Bloom: Human Stories of Resilience

Down the Rabbit Hole

December 13, 2020 Susie & Dr Steve Season 2 Episode 4
Down the Rabbit Hole
Bloom: Human Stories of Resilience
More Info
Bloom: Human Stories of Resilience
Down the Rabbit Hole
Dec 13, 2020 Season 2 Episode 4
Susie & Dr Steve

How do smart, self-aware people get drawn into difficult and dangerous situations, such as cults and scams? Hear the amazing story of Sue and Gordon, an ordinary couple who became enmeshed in a cult and very nearly lost everything, including their home, each other and their children.

Show Notes Transcript

How do smart, self-aware people get drawn into difficult and dangerous situations, such as cults and scams? Hear the amazing story of Sue and Gordon, an ordinary couple who became enmeshed in a cult and very nearly lost everything, including their home, each other and their children.

Dr Steve  0:01  
Hey, Susie. 

Susie BW  0:01  
Hey, Steve. 

Dr Steve  0:02  
I have got a cracking story for you. Okay, this takes us back to 1997 I think it was, I don't know if you remember the, the Heaven's Gate cult. Does that ring a bell at all? No bunch of people that ended up killing themselves rather tragically, but that the particular form that their cult took was that there was a comment in the sky. I certainly remember it was in it was visible as I walked home in bath in England. At the end of every day, I could see it shining in the sky. And it was quite a spooky sight, the Halle Bopp comet in 1997. And they believe that behind this comet, there was a spaceship that was going to come down, and to gather up to heaven, all of those who are called which, of course, were the people within the cult. So the people who knew about the spaceship were also the people who were going to get called exactly right. They were the chosen ones. And there are there are always in any cult, there are the the people on the inside. And then everybody else who's cast into the outer darkness. The particular story that strikes me so forcibly is this, that there were a couple of guys who went and bought a telescope, they were part of this cult. And they were very excited, because they could see the comment, but they were very excited because they wanted to see the spaceship. So they went out and shelled out three or $4,000 on buying this top notch telescope, got it home, got it out of the box, set it up, and they could see the comet, but they could see no spaceship. So you would think, wouldn't you? I would think I certainly would expect that, given that very clear evidence they might have had cause to question their certainty. So let me guess there was a problem with the telescope. Got it in one. I can just imagine them scrambling around going, where where did we put the receipt? Did we keep the receipt, we need the receipt because this damn telescope is not working. So they packaged it all back together again, put it back in the great big box, took it back to the shop and said please, can we have our money back? 

Susie BW  2:05  
Your telescope is defective? 

Dr Steve  2:07  
Because it doesn't show the spaceship that we know is there. And that's an amazing story. But it scares me, you know? Yeah, it scares me. Because if we just think okay, those guys are stupid. They're morons, how could they possibly be so thick? You know, fake news and all of that stuff, everyone. We don't agree with everyone. We can't imagine sharing a worldview. If we dismiss all of those people and think that they are stupid and vacuous and easily fooled, then it's easy, then, you know, where the where the sensible where the bright ones, we only ever see things really as they are. But that isn't the evidence at all. You know that we're all capable of deceiving ourselves and being misled and not believing the evidence for our own eyes. Yeah, or behaving in a certain way. I'm thinking of Nazis. Now. You know, we don't think Nazis just happened to be a whole group of people who were born evil. In a in a country. They were just, they were following orders. They were hypnotized into it. They were compliant, they became believers. This is this is the danger of forgetting. Right? Yeah, absolutely. And it would be so comforting to believe that they were worse than beasts. And very clearly a lot of the A lot of what came out of that were things that we that I cannot imagine you doing. I cannot imagine myself doing, or anybody that I know, even however low I think they might be. But all the evidence is there, you know, the banality of evil It was called it's that the little steps that get you along the way and you participate? And you can blind yourself to what you're actually doing and make all kinds of justifications? Yeah. Or you participate, or you follow or you you sign up? 

