The Secret Divides Part 2

The other day I wrote about a woman named Ruth who emailed me asking for some advice. Ruth's sister Esther (not their real names for their privacy) had been introduced to The Secret by her husband and now avoided Ruth because she said she is toxic. The first post is called The Secret Divides and I gave my initial opinion, then asked Ruth for some clarification, as well as asked you for your take on the situation.

Ruth said the following:

My sister and I are 5 years apart, she is in her late 30s I am in my early 30s. We live on opposite sides of the country.

[Esther and I] talked on Christmas - but only if I agreed to be play nice. We did exchange gifts. As long as I am willing to play along, she will speak to me - but it is obviously strained and only to make my mom happy. I have always had issues with hypocrisy or injustice - and I hate the fact that she doesn't have the respect for me and my feelings that she expects for herself - but I try.

Is there anything within the teachings that I can use to help her see my even a tiny bit of the pain that we feel when she says Dad, Grandma or I got what we asked for?  I don't want to destroy her belief - she has a right to it and I can respect that - as hard as it is for me to refrain from argument.

I am not the kind to sit and let people wallow in ignorance. I take serious exception when someone comes to a conclusion based on erroneous fact or assumption - that is my job. It is my job to present evidence and arguments and win. I can't do that here - and that alone throws me so off balance I am unsure how to proceed.

I have been thinking about this for 2 days. I'm afraid I can't really give Ruth what she's after. I don't have a copy of The Secret but I am quite familiar with the law of attraction as I spelled out awhile ago in a post called The Law of Attraction, and the Secret, are Bullshit. For your convenience, here are the basic rules for the law of attraction again:

Thoughts have an energy that attracts like energy (sometimes borrowed from Quantum Mechanics, minus any evidence). You must control this energy by practicing four things:

  1. Know what you want.

  2. Ask the universe for it.

  3. Feel and behave as if the object of your desire is already with you, or is on its way to you.

  4. Be open to receiving it.

Of course, if you think negative thoughts, the universe will manifest those negative thoughts in your life as well. So you must think positively at all times so that the universe will manifest all of your desires.

You might notice a few things when you read over the basic concept. Namely, the narcissistic and egocentric worldview, devoid of thinking about the needs and desires of our fellow man. The whole universe magically follows your every thought, tallies them up and does your bidding if you concentrate those thoughts. So the sun doesn't revolve around the earth, the universe revolves around YOU. It's sort of like having your own personal genie or god.

Where in all of this can you find compassion for our fellow man? Nowhere, especially if those less knowledgeable about the petty workings of this busybody universe are normal humans who worry and have negative thoughts. Whatever misfortune befalls those poor saps had it coming to them. That is an extremely harmful worldview, not to mention devoid of reality, common sense and compassion.

So Ruth is feeling the full sting of The Secret. Her sister has deemed her toxic because she has had physical problems since she was in her early teens. According to Esther, Ruth has attracted her ailments to her, that she asked to be sick.

This is the farthest concept from empathy I can think of when it comes to someone who is suffering. Instead of showing compassion for her sister, she avoids her, presumably to avoid the magical negative vibes. That's pretty heartless and uncaring.

So how can Ruth get through to someone who is so cold and self-centered? Esther demands that Ruth play nice, but does she do the same? Esther can make the universe bend to her will, yet she can't show compassion to her own sister who has health problems, that Ruth's real-life situation makes her toxic? It has nothing to do with anything based in reality. A book tells her to avoid the negative so she disposes of her sister.

There's just no way to reason with, or appeal to the emotions of, someone who is willing to do that for her own gain through the manipulation of the universe through her thoughts. It's self-serving. It's a belief that is extremely appealing, and easy to confirm whenever the slightest positive thing happens. And if something negative happens, it's easy to make excuses and use that as a confirmation as well. Cherry-picking extraordinaire!

You can't make people see the world the way you do. We are all in our own head in that sense. While Ruth can try to gently win her sister over and show through example that life is full of happy and sad, negative and positive, ups and downs, and it's what you make of it all, well, maybe someday she might change her mind. But Esther seems to have embraced this magical thinking at any cost.

And when you have a false belief based on nothing but a silly book (ahem, religion, anyone?), people who don't believe the same way are actually a threat to you. They threaten your constructed worldview with facts, reality and conflicting evidence. You are in danger of your belief system falling like a house of cards. It seems like it's in your best interest to avoid or attack those "others", even if they are family.

Well, actually it's in your best interest to seek out differing philosophical perspectives, ask a lot of questions, read and study real science and the actual workings of the universe. The real world is so achingly beautiful. It's so fascinating and complex. We understand but a small drop in the bucket of nature. There is so much out there that is real and true and interesting and exciting. Why do people feel the need to search for a supernatural answer? That is so lazy. Nature itself will blow your mind if you observe it. There is so much to learn. And it's all natural. No accountant genies or gods needed.

