Law of Attraction philosophies are ostensibly empowering and joyful. But in reality, well-intentioned followers will structure every aspect of their lives around these beliefs, which can insidiously lead to negative consequences.
Reader Serena is in a position to know firsthand the destruction that can result from "just" an ideology. A big thank you to Serena for allowing her personal story to be shared with us in this guest post.
What happens when you start mixing real life variables like mental illness and past trauma in with the already unrealistic philosophy of Abraham-Hicks?
Serena's story involves mental illness, domestic abuse, and painful loss of her husband (who even happened to be on an Abraham-Hicks cruise at the time she sent in her story) to the A-H ideology.
What follows are Serena's words, except headings which I have added for readability.
The Truth is Stranger Than Fiction
I wanted to thoughtfully respond to your question about what attracts a person to AH. I have been living in my own nightmare that AH has contributed to and as a result, I have lost my husband - the man I love more than any other person. A person he met from the United States while he was travelling introduced my husband to AH. This person was a family therapist. I think it is note worthy to mention that a qualified clinical practitioner was responsible for bringing AH into our lives.
We had thirteen beautiful years together before he ended our relationship in a chaotic haze of mental illness, domestic violence and abuse. I now live alone, grieving for what I have lost while I watch the man I love alternate between being suicidal and euphoric, deteriorating before my eyes. There was an attempted reconciliation but it failed due to many factors that included a difference in position regarding AH philosophy. My husband used the AH philosophy as an excuse to avoid the truth of his mental illness and from taking responsibility for the things he had done.
Yes, it is true that my husband had complex mental health issues as a result of past childhood abuse before he was introduced to AH. And yes, we had relationship problems prior to this cult group entering our lives. However, AH became a vehicle by which he could avoid everything about being a mature and responsible adult and it served as a reason for him to not seek professional help any further and to leave our relationship with no responsibility. I had to flee my own home and many of my belongings because I was not safe. To this day, my husband still lies to people about what happened and lives in a world full of delusions that AH supports.
The insidious influence on perception
Apparently, I do not accept that he is perfect just the way he is and because I was supposedly pressuring him to seek professional help, I was a bad person. I did not focus on him being his best self. I did not vibrate as he did and so he had to eliminate me from his life. I know my husband loves me, but unfortunately the trauma and pain of facing his childhood abuse and current mental health issues was far worse and so he chose AH and a life that has no real love or authenticity in it at all.
After a childhood that was characterised by abuse and exploitation, it is a cruel irony that he has been drawn to a group who are doing the same thing to him, just in a different form. And yet, he needs to believe that they actually care about his happiness. In many ways, it is a repetition of abuse patterns. I love my husband very much but cannot be where he is in this moment. I cannot fight the influence of AH. I believe deep down, my husband knows the truth but AH gives him reason to avoid it. His perception has changed so dramatically that I cannot talk to him any longer without AH being a part of the conversation.
We all wish to avoid pain. I understand why he chose this path. But it does not negate the pain I now live with. I lost everything. AH affected our lives and relationship in many ways. I have summarised for the sake of this post. It is difficult to articulate how insidious the AH group was and how instrumental it became in the end of my marriage. He absorbed their philosophy so fully that we became unable to communicate with each other as we once did.
If my husband was to ever read this post, I have no idea how he would react. I have become the enemy when I was once his best friend. He would perhaps once again be angry or deeply hurt by my comments, even though they are the painful truth. This has been a profound way in which AH captured my husband - by sympathising with him when I tried to get him to face the truth. They portray loved ones like me as the bad guy because I threaten their hold. I have been silent for so long and most people in our lives have no idea about what has actually occurred. It is unfathomable for me to accept that my husband left a loving and supportive relationship and chose to move towards something so false and harmful.
I acknowledge his right to make his own way and to make decisions that he feels are best aligned with his needs. I never prevented him from doing that in our relationship. However, this is not what I believe has happened. The teachings of AH have been interpreted by my husband to mean that his risk taking behaviour, promiscuity and substance abuse is acceptable because it makes him feel good. And the hurt those behaviours caused me is also acceptable because it is all about him feeling good, not me. My husband is currently on a celebrity cruise with Esther...
