Some months ago, I informed you about me leaving Radical Honesty. Since I was part of Radical Honesty for 9 years and was the person to introduce you to it in the first place, I think I owe you an explanation.
In December, I broke up with Sean Gruenboeck (Sean Green), a Radical Honesty Trainer Candidate. As a result of his betrayal, I experienced cognitive dissonance and simply could not unsee what I saw when I looked at the Radical Honesty Institute and the community. I didn't know what to call what I saw, but I was sure something was wrong, so I started digging.
First, I learned that my emotional attachment to people in the community was getting in the way of seeing things clearly. But because my attachment system was jeopardized, I could sort of turn on and off that attachment and have thoughts outside the Radical Honesty group-think. End of January, I sent an email informing the board that I was leaving Radical Honesty.
Second, I was confusing myself until I spoke to people OUTSIDE of Radical Honesty and those who left the organization years ago. That's when I learned I was part of a high-control group (allegedly a cult). It took 6 more months to put the puzzle pieces together (and I'm not done yet) to discover that Radical Honesty is the OPPOSITE of what it is presented to be. It's not about authenticity, it's about compliance; it's not about freedom, it's about power; and it's not about communication, it's about control tactics.
Third, I started learning about the violation of human rights, coercive control, misuse of power, manipulation, dissociation, trauma bonding, psychotherapy cults, thought reforms, and large-group awareness training (LGATs) not because I enjoyed learning about all that but because most of the things I read fit my experience with Radical Honesty.
You can imagine that I had a hell of a difficult past half of the year. Realizing how something that I identified with for almost a decade was one of the most evil things you can think of was disturbing, shocking, disorienting, burdening, nauseating, and simply very, very sad and scary.
Ironically, when I told my friends and family about what Radical Honesty seems to really be, most of them said that they knew. Even my coaching clients who attended one or two workshops said they suspected it; some said it was clear from the beginning.
Since December, most Radical Honesty community members have turned away from me because "they didn't want to be triggered," they said. After speaking on social media about holding male workshop facilitators accountable for preying on female workshop participants (because that's what I was told was happening at the RHI), I received backlash from the community: I was dismissed, threatened, and shunned.
That was the second time that I encountered what happens when you tell the truth, but that truth doesn't favor the group-think. Several board members conspired to shut me down and prevent me from working. Soon, I learned by experience that the board members and Senior Trainers do not practice Radical Honesty. They remain righteous and impose their beliefs through vulnerable sharing and subtle manipulation tactics. They expect the people under their power to do the work of RH, though, and get over their emotional attachment to ideas so they don't have to change.
What an evil genius came up with this culture where the people in power can do whatever they want and call it freedom of expression and authenticity without any accountability for the impact they have on the people around them because everything can be "gotten over" by doing some Radical Honesty processing work of expressing resentments and appreciation.
It's a false ideology and weaponized concept of forgiveness.
Calling everything "a story" is a genius way to minimize someone's experience. That's what abusers do to their victims.
Expecting and demanding a person whom I harmed to get over their hurt is abuse.
Here is a list of 20 diversion tactics used in an abusive relationship that I have experienced being used by Radical Honesty trainers.
After my last workshop, I am convinced that the way Brad Blanton set up Radical Honesty looks very much like an abuser's program where victims of abuse can meet their abusers and be coached to forgive them, and abusers can receive their forgiveness and validation without being held accountable.
Abuse and abuser are big words with many meanings, so let me define an abuser based on Lundy Bancroft's definition that emerged from 30 years of working with abusive men. An abuser is someone who has an attitude of superiority to do what they want and take what they can because they feel entitled. Their behavior consists of control tactics that ensure they always remain in the position of power (having the upper hand). The control tactics are similar throughout every abusive relationship; abusers are different, and their level of entitlement differs.
There are at least two ways to spot an abuser - someone who's entitled to impact without taking accountability - they do not apologize (or use fake apologies), nor take ownership of their behavior that caused harm, and they are biased towards abusers; they will always take sides with the person who was called out on their abusive behavior.
I believe that Radical Honesty promotes entitlement and bypasses empathy. RH practitioners do not learn how to relate to people without first controlling them to comply with the right way of being honest - the radical honesty way. This can be spotted in how the language is used and in the attitudes of the people who join the organization. The lack of accountability is a signal of a culture that enables abusive behavior. "It's a white boy's privilege package," a former member said.
After months of addressing issues at the organization and receiving dismissals or silence, in May, some of us wrote a petition to the board addressing abuse of power and other most visible harmful behavior within the culture of the Institute. At that time, we didn't know how culty Radical Honesty was. A lot has unraveled since then.
Many more people in the community spoke up about the issues and harm done that they sensed but couldn't name it, or they gaslighted themselves by thinking, "it's my/their shit," not the institute's responsibility. At this point, at least a dozen people left the organization, and two Senior Trainers stepped down.
We notice that people are waking up to the problems, and there are splits within the organization. However, the main problem, I think, is that most of the board members haven't woken up to the fact that Radical Honesty is a high-control group with an insane leader who has been influencing them for the last decade.
With this email, I wish to inform you so you can inform your friends and family to question Radical Honesty, especially starting with the "agreements." In reality, these are not really agreements. These are non-negotiables. According to Brad, he uses them to "overrule people's minds," which is straightforward mind control.
1. Do an internal inventory of your experiences with Radical Honesty and see if there is anything that you think you either experienced or witnessed that was off.
2. Help us collect information. We set up a document for people to share stories and anecdotes, situations where awareness of emotional dysregulation, trauma, limitations of the method, power dynamics, sexism/racism/other forms of structural discrimination was missing, where Trainers/Trainer Candidates were controlling, defensive or dismissive instead of supportive, the method was weaponized, you were gaslit and made responsible for trainers’ shortcomings, consent wasn’t respected, or any other situation you felt confused or uneasy either by experiencing or by witnessing.
3. Educate yourself about the history of coercive control and abuse. There’s an article from 1992 on psychotherapy cults (Mak created a redacted version of the article) that was eye-opening to all of us about where Brad Blanton got his “inspiration” from.
4. Tell your story about what happened to heal, inform, and educate others. One community member who left has created a Whatsapp support group for people who have left or are about to leave. Please enquire by sending me an email. I'll forward it to the founder.
5. Send us suggestions if you have any. We are trying to bring these issues to the surface so that the RHI takes action. We're doing our best with the limited resources. Your help is welcome.
Please also know that I've been working on this for six months and cannot respond and react to everyone's emails. I also don't know the best way and often feel alone. Please be mindful when sharing your hate or opinion about the matter or my experience.
That's all for now. I will share more information about the situation's development on my blog and social media in the upcoming months. Stay informed and inform others.