I attended the Landmark Forum years ago upon my daughter's recommendation. I'm writing about this now because I'm concerned that she's starting to attend again. She's behaving very strangely. Her behavior has become narcissistic and she has isolated my sister, myself, and my mother from having a relationship with her, my son-in-law, and my granddaughter. I'm also not allowed to contact my son-in-law's family. Her attitude is that we must either see things her way and conform to her way of interacting or there will be no contact. She indicated that she is working with a councilor. Not but a few months before all of this started she asked me to be her daughter's godmother and she signed power of attorney papers on my behalf. I don't know it for a fact, but I think Landmark is involved.
Several years ago, I attended a LMF and had a mental breakdown because of it. I trusted these people and was told it would change my life in a positive and profound way. When you sign up, they have you sign waivers and they tell you that you shouldn't attend if you have had severe traumatic experiences in your life. Well, what does that mean exactly? I signed up and went because they made it sound SO GREAT.
The first day the facilitator tells you that LMF is based on the teachings of Socrates and that you should live your life without editing what you say. You should always speak your mind no matter what, even at work. I questioned the facilitator and explained that Socrates was sentence to death by drinking hemlock because he was found guilty of being too outspoken and corrupted the youth in the city. The facilitator responded like a politician with incoherent rhetoric for about 15 minutes. His response made no sense, it was like a shell game, and had little to do with what I had questioned.
Later in the program, we were told that we all run rackets (i.e., certain behaviors that we use such as guilt, manipulation, etc.). Okay, I agreed. We were told that we had to call every person that we ran rackets on and apologize to them, no matter what they had done to us. The facilitator specifically said, "It doesn't matter if a family member raped you as a child, you must apologize to them or you will never be truly happy...never. You will never have happiness."
So...LMF runs all day. It starts at 8:00 AM and runs 'til about 8:00 or 9:00 at night. You get lunch. And you get a few breaks, but you're breaks are to be used to make your apology phone calls. Then, before the day's session ends, you get homework that can keep you up until 12:00/1:00 in the morning, then you get up and do another 12 hour day with LMF. They use sleep deprivation.
There were people there who went up to the microphone to talk to the facilitator. One lady's big trauma was that she was called "giraffe" by the kids at school because she was tall and she always felt like a freak since. This woman was drop-dead gorgeous, but that was her trauma. Okay, that was valid for her. That was the extent of most people's traumas who spoke on the microphone.
But what about the people who were there who had bad traumas in their life? War veterans, rape victims, drug addicts, people from abusive homes, families of murder victims, orphans, prostitutes etc. Who does LMF think they are to stick 200 people in a room and try to shrink their heads uniformly using their recipe? Who do they think they are to tell people that they will NEVER have happiness in their lives if they don't do exactly what LMF says? They insist upon the same result with everyone...no exceptions. NO EXCEPTIONS.
I confronted the facilitator the second day during one of the breaks. I explained that I was from an alcoholic home and that my father was a raging, violent alcoholic. He said to me, "You're father wasn't raging...that's you adding your perception of it. He wasn't raging. He might have been an alcoholic, but he wasn't raging." What do you call it when a person beats on their family and screams at the top of their lungs? Most people would call that rage. My mother refused to leave my father and spent a lifetime in denial of what was happening. It was a big breakthrough for me to get out of denial and admit what was going on. So then, LMF tells me to go back to minimizing what was happening and to apologize to my father for the rackets I've been running on him so I can go forward and be happy. My father had stopped drinking years before and we had mended our relationship long before LMF came along.
I would guess to say that those people who think LMF is just great probably fall into the category of being marked for life by being called a "giraffe" as a child by their classmates. To me, that is a person who excellerates drama. If that's the extent of their issues, then I would say, they could possibly see LMF in a positive light. However, I still don't think it's healthy psychology because it is so black and white and promotes denial where issues should be addressed.
BTW, The facilitator walked away from me in the middle of the conversation because I was still "running rackets". And until I stopped running rackets, he was not going to speak to me. So, until I changed the way I spoke and thought into what he said I should think and say, he would have no more interaction with me. Not too controlling, is it? He also went on to say that when he works with kids, his rules are that HE must be having a good time otherwise the fun stops, and everybody goes home. So, if anybody complains and HE doesn't like it, then HE gets to call it quits. Anybody have success in trying to please a narcissistic manic? It's like living under Nero's rule or Caligula.
I could go on with the other insane crap that was said and done at this forum. My recommendation is stay away...stay far far away. There are other ways to heal without denying, without being black and white, without isolating people like a school child, and without being manipulated into thinking that you will never find happiness without doing things their way, and without being sleep deprived.
Oh, my daughter had a friend who went through extensive LMF training after loosing both of her parents. She still had a troubled life. Trouble with men. And she was into cutting herself badly. This was after her extensive LMF training. So, please protect yourself. I'm all for people helping themselves and improving their lives. If I thought that LMF were close to being a good thing, I would encourage people to go. But my experience is that it is a god awful thing. They hurt people and they make one hell of a lot of money doing it.