My Personal Experience Of Being Manipulated By A Former Landmark Snakeoil

landmark manipulation techniques
Note from Shae: what you’re about to read is based on my own personal experience. 

“You seem so confused and unsure of yourself Shae. Why is that?”

His words stung me, took me back and they came out of nowhere. I just met this guy 30 minutes before and what I thought was going to be business meeting turned out to be 4 hours of bullying, intimidation and nasty manipulation tactics.

This man had me believe that I have no business, I’m a fraud and as a result, I almost quit there and then.

I could feel the tears welling up and then I lost it. This man proceeded to tear apart my business, he couldn’t understand why I only target women entrepreneurs and pretty much thinks I don’t walk my talk.

The first 30 minutes of our conversation, which took place last Friday, was about him telling me he recently lost a lot of weight by cutting out sugar, wants to settle down and start a family, how he watched his father pass away (and ultimately changed the direction of his life) and that he was looking for a super star internet marketer to manage all of his online marketing. I think I disappointed him terribly when I said I don’t manage Facebook campaigns and that I’ve never worked with high profile Internet Marketers that generated millions of dollars. I was immediately confused as to why I was referred to this person.

As a classic introvert, I’m often very sensitive to other people’s energy. During this encounter, I welcomed his feedback and I was prepared to accept a different point of view if someone wishes to share it. I went into this “meeting” with an open mind and I didn’t realise I was being manipulated until afterwards when some friends of mine made me aware that the behaviour of this person was completely inappropriate. Over the weekend, the anger started to kick in and I became annoyed at myself for giving my power away so easily and for not respecting my space and boundaries.

After he had me flooding in tears (in the middle of the day at a busy cafe), he then admitted he was a former Landmark participant of 5 years. I felt he immediately saw through my vigour and that I was “busted,” so I proceeded to let down my guard. I began to explain that running a business is the hardest thing I have ever done and that it’s hard to talk to people about it, because I’ll be honest, I don’t have many people that would understand to speak to about it. I told him of my dreams and desires. He knew I was vulnerable and he mentioned a couple of times I have a lot of nervous energy.

Now that I reflect back on this experience, I sensed he immediately felt a disconnect between what he saw of me in real life and my brand and image online and I think he felt disappointed and let down. This is something I am conscious of. I don’t mind admitting that if you were to meet me in real life, I am a little shy, especially around men, and as I admitted last week, a bit socially awkward. I am always getting tongue tied. Actually his words were I have a brand and photos that make men want to shag me but I’m not as confident as I appear in my photos. As unbelievable as it sounds, in that moment I didn’t think he was being inappropriate  – not until later. He thought that was the perception I was trying to create, which couldn’t be further from the truth. In hindsight, his remarks were downright insulting.

But what the hell does he expect? Of course I’m not going to put crap photos on my website. I used to admit on my about page that I’m an introvert and that I used to be quite shy. He told me that it’s a big mistake that I only target women entrepreneurs because I’m eliminating half of my market, I should have built my own website and not paid for someone else to do it, believes I’m not putting myself out there enough, I’m not building solid relationships with people, and that nobody reads about pages (I’m sure Derek Halpern would heckle him for this). Please let’s not forget, this man only met me less than an hour ago.

The power and control over me on this day was staggering – I had no idea what I was doing, or how I allowed myself to stay there for four hours and listen to his “reasoning.” I was even asking for his advice, I welcomed his feedback, really believing that my business is all wrong and that I need to start from scratch.

But then again, Landmark been the subject of so many lawsuits and claims of being a cult.

Which brings me to my next point. Over the weekend I began feeling so angry and frustrated about what had happened I had a big rant on my personal Facebook page. I admit I used a couple of expletives, which interestingly, appeared to cost me three “friends.” The support from my real friends has been incredible and believed this man’s behaviour was horrendous. But then an interesting dynamic began to take shape. While most people were supportive, there was a small percentage that believed I was at fault. “You are in control of that part of your life,” “you stayed 3 hours and 59 seconds too long” and “you had the power to walk away.”

You know what? Those people are absolutely right. I did have the power to walk away. But at the time, I felt I was hypnotised by this man and it didn’t occur to me that he was overstepping my boundaries.

