Author Topic: On Defooing  (Read 21695 times)

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Elucidated

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Re: On Defooing
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2016, 05:18:12 PM »
+1
 
Does this make it clearer why I think people with strong healthy emotional bonds to their parents and siblings are extremely unlikely to "defoo"?
And conversely, that if someone does "defoo" it is most likely because they don't have these

Strong healthy bonds, which in turn is a major sign that they are suffering from the consequences of childhood emotional trauma, and that therefore they need help in order to recover from this?

I want a world free from childhood trauma, that’s why I’m passionate about helping people recover from any trauma they might have (starting with my own, and I can now recognize all of I to IV in myself, so I'm hopeful it can be done). I appreciate very much that this forum is a far more receptive place for open discussion of this topic than the FDR board ever was, so I'm hoping we can talk about this here in a productive manner. I also worry that it might be difficult, because it is a topic that can bring up such strong emotions, but I'm excited to do all I can to try!


First of all I don't think when we say 'defoo' that you and I mean the same thing but I'll come back to that later. I'll assume for now that you are saying that you believe that 'people with strong healthy emotional bonds to their parents and siblings are extremely unlikely to  cut off from their family'

I would say they are 'less likely' rather than extremely unlikely. Many difficult or traumatic situations in childhood can be caused by things other than parental abuse or neglect. For example bereavement, serious illness or accident, disability such as autism or Aspergers (perhaps  undiagnosed), illness of a sibling or parent, bullying or abuse outside of the family, difficult social environment, peer pressure etc. All these factors can lead to your point II despite caring, loving parents and siblings.

Bereavement is one I can speak of from personal experience, as I suffered the loss of a best friend at a young age, this had a massive impact on me emotionally, I found it hard to form new friendship afterwards with a fear of losing other people. I became withdrawn and lacking in confidence and pushed people away from me, I became insecure and convinced that my parents were going to die suddenly too. I believe I still suffer the tail end of this trauma today.

Of course an ideal World would be free from childhood emotional trauma but you can't protect kids from life. Grandparents die, pets die, other kids can be cruel, life can be cruel and kids can't always be protected from seeing and hearing things, regardless of how caring, loving and perfect their parents may be.

So someone suffering from one or more of the traumatic circumstances I've described could well be emotionally vulnerable and susceptible to the influence of cults and cult like groups.

Secondly, adolescence and emerging adulthood, can be a time when a person questions the religious beliefs or political ideas of their parents. This is natural and healthy. Regardless of good parenting, (whether you consider being brought up to believe in God is abusive or not is another discussion altogether, but let's assume not for now) someone who at this stage rejects these political and religious views can feel disconnected from their family, there is also a natural yearning for a cause to believe in. This leaves them wide open to emotional manipulation and exploitation by people like Molyneux.

Thirdly, my points about false memory; even a perfect childhood would not provide immunity from suggestion and memory manipulation – if that were the case then advertising would only work on the traumatised.
Quote
Witnesses to a road accident were asked to estimate the speed of a car in a road accident. They found that the words used by the interviewer influenced the outcome. If the interviewer asked the speed they ‘smashed’ into each other, the witnesses would give a higher estimation of the speed than if they used the word bumped or hit etc. So even a well-meaning therapist could unintentionally lead a client to believe they were abused, particularly if that therapist had a preconceived idea.

My parents scolded me may become, your parents yelled & screamed at you. Hence he turns a real but not necessarily abusive event or sequence of events, into something more sinister. There are many examples of Molyneux doing this.

Finally coming back to the term 'defoo', as has been said on this forum many times, it's not about cutting off abusive parents, its about cutting off everyone. Family, friends, anyone who does not hold the same views as Molyneux! Its about isolation from any sort of support network other than the FDR community, so he can step in to fill the void and become the most important person in your life. Some say this is all for money, personally I believe it's more about his narcissism and the money is just something he feels he deserves as a result.



Quote from: author Stefan Molyneux
Either the world is not sick, or parents are. Because, as my wife says, it all starts with the family. If you want to perform the greatest service for political liberty, all you have to do is turf all of your unsatisfying relationships. Parents, siblings, spouse, it doesn’t matter. If you can do that, you can speak honestly about freedom.

If you can’t, well, then you have no right to complain about the government. You can’t ask people to give up their illusions about remote political tyrannies if you can’t escape your own domestic tyrants.

So just like Derren Brown can convince an atheist that they've had a religious experience, or persuade someone to commit murder, or carry out an armed robbery, Molyneux can convince someone that they were abused, in the conventionally understoood sense, (the false memory scenario) or that 'normal' parenting was abusive (your parents were statist / religious/ academics/ sent you to piano lessons etc.) is abusive, and / or that you should end your relationship with them.




 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3a21wiRtTs

As you are quite new on the forum, and you may not have looked through many of the older posts, I can recommend Anarchist's posts as particularly cogent on this topic. http://www.fdrliberated.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;area=showposts;u=26

All this said, I don't wish to minimize your personal experience of abuse Marc, rather I want to point out that there are many other possible reasons for 'defooing'.








