Those who got out and did nothing should be ashamed

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Those who got out and did nothing should be ashamed

Postby TennisPro » Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:59 pm

Let me let everyone in on something: Elan HAS NOT changed.
You were abused and by staying quiet, the abuse has only evolved and continued.
I was told by many people to quit my whining because MY Elan was a tame place by 2001.
-beating up some kid in 'the ring' is tame?
-watching a 16 year old shove a pen into his abdomen is tame?
-having to build a shield to not get spit and semen on my face is tame?
-being emotionally abused on a hourly basis?
-seeing people in the corner for well over a year?
-receiving no REAL education, being cheated out of one?
-finding sharpened shanks in a corner students shoe?
-having my letters read, and at times thrown away, without my knowledge?
-having my every phone call listened to?

I could go on and on and on....

We all suffer from a form of Stockholm Syndrome, Elan know this and uses it to their advantage...

"The Stockholm Syndrome comes into play when a captive cannot escape and is isolated, but is shown token acts of kindness by the captor. It typically takes about three or four days for the psychological shift to take hold. The syndrome explains what happens in hostage-taking situations, but can also be used to understand the behavior of battered spouses, members of religious cults, Holocaust victims, household pets, and perhaps even users of Internet Explorer. I think it may also help explain the popularity of government and of the mass institutionalization of young people."

I got out 10 years ago and believed the same garbage many of you believed, that Elan had FINALLY changed, until I read this:

Here is a comment from a recent article titled Good News: Bad Economy Killing Abusive Teen Programs.
(Read more at: ... 62696.html)
"I was a student at the Elan School for 3 years from 2005 to 2008. I am still traumatized by what I went through during my time there. Waking up each day the environment was constant screaming and swearing, by students, but more so by the "staff". I remember as a new student, I was crying when I was told to scrub a garbage can as a punishment for something so minor that I can't even remember the cause. I has stopped cleaning it, and that was when the staff determined that I has to be restrained and dragged to "the corner", isolation in a room to the point when one barely feels human. I tried to fight back, as any normal person would do when one is touched and forcefully grabbed without consent. Instead of just bringing me to the corner, the staff had other students hold me up, my hands and feet restrained, as other students were forced to scream and degrade me. I say forced, because regretfully I have also done the same to other students, and I know that if they refused to participate in this abominable event they too would have been punished. The only way to survive in this setting was to shut down emotionally. This memory haunts me to current day.

This school needs to be shut down, and I am happy if that day is coming near. Even if Elan survives the recession, it should still be closed. However, this could prove to be exceedingly difficult, because the students in the school are pressured not even to think a bad thought about the program, let alone utter it, and will receive punishment if they fail to oblige that rule. I know that while I was at the school investigations were conducted, and students were pressured into lying. Furthermore, a survey was also done, which now appears on the school's website, some questions asking about if we felt comfortable at the school. It was said to be anonymous, but again we felt pressured into lying, staff was supervising, and each of our handwriting could be easily identified.

I hope someone reacts to the atrocity that is the Elan School."

How long are we going to allow these people to get FILTHY rich off of the exploitation and torment of children?

Elan is a cult. Period. It evolved from a cult, and has all the characteristics of a cult.

Here is an email I recently sent someone:

Elan is a cult. This is a fact. Elan evolved from a cult called Synanon, this is another fact. The entire nation is being kept in the dark, to the great advantage of the Elan corporation. The licensing agencies are supposed to be doing their job, but like you, they are not. They are looking for and selectively hearing what they want and the result is CHILDREN as young as 13 being permanently damaged for life.

I call Elan a cult because of the following definition from Google:

a particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, esp. as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.
3. the object of such devotion.
4. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
5. Sociology. a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.
6. a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.
7. the members of such a religion or sect.
8. any system for treating human sickness that originated by a person usually claiming to have sole insight into the nature of disease, and that employs methods regarded as unorthodox or unscientific.