Obsession with having more and more
My husband became less and less accepting of what we did have and could not be grateful. He stopped participating in our lovely gratefulness practice that we had together every night before bed, saying that being grateful was useless because it only focused on the past and not the future. This was an AH teaching; to abandon being grateful and focus on manifesting all the abundance the universe was going to bring to you. Nothing was enough for him anymore; what we had and our goals and dreams were suddenly not important. He began to want more and more, and was never satisfied.
He began to obsess about anything that made him happy in the moment. AH encouraged this and he began to follow religiously their philosophy about having more and more. What we had was suddenly never enough. This was one more thing that tore at the fabric of our relationship and how we approached life together. I was left alone to be grateful for what we had and to make a home when he was busy making unrealistic lists of all the things he wanted and he became so focused on money and material things to the extent that he became abusive towards me because I did not make enough money or strive to make more. Money and power became the core of his focus and the reason he did anything.
However, he still sits on the couch, more than a year later, achieving nothing. He consults AH card decks every day and makes list after list of the things he wants without lifting a finger to achieve them. He says to me - why do anything when he can wait for the universe to bring it to him? He has become extremely passive when once he was highly motivated.
Burying reality & uncovering spiritual narcissism
AH told him to forget about the past and what happened to him because there is no reason to do something that is too hard or painful; just do things that make you happy and eventually, that is all you will feel. I consider this to be grossly irresponsible. They encourage people with severe mental health issues to abandon themselves. His mental health has only declined and will continue to do so. His quality of life is poor and he abuses substances in an effort to feel good. This group tapped into his narcissistic personality, normalising and accentuating it. They are but one path into spiritual narcissism that I believe is becoming an epidemic across the world.
He now believes he has a superior view of life. He went from being a husband who deeply respected my own life philosophy and belief system and who supported me in anything I did to a person who belittled me, criticised my beliefs and began to show me no respect whatsoever. We once agreed on many aspects of life philosophy and respectfully differed on others. Now, his way is the only way and I cannot believe the extent to which he has put down what I think and believe. The man I knew has disappeared.
AH philosophy gave him a justification for his abuse of me and his abuse and use of others. AH teach that it is ok to do whatever it takes to get what you want even if this means hurting others. And that is what he did. He told me directly that because I did not believe in the philosophy and join him that we could not be together. I was pressured constantly for two years to join him in this way of thinking and he went so far as to lock me in his truck one night and force me to listen to their recordings. This is abuse. He bought me their books so I would read them. He would play their recordings constantly at home and in his vehicle and everywhere he went in an effort to keep that feel good feeling and to try to manipulate me and persuade me to join him.
Striving for all-encompassing control
He has become reckless with money and has done nothing but spend in an effort to feel good and has handed over large sums of money to AH for their products. My husband no longer has any mature forethought and lives moment to moment with the only goal of feeling good. He writes endless appreciations and blueprints and these take the shape of trying to control the world and everyone around him. His appreciations were at first loving but soon began to take the shape of what he wanted everyone else to be rather than accepting who they really were.
This is an underlying aspect of AH material – control. My husband seeks all-encompassing control in an effort to cope with anxiety and fear and AH encourages this type of behaviour. He came to believe that anything or anyone he found dissatisfying could be manipulated into being what he wanted if he just focused on them through his appreciations.
Justifying self-indulgent behaviour
He went so far recently as to seek companionship with another follower whom he met through the AH dating website. Their relationship brought me a lot of pain and it interfered in our attempt at reconciling. She brought even more chaos to the situation by being narcissistic, manipulative and confronting. She fed him delusions and wound him up, preying on his anxieties. She was abusive towards me and crossed significant boundaries to the extent that I had to seek legal advice.
This is another aspect to the teachings of AH. They encourage a breaching of healthy boundaries; they attract people who are mentally unstable and who can be manipulative. This woman was so demeaning towards me; telling me that I did not understand life fundamentally and that I was unstable. She began to participate in a smear campaign against me. She had substance abuse issues like my husband and was on medication for depression and bipolar. They have since ended their dalliance, as she was too much even for my husband, trying to persuade him into buying a house with her so they could move in together after only knowing each other a few months.
