What:  Escaping Twin Flames

Type:  Documentary Series – 3 Episodes

On: Netflix

Worth Watching:  Yes, particularly if you are or know someone living through making decisions out of loneliness.

Score: 4 flaming cups of tea (4/5)

You can be alone without being lonely. However, you can also be in a room full of people and be desperately lonely.  That’s nothing to feel shame about.  We are social beings, and many of us long for a person to join us in an intimate connection.  The more pronounced that longing, the extreme decisions can be made from our loneliness.

The “Twin Flames Universe” did what all MLM-High Maintenance Organizations do – preyed upon a natural vulnerability until its members were financial ruined, psychologically broken, and damaged beyond reason. This documentary, made by the same people who made The Vow, follows several stories of people who joined, gave, ached, and crashed on the rocks of reality.

If you liked The Vow, you’ll be mesmerized by the horror of TFU (the Twin Flames Universe) and find it a similar, only oddly worse, story.  In The Vow, Keith Raniere abused people’s longing for success and esteem.  In TFU, Jeff and Shalia Ayan abuse people’s longing for love.  Raniere profited from over-priced classes, sexual servitude, and branded women with his initials.  The Ayans profit from over-priced classes, financial/unpaid employment, and make (non-trans) followers change gender including having reassignment surgery so they could be “twin flamed” with someone else in the group because they have more women than men. Yeah. Let that sink in.

The thing that strikes me, even worse than The Vow, is just how idiotic and unworthy Jeff Ayan is to be listened to about anything.  He’s dumb, rude, sloppy, and honestly, I wouldn’t follow him to my mail box. But I’m not lonely, and I can see how that lens, coupled with desperate hope, would lead his ideas to make some sort of hopeful sense.  Just how dumb is Jeff Ayan?

1.  “I told Jeff that I can’t keep contacting <the man who Jeff said was her Twin Flame> because he got a protection order.  Jeff told me, “Protection orders aren’t real.”   (she spent a month in jail for stalking).

  1. “A guy from the group IM’d me. Jeff said he was my twin flame. I was 19. He was 33, was under house arrest for drugs, had mental health problems and was unemployed. Jeff said Twin Flames don’t care about those things and I had to move to Oklahoma and be his wife cause or I would be alone forever.” (after a 3-year abusive relationship she finally left).
  2. Jeff grows a scraggly beard and shows a picture of Jesus (white, nicely bearded colonial Jesus) and says that wasn’t a picture of the first Christ (got that part right), but it was a prophecy of Jeff coming as the second Christ (wait, what?).

The lesson is – people don’t follow men like Keith Raniere or Jeff Ayan because of who THEY are.  They are scummy idiots. They follow them because of the longing – the terrible soul eating view that they need something – love, success, money, wisdom – to be happy and they believe these jerks can give it to them.  If we want to stop the pain of MLM-High Maintenance groups like this – we can’t focus on the perpetrators. We must continue to affirm and support people who are suffering. Empathy is a big part of the answer here.

The film is well resourced, professionally filmed, and has the right balance of fact/feeling.  Watch, learn and run tell the others in your life – you don’t need a $2000 class in anything to be happy.