Then a friend of mine Kerry Jeffery reached out and offered me to talk this out with her. Kerry is a non-wanky Therapeutic Life Coach that helps people that are unhappy with any part of their life to release blocks that are holding them back and heal. Kerry said that this man displayed pretty standard Landmark induction behaviour – he was trying to break me down through bullying to “show me my ‘rackets,'” that there is no truth to what he said and he had no right to say it.

I mentioned to Kerry that no matter what he said he had an answer for everything. She said that people like him are skilled at turning anything you say back on you as being a racket or being in denial.

Kerry has such a healing quality about her and I’m already starting to regain my self-confidence. Not only that, while some people were quick to point out that I had the power to walk away and I stayed in that meeting far too long, Kerry never once judged for my actions and never made me feel guilty as to how I reacted on that day or afterwards.

So how do you recognise if you’re being manipulated and why am I sharing this with you ?

According to Psychology Today, psychological manipulation can be defined as the exercise of undue influence through mental distortion and emotional exploitation, with the intention to seize power, control, benefits, and privileges at the victim’s expense. Most manipulative individuals have common characteristics including:

  • They know how to detect your weaknesses.
  • Once found, they use your weaknesses against you.

I look back now and wish I was smarter so he wouldn’t have seen through my weakness and that I was more assertive.

The problem is manipulators rely on your self-doubt and lack of trust in your own perceptions. I’m at a point where I’m making some serious decisions on the direction of my business and what I should do next.

Now that I recognise the signs of a manipulator, next time I will walk away. Unless, of course, you’re confident to manage the situation and have the verbal skills to match.

I walked away from this encounter believing I was a failure. I believed (briefly) I was a SEO fraud and that I had no right to have a business. By the end of that meeting, I was physically and emotionally exhausted. It took me right back to high school.

I don’t want anyone else to ever go through this experience.

I’m just a regular person trying to make a go of it. I have dreams and aspirations just like anybody else. I’ve failed plenty of times before and I’m sure there will be more failures in future. I’m a one-woman show that wants to help other female entrepreneurs spread their message far and wide. I want to be of service and make a contribution to the world – he had no right to attempt to make be believe anything differently.

But more importantly, he had no right to question my transparency and integrity.

Have you been in a similar situation before? Can you recognise when someone is manipulating you? Do you have any strategies you can share that will help empower and educate others? I think it’s important that we share and learn from these experiences so please let me know in the comments below.

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58 Comments

  1. Some people!

    It’s not terribly difficult to use manipulation techniques but it’s incredibly difficult if you have any morality at all. Unfortunately, I’ve seen these kind of snake-oil master manipulators in business and they will rip you asunder if you allow it. As you said, people (including “friends”) are quick to judge you for falling ‘prey’ to their techniques, without realising that they are effective and powerful and that most of us would be similarly seduced.

    I’m of the opinion that personalities are quite fluid – they don’t exist in a vacuum but are the interplay of two (or more) personalities together. So it’s not a reflection on your personality but rather a mighty red flag that his personality didn’t mesh well with yours. Thanks for being so raw and brave.
    Brook McCarthy recently posted…Ten things you may not know about meMy Profile

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  2. Shae, this all so resonates with me. I’m a total introvert (hence why I thrive working at home without loads of people around me draining my energy). Would love to get involved in your introvert corner! We may be quieter than our extrovert friends, it doesn’t mean we don’t have as much to say, or a contribution to make. 🙂

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  3. I can say is WOW! I love your post and I commend you for sharing it Shae. I know it can be hard to just get up and leave, especially as it is a face to face situation. It is not easy! BTW I love your work and you blog, even though I have not used your services. I heard great things about you from others. Ness xoxo

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  4. Oh Shae. That sounds like a completely horrendous experience, & this person sounds entirely horrid. Don’t ever think that what you do isn’t if value, and helping women build great online businesses, & consequently be if great service in a world that desperately needs it. Just last night I spent some hours on your site reading your blogs because they’re so helpful in an area that many women find quite daunting. There is absolutely a time & place for examining yourself & your business & looking at what might be improved & developed (although it looks pretty good to me). But ghat exploration needs to be with safe people who get you & build you up, not arrogant tossers who think they have the right to tell you where you’re falling short – the nerve!! You rock, girl! There would be plenty of people who have your back. Don’t give your time or energy to any one who doesn’t. Xx