1. The rites and ceremonies of Elan are instilled from the first footstep as a student onto the complex. Elan's rites and ceremonies in 2009 are the EXACT same as they were in 1970. They altered and deleted some ONLY when it was convenient to them.

2. The students in Elan MUST be the admirers, to utter a breath against the program is heresy, every student will turn on you to prove their allegiance, which lessens their time in Elan, other students vote on your promotions and staff are considered Gods, their power is unchallenged and you learn VERY quickly that you are no longer in America, you are in Elan. This is the most terrifying though imaginable. The fact that you ARE THERE and IT EXIST is enough proof that Elan has the resources to do WHATEVER IT WANTS.

3. You devote your life to Elan, or they take it away forever. If you cannot succeed, they will instill FAILURE into every thing you hold dear.

4. As a group, you punish and degrade anyone who thinks freely against the program.

5. Everything centers around the idea of 'guilt', they make a mockery out of your every thought, they hand you a blank piece of paper and to hand it back blank makes you guilty until proven innocent. Extremely guilty.

6. We are completely under the direction of charismatic leaders, leaders that Elan hand-picks and creates, I know because I was one of them. Many come back to become staff. Marc Rosenberg, the most charismatic staff member, never left.

7. We were truly a sect, we were all followers

8. This is the definition of Elan, even an outsider cannot refute that. I dare you to.

I can be reached at, everyone can play a part in this, the recession has Elan down, we can kick them while they are down. It is only fair, that is exactly what they did to us.
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Re: Those who got out and did nothing should be ashamed

Postby sandywillette » Thu Nov 12, 2009 1:03 pm

i was there in the late 70's wasnt quite as violent as u r saying, depending on the house u were in i quess
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Re: Those who got out and did nothing should be ashamed

Postby The Doug » Fri Nov 13, 2009 6:34 pm

Well heres a new angle I hadnt considered. Its my fault!

Are you a doctor, a psychologist or just another armchair critic explaining whats "wrong with us"?
Way too many of the latter with so much helpful advice to offer those of us stricken with the Elan virus!

I "got out and did nothing" Should I be ashamed? Fuck no. I was 18, confused and no better off than when I went in. Shit it took 20 years to understand that Elans "treatment" may have been illegal or simply counterproductive. Did I suddenly feel an urge to picket Elans intake building to save the soul of a future resident? Nope.

Here is what I DID do:

I knew exactly when I was leaving Elan. I lived 2.5 hours away, and thought it would be nothing to drive back up and rescue anyone who may have wanted to be rescued. So I laid the ground work for an "escape"
Myself and two friends drove to Elan late at night and went to the dorms of E-3 to "save" three people who signed up:

Bill D from Chicago, Annette P from NH, and Joe D from Boston.

Guess what happened?
Not ONE of them wanted to leave, and nobody who witnessed our attempted extraction wanted to go with us either.


As far as your post though, it reminds me of a common problem with abuse in this country: Too many people blame the victim.

Your ideas are not new or any more revealing than those of Kens buddy "Dan Bostdorff" with his quest for dirt to produce another book: He commonly recruited with the comment "If you claim you were not effected by Elan, youre even sicker than you think, or an apologist. Which is it"?

I can only muster up two words in response to his musings, and yours:

1) Bull

2) Shit



(PS- Kidding Ken...Any word form Danno lately? I dont bother with the Elan drama anymore but had to speak up in response to this gem)
The Doug
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Re: Those who got out and did nothing should be ashamed

Postby dannyb50 » Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:30 pm

.....redacted because I have had new thoughts come to light.
Last edited by dannyb50 on Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Those who got out and did nothing should be ashamed

Postby TennisPro » Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:31 pm

Wow "The Doug", maybe you have a hard time understanding things, or maybe you just don't like to read.

1st off.....You went back and DID do something, you apparently tried to rescue a few people, good for you. Since you clearly made at least ONE attempt to be part of the solution, my post is not directed at you, but you still want to argue?

