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Claw your way out

July 20, 2022

Begin with two stories about parents and children. Oath Keepers’ founder Stewart Rhodes now is facing prosecution for seditious conspiracy. His son, Dakota, tells how he worked away from his father because of the father’s MAGA politics. The second has nothing to do with politics. It nonetheless shines light on how a pattern of deceit affects relationships.

My two posts previous looked at the cult-like behavior in the MAGA movement.

Some cults actively encourage people to cut ties with friends and family outside. It works the other way around also. Many people outside, when they see someone’s cult-like thinking, will set boundaries to the relationship. I doubt Stewart Rhodes can expect visits from his son, while he is in prison. His devotion to MAGA will carry a high personal cost. Guy Reffitt’s MAGA participation similarly has torn apart his family. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is playing out broadly in the US, in cases much less newsworthy. And often without those put at arm’s length or more realizing what has caused that. Many relatives and friends put off by such behavior will not be vocal about it.

I don’t hesitate to tell those so devoted that the best thing they can do for themselves is to claw their way out. As with any other cult. I don’t know that there is solid information on how people do that. Perhaps because so few do. Often the suggested way out relies on the individual having a close relationship with someone outside. Which is the very thing weakened by their cultic behavior.

Still, it’s better on the outside.


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