Individuals join groups for a range of reasons, but often the primary one is to feel a sense of ‘belonging’. The need to ‘belong’ is fundamental to human wellbeing.
What’s true friendship?
True friendship among a group usually means that members are accepted warts and all. Sure there may be disagreements sometimes, but members know that they are accepted for who they really are, and they don’t need to pretend to be somebody else to feel welcomed.
What’s fake friendship?
But there are other groups where people seem to be your friend but only if you believe in the same ideology. People in the group may appear to be non-judgemental and encourage you to “be a better person” but their acceptance has boundaries. Cross those boundaries and you’re out. These groups are more similar to cults where people are strictly regimented and expected to mould themselves to the group. In these groups people are not encouraged to think on their own, and if they do they might find themselves in trouble. Once a member disagrees with the common ‘group belief’ they are treated as an outcast, a traitor that can even expect punishment from the members.
As time passes members in these groups become more deeply involved, and it serves as a substitute for a circle of friends who truly accept members for who they are. Eventually members may become isolated from mainstream society, and this is one of the strategies that these groups use to make their members increasingly dependent on their support. Former members often describe how difficult and scary it was when they decided to leave these groups.
So what’s the benefit of joining a national socialist group, then?
On the surface, there can be benefits to joining a ‘national socialist’ group, especially if coming from a place of family violence or seeking some meaning and excitement in life. It may offer temporary companionship for some people looking for a group to hang out with.
However there is no substitute for true friendship.