 

Marc Moïni

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Re: On Defooing
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2016, 05:52:46 PM »
+3
Elucidated, I'm puzzled, I don't understand what is motivating you to argue that childhood trauma is not the only thing that makes people vulnerable to manipulation of the kind Molyneux is doing.

My main goal with these posts is to help people figure out if they are getting emotional reactions that could be from childhood trauma. Because doing my best to achieve this goal, which I think will improve the world, satisfies my yearning to do something important (to me at least) with my life.

Would you please say what your main goal is?


I'll reply to your arguments in my next post. This comment I can reply to quick so I'll just do it now:
As you are quite new on the forum, and you may not have looked through many of the older posts, I can recommend Anarchist's posts as particularly cogent on this topic. http://www.fdrliberated.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;area=showposts;u=26

Thanks! You couldn't have known since I didn't say it, but I have already read all of Anarchist’s public posts, because I found them so insightful. I've actually been reading FDR Liberated regularly since late 2012, even though I started posting more recently.

To give you a fuller picture of how much I've looked into what we're discussing: I’ve read all the articles on FDR Liberated, and most if not all of the posts from the last 4 years. I’ve also read some threads from Liberating Minds. I've always been very interested in psychology and sociology and how the brain and body works, so I’m also familiar with Steve Hassan’s work, and I've read a fair amount about cults, and I'm familiar with the false memory litterature and the controversy around it, as well as with most of the psychological topics discussed here or on FDR (for which I usually try to read the original sources).
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Elucidated

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Re: On Defooing
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2016, 04:16:04 AM »
0
Elucidated, I'm puzzled, I don't understand what is motivating you to argue that childhood trauma is not the only thing that makes people vulnerable to manipulation of the kind Molyneux is doing.

You say this as though I have some sort of hidden agenda. I post what I believe. I don't know why you are unwilling to accept that your view is not the only one. You say you have researched cults, if so then you must surely have discovered that people who are recruited into cults are not all suffering from childhood trauma, and that typical cult behaviour is to isolate people from family and friends.

Perhaps you disagree that FDR is a cult or cult-like, or that Molyneux exerts cult-like undue influence on people?


In saying that something is only caused by childhood abuse without being prepared to accept that there may also be other reasons, you are engaging in the same black and white thinking as Molyneux. Why are you unwilling to explore other possibilities? 
 
My main goal with these posts is to help people figure out if they are getting emotional reactions that could be from childhood trauma. Because doing my best to achieve this goal, which I think will improve the world, satisfies my yearning to do something important (to me at least) with my life.

Would you please say what your main goal is?

On the one hand you say your main goal “is to help people figure out IF they are getting emotional reactions that COULD BE from childhood trauma”, yet in rejecting my points you also seem to be saying it's not IF or COULD BE at all, but but it IS.

Improving the World is a positive goal. Please tell me if I am wrong, but the tone of your post seems to question my integrity, the implication being that my goal is something contrary to improving the World.

Raising awareness of the dangers of Stefan Molyneux is a way in which I feel all of us can improve the World.

 

Marc Moïni

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Re: On Defooing
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2016, 04:03:56 PM »
+1
Elucidated, thanks for your reply! I'm glad, I think I see now where I didn't explain myself clearly enough:

I'm not saying childhood trauma is the only thing that makes people vulnerable to cults, I accept there could be other causes, it's just that I see childhood trauma as the main one by far.

As I wrote in my first reply to you and CupOfTea: "I can accept that maybe in rare instances it could, but definitely not for most."

I see that in my last reply to you I muddled things when I wrote "...I don't understand what is motivating you to argue that childhood trauma is not the only thing that makes people vulnerable...". This doesn't mean that I think it is the only thing, but it does come off that way somewhat. I apologize for the confusion!

Have I clarified that I don't reject your point, that other causes besides childhood trauma can make people vulnerable to cult-like manipulation?


To clarify some other points:
I agree that FDR is cult-like, and that Molyneux exerts cult-like undue influence on some people.
I agree that typical cult behaviour is to isolate people from family and friends.
I don't question your integrity. I am convinced you want to improve the world. I agree with you that raising awareness of the dangers Molyneux poses does improve the world.

When I asked what your main goal is, I again wasn't clear enough, and I apologize for this too (my childhood fear of getting beaten and thrown into the street to die alone, of which I have been becoming more aware, is constantly pushing me to justify myself, and this interferes with giving clear and concise explanations). I meant the proximate main goal, not the ultimate goal of improving the world. My proximate main goal is "My main goal with these posts is to help people figure out if they are getting emotional reactions that could be from childhood trauma.". Do I understand correctly then, your proximate main goal is raising awareness of the dangers Molyneux poses?


