Friday, December 16, 2016

MLM and Guilt

Today's blog post is about the use of guilt to manipulate a person. In this particular case, a person may utilize passive-aggressive behaviors to administer guilt in the other person in order to gain an advantage. For instance, if I were a member of a church and I asked someone to donate,because funds are needed to repair a part of the building, and they consistently refuse, I may use passive-aggressive behaviors to help coax them into donating. I could say something such as, "Do you feel that you are more special than the others who donate and attend the church?", or "It sure would be nice if everyone did their fair share around here" (In a sarcastic tone). This would almost certainly lead to guilt and probably a donation.

Guilt: make (someone) feel guilty, especially in order to induce them to do something.

MLMers use all types of coercion to get their way and guilt is one of their favorite weapons. They will consistently work on making a downline member feel worthless if they miss a meeting, don't pay their monthly subscription, or don't listen to their tapes/cds. The psychological warfare MLMers use on their downline can be vicious and can leave lasting effects after a person leaves the business.

When I was propositioned for Amway my sponsor and his upline were taught to use guilt very effectively. They would talk about the importance of following the system and emphasize the downfalls of missing important events. There was no opportunity to be successful without following the regiment, and the cost of deviation was guaranteed impoverishment while being controlled by a system that is designed to eliminate the possibility of growth.

The most ridiculous example comes from the FED I attended in October of 2015 when my sponsor made me feel terrible about potentially missing a Christian service. For the record, I'm not a Christian, but even if I were, it is unchristian to impose your beliefs on another individual. My sponsor told me it was a service I couldn't miss and could actually be beneficial to the business. My hands were tied as I had the choice of, compromising my values and attending something I didn't feel comfortable with, or face the possibility of missing out on a life-changing opportunity.

The interesting thing about guilt is, people can pick and choose what to feel guilty about. Many things are not within our control as human beings, but the emotions tied to guilt are within our grasp. It is good to feel guilty about doing the wrong thing, but it is important to remember that people may try to take advantage and manipulate that natural instinct. It is a good idea to think about why you feel guilty for a number of reasons, but mostly because guilt can be irrational and we have the ability to critically think and bring understanding to the situation.

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. Your description of how guilt can be generated in another person (sometimes called "laying a guilt-trip on someone") is very accurate. Parents can lay guilt-trips on children, and the children can do the same in reverse. The thing can happen in marriages, friendships, work situations, social gatherings, or anywhere groups of people gather.

    But there is another factor to be considered. Guilt-trips only work on persons who are already psychologically and emotionally compromised. You can't put a guilt-trip on someone who doesn't share your attitudes, beliefs, opinions, outlook, worldview, and commitments.

    You can't say to an Arabian wife-beater "Aren't you ashamed of beating your poor wife?" if he replies "No, I'm not! She deserved her beating, and beating a bad wife is acceptable in my culture!" Your attempted guilt-trip will fall flat in a situation like that.

    It follows that, in Amway or any other exploitative MLM, the laying of guilt-trips on persons by up-line or other supervisors is based on a previously established pattern of dependence. Lowly IBOs have already bought into the Amway fraud, and have been psychologically convinced that the "Plan" is real and important. This loyalty makes guilt-trips possible.

    In my opinion, this is why Amway and all the rest of those stinking MLMs insist on a rigid, lockstep, utterly conformist lifestyle and way of thinking in their membership. It makes guilt-trips possible, and with the guilt comes obedience.

  2. Anonymous,

    Great point about guilt needing cultural relevance. I never thought about the establishment of a cultural bias to help generate guilt.

  3. You can only lay a guilt-trip on someone if you share some sort of agreement or connection with him. If your presuppositions are totally different, he won't feel guilty.

    Hardened criminals are notorious for feeling no guilt or shame about their evil deeds. They have no internal commitment to moral behavior, so why should they feel guilty when you upbraid them?

    1. Don't forget, 'MLM' mobs run blame-the-victim frauds which, in the most simple terms, can be described as nothing more than sophisticated versions of "heads I win: tails you lose."

      The classic closed-logic 'MLM' controlling scenario says that only persons who believe in their group's 'plan' totally, who 'duplicate the plan exactly' and who 'never quit,' will 'achieve success.'

      Therefore, by this closed-logic, when the persistent 'MLM' adherent loses his/her shirt, the controlling scenario automatically says that this result was entirely the fault of the individual for not believing totally, for not duplicating the plan exactly and for quitting.