Susie BW  3:52  
I suppose today's equivalent is probably Trump followers and conspiracy theorists and everyone else who we don't agree with, yeah, or people who get scammed. Yeah. As you know, my husband works in IT. He's had a number of people who've been scammed lately, where they perfectly intelligent people, even quite tech savvy people, they get the phone call. The person says, I'm from the tax department, I'm from the phone company, I'm from the bank, I need to help you, you're under threat, and to help you I need to remote into your computer. And before they know it, they've got someone remoting into their computer and accessing their online banking or whatever else. He had a customer who lost $20,000 just the other day. 

Dr Steve  4:39  
Well, as I say what this serves to remind me is that we shouldn't think that we are above these kinds of things that it can happen to the best and brightest of us. And in fact, we have someone I've told you about my friends Gordon and Sue before Susie and you know that they're our guests today. I've deliberately not told you too much about what we're going to hear because it is just such a breathtaking story. 

Susie BW  5:05  
Yeah, I'm still thinking of them as Harry and Megan, when we said we were going to have to explain that. Well, we thought we might need to use fake names for them for a while.

Dr Steve  5:18  
Well, no, they have very generously and openly agreed to talk to us using their own names. And obviously, they've they've kind of kept one or two details out of their story. To me, it's just fascinating to hear a first person account of how it starts so gradually and promisingly and easily, and then how to such lovely, intelligent, wonderful people can fall right down the rabbit hole.

The rabbit hole, and lose everything except that which really matters. 

Susie BW  6:01  
Wow, should we get into it? Yeah, let's go.

Dr Steve  6:12  
So welcome to the Bloom podcast, Gordon and Sue. 

Gordon  6:15  
Thank you. Thanks, Steve. And, Susie. 

Dr Steve  6:18  
Great to have you here, you have an amazing story to tell something quite extraordinary. Please tell us.

Gordon  6:30  
It sounds like it should start with once upon a time.

Dr Steve  6:34  
I've kind of surprised Susie into this. So she doesn't know what's coming. 

Sue  6:38  
We we had a very interesting experience quite a few years ago, late 90s. Yeah. And I think I was the catalyst for it. I had always been searching for something, something to sort of fill a hole in myself, the way that I was viewing the world, the way that I interacted with the world, I really felt like there was something missing in my life, something really big. And I didn't know where to go to find it, what to do to find it. We've got a couple of boys, and they were very young children at the time. And I just felt overwhelmed by being a mum, and the things that I was doing, the places that I was going, the responsibility that I had seemed in such a huge contrast to my business life where I sort of had everything under control. And everything was sort of working the way, you know, I wanted it to, and having children sort of through a loop for me. And that brought to the surface this, this desire to to mend myself in some way. I saw myself as broken, that there was something something wrong with me that needed to be fixed. I started looking into meditation. And I think that's when a friend of ours came into the picture. 

Gordon  8:05  
Yeah, Sue had experimented with transcendental meditation, you've been across to a session or two of that. She was the animal spirits. 

Sue  8:17  
Very interesting experience. 

Gordon  8:20  
A friend of ours, someone I'd worked with back in the 1980s. We met up again in Melbourne as often as chance would have it. And we were at dinner with him and his wife. And he talked about this fantastic yoga group that he got involved in, because Sue was talking about some of the stuff she tried. And he talked about this fantastic group and amazingly insightful. I'll use the word guru because he became the guru who was leading it. And Sue was instantly attracted. 

Sue  8:49  
Yeah, I just I it to me, it was just like, I've got to go, I've got to go and listen and be a part of this group. Because it seemed to me the answer to my prayers at that point in time, that I would get more clarification that I would get a greater sense of who I was and what I was supposed to be doing in this world. And so I jumped in with both feet without any hesitation. And I enrolled in what they called a meditation course. What appealed to me most at the time was the intellectual nature of what we were doing in that group. It was a discussion group that talked about spirituality. My ego was being stroked in a very, very positive way to be a part of that group. Because of the intellectual nature of what was going on. I always considered myself to be relatively clever. And this was posing questions and having discussions that were above the normal kind of conversations that you would have around a dinner table. And I really loved that it I really felt like my brain was being used again. And that I was given an opportunity to be heard. And that what I was saying was valuable. And that was incredibly powerful at the time. Yeah, incredibly powerful. And I kept going with it. It was like, I think about an eight week course. And at the end of those eight weeks, we've been given guidance into how to meditate. And chanting was a part of that process. And we were chanting to music, and then discussing our experiences. Once we'd finished the meditation, 

