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Thread: I dated an MLM conartist..

  1. #1
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    Nov 2014
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    I dated an MLM conartist..

    Being around MLM culture changes you. I can attest to that, it very slowly over a period of time changed me and I witnessed what it does to others. It doesn’t start with greed- it starts with hope. They ask you to share your dreams in the name of “self development” and they give you encouragement, after all they do have a vested interest in your motivation to succeed/sell. Next is belief. Belief is instilled that you can do anything if only you would try hard enough. That you are special, badass, and you are the one who can beat the odds with your perseverance for the reward of a residual income. This is the mantra of the MLM industry. Never mind that hundreds of thousands put their time, hopes, and families into these businesses with a 99% failure rate- according to the leaders at the top, the failures just didn’t try hard enough. And what is the price for these hopefuls to play in the game, to persevere for eventual success? At a minimum a few hundred dollars per year and for many it is tens or hundreds of thousands. That kind of loss is devastating for families and greed at it’s worst. We know that most who buy in to be distributors don’t actually do anything beyond maybe a few customers and signing up their mom to be their first distributor. But what happens to those who do persevere yet still don’t get rich? For those who truly tried their hardest and sacrificed their time and reputation, and are still in denial about the impossibility of getting to the top- they are rewarded only with pocket change and false promises- and they will carry a vast amount of disappointment and blame in themselves for failing. Financial ruin, depression, loss of friends except others in MLM, and an unreasonable fascination to be around the 1% in hopes of learning “the secrets”, and what I can only describe as a palpable desperate energy to sign up distributors is what happens. If they have opened their eyes and seen the truth, they are ashamed for their naiveness, and what lengths they’ve gone to for money, how their friend and family relationships have changed because of involvement or noninvolvement in their MLM, and how much time they have wasted for a scam. Because of shame, the victims of MLM scams remain silent. It has taken me a long time to accept this truth because I was introduced to MLM from the point of view of the 1%.

    I did not understood what the terms network marketing or MLM meant before I started dating my now ex-boyfriend. Even while dating him, I didn't truly understand. He was a well known public speaker, best selling author in network marketing, considered a MLM superstar, named Jordan Adler.

    Once I started accompanying him to events I was blown away by the numbers of people involved; singing songs about making money, chanting, giving emotional testimonials about how their involvement with the company would help them achieve their dreams. It never felt right, it was always a bit creepy and off, and I was uncomfortable with how people seemed to grovel and worship him. When the overhead projector explaining the company compensation plan came on I would get lost on the complicated diagrams. When I asked Jordan to help me understand he said "it's so complicated I don't even get it, but it works! It's best not to get too involved in the details with these things because the most important thing is instilling belief in people.. and belief is strongest when there is no confusion".*

    Jordan’s company was Sendoutcards and their motto was "get paid to be nice!" *But small, odd things were always in the background. One, all of his "friends" were in the MLM industry, and they all were either filthy rich or going into poverty trying to become successful. It was an almost daily occurrence for him to share an email or Facebook message from someone begging him to pay their mortgage that month, or a medical bill; I don't know if he did actually pay, but I remember hearing him encouraging them to keep working hard at their business, and he always pushed the annual convention (which cost a few hundred dollars) as what would help propel them to the next level.

    When I asked Jordan why so many people didn't make any money at all he said it's because they weren't willing to put forth the work involved. He said that was their choice for their business, but if he could at least get them to stay in the business, that would help the company, Sendoutcards, succeed. He said "let's say Dave joins the business. He's going to sign up at least a few lifetime customers, because he's going to ask his close friends and family. Now as long as Dave remains in the business, those people are going to remain customers because of their connection to Dave. And Dave is going to be a lifetime customer as long as he's in the business too. But it's up to Dave if he ever really wants to make any money."

    Once, I persisted and said "well how can you preach something when you know it's almost impossible?". He asked me if I'd ever read Think And Grow Rich or any other how to be a millionaire type books. I replied that I had not. He said "well, you've heard of them, and you know that millions of people have read these books, but how many people have actually become millionaires after reading them? Does that mean the books shouldn't be sold? I'm preaching something that can be done, but most are not willing to do the work, same as most people who read those books don't do anything at all".

    Another strange thing I witnessed was how often people switched MLM companies. And oddly to things that had nothing at all to do with their previous company, such as switching from greeting cards to skin cream. Usually they would prepare clandestinely and then suddenly announce their new company on social media with their new business associates who they pulled from their own company, and immediately, drama ensued. I have never before seen an industry with so much backstabbing and drama. These people are like piranhas eating each other up. A loss of a friend in their down line is not just a loss of a friend, it's a loss of profit for them. As a result, 95% of his friends were in his business even tho I doubt he would have been friends with them otherwise. I actually felt sorry for him because what I saw was a guy who had no true friends, who was always getting asked for money. I should have seen he was getting what he deserved.

