I’ve been listening to Tony Robbins since the early 1990s. I’m a fan. I’m a devotee.
I also know that I have an attraction to cults. I like joining things that promise transformation.
So I’ve been Googling Tony Robbins and found some disturbing stuff.
First, his Wikipedia entry has been sanitized. Hmm. It doesn’t even list his real name as Anthony Jairek.
Mamadrama posts 8/15/11 to the Rick Ross cult-busting site about her experience with a boyfriend who was a follower of Tony Robbins and her experience at Tony’s Unleash the Power Within seminar:
My partner is a HUGE HUGE fan of TR’s. I’ve listened to CD’s in the car with him on trips. Some of what he said was interesting. Nothing earth-shattering or new but the way he said it was good! Although, his voice grates on my nerves.
My parnter and I have separate bank accounts. He has saved quite well over the years and pays for the major expenses so he normally doesn’t run anything past me nor does he need to. I use my money to pay for house releated things so I barely pay attention to what he’s doing – esp if he can call it a business expense. Let’s just say I had no idea how much they ‘got’ him for over the past 7 years! OMG I was FURIOUS when I found out how much Mastery University cost and how conniving they are at getting people to sign up! He went to Mastery University a few months before I went with him to UPW. He started making some drastic diet change before UPW and was getting a little wierd but things have been UNBEARABLE since.
SO, about UPW. At the UPW, I saw right through this crap immediately. The stories he was telling were over the top – an 85 year old nun running triathlons with a broken leg? Come on, really???? I started googling some of this garbage on my phone in the middle of his monotonous, narcissistic rants and couldn’t find back-up info. I just laughed it off – ok he’s trying to make a point. Let it go…..
I think the moment when the rage started to rise up in me was when I looked at my parnter and at the people around the room and saw a bunch of brainwashed manic crazy people – esp my partner – I swear I could almost hear him ‘bahhhhh’ing and I think there was a red-juice ring around his mouth. I was not engaged at all. I refused to get up and jump up and down and don’t you DARE give me a friggin’ massage, weird stranger!
I tried to get involved at some points but it was so STUPID – the whole thing was just ridiculous. And, peppered throughout the entire thing – ESP when everyone was in a deep trance state – were sales pitches for Mastery University. It was SICKENING! I thought buying a car was bad! The cheesy lady trying to sell me undercarriage coating wasn’t as sleezy as Tony and Joseph!
All kidding aside here is the part that enrages me – my partner stopped taking his meds. He is going 100000 miles an hour. He is not sleeping, he’s exercising manically. He barely eats and the only thing he does eat is raw food. He is working three times more than ever. Some of what he is doing is good but some of it is unsustainable. This is not who he was before Tony Robbins. The energy is so uncomfortable to be around. He is unbearable. He talks really loud in public so people around us know he is STEPPING UP! Sometimes he’s very lucid and I think “ok maybe it’s me and he’s just doing great” but other times I think his energy is NOT normal. It’s NOT healthy and I think he might be spiraling towards a psychosis. His level of grandiosity is delusional!
He has told me that if I do not STEP UP we need to get divorced. So, I’m doing the raw food thing when he’s around. I’m working out (I look good already and I have a wonderful life – not sure what he thinks needs to change but I’m doing whatever he thinks I need to do because I do not know what else to do right this second). I’m just afraid that he is going to lose everything if he keeps going down this path.
PS. To update you – he crashed and is back on his meds and in a outpatient treatment program. Tony Robbins should be ashamed of himself. I’m devastated – I’m worried about him and that his business is going under. We could lose everything. I despise what Tony’s methods have done to him. How can that man sleep at night? If you could see what this has done to my family, especially our little boys, it would break your hearts. And I hold a security clearance – if we have to default on our mortgage or go bankrupt I could lose my job! What did we do to deserve this? he can’t work – he can barely function. But I’m sure Tony would spin this as my husband’s choice.
THE ANTICULT RESPONDS: Sadly what is happening here, happens every week.
Vulnerable people get whipped into a manic-trance state, and spend tens of thousands on Tony Robbins seminars.
Some get cleaned out of hundreds of thousands of dollars for other schemes they have running.
If a person has a past with mania, they can easily be flipped into mania.
And everyone knows where that ends, with a total breakdown.
Decades ago, Tony Robbins learned the advanced NLP techniques to manipulate and influence people, and he’s just running the same patterns.
Many broken people lie in the ditch as collateral damage.
And they just keep getting away with it, as the media does not have the skill to dissect and explain what is being done to people.
But its all explained in these forums.
Robbins and his crew know this happens all the time, at every Event people are getting seriously psychologically damaged and hurt.
Robbins stands up there and claims he can reintegrate “multiple personalities” on the spot from the stage. Of course, he is just repeating bullshit from Richard Bandler and some NLP nonsense. He makes all sorts of nonsensical psychological claims, with no training, education, experience, or even a shred of honesty or integrity.