Gordon  10:42  
then I got involved. And the reason I got involved where I was coming from in all this right at the beginning was, this is a Sue thing. She's got this hole that she, you know, she thinks she's got, I didn't believe any of it. I honestly, I didn't believe any of it. She thinks she's got these problems. It's just, you know, she's at home. This is just me talking. But then she came home and talked about this group, having what they called an essential relating program, all about your relationships, would I get involved so we could make our marriage work? Now, I didn't believe at that time, there was too much of a problem with our marriage, I'll be candid. I thought, Well, yeah, I'll go along. In all honesty, I went along to keep her happy. Because I thought we'd get involved in it, she figured out that things weren't really too much wrong, that really, there wasn't much of a problem with her or us, and it would all settle down. And she'd be happy again, first mistake, first big mistake. Because when you open the central relating marriage guidance, whatever you want to call it session, and the man sits on his highchair and says, I don't care if you guys are together at the end of this or not, huh, this is coming from somewhere a little different than I've experienced. And it took one session, and probably the first real honesty between us in many years to realize that we were not in a particularly good place. And this was where things shifted for me was that I realized the foundations on which I was living my life were flawed, there was a smugness, a complacency about how things were, I think, as much as anything else. And that just got ripped apart immediately. That initially destroyed, I hadn't realized that my whole my gaps, my night, floors, I suppose as much as Sue had been working on what she thought were hers. And it was pretty bloody destroying, excuse my, my language, it was pretty destroying, we had to start talking honestly. And we both had to dig deep into what was truly wrong. So I went in with both feet, I did the meditation course, we did whatever course was coming up, we started going on retreats, we were actively involved we were and that my experiences of meditation were absolutely profound before, before we started being an unusable advisor manipulated through the meditations, I was having very profound experiences just as sewer done, we were both getting enormous amounts out of it, it was really, really positive. But it's a little bit, you know, the old frog in the jacuzzi story, you know, if they gradually ramp the heater. And I think back to where things really started to shift, there were two shifts that I saw. Number one, when we first started, our leader was an insightful, intelligent man who could control a meeting. But somewhere along the way, some of the people in the group started finding him in meditation. So he became a part of their spiritual journey. And they started telling him, and I will say, by the way, this was not us. They started telling him that he was more than that. He was more than a guy who was who was clever. He was basically God. It You know, he had a purpose here on earth to bring us together as a group, and that somehow we would change the world. Yep. Once we were aware of the power that we had within this little group, and the fact that it was being run by God on earth, that was the story that's being told 

Dr Steve  14:24  
you think it was coming from them rather than from 

Sue  14:27  
Initially, initially, there were some very strong members of that group, who were very, very spiritual. And I think they were looking for a religious spiritual experience, whereas we weren't, we were. We were there for the pragmatic, you know, workshop kind of stuff. But they wanted more than that. And I think they stroked his ego that that gave him an opportunity to step into this all powerful controller of these people. And the more it was spoken about the more power he got given to him by the people in the group. And the more, the more we all basically gave ourselves away, you know, it was just allowing him to take control. 