    Jordan spent money on many materialistic things to show off his extravagant lifestyle. High end vehicles, private jet travel, multiple residences, expensive clothes. He gave to charities, always publicly, and I now see that was just another tool he used to legitimize his business, to get good press to present his image of morality and wealth. And meanwhile, his "friends", also known as his "downline", seemed to always be on the brink of financial pitfalls, no matter how many motivational books they read, or seminars they paid to attend.

    As time went on I started attending more events with him and I needed more and more time off at my regular job. He pressured me to quit, so that I could enjoy this vacation lifestyle all the time with him, but I hesitated. I thought of the situation I'd be in if we ever broke up and it scared me, to be a single mother without employment. I kept my job but I did drastically cut my hours, and he compensated me financially for my time off.*

    I benefited financially by being his girlfriend, and eventually found out he had several ex girlfriends benefiting at the same time. He had one ex girlfriend who still lived in one of his homes, and another ex girlfriend who would stay at another of his residences when she felt like it and who I later found out he had been meeting up with secretly in other states for months. Every time I became suspicious he always had an answer where somehow he became the good guy. He said one was "suicidal" and needed his help, and the other had a child and deadbeat boyfriend and needed his help or they'd be on the street. A third ex girlfriends name, Nadia, starting popping up on his caller ID and one day I grabbed his phone and answered it myself. She wouldn't talk to me, so to save himself he "came clean" and showed me emails from her. She was currently married to another network marketer, but things must not have been going well for that guy because she was asking for a gift or "loan" of $700,000-$900,000 to support her. She was willing to have sex with him anytime he was in a hotel nearby. He told me he never answered her phone calls or emails but that she was psycho and constantly harassing him. I was in such denial I convinced myself that I believed him.*He had a clear habit of preying upon much younger women who were financially vulnerable, and I lied to myself and told myself I was different because I could take care of myself before I met him.

    Social and professional events were a very important part of his life. Projecting an image of success included me, the much younger girlfriend. I am naturally a private person tho, and I started getting tired of the public exposure in time. I started asking him not to put up pictures of me on social media, or at events. What naively started as feeling glamorous, turned into feeling like a prostitute.* At various times throughout the relationship I couldn't take it any more, or I'd catch him in another lie about an ex-girlfriend, and I'd break up with him. He was so obsessed with his image that he always tried to hide our break ups, even our final one. When I wasn't talking to him he would still talk about his "dream of having his fiancée and her 2 little daughters to come home to" and put a picture up of the 2 of us on a slide presentation, to which the audience would say awwwww. Particularly awkward, was a trip to Thailand we booked before we broke up, that took place after we broke up. I was going for classes for my career, and he had planned on coming along for fun. I asked him not to go before I left. When he arrived anyway, I refused to speak with him about reconciling, and he left 2 days later in anger. When he showed up at a social event at home shortly after, people were shocked because they didn't know we had even broken up and expected him to be in Thailand. He couldn't tell them the truth, that he had been caught cheating, so he made up some story that we got into a dumb fight, and in a bid trying to appear romantic and regretful to everyone he hopped on a plane back to Thailand that night. He left messages for me when he arrived. He expected me to leave my classes and meet with him to reconcile. I'm sure it was so he could have a nice story to add to his slide presentation, about having the financial freedom to just hop on international flights frivolously like that. I refused to meet up with him or even speak with him, and he left again after a few days.*

    I slowly became a different person after living the MLM image lifestyle for 2 years. I saw that his job was all about the money, and how to be so nice and put forth such an trusting and enticing image, that they can't say no to you. He conned me many times privately, and conned thousands publicly. He is an expert at holding a dream up in front of you, just out of reach, to get what he wants. Money was the only way he could truly relate to people, personally and professionally, that's what made him comfortable. The greed rubbed off on me and I gave up 2 years of my life being around this hell for money, when I should have been doing other things, like working a legitimate job as an example to my daughters. *

    What I have taken away about the MLM industry is this: they are all about showing prospects (you) an image of the success you will have if you follow them. And they will do anything to maintain that image, and to keep you hooked into them. Whether that means friendship, helping you in some way, finding out your dreams for your life so they can dangle them in front of you with promises you can do it if you stick with them, whatever it takes so they can profit off you. It is all about the money in the end.

    I am writing this in hopes of dissuading anyone who thinks MLM is something they want to be involved in. I saw what it's like to be on "top" of the industry, and I deeply regret my involvement. To be successful in it is nearly impossible, you have a 99% chance of failure, and if you have succeeded in becoming the 1%, you sold your soul to leech off the dreamers.