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  5. I’m so incredibly sorry that you had this experience lovely. I know a few people who have done Landmark and they are wonderful people, so it souds like this guy is just a douche bag. Love you x
    Tara recently posted…Guide(d) to LAMy Profile

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  6. I related to this story a lot – and funnily enough have a few family members and friends that have been through Landmark (I have had people trying to entice me in quite a few times!).
    I am an introverted entrepreneur and it often feels like I’m on a ledge, the slightest thing can tip me over into the depths of uncertainty about everything I’m doing.
    I am very excited about your new feature! Can’t wait to start reading, and would love to be in touch if you’re interested.

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  7. Hell YES! I so resonated with that, it was like reading something I had written! I’ve been involved with people from the same institution and they scare me! Would love to hear more stories about other introverts – so hard being in business when that is your personality type – thanks for starting the Corner – can’t wait to find out more! 🙂 Keep up the good work Shae – you’re an inspiration! 🙂 xx

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  8. Oh Shae!

    1. That totally sucks that, that happened to you!
    I had a situation a few years back where a marketing duded called me right before Christmas trying to sell me into his high end program. He was a bully and a total jerk.
    When I told him to contact me in the new year because it was 4pm on the 20th December and I was trying to finish of client work before going in for major surgery the next day and then a Christmas break and wasn’t in the head space to consider a big ticket marketing item. He accused me of making excuses and all sorts of other stuff.

    It made me furious from the get go, but also second guess myself. WAS I thinking small and making excuses? WAS I a coward? – I stayed on the line with him for over an hour. NO idea why in retrospect, so I totally get where you are coming from.

    2. Kerry is wonderful, I’m so glad you got some wonderful support and are feeling better.

    3. I’m a total introvert too and would love to be part of your corner.
    Marama Carmichael recently posted…“These are a few of my favourite things!”My Profile

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  9. Oh I so feel your pain with this. As far as I can see you are showing up in the arena of business and stepping into your power. Unfortunately this attracts good and bad energy and this situation just blind-sided you temporarily. You are going to learn and grow so much more from this 😉 I was manipulated by a similar character while working in NHS and my male manager had this effect on me for Ten years. It’s been a struggle to realise that I have all the answers within me and to trust my intuition..but what I do know is that you are only human and many of us would have reacted the same… Feel into the uncomfortableness of it, be gentle with yourself and then take little steps forward and you will shift in amazing ways and come out even stronger. You have a wonderful business and I am interested in your corner xxx it’s not a sign of weakness … This is a sign of your strength 😉
    Lisa McLoughlin recently posted…The Sacred AloneMy Profile

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  10. Gah. Those people make me so angry.

    Good on you for speaking out, because its the silence that makes their techniques remain approved in the public eye.

    Some people are bullies and will use any form idiocy to dress it up. Landmark is simply one of those institutionalised forms that, because it has people spending money on it, seems to hold some weight in certain circles. But it doesn’t- and you’ve pretty much identified why.

    It plays on the human fraility all of us have. Nobody likes 4 hour sermons on why we’re on the train to Shitsville. And no one understands how quickly you can get pulled into someone’s stupidity and end up there. It’s like people who give themselves (or others) a hard time for being in abusive relationships. If they leant across the table and punched you in the face on the first date, you wouldn’t go back. Equally, if that fellow said his last line of mean conversation as the first one, you probably would have bid him good day within seconds. But they don’t because they know they have to lure you first in order to do the real damage.

    I’m sorry you went through that. He clearly doesn’t know his arse from his elbow though if he disregards the time you have put into establishing your niche and brand positioning. It’s clearly evident to us that respect and admire your work that you’ve thought long and hard.

    As a fellow introvert, I get how much people take our listening, silence, quiet contemplation or vulnerabilities and use them as some kind of “screw you” tool. Apparently, if you aren’t jumping around screaming “look at me, aren’t I fabulous?!” at the top of your gaudy, self congratulating lungs, there is something wrong with you. There also appears to be an outright rejection of thinking for more than 5 minutes or half an hour on a given subject.