2nd off.....If you actually READ what I wrote then you would have a very obvious answer to why the residents did not want to "escape". Had someone driven up to bust me out of Elan, at the time, I would not have gotten in the car either. It is called 'The Stockholm Syndrome".

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Re: Those who got out and did nothing should be ashamed

Postby Eliscu2 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:52 am

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Re: Those who got out and did nothing should be ashamed

Postby joekuhayda » Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:40 pm

Were to start? Not sure what to say except I totally disagree. Elan helped me save my life. Elan got me my family back after so many years of abusing them and lying to thm. Elan taught me how to take responsibility for my actions. How to " clean up the mess" Elan made me face many difficult obstacles that were making me act the way that I was. Elan helped me to except myself as being a gay man.
Those who rag about the ring---u obviously missed the message. It was never a form of humilation----it was a tool to show you that there will always be someone tougher then you to kick your ass. And why was on in the ring in the first place??????? for violence. When we r there it is hard to see the reason behind what is done there, but as we age---we understand ( If no ring---there woud be fights everyday )
Elan has taught me too see through the bullshit we tell ourselves and what people tell us. To this day I am brutally honest with people , I believe honest communication is what makes the world better. Direct and honest,,,,,,and those people who left Elan and learned something would agree.
Elan is about learning self respect , taking responsibility, and pride in who you are.
Its ad that after all these years , you always read neg. things about Elan. I feel sad for you people that werent able to let go and dicover who you are as a person while you were there. And you spend all this time with hate regaurding a school that saved people.
Not only what I mentioned, Elan gave me friendships I cherish. its funny how you can not talk to someone in 15 years--but when u met in Elan -----it is as if no time has passed at all. Acceptance-------

Thank You Elan ,
Thank you Lynda, Marc, Jeffery,Heidi, and Dawn- will miss you u forever
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Re: Those who got out and did nothing should be ashamed

Postby Ursula1989 » Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:44 pm

Well, there seems to be quite a bit of placing blame...we are adults now and blame has no place in responsibility. I went to Elan and graduated from the program and from high school there. I was always in trouble at home. Life was miserable and an inprisonment there. When I got to Elan, none of my tactics works and it was then that I discovered that I was valuable as a person and as a confident black young lady. I found beauty in myself when I had felt shamed for being black, I found understanding when I got lost in the translation of my rejection from my birth family. I found resolve in knowing that parents arent perfect and that it was normal to feel on different planets at times. Most importantly, I found the meaning of rrue friendships and how important it was/is to be true to yourself and opens the doors to others being equally as comfortable with being open and honest to you. Friendships are really the fundementals to enduring the difficult times that lye ahead of us. Acceptance allows us to know that even with blame, we dont find resolve, with responsibility we accept what we must change...and we demand that it be done. At this point we can move forward with a life of progression...and possible success! I am sorry that many of you were hurt from the experience, I was not one of those individuals. I was the kid that needed to fit in, that was placed with a whole bunch of misfits and learned to fit in there. Then those misfits were taught how to be normal accepted individuals....and assisted in making that transition back into society. We were supposed to screw up....we had never been adults before....and with the insecurities we faced early on...we also needed to apply what learned in there..out there. So, I made many mistakes, but as Im learning, so did almost all the young people that were not deemed to have emotional instabilities, and I tackled eahc and every issue I had, head on and made an effort to... overcome
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Re: Those who got out and did nothing should be ashamed

Postby Ursula1989 » Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:51 pm

...overcome the obstacles I would have cowered from before. I am transparent. I am a portal of honesty...and it has allowed me to be free...I still struggle with certain things, but I am still a work in progress. I am very thankful for all the friends I made during my stay..they will always and forever be the most important frineds I will ever have because they knew me before and after my transofrmation and loved me throughout. In closing, I am a person who cna be thrown in the fire and know that the fire was hot and may have caused some damage, but my focus will be more on how to get out, how I got out, and how I stayed out...the fire is of no importance once you understand that your primary goal is to save yourself and the vessel we have been given steward over, for the rest of our lives.....all the best to you!
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Re: Those who got out and did nothing should be ashamed