Now, as promised, here are my replies to the points you raised previously:

First of all I don't think when we say 'defoo' that you and I mean the same thing but I'll come back to that later.
...
Finally coming back to the term 'defoo', as has been said on this forum many times, it's not about cutting off abusive parents, its about cutting off everyone. Family, friends, anyone who does not hold the same views as Molyneux! [...]
I think we mean the same thing. I mentioned in my first post in this thread that I know "defoo" includes cutting out friends and anyone else, along with family. I chose to focus on emotional bonds with family because I think other bonds are similar, for the purpose of discussing the role of childhood trauma in vulnerability to "defoo" manipulation.

I'll assume for now that you are saying that you believe that 'people with strong healthy emotional bonds to their parents and siblings are extremely unlikely to  cut off from their family
Yes.

I would say they are 'less likely' rather than extremely unlikely. Many difficult or traumatic situations in childhood can be caused by things other than parental abuse or neglect. For example bereavement, serious illness or accident, disability such as autism or Aspergers (perhaps  undiagnosed), illness of a sibling or parent, bullying or abuse outside of the family, difficult social environment, peer pressure etc. All these factors can lead to your point II despite caring, loving parents and siblings.

Bereavement is one I can speak of from personal experience, as I suffered the loss of a best friend at a young age, this had a massive impact on me emotionally, I found it hard to form new friendship afterwards with a fear of losing other people. I became withdrawn and lacking in confidence and pushed people away from me, I became insecure and convinced that my parents were going to die suddenly too. I believe I still suffer the tail end of this trauma today.

Of course an ideal World would be free from childhood emotional trauma but you can't protect kids from life. Grandparents die, pets die, other kids can be cruel, life can be cruel and kids can't always be protected from seeing and hearing things, regardless of how caring, loving and perfect their parents may be.

So someone suffering from one or more of the traumatic circumstances I've described could well be emotionally vulnerable and susceptible to the influence of cults and cult like groups.
I agree these are all possible, I agree it's not possible to protect children from everything, and I acknowledge that these events can be extremely painful. You have suffered very much from losing your friend, so it is clear to you how devasting such an experience can be. And if I understand correctly, you attribute your past vulnerability to Molyneux's manipulative tactics to the emotional turmoil caused by this loss.

Are you pointing out these possibilities in order to warn people that even if they didn't suffer emotional wounds at the hands of their parents, they should still be careful about possibly falling for the sort of manipulation Molyneux uses?

Again, my goal here is to help people figure out if they are getting emotional reactions that could be from childhood trauma. And I do see these possibilities you mention as childhood trauma, because as you point out they do create emotional wounds. I worry that most people are not aware enough of these reactions, and most people are not familiar enough with the topic of emotional wounds and childhoold trauma, to recognize these reactions for what they are and to decide to work on recovering from the trauma and healing the wounds.

I'm not trying to single out parents, I just think the reality of the matter is that the vast majority of emotional wounds are caused by parents, even well-meaning ones. Therefore I am focusing my efforts on making it easier to recognize when one is suffering from the type of wounds caused by parents (and then, how to go about healing).

Secondly, adolescence and emerging adulthood, can be a time when a person questions the religious beliefs or political ideas of their parents. This is natural and healthy. Regardless of good parenting, (whether you consider being brought up to believe in God is abusive or not is another discussion altogether, but let's assume not for now) someone who at this stage rejects these political and religious views can feel disconnected from their family, there is also a natural yearning for a cause to believe in. This leaves them wide open to emotional manipulation and exploitation by people like Molyneux.
If I understand correctly, you are elaborating on what you wrote in your first response to me, how a developmental phase or circumstances in society can separate adolescents from their parents even when the bonds between them are strong and healthy. If so, then I still don't see how this is possible except for a tiny proportion of instances (still tragic, but not something most people experience).

Are you thinking of "good parenting" the same way I am, meaning parents are attuned enough, they give children enough empathy and nurturing and love (which as Dan Siegel explains, includes repairing and restoring the relationship often enough after the parents make the inevitable mistakes all humans make from time to time), and parents attend well enough to the children's other needs, for children to grow up without receiving significant emotional wounds from their parents?

In my understanding "good parenting" includes respecting children's political and religious views, even if as a parent you disagree with these views. Just the same way that I would like any person to respect the views of any other person on any topic, without necessarily agreeing with these views, but instead through assuming that the other person is pursuing a meaningful and very human ultimate goal by holding the views they are holding. So the way I see it, despite differences in religious or political views, (most) children would still have the full support and love and understanding of their parents, they would not feel lonely and hurt, they would not experience disconnection, and they would not be open to emotional manipulation by cults.

