I am a former believer in Q and this is what changed my mind

I am a former believer in Q and this is what changed my mind

(throwaway to protect my identity)

I would like to offer you good people an additional angle when talking to Q believers that I haven’t seen here so far.

I will describe the thinking-process that led to my rejection of Qanon and then some pointers that may help inducing this process in others.

My process

After descending deeper and deeper into everything Q, I was suffering a psychotic breakdown. I realized I could no longer discern truth from fiction and fell into a deep depression for two weeks. As an unintended side-effect, I went through a digital detox.

And here is the epiphany that got me back into real-life:

There are two possibilities: Either Q is right or Q is wrong. It would have to be one or the other. If Q is wrong, then there is no need for me to busy myself with it. If, however Q is right, then…what? Why would I need to follow every new piece of information being dropped? If it is all true, then all should be revealed soon, for everyone to see. In that case, there is also no need for me to busy myself with it.

This realisation might seem unsatisfying at first, but it taught me an almost spiritual lesson:

There are things in this world that I do not know and cannot know for sure. And that is ok.

I was lucky to come to that realisation by my own, but not everyone will. So here are some angles that might help move someone else there.

Digital Detox

Information addiction is a real thing. Small bits of information that are just interesting enough but don’t challenge our short attention spans. Twitter et al. know this, news-channels know this, and so do conspiracy boards. So try to convince the person to do this. Hell, make it a challenge and join in yourself (this is beneficial for everyone).

Be humble and avoid authority arguments

Authority arguments (i.e. referring to scientists or whatever news outlet you deem reputable) cannot work because central part of Qanon is the untrustworthiness of those institutions. And be honest, your trust in those institutions is just that – trust (however legitimate it might be). Instead, be humble and go for the angle I described in my epiphany.

Don’t equate conservatism with Q

While reading some posts in this sub I got the impression that most users here hold left-leaning views, which is of course legitimate. I held conservative views before I got into Q and I still do. If questioning Q would have meant questioning my whole political identity, I doubt I would’ve gotten out. This is a mental health issue, not a political one.

EDIT 1: Please don’t derail this into a discussion about politics. I am aware that the vast majority if not all Q believers hold conservative views. My point is that it is easier to give up Q if that doesn’t mean you have to give up long held political views.

EDIT 2: I should have mentioned I am from Germany. We have a sizeable Q movement here. Please stop asking me about my opinions on US politics.48 CommentsGive AwardShareSaveHideReport96% UpvotedSORT BYBEST

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level 1PrinceJau1 hour ago

Interesting. Thank you for sharing, that’s a very practical/logical way of approaching it… most importantly, it’s a new angle to tryVoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 2formerQanonBelieverNew User1 hour ago

I hope it can help even one person break freeVoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 3shoneone1 hour ago

I like your final point, that it is not about a particular politics. Are there any positives to the Q values, like independent thought or anti-authoritarianism, distrust of neoliberals, that are places we can agree, or is it too personalised and not one unified movement?VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 4Ranowa51 minutes ago

I think the issue is that Q mostly espouses those values, but doesn’t actually practice them. Independent thought translates to “believe what my friends tell me instead of reality itself”, and anti-authoritarianism pretty clearly translates to “I want you to be ruled by MY authoritarian”, given how goddamn excited they were for months about the prospect of the cheeto overthrowing the US government and instituting literal martial law.VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 5formerQanonBelieverNew User23 minutes ago

Yes, that seems to be the case every time an ideology hijacks those virtues for its own gain.VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 4formerQanonBelieverNew User53 minutes ago

Wow, that’s a hell of a question. I’ll do my best.

Anti-authoritarianism and an appreciation for independent thought are values I think are very prevalent in Q believers. This is what lead to the loss of trust in traditional media and political elites (not unjustified imho), but also in institutions like the humanities (debatable) and natural sciences (problematic).