Postby TennisPro » Sat Jul 31, 2010 3:49 pm

Unfortunately for those quick to respond with how Elan saved their lives, you are missing a large piece of the big picture. One of the many things you do not realize is that you are giving the COMMON response and there is nothing unique or thought provoking about what you have to say. The entire basis of the Elan program was built off of the ability to brainwash children well into adulthood, so congratulations on being perfect candidates.

It is a MUCH more difficult task to try to question your thoughts and memories of Elan than to blindly accept that your best interest was always in mind. If you send out a series of Basketball game predictions to a thousand people a month, after a year, a very small number of people will believe that you know who is going to win. This is a statistical fact. But in the case of Elan, it is extremely selfish to boast about how much it saved your life and how great everything was, when you realize that you are part of a tiny minority. A large majority of the rest of the Elan population was completely fucked, and was not given any help. Also, I believe that underneath what you are saying, is the fact that you helped yourselves in the long wrong. I am sure that a lot of people in the Holocaust survivors also 'helped themselves', but I doubt any would attribute a Concentration Camp as being the solution. It may have been the cause of the solutions and there is a big difference.

Sure, Elan was the cause of many solutions that have helped me since I got out (graduated). I do not think that anyone would argue with that. But it seems that people who support Elan cling to the idea that this is what the argument is about.

The ring was used as an example, the claim being that it was not meant to hurt us. I am sure that if, instead of the Ring, Elan used a punishment known as the 'dick-chopper', a bunch of ex-Elan people would make claims about how rich their lives were, now that sex was not a driving force. I am sure that if both of my legs were chopped off, I would be happy just to be alive and to have strong arms. The point is that everything can be rationalized AFTER THE FACT.

Answer me one question and I will shut up. If the Elan program and its staff had all of our best interest in mind, then they would obviously feel no need to hide their practices. Anyone who knows that they are doing the right thing can be completely transparent, even if they know that it may initially seem controversial. So with this in mind, why would all the communication to the outside world from the inside be strictly forbidden?
Even if we were allowed to write letters, as new residents, and all we did was complain and explain the way the program was designed, wouldn't it be obvious that our tune would eventually change as we were 'reborn' through the program. So what would be the problem then, with letting people write mail? Why would outside communication be completely monopolized by the Staff and the Elan program itself? Could it be that it is a built-in means to protect itself, to prevent the general public from knowing certain details which may be seen as controversial to an outside viewer. Because of course, nothing seems controversial when you are going through Elan, especially once the new resident period is over, and everything can be explained away by the Elan philosophy.

From the hottest fire comes the stronger steel. I guess this means that if you are emotionally tortured for over two years, that as long as you survive (graduate), you will be stronger. But what about all the people who didn't graduate (the other 80%).

But why should it matter, you made the best friends of your life in Elan, I guess that is why we all have full reunions so much. O wait, there has never been a full or even partially full Elan reunion in 40 years, because half of the residents wouldn't show up for fear that some crazy would bring a gun and start blasting. The other half would be dead, in jail or other institutions, or out on bail trying to secure a weapon to show up at the reunion with.

I am sorry that none of us can claim to have had a normal high school life, but that is no reason to blatantly lie to yourself. Actually, I take that back, it is the perfect and most justified thing to do: lie to yourself. This is why I do not blame or have animosity for anyone here (though I definitely speak with passion).

If you want to toot your horn about some abstract system of honesty that you built while in Elan and how much it helped you in the real world, then good for you. Once again, you are not saying anything new. Everyone had a different experience in Elan, but all of us were cheated. Everyone had a price on their head, and if you have any sense at all as to how a corporation works (or if you have been watching the news for the last 8 years), you would finally put 2 + 2 together.

It equals 4.
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