From listening to hundreds of Loveline calls concerning bullying, peer pressure, and abuse from outside the family, I agree with the pattern the hosts keep pointing out: children who get picked on or attacked (or at least the vast majority of them–exceptions happen) are those who have already been abused by someone in the family. Meaning these children already suffer from the consequences of childhood trauma, and this is what makes them targets. Which means that in most cases, they didn't receive "good parenting", despite what they might think (and most often, after a bit of expert probing, callers acknowledge that things weren't as rosy as they thought). Which I think shows that in most cases of bullying and peer pressure and abuse from outside the family, the root is still emotional trauma at the hands of the child's parents. Because the relationships children build with parents in the first years of life have the most power to form a template for what follows, either a healthy or a dysfunctional one.

Thirdly, my points about false memory; even a perfect childhood would not provide immunity from suggestion and memory manipulation – if that were the case then advertising would only work on the traumatised.
I doubt your affirmations here. Would you please explain how you think advertising works? I think part of it is association of mental images through repetition, and this works on everybody. So I see it as a form of suggestion, but not one that has the power to break strong and healthy emotional bonds.

As to Derren Brown’s Pushed to the edge video, I think it makes my point that this kind of manipulation only has a good chance of working on people who already suffer from severe emotional wounds (which I think are usually inflicted during childhood, when people are still very much dependent on their caretakers for their needs—again, there might be exceptions).

I'm convinced that a person who has reached emotional independence (and is in touch with their feelings, and doesn't get overwhelmed by emotional reactions to situations similar to traumatic ones in the past), will not accept to do things that go against their values. It’s clear to me that in this video Chris is not being honest with himself, and I’m confident this is a sign that he is suffering from emotional trauma. I’m willing to accept that some social conformity might be in our genes, but I struggle to comprehend how a healthy integrated self-owning person whose life is based on choosing their responses to events, instead of merely reacting out of fear, would go along with actions they disapprove of.


Just because Molyneux is turning this topic of childhood trauma into a caricature with the way he misrepresents what he probably didn't have the capacity to understand correctly (due to his own untreated trauma I think) when he lifted it from Bradshaw or Loveline or whomever else he is plagiarizing, doesn't mean that most people don't in fact suffer from the consequences of emotional trauma received in childhood.

So if someone reading this has been vulnerable to Molyneux or others like him, I advise them to look into how much nurturing they actually received from their parents, and whether they are suffering from any consequences of childhood trauma (I listed some of these in my post from August 6th). Because recognizing that one suffers from emotional trauma seems necessary for healing from it.
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Marc Moïni

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Re: On Defooing
« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2016, 07:00:35 PM »
0
I'm convinced that Molyneux, despite all his venom, has no power over people who aren't already suffering from some kind of childhood trauma. And that people who don't have major emotional issues left over from their childhood, see through him quite easily, and thus will never consider "defooing".

Teenagers who take the drastic decision to leave home (I realize "defoo" also applies to cutting contact with friends and everyone else outside of FDR, but here I'm taking it in the litteral sense), almost always do this as a last resort, in order to escape a situation involving physical or verbal/emotional abuse that has become too threatening. (This is according to what I'm hearing on episodes of the Loveline radio show from 1998 and 1999, which I find on YouTube, where I've heard calls from hundreds of teenagers facing all sorts of challenges.) Even if Molyneux's persuasion tactics add to these people's perception of their suffering and the risks they run by staying in contact with their family, it seems that significant issues must be already present, for the bonds in the family to be weak enough to be susceptible to "defooing".
 
I think it's unfortunately a common occurence that parents, because of their own childhood trauma of which they are not clearly aware, also are not aware of what painful and dangerous situations they've put their children into. Therefore in my opinion, if you yourself or someone you are close to is involved with FDR, it is a sign that you are harboring major childhood trauma, and that you would most likely benefit from a thorough exploration of this trauma: it could be physical, sexual or verbal abuse, or an emotionally absent father or mother, or anything else that would prevent someone from developing a healthy sense of themselves as a competent and self-sufficient person.

So far, as far as I can see, this has been true of everyone I know personally who has been associated with FDR, including myself...

Margaret Singer did extensive research into cults and their impacts I found quotes from her that echo similar sentiments.

"While everyone is influenced and persuaded daily in various ways, vulnerability to influence fluctuates. The ability to fend off persuaders is reduced when one is exhausted, rushed, stressed, uncertain, lonely, indifferent, uninformed, aged, very young, unsophisticated, ill, brain- damaged, drugged, drunk, distracted, fatigued, frightened, or very dependent."
Undue Influence and Written Documents: Psychological Aspects, Margaret Thaler Singer, Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley 1992

The public takes care of their fear by thinking only crazies and stupid people wind up in cults. I've interviewed over 4000 ex-cult members. There's no one type of person who is vulnerable.
Margaret Singer, The Lancet, January 31, 2004

Personally, I don't think there is an "FDR type". The trauma you have described is very general, it encompasses anything and everything and makes no distinction between levels of severity. I do have an issue with this talk of "Childhood trauma". I do not intend to disrespect anyone who faces very serious issues, but "childhood" is a common natural human experience - literally everyone who grows to adulthood experiences this. Of course any problems we face, developed from some  foundational aspect in youth, this is the starting base for EVERYONE psychologically and socially. Its a blanket term to me and is one of the biggest Baits that Molyneux uses because its so all-encompassing. The only single common thread is that Molyneux is offering some type of panacea to a listener. I agree that some vulnerability must be present but how that directly relates to Moyneux is different for every listener. For some its parental empathy, for others its getting back at women, for others its political - Trump related or perhaps an ancap etc.