    I say nuts to that.

    Who wants to live in a world where people cruelty reigns, people are so damn rapt with themselves they can’t shut up about how wonderful they are, and thinking is something only the seriously uncool do?! Give me kind, quiet, thoughtful people any day.

    I’m angered by this dude. I think you better hide all evidence of his person and any thwacking mallets lest a certain introvert flies down from Sydney to stick a size nine Croc up his over-perfumed posterior.

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  11. Shae it’s great that you were able to learn something from this horrid experience and it’s inspiring and a real credit to you to be able to share your story to help others. As a fellow introverted entrepreneur who also is very sensitive I can really relate to how things like this can effect us… I would love to be featured at some point in introverts corner if I am suitable! Love to you xxx

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  12. Thank you for sharing your experience and anger with us. I can totally relate. If you are introverted (like me), my guess is that you meet new people in good faith and with an open mind. If something doesn’t quite feel right, you don’t react immediately, you mull it over. And then hours or days later, your reaction starts to build, you seek more information (from trusted friends and other information sources) and you see things clearly. You check your thoughts and feelings against an external benchmark before deciding how to proceed. If this is the case for you, I just want to point out that it is not better or worse than leaving a dodgy conversation early, or being assertive straight away. You ARE assertive, you just take your time with it. And that’s ok (even though we may feel railroaded afterwards). We learn fast, and it rarely happens a second time. The flip side of this is that you are probably a great listener, observant and thoughtful. You grow on your clients, and I bet if I asked them, some would admit that you are their jealously guarded secret weapon. It may not be obvious but that is an AWESOME market to have– because it is a loyal one. Hugs, and congratulations for calling out some seriously manipulative behaviour! P.S. I LOVE the idea of an introvert corner and will be checking back soon.
    Sarra recently posted…A Surefire Tip for Reducing Email TimeMy Profile

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  13. Oh Shae, what a complete prat and moron that guy has proven himself to be.
    Sadly life is full of live hazards like this person. I believe in building a person’s self-esteem, not destroying it. And believe me, you look fantastic in your photos. They show you as ‘alive, warm and professional’.

    Keep at it. There are many positive and supportive people in our world who want to see you do well. Keep working in your target market of ‘women in business’

    My best to you,

    Murray

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  14. Shae, thank you so much for sharing this experience so deeply, honestly with us. Some people are incredible aren’t they? I was literally reading your post in disbelief, I truly feel for you. It can be so difficult to walk away from situations like this, and easily to get entranced and almost captivated by someone saying hurtful things to you (whenever this has happened to me it felt like they were reading into my inner most fears!). As someone who has worked with you please know this – I have never had more clarity, inspiration or drive to build my blog as I do after having purchased your SEO report. You have a razor sharp ability to see into someone’s website and whip it into shape with love, passion and best of all – authentic femininity! I love that! It’s fantastic that you’re so clear about who you target (find a niche, not a nation!) and it’s not ‘dumb’ business practice at all – it’s genius to be so clear on you your customer is. It can be so difficult not letting these guys bully us with fear – so thank you for sharing your experience so others can learn from it. Chloe x

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  15. I can absolutely relate to this. How easily those kinds of people suck all your energy out & leave a void for all that self-doubt to fill. In a seemingly extroverted market, being an introvert makes things that bit more difficult! I’m so glad to have found your blog and would love to be a part of your introvert corner 🙂 x

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  16. Shae – want a fantastic post. I commend and admire you for being so honest and sharing this experience.

    It’s all easy for us to give advice after the event and really none of that matters, it’s how you actually felt and feel that matters – not what you could have done. Having said that I just wanted to add that his actions and comments say everything about him and nothing about you. For example his comments about your photos are just about what he thought – and do not show him in a good light – he certainly doesn’t represent everyone. I remember when you first had those photos taken and shared them in our Mastermind group and everyone commented on how beautiful they were – which they are – they make you look real and professional.

    Introvert or not (and that’s not something me or anyone else would call me!) I think we all have those experiences and self beliefs based on our experiences from years ago, especially from being young, that can be summoned up unexpectedly at any moment by something someone says – and it’s not nice but I’m so pleased that you’ve a found a way through this experience and are taking something positive out of it (for us anyway)- by sharing this post. We know you are great!
    Kathryn Bryant recently posted…Changeability book – it’s hereMy Profile

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  17. Hi Shae,

    I just read your email and came over to finish the rest of this post. Wow!

