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: 
http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/12/26/the-fine-line-between-self-confidence-cockiness/

Friday, October 28, 2016

MLM and Sleep Deprivation

Today's blog post is about MLMers using sleep deprivation as a manipulation technique. Sleep deprivation has a variety of effects ranging from impaired brain activity to death. Healthline.com describes what will happen to your central nervous system when you are sleep deprived:

 Sleep deprivation leaves the brain exhausted, so it can’t perform its duties well. The most obvious  effect is sleepiness. You may find yourself yawning a lot and feeling sluggish. Lack of sleep  interferes with your ability to concentrate and learn new things. It can negatively impact both short-  term and long-term memory. It gets in the way of your decision-making process and stifles  creativity. Your emotions are also affected, making you more likely to have a short temper and mood  swings. Overall cognitive function is impaired.

Needless to say this is a tremendous issue when it comes to learning the ins and outs of the business. With all of these negative effects it makes one wonder, why would MLMers want to make their prospects sleep deprived? It seems like backwards logic since they are supposed to be teaching prospects valuable information and trying to help them succeed, yet they are pumping information into people with reduced cognitive faculties.

MLMers utilize long and strenuous days to their advantage, because prospects are more easily manipulated when they cannot think clearly. MLMers don't want you to critically think about their pitch, where the money comes from, or how to be successful. They just want you to join and continue to spend money. The major seminars reinforce these points by making the days extremely long, 9 am to 12 am (sometimes later if you are in a "nuts and bolts" or "night owl" meeting), and then repeat the process the next day. No other company encourages anyone to go through training for that long in a day, because they realize it will not be beneficial to your success as an employee.

I have two examples of sleep deprivation from the FED I attended, and they are a constant reminder of how ridiculous it all was.

1. When I got done with the second day of the FED, I told Fred that I needed to get some extra sleep if I wanted to be able to retain the information from the final day. Instead of understanding that an 18 hour day (including travel time) requires extra R&R he guilted me into coming in at the beginning of the following day for a religious ceremony that I didn't believe in. If I didn't have sleep deprivation, I probably could have confronted his ludicrous objective, but instead I just caved in because I didn't have the energy or cognitive ability to think clearly.

2. When Fred was attending the FED, I remember him falling asleep and thinking, "How could he fall asleep? 
He is so passionate about this business, and is probably missing out on something important". I asked his wife what was going on, because she was staying awake, and she said, "He had a rough night on a blow up mattress, and we car pooled with Tom (the sponsor/eagle), and he had to stay for the 'night owl'".  Looking back, I realized that he was just as much a victim of the sleep deprivation as I was, and he too could not be "fired up" enough to stay awake throughout the conference.

I'm not the biggest fan of Ted Talks at the moment, because they haven't been doing a great job in selecting certain people to conduct them (Robert Kiyosaki), but they did do a nice job with this sleep deprivation video. It is a little more dramatic than it needs to be, but it gets the point across that anyone interested in making you successful will let you get some much needed shut eye.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

MLM and Consciousness

Today's post could also aptly be named echolalia part two, but I wanted to focus more on the unwillingness to be aware of the programming. This is an information age, and we have access to more answers to questions than ever before. I am the tail end of a generation where libraries were a necessity, and book reports required opening actual books. Which brings me to the main point, people are less informed now than they ever have been in history. It seems contradictory that you can talk into your phone and immediately find out when William Shakespeare was alive, or how to cook a proper chicken tikka masala, but people can't seem to figure out that the stuff they are saying in MLM has been debunked hundreds of times.

Consciousness: the awareness or perception of something by a person.

This post was inspired by a couple of YouTube videos. The first video compared MLMers to zombies, and there are some worthy comparisons. When talking with an MLMer it is impossible to have a critical point, because they are deeply programmed to immediately respond without actually hearing what you are saying. An example of this was in my story with my conversation with Tom. I told Tom that I didn't think all of the monthly expenses were necessary to try and run this business. Before he even registered what I had to say, he immediately responded, that is how his team was going to work the business and if I don't like it, then I can try the business with someone else. Another instance was with Fred when he told me that the MLM was not a pyramid, because it has a product. He clearly did not come up with this line (it has been said for decades), and did not do any research to verify its accurateness. This, to me, is a loss of consciousness, because he is repeating garbage that somebody told him and he treats it as though it is a law of nature. He told me this line with such conviction, that it would make others not want to research its authenticity as well.

The second video I watched was Dave Ramsey on MLM. This video is bizarre for a number of reasons, the first being, he suggests MLM is not a pyramid because legally there is a product being sold (again this is incorrect as stated above, and I will put the FTC's definition of MLM at the bottom), but then suggests, "The business you are in is recruiting, recruiting, recruiting, everyone is a recruit". So, he gets it right there, and then the video goes on and on trying to legitimize MLM, which is more unnecessary nonsense. He is a YouTube personality that has over 160,000 subscribers giving him an air of authority, and he talks to people as an expert on business related topics. Yet this particular subject seems to have eluded him, because he got the actual definition from the FTC wrong, and the reason for why they consider MLM "legal". He is not a dumb person, but this was clearly a lack of consciousness as he could have very easily looked up the definition, and provided an expert analysis.

This is a troubling time, because people are opting to lose their ability to critically investigate a topic, and are becoming unconscious participants. I know this is a complex topic with many reasons for why people choose to not investigate for answers, and the purpose of this is to figure out how to change that rather than simply point and scream.

Here is the FTC's definition of MLM and how it can be considered "legal". 

  Not all multilevel marketing plans are legitimate. If the money you make is based on your sales to the  public, it may be a legitimate multilevel marketing plan. If the money you make is based on the  number of  people you recruit and your sales to them, it’s probably not. It could be a pyramid  scheme. Pyramid schemes  are illegal, and the vast majority of participants lose money.  (https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/multilevel-marketing)

Here is the MLM zombie video: 


Here is the Dave Ramsey MLM video:

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

MLM and Addiction

Addiction is a very interesting topic, because it is easily identifiable, it is treatable, and yet is one of the hardest concepts to completely understand. Addiction comes in many different forms and there is potential to be addicted to almost everything. This is why many drug companies try to suggest their drugs don't have any addictive properties, even though addictive properties do not completely stop someone from becoming an addict.

Addiction: Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocainenicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/addiction)

In layman's terms, addiction can be any substance or activity that makes your life go from an original point to a lesser point. This makes addiction very scary, because the reasons for becoming addicted are not readily definable. There is no research that suggests only when people do a certain action, will they then become addicted. Addiction can come from joy, stress, depression, anxiety, or from nothing and be completely random.

When I was learning about the brain and addiction, we went through the example of how cocaine affects the brain. The following is a condensed version of how it works. Cocaine affects the limbic system (our reward system), and the limbic system is in control of releasing dopamine (our neurotransmitter that makes us happy). The limbic system releases a certain amount of dopamine depending on how pleasurable something is, and it has a certain balance to ensure we don't get overly happy or overly sad. However, cocaine makes the limbic system go crazy and then it releases an extremely large amount of dopamine the first few times. This is why people become addicted, because their brain feels REALLY good, but cocaine also damages the transmitters which help to create dopamine. This is where we get the phrase, chasing the high, because the deterioration of the transmitters happens quickly, and the limbic system doesn't naturally release this larger amount of dopamine, therefore people run into a double problem. They can't continue to feel as good as they originally did when they took cocaine, and they feel extremely bad when they aren't on cocaine forcing them to up the dosage and continue to try to get to the original high, which eventually becomes impossible. Not only does this cycle tear apart their day-to-day lives, but it destroys their brain chemistry as well.

Are MLMers similar to cocaine addicts? Undeniably, and here are some of the parallels between the two addictions.

1. The first time you get love bombed at an MLM meeting is very similar to the first time a person uses cocaine. The high from being involved in a group of people that care about you, listen to you, and embrace you is extremely addictive, and MLMers know that. They want you to feel as good as possible, and they want you to keep coming back to try and get more of that love and support.

2. MLMers will begin to chase the high after they are struggling without the group. They may be failing to find recruits, failing to sell products, or failing to get family and friends support. This helps to make sure MLMers keep coming to meetings, and keep trying to get the love and attention they had originally gotten.

3. MLMers will slowly become dependent on their team, and their life will become more and more absorbed by all things involving the business. You will see the MLMer's personality change as they become more involved with the group, and their day-to-day responsibilities will start to go unattended.

4. MLMers will start to get less and less positives out of the experience, because uplines will not continue to love bomb unconditionally without results. Upline may ridicule the downline, and the pleasure of the love bombing will fade as the downline continues to struggle.

I have heard of MLMers pursuing the dream to the point of foreclosure on their homes, job loss, and divorce. MLMs have been responsible for taking away retirements, and have made people lose friends and family. MLMs have the exact same downsides as any drug (legal or illegal), but MLMs may be worse because people can be harder to escape.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

MLM and arbitrary milestones/the magical 10,000 number

Today, as the title suggests, I'm going to write about numbers and how people like to make connections to them. I have always had trouble understanding why certain numbers are important, and then it made me think, could all MLM milestones be arbitrary? Some of these include the 2-5 years rule, the 6-4-2/12 circles plans, the work 10-15 hours a week plan, and many many more!  Therefore, in celebration of 3,000 views of the blog, I am going to veer a bit off course and write about the weird 10,000 hours of practice makes you an expert rule.

I first read about the 10,000 hours rule from one of my favorite authors, Robert Kiyosaki (Sarcasm implied). In his book, Businesses of the 21st Century, he suggested that nobody in network marketing could be good until they had been in the business for 10,000 hours. Here is a tweet he made about this in 2011, "It takes 10,000 hours minimum before you’re good at anything:Before you are able to do the right thing at the right moment every time." (
https://twitter.com/theRealKiyosaki/status/34989986365313024) The tweet sounds great on the surface, but after quick analysis the incorrectness is staggering. First of all, if it took 10,000 hours to be good at anything, then people would be very bad at nearly everything. It is very rare for people to commit that much time to learning new skills, and that would be a huge deterring factor. Also, would teachers be unnecessary if it takes 10,000 hours regardless of how you are learning to become good at something? MLM is supposed to be easy and duplicable, and yet according to Kiyosaki, network marketing (another term for MLM) requires 10,000 hours before you are considered "good".
I was told of the 10,000 hours rule when I was at the FED in September of 2015 and it was even paired with the 5 year minimum rule. The 5 year rule suggested that if you participated in MLM for 5 years then that was equivalent to 10,000 hours and you would become successful. However, MLM has also proposed it is an easy part time gig of 10-15 hours a week, so let's do some math of 15 hours a week for 5 years. 15*52 = 780 and 780*5 = 3,900. I would consider 3,900 a substantial difference from 10,000, and yet this line was repeated many times when I was being propositioned for the business. So, if Robert Kiyosaki and MLMers came to these same conclusions about how much dedication you need for MLM, who made up the rule first? I visited my favorite site for this blog, psychcentral.com, and they had a fascinating article on the 10,000 hour rule
(http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/07/17/malcolm-gladwells-10000-hour-rule-is-proven-bunk/).
The originator of the concept is Malcolm Gladwell, and according to the article he has a spotty history with this particular concept to say the least. Some of the highlights of the article include, Gladwell got this number from one study in 1993 involving a group of musicians, there is much more to becoming an expert other than practice (genetics and circumstances), chess experts have been documented to vary in practice time between 3,000 hours and 25,000 hours. A cursory search on Google typing in, "Gladwell 10,000 hour myth" will show tons of other reputable articles suggesting he at best generalizes this conclusion. Some of these sources include BBC, Business Insider, and even Inc.com (not reputable, but a pro MLM biased news source) as seen here
(http://www.inc.com/nick-skillicorn/the-10000-hour-rule-was-wrong-according-to-the-people-who-wrote-the-original-stu.html). So, why do MLMers and Kiyosaki still get this wrong? My opinion, and this is subjective, it gives people comfort. It lures people into MLM, and makes them think there is a proven method of success with a tangible end point to the work. Also, it helps to make people feel guilty for quitting early. Kiyosaki is famous for writing books on network marketing, but he is not famous for being successful in the business. In fact, Kiyosaki failed to build an Amway business, as seen here, (http://www.lazymanandmoney.com/robert-kiyosaki-and-multi-level-marketing-exposed/)
so he would be a bad reference on becoming an expert in the field, aside from all of the other nonsense that surrounds him. MLMers, according to this article, (https://www.thebalance.com/the-likelihood-of-mlm-success-1794500) have a 90% drop rate in their first five years. Chances are, if you are talking to an MLMer about this rule, they haven't even met someone in MLM that could be a living example of the rule. Yet they continue to spread the myth that 10,000 hours makes you an expert in hopes that you will join and see it through. Which brings me to the main point of the article, the 10,000 hour rule, much like other arbitrary milestones are just ways to help people make sense of the irrational. It is much more comforting to think that if I just try really hard, and am consistent, then I will become successful. Rather than the truth, which is some people are born genetically gifted, and others were born with great resources that most don't have. Unfortunately, practice and consistency just isn't enough for most to become experts. MLMers utilize this form of guilting and manipulation to coerce downline not to quit, and they also use it to build confidence in themselves when delivering the plan. Science holds a lot of prestige and sounds the most credible when explaining MLM. Furthermore, people question these scientific facts the least, because they are supposed to be upheld to the highest levels of scrutiny. People need to be held accountable for the things they say, and the resources they utilize to develop their opinions. It is important to never take any facts for granted, and ask what agenda they could be pushing. I encourage people to watch John Oliver's, Last Week Tonight special on science, because we are in a time where science can be just as fraudulent as anything else. Here is the link to the John Oliver special: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Rnq1NpHdmw

Monday, October 24, 2016

Dr. Doe's personal connection to MLM

I was hesitant to make this post, because I wanted this MLM blog to have a particular direction involving psychology and MLM while avoiding the mostly personal anecdotal nonsense. However, this blog, much like myself, is evolving rapidly and I feel a personal touch adds more to the blog than it takes away. Many of my recent posts have asked for people to offer their personal experiences, and it isn't fair to ask you to share without knowing details about me. I have shared my story many times on other blogs and with other people, but today, I am officially making it a part of this blog as well. I must warn you, I tried to include as much detail as possible. This blog post will not be nearly as short as the others.