Gordon  15:16  
Yeah, yeah, we actually starting to be told to find him in meditation. And that candle is where the fun went out of the meditation. Because it stopped being about us and our development, it started about being controlled, such that our job to be part of the group to be one of the chosen one. And this is the wording that you start to get that your select group that's there to change the world to really be part of that we needed to find him and understand his spiritual place in the world. And guess what we did

Sue  15:50  
because the suggestion was there and the need and the desire to be a part of this group was very strong, because we were perceived as people who knew what they were doing, and we're intelligent, and we're not going to be led down a garden path. So our egos once again, were being massaged beautifully. And we let that happen. I think I look back. And I don't think you ever get involved in a group like this, if you have high self esteem, and strong belief in yourself, I think you go into these groups with something that's missing people who are in positions of power in those groups, I think I've got a very honed ability to see self doubt in other people, and to be able to mine that and manipulate that in a in a very major way. It's it's their skill, it's their ability in life to be able to do that. So you know, if somebody, somebody knows who they are, knows what they're doing, feels good about themselves, they're never going to get into this kind of situation, I believe, I just don't think they will. Because it's only when you are lacking in something, you go looking for something that they have this package, you know that they're sort of holding out as a, like a crown jewel in front of view and saying, you know, this, this can be yours if you keep going along this path. And when you're not whole, you look at that and say, yeah, that's what I want. That's the bit that I need, help me feel feel good about myself. 

Dr Steve  17:39  
Who's the they in that, though, the way you described it is you have the guru who was encouraged to believe that he was more than the rest of us. The group who were as much part of this as you was it was it being driven whether whether the master manipulators, and everyone else was being manipulated? Or was it a kind of a perfect storm of mutual deception and self deception? 

Gordon  18:01  
There's two or three parts to the answer. We were because we were moving so rapidly and had the feet and then gone feet first into this, we had moved very rapidly to what would be called the inner sanctum of this group. We were up there, we related to him. I think it makes sense. This is gonna sound egocentric, but he respected our intelligence, not everybody in that group with the brightest tools and you know, the sharpest tools in the box. Some of them were very smart, something was very ambit. But some were very wanting as well, more obviously, so than I suspect we were. The second thing is in reflecting on Sue was saying is that part of the manipulation is bullying, our case was that when we were together and united on something, we were very, very strong. I think she would agree very strong Indeed, we consider a position and we'd be strong on it. And he made very, very sure to play divide and conquer. Because the other thing he recognized is that we are highly competitive at an intellectual level, we are highly competitive, okay. One always wants to outdo the other, to go further do that, you know, whatever it was, and he recognized that and played it to the nth degree, we used to go away on yoga retreats, you know, three, four days, and I would guarantee if I had a good retreat to had a bad one. If Sue had a good retreat, I had a bad one. We were never ever allowed. And I'm using that word very particularly allowed to leave that retreat with us both in a good place. 

What did it look like at this at this stage? I mean, you've mentioned like yoga retreats. Was it like a Wednesday night yoga session? Was it in a special place? Did people have names and hats or was it just like a normal yoga session, but there was a bit extra?What would it have looked like? 

Sue  20:02  
I think it started off in the early days, people would go along to a course. And that would get them in the front door. And then it would be pointed out that the group met on a Tuesday night, and people who had been through these courses would meet and continue the work that they did during those workshop meetings. So I think there were probably about 40 or 40, people would meet on a Tuesday night, and we would meet in a in a house and there were various rooms in that house. And various activities will be happening in those rooms, different exercises you'd like, there might be a meditation in one thing, there might be a group discussion going on in somewhere else. And you know, there would be this sort of variety of stuff that was happening. So you've got to know these other people, these other 40 people. And then Sunday night, Sunday night chanting stand up. So that was Tuesday nights going to the group, then Sunday night, going to chanting, and then it developed into Saturday night, as well as Sunday night chanting. 

