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Narcissistic Facilitators in Psychedelics + Sex Work

Taking the time to interview + vet who we work with is an important part of both discovering who is a right fit + empowering us to say no when it’s not.

I recently created a guide with questions + contemplations you can discuss with a potential practitioner to help you make that decision. Access that guide here.

This is a prickly topic I have had conversations with sex + trauma therapist colleagues, as well as, educators in the psychedelic communities. It’s important to have awareness on + I hope to shed some light on what is an emerging pattern in the healing world. I also want allow the space for the expression of positive self regard in individuals + facilitators, not to be confused with the below topic.

The subject of (untreated) narcissism or narcissistic tendencies in facilitators of either realm of sex or psychedelics.

We go to psychedelics or sex work seeking healing—many of us as a result of past traumas or pain. We are looking to someone who can guide us, or maybe to “save” us. As a result this desire/need can impact the lens through which we are viewing facilitators/teachers in question.

Maybe we unknowingly pass over questionable interactions, or minimize our own inner feelings, in order to preserve our relationship with them or to preserve the image of our “healer”.

If we have have complex trauma as a result of our past, we are more likely to tolerate abuse, normalizing it, or even attracted to it because it’s familiar.

Prime for the vulnerability to manipulation + exploitation.

During a vetting process, we have limited information to discern whether a facilitator/teacher/sex worker is narcissistic or has the tendencies. When we are going through the assessing process with a partner in romantic relationships, we have much more time, experience, + material to make conclusions with.

Even still, I do still believe this conversation is important, you are able to discern most effectively. Signs may reveal themselves before or during your work together, + hopefully this can give you the support to identify the steps you need to take care of your self + safety. Sometimes those steps will be boundaries + sometimes it will be ending the working relationship all together.

So let’s talk about how it can show up.

As this relates to psychedelic facilitators or shamans.

When we look at the native’s relationship with psychedelic ceremonies, we often see that the shaman/guides refuse pay or receive very little, but instead see their role as a position of service for their people. Given these cultures are more collectivist, that tradition would make sense. In the Western cultures, we have created a society that is hyper-individualistic + capitalistic, + hierarchical, thus priming the potential for aspects of narcissism to emerge + thrive.

The two differing perspectives can demonstrate to us the dispersion of power.

Facilitators, shamans, guides, teachers are roles of power. One is holding space for the unraveling experience + vulnerable states of another. Being in a position of power is great responsibility to hold a strong container for one to feel safe enough to let go into.

The challenge here is that some individuals are attracted to this role of power + not from a “clean” intention—meaning the underlying reason is one that to the disregard of another’s care.

Because of the nature of psychedelics having the ability to induce “ego-death”, meaning the elimination of an individual’s sense of self temporarily to experience oneness + boundarylessness with everything + everyone. This does not mean this state is then permanent. Eastern practices + Buddhist monks work years of devotion to integrating these states. Temporarily quieting the ego can help us create a reference point for what this feels like to be in deep communion with the world or even divinity, but it can also cause a rubber band effect—the experience can snap back even more intensely. Further, for someone with narcissism or tendencies already, this experience can heighten sense of grandiosity.

Narcissism is an exaggerated sense of self-importance (hiding the vulnerable shame beneath)+ inflated superiority over others. As it relates to psychedelics, someone may say “they’ve seen the light”, “seen beyond the veil of the matrix”. This can be exciting + bring feelings that we KNOW the Truth about existence.

We make literal the information we receive + it FEELS so right!

And as a result can have the potential to put them in a higher value state over other people. They may not say so in such words, but you observe that they use terms that place themselves superior by belittling others. Big clue.

Belittling words can look like: “muggles”, unconscious folk, non-woke people, non-magical folk, earthly beings, unevolved, bigotry, low vibe,

Superiority self-reference can look like: star seed, guru, self-proclaimed shaman, woke, chosen one, prophet, messiah

Are all people who use these terms narcissistic? Nope.

I’m simply bringing you into awareness of the pattern of superiority while belittling another.

This is a form of “splitting” separating good + bad, me/us versus them.

There’s nothing wrong with identifying yourself as a priestess + having high self-love + regard for yourself, but how do you notice they speak about others in comparison to them.

New-age spiritual teachers, gurus, + self-proclaimed shamans may also have good intentions to help. I seen malpractice occur because individuals (with intentions to help) now believe they are able to work with populations that they have NO TRAINING in. Individuals who have no trauma training, no therapy training, no real credibility or skill cultivation except what they’ve “downloaded”.

Their ego inflation tells them that they can + sadly, I’ve seen often it comes at the cost of real harm + re-traumatization or sexual abuse to the clients.

Also, be wary if a facilitator, guru, or shaman suggests that their healing skills involves sex with them. Statements like this have been used to coerce individuals into abuse, especially when made led to believe they were special or chosen.