If you have been following my blog so far, then I hope you can relate some of the other blogs posts I have written to my story and understand that these conditions and defense mechanisms are very real. Part of the healing process is to explore the problems that you experienced and bring meaning to them. This is key to moving forward in a positive direction and not continue to make the same mistakes. With that being said, my story begins in September of 2015 after I had graduated college.

My first job was in telemarketing (yes I was one of those people), and I was trying to get people to switch their credit card processing. This was one of the worst jobs I think anyone could ever have, and is the epitome of what MLMers describe as the dreaded opposite of their business. If all other jobs were like my telemarketing job, then MLMers might actually have a point on this one. Anyways, I met a guy from one of my previous posts who I referred to as Fred. He was the only other person at this job that didn't have some sort of criminal history or inability to function outside of a cubicle, and he was electric.

We immediately clicked, and we would hang out together at lunch every day. One night we went to watch another co-worker at a comedy club and he mentioned his goals for the future. He had big aspirations to be successful and take care of his family, which immediately got me intrigued about his strategy. Instead of getting into the details, he asked me, "If you had to shovel shit for 3-5 years without pay and then make $250,000 a year for the rest of your life, would you do it?" I didn't even have to think about my answer, because I had just graduated college, had the worst job ever, and never even thought of making money like that. I immediately replied, "Absolutely, I was only hoping to make $50,000 a year after graduating, and I spent a lot of time in college not making money, so I was already used to this." He was elated with my response and didn't mention anything else for the rest of the night. I was confused, but was also excited, and at that moment he had me hooked on anything that he would've brought to me.

The first time we met to talk about the opportunity was at a Starbucks. I showed up early, because I wanted to be sure he knew I was serious. He showed up right on time, and immediately we began to talk about my history. It was kind of like an interview, but it was much more casual and he had a great ability to listen and relate. We talked for at least two hours, before he finally brought up Robert Kiyosaki. He asked me, "Have you ever heard of the billionaire Robert Kiyosaki?" (it is important to note that Kiyosaki is not a billionaire, and is not even worth 9 figures), to which I replied, "No, I've never heard of that guy before". He was stunned, and gave me some story of how he became successful in real estate, and then pulled out his book. I felt like an idiot for not knowing who Kiyosaki is, but was excited that this guy had a plan and had a billionaire helping to lead him. He still had not told me about his business, network marketing according to his terminology, but said this book would explain everything. The book was Robert Kiyosaki's, Businesses of the 21st Century and he only gave me four days to read it. Luckily, the book was only 100 pages long, and I was excited, so I knocked it out that evening.

***EDITORS NOTE*** Kiyosaki's book and history have been reviewed by many sources such as John T. Reed, and I would highly recommend reading his analysis. It is both enlightening and devastating to Kiyosaki's credibility and can be read here (http://johntreed.com/blogs/john-t-reed-s-real-estate-investment-blog/61651331-john-t-reeds-analysis-of-robert-t-kiyosakis-book-rich-dad-poor-dad-part-2).

The next day I returned the book to Fred, and he was again stunned. He asked me what I thought, and I said, "I didn't get it." Most of his book was talking about his history as a pilot, and some nonsense called the "cash flow quadrant". The book was written like a fifth grader, which makes sense, because he talks about how useless traditional education is, even though his father was a teacher and head of education in Hawaii. In this case, the apple fell very far from the tree. Anyways, my friend Fred said, "That's okay, the next step is to go see our business at a seminar, because they will do a better job explaining it than I will." Most people would call this red flag number one, but I interpreted it as he was trying to give me the best possible resource for learning the business. The seminar was scheduled to be on a Friday at a church in the middle of nowhere.

I had some trouble finding the church, because it was in a random place that was not especially well marked. I initially felt like I was going into a trap, until I arrived and saw the parking lot was completely full. It was exhilarating, and immediately my fears were washed away as I saw tons of people in suits heading toward the front. The people were all different ethnicities and ages, but most were between 18-35 years old. This was exactly what I was looking for.

I walked up with another co-worker to the church, who was also trying to get involved at the time, and we waited for Fred. He arrived a little after us with his wife, and we proceeded as a group into the church. Before we got into the meeting we were greeted by a man who was shaking everyone's hand before we entered. His name was Shawn and he was an Amway Emerald (this guy is important to remember for later). You could feel a connection with him right away, even though he only saw us for a second. There was a way he looked, smiled, and touched you, that immediately made you think he was one of the best people you would ever meet. Little did I know at the time just how wrong that feeling was, and how fake he was.

The church was full of a couple hundred young, hungry, and enthusiastic people all dressed in suits, much like myself, and were buzzing before the show began. My sponsor had brought a small group of us together, I believe it was a group of 5, and we were slowly meeting others when he made us stop everything, because the main attraction had arrived. His name was Mike Carrol, and he was an Amway diamond of close to 20 years from San Diego, California. Immediately he was surrounded by a group of 15-20 people and was shaking everyone's hands. He was the epitome of everyone's dream encounter with a celebrity, iconic yet humble, bold yet sensitive. He was the perfect role model to look up to, until he started to speak.

Mike took the stage with his wife Robin, and she spoke first about how they met, how wonderful the business was, and of course how wonderful he was. She was well spoken and a good fluffer for Mike, much like a comedy show, she got the crowd to connect emotionally and be excited about Mike's speech. Then Mike started to speak, and he was not a great public speaker. He fired from the hip with some slightly inappropriate jokes, had many basic English issues, and overall was unprepared to host a business meeting of this size. He would get lost at times, and ramble on tangents with no clear purpose. He spent most of his time talking about his history as a navy seal, how he found the business, how he fell in love with the business, and how the business made him filthy rich. He also talked about the stupid "cash quadrant" from Kiyosaki, and how this business would launch people from the "E for Employee" and "S for Self-Employed" quadrants into the wonderful "B for Big Business Owner" and "I for Investor" quadrants. He supposedly paid for everything in cash, and did whatever he wanted when he wanted. After an hour and a half of this nonsense, I was frustrated because I had learned nothing of significance. Finally, he got to his little white board, and began to talk about the business. He said the number one thing that makes this business wonderful is the ability to "duplicate". He then talked about shopping at "Your Store" versus shopping at "Their Store", and drew circles on the board. He said, each person should find twelve people (an astronomically high number for this type of business), and show them how to shop at their store, instead of the local store. Then you were responsible for helping each of those twelve people sponsor their own twelve. After that, it would essentially become "residual income". I was completely lost. I didn't understand at the time how that would ever make me money. It looked like all I was doing was spending money, and then trying to get other people to do the same. I had no idea that I was ahead of the curve for a future reality check with this business. The worst part was the ending. He brought out a credit card, yet he supposedly paid for everything in cash, and said every time he makes a "schwipee" he gets paid. Then he said, whenever his downline makes a "schwipee" he gets paid, and that is how he makes his money. He had literally admitted that he was at the top of a pyramid and I was too blind to see it, but then again, so was everyone else.