Gordon  21:16  
It's worth commenting on Saturday night, if I may, yeah, in that that evolved, as our man would been told, he was a guru, the same people who were telling him that were telling him that he had a spiritual link to India, that they're somewhere in the heart of India was his spiritual leader. This was the messages he was being given. So it was decided that a group were going to go to India to find this person. And in preparation for that, the only night they could all get together was Saturday nights. Now, that's quite important, of course, to pick that night, because that's the social night. And it's all part of the step, the next step in the process, which is moving you away from your friends, your loved ones, the people who don't think like you, okay, why would you want to spend time with them, when you could be spending time with the spiritual group, on one of those Saturday nights came the next shift in the process. And that is there was a three hour discussion entitled, The future of yoga. And at the end of it, it was actually a discussion so he could justify putting all our fees up. Because we all paid every time we went there. But what got me about it was it was three hours to convince people that they should pay $2 a week more. And I'm sitting there, I'm bemused at the public outcry at this increased amount of money. And this would I think, probably the mistake that cost us a lot of money was I walked up to him at the end of the session, I said, if you're ever in trouble financially, let us know. Bad, bad move, because he recognized then that he got us where he got me, he got me. Okay, I was in. And because I was in a very well paid job at that stage, you know, what I was talking about was not with really nothing from a financial viewpoint, we could help him out. If I'm may give you another example of the financial stuff how this is shifting. During the process of finding him in meditation, one of the longest standing people who by the way, is a medical practitioner, had inherited a house, from her parents, and discovered in meditation that it was for her to give him the house, which he did, you can see how it's starting to evolve. It's gone from being an intellectual, Tuesday night, plus courses, learn more about yourself to now we're getting some of the characteristics that are often associated with colleagues. You've got a figure who is now a Godhead, beyond God, beyond God, because he's God on Earth, you've got a spiritual journey to it. You've got financial manipulation, in some quarters as sex going on, as well, we can tell you categorically we were not part of that. But there was stuff going on there. All the characteristics or any reading I've ever done says, you have a cult developing. And we were in it up to up to our name. And as we I know, we're starting to feel a little uncomfortable. But you've still got the still got manipulation, but it's also the lack of lack of strength individually, internally. I've said to Sue quite openly that I was very, very scared that if I walked away as my discomfort level, I would be walking away by myself that I would lose so I'd lose the kids. right because I knew how deeply she was in meshed and how much she was getting out of it in terms of a development that if I'd said I can't do this anymore. It would be good bye, Gordon. And that's, you know, with that fear going on inside you. And you know all that self doubt that started to come up as part of the process. It's it's difficult by the stage good. And you already mentioned before that they had separated you from your social network by home meetings on Saturday night was what was this costing you in terms of your relationship with your family, with your loved ones, your relatives, your kids, actively discouraged? Man, our families are mostly in Adelaide, we basically stopped to a large degree going to Adelaide, and seeing our families, we used to go over every Christmas backstop, we started doing time, it was just discouraged. 

Sue  25:46  
And even sort of friends here, we didn't see them as regularly. And we would find other nights that we could catch up with them that that we can thing was just off off the cards. And there was another move in there as well in the the guru and his partner decided that they were going to move away from the city and go to the country. And when he let everybody know that it was a sense of shock within the group, you know, how could you leave us like that was the general kind of feel he was taking himself away from the group, it basically transpired that he wasn't actually doing that he was giving us an opportunity to move with him. And so people sold their houses. We did, we sold that house from from Metropolitan Melbourne, and moved to the country to be near him. So we've all we all bought properties up in this particular area. And we became very much like a little community. And the Saturday night stuff sort of went away. But there were other there were other events that we would have during the week. And there would be you know, sort of lunches that would be on. So they'll, your whole social stuff became the group there, there wasn't anything else and and we were away from the city. So that made the distance to our old friends so much bigger, so much harder. And we were still getting positive stuff out all the meditations that we were doing and the discussions and the workshops, we're still getting something out of that. So our radar wasn't up at that stage. Community live where we are now. Yeah, we own four houses in a row along this road. There were other people are dotted around the place. So when Gordon says we get a stretch in terms of the community, because the reality was that the guru and his partner had bought a property. We bought a property a few few doors down. And then there was talk about buying some more property. But basically the the people who were financing all of that with Gordon and I

Dr Steve  28:14  
Hang on, hang on a minute, I missed that. You were financing all of this. 