    On a positive note, it’s a good thing you went through that because now you’ll be able to recognize that behavior in others. People like that have swindled others out of their life savings so if you cross paths with someone like him, you’ll be able to see it more clearly.

    Be gentle with yourself – I’m sure this has been very hard for you.
    Joanne recently posted…Need blog or social media graphics?My Profile

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  18. Hi Shae,
    Thank you for sharing that painful experience. I think it shows a tremendous amount of courage. It is also a gift to your readers that we can learn from a situation without going through it.

    When people are able to land a comment on our insecurities it can feel like they “see the real us”. That can get through our defenses pretty swiftly. But it isn’t true. I’m sorry you experienced that but know that it will serve you and your readers so well going forward.

    Best,
    Eileen (GKGC)

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  19. SUCH a sucky experience! I once encountered something similar; I won a drawing from a speaker at a networking event for what was billed as a free 1-hour consultation. It ended up being a 1-hr sales pitch where the guy repeatedly knocked me down. He said I could never have a successful business working only part time and being a mom full time (false). He told me that I would never earn the salary I wanted from working so little (also false). And he kept saying things like if I really was serious about my business—and serious about taking care of my family—I would spend massive amounts of money for his coaching program. He kept on like this for 45 minutes, after I repeatedly told him I simply did not have the kind of money he wanted me to spend—whether I wanted to work with him or not! I felt like I couldn’t get out of the situation, either. I think we women are taught to be polite, and that sometimes works against us! You are definitely not a fraud, and you are a beautiful woman, worthy of respect regardless of what that ass-hat thinks!
    Lacy recently posted…Be the Change You Want to See (In Your Readers) With a Character ArcMy Profile

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  20. That totally sucks Shae! But what a great lesson to self … and a reminder for the rest of us. It’s a perfect example of how women do business different than men. It’s more than okay to work only with women – it’s more than okay to structure your business the way you have – and it’s absolutely more than okay to know how to market your business to your strengths. Introverts do business a little different than extroverts.

    Authentic? You betcha! And transparent. That’s what I love about your approach. And you speak directly to the challenges women have online when it comes to SEO. The fact that you’re directing the conversation to us introverts is nothing short of heart-felt brilliance.

    The next time some slickster wants to use you to puff up his self importance, just hop back here and read the comments to this post or read your client testimonials. You’re making a difference to the people that matter.

    xo Miki
    Miki Strong recently posted…A Big Ole Facebook No-No for Eager Group Leaders (+ Some Guidelines)My Profile

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  21. I’m so sorry to hear you went through this experience! It sounds like it was so frustrating and draining but I’m glad to hear that you’ve taken the best lessons from it that you could and are moving forward. I just recently discovered your blog, but look forward to each post and your insights in helping me grow my business. You have a lot to be proud of!

    I’m a total introvert and would love to be part of your corner. 🙂
    elizabeth recently posted…Stop to Play: a painting from start to finishMy Profile

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  22. I read this post with great interest. Years ago, I was coached by a gal who done all of the Landmark classes. In some of our sessions, I felt like I couldn’t say anything right. I felt disempowered a bit about some of my ideas. I felt like something was “off.” I didn’t sign on for more coaching with her.

    I relate to the bits in this post about being an introvert very much! At times, I’ve felt as if people have written me off as weak just because I’m quiet and more introspective than some. Or, some try to impose their reality on top of mine, trying to bowl me over. I’ve always been energy sensitive and could feel these things, but it wasn’t until I reached my 40s that I felt comfortable enough to speak up and hold my boundaries. It’s taken me a long time! I smile now when I do talk or speak up in situations, some will say things like, “Oh, wow, you gotta watch these quiet ones!” I think some of us introverts are very powerful (in a gentle, loving way, but it’s still POWER). I agree when people say stuff like that by just nodding and smiling 😉 Yep.