Rafaman, sorry for not replying earlier. If I understand correctly, you see no other common thread here than Molyneux using the pretext of childhood trauma for manipulating listeners, because childhood trauma does not mean something specific enough to you.

Is it clearer what I mean with this term, now that I've explained it some more in the replies I've posted since your post, or is it still your view that saying childhood trauma is too vague and does not indicate the severity of what people are suffering from?
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CupOTea

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Re: On Defooing
« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2016, 10:05:05 PM »
0
Marc, I am surprised that you don't understand the fundamentals of cult manipulation.   I had assumed that you did after seeing your sincere and heartfelt video, however I suppose I shouldn't have.  If you are really interested, may I suggest that you read, Influence by Dr. Robert Cialdini, one of Steven Hassan's books or study what is written in the many articles in ICSA.   Steven Hassan himself was an example of someone that was mentally and emotionally manipulated into the Moonies.  He tells his story in almost every video and book he put out and he wasn't a rare case.  I suggest looking into it further.  Many of the experts will be happy to talk to you for a few minutes and make their own suggestions.   Other than Steven Hassan, experts include David Clark, Carol Giambalvo, Lorna and Bill Goldberg and many, many others.  There are videos, books and articles that are readily available.  I don't know what country you're from, but there are experts all over the world.

For me it took a lot of study and thinking about it.  Manipulation is the hardest part to understand for most of us.   
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Elucidated

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Re: On Defooing
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2016, 05:00:31 PM »
0
Marc, I just finished drafting a reply to you and my laptop crashed. Grrr.

I will respond when I get chance to start over


Rafaman

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Re: On Defooing
« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2016, 06:26:51 PM »
+2
Yes, Marc that is my position. Childhood Trauma is a very real thing, but it is the exception not the norm as Stefan makes it out. I am a High School teacher and that has been my experience. I work closely with a mental health units and this one setting is where Childhood trauma is clearly at the forefront and obvious. However, these students who suffer from selective mutisism, severe depression, social anxiety, self harm, lashing out violently etc are very rare and are instances where true mental health issues are apparent and they should not be looked over. In fact there are around 5-10 such special schools in my city which has well over 5 million people.  Molyneux describes all children as being traumatized and prisoners of some sort either to parents, the state, teachers etc. I don't see that. They are young people trying to find their way and most are very well meaning and decent, even in spite of some terrible upbringings (mostly physical and sexual abuse). Among those students with severe childhood trauma's I have taught, I would say most about 80% get on with their lives to work full time and have families themselves and are well adjusted citizens who manage their own issues. Molyneux really underestimates the resiliency of people. They aren't helpless saps who need FDR to guide them.

Marc, from your posts you seem to be a very empathetic, intelligent person who is sensitive to the issues of others. Cults prey on such people. As Margaret Singer said, (I'm paraphrasing) - Cults want smart, dedicated people who they can rely on.

I don't want to minimize your experience and you certainly don't need Molyneux's definitions as a guide to live your own life. His theories have only as much weight as you give them. I feel you are giving him way to much credit with being right.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2016, 08:45:51 PM by Rafaman »

Marc Moïni

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Re: On Defooing
« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2016, 02:17:00 PM »
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CupOTea, as I mentioned in a previous post I am familiar with all of this: it was 25 years ago that I read the original studies Cialdini based this book on (classic social psychology studies by the likes of Zimbardo or Milgram or Ash). I watched some of Steven Hassan’s presentations maybe 3 years ago to learn what he had to say, and today I skimmed through one of his videos again in order to remember the details of his indoctrination: how when he was a student and he was feeling lonely and dejected after a breakup he let himself be deceived by a team of seductive Moonies who used the same sort of manipulative techniques on him that Derren Brown uses in his shows, how he was then enticed to go to a place they controlled (presented to him as an innocent workshop), which was a trick to isolate him from the outside world so he would be more susceptible to stronger manipulative techniques (similar to those the Landmark Education Forum uses, if I remember correctly), how he was later subjected to yet more manipulation techniques (of the sort Cialdini references in Influence).

I've been reading psychology and social psychology since the 1980's, and I credit being aware of these techniques as one of the factors that kept me from falling more than I did for Molyneux's manipulation. As I explained in the video I did about him, it was my enthusiasm for the ideas of Voluntaryism and the strong stance he pretended to take for these ideas (at the time) that motivated me to take into consideration the other ideas he presented, especially cutting off "bad" people from one's life. I had been indoctrinated since childhood into seeing people as either "good" or "bad" (simply by growing up in cultures influenced by the main monotheistic religions—Christianity, Islam, Judaism), so that part wasn't new to me. Luckily for me my parents were not religious, so I was spared indoctrination into any of these cults (which Hassan himself doesn’t recognize as cults).