After the meeting my friend Fred asked what I thought. I didn't want to be brash, so I simply said, "I don't get it, and I don't think Mike did a very good job of explaining the business. Is there more to it?" He looked at me stunned and said, "That was it! Some people need others to explain it better, but Mike is one of the best." I told him, "But he didn't go over any of the numbers, and all he did was talk about himself for most of it." He told me, "That's okay if you don't get it, I'm going to host a meeting at my house, and my sponsor, Tom from my other blog post, will go through the numbers." I agreed, and he set the meeting for the following Friday.

Fred held the meeting at his apartment, which strangely was in the same apartment complex I lived in at the time.  This time, there were even more of us, and we were still dressed in our business attire. We did a nice little meet and greet before the meeting began, and that is when I first got to see and try one of the products. It was XS energy and it was supposed to be a competitor to drinks like Rockstar, Monster, and Red bull. They didn't even give us a whole can, but rather a little cup (similar to the cups at a salsa bar), which was fine because it was late and I didn't need to drink a whole can of caffeine.

The speech began with Tom's wife, we'll call her Susie, and it was nearly identical to the speech Robin gave, but more geared to people 18-35. She was also a perfect fluffer for Tom, and was able to help us relate to their situation as well as their future goals. Then Tom's speech began, and he actually had a Power Point presentation! I was surprised at first that he was more organized than a 20 year veteran of the business, but I felt like I could finally grasp this business opportunity. However, he quickly reverted back to the "Mike style" and talked more about the emotional journey he has taken with his wife rather than the business opportunity. In fact, he ended up skipping through about 90% of his lecture, because it wasn't emotional fluffy garbage. It wasn't until the end where he started to go through the same "cash flow quadrant", "my store versus their store", and then the "circles", that I should have realized this was not the "business" for me, but instead I was getting more excited and the conditioning was beginning to take hold. They had captivated me based on my own needs to feel wanted, and I truly believed they wanted to help me.

I was falling for the emotional stuff, and was showing a weakness to the "Herd Mentality". Worse yet, they were giving me a hard time because my wife (fiancee at the time) was not on board, and they were afraid I couldn't make a great commitment to them if she wasn't supporting my decision to follow this business. I was in denial of what my wife was telling me about the opportunity, and I wasn't listening to my family either. Even though the meeting content was bad, the people were wonderful and I still thought there had to be success since so many people were doing it and were happy. Also, Fred told me that there was a once-a-year seminar happening the following weekend called FED (Freedom Enterprise Days), and this seminar would help make everything clear. I still felt like there was hope to make this thing work. I just wanted to make my family to be successful and happy.

The FED was even farther away than the random church meeting, and it lasted for three days. It started Friday evening and went all the way to Sunday evening with very little down time. I had a full day of work that Friday, and then had to travel 50 miles in the worst rush hour traffic, but was only a little late. The FED was held in a convention center, and they recorded 8,000 attendees from across the country. It was mind boggling how many people were there of all different ages and ethnicities. Fred met me in the front, and gave me a free guest pass since I wasn't technically in the "business" yet, and he was given extras with the purchase of his own tickets. I went inside, and the place was buzzing. There were people selling books, cds, suits, and much more! Then I went into the main stadium and it was filled with energy.

The crowd was roaring as the speaker was talking about the history of the country and how our founding fathers would be disappointed with the status of the United States. He was an awesome spectacle of energy and facts, and as a history buff he had my undivided attention. He was a little into religion, but it wasn't to the point where I would have been concerned. That opinion would change later in the weekend as other speakers would take the stage.

I honestly couldn't tell you who the second speaker was, but they were a diamond couple and they began a long line of repetitious motivational nonsense that would continue through each day of the FED.  Each diamond's speech started by lowering the lights and showing a very loud video on the jumbotron of their life and how awesome it was to have their money. Each diamond couple that came up had a specific order in which their speech was presented. First, the wife would come up and say some nice things about their life, how proud they were that their husband was a man making lots of money and giving them the opportunity to stay home with the kids, then they would introduce the husband to the audience. The man would then talk about seizing the moment, how this was the smartest decision we would ever make, and other exciting things the diamonds had done with their money and with the business. These speeches went from approximately 7:00 pm to 12:00 am, and then I went to get food with Fred because I wasn't allowed to get dinner during the show, which made my arrival at home close to 2:30 am.

After the first day, I was more hooked than ever. This network was huge, and everyone was extremely friendly. Most importantly, I was seeing success before my very eyes, and I thought that I was just as talented as the people on stage. What I hadn't realized was my fogginess and inability to sense deception. I was lacking sleep from being up for more than 18 hours, and I was blinded by the emotional fluff and excitement. I had lost my ability to assess the situation, but that would change as the weekend progressed.

The second day began at 9:00 am, and I was very groggy from the previous day. However, I was still pumped and ready to learn more about the business. Sadly, the day began just as the last one ended, and I was beginning to lose my buzz. Furthermore, I couldn't relate to the speakers as well as I could to Tom or Fred, because they were all 55-90 years old (that isn't an exaggeration). One of them was so old, I think he set a record for slowest speaker ever, and looking back, I can't believe I didn't realize this guy should have been retired before many of the people in the audience were born. He certainly wasn't living up to the 2-5 years retirement plan with "residual income", but then again none of them were. These speeches went on until 1 pm, and then we were given a 3 hour lunch break.

During the break, I got to meet some new people and learn a new lesson. I first met two people that were around my age and were already in the "business" for many months. I asked if they had any tips, and they replied, "No, that is called cross-lining and it is strictly not allowed. If you want help, go ask your upline." I was bewildered at the time, and later I thought, "Why the heck couldn't they tell me what they were doing? We were all doing the same business, weren't we?" So, we chatted for a little longer and then I went exploring. The three hour break was exhausting in itself and completely unnecessary, until I found out what they had done inside.

The day resumed, and they had transformed the inside into something out of a child's fantasy book. They had a gigantic red carpet, and fencing along each side of it. After many more diamond speeches, it hit 9:00 pm and they had a special concert! It was a Christian rock band, and they were performing before the "diamond crowning" began for Trevor and Lexi Baker.

At this point, I was finally starting to rebound after nearly being bored to death from the repetitious speakers. I was extremely excited to see something different. The experience was unreal as people flooded to the fences before they began to walk down the carpet. Then the moment came, and they were greeted like the royal family. Trevor was dressed in an extremely nice 3-piece tuxedo, and Lexi was in a dress that was fit for a queen. She had more sparkles on her big poofy white dress than the ball they drop in New York on New Years Eve. They were the perfect couple with their twin girls, and the best part, they were only 30 years old. Their parents, Glen and Joya, were waiting for them on stage, and they were also congratulated for improving to Executive Diamond. Their transformation into diamonds was completed with a nearly identical speech to the other diamonds, but I didn't care because that moment made me want this more than ever. This was the moment I needed, my tipping point, where I would have been ready to do anything to succeed. Until that night's speakers came on stage.

