“School’s” “Help”: The Unholy Trinity

Recently, I was conversing with fellow exiles and the topic turned to “school’s” “help”. One of my co-horts described it as The Unholy Trinity and I had to share.

"school & help"

The Unholy Trinity

“School” claims that its “help” is informed from “above”, i.e. “teachers” who have been “doing the work longer” and are therefore existing on a higher plane. Other options for help, such as therapy for example, come from the “level of life” – or those who aren’t in “school” and are still asleep. Therefore, “school” holds the patent on real “help”.

The Unholy Trinity works on the three-step model of receiving help, expressing gratitude and owing “school”. Let’s take a look at how this works, shall we?

Step 1) Receive “Help”
Let’s say I need more money. I state a “five-week aim” to get a job. With “sustainer” guidance, I crank out resumes, applications, cold calls and in-person visits to offices where I hand out resumes to people I’ve never met, fueled by the “school principle” of as long as you are working any job will do. Some times I run out of steam and ask for “help” in “class” and “teachers” suggest alternative approaches. By the end of the five weeks I have a job. After two years I hate the job, so I’m fucking it up and in addition, it never payed enough to cover my expenses to begin with, so I’m always stressed financially. I rinse and repeat the same employment-seeking formula and eventually, with “help”, I get a job that pays me more than I’ve ever earned. Suddenly I am financially independent. I still wind up hating this job — but more importantly — I’m making a lot more money.

Step 2) Express Gratitude:
I acknowledge in “class” that I couldn’t have found these jobs without “the work” and steady guidance from my “sustainer” and “teachers.” This job with its middle-class salary becomes the measure of my worth as an adult. I’ve become a “woman who can pay for her own arising”. I realize that I am more capable than I believe I am. I thank “school” for introducing me to “the work” and for the “help”. I look forward to having more money and being able to put my attention on other passions, most notably, music.

Step 3) Owe With Interest:

Over time, I realize that — like a credit card — “school’s” “help” comes with an undisclosed ever-expanding interest rate and hidden fees. At first “help” is part of the free introductory five-week experiment. Then “school” wraps it into the monthly “tuition”. At a certain point “school” directs its “students” into the “third line of work”, or new student recruitment. Those who wish to evolve, can’t do so without “giving back to school”, because evolution requires “3 lines of work”, work on yourself, helping others and working for “school”. Most “students” hate recruitment. But “school” will remind them that any good thing in their lives is due to the highly evolved “help” only available from “school”.

The longer you are in “school”, the more the exponentially-expanding “school” demands devour your time. My “only life things” and passions and pursuits were increasingly relegated into corners and spaces not being devoured by “school”. These corners and spaces shrunk in concert with my growing tenure.

Something else began to happen; an emptiness began to fill my heart as my psyche became more fragmented over time. This phenomenon is difficult to describe; I can only say the more demands “school” put on me — top secret orders that I could not reveal to friends or family — the more carved up and pulled apart my psychology felt. My desire to play music and write songs haunted me, but my ability to focus was more and more compromised, as was my ability to connect to my voice and express it in the written word. For the first time since I could pen words on paper, I found myself almost unable to write.

At the same time, and what made this process confusing,  “school” offered “help” that helped. When my father became very ill and passed away, a “teacher” called me daily, offering support and prayers and helping me navigate my grief, as well as the family dysfunction that percolated up as we  faced his death. I imagine that every student has a similar story of extraordinary and real help given by a “teacher”, or “sustainer”.

Other help, though, didn’t feel the same.  We stood in class and revealed our innermost wishes, our deepest scars and our most powerful fears.  Like an abusive relationship, “school” initially offered understanding and validation, but slowly, insidiously its “help” mutated into something humiliating, painful, and confusing with a focus on “your chief weakness”.  The seeds of doubt about who you think you are took root and started growing.

We justified that the “teachers” must know something we don’t: after all s/he has been doing “the work” longer/is more evolved/is a “teacher”, etc. Teachers regularly emphasized that this special and “real” teaching ” says  I don’t know myself; I am a “multiplicity” — I don’t have control over my thoughts, my feelings, or my actions. I am a woman who “cannot do”. I need “help” to become the evolved woman I wish to be.