I think it’s also important to keep in mind that believe in Q has (as far I can tell) no correlation to intelligence. I have seen people of many different levels of education fall for it.VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 5beermemygoodman21 minutes ago

If you will permit another view, we who do not believe in Q see Qanon as courting authoritarianism by backing a populist leader. Even the slogan Where We Go 1 We Go All appears to outsiders as a kind of groupthink, sheeplike mentality. I know that sounds insulting so I apologize for how blunt that sounds. I agree it’s not about intelligence, for the record. We are living in a parallel universe from Q believers. How do you think we can reconcile these disparate views?VoteGive AwardShareReportSavelevel 5Comment removed by moderator18 minutes ago3 children

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level 1DragonflyFinal1 hour ago

i would argue that it is political, as institutional mistrust is kind of a core principle of the small government party. those left wingers like some bernie bros who get into q invariably seem to end up with conservative ideals. we also see q literally represented in congress and only on one side. in my mind, not all conservatives are anons, but all anons are conservativeVoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 2formerQanonBelieverNew User47 minutes ago

I see your point and I agree on the overlap of conservatism and Q.

My point is, when you are talking to a Q believer, you are not having a political debate. You are talking to people with varying levels of psychosis. They no longer have a reference point to measure reality. So save the political discussion for after they have recovered.VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 3botabought23 minutes ago

Do you feel like when someone brings up political leanings, when talking about Q, that the Q believer feels like they are instantly being attacked? That their beliefs will be instantly dismissed, so that feeling of already starting defensive when talking about Q makes the believer dig their heels in?VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 3betweenskill21 minutes ago

I think the point of the person you are responding to can also be reread as “Maybe you should identify why the same values that lead people to places like Qanon are the same values held by conservatives”.

Qanon is a natural consequence of conservatism, which I am happy to go into detail with in a better forum than this chain here if anyone is interested.

Addressing the psychosis helps the recovery, but addressing the politics and socio-economic systems prevents it in the first place. And as we all know, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And it seems all the most violent and extreme and popular and damaging conspiracies always come from conservative circles.

Regardless, glad you were lucky enough to be one that got out. I will take arguing the intrinsic evils of conservatism any day (because conservatism doesn’t mean small government and liberalism or even leftism doesn’t mean big government) over arguing about anti-Semitic conspiracies involving blood sacrifices.

Stay safe, take care, happy to take if you ever want to in more detail. You sound like a smart and intellectually engaged person, always a fun discussion.VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 2vanulovesyou44 minutes ago

Yeah, I don’t think I have ever met anyone into QAnon who is liberal or left-wing. It always seems to lead to right-wing beliefs.VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 3betweenskill20 minutes ago

It either starts at or ends at right wing beliefs.

There are those that start liberal or leftist, but those that do end up going far right fast thanks to Qanon.VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 3jeopardy9879872 minutes ago

They get some left-wing anti-vaxxer hippie types. The ones that follow “gurus” are pretty susceptible to this kind of thing.VoteGive AwardShareReportSavelevel 1ThrowItAwayCake1 hour ago·edited 55 minutes ago

I do think being a conservative does make you more prone to falling for some fantastical beliefs and therefore falling for Q. I based this on the conservatives I know in my life who, even when not being in Q, always fall for conspiratorial thinking. In my life since a lot of the conservatives I know are hyper-religious it also makes sense why they are more prone to believing in fantastical beliefs, because if you were to earnestly believe in magic and supernatural creatures, then you could fall for almost anything.

I don’t think its a coincidence that this movement emerged being adjacent to Trump. Its also impossible to disconnect politics from Q since they are inherently connected.VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 2formerQanonBelieverNew User39 minutes ago

I agree there are parallels between Q and religious narratives.

It might be the case that some belief in Q is politically motivated, I do not have any data to argue for or against this. I can only describe my experience and as I mentioned in my post, it ended with a psychotic breakdown. I will say that I simultaneously consumed mainstream media and twitter, which might have contributed to that so that is a fair point on your side.

My point is, that when you want to help someone with mental issues, this is not the time to argue politics.VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 1SqueezingStones1 hour ago·edited 3 minutes ago

Can I ask what specific conservative view you hold? As far as I can see conservatism has essentially crumbled down to nothing more than keeping minorities in there place and furthering the rich mans agenda. I’m not trying to be combative, I’m honestly confused how you could still identify as conservative after the way the conservatives have conducted themselves in the last six years.