She had their whole life planned out in her blueprint. She was so obsessed with my husband and controlling in nature and she did everything to remove me from the equation. She even consulted psychics in a further attempt to convince my husband they were destined to be together. This is behaviour I have come to expect from people who follow AH. To this day, she is still in contact with my husband and trying to get back together with him by using passive-aggressive manipulation and preying on his pain.
Abraham-Hicks preys on the vulnerable & suffering
AH came into our life at a time when my husband was at his lowest ebb and was suicidal. Their teachings help sustain his need to believe he is special and deserves everything the world has to offer. He wants to be a part of something bigger than himself and he is enamoured by the celebrity aspect of AH. But it also supports a belief that it is acceptable to avoid what ails you and holds you back, to leave what positive support systems you have and the people who love you and to hand over large sums of money to feel good. They taught him to give up. Despite my efforts to talk and reason with a man who is actually very intelligent, he is lost to me and to himself. He has recently cut off all communication with me. He is desperate and he is hurting. His pain is unimaginable to most of us. AH tapped into this and they exploit it.
In my opinion it is criminal and yet this exploitation operates within the law. He believes he cannot survive without their teachings and their way of living life. And I fear what will happen now he is on this cruise, further isolated from reality. Will he be further sucked into their vortex or will he see the reality of it and then crash and burn? He is vulnerable and I fear the outcome when he is so dependent on how they make him feel. In my opinion, AH prey on fragile and vulnerable people but avoid any responsibility because these people are choosing in an act of free will, despite the deliberate manipulation. As I listened to the recordings, I could hear the sales pitch, the strategies and language Esther was using that were clearly persuasive in nature. I could hear it but my husband could not. Or maybe he chose not to?
It was hard to distinguish between aspects of my husband’s mental illness and the influence of AH for the sake of this post as they became so intertwined. That in itself is alarming. But sadly, I believe it is one of the aspects of a person that AH prey upon – their suffering. People like my husband have such low self-esteem that anything that helps them to feel special is alluring. AH teachings give people what they think is an answer to their problems when they are tired, feel broken and have had enough.
The plight to feel good each day is underestimated by those of us who don’t have to work at it. Feeling good becomes the only goal. And in final desperation, some will give up everything, including the people who they truly care about because that is what Esther says to do.
An authentic person stolen away
Ironically, my husband is special. He is beautiful and talented. He is funny, clever and affectionate. I fell deeply in love with a passionate and beautifully complex soul who has so much potential. He deserves unconditional love. He does deserve the best of everything. However, he struggles to understand himself, has severe social anxiety and core identity issues. Being a part of AH allows him to feel he belongs somewhere and is accepted, as he is, regardless of what that is.
But it is not real acceptance or belonging. It is conditional. And it costs a lot of money. And it means relinquishing all the people in your life who love you. It means being irresponsible and narcissistic. It means being inconsiderate of others and participating in delusional thought. That is not love. It is not healthy. That is a cult.
A final note from Serena
Thank you to all the people who comment on this platform sharing their stories. It is generating important discussion and inspiring me. I wanted to share some of my story and it has been very difficult to do so in a public forum. My husband is important to me and I want to be able to help others who may be in this predicament. I cannot be the only one.
I write with love and compassion for my husband and anyone else who may be hurting as a result of life. For the record, I would like it to be understood that I do not judge any person who is experiencing mental health issues or has encountered past abuse. I do not mean to diminish their personal strength or any other positive quality by what I write here today.
However, it is important to acknowledge that vulnerabilities exist in all of us and there are people who wish to exploit those vulnerabilities. These people should be held accountable for the pain they inflict on others. Only when we operate from a place of understanding the mechanisms of this phenomenon and having compassion can we possibly prevent organisations such as AH from capitalising on people’s pain, destroying relationships and becoming obscenely wealthy.
Have you had a related experience or observed a change in a loved one due to spiritual beliefs?