The heavy hitters came on after the "diamond crowning", and they were welcomed with applauses that I had never seen before. The only important speech the entire weekend was presented by Brad Duncan. He was a "Crown Ambassador", the highest rank, and a member of the "board of directors" for the organization (Side note, that organization did not technically have anything to do with the MLM and is a completely different entity). He was a charismatic man, and there were legends that surrounded him. One person said he turned down an offer to run for president from the Republican party because, "He didn't want to take the pay cut." If there was anyone to hear it was him, because he was the epitome of success. He started his presentation with some nonsense about himself, but then he actually got to some of the real facts about the business. This guy had testicular fortitude as he said to a crowd of 8,000 hopefuls, "95% of the people in attendance would quit, and 1/10 of 1% (.1%) of people would become diamonds". He then followed up that terrible statistic by saying it was also possible for anyone to be successful as long as they listened and worked the system. I was in a daze. I knew I didn't have the ability to beat everyone else in the stadium and I wasn't about to try. I was looking for something a little more fool-proof than that. Luckily, the speech was softened by the leaders of the organization as they took the stage before the night ended.

Finally, the leaders of the organization, Jim and Georgia Lee Puryear,  stepped onto the stage, and they were greeted with an applause that blew the rest away by a mile. It seemed like it would never end as people literally lost their minds for 10 minutes clapping and stomping their feet. In fact, it was so long and so loud the leaders were unable to stop it and ended up running late on their speech. They were a soft spoken couple and spent most of their time giving their gratitude for our attendance. Then, they said some more emotional stuff and wrapped up the evening.

After the second day was over, I was completely wiped out. The total time spent working and at FEDs the last two days was somewhere in the neighborhood of over 33 hours, and that didn't include travel time. I told Fred, I didn't think I would attend the morning Christian service the next morning, because I was really tired and felt uncomfortable with it. I didn't see a purpose for a morning service at a business seminar, and I'm not a Christian. I thought he would understand, but it was quite the contrary as he guilted me into coming. He told me it was extremely important, and I seriously believe he wanted me to share in his Christian beliefs which was extremely awkward. I was too tired to fight him on it and I decided to attend. I'm glad he pushed me into it, because it was one of the most enlightening experiences of the weekend.

Sunday began at 9:00 am again, and I was so tired, I actually started to get a weird silly energy. It was the kind of energy that simply doesn't make sense, and it was hard for me to take anything seriously because I was so loopy. This matched up perfectly with the Sunday service as I watched a real life 70 year old televangelist. This guy was electric as he bounced around on the stage talking about a particular part of the bible and how it would help us in the business. Unfortunately, my hero from the first night decided to be a lot more religious day three as he accompanied the wild preacher throughout the service at various times. Finally toward the end of the service two very strange things happened at a business seminar. First, he had many people come toward the stage to give their energy to him so that he could send it to a terminally ill cancer patient (hence the real life televangelist). Second, he actually got the higher ranking members of the organization to go around and collect donations. I was stunned, because we were supposed to be learning how to make money, and here he was getting money from these people! Not only that, but he had a minimum (I believe it was $5.00) which was magical! I had never seen something like this, and this was step one of three toward my departure from the opportunity.

Step two came when the Emerald I met at the church, from Mike Carrol's presentation, had a personal chat with me. It started when Fred wanted me to talk to him, because my wife still wasn't on board and the Emerald had personal experience with the same situation. Keep in mind, I don't know this guy, and saw him for about ten seconds previously. We broke the ice by talking about why I was there and what my goals were, but then Fred led into the personal stuff. Shawn was a well spoken man and a lawyer previously which made me have more respect for him than most of the others, because he was educated and still chose this business. However, that respect was quickly lost when he felt he could comment about my ability to be successful in this business with a partner that was opposed to it. He told me about his wife not supporting him initially, yet eventually she came around when they started being successful. He also said he would have left her and chosen the business if she didn't come around, or did not allow him the opportunity to try it out. He then told me, this business can't be done without two partners being in it together, and encouraged me to "reevaluate my relationship". This guy was the most narcissistic person I had ever met. He was ready to leave his wife for the business and told a complete stranger to leave his fiance for the business. I looked at Fred stunned, and Fred stood their nodding and agreeing with everything Shawn was saying. This felt like the twilight zone as Fred told me he was in the business because he wanted to provide for his family's future, but now it was reversed as it was about making the business successful first and having a family second. The hypocrisy was mind boggling, but it didn't stop there as step three came.

In the middle of the day, I was pulled out of the stadium because the speakers were lower level members, and my group didn't think they were as important as the diamond speakers. Also, the people on stage were essentially doing their test runs before they would be "crowned diamonds" which was strange. Tom and Fred brought me to a food stand and Tom gave me a piece of paper. He then stuck out his hand and offered me a chance to join the business. I initially accepted with immense gratitude, but after looking over the expenses, I was less than thrilled with what I was getting. I was going to have to pay for a yearly membership to the parent company, a monthly membership to this side company (the side company has nothing to do with being successful in the business), cds, books, a voice mail program, and then I would have to pay for my monthly supply of products. This was step three of me getting out of the business, because I told Tom that the expenses per month didn't make sense and that I could figure out ways to eliminate some of these silly costs. Tom didn't take it well and basically rescind his offer. He had said this was how his team was going to operate, and if I wasn't going to follow this particular plan, then I wouldn't be part of the team. I was in shock at how fast he could flip the script. I had put so much time and energy into this process, and it was immediately for naught. Little did I know this weird hiccup would be one of the best things that could have happened.

The FED ended around 5 pm on Sunday, and I got home and crashed. I called Tom later to try and explain why I felt the monthly charges were unnecessary, but it was to no avail as he basically said he wanted nothing to do with me. I had a scarlet letter on my chest, because soon after Fred also completely stopped talking to me. I felt like I had a great loss, but in reality I hadn't spent that much time with this business opportunity, and they didn't get any of my money. That was when I realized it was the psychological manipulation that made me feel such a strong sensation of loss. I had lost lots of money, jobs, and friends in the past, but they didn't hurt as badly as being rejected from this.

I had started doing research on what I had experienced, and whether or not I was the only one to go through this kind of experience. What I found was surprising as people had been going through this for years. I have had previous experience with MLMs, but had never been a part of anything like this. Ultimately I found this was something that needed more attention, and after a year of posting on blogs it was time to start a different one.

This is a blog for me, as much as it is a blog for you. This blog is a resource to help people understand what they have gone through, and to be able to share their stories as I have just shared mine. Please note, I have a filter on comments and will not share anything that is considered private. Thank you for reading my story, and if you feel it was something that helped you, then please don't hesitate to share it!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

MLM and Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD)

Today's post is going to be a little different again. I haven't had any personal experience with this disorder in MLM, but I have read many stories that resemble this disorder. There are many similar characteristics between this disorder and narcissistic personality disorder, but this disorder is more related to attention grabbing through promiscuity.

Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD): Histrionic personality disorder is characterized by a long-standing pattern of attention seeking behavior and extreme emotionality. Someone with histrionic personality disorder wants to be the center of attention in any group of people, and feel uncomfortable when they are not. While often lively, interesting and sometimes dramatic, they have difficulty when people aren’t focused exclusively on them. People with this disorder may be perceived as being shallow, and may engage in sexually seductive or provocative behavior to draw attention to themselves. (http://psychcentral.com/disorders/histrionic-personality-disorder-symptoms/)

When I was rereading about this disorder it made me think about people I have seen in the sales industry as well as people we focus on in current popular culture. When we see advertisements, sales attire, and commercials, we are constantly bombarded with some sort of sexual influence. This is used to generate attention, because as we know, sex sells. We have also seen trends constantly pushing the envelope between what is considered socially acceptable versus inappropriate. When combining these two subjects we get something similar to the transition of cover images on the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Edition. We love to idolize our favorite good looking stars, and we love to see something sexual, so putting that together is essentially a home run.

HPD is essentially these advertisements being displayed by people. They are highly flirtatious, scantily clad, and emotionally fragile. They do not have regard for social norms, and will break boundaries to be recognized as the center of attention.

Do MLMers have HPD??? Honestly, I'm sure there are instances of this, but again I have not personally experienced it. This post was designed to see if current/former MLMers have had experiences where someone has been extremely promiscuous to get their way. This could come in many different forms whether it was an upline drawing them in because of their attention grabbing efforts, a partner in a relationship showing symptoms of HPD to generate a downline, or maybe someone from a conference/meeting that is more interested in being seen than they are in selling the products. Other bloggers have mentioned downlines sleeping with uplines and doing what they can to "move ahead" in their organizations. So, tell me your story, preferably related to MLM, and let's try to recognize behaviors with ulterior motives.

Below is a list of the common symptoms found in people with HPD:


  • Is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention
  • Interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior
  • Displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions
  • Consistently uses physical appearance to draw attentionto themself
  • Has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail
  • Shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion
  • Is highly suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances
  • Considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are
(http://psychcentral.com/disorders/histrionic-personality-disorder-symptoms/)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

MLM and Denial pt. 2

I am going to preempt today's blog post by saying this is more about anecdotal content than it is about terminology and comparisons. These are my experiences, and should be treated as such!

Today, I'm going to go back and add onto one of my original posts about denial. This is the main defense mechanism we use, because it allows us to be irrational while still holding onto our belief. For many it feels better to be right, than it does to be logical, and I have a couple of points I would like to address on this topic.

First, the definition of denial in the form of a defense mechanism: Denial is the refusal to accept reality or fact, acting as if a painful event, thought or feeling did not exist. It is considered one of the most primitive of the defense mechanisms because it is characteristic of early childhood development. Many people use denial in their everyday lives to avoid dealing with painful feelings or areas of their life they don’t wish to admit. For instance, a person who is a functioning alcoholic will often simply deny they have a drinking problem, pointing to how well they function in their job and relationships. (http://psychcentral.com/lib/15-common-defense-mechanisms/)

There were a couple of reasons for wanting to come back to this particular subject. I recently had a discussion with my ex-sponsor's sponsor. It was a strange experience since it had been exactly a year since I was propositioned by the two of them to join their MLM. They had a lot of great goals, and I truly believe they wanted to do better for their families. However, their strategy has not been great, and the denial is sensational.

My sponsor's upline, we'll call him Tom, is a young gentleman that is married. He is the nephew to an extremely prestigious member of the MLM, and has been around it for nearly a decade. He hasn't always been interested in doing the "business", and is mostly concerned with being a good person while starting a family and providing a comfortable life. Here lies the issues, he is not successful in the business, he is not creating more time for himself or his wife to be together, and he is not getting the opportunity to start his family. He was supposed to be retired six months ago, his wife was supposed to be retired, and he was supposed to have a child. Meanwhile, he is running around to events and "business" meetings throughout the week, while working full time, while his wife does the same and tutors on the side. He has now amended his previous belief, and is only trying to "retire" his wife, and pretty soon his expectations will get even smaller. When I asked, "Why doesn't she just tutor from home?" He replied, "Because she should be a full time mom, and she has plenty of "business" related projects to keep her busy." I'm not sure if he realized that he admitted he will never retire with this "business", or if he was so brainwashed that he believed that was retirement. Needless to say, this was a great example of denial.

My sponsor was an awesome guy and for this anecdote, I'll call him Fred. I believed he was going to do great things. He is ambitious, hardworking, and has a certain genuine quality to him (or at least so I thought). Since the event last year, he has been so involved in his "business" that he basically, no longer talks to me, he missed out on major events, he continues to believe his motivational organization is actually what he is working for and not the "business", and has proven to be incredibly fake. He is the guy who has all of the canned responses programmed, and has none of the facts straight. He is truly an excellent example of denial.

Monday, October 17, 2016

MLM and Dependent Personality Disorder

Dependent personality disorder or (DPD): Dependent personality disorder is characterized by a long-standing need for the person to be taken care of and a fear of being abandoned or separated from important individuals in his or her life. (http://psychcentral.com/disorders/dependent-personality-disorder-symptoms/)

Human beings by nature are socially oriented and dependent on groups for survival. It is completely natural to yearn to be with others emotionally, and businesses are completely dependent on people in all tiers of the organization for success. That makes this disorder more difficult to notice and understand, because it is based more on an intensity level of the dependency rather than a black and white definition.

Here is a list of the symptoms from the same source as above: 
  • Has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others
  • Needs others to assume responsibility for most major areas of his or her life
  • Has difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of fear of loss of support or approval
  • Has difficulty initiating projects or doing things on his or her own (because of a lack of self-confidence in judgment or abilities rather than a lack of motivation or energy)
  • Goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, to the point of volunteering to do things that are unpleasant
  • Feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone because of exaggerated fears of being unable to care for himself or herself
  • Urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends
  • Is unrealistically preoccupied with fears of being left to take care of himself or herself
    (http://psychcentral.com/disorders/dependent-personality-disorder-symptoms/)
MLMers prey on downline targets that usually have some if not all of these symptoms. They have a need to control and manipulate their downlines, and it becomes exponentially easier when the downlines want to be controlled because of their dependency.

Let's look at a few of these examples of symptoms:

"Has difficulty making everyday decisions". Other bloggers have written about MLMers and their need to influence every part of a downline's life. They want the downline to eat what they want them to eat, or come when they want them to come. This symptom plays perfectly into an MLMers need for manipulation.

"Has difficulty expressing disagreement with others". MLMers are constantly being told to stay away from negativity. MLMers will say, anything being brought up as a sign of negativity is not allowed, and any differing opinion should be shunned. This again works perfectly for MLMers looking to brainwash and control their targets, because the downline also wants to avoid conflict.

"Goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others". MLMers want their downline to rely on them for everything including positive feedback. They will attract the downline with constant love-bombing and admiration for their struggles. This helps to further the dependency a downline with this condition may have.

MLMers prey on downlines with conditions like this, because it feeds into their narcissism while helping to perpetuate their disorder. This is a weird chemical reaction that fuels a perpetual Stockholm Syndrome allowing MLMers to extract money from their downlines for extremely long periods of time (or perhaps forever).

It is important to remember that it isn't just the MLMers with the conditions and disorders. Much of the time the downlines have conditions as well, and can be just as powerful of afflictions. MLMers do not discriminate the people they target for the "business opportunity", and I have personally seen people that are not qualified to run a business be told they are perfect for this "opportunity".

