It can feel like losing a family member to conspiracy theories. Alex Ford/Insider
- It can feel like you are losing a loved one to conspiracy theories.
- After becoming obsessed with QAnon, Sam Morris lost his mother and was forced to believe in conspiracy theories.
- He is just one of many creators who have turned to TikTok in search of a community that makes it less lonely.
Sam Morris developed a close relationship with his mother during his 20s. He called it the “gay-son and super liberal mom”. Although she is often described as an extreme hippy, her personality was not one that would judge anyone.
Morris stated, “She was always just so open and fun.”
Morris felt that his father, mother, and three sisters younger were loving, compassionate people. He called them “a great family.” However, his most difficult experience was when he visited his parents at the beginning of this year. He lost the mom he knew, the woman who was the “life and centre and soul of any party,”
Morris’ mother was sucked into the world QAnon in the months leading up to the outbreak of the pandemic. Morris stated that she now believes in “everything” conspiracies related to chemtrails and anti-vaccine narratives. She also said that Morris believes how Hollywood elites consume the blood of children.
Morris visited his mother when he arrived. His mother was lying in bed screaming conspiracy theory stuff at him, insulting me and abusing me. He claimed that he cried for 2 weeks straight.
I didn’t look at her like a fucking bitch. “I thought, “I wish you hadn’t read that shit.”
Morris, 34, lives in London and is an author, performer, and artist. For a while, he had a large social media following. However, was able to find a new audience when he began documenting the loss of his mother to QAnon on TikTok . After losing family members to the conspiracy movement, Morris is just one of many creators who have turned to the app. Morris and others found a community that made them feel connected.
People can recognize the extent of conspiracy theories by looking at TikTok’s impact.
Morris kept his story quiet for nearly a year. It got to the point that Morris felt “attacked” and “attacked” by his mother’s “no holds barred assault” against him on her Twitter account. He decided to talk about it on TikTok where he now has 163,000 fans. Insider saw Morris’ mom’s Instagram and Twitter accounts. She shares them and says that he has been vaccinated.
Morris began sharing his story by telling a dark joke about Christmas spent alone after his mom disowned him for Qanon. To see how people would respond,
Sam Morris wishes that his mom would not have fallen into the conspiracy hole. Sam Morris
A growing online community is made up of parents who are obsessed with QAnon, the far-right conspiracy movement. It revolves around the belief in a global cabal of liberal pedophiles and that former President Donald Trump has a plan for stopping them. TikTok allows children of QAnon conspirators to share conversations with their parents and connect with other people for advice and solidarity.
Morris posted an 8-part series about his mom’s radicalization. He said that she was always interested in unusual things and discovered CBD and cannabis just before the pandemic. She tried CBD oil to replace her antidepressants. Morris described this as a “disaster” and her mental health continued to deteriorate after the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.
Morris recalls that he received links via Facebook messenger to sites about vaccines and the dangers they pose to children. He also remembers how Jeffrey Epstein fed babies on Jeffrey Epstein’s island. He tried to reply, saying that she was “unhinged” as well as “unintelligible”.
Morris has stopped speaking to his mom. He claimed that she began to see him as an enemy, one of the “child-eating elites” with “reptile blood.” Morris wrote her mom a letter last year and sent her flowers. However, she later tweeted that Morris had spent the day with her “surrogate” son, another QAnon conspiracy believer, she had met via the internet.
Morris started posting about his TikTok experiences and was surprised to see how many other people had similar stories. It also amazed him how familiar everyone felt.
He said, “It’s been giving my chills reading messages about people who have lost their mother or dad, auntie, grandma or uncle.” “I was like Jesus Christ, what’s going on here?”
Joe Pierre, a UCLA professor of health sciences who specializes in conspiracy theories and delusion-like beliefs, said that Insider QAnon uses many hooks to draw people in. It is a large-scale conspiracy that includes protrumpism and populist sentiments, Christian Evangelism and the #SaveTheChildren movements, as well as anti-vaccine claims and wellness culture.
Pierre explained that while the reasons people fall into these holes vary from person to person. However, Pierre stated that there is a common combination of mistrusting authoritative sources and seeking misinformation to “support their mistrust, suspicions, and concerns about the world or specific sources of informational authority.”
Believers in conspiracy theories are often associated with other traits such as the need to have certainty, closure and control, uniqueness, and a tendency to use intuition over analytical thinking.
Pierre stated that “these quirks are present in some degree in everybody.” “But those who believe in conspiracy theories are more likely to have them than those who don’t.”