Anyone who approaches the Robbins corp after events about the psychological damage they have sustained will be ignored and referred to their lawyers. Its a totally ruthless business.
And of course they will blame the victim.
And attack those who point this out.
Various people have put up websites over the years criticizing what goes on at the Robbins seminars, and they have been forced down.
These intensive LGAT seminars can be extremely psychologically dangerous to certain people. Many people flip into psychosis or mania.
In fact, the LGAT seminar leaders try to push people into hypo-mania, as that is when people will spend their entire credit line on some worthless products.
The harsh reality is that the people running these LGAT seminars that damage people, do not care. They know most people get no benefit, and many get hurt, but they don’t care. They blame the victim, or just block it out of their mind.
These are the same kind of people who can stand up in front of people, and tell bald-faced lies, over and over again, for years on end. They don’t have a normal conscience. Their conscience only extends to me, myself, and I, and their girlfriends and kids.
Its terrible what happens to all of these people who get hurt.
Hopefully he can get some good medical treatment, and get back to where he was before.
How to stop these damaging LGAT seminars?
The government doesn’t care, unless people die during the seminar, and even then sometimes there are no charges as its ruled an accident or suicide.
Perhaps only large class action lawsuits by groups of people can be effective?
Anyone who doubts the power of these techniques, just has to get a free comp ticket (do not pay!) to one of the events, from a contact they have with a promoter, or company. And just go and sit there for a couple of days, and watch and take notes of what guys like Robbins are doing to people.
When you see people whose eyes are lit up like saucers, who are maxing out their credit at the back of the room buying everything, who are screaming and going into mania, then the true power of these techniques is in plain view.
WALTER POSTS: Every time I see Joel Olsteen on TV, I see another slicker more gentler version of Robbins. It’s even more interesting to watch people who are listening to Olsteen just zone out when they hear/see him. It’s clear he has had formal training.
As chance had it, X reappeared years later and gave another lecture. I decided to go and observe him and studied up once more on what Walter1963 and The Anticult had written here.
This time X told many of the same stories. I was observing him, hawklike.
This time, most of the people in the audience became drowsy. One woman fell right asleep. She was in the front row and flopped limp, with her notebook slipping from her fingers.
A man seated in the row ahead of me went to sleep sitting up, his head tilted back, his mouth opened and he began snoring. Others were rubbing their eyes.
And…I found I was also falling asleep, despite knowing that this guy was doing trance induction. He was gazing at us quite cooly, and showed no embarassment at how we were falling to sleep. Most lecturers would have been embarassed and suggested a stretch break.
Try as I might, my eyelids kept clamping shut on me. I pinched myself, ground my feet into the floor, kept reminding myself this guy was using “tech”.
My handwriting turned into a scrawl.
After twenty minutes, I left. As soon as I did, I was bright and alert again.
Friends, NLP is that powerful. Here I was, keyed up, awake and alert and ready to ID this persons trance induction techniques.
Even I was getting eyelid spasms and becoming somnolent.
And what was amazing was the uniformity of response in both cases.
Lecture #1–people were hyperalert and devotionally focused and agog
Lecture #2–people were mostly falling asleep, or drowsy.
NLP is that powerful.
And unlike old fashioned knock out drops, it leaves no trace for toxicology tests to pick up.
GOOD ENOUGH POSTS: Corboy’s post reminded me of a book I read this past summer: Oran Canfield’s Long Past Stopping: A Memoir. In it he describes how his father Jack whipped his audience into a frenzy. I felt very uncomfortable reading the effects this man had on others.
Does Jack use these techniques? Perhaps the question should be is there anyone out there in the self-help, new age, political circuits who doesn’t use NLP? If it’s that effective and if so many people are already using it, I would imagine there would be pressure to use these techniques to be able to compete.
WALTER1963 POSTS: The problem is, is that the NLP big dogs have condoned unethical and illegal behavior from day one. They won’t condemn Robbins or Bandler( I can understand why given the litgiousness nature of both) or stop mind-f**king clients anymore than they’d stop gouging people for their workshops.
IMO people are better off avoiding it altogether outside of those who want to study how manipulation is done.
If you want to learn Ericksonian Hypnosis, check out Stephan Gilligan or Jeffrey Zieg.
For Self-Hypnosis, check out Yoga Nidra or Autogenics.
If you want learn about language, study Steven Pinker or even General Semantics(S.I. Hayakawa “Language in thought and Action”).
If you want learn about the latest in neuroscience from a layman’s perspective study Rick Hanson’s or John Arden for starters.
If you want to get more in touch with your body, study Feldenkrais.
For general personal improvement look at the works of Bernie Zilbergeld and Arnold Lazarus.
Study of these is relatively cheap since their books and DVD’s can be had low cost. Compare them to the $2500 seminars NLPers charge.