    Thanks for sharing this post. I’d love to be in the Corner if there’s room 🙂
    Lisa recently posted…Gratitude After the StormMy Profile

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  23. Been there, done that with Landmark. I participated for 2 years under their influence, and happy to report that I made it out mostly intact. Thanks for sharing your experience.
    Amy recently posted…This one thing: EpilogueMy Profile

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  24. “Actually his words were I have a brand and photos that make men want to shag me but I’m not as confident as I appear in my photos. ”

    Where do I start with the plethora of wrongness in that statement? The blatant sexism? The domineering objectification that reduces women to sexual fantasies? Using this fear of misconception to make you question your legitimacy? OR is it simply planting the idea “you’re not confident” into your subconscious after your ego has been shaken leaving you defenseless?

    But that’s easy for me to say, but I wonder when faced with a similar situation how I would react? Would I walk away? Or try to respond? Attempt to change his mind… yeah that, I can see myself thing I can change his mind. It’s horrible how he treated you, he’s a turd. Yeah, a turd.

    I found myself in a situation, not too long ago where I was “talked-into” taking a course (in web optimization in fact). I voiced my hesitation during “the pitch” and immediately my vulnerability was exposed. I am also introverted, and though I tend to be chatty and come off extroverted, energy is easily drained. She picked up on my kryptonite- my fear of missing out.

    She started with the “this is a limited offer”, a “high value investment”. But, when I didn’t budge (because it was over my budget, by A LOT!) she pulled out the big guns. The “you gotta spend money to make money” speech ensued, promising me if “you don’t take big chances, you won’t make big profits”.

    I wasn’t making big money yet, was I? No. But instead of explaining how her program would benefit me, she pointed out that it was my unwillingness to take a chance, my small mindedness, my insecurity … I was the problem.

    Spoiler alert: I signed up. Her program sucked.

    Que the guilt, the anger, the frustration. I kept telling myself “Lara, you should have known better.” Yeah, well maybe I should have. But after a while I realized it was an invaluable lesson. Sure, spending money I didn’t have sucked- but it’s put into perspective for me how much I need to trust my gut. And more importantly, never allow someone to overstep my boundary… well first I needed to realize I needed to create a boundary- THEN not allow others to overstep it.

    P.S. He’s obviously an idiot- “no one reads about pages.” 2nd most visited page… at least THAT I can confirm from that program I took.
    Lara recently posted…The Fab Four- The 4 supplements Everyone Should be TakingMy Profile

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  25. Wow, your post zoomed me back 4 years ago when I was subjected to an experience with a convicted conman! The lies he told me were immense, giving me great hope for my busienss, but also cutting me where it hurts so I would ‘need’ him. I met him through a good friend, so I didn’t question it at the start, but more grand promises started to ring alarm bells & after a quick internet search, we found he had been convicted and jailed in 2 other states for conning people! :O

    My main lesson learned was if something feels a tad peculiar, listen to that feeling, talk about it with friends and work out what’s going on. Intuition doesn’t lie. If there’s a weird feeling, then there’s a weird situation.

    I am 80% introvert & would love to be featured in the corner! I love working online, it suits me so well and emails are a god-send compared to the dreaded phone 😉

    Glad you have awesome people around you to discern manipulative behaviours – it is hard when you’re stuck in the middle. xx
    Fran recently posted…Comment on Notice something different around here? by FranMy Profile

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  26. Sorry to hear you were on the receiving end of this behaviour lovely Shae — this guy sounds like a sad (and sexist!) human being. What confirmation that you are working with EXACTLY the people you want to be working with. He can now be the poster boy for your Definitely Not Ideal Client. Sending you lots of love, and reminder that the work you do in the world is INSANELY valuable. You revolutionised my whole approach to SEO, and that’s a big deal. xx

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  27. Where can we find out more about Landmark Manipulation Techniques? I’m still a bit unsure what this involves and how it actually works… How do we recognize the signs? I’d love to educate myself so I don’t stick around for 4 hours—that must have been excruciating.

    Much love.

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  28. Hi Marinda,

    Generally in these types of set ups there is a hidden agenda which is to set up a meeting, giving the impression its for business or even a social purpose.

    Usually in a public place (less chance of you “fighting back” or “causing a scene”. The manipulator quickly assess your vulnerabilities so any signs of nervousness, hesitations or lack of confidence.