    I encourage people to read more about the mechanics of MLMs so that they can see the odds are extremely stacked against them to climb to the apex. MLMs are cultish in their propaganda and brainwashing techniques. That is the only way people may be convinced to work so hard at an impossible task while consuming their own soul and destroying relationships along the way. Your family and personal relationships should be protected by you, and yet MLM encourages exploitation of *these relationships to profit the top leaders of the company. If you have a job, where you knew out of every 100 clients, 99 of them would lose hundreds or thousands of dollars, and your job was to cheerlead them on anyways, could you do it?*

    The question for many who are interested in joining is, Is success in this business a real Possibility with hard work, or is it a mathematic impossibility? MLM products are the facade for the real scam: a business model with proven 99% impossibility, and which fraudulently convinces people to join and pay their distributor fees, monthly product fees, seminar fees and self development workshops; for the promise of easy residual income. I have learned that all money earned by this business is shameful and capitalizes on the hopes and incomes of the desperate. I am not proud of this knowledge and it's taken me a long time to accept this truth because I wanted to believe the bullshit too. I cannot take back my involvement, but I can condemn it and express my remorse for ever associating myself with this morally bankrupt scam. Furthermore, I can state publicly that I saw life as the 1% and it really isn’t that great when you have no true friends, no true love, or real meaning to your life besides showing off your money. When you live for money, you don’t attract anything except others who want it from you. I have returned all jewelry, donated all clothing, and trashed all pictures from this time in my life. I would like to apologize to the hundreds or thousands of people it took to scam for the money to buy those things. I hope I have provided some sort of clarity that this is something unethical that your soul will be better off in staying away from. I hope to put this behind me and live a quiet life away from the lies and greed which sustain MLM companies.

    Sierra V


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    Last edited by EagleOne; 12-11-2014 at 02:45 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Jun 2010
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    Re: I dated an MLM conartist..

    Hiya, svelas, and welcome to

    Unfortunately your experience is all too common, not only in MLM.

    There is often an extremely blurred line between someone with sociopathic / narcissistic tendencies and "successful" businessmen and MLMers, as you discovered to your detriment.

    Hopefully you can come to accept what happened is not solely down to you.

    The techniques and tactics used by "Jordan" and others of his type have been carefully developed over a long period of time by people trained and experienced in the art of manipulation, not only in MLM, but in other fields including the military, Madison Avenue and cults of all types.

    Nothing is done by accident.

    Hopefully the courage it took eventually walk away continues and your willingness to admit you were taken in and unload here proves cathartic and leads to you being able to reclaim some sort of normality for you and your child.
    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

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  5. #3
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    May 2012
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    Re: I dated an MLM conartist..

    I remember hearing him encouraging them to keep working hard at their business, and he always pushed the annual convention (which cost a few hundred dollars) as what would help propel them to the next level.... why so many people didn't make any money at all he said it's because they weren't willing to put forth the work involved. He said that was their choice for their business, but if he could at least get them to stay in the business, that would help the company, Sendoutcards, succeed.
    What he didn't say (but admitted as much) is he's going to get a cut as their upline, and therefore it's in his best interest to make sure they put in AS MUCH MONEY AS POSSIBLE FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE, including lie... I mean "inspire" them to keep going even when they are making no money (or lost money) and wasted a lot of time. Their success or failure is not his concern. The old term for this is "people-burner"... managers who overwork/abuse subordinates in order to get promotions.

    It takes a particular psychopathic narcissistic personality to succeed in MLM.

    MLMers are Psychopaths who's out to manipulate you
    A (MLM) Skeptic: Are Scammers Sociopaths or Psychopaths?

    The Narcissist argument: Don't blame me
    A (MLM) Skeptic: Bad Argument: "Don't Blame Me (even though I told you to join a scam)"
    A MLM Skeptic (not a Cynic) covering scams, critical thinking, and psychology

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  7. #4
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    Jun 2010
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    Re: I dated an MLM conartist..

    He was a well known public speaker, best selling author in network marketing, considered a MLM superstar
    well, that cuts out doyle, hiney, and clem. lmao!

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  9. #5
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    Feb 2013
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    Re: I dated an MLM conartist..

    Thanks for sharing your story Sierra, millions each year are subjected to some degree of what you experienced.

    Quote Originally Posted by svelas View Post
    Next is belief. Belief is instilled that you can do anything if only you would try hard enough.
    The Happy Scrappy Hero Pup chants we are continually barraged with never ceases to tip the MLM'rz hand that a spiel for "having your own business" is coming like a sucker punch. Considering as you pointed out the 99% failure rate in Network Marketing, feigning glee for a crap situation is all the poor dears have. Every once in a while the networker will point to someone else and claim it works.

    Oh I can hardly contain my excitement...

