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If you have a Netflix subscription, you’ve probably seen the trailer for their latest blockbuster Documentary called Escaping Twin Flames, which is about an American “relationship coaching” community turned cult.
Spoiler alert, it doesn’t end well! 🤮
To set the scene…
Jeff and Shaleia Ayan are the founders of Twin Flames Universe – or TFU for short.
This is an online spiritual community that promises true love and companionship to its members through using special, spiritual powers to find people’s “twin flames”.
[Side note: Our prior understanding of ‘twin flames’ was that it is a term used to describe a very intense connection and attraction to someone, who can catalyse your spiritual growth but is not destined to be a long-term partner. Different from a soul mate, this kind of relationship is often very challenging and while the attraction is high, the relationship itself is usually unsustainable.]
And here’s where it gets ugly…
Jeff and Shaleia claim to be “relationship coaches”, however we want to make clear that what they are doing is NOT coaching, despite them calling it so. Honestly we were stunned to see the extent of the coercive control and abuse these guys were getting away with (hopefully not for much longer!).
Which is why we want to share with you a few red flags to look out for before choosing a dating coach. If you see any of the following – RUN!
What’s probably more useful to consider when hiring a coach is: What are their actual qualifications?
From what we could see, these guys were claiming to be “coaches” but everything they were doing actually flies in the face of what we are taught as coaches.
In the case of the Ayans, they claim that they are the only ones who can identify a person’s unique and “cosmically ordained” twin flame. This is already violating the coach code to help clients develop their own discernment and self trust.
Not to mention the hypocrisy! Members who had been told that their twin flame was a certain person, were often later told that it was actually someone else (usually after the first prescribed ‘twin flame’ had left the group).
Sounds great in theory, right!? When you’re spending thousands of dollars, why wouldn’t you want a guarantee that you’ll meet your match at the end of it all?
The problem is: not only is this impossible to guarantee, it’s unethical, because it creates a vested interest for the coach to push you into a relationship that might not actually be right for you.
In this case specifically, it led to Jeff and Shaleia forcing their clients to date each other and gaslighting them when they complained it was not a good match, by telling them “it was channelled to us that this person is your twin flame”.
On top of that, the couples within the TFU community were then instructed to tell others that the relationship was going well (especially when it wasn’t).
And here’s where it gets even crazier: in order to make up for the gender imbalance of their clientele, they started telling some of the women in the community that they were actually “the divine masculine” and encouraged them to change their gender and sexuality to reflect this. 😲
Which brings us to red flag number three…
As the doco unfolds you start to get a disturbing insight into the extreme forms of coercive control these coaches used to manipulate their clients. Jeff, in particular, gradually institutes a tightly controlled lifestyle regime, dictating everything from where one should live to what they should eat! In fact, many women were actually forced to put on weight through following his “Divine Dish” diet – another sneaky way of solidifying his control over the group.
Others were coerced into changing their names or getting gender reassignment surgery to embody the gender Jeff prescribed to them. (Oddly he denies the existence of homosexuality which somehow allowed him to justify telling his clients what gender and sexuality they should be).
Other times, he told his clients they had to move interstate to be with their “twin flame”, often even before they had ever had a chance to meet in person.
To add insult to injury, Jeff Ayan regularly bullied his clients into aggressively pursuing their supposed “twin flame” at all costs – even when they clearly expressed not being interested! Sometimes this resulted in the client getting restraining orders filed against them or worse, getting sent to jail for violating a restraining order.
Whenever this was brought up with Jeff he would say the restraining order was an illusion, implying the client could overcome it with their mind if they just worked harder!
C’mon, wake up Jeff! When you’re instructing your client to break the law, how are you helping them?
The bottom line is this:
The role of a coach is not to tell you how to live your life.
It’s to empower you to develop the depth of awareness, skills and confidence to trust yourself and make good decisions that get you to where you want to be.
Sure, we can share some helpful frameworks and exercises along the way, but ultimately everything a coach shares with you should be taken as a suggestion. And a coach should never guilt you into doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable (let alone get arrested!)
How we can support you:
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