Social media can offer support when it is lacking in real life
Beckett Arnold found TikTok to be a “sanity-saver” during the pandemic. She has many relatives who refused to wear masks and refuse to get vaccinated. Insider learned that her mother was always open to conspiracies. Arnold listened to her mother speak about secret government uses of fluoride water and the chemtrails that airplanes used to poison the population as a child.
Arnold stated that conspiracy stuff has gotten worse year after year. “She expects that I respect her point of view, but she won’t give me the benefit of the doubt.”
Arnold began to think that she might need to distance herself form her aunts and uncles after the 2020 election. They were listening to Lin Wood on all telegram channels, and Arnold was convinced that Trump would be reinstated as president.
Arnold stated, “For one, no, that’s never gonna happen.” “But, for another, would you want them to actually overthrow the will of the people?” This is not democracy. This is not freedom. What is this all about?
As he waits to be allowed into a Trump campaign rally, a protester holding a Q sign in Wilkes-Barre (Pennsylvania) AP Photo/Matt Rourke
Arnold claimed that Arnold was influenced by her mom and almost fell into the conspiracy theory hole. She believed that 9/11 was an inside job. She said that her followers on TikTok brought her back to reality when she challenged them.
She now uses the app with 77,000 followers to express her frustrations about having a family that believes in conspiracies.
She said, “If we don’t laugh, then we just cry.” It has helped me to keep my sanity and build a community with people like me.
Pierre said that people have used Reddit groups and the internet to find solace after losing loved ones in conspiracy theories or disappearances.
He said that those cut off often feel a deep sense of loss. “But also frustration when they feel helpless in rescuing their loved ones or frustrated that they are unable to connect with others without being encouraged down the rabbit hole.”
Parents watching their fear descend into an alternate reality.
Although the reasons for people getting involved with QAnon or other conspiracy theories can be complex and wide-ranging, there are common patterns. Fear is a major driver for many.
Morris believes that the fear of the unknown and the inability to control her children’s movements contributed to Morris trying to find answers online. He said that her mental health was already difficult and that she eventually found answers in conspiracy theories.
Morris stated that she tried to find answers for her reality by trying to create them.
Rebekah relates her parents’ views and the fear she inherited from their culture. Rebekah, whom Insider will only identify by her first name to protect her family’s privacy and identity, was raised in an evangelical fundamentalist Christian Church in the south of the US. She now calls it a “cult.” Although she doesn’t reveal which church she was part of, she has shared her story on TikTok about how she and her husband moved to the Spring 2020.
Rebekah’s mom believed, along with other QAnon supporters, that Trump was still president even after President Biden was sworn in to office in 2021. She said, “They believe Trump is a hero or a God and they’ll send them things about how he’s like a savior for all the trafficked kids.”
After her therapist suggested it as a possible part of her healing process, Rebekah turned to TikTok to share her story. She said that a conservative fundamentalist society can create a bubble and can make it very difficult to break out.
She said, “You can feel stupid and rebellious by people still in the bubble.” I just hope that people feel less alone by talking about such things, sharing our experiences.
Rebekah stated that she wishes she could have a closer relationship to her parents. However, she has had to set boundaries such as disabling the family’s Facebook group and telling her parents not to send her any political material.
She said, “I love my mom and I love my parents but they are so far into it.” “We don’t operate in the same reality.”
Rebekah’s family conversation chat: Some of the messages Rebekah
It can be difficult to learn to let go, but there are always glimmers that point towards hope.
Arnold isn’t sure where the future will take her and her mother’s relationship. Arnold views herself as a voice for reason and continues to express her opinions to her parents.
She said, “If I’m not there for them to give a different perspective they’re not going to be exposed to it at any time.”
Pierre stated that it is possible for people to return home to their families after falling into the conspiracy trap. However, this will depend on how far they have fallen.
He said, “Often the best thing we can do for loved ones is keep contact and connect with them so that there’s always someone to come back to if he or she decides to climb out of this rabbit hole, even if it’s just for a glimpse.”
Morris hopes his story will shed light on how common conspiracy theories are all over the globe, and how the absurdity and hysteria can cause harm to individuals and tear families apart.
Morris’ mother arrived for six weeks at the beginning of 2021. They had a lengthy conversation in Morris’ kitchen for six to seven hours. Morris claimed he felt like Morris had broken through to her. He told her he was scared and that she was searching for answers in a scary place. He described it as a moment when his mom felt like herself again. He was wrong, she said. They hugged one another and shared their love.
His mom went home and told the rest of the family that he had for six hours berated him for making her a horrible mother. Morris described it as “bewildering” because it felt like all they had accomplished was lost. He said that there was still hope.
He said, “I don’t want to live an hopeless life.” “What she leads is hopeless.”