The more faith we lost in ourselves, the more we needed guidance from “above”. The more guidance we needed, the more we owed. This bottomless debt structure is how “school” coerces some “students” into a life-long tenure, til death do they part.

Looking back on my cult experience, I’m amazed by the diabolical brilliance of “school’s” indoctrination. While *in* the cult, I was acutely aware of the brilliance, but most of the time I was unable to see the sinister coercion and when I did, I didn’t trust my perceptions; everything appeared to be so divinely orchestrated that when I received “help” that felt deliberately humiliating (for example being called out as a “princess” for deciding to quit a coffee shop job that I sucked at and only paid $9/hour) or witnessed another “student” receiving a verbal whipping, I dismissed the myriad of emotions and screaming inner voices that said, step away from the cult, ma’am. “I must not understand something that my more highly-evolved ‘teachers’ do,” I remember thinking. I now know that these “teachers” are simply holding true to The Unholy Trinity, playing out their roles in the three-step process of receive help, express gratitude and owe “school” with interest. You owe, you owe, so off to “school” you go.

7 thoughts on ““School’s” “Help”: The Unholy Trinity

  1. Kunta Kinte says:

    EXCELLENT description of what happens in this “cult formerly known as school.”

    It is set up so that here is no way to ever pay off your debt to them. You can NEVER do enough to repay them so you are forever in the position of owing them and they demand your gratitude as well.


    Now what does that sound like to you? Slavery.

  2. about veronica says:

    It’s my opinion that the only way to escape from the effects of the group’s psychological manipulation is to understand how they did it, and why we were so suseptible to it. The more help you take, the more you owe, and the more you should feel grateful for (at least theoretically) It was pounded into us that we should be grateful for the help, shouldn’t take classes for granted, that we needed to “pay for our arising”, etc, etc, etc. They will shame and humiliate you if you don’t feel ‘grateful” enough to have at least two so called friends at every lecture, or five people at third meetings or higher, and so forth. For me anyway, I found the “help” wasn’t always so good, and I wasn’t always so grateful for it.

    I look back at myself as group member for so many years and wish I wasn’t so influenced by peer pressure, that I didn’t feel so guilty about not feeling so “grateful”. I wish that I trusted my own doubts and perceptions more.

    In class this unholy trinity was expounded on in numerous variations, over and over again, until it became ingrained in us. And inwardly, at least for me, the unholy trinity took root emotionally in guilt, and the need for approval from others. My guess is that this true for most of us. The need for approval is a huge motivator, and extremely fertile ground for psychological exploitation and enslavement.

  3. Hello,

    Thanks for your comment. I have been finding it helpful to read Margaret Thaler Singer’s book, Cults in Our Midst, on someone’s recommendation. Singer discusses why cults do what they do and how susceptible humans are to influence and mind control.

    I’ve already started a new post about what I’ve been learning; the cult otherwise known as “school” uses the same manipulative, mind-control tactics as Scientology, or The Jehovah’s Witnesses. More on that very soon.

    I guess the important thing is that you got out. You didn’t allow this fallacy to steal your life. At some point, you did start to trust your doubts and perceptions and thank God for that! You can be grateful that some part of you stayed awake and got you out.

  4. Veronica says:

    Just ran across this interesting link to a blog by Danielle LaPorte in my Facebook feed and I thought I would pass it along. The topic of the blog is “Actually, you’re the guru. Notes on resonance and respect.” It seems so surprisingly relevant to the topic at hand – Cultivating a healthier attitude toward spiritual authorities, whether they are truly authorities, or merely alleged ones. It also helps to advance our healing process; by reframing our perceptions so we perceive ourselves as resonating with the higher ideas we heard in class, we reclaim our true power back.

  5. Hi,
    Thanks for the link to her post. It’s lovely, true and succinct. As “school” so often reminded us, everyone needs real help at times. As “school” conveniently neglects to mention, just because a spiritual leader, or a book, or a therapist might offer insight, doesn’t make them the expert on your life. We have to learn how to reconnect to, consult and defer to our inner guides, or inner gurus.

    I’ve never heard of Danielle LaPorte. I poked around her site a bit and really loved what I saw.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *