. The hypocrisy mixed with the blatant disregard for their fellow human beings is staggering.

Here is the link to the Psych Central article:

If you have a story involving abuses from your upline and would like me to share it on this blog as a guest post, then please e-mail me and I will be more than happy to post it! Your stories are not as unique as you may think, and your stories are some of the most impactful resources we have to fight MLMs. I will keep your anonymity upon request.


  1. The rhetorical procedure has been noted by Anna Banana at her blog "Married to an Ambot." It's called the four D's, which are Defend, Deny, Distract, and Disappear.

    The Ambot shows up at the blog, tries valiantly to defend Amway with the usual canned Amspeak he learned from his up-line, then vigorously denies every point made by the critics. Then he tries to distract readers from the point by bringing up some irrelevant and immaterial thing. And finally he disappears from the blog, never to return or to face any counter-arguments.

    Defend, deny, distract, disappear. Its the typical technique of someone who doesn't know how to argue logically, but who is desperate to say something.

    1. I'm glad you brought up the four D's, because I don't believe I ever saw that post on Anna's blog. It is truly fitting that their content is just as programmed as their technique for posting on blogs.

    2. It wasn't a specific post by Anna. She simply has mentioned these "four D's" frequently in her comments and replies. Defend, deny, distract, disappear. That's what ambots do regularly.

  2. It's actually an amazing phenomena because Amway folks will disregard what trusted friends and family tell them because the upline says not to trust them.

    It happens because the prospect sees the hype and thinks they can possible retire early and have cash rolling in. The upline programs the prospect to think that upline has all the answers and all you need to do is follow their valuable advice.

    After all, the diamond is wealthy and financially free. So this upline, that the prospect barely knows, commands their trust over loved ones and trusted friends.

    The prospect believes everything upline says, which is why they make unfounded claims like Amway has created the most millionaires out of any US companies. Or they brag about partner stores, and how people not in Amway a bitter and have a job mentality, etc etc. I refer to this talk as "tape speak" because it was probably said at a function or is on a recorded cd.

    It's actually funny if you've heard the rhetoric before.

    1. Their manipulation techniques are incredible. I too was able to tune out the "negative" views from my family and fiancee at the time. To this day, I can't figure out if I was really interested in making money, or just on the high from love bombing.

      The rhetoric they spew out can be humorous, but for the most part I find it sad. I feel my generation has been let down, and programmed to not infer or question anything. When we were in class we were ridiculed for questioning a teacher's methods, and often forced to do vast amounts of "busy work" or mindless tasks. There was no imagination with the learning material, and it was much more about rote memory and programming so the student could do well on the test. This was almost like a version of "pump and dump" with stocks, where children would be pumped with information they couldn't retain or care about, circle or fill in a bunch of answers, and then dump the material as though it never existed.

  3. Actually, there must be at least a few intelligent IBOs in Amway who can follow an argument, and who can see the validity of the many criticisms and complaints concerning Amway that have been raised here and at many other website blogs.

    So, how do they intellectually process what they read here? Since they aren't stupid, they MUST see that a great deal of the criticism of Amway presented at anti-Amway blogs is solid and based on real experience. Are they just closing their eyes to the truth, and pretending that they haven't heard it?

    I'm not talking about the majority of basically stupid IBOs who have joined Amway because they simply don't know any better, and who can't follow a logical argument. Those freaks are hopeless cases. They'll become CORE lifers in Amway, and die broke making their up-line rich.`

    But what about the intelligent IBOs? Some will quit, certainly, but others will hang on, spending cash month after month on a half-assed MLM racket in which 99% of the participants fail. What excuse do they have? What's driving them to act like lunatics?

    1. Anonymous,

      What you are describing is very similar to multiple personality disorder (I was tempted to make a post about it, but it would have to be satirical since it wouldn't apply to 99.99% of MLMers). If an IBO is able to be rational enough to consider someone else's point of view and still be completely indoctrinated, then there would have to be a significant rift in their psyche. The two positions held on MLM are far too polarized for someone to play the middle ground.

      I have seen one or two posts where someone suggested they knew it was a scheme, and yet continued to play along because it "Helped their other business", and they "Liked the camaraderie". One person even admitted that they were making nothing in Amway, but continued to press on because they were successful in other types of business and believed in the "teaching". These posters, in my opinion, are cogs in the machine and are not honest for a few reasons:

      1. How can someone be a legitimate business owner with successful companies, and also attempt to make a business with MLM? They would understand that the opportunity is virtually non-existent and their money would be used on a non-productive part of the "business" (tools, training, inferior website). It seems ludicrous that someone who is successful, and understands overhead, profit margins, and tax laws, could possibly be swept up by something like MLM.

      2. Why would a successful business owner need "Motivational Training", or the "Supportive atmosphere", if they are already successful business owners? For that matter, why not hire a life coach or someone who can help focus on their psychological needs personally instead of joining some cult-like group? Why would they spend so much extra money on this form of mindset training, instead of the verified or certified sources that already exist? This again seems to be ludicrous logic, and makes me believe these people are lying.

      I've seen smart people do stupid things, but this seems absolutely ridiculous. There is nothing redeeming about sucking away money on MLM for the motivational crap, especially if you have been to one of their seminars, because there are many better resources available. I have posed questions to these grey area MLMers and none of them have been able to respond.

    2. Well then, from what you say it seems to me that the situation is analogous to that of persons who have ceased to be religious believers, but who still attend their church or synagogue regularly. They have lost any rational commitment to their inherited belief-system, but nevertheless feel obliged (perhaps out of nostalgia or sociability) to show up for services.

      There are a lot of people like this. They may go to church just because they like the music, or because they enjoy singing the hymns. or because that's where they'll meet a lot of their friends and neighbors, or because the church has nice picnics and outings. It's sort of like Halloween -- persons go around dressed up like ghosts and goblins and they have fun doing so. But nobody among them actually believes in ghosts or goblins.

    3. What it comes down to is feelings vs. thoughts. People--all people--rely more on their feelings when it comes to choosing what they believe. If you want something to be true, it's a lot easier for you to believe that it is true, regardless of actual evidence. And eventually it becomes part of your identity.

      This often overrides the brain, even when you present it with facts and figures. Faith is a powerful thing. My husband would like to join Amway (his sister is in it), though I've put my foot down on that one, and whenever I bring up facts and statistics about MLM's, he has the tendency of changing the subject. He doesn't want to hear facts and figures, because he'd much rather believe that his sister has a chance at this business (and possibly someday buy him a Jeep). He's willing to defend the business, because The Dream is more important to him than The Facts. As a more logic- and fact- centered person, I find this really frustrating. Fortunately we're too poor for him to even think about joining up.

    4. Dear Ally L. --

      Here's something that is constantly screeched by Dexter Yager, a major Amway pusher, at his celebrational functions:

      "If the dream is big enough, THE FACTS DON'T MATTER!"

      It's hard to believe that anyone would take such an absurdity seriously, but people at the function cheer wildly when Dexter says it.

  4. Anonymous,

    That seems like a very appropriate reason to hang in there for those institutions (church or synagogue), but I do have one issue with it being applied to MLM. MLM is supposed to be a business, whereas the other organizations are designed for a different purpose. People do not get into MLM, or attracted to MLM, without the proposition of earning an income. I have yet to see someone get into MLM, because they saw other people do it and it seemed like a lovely community. This seems to be more of an excuse that people conjure up after the fact, because they are having issues acknowledging they got hosed.

    To say that smart people hang onto MLM because of nostalgia or sociability seems contradictory since the only nostalgia they can have is losing money to people who lied to their faces. We have acknowledged that everyone in MLM is a faker, because they have a bias toward making money from the downline rather than enriching them. That doesn't seem to be the case with churches, because churches don't bring people in ONLY to take their money.

  5. Yes, I see your points. That is a good distinction. Since MLMs are purportedly a "business," it's hard to ignore one's financial losses.