    They offer to give you “feedback” which is generally an attack of you, how you look, your business, skills, qualifications etc that is extremely negative, inflammatory and dismissive.

    It is designed to shock you, hit you emotionally hard so that you are vulnerable and will stay put.

    They are aiming for tears and upset and any attempt on your part to disagree is turned back on you as denial or in landmark terms, “your racket”, and they claim they are only telling you this to “help you” and its for your own good.

    They can also attempt to engage your empathy by telling you a sob story to get you on side.

    It is manipulative, persuasive, aggressive, overpowering, confusing and distressing, all of which keeps you unable to think clearly.

    The shock and anger usually comes later as at the time, it can have a “this can’t be happening” unreal quality to the experience which is to break you down and make you vulnerable, then see the “program” as the cure for your issues and they will keep telling you that you are the one with the problem.

    My advice is, be clear on the purpose of any meeting you are invited to that doesn’t feel “right”.

    Make your feelings your highest priority. We often fall into not wanting to appear “rude” or make a scene. If you feel uncomfortable, honor that and leave the meeting.

    If you have been caught in one of these encounters, it really helps to debrief and talk it through as the person will have done their best to push every single button you have so that you are shocked, distressed and vulnerable.

    Hope this helps your readers Shae, thanks for inviting me in to the discussion.

    Kerry x

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  29. The only thing he was right about was that you look hot in your pictures. Everything else is a reflection on him, not you.

    I often get frustrated that introverts are misinterpreted. I often get mistaken for aloof, when I’m merely thinking. Give me a minute to gather my thoughts, people! That feeling of being misunderstood in real life has made it a challenge to be myself online. I get better at it every day and one of the things I love about your blog is that I feel a genuine connection. I feel like you’d be exactly the same if I met you offline. And this post just makes me want to work with you even more.

    Your Introverts Corner idea is downright genius. I’d love to be a part of it and I can’t wait to read it.

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  30. Hi Shae, as I read this, my heart went out to you. I so resonated – you are amazing to share this experience so that we can all learn, as well. The genius is that you were became aware of the manipulations and stood your ground. Because dear Shae, you are amazing and you are absolutely an expert in your biz field. Thank you gorgeous xx

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  31. Tarnya Cook

    Shae you are smart, gorgeous and so knowledgeable in what you do. No matter what someone does and says to you they can’t take any of that away as long as you keep coming back to it and that’s so cool! I know what it feels like to be an introvert, I’ve learnt to put myself out there more and still be authentic but it does drain me and takes me a day or two to build my energy back up when I’ve been’ on’ for an event or the like. I’m not nearly as painfully shy as I was as a teenager and even in my early 20’s but I like the introvert in me that’s allows me to spend reflective time on my own and value my peace and quiet. I hope its something I can teach my kids to value whether they turn out to be introverts or not.
    Lots of love to you. xx

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  32. Fi Mims

    Well done for not letting this creep ruin your business or your life, Shae! I’ve worked my arse off in my biz for 10 years now and am still passionate about it, but even today if someone catches me at the right time it doesn’t take long to get to a point where I can question everything, so I can just imagine how easy it would’ve been to let him influence you. Shame on him for taking advantage of you like that! And if he’d convinced you to take your photos down I would’ve hunted him down myself and given him what-for. Yes you look beautiful and sexy in them, but you also look friendly, open, honest, confident and smart, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that! (and for what it’s worth they don’t make me want to shag you – no offence, lol!) Love your work! Your fellow introvert, Fi. x

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  33. Hi Shae
    It’s taken me a week to to get to this blog, but I marked it as a ‘must get to’.
    Thanks so much for sharing your experience.
    I’m not an introvert, but like you, running businesses on my own, there are always issues where self-esteem and self-confidence are tested.
    I champion you. With blogs like this you are already making a valuable and amazing contribution to your community, ‘women in business’. Women who bring up kids, hold together relationships, support friends and have big dreams. Onwards and upwards!
    Abbe Holmes recently posted…Interview with a Voice Over Pro – Peter KentMy Profile

