Wellness ‘Cult’ure Red Flags

Here are 8 arguments commonly used to deflect responsibility and/or diminish the experience of folks who’ve have experienced abuse. Personally speaking, I encountered every one of these lines of defense in new age ‘wellness’ communities where I worked and studied for two decades… AND I was also, at times, very much guilty of perpetuating them.

Mental health awareness isn’t just about how to respond in a moment of crisis… it’s also about tracking how & if we ourselves might be contributing to a ‘cult’ure of silence and inadvertently enabling harm.

The final meme offers a few healthier, more validating alternatives.

Memes via text:

🚩 SPIRITUAL GASLIGHTING >> “Don’t be a victim” – or – “What are you taking it personally?” The implication being: If you were more spiritually evolved, that really wouldn’t bother you.

🚩 TOXIC POSITIVITY >> “Don’t be so negative.” – or – “Just focus on the good parts.” The implication being: If it doesn’t feel good, you just need to reframe it.

🚩 PRIVILEGE & DENIAL >> “I hear you, but… I’ve never seen that happen.” The implication being: If it doesn’t impact me, it isn’t real or it doesn’t matter.

🚩 CODEPENDENT ENABLING >> “Nobody’s perfect.” – or – “I’m sure they didn’t mean it that way.” The implication being: Their behavior isn’t the problem; your reactivity is.

🚩 MAGICAL THINKING >> “Maybe you called this in.” – or – “What’s this teaching you?” The implication being: Bad things happen because of you or for your own good.

🚩 VICTIM BLAMING >> “Why didn’t you say something?” – or – “You could’ve just left.” The implication being: It’s really on you for putting up with that.

🚩 TOXIC MASCULINITY >> “You just need to toughen up.” – or – “It’s just business.” The implication being: Stop expecting to be coddled; pain is the price we pay for success.

🚩 MARTYRDOM >> “But the company / ‘Org’ is helping so many people!” The implication being: It’s okay if people get hurt, as long as it’s for a greater good.

Things to say instead:

  • “I believe you.”
  • “That must be really painful.”
  • “You don’t deserve to be treated that way.”
  • “How can I help?”

Listen to survivors and stop enabling ‘cult’ural abuse.

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