Friday, October 14, 2016

MLM and Antisocial Personality Disorder

Today I will be talking about antisocial personality disorder which I will shorten to APD. APD is not the same as someone being antisocial in a group setting. Instead it has to do with a disregard for others and the law when someone is trying to achieve their goals. This is very similar to my article on narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), but the main difference is NPD strives for admiration and has a need for grandiosity whereas APD tends to be more malicious in nature. I will go into more details about their distinct differences with several quotes throughout this post.

Antisocial Personality Disorder: Antisocial personality disorder is a disorder that is characterized by a long-standing pattern of disregard for other people’s rights, often crossing the line and violating those rights. A person with antisocial personality disorder (APD) often feels little or no empathy toward other people, and doesn’t see the problem in bending or breaking the law for their own needs or wants. The disorder usually begins in childhood or as a teen and continues into a person’s adult life. (http://psychcentral.com/disorders/antisocial-personality-disorder-symptoms/)

As we discussed in the case of NPD it is nearly impossible to diagnose at an early age, because the brain has not developed enough yet. However, APD is a condition that starts from a young age, and tends to be more aggressive or impulsive. A great example of APD vs. NPD is, a person going for the cookies in the cookie jar. The person with NPD goes for the cookies, because they feel they deserve the cookies, and likes the idea that others will be jealous because they have cookies. Whereas the person with APD goes for the cookies, because they want them and will stop at nothing to get them. They will use trickery and deceit and do not care who gets hurt in the process, and they do not care how other people view them.

Another wonderful quote from psych central on APD is: 


  Individuals with Antisocial Personality Disorder frequently lack empathy and tend to be callous,         cynical, and contemptuous of the feelings, rights, and sufferings of others. They may have an             inflated  and arrogant self-appraisal (e.g., feel that ordinary work is beneath them or lack a realistic     concern  about their current problems or their future) and may be excessively opinionated, self-           assured, or  cocky. They may display a glib, superficial charm and can be quite voluble and verbally   facile (e.g., using technical terms or jargon that might impress someone who is unfamiliar with the     topic). http://psychcentral.com/disorders/antisocial-personality-disorder-symptoms/

Let's begin to unpack this quote in relationship to MLM and note the similarities.

MLMers lack empathy and are very cynical to the struggles of downlines. In fact, they place the entirety of the blame on the downline for their "failures" in the business, and berate them with guilt and nagging to further emphasize their disgust. MLMers do not take responsibility for the failures of their team or try to address the downline's issues in a healthy and constructive manner. They instead want to make sure their downline feels worthless.

Do MLMers believe J-O-B's are bad??? Rhetorical question, as that is part of their mantra for recruitment. MLMers have been defending the idea that jobs are bad for decades, and that anyone who has a job can't have freedom or live the life they want to live. They have a false sense of entitlement and believe they were destined for greatness, and that some outside force has been holding them back from achieving their rightful place in the world. Any work that isn't MLM is considered beneath them, and they believe the MLM dreams are a practical goal for success.

Are MLMers "opinionated, self-assured, or cocky"? The only thing wrong with that statement is the word "or". MLMers are all of these adjectives and more, because they have to be in order to keep their fervor for the business. They are constantly bombarded with reasons to stop doing MLM such as, losing money, losing friendships, and losing family. This means their convictions must be stronger than those forces trying to pull them away in order to continue pursuing the MLM.

Are MLMers "glib, superficial, voluble, and verbally facile"? Absolutely, because they are trained to be salespersons on steroids. They must be dressed perfectly, smile incessantly, talk quickly and authoritatively. They must master the perfect outward appearance to even have a glimmer of hope to attract someone to their cause, and also to please upline's expectations.

In summation, do MLMers have APD? As a whole, no -- but it stems from the originals teaching their personality disorders to those below them. The owners and leaders have a genetic predisposition to this condition, but most MLMers and their downline don't. You have to have APD to be successful in MLM, because there are too many overwhelming forces pulling an MLMer to quit. A quick cursory search on google will show the failure rates of MLM and I believe it has a correlation to people not having this disorder.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

MLM and Echolalia (Parroting)

Today's post isn't actually representative of MLMers, because this condition is related to people with degenerative brain conditions. While some people may jokingly argue that MLMers brains do degenerate while they are involved, this is more of a fun post while introducing a new term. MLMers are known for being repetitious, programmed, and in some cases nonsensical, and that is the thought process behind this particular post. Once again, I am not stating that MLMers have echolalia, but rather they have behaviors that reflect this condition.

Echolalia: Meaningless repetition of another person’s vocalizations. Typically occurs in patients with autism, schizophrenia, Tourette syndrome, and other disorders. (http://psychcentral.com/encyclopedia/echolalia/)

I first was researching this condition because I have a family member suffering from Alzheimer's, and was wondering what the official terminology would be. I very quickly made a connection to my experience with MLM and refuting the redundant points MLMers make when they are defending their companies. In fact, the MLMers retorts are so consistently similar it has become very tiresome and repetitive to continue to reply. I have the utmost respect for my fellow bloggers that continue to repeat themselves as the MLMers continue to respond and deny the issues of their companies with the same canned nonsense. There are very few people that can continuously explain the same problems over and over again with little to no tension. 

I am going to go through a couple of the most famous nonsensical responses, and hopefully people can refer to this page for clarification if they are approached by an MLMer. If you hear something from an MLMer that I did not put on the list, or need further explanation, then I will update as the post gets more hits.

1. MLMs can't be pyramids because they have a product or service.
Not true, never has been true, never will be true, and is completely incorrect by virtue of the definition given by the FTC as stated here, 


"Not all multilevel marketing plans are legitimate. If the money you make is based on your sales to the public, it may be a legitimate multilevel marketing plan. If the money you make is based on the number of people you recruit and your sales to them, it’s probably not. It could be a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are illegal, and the vast majority of participants lose money." (https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/multilevel-marketing)

As you can clearly see from the second sentence, MLMs legality has not been and continues to not be based on the myth of having a product or service.

2. If MLMs are pyramids, then so are corporations (such as home depot) because they are also shaped like pyramids and they should be illegal.
There are a lot of different errors with this logic.

A. MLMs are corporations...so you have already ruined your wonderful logic.
B. Whoppers (the chocolate candy) can come in a milk carton and milk comes in a milk carton, does that make them both the same? Rhetorical question, obviously not. Therefore the logic that corporations having the same shape as MLM makes them the same should also not apply.
C. Home Depot pays everyone a wage dependent on the position they are hired within the company. MLM pays MLMers money based on dollars spent within the company from the MLMers and their downline. If the only revenue they are paying back is less than the dollars spent by their "distributors", then that isn't a real business and certainly isn't anything like Home Depot.

3. My MLM has been around for a long time, therefore it can't be a scam or it would've been shut down.
Bernie Madoff operated a multi-billion dollar ponzi scheme for decades before getting shut down, therefore longevity does not equate to legitimacy.