Sue  28:22  
We were trying to agree we he was financing his home, we were financing financing our home. Then there were two other homes that were purchased. Yeah. And it was a group purchase. You know, one of them's so for one property, but basically we were the we were the key. Yeah. And then the other property, it was just basically you and I should try basically you and I going guarantor for loans and things so but that point, we were financially in meshed in this community and to contemplate sort of trying to get out of it was it just became harder and harder, 

Gordon  29:13  
We'd have lost everything. That was what we saw. We couldn't see a way of getting out of there. We moved up here. I'll tell you, we had no mortgage and money in the bank. By the time this finished, we had a very large mortgage, and most institutions wouldn't finances because we were such high risk. That's the shift that went on. 

Susie BW  29:31  
Were you talking to each other at this point? You've said if you if you got out, you would have lost everything. Were you really aware that maybe things weren't quite right. . 

Sue  29:42  
And one of the mistakes that we made is that we actually we actually had that discussion. Gordon and I will we actually took ourselves off to town for our anniversary one year and stayed at a hotel and we're talking about you know, whether we were happy or not happy at all going on. And we both agreed that we did not like what was happening. And we both agreed that we needed to get out. And we came back full of enthusiasm and no desire to sort of get out of this group, and to call it quits. But we made the phone call to him. And he was able to convince us that we really needed to hang in there for another six months or so to see things develop. And that, you know, things will be better that what we were feeling wasn't necessarily accurate. 

Gordon  30:35  
And Important to note with that, of course, is that if he can convince the only way to convince us, so we wanted to be convinced, just another little rider on how these things work. When we were getting the finance together to buy the first property. I was talking to our financial advisor, our accountant, he said, right, you need to get all this in writing any arrangements between them you need in writing. So I talked to the girl, I said, Well, of course we need to get this in writing. Well, who are we that we need to have this documented? Where's the trust in this relationship? 

Sue  31:07  
They need to have things written down in case things go wrong, is that the place that you're coming from that things would go wrong? So there's these kind of questions would be sort of put to you. And you're sort of sitting there thinking, oh, oh, okay. All right. Well, if I need documentation, it means I don't think this is going to work. Is that how I really think No, of course, I want it to work. So therefore, I don't need any documentation. So you know, there's, there's that kind of thinking, and it is manipulating going on, you know, in terms of having things stack up the way that that he wanted them to. That night, when we went into town and decided we weren't going to be a part of this anymore. I came back and had that discussion. And lo and behold, we were back into it. It was a year later that we managed to extricate ourselves, we finally hit the wall and said, No, this is just so wrong. It doesn't feel right. There is no way that we can continue on even if we lose our house and don't have employment, that has got to be better than living this life. It's got to be better than that. And at that point, we didn't have any discussion with him. We just said we're leaving, we're going. He said, Have a good life. That was basically the end of it. 

Dr Steve  32:25  
sounds rather sounds rather anticlimactic. 

Sue  32:28  
Yeah, it really was. It was but then we had to find a way to put food on the table.

Dr Steve  32:36  
So you just walked away and left everything behind? 

Gordon  32:39  
You know, we walked away from him at that stage that the group was actually falling apart. The numbers just kept dropping, different people were just suddenly deciding not to be part of it anymore. It had lost all that sense of development for work. Little things. I mean, I say little thing, human is part of woke up one day and decided we were all going to do multi level marketing. So guess what, the entire group is suddenly involved in selling weight loss products. Well, yeah, that was fun. And so that and that burst into fruition and then died a death as these things did. And there was all this stuff that's going on that people were just tired of it. It had lost its way. The other thing that had happened was that he'd changed. He'd stopped being the above it all guru suddenly discovered that he like wine. Suddenly, he discovered that living the good life was what he wanted to do. And he, instead of being separate from us, above us better than us. Now, that's my terminology better than us, he suddenly became down to being one of us, not help when you're a fall off the chair drunk, which is what he became when he started drinking wine. And so any sense of separation, or having somebody on a pedestal that you're looking up to that started to disappear, it disappeared as well. Yeah. And so we eventually just got to stay, I will say, in that last year, when we should have should have is always a bad word when we should have left, but didn't that last year, we made more bad decisions in that year, in desperate attempts to just keep it going. Then we made in the previous few years, it really did fall apart quite badly for us. And so it got to the stage then. I went back to teaching again. Yeah, I've been a stay at home mom since the boys were born. But I actually went back to to earn money because we needed to we just didn't have anything coming in. And I went off and did a network thing. I went and did that. And by the way to make that happen. We borrowed money off Sue's parents, they only do it with that with that court. It was really tight. And fortunately we found a very creative financial, I got us refinanced business, things start to work and we've rebuilt from there. But that sense of relief, when we finally stepped away from it, amazing sense of relief, when we finally felt free, cannot be comprehend, I can still feel the emotion now and talk about it, that just relief, we were out. And very importantly, we were out together, we'd come through it, we actually got stronger. And I think that's the beauty of it. We got stronger through it. And I think that's one of the reasons why we don't look back on it. But then he sent overall sense of animosity. 

Dr Steve  35:36  
Sue you began this by saying that you felt there was something missing? Do you still feel it now? 

Sue  35:41  
I think deep down, I'll always feel like there's part of me, that's not quite whole. And I'm much more able and willing to just accept that. That's the fact. I realize now that that I am on the good person, you know, that, that I have things to offer in this world? And that I am loving, I am caring? There's a yes and no, in all of that I'm not healed. I don't see it in that sense at all. It's just a an understanding that I think all of us have got our own little glitches, things that we're not quite, you know, happy about. There's no such thing as a perfect human being. So it's just accepting that you know, that, that there are some things about me that aren't quite right. But that's okay.

Dr Steve  36:35  
And when you look back on the whole experience, you said, Gordon, that you came away together and stronger. So you don't look back with recrimination? How do you look back on it? What do you think now

Sue  36:45  
Oh go on, use your line.

Gordon  36:50  
I think that I call it a very, very expensive personal development. And really, I look at how we reflect on it when we do talk about it. And we both look at the positives we've got out of it. And then I look at it in terms of positives. Number one, I became very, very clear. And I think reflecting on what Sue was just saying is that if I'm going to look for someone else to make me happy, I'm pretty stuffed. They can't, if I'm looking for someone to change to make me happy. They can't. Because unless I'm prepared to be happy, unless I'm prepared to take control of that, and be responsible for that, then I have no hope. And the extension of that is something we both live by, we're not victims. We don't look back on this as victims, we chose and I'm saying we certainly couldn't predict you, of course, but I chose is probably a better way. But if I chose and made all those decisions, for right reasons, wrong reasons I make them therefore I am the creator, not a victim. And that is absolutely how I live my life. 

Sue  38:00  
We've instilled that in the kids as well. I mean, if you speak to either of our boys, they would have that view of life. I'm wondering what your son's experience was of the the cult and the guru and, and the whole thing, it was a very traumatic time for them as as young children. I mean, there were there were like sort of seven, seven and five, you know, up to around about 10 and eight, you know, that sort of timeframe. Their parents, I, Gordon and I, we weren't there for them all the time. We were off doing our retreats, we were off doing our yoga, we were off doing things associated with the group. And they were very much playing second fiddle to that. And our eldest boy in particular, there's a lot of anger within him as to how he was treated. when he was very young. There was a stage there where the guru said, you know, jump off the fence, we would have jumped off the fence. There he there was a lot of a lot of power there in terms of what he was speaking about. 

Gordon  39:07  
There was another particular aspect as well that there was a philosophy within the group that kids were not kids. They were young adults. And so even though they were very young, we were sharing adult concepts with them. And adult situations that quite frankly, they were not, you know, prepared, emotionally experientially to handle and Sue's talked about healing and all the rest of it. And I know a healing I carry is my candidate guilt around how we treated them at the time I consider that our biggest single failure, it's not the finances. That doesn't worry me on that level. But did we did we harm them in one way or another? The outcome suggests that we didn't I think we might have got lucky. And on other aspects they have developed into tremendous boys very open, very communicative. We have I think an outstanding good relationship with them. 

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