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  34. I’m so sorry this happened to you! Did he even feel bad seeing you cry? Arghh, makes me angry. You are working and targeting the exact right people, just look at all your comment love from this post!
    I’m an introvert and love the idea of your introvert corner, would love to be a part of it, and read about other introverts putting themselves out there in the online world. xx
    Morgan recently posted…Sassy Soul Sisters: Interview with Michelle MerrifieldMy Profile

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  35. Shae, I was so shocked to read about your experience and it’s taken me until now to comment so I cannot even begin to imagine how you felt during what can only be described as an aggressive onslaught. I’ve never heard of Landmark so can’t comment, but the characteristics of this person are so similar to those who are abusive in a relationship where even the strongest or most savvy victim doesn’t realise they are being manipulated until way after the character assassination kicks in (I worked in criminal analysis for years so I’ve seen it time and time again). I like you am an introvert and got so sick of experiencing first hand and hearing about others experiences that I now work with women to be strong and trust in themselves so they can spot this type of nonsense and be the best they can be. These types of individuals prey on your manners too as they know you won’t just get up and walk away so I get that you stayed, I’ve been there and done it too!
    I love your courage to speak out and share. I think introverts everywhere are saying crikey ‘that’s happened to me’. I now use a simple technique when I find myself stuck with this type of person so I stay true to my manners but don’t let the words affect me…I imagine a big party hat slowly lowering over my head to the tune of nelly the elephant..and I imagine their words bouncing off. I remain protected and stay true to my own values and manners. It works a treat although I have hummed the tune out loud without realising it haha (might work as a conversation stopper!).

    Anyway, I love what you do, it has helped me immensely in starting out my on-line business as an introvert. You have great knowledge that needs to be shared…never forget that.

    I’d love to be included in your introverts spotlight if you have room.

    Onwards and upwards!
    Cat x

    Reply
  36. Hi Shae,
    Do you know I to had a recent experience of being recently manipulated in business. It was from a person who said that he wanted to book in bulk therapy sessions when he arrived in Sydney for himself and 10 others. But this turned out to be a scam. Thankfully I caught it when I became suspicious about the way he was wanting to transaction money. I am thinking of writing a blog on this myself, I am so worried this might happen to others in my field. I was very disappointed this was a scam and was very close to booking rooms and paying for consultants for this person. Could have cost me a lot. Not to mention potential loss of money from other ways he had planned.
    I am interested in your introvert feature – but at the same time I am not sure I am ready for this kind of exposure……certain amount of irony I know.
    Jacqueline

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  37. Oh Shae I am so sorry that you went through this experience, but I am very glad you’re using it as a way to build strength for yourself and your business. I grew up in a destructive religious cult, and know all too well about what those kinds of encounters do to you. They’re absolutely traumatizing, but by your sharing the story it shows that you’re strong and thriving.
    Even if this kind of thing happens again (which I hope it doesn’t) please don’t blame yourself. As Cat mentioned, this kind of manipulation is often hard to understand when it’s happening. He was hitting your triggers and causing trauma, which means that we often have a very hard time extracting ourselves from the situation as it’s happening.
    Anyway big fellow introverted hugs to you and thank you for sharing your story. I think it will be a wonderful learning tool for other women who might find themselves in a similar situation.

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  38. Oh well done for penning this post Shae! As a total introvert I find any “ra ra” tactics just awful and the smell of a sales pitch sees me hitting the delete button so quickly, but having to sit with this guy … I probably would have sat there and copped it too just to be ‘polite’ so I’m so sorry you had that experience. A great learning (for me) that assertiveness doesn’t mean being rude, it just means you respect yourself enough to get up and remove yourself from a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable (wish I found that easy!). Love to be involved in your introverts corner. Sometimes the online space is so loud, it’s lovely to find a group of ‘different’ business owners! 🙂

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  39. Behavior like this makes me angry in a way that few other things do. I despise manipulative people.

    I’ve had things like this happen to me, and it’s horrible. I’ve noticed that when I feel a sort of puzzled astonishment, as though I’ve run into a wall I didn’t even know was there, that those are the times I’m being manipulated. Sometimes, I just sit there and say nothing. After some time passes, I usually find something to say, and walk away.

    I would love to be featured in your Introverts Corner.
    Louise Penberthy recently posted…Six Action Steps For the C-Suite if One of Your Reports is a SociopathMy Profile

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