Be weary if they tell you that they’ve seen in a vision that you are their twin flame, past life soulmate/lover, or even someone that they are supposed to romantically be involved with now in this lifetime.

Do what you what, but these are red flags of abuse in power dynamics + predatory symptoms.

As this relates with sex workers (tantrikas, pro-dominants, yoni-massage therapists, dakinis, pro-submissives, etc):

The appeal of persons with narcissism or tendencies towards becoming a sex worker or facilitator is that sexuality is very powerful. The power of our sexuality can influence others emotions + decisions, that if not mindful, can be used in manipulation.

Similarly, being a role of a sex worker can also create limits in the depth of their emotional vulnerability/intimacy, thus allowing an avoidance of self-revelation + preservation of the protective layers around their shame. This role can also act as a source to meet their oft insatiable needs for safety in validation + superiority.

I have been in Neo-tantric spaces where the teachers + Swami/guru told the women that they would receive the transmission if they had sex with the teacher. I’ve also heard statements like: - You don’t need condoms because tantric sex is sacred + you won’t contract an STD

  • If you are on the spiritual path, then you should be open to experiences that feel uncomfortable. Discomfort is the ego.

  • I am a divine masculine/feminine being that can heal you/save you.

  • I am not attached in love + if you want to relate or have sex with me, you have to be ok with this.

  • I’m not responsible for your emotions. That is your work to do (while technically this is true, if someone is not willing to be present to your feedback, emotional experience, or vulnerabilities—then you need to ask yourself if this is a right fit/healthy for you)

  • Excessive expressions of love + admiration (love bombing) to persuade another that they are trusting.

I’ve also been in the BDSM communities where narcissistic pro-dominants (men + women + queer) exist. This can equally be challenging because they may present charming + say the right words that meet our emotionally hungry hearts OR they may also present a character that allows them to be mean, manipulative, belittling, + superior to us. It’s easy to hide in this role + convince someone (especially someone new) that this is protocol + how it works.

Especially if we don’t have a reference point for safe, caring, conscious D/S relationships or play.

I have seen sexual assault, coercion, + manipulation happen in both communities + with persons of leadership roles. This is terrible given most people seeking the help here may not yet have the skills to understand their their intuition + needs, or know how to communicate them when identified.

If this is where you are at, please proceed with awareness. You have a right to feel safe + heard + not judged or coerced/pressured into doing something that doesn’t feel right in your body.

You need an environment in which honesty, consent, + agency are practiced.

You need an environment in which your nervous system can settle into the strong, safe, hold of the facilitator. It’s important they provide that.

Learning to say “no” may be really difficult + uncomfortable (especially if we fear abandonment or ridicule), but “no” is also your biggest ally in making sure you’re safe.

Signs to look out for in the space:

  1. Air of superiority or entitlement. Entitlement to your body, to hurt you, todeman apologies,, to do everything their way, that they are right above anyone else.

  2. Exaggerated need for validation. They may surround themselves with “yes” people or people who do not challenge them. They may also shutdown or excommunicate people who challenge them. Grandiose bragging + self-absorption

  3. Need for control. Unsettled when things are not going as they imagined/expected.

  4. Lack of responsibility. If things do not go the way they imagined, they will put the blame on you or on another. They do not apologize, but are masterful at crafting the reason YOU felt bad or YOU made the mistake because of your unhealed trauma. They would not have made the mistake.

  5. Lack of boundaries. Believing that they are entitled to everything. Insulted if they are told no. Not able to see that you are a different person beyond them with your own feelings, needs, fears, desires, opinions. The belief that you do want them to have what they want.

  6. Lack of empathy. Not able to connect with or consider the feelings of others. Not able to put themselves in their shoes. Facilitator/teacher roles makes it easy for someone to have intimate acmes to someone without developing a deep reciprocating intimate relationship. It is one-sided, here.

  7. Difficulty with accurately reading body language or facial expressions. These may be misinterpreted as negative.

  8. Inability to reason emotionally or even rationally.

  9. Splitting. Splitting everything + everyone into good parts + bad parts. Denying their negative attributes while emphasizing their positive. This can also be seen as splitting relationships, pitting one person (or the entire group/community) against another so the facilitator can preserve their leadership role.

  10. Inability to work or cooperate as a team with other facilitators or leaders. They may or may not rely on support staff to put responsibility on.

  11. Fear of rejection + ridicule. May not be able to tolerate feedback. May do everything they can to maintain a client or stay in the role of leadership to avoid the pain of losing their position + source of value.

I hope this article is helpful for you. I’ve compiled a guide to help you vet your facilitators + teachers in the realm of sex + psychedelics. These include various questions beyond the topic above that help you find the right fit to go on your journey to self exploration + expansion.

I’m excited for you + I hope this discussion + guide support you in the way of staying safe.

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