I’m happy you got out of the cult but honestly you need to have a long hard look at the people who align their political ideals with yours. I cannot see one positive angle in 2021 to present yourself as conservative.VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 2HillaryBinLaden33 minutes ago

There are a few other reasons besides being racist but that is the biggest driver to being a conservative. They are religious brainwashing (Abortion) or guns or simply wanting lower taxes at the expense of destroying society.

Even poor or middle class ppl tend to pay less tax under conservatives and for some, throwing away every shred of morality or building a better society is worth saving $800 a year.

That is exactly how my parents put it. They don’t care about the future becsuse they will be dead soon. They just like saving $800 per year. It’s amazing how cheaply ppl can be bought.VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 2formerQanonBelieverNew User25 minutes ago

This question is similar to another comment so I will just paste the same answer again:

I have to give a disclaimer here. I am from Germany. Due to a very polarised political situation over here we have a sizeable Q movement. Given that this is a different country, this would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad.

I have stopped following US politics to protect my mental health, so I can’t comment on your remarks about the GOP.

I guess you could say my political and religious beliefs (pre and post Q) are largely in line with the kind of things you can hear and read from Jordan Peterson.VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 3FreeCashFlow16 minutes ago

Oh buddy, I sincerely hope you manage to detox from Jordan Peterson next. The man’s views on women and human relationships are abhorrent.VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 1whatismyname791 hour ago·edited 1 hour ago

It does sometimes seem to be a need for immediate “certainty “ which could be an aspect of mental health issue outside of political party spectrum .

I have a politically Independent leaning friend who seemed to have slipped into the Q world in the past few years , and though he says he doesn’t believe in Q, he still relays to me more than 3/4 of the Q conspiracies as truth. It is getting difficult to talk with him.

Some conspiracies end up true through out history of course , but not the majority of them . Q followers seem to be invested into believing all the current conspiracies as being true, which seems to reflect a need for absolute and immediate certainty .

This is maybe too far fetched , but I keep wondering how many people who are more susceptible to Q (and maybe susceptible to trump as well .. In terms of seeing him as a savior regarding all the Q conspiracies ) were raised by abusive / narcissist father (or maybe even mother, etc ) or otherwise experienced abuse they might deny or not consciously remember as abuse , or maybe even some of them were molested either at home or at away from home, say at school by an authority figure like a teacher or church by a priest , for example . Sorry if that is too out there , but the Q obsession with child sex trafficking and how trump will end all world child sexual trafficking is baffling to me to not wonder the deeper reasons people might be so ready to believe in these conspiracy theories .

It feels like Q believers engage in some heavy amounts of denial and also perhaps projection ..it reminds me of unhealed survivors of abuse , who often do the same thing within their own relationships and surroundings . Idk . Just my thoughts. I appreciate you posting your perspective and experience .

Also apologies if this is too much speculation. When I read you accepted that there are things you can’t know , it reminded me of thinking about the need for certainty being relieved by believing in the conspiracy , in this case multiple Q conspiracies .

Also want to add “certainty” = “safe “ for many people , and that is partly why I feel people gravitate toward this stuff , even if it is false certainty .VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 1surfdad6750 minutes ago

My wife asked how to handle one of her clients recently who was talking about Q and believes in it, thank you for this info, I’m going to send it to herVoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 2formerQanonBelieverNew User8 minutes ago

I hope it helps!VoteGive AwardShareReportSavelevel 2Comment removed by moderator30 minutes ago1 child

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level 1vanulovesyou45 minutes ago·edited 42 minutes ago

Thank you for your post here.

I will say, IMO, as far as the political angle, that part of the issue with modern conservatism (say, post-1994 “Contract with America”) is that it has adopted many QAnon trappings, e.g., a distrust in authority (and expertise) and a mystical belief in conspiracies, which is why it has overtaken the GOP. Part of the reason is due to Fox News, which uses the “information addiction” angle that you mentioned, especially when they use the strategies to push outright disinformation (which is another aspect of QAnon) whether it’s about Obama’s birth certificate or claims of election fraud.

