How to cope with a MLM-programmed sibling?
January 3, 2007 1:20 PM Subscribe
My older brother, who has been swindled by MLM (multi-level marketing) scams in the past, has gotten involved in yet another. Have any of you dealt with a family member in this situation? Is there anything I can do, or do any of you have suggestions on how to cope with this?
posted by catfood to Human Relations (31 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
My brother, who has some actual problems that had prevented him from doing well in school and keep him in relatively low level jobs otherwise, has always been convinced that one day he would strike it rich through running "his own" business.
In the past, he has participated in, and thrown a lot of money away on, different MLM schemes. He never makes much (if any) money off of them, but always spends a *lot* of money he does not have on materials and product to get himself started. He's older than me (now 35) and has been doing this since his early 20's. He's also never been financially stable - he has maxed out every credit card he could get his paws on, he still constantly asks my dad for money, and my parents, who now live across the country from all of their kids, get calls from collection agencies trying to get ahold of my brother. His phone is frequently disconnected because he forgets to or is unable to pay the bill. In other words, he cannot afford to spend hundreds of dollars starting up an ultimately doomed MLM business.
He finally seemed to get his act together over the past few years - he had a steady day job and actually started his own side business DJ-ing parties (which I have to admit he did a great job of, and seemed to also enjoy). Our family was really very proud of him, since he seemed to have a real talent at his DJ business.
But now he has signed up for yet another MLM scam selling detoxifying diet products and he has been calling me & e-mailing me to get me to try this wonder product *and* to become an associate under him.
I have challenged him in the past, but he spouts off marketing crap like he's in a cult or something. I reply to his insistance that I try his products or consider becoming an associate with the fact that I'm not interested in any diet products right now, that I don't have the time or inclination to sell anything ever, and that I don't want to talk business with family. Nothing seems to work. He just responds with how much he cares about me and wants me to live to old age, and that it's not a weight loss product, it's a "detox" product that everyone needs to be healthy. And that I am wasting my life working a steady 9-5 job when I could be earning income from a successful home business like him.
On one hand, I feel like I will never be able to change his mind, and that I just have to sit back and let him get burned again and again and hope that at some point he will learn.
But on the other hand, I just feel desperate. My parents have given up on talking any sense into him, and they just keep giving him loans when he's really desperate to pay a bill. There are deprogrammers for cult members. Is there anything like that for people in MLMs? Is there anything I can say or give him to read that might get through to him about how evil these companies are?
Or do I just need to keep telling him I'm not interested in his business or products, and find some way to cope with watching my brother destroy the little bit of stability he had built up for himself?