Stephen Ross grew up in the small rural town of Brimfield Massachusetts feeling confused about his sexuality and was ultimately ostracized once he came out as gay. In the years that followed he suffered through many traumas including extreme physical abuse, emotional abuse, gaslighting, and manipulation. These experiences left him feeling severely depressed and caused him to feel disenfranchised and scared. Seeking safety and community he was completely open to the influence of anyone who showed him kindness.
This vulnerability eventually led him to be lured into right-wing conspiracies by his abusive boyfriend, a follower of such dangerous internet conspiracists as Stephen Crowder and Alex Jones.
Stephen shares with Rachel the details of some of the traumatic events that shaped his inner life, his descent down the proverbial rabbit hole, and eventual realizations that led him out of the darkness and towards a path of healing.
Before You Go: Rachel explains how the need to feel acceptance from a community can lead to ignoring one's own critical thinking and even morality. She speaks about the work of Eric Fromm the German humanistic philosopher and discusses why his idea of consensual validation is so relevant to our current times.
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