I have to say a few more things. In talking this over with my friend and my husband, we all agreed that if our sister treated us like Esther, we would probably take a cue from her and think it was a good idea to avoid her for awhile. Why try to have a relationship with someone who doesn't want one in return? I know, that's not how we are raised in society. But in my life, my friends and husband are much more important to me than my blood relatives who are all crazy, dysfunctional and dare I say it, toxic. I make my own family with great friends and my husband. True empathy, affection, love and respect are more important to me than similar genes and a childhood history together. But that's not for everyone.

I also have to say that my opinions are probably a bit more pragmatic and less optimistic than other people might have. If you have differing opinions for Ruth on her situation, please feel free to comment. Or if you want, you can email me privately and I'll forward it on to Ruth. Also feel free to share any experiences you've had with law of attraction. It might be helpful.

Other posts about The Secret:


  1. Dearest Neece:

    Thanks again for all the effort you put into this complex problem. I have been gnawing on our correspondence, and to be honest, I have no idea what I am going to do.

    Part of me says "we never talked much before so I guess this is really going to be anything different". Part of me says I should just play along. Part of me says to let her go - the pain of not talking to her will be less than the pain of her accusations. Part of me wants to go to her house, hit her over the head, and send her to a deprogramming commune.

    I don't have much family left, and while I agree that family is what you create, not just a circumstance of birth, I do want to hang on to it. I wish there was a magic wand....but I am practical and I know that this is going to take its own course.

    I do sincerely appreciate your efforts, and I will keep an eye on things at HDC and update if there are any changes.

    Thanks again,

  2. Tell her that by focusing on negative friends in her life and outcasting them, she is focusing on those negative fears and will only become an outcast herself.

    I hate hypocritical messages, especially when they are right next to each other. Instead of healing and fixing problems, they just put them out of mind and think the problem solved.

    Tell her you got the real secret to the secret. And tell her you'll tell her for free instead of $19.99. That in life, it becomes positive by fixing and mending the problems and working hard on it.

    She's not supposed to remove negative things from her life, she's supposed to think of them positively. That has real benefit to life, not some magical BS, but leads to a healthy consciousness. I thought that was what the secret says in the first bloody place, but evidentally, people like to take shortcuts when they can't really cut it.

  3. You're welcome Ruth. Yes, let us know how things go. Like I said, maybe she'll snap out of it.

    Maybe the baby jesus himself will take pity on you and give you a christmas miracle. :P

    Just kidding, of course. I sincerely hope you find some peace and a happy compromise with your sister. :)

  4. That's good advice, GMN.

    Life becomes positive, not by ignoring it and pretending the negative doesn't exist, but by focusing on the problem, finding solutions and implementing them. Hard work, not magical thinking, is the solution.

    While I think it's good to be positive, I think being realistic and pragmatic is much more conducive to a healthy outlook on life.

    Thanks very much, GMN. As always, your perspective is quite helpful. :)

  5. That is excellent insight GMN! Here is another really twisted hypocrisy with Esther and her husband (the one who introduced her to the lie of attraction) that make no sense to me. They recently started a blog. As soon as I discovered this, I was at the site reading all nasty things about me and the rest of the family being 'toxic'. Then I started noticing that there were people I did not recognize listed as authors and staff of the blog. In a sneaky way, a neutral 3rd party (lets call him Bob) asked about staff members and wanted to meet one that had a particularly good post. Bob was told that this person DOES NOT EXIST. There is no staff - none! And the majority of posts supposedly written by Esther were written by the husband. Even better, 2 of the contributing authors (whose names I recognized) are .... wait for it .... the family pets. That's right, kiddies, they are not just sending lies into the magical parts of the universe that bow to their every whim, they are sending lies out to the people they are trying to educate and convert.


  6. Wow, that's amazingly hypocritical, Ruth. I wish there were a stronger word for hypocrisy, because that would be it. That's horrible!
    Keep us posted with how things develop.

  7. Reading this, two things occur to me.

    First, the chances of changing "Esther"s view by presenting evidence from the source material are about as likely -- or even less likely, given that "The Secret" is probably carefully tuned to present a believable argument -- than the chances of turning a Christian atheist by presenting evidence from the Bible.

    Second, where is the compassion? If I believed in the power of thought (and hence that my sister's illness was due to her own toxicity) I think I'd be spending a little less time visualising my new car, and a little more time focussing on healing my sister! Sadly it seems that in this situation (as in most other instances of religious craziness) the religion (ie, "The Secret") is the excuse for the behaviour, not the cause...

  8. I agree, Pete. You can't make people change their views and shed their self-serving nature.
    There is no compassion, exactly! How cruel, huh?
    Yes, I agree, the Secret is the excuse for the behavior. It lets self-centered jerks justify their shallow thoughts and desires while ignoring what really matters in life. :(