    Beach Money: Creating Your Dream Life Through Network Marketing: Jordan Adler: 9781936677122: Books

    This guy isn't sitting on a beach somewhere, he is traveling from town to town peddling a fantasy. His J.O.B is putting on a happy face and convincing suckers that a few CDs, affirmations, and buying overpriced crap will make them rich. Like Robert Kiosaki who failed at MLM, dedicated his first book to his POOR DAD, and never mentioned network marketing in his original RDPD fairytale. Want to make money from MLM write a book and sell it to dreamers at seminars they paid to attend. Truth and Reality OPTIONAL, my dog is just as happy if I feed him a cat turd as a biscuit as long as I pat his head, and tell him good boy.

    Joe Cool points out, Amway - The Dream Or The Scheme? one may want to challenge their upline to provide PROOF of the people who built their business in 2-5 years and then spent their remaining days sitting on a beach collecting residual income. Surely it can't be that hard to come up with more than a toes in the sand urban ml-egend. Even backing away from that lofty expectation, might want to ask the upline to simply prove their income. Anna Banana has some thoughts about her upline platinum she shares here. Married to an Ambot

    Quote Originally Posted by svelas View Post
    they are all about showing prospects (you) an image of the success you will have if you follow them
    It hasn't changed and never will...

    For those considering MLM or those who think one more tape/rally/tape is going to put them over the top. Step back and view the transaction as a business person purchasing a rental property. Someone who wants you to buy their rental has every incentive in the world to understate expenses and overstate income to make the deal look better. The business person takes the books and requests a few years of tax returns mailed directly from the IRS. On the tax return the same seller has the exact opposite incentive, minimize income and maximize expenses. While an honest set of books should tie to the return (reconciling accounting conventions) I would come down on the side of people being more honest with the IRS than a potential investor. Not always but how many lies is too many when it comes to money?

    This approach may seem extreme to some, but MLM is supposed to be a business where people exchange 5-10 years of time and money for a rainbow in the distance. Someone who is "projecting wealth" that tells affiliates "my financials are none of your business" is in my opinion suspect. Kiyosaki the very example of this duplicity.
    "It's virtually impossible to violate rules ... but it's impossible for a violation to go undetected, certainly not for a considerable period of time." Bernie Madoff

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  11. #6
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    Nov 2014
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    Re: I dated an MLM conartist..

    Quote Originally Posted by ribshaw View Post
    ... Anna Banana has some thoughts about her upline platinum she shares here. Married to an Ambot...
    When local Amway distributor Eleanor Maier and her minions pushed all things Amway/DeVos, D. James Kennedy, Dobson and all that, I went to a bible study with a woman who happened to be mulatto. The Maiers "taught" us that black people are cursed because Noah's son put a blanket on him. Aside from dealing with a hysterical woman that evening and for weeks later (she decended into substance abuse and eventually moved away) I realized when a History professor and Amway distributor taught this stuff, they're the outwardly nicest, yet racist SOBs I'd ever met.

    But it was after reading an article at this fine site I chanced upon an expository from 2006, about their Amway master Dick DeVos and his extreme right wing agenda. NOW it makes more sense, but I'm starting to realize the Maiers DID know the woman's father was black. After all, in their capacity as religious bullshitters/angel of light - they'd visited the woman's mother before her passing.

    Perhaps nothing shows DeVos's extremism more than his membership in the secretive Council for National Policy ( CNP ). The Council was created in 1981 by leaders of the extremist John Birch Society to move the United States in a very rightward direction. The Birchers, as they were known, explicitly rejected democracy, as did many of the allies they recruited for the CNP. For years they organized White Citizens Council to fight the civil rights movement and later melded into the militia movement.
    The membership list of the CNP is secret, its meetings are secret and their post meeting activities are secret. Beyond acknowledging that it exists, the CNP prefers the underground conspiratorial style. Membership lists obtained by this writer show why they prefer secrecy.

    The CNP includes all the key funders and leaders of the far right: Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson and D. James Kennedy; Richard Shoff, a former leader of the Indiana Ku Klux Klan; a core of the proapartheid lobby that fought to support to the end, in open concert with the last ruling national socialist regime in the world, the South African apartheid government. Also part of the CNP are members of the Coors brewery family and Texas oilman Nelson Bunker Hunt.
    Source: Dick DeVos: Profile In Extremism

    In conclusion (of my train of thought) MLM'ers have a cycle I haven't fully reverse engineered. It starts with a stated desire to help poor people. Then at some point one of their men of the TV cloth talk about the curse of poverty and the MLM'ers scedattle with the highest quality scapegoats in the whole ghetto. It's a social and financial rape, it's a life-hijack, it's a slavery and it's evil.

    svelas wow you're a great writer and my thanks to all you wonderful contributors.


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