The 3HO Dysfunctional Family - How I Figured It Out
Network of Lies
As seen here, the need for strong stories and belief systems becomes, at times, pathological in the face of an addict's [George Geftakys] crazy behavior. It is the job of the co-dependent [the leading brothers, Workers, and Betty Geftakys] to provide some stability and structure to the home. To do this, they [the leading brothers, Workers, and Betty Geftakys] like this young girl, must lie.
The network of lies used by co-dependents [the leading brothers, Workers, and Betty Geftakys] to maintain the illusion of a stable environment is the system of beliefs, rules and P.R. statements that one learns early in life must never be questioned. To question them is to throw yourself into the bottomless, whirling pit of chaos. [To question in the Assembly is to question the "servant of God," which we have been taught is equal to questioning God himself and thereby is sin.]
Please note that often the beliefs proposed by the co-dependents [the leading brothers, Workers, and Betty Geftakys] are of the highest philosophical and moral quality and the rules, on the surface, seem just. Most dysfunctional families, for instance, strongly believe that the family should stick together. This belief is, of course, generally virtuous, but it can become downright frightening when applied to an abusive household.
In 3HO [Assembly] we are blessed with literally thousands of beliefs, practices and philosophies that we can use to expand and heal ourselves [become more accountable, be perfected by God, or maintain Christ as our center]. We can also use the same beliefs, practice and philosophies to construct and maintain our dysfunctionality.
Co-dependents [the leading brothers, Workers, and Betty Geftakys] within our organization [Assembly] often use lofty ideals and rules of Dharmic living [Christianity or the bible] in their attempts to keep 3HO [the Assembly or George’s ministry], and 3Hoers [saints], safe, secure, controlled, and orderly. Questioning these ideals and rules can be deeply threatening to co-dependents [the leading brothers, Workers, and Betty Geftakys] in two ways. First, to the co-dependent [the leading brothers, Workers, and Betty Geftakys] it feels like questioning will cause the whole 3HO organization [Assembly and George’s ministry] to crash and burn, and second, questioning threatens their [the leading brothers, Workers, and Betty Geftakys] sense of purpose.
It is interesting that Al-Anon, which was designed to help the co-dependents in the alcoholic home, was started because it became clear that it was often easier to get the alcoholic to stop drinking than it was to get the co-dependent to stop controlling. Co-dependents after all, view themselves as the good guys, the moral and spiritually superior, blessed few who will, and do, make all the sacrifices to keep the organization or home from falling into total chaos. [I think that describes most of the leadership, both Workers and leading brothers, and Betty Geftakys, to a "T".]
So what happens when co-dependents [the leading brothers, Workers, and Betty Geftakys] stop trying to control everything and everybody? What would happen if we stopped trying to insulate and protect? Yogi Bhajan [George Geftakys] and just let him do his thing? What would happen if we stopped shunning our brothers and sisters who ask uncomfortable questions, get angry and act inappropriately? What happens when you ask chaos in and offer her Yogi tea and cookies? …….
I remember the day I first noticed that I was about to lie about 3HO [Assembly] to a stranger. This nice, curious, man had just politely asked me about ashram [brother’s/sister’s house] life. I was about to reply like I always did:
"As Sikhs [saints, Christians] we rise 2 1/2 hours before dawn [get up at 5:30 for a time of devotion], take a cold shower, [spend 30 min. to 1 hour having a personal morning time] and do yoga [eat dinner together every night, and possibly breakfast] and meditate [attend meetings on Sunday all day, Tues. night prayer meeting, Wed. Bible study, Thurs. outreach, Saturday tape ministry and once a month an All Night of Prayer on Friday] and sing praise to our Creator [are always encouraging on another to serve God]."
Instead of saying that, however, the truth fell out of my mouth.
"Well," I explained "we are suppose to get up and meditate and do yoga at 3:30am but for the last six months nobody has managed to do that. In fact everyone has been really negative lately and the only time we even talk to each other is during our weekly house meeting where we have been ripping each other to shreds!"
Strangely enough this response did not go over so badly with the man to whom I was speaking. However, unfortunately for me, the female co-dependant head of the ashram [leadership] had heard my candid remarks and I received a very severe lecture on the importance of keeping a positive public image for 3HO [maintaining unity, don’t talk about it to unbelievers or other Christians because they don’t have a mature spiritual understanding, or they just say you are lying and deny it all together, while encouraging you to repent of the lie].
I had heard the lecture before. Almost all dysfunctional families are very strict about keeping a good face in public and mine had been no exception. After a while you begin to believe the press releases you are busy fabricating. God knows you want to believe them.
There is no doubt that maintaining positive public relations has its right and proper place in our organization and any organization. But if we are genuinely succeeding in creating beautiful community, there is nothing to lie about. [Would you have to lie if the ideals you have were the truth? A lot of the Assembly explains their lies away by convincing themselves that it is the truth in some "spiritual dimension". They assert that those unbelievers cannot see because they don’t have the spiritual capacity. That way it isn’t a lie it is telling the spiritual reality that is just unseen by fleshly eyes. A perfect example is my father. He claims that once you have repented of and been forgiven of a sin, in God’s eyes it is as though it never happened. Therefore, if someone asks if you committed that particular sin you would say no and that would not be a lie. It would not be right to say, "That is part of my past and a sin I have repented of, been forgiven of, and made right with those it hurt, I do not wish to speak of it." Instead you just say, "No", which is at best a deception.]
But for children of alcoholic lying is often easier than telling the truth and thus facing that we are wounded and we need help. Co-dependents [the leading brothers, Workers, and Betty Geftakys] lie about everything because the ideals and the fantasies are always so much pleasanter, peaceful and controllable than reality is.
For a long time I didn't worry much about the few odd people who left 3HO [Assembly]. I hadn't liked them much when they were in 3HO [Assembly] so it seemed reasonable to me that, after forsaking the truth, they had all become pimps, prostitutes, and drug dealers [compromised, immoral, pregnant out of wedlock, cheating on their spouses, drunks, divisive, liars, arrogant, or worldly] like the rumors implied.
As time went by and more and more Sikhs became ex-Sikhs, I maintained a strict dualistic model of spirituality. There were eagles and there were the slugs, the godly and the godless, the committed and the bums. [the us – them mentality. If they are not in "fellowship" any longer they are not godly or at least as godly as we are.]
Many scapegoats grow up to become addicts. Having set out to reform the world they become the leaders of the new order. Many early male directors of 3HO [Assembly] ashrams were these scapegoats turned addicts, rebels turn to tyrants. [Classic example – my father David Geftakys]
As in any dysfunctional family, these rage-over-grief types were forever ranting and raving, praising and blaming, and, at times, participating in addictive behavior around money, sex and power. Their inner circle of co-dependents [the leading brothers, Workers, and Betty Geftakys] and those Keep Up Ji heroes [my mother], who were doing most of the labor, used to run around "working on themselves" in an effort to gain status and acceptance as much as spiritual insight.
There have been times down through the years where 3HO [Assembly] has seemed to me to be just like a baboon troop complete with Dominate Male #1, Male #2, #3, #4 and so on down the pecking order.