On a personal note...

Okay, I’m going to break the fourth wall for just this one post.

I sometimes receive emails from former FDR members. Some had become deeply involved; others had reached the point where they were seriously considering abandoning their family and friends. The writers tell me that they began to critically re-evaluate their involvement in FDR after reading information on this site.

Each of them had read something here that made them question what they were hearing. And usually that first question was a domino that lead to their own entire critical re-assessment of Stefan Molyneux.

They tell me, often ecstatically, about the personal progress they were able to make after separating from the group. (But for some of them, the way back was hard. Which is why I’ve written this article.)

They want to give me credit but actually all I’ve ever done is take the things Stefan Molyneux and his wife say and do and put them down in writing for all to see and evaluate for themselves.

Still, I wish I could tell you what those e-mails have meant to me. It’s very humbling.

I never expected that. I was just writing about a brilliant, complex man who genuinely wants to do good but is no doubt completely unaware of the wreckage he’s caused and continues to cause to this day.

Okay. For some, then, FDR Liberated is a starting point for FDR members who are starting to question the curious psychology preachings of Stefan Molyneux, his brutal and unforgiving approach to relationships, his behavior, and just the stress of being in “the community.”

If that’s true for you—if it describes where you are on your FDR journey right now—then there’s one important thing I want to suggest. Something you really, really need to know if you’re going to “walk away” from the FDR community. It’s in this article. I wrote it for you.

(If, on the other hand, you’re still on an FDR high and think this is more-or-less amusing, then I completely understand. Seriously. You can stop here now. This article will still be here should you ever need it.)

If you decide to leave FDR

Let’s just say, hypothetically, that you’ve been a FreeDomain Radio member for a while and you’re starting to question what you’ve been hearing.

You’ve tried your best with Stefan Molyneux’s psychology theories and perhaps you’ve even completely defooed.

During this time, some of the changes you’ve made in your life have been good. You felt euphoric about discovering people who shared your political and philosophic views. Perhaps you felt euphoric about shedding your past life, if you did so—almost like a rebirth. But lately, you’re finding more things “wrong” than right with the community. Maybe you’re even considering contacting a member of your family to re-test the waters there.

If that’s true, then there’s something you should know right now. I’ve done some research into psychology, too, and I’ve learned something that is critically important for you to hear at this point. I’ll try to share some of it with you in this post.

I have one problem, though. Some of the authors I quote below used the word “cult” in some of their writing. I wish they hadn’t. It is such a lightning-rod word whenever the topic of FDR is discussed and gets in the way of truly fruitful discussion.

So please just set that word aside for a moment. Focus on the other things the authors have to say because they still may be relevant to you. You see, you don’t have to wrestle with the question of whether FDR is a cult or destructive cult at all. You only need to answer these questions: Has your experience with FDR changed you? Has it had a profound impact on your life?

If that’s the case, then where does FDR end and where do you begin? The more you think about that question, the tougher it may be to answer it. You’ve heard brilliant things from a brilliant man. Some of those things you’ll believe to be true for the rest of your life. And why not? They’re good views—you share them with me and many other libertarians.

But how do you separate that brilliant experience from the stuff that is starting to feel just plain wrong? If “the community” is starting to feel like an unhealthy place, where do you fit in now?

Well, it’s this simple. As you read the following, it will either make sense to you and/or you’ll decide whether it applies to you psychologically or you won’t. And that will be that.

Realize that you have been part of a group that has been enormously influential on you. Maybe more influential than you’re fully aware. Psychologically, people rarely “walk away” from such a group with ease.

Before you move forward, you need to process what you’ve been through. If you’re already accustomed to therapy, that’s a good thing.

Because you may need counseling to understand your experience with FDR and the role it has played in your life. Which, quite often, is neither all good nor all bad. It’s far more complex than that.

For example, one of the first symptoms you may notice is that you’re constantly at war with yourself. You try to make a decision and the FDR side of you tells you it’s wrong while your gut tells you it’s right. And vice versa. If you’re cutting ties with FDR and you’ve also defooed your family and friends, it can be very hard to find peace with yourself, let alone happiness.

If you’ve already left FDR and they’ve turned their backs on you, then you’ve probably never felt more alone than you do right now.

Ian Haworth of the CIC (Cult Information Centre) puts it this way:

“Even with the right help, the typical ex-cultist still faces more than a year of pain and suffering before he recovers from the damage done by the group. Typical symptoms of withdrawal include confusion, depression, disorientation, insomnia, amnesia, guilt, fear, floating in and out of altered states, suicidal tendencies and violent emotional outbursts. Most were outlined by Conway and Siegelman in their paper “Information Disease,” Science Digest, January 1982. An ex-member may even bear physical scars that serve as a constant reminder of his experience.

The above quote came from a pretty interesting article I found. Now, some of the symptoms Haworth describes may sound quite extreme to you. That’s because he was also referring to true destructive cults, which often have a religious basis.

But some of the above symptoms can occur with anyone who walks away from a highly influential group.

I linked to the article below. It’s an article worth reading if you’re an FDR “walk-away” or a family member/friend trying to counsel a loved one who has returned. Best line of the article: “Getting a person out of a cult is one thing, but getting the cult out of the person is another!

What I like about the article is the insight into the emotions of someone trying to leave such a group and some of the hurdles involved in finding appropriate counseling.

Like I said, though, just ignore the “cult” stuff and ask yourself if the psychology makes sense to you. If it does, then maybe you should do something about it.

Like the paragraph I quoted above, the article often touches on the extreme; i.e., people who have been victimized by truly terrifying religious cults. However, most highly influential groups are not that extreme and most of the article also applies to those groups.

And therefore, quite possibly, to you.

What I like about the article—the information that I found new and interesting and the reason I’m recommending it to you—is the insight into the emotions of someone trying to leave such a group and some of the hurdles involved in finding appropriate counseling. I truly hope you will find it useful. Just click on the title:

One final thought. As the article mentions, only some therapists are well-trained in helping people reconnect after having been in a heavily influential group. You have to seek them out, but it’s worth it.

I wish you all the very best.