But again, and I wasn't aware of this last year when I made that video, it's clear to me now that the main reason I was susceptible to Molyneux's manipulation is that since early childhoold I've been suffering from severe emotional wounds:

One is a profound unconscious shame along with separation anxiety, from not receiving from my mother enough of the attention and affection that children need in order to develop healthily. As is typical in these cases (Nathaniel Branden describes some in Breaking Free), I reacted by forming the unconscious belief that I'm not worth anyone attention and affection. Because this was less scary than realizing I was dependent on parents who were unable to properly care for me (they were both suffering from their own emotional wounds, after childhoods much worse than mine).

Another is a deep fear and hypervigilance, from being subjected to my father’s sudden rages. He was affectionate most of the time, but he was quick to lose his temper (his childhood trauma) and he would yell at and hit anyone around. Even if these beatings only happened a few times, the fear I lived in was constant. It was simply unsafe for me to relax when my father was around, so I learned not to. Instead, I learned to present an appearance of calm, which meant not expressing any feelings, which eventually got me to lose awareness of all feelings.

These and a few secondary wounds combined to make me anxious and striving to appear smart and strong and competent, so I would not provoke my father’s rage and also so I would finally be worthy of receiving the attention and affection I never got enough of from my mother. I was not aware of it (because this all started in my first year, and also because being aware might have put me in harm’s way), but fear made me reject my feelings and my values, it made me constantly try to guess who people wanted me to be so I could pretend to be that person. I had no sense of who I was, therefore I was unable to be myself in any relationship, therefore I was terribly lonely (even while I was married and raising children). I had lots of repressed anger (because it would have been dangerous to not repress it) against my father and his brutality, which came out as rebellion against authoritarianism of any kind, and made it difficult for me to fit in society (this is a large part of what attracted me to Voluntaryism, in addition to genuine interest for these ideas).

I’m explaining this in order to give a more detailed idea of the sort of psychological mechanisms that I think actually make people vulnerable to manipulation. Childhood trauma of the sort I suffered can be invisible to most people as well as to the person suffering from it, like it’s been for me, and yet it can be very disabling, causing strong anxiety and anger and depression. In our society where anxiety and depression have reached epidemic proportions, I strongly suspect that one (or the) main cause is childhood trauma. Which is not surprising, given how few people understand what it is and how it comes about, and how to prevent traumatizing more children, and how to heal one’s own trauma. If these emotional wounds are so disabling and so widespread, does it make sense that the principal explanation for susceptibility to manipulation is here, rather than in the techniques Steven Hassan (and Derren Brown, and the other experts you mentioned) talk about?

I’m hoping you’ll accept that I may have a point here, even the implications can be very scary. Personally, I’m glad I have been doing the work needed to heal from my childhood trauma, because I’m beginning to live a much fuller life than the unsatisfying one I’ve had so far. And I’m sharing all this in order to encourage others to reconnect with themselves too. But it’s possible that I’m still blind to some important aspects of this whole matter, so would you please say what fundamentals of cult manipulation you think I don't understand?
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money detonator

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Re: On Defooing
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2016, 05:45:10 PM »
+1
I'll assume for now that you are saying that you believe that 'people with strong healthy emotional bonds to their parents and siblings are extremely unlikely to  cut off from their family

Yes.

I think almost all people would agree with that statement.

This is an interview with cult expert Dr. Alexandra Stein where she talks about her experience in a cult and the subject of her thesis about attachment theory.  It had been posted a few years ago on this forum.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/harm-reduction/2012/08/23/trauma-bonding-and-cults

Around 20 minutes in, she says her research attempts to explain how these cult leaders are able to gain so much control over their victims' lives, when the victims are often (like herself) intelligent, functional people capable of critical thinking in other aspects of their lives.

She believes the answer is in the lack of a secure attachment to a caregiver during childhood, and lack of one later in life.  At around 22 minutes, she refers to studies in attachment theory in the 70's which estimate that 60% of the population were lucky enough to have had a secure attachment in childhood, which would suggest that around 40% didn't.

She goes on to talk about how different styles of attachment in childhood affect the brain and thinking patterns.  The result most dangerous to one's survival is dissociation, which disables instincts to run away from danger, the result of a childhood where the source of security and threat were one in the same.

Around 56 minutes, she talks about "attachment interviews" used as a research tool, and how it isn't what is said but more how it is said that reveals what kind of attachment a person experienced and whether there was unresolved trauma.  The way she describes them sounds like many of the early calls to Molyneux.  The way the caller talks about their childhood would reveal to Molyneux vulnerabilities he can exploit and manipulate.