4. You clearly failed or haven't tried my MLM and therefore you can't make an opinion about it. Let's break this one down into two parts.

a. "You haven't tried or have failed in my MLM." First of all, you have no idea what people have tried or haven't tried, and second of all that is irrelevant...I haven't jumped off a bridge, but I can tell you it is a bad idea if you want to have good health.

b. "You can't make an opinion about it." People have the ability to do research and investigate before getting involved with businesses. Mark Cuban (Billionaire Shark Tank celebrity) makes opinion about business opportunities for a living...you don't see people discrediting him. For the record, Mark Cuban hates MLMs and thinks they are a scam, and I consider him to be a knowledgeable businessman. (http://www.mlmmyth.org/mark-cuban-is-against-mlm/)

5. MLM isn't for everyone.

No kidding...look at any of the income disclosure pages online for these MLMs and you will see it isn't good for about 99% of the people involved (including the person defending the MLM).

6. Some MLMers are bad, but my team is good and we "care" about everyone involved.

I'm still anxiously waiting to meet someone that comes out and admits they are the "bad" MLMer. It would seem everyone knows they exist, but they can't identify who it is and why they continue to make their MLM look bad. It is also hard to say you "care" when you have a financial bias toward the person joining your "team". Finally, why hasn't MLM figured out a way to do something about the "bad" MLMers...some of these companies have been around for 60+ years!


Monday, October 10, 2016

MLM and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

For the sake of not having to type out narcissistic personality disorder throughout this post I will shorten it to NPD. NPD is a condition characterized by a lack of feelings for other people while feeling overly important. This is normally diagnosed in adults, because it stems from a long history or pattern of behaviors that most children and teens cannot establish during development. It is easy to suggest that children and teens are narcissistic, because their cognitive development is limited due to their frontal lobe being incomplete. 

Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a disorder that is characterized by a long-standing pattern of grandiosity (either in fantasy or actual behavior), an overwhelming need for admiration, and usually a complete lack of empathy toward others. People with this disorder often believe they are of primary importance in everybody’s life or to anyone they meet. While this pattern of behavior may be appropriate for a king in 16th Century England, it is generally considered inappropriate for most ordinary people today. (http://psychcentral.com/disorders/narcissistic-personality-disorder-symptoms/)

NPD comes in many different forms, but is predominantly found in people that cannot relate to the suffering of others and believe they are the best. This is not to be confused with a high level of self-esteem as this is important to function healthily. An example of a person with NPD can be someone who drives all negativity towards themselves. Let's say two people are talking, and the first person is explaining how they just lost a parent. The second person, who has NPD, may not acknowledge the suffering of the first person, or may simply talk about their own suffering and how much worse it is. Instead of consoling the first person that is suffering, they may make them feel worse or that their problems don't matter, because the second person's problems are worse or the only one that matters. This is why the condition is usually only established in adults, because children naturally think of themselves first, and do not inherently have the ability to sympathize with others.

Does NPD exist in MLM??? Yes, and they take it a step further by conditioning MLMers to develop their own versions of NPD. They teach MLMers to not be sympathetic to the plight of their fellow human beings, and take it a step further by simply suggesting they deserve the problems they have because they are not involved in MLM. Upline condition downline by showing them lives of grandiosity with their large houses, cars, and trips. These material achievements become the only goal as they edify themselves for downline and teach them this particular value system. MLMers teach downline that this is attainable, but are not sympathetic to downlines struggles along the way. They trick downline into believing they are helping others, but they are really helping themselves and have no regard for the losses downline encounters when they continue to put money into a "business opportunity" they can't afford. They tell downline they must continue to purchase training materials, autoships, and seminars with no regard to the other factors of the downlines lives. This in turn spirals as MLMers toward the bottom also have no sympathy for the downline underneath them that are also struggling.

NPD is a naturally occurring condition, but MLM has found a way to embrace it and change other people. They manipulate downline into thinking this is a "winning mindset", when in actuality it is a set of blinders they are putting on blocking out reality. The upline crowns and diamonds are all perfect candidates for NPD, because they have successfully made millions for themselves from the losses of others and are not remorseful. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

MLM and PTSD (Post traumatic Stress Disorder)

Today's blog post is going to be very fun for me, and possibly full of tangents, because I spent a great deal of time investigating PTSD (Post traumatic Stress Disorder) in college. In fact, my final paper before graduating was on PTSD in children because it doesn't get nearly enough coverage in the main stream media, and it is a very significant problem. In fact, when most people hear about PTSD they think about military veterans, because we had many commercials for years surrounding the military and this condition. However, PTSD dates back to the beginning of human history, and continues to effect many people from many different backgrounds.

Today's blog post is going to be very fun for me, and possibly full of tangents, because I spent a great deal of time investigating PTSD (Post traumatic Stress Disorder) in college. In fact, my final paper before graduating was on PTSD in children because it doesn't get nearly enough coverage in the main stream media, and it is a very significant problem. In fact, when most people hear about PTSD they think about military veterans, because we had many commercials for years surrounding the military and this condition. However, PTSD dates back to the beginning of human history, and continues to affect many people from many different backgrounds.

Post traumatic Stress Disorder: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating mental disorder that sometimes follows when a person has directly experienced or witnessed an extremely traumatic, tragic, or terrifying event. People with PTSD usually have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal and feel emotionally numb, especially with people they were once close to. (http://psychcentral.com/disorders/ptsd/)

PTSD is an extremely virulent reaction to a traumatic experience. The traumatic experiences range in severity depending upon how the person is affected. This makes PTSD extremely difficult to understand and treat, because two people can look at the same situation and have completely different reactions. In fact, identical twins can have different levels of PTSD after witnessing the same traumatic experience. This is why every case of PTSD must be treated in isolation, because none are exactly the same.

Have you ever had friends that seems to struggle with getting past a particular event in their past? That person could be a veteran who watched their friends die while in action, or perhaps a person that was sexually assaulted as a child. PTSD is something that can out of nowhere and completely turn someone's life upside down. Even with therapy and medications, PTSD is still rampant and many people cannot acclimate to life within society. PTSD has many different shapes and forms, but they are all important to identify and talk about.  


Do MLMers get PTSD after they leave??? Undeniably yes...and I am a part of this terrible statistic even though my version of PTSD is not as severe as others. I still get very angry when I see MLMs pop up on my Facebook, I have distanced myself from people I previously considered friends, and most importantly...I started this blog because I still have recurring issues with my MLM experience. I have written my account of the FED (Freedom Enterprise Days) I attended in October of 2015 on many different blogs, and I have written many comments debating against MLM. However, I still have not had closure, and may never have closure until the entire MLM operation is shut down, or if I expire...whichever comes first.

After reading the comments left from my story on other blogs, the stories from other MLM survivors, and the continued posts from MLM bloggers, I have come to the conclusion that PTSD in ex-MLMers is a very serious condition. We have people writing many years after their experience about the damage they did to their friends and family, the personal losses such as money, houses, cars, and the emotional burden on themselves after being taken advantage of as well as taking advantage of the people closest to them.

If you still feel like you are struggling with your MLM experience, have a story you would like me to share on the blog, or simply want to chat about something involving your MLM experience. Please feel free to e-mail me at Thedude2488@gmail.com, and yes that is a Big Lebowski reference.