One of the phenomena that troubles me most is the epidemic of hypocrisy and manipulation among healers and coaches and the spiritually “conscious.”
When I moved to California from the east coast (the signs and downloads I received leading up to that is a story in and of itself that I will share), I was blown away by how mainstream the esoteric and healing arts were. There was broad acceptance of spirituality and alternative (and all) belief systems, and so many people were on a health or spiritual journey and open about it. Let’s just say it was quite a contrast to New England.
I’ve been blessed to be privy to a wealth of opportunities in the healing, wellness, and spiritual worlds since then, including after I moved back to the east coast. I wholeheartedly took advantage of many of those. And a lot of the people and events and courses truly helped me heal and awaken, as well as open up to my own intuitive abilities. As I say in my bio, I tried everything from breathwork to Reiki to spiritual pilgrimages to the Hoffman Process, and much more.
Manipulation and Projection in Spirituality and Healers
However. There’s another theme I started to notice and couldn’t deny, especially as it happened more and more. And that is the somewhat “hidden in plain sight” pattern of healers/guides/coaches who lack integrity. They are in a position of power or authority with their clients (even though in truth no one is ever above or below another person), and these clients may be particularly vulnerable and open to influence because they are seeking healing. This means the effects of this dynamic can be deeper and more damaging than if it were a non-healing practitioner like a lawyer, for example.
There’s a whole side to this that can get very dark and traumatic when it’s on a broader scale, which I won’t go into here. But on an individual and still extremely important level, I’ve experienced myself and also witnessed countless cases of this dynamic at play. So many coach and healer types behave or speak out of alignment with what they teach, preach, or claim.
From a male healer friend hitting on me immediately after some deep inner child stuff came up (hello, boundaries?!) to someone telling me her “level of consciousness” was so high that her healing session was “easier” than for others, I’ve seen some outrageous cases of spiritual arrogance and inappropriateness. At the beginning of my healing journey, I also fell for some manipulative, pushy sales from various practitioners. I certainly learned my lesson around discernment through those. When you feel any hint of pressure or neediness from a practitioner, back away. It’s about them, not you. It likely means they are not in their own truth, power, and/or integrity, and therefore aren’t fully available to help you anyway. Also, don’t let anyone tell you they know better than you what’s true for you. Been there, too. The audacity! Sometimes we’re hurting or vulnerable and believe them over ourselves. If this happens, forgive yourself (and hightail it out of there).
An upsetting case of this happened when I was pushed into joining a program (I take accountability for agreeing). It never felt right to me, and became obvious why. I discovered the lead person had lied to me about something to get me to attend one of her events, and when I backed out politely, she didn’t even respond (ever again). The cherry on top is that in my email decline, I did not call her out or attack, I simply said it was what was best for me at that time for xyz reasons, aka setting healthy boundaries. One of her main teachings was around boundary setting, so I was living what she taught, yet it wasn’t OK (when it went against her agenda).
One of the funnier (only in retrospect) experiences I had with this hypocrisy was a vegan friend who made terribly mean, judgmental comments and then banished me from her car for eating a burger on a road trip. I’m not even a big meat eater but the burger joint was the only option for food within many miles/hours. Then she tried to “educate” me on veganism (being a health coach, I am fully studied up, which she knew). Wow! The antithesis of compassion for sentient beings (animals and humans) that vegans supposedly espouse. Needless to say, I let that relationship go afterwards.
“Love and Light” Hypocrisy
The other aspect of this in the spiritual and wellness industries that can create problems is the “love and light” mantra. Love and light is great and real, but when it’s used to couch manipulative comments or actions, it’s toxic. Or, when it’s the ONLY focus, and the shadow sides, real emotions, or pain is glossed over or dismissed. This can come into play with the law of attraction movement (changing your thoughts to consciously manifest). The law of attraction is also very real, but there are many additional factors at play, including karma and the soul blueprint. We are whole beings, and usually in order to experience true joy and love and light, we need to plumb the depths of our pain and shadow side (the parts of ourselves that are hidden or we don’t want to face).
Overall, I was shocked at how some of the most dysfunctional people and dynamics I’d ever seen were in this field. (Note: this is certainly also rampant in other industries.) It fueled resistance in me to move forward with this work for a while. But then I realized it was all the more reason to proceed as guided. I’ve always valued integrity as #1, in myself and others. I’ve studied and experienced a ton in the health and spirituality realms, and yet the more I learn, the more I’m in awe of the great mystery. No one modality or belief system is 100% “right” or more true than another, and it’s arrogant for us mere mortals to act that way.
At the end of the day, we’re all human. The problem arises when said human is a self-proclaimed healer or guide for others, and is not humble, owning their own shadow, and/or facing and healing their own wounds. Projections and shifting of blame inevitably ensue, which can get ugly and insidious with client relationships.
This is actually also true for all relationships. When someone acts superior or condescending or pushy, and like they know how the world works, what the truth is, or that they are somehow more “advanced” than you (or others), oftentimes that’s a massive red flag. Unfortunately, as we know, this is the cause of not only fractured relationships between friends and family members but also wars and conflicts between countries, movements, and religions. As people heal themselves from superiority, hatred, and judgment by doing the work, we heal the world, because the world is made up of all of us.
Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a story to share on this topic or need some support. I’m here for you.
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