Another interesting section is about the lineage of cults and how most are started by people who were in cults themselves, and how most cult leaders learned their techniques from being cult members, and most are dealing with childhood issues.  The founder of EST had been in Scientology.  Landmark spun off from EST.  Molyneux had been in Landmark for years before starting FDR, so it's really a derivative of Landmark/EST/Scientology.


« Last Edit: August 15, 2016, 06:30:11 PM by money detonator »

QuestEon

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Re: On Defooing
« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2016, 06:45:01 PM »
+1
I'll assume for now that you are saying that you believe that 'people with strong healthy emotional bonds to their parents and siblings are extremely unlikely to  cut off from their family
Yes.
I think almost all people would agree with that statement.

Well, I'm not one of them.  :)

I just have a few scattered observations about this thread.

I think what Marc is trying to do is noble. It also seems like he is projecting his own experience onto most other families. That isn't unique, however. Molyneux, Bradford, and others tend to do the same thing. I don't think that's necessary to affect the kind of change Marc would like to make in people's lives. I'm behind his goals 100%, just not his motivating beliefs.

Marc, some of the things you say suggest to me that you look at individuals as blank slates at birth, who can be turned into well-adjusted adults by surrounding them with a healthy, loving family. People are more complicated than that.

In addition, you appear to believe that a well-adjusted individual is always well-adjusted, when in fact they sometimes are and sometimes aren't, depending on their situation. Even the most well-adjusted 18-year-old--living alone for the first time in a dormitory many hundreds of miles away from their family--can be susceptible to undo influence. So can someone going through a divorce. So can a single person during a job transfer. Everybody who is stable can (and does) become unstable once in a while. That's all a cult needs.

This is why cult experts know that it is not about who; it's about when. Trying to figure out the "type of person who is susceptible to cults" has always been a failed enterprise and provides no insight into undue influence and how it works.

If it were down to a type of person, then I would think the age distribution among the maladjusted who seek out cults would be equal. The same percentage of 20-, 40-, 60-year-olds, etc., would be "seeking" and joining cults.

But people do not join cults; they are recruited by cults. Cults seek out and recruit candidates exactly the way Fortune 500 companies do. And they look for them at times of stress, when--no matter how well adjusted they may be--they are vulnerable.

The primo time is at the point of individuation for mid/late adolescents, which is why modern cults began infesting campuses in the '60s. This is the point that Freedomain Radio was designed for as well.
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Disillusioned

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Re: On Defooing
« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2016, 09:37:44 PM »
+1
I don't think it's very fair to accuse Marc of projecting when you could accuse almost anyone on this thread of doing so.

There are so many types of cults out there, and they all use similar but different techniques to recruit and influence their members. Let's not pretend that parents and childhood wounds were not significant tools used to recruit into this particular cult.

I do not buy into the idea that at the time I was vulnerable (due to a number of circumstances in my life), I could have been recruited to any cult. This cult was successful because it was telling me things I wanted to hear and that I related to.

Of course, Molyneux exploited my pain. He convinced me that forgivable mistakes were unforgivable, conscious acts of abuse. I think he was only able to do so because I was already in pain that was never addressed.

I've only heard one person come forward to say that they made up/exaggerated their abuse stories. The majority of ex-members I know still have complicated relationships (or sometimes no relationships) with their parents.

I've had conversations with current FDR members who insist that I look only at the parents when considering harm that may have come to FDR members after listening to Molyneux. Sometimes this forum reminds me of that same attitude, except reversed. We mustn't look at the parents, because look at what a manipulative jerk Molynuex is!

I don't see how invalidating someone's complaints will ever help a situation like this.
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QuestEon

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Re: On Defooing
« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2016, 11:11:59 PM »
+2
I don't think it's very fair to accuse Marc of projecting when you could accuse almost anyone on this thread of doing so...

All very well-taken. If I looked like I was accusing Marc of anything then I got it wrong. I think Marc (what I know of him) is great.

I was just lazily referring to a lingering thought I've had over the years. Starting with Molyneux, I've noticed how often the worldviews of therapy people are shaped primarily by their own family experiences. John Bradford, Molyneux, David Mackler, etc., are driven by the belief that most families are dysfunctional. Some of the therapists I've met who come from stable families often (though not necessarily always) differ in that view.

The real truth is it is probably impossible to know "what most families are like," especially when we have different legal/cultural definitions for normal/dysfunctional families. We are left to form our own worldview.

The other part of my lingering thought is how that worldview is expressed by someone who suffers from splitting. Bradshaw allegedly thinks that 90% of families are dysfunctional. But I would bet that even if he admitted that were true, he sees the dysfunction across a very broad scale ranging from charmingly odd to inhuman.

Molyneux probably believes that same percent but--living in a black and white world--he is unable to scale; therefore all families are "horribly bad."

