The Cult of the Survivors

Over the past few days an unusual split seems to have occurred between Dr Haslam and the group she had been representing who are called the Survivors of the New Kadampa Tradition. Dr Haslam disagreed with their aggressive approach and this brought about a strong backlash from the people running the group.

Whilst I believe it’s particularly important for survivors to have freedom of speech, and not to suppress their anger, I don’t think that derogatory words and images of NKT members can end up being appropriate or helpful in a public forum…it’s not something that I wish to be part of.

Dr Michelle Haslam

Dr Haslam also casts doubt on her previous claims that the NKT is responsible for causing psychological harm to its members:

Sadly, most ex-NKT have attachment trauma, both prior to their involvement with the NKT and as a result of their involvement. I include myself in that population.

Dr Michelle Haslam

In the above statement it’s clear that she and many of the ex-members she used as a basis for her report had psychological issues prior to their involvement with the group. It is therefore impossible for the NKT to be the sole cause of the psychological harm she previously claimed.

This retraction of her former claims was quickly picked up and commented on by the ex-members she had relied upon to produce her report:

I am sad that you should choose to publicly stab in the back the people who have supported you unconditionally. This is a hurtful and mean post you have made. I guess you must be feeling guilty now so feel the need to attack others for doing what you did yourself.

Linda Ciardiello

This was echoed by other people involved in supplying testimonies for Dr Haslam’s report who felt her actions were now undermining their group:

To say I felt betrayed when I read your piece would be an understatement. I honestly don’t understand what you’re doing here. Why did you choose to stab us in the back and undermine the work of the entire group.

Let me also point out to you how this whole thing looks to an outsider. It looks like you join a cult without checking it out first, then you leave the cult, then you whistle blow, then you join the survivors, then you go back on your whistle blowing, then you betray the survivors as well.

It looks impulsive at best, neurotic at worst. If I were you I’d keep a low profile.

Gabriella Markgraf

Dr Haslam also referenced the volume of fake testimonies she had received from people claiming to be ex-members of the NKT as one reason for disengaging with the group:

Sadly, due to suspicious emails and what I believe are fake testimonies being sent to thr************ I will no longer be monitoring this email account.

Dr Michelle Haslam

The issue of fake testimonies raises the specter of her entire report being undermined. Michelle has used testimonies from members of the Survivors of the New Kadampa Tradition group as if they were to be taken at face value. Now she casts doubt on the veracity of the testimonies she has and continues to receive.

From another comment it appears that she was heavily influenced by this group of people and to some degree groomed by them at a time when she was still vulnerable due to the trauma of her relationship failure or attachment trauma.

I personally participated in our group chats for hours and days on end with the other admins of the page [Survivors of the New Kadampa Tradition] and tried to help and provide support when you were coming undone.

Gabriella Markgraf

Dr Haslam also voices concern that involvement with the Survivors of the New Kadampa Tradition is fraught with difficulties and traps which is the exact opposite of her previous claims that they are reliable and valid:

I would love to be able to acknowledge and respond to every survivor. But sadly, I have discovered this…is fraught with difficulties and traps.

Dr Michelle Haslam

Overall the now-deleted post paints a stark picture of the machinations behind the construction of Dr Haslam’s report and her rapid rise to being the main spokesperson for the group. It’s a strange situation and only serves to further undermine and weaken the claims made in the report.

You can read the archived version of Dr Haslam’s post here.

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