That being said, I don’t think any of this is necessarily related to the ideas of small government, economically fiscal conservatism, etc. — we can debate about those virtues via public policy — which is why some traditional conservatives have rejected Trumpism, which is practically hand-in-hand with QAnon now.

As it is, QAnon seems to be a “red pill” into right-wing beliefs under the guise of conservatism.

Of course, the irony is that elements of QAnon are also a part of CPAC, which is why conservatives who have rejected Trump are absent from the stage there.VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 1toofaced9153 minutes ago

Can I ask what your political and/or religious beliefs were prior to your “falling for Q”? We are obviously starting to see Q become mainstream in the Republican party (though clearly COVID has also had a gigantic effect that I think cannot be understated), so Im curious to what degree your prior believes may have affected your propensity to believe the ideas of Q.

Thanks for sharing, we appreciate hearing your story!VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 2formerQanonBelieverNew User31 minutes ago

I have to give a disclaimer here. I am from Germany. Due to a very polarised political situation over here we have a sizeable Q movement. Given that this is a different country, this would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad.

I have stopped following US politics to protect my mental health, so I can’t comment on your remarks about the GOP.

I guess you could say my political and religious beliefs (edit: pre and post Q) are largely in line with the kind of things you can hear and read from Jordan Peterson.VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 3betweenskill18 minutes ago

Jordan Peterson is one of the leading entry points to the alt-right pipeline.

I wish more people realized how damaged he is and how damaging his rhetoric is. His only good points are the same ones you could find in any supermarket self-help book, the rest is either just wildly unfounded/demonstrably incorrect and/or transphobic etc..VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 1MayUrShitsHavAntlers37 minutes ago

Sounds like the serenity prayer.VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 1SimpleCranberry522 minutes ago

I have also been deep in Q and while the rabbit holes are interesting and captured way too much of my time, it finally came down to this.. what am I gonna be able to do about it? At the end of the day my family is the most important and that is who I’d rather spend my time with.VoteGive AwardShareReportSavelevel 1BigDrewLittle1 hour ago

Thanks for the share.

Yeah, don’t worry; I would never call QAnon conservative.VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 2formerQanonBelieverNew User1 hour ago

It’s an easy mistake many people make because such theories stem from political extremes and in a highly polarised society, nuance gets lost.VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 2betweenskill17 minutes ago

Why wouldn’t you?VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 1beermemygoodman27 minutes ago

We need posts like this. Thank you for taking the time to lay everything out. I have a couple questions for you so that maybe we can clarify how Q members see the world. What was it about your political identity that you resisted others questioning? What made you uncomfortable about that?VoteGive AwardShareReportSavelevel 1AwmawNew User18 minutes ago

I appreciate YOU Darlin, Thank You For This Insight, We all know this isnt easy for you <3VoteGive AwardShareReportSavelevel 1stratamaniac9 minutes ago

Have you considered the possibility that there is no Q? Q is neither right nor wrong, because Q is nothing more than an amorphous set of baseless conspiracy theories swirling around in the social media toilet bowl?VoteGive AwardShareReportSavelevel 1Blastosist7 minutes ago

Glad you made it out. Tell your friends.VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 1BoomerThooner2 minutes ago

Nothing wrong with holding right leaning views even if it’s European right leaning. Just weird the conservative side seems to be latching onto conspiracy when that is dang near the complete opposite of being conservative.VoteGive AwardShareReportSavelevel 1humangirltype1 minute ago

Thank you for speaking to the mental health aspect of this. You are absolutely right that it’s a mental health issue and not a political matter. People stuck in the cycle need help, not judgement, which I think is true for any mental health crisis.VoteGive AwardShareReportSave

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level 1arist0geitonjust now

Holy shit; you Pascals-Wagered yourself out of Q from first principles. That’s…something.

Welcome to the real world again. Toi toi toi.VoteGive AwardShareReportSave