It is important to note that I would never invalidate anyone's complaints, or accuse Molyneux's victims of making up or exaggerating their complaints, or suggest that we always assume parents are faultless. I do try to ameliorate Molyneux's obsessive anti-parent view, but I know there are a lot of assholes out there.

Having said all that, it is well proven that undue influence can be used on nearly anyone with at least temporary effectiveness. I just don't buy into the notion that there is a correlation between family dysfunction and cult susceptibility, nor do I accept the notion that there is a "type of person" who joins cults.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2016, 09:13:09 AM by QuestEon »
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Marc Moïni

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Re: On Defooing
« Reply #28 on: August 16, 2016, 05:48:27 PM »
0
Yes, Marc that is my position. Childhood Trauma is a very real thing, but it is the exception not the norm as Stefan makes it out. I am a High School teacher and that has been my experience. I work closely with a mental health units and this one setting is where Childhood trauma is clearly at the forefront and obvious. However, these students who suffer from selective mutisism, severe depression, social anxiety, self harm, lashing out violently etc are very rare and are instances where true mental health issues are apparent and they should not be looked over. In fact there are around 5-10 such special schools in my city which has well over 5 million people.  Molyneux describes all children as being traumatized and prisoners of some sort either to parents, the state, teachers etc. I don't see that. They are young people trying to find their way and most are very well meaning and decent, even in spite of some terrible upbringings (mostly physical and sexual abuse). Among those students with severe childhood trauma's I have taught, I would say most about 80% get on with their lives to work full time and have families themselves and are well adjusted citizens who manage their own issues. Molyneux really underestimates the resiliency of people. They aren't helpless saps who need FDR to guide them.

Marc, from your posts you seem to be a very empathetic, intelligent person who is sensitive to the issues of others. Cults prey on such people. As Margaret Singer said, (I'm paraphrasing) - Cults want smart, dedicated people who they can rely on.

I don't want to minimize your experience and you certainly don't need Molyneux's definitions as a guide to live your own life. His theories have only as much weight as you give them. I feel you are giving him way to much credit with being right.
Rafaman, thanks for confirming that I understood your previous post correctly. This time, my understanding is that you are concerned for me, because you see me uncritically accepting Molyneux's exaggerated estimation of the incidence of serious child abuse, the kind that makes children unable to attend normal schools. Maybe you are also concerned that by repeating what sounds very much like what Molyneux says, I might be unwittingly helping him dupe more people. Is that right?

I agree with you that Molyneux is not someone to look up to for any sort of guidance. I don't trust him to even get the time of day right, at this point.

You seem to be leaving out a whole crowd of people that I include, in the set of people whose life is significantly impacted by the consequences of childhood trauma. For example, if I understand correctly, you wouldn't include me, because in school I seemed well-adjusted, I had good grades, I had friends, I looked normal. Then after school I still seemed to be doing well, as I co-founded a reasonably successful software company with a few friends, and for 6 years I was earning a comfortable income, I was having fun flying to faraway destinations both for business and for pleasure, and almost every day I was playing sports and going out with friends. Later I still seemed to be doing well, when I set up my own online business, I had children and I got married, I bought a house in the countryside and I left the city in order to raise my children in a beautiful and healthy natural setting. Yet I was having problems, as I've partly described earlier in this thread. The concrete manifestations of these problems were that soon after becoming a father I started having great difficulty maintaining a satisfying income, my latent anger at the whole world surfaced as I found it more and more difficult to raise my children the way I thought was best for them (this was years before hearing of Molyneux), and the lack of emotional awareness in my marriage put an end to our family life.

So if you are not counting people like me, who have childhood trauma but who manage to carry on despite it because they are not aware of it and because their circumstances are currently favorable enough to keep it hidden from the casual observer, how many people could that be?

How many people are like my father, a respected architect with a beautiful wife and 3 well-behaved children, whose only apparent problem was that he was a little hot tempered from time to time? How many people are like my mother, an accomplished homemaker and mother, whose only apparent problem was that she got those pesky headaches and allergies?

How many of the millions of people who are prescribed antidepressants or sleeping pills, are in fact suffering from childhood trauma?

How many alcoholics, workaholics, sex addicts, smokers, binge-eaters, etc., who are turning to these external means to get relief from their anxiety, are in fact suffering from childhood trauma?

How about all those parents who lose it in public and yell at or hit their children? Maybe not all, but how many of them are suffering from childhood trauma, and passing it on?

Does this not suggest that you may be forgetting to count some proportion of the population, a proportion possibly so large that it makes childhood trauma the norm rather than the exception? I want us to see the reality of the problem we are facing here, so that we can take effective steps to make life better for ourselves and for future generations.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2016, 05:10:11 AM by Marc Moïni »
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Rafaman

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Re: On Defooing
« Reply #29 on: August 17, 2016, 06:12:37 PM »
0
Marc,

I can certainly see your argument here.

Unlike Molyneux I won't pretend to be an expert in psychology. My opinions are limited to my personal experience.