To DeFOO simply means to disassociate from, and ostracize, your family of origin. FOO is an acronym used in the psychological community. It stands for Family Of Origin. It arose out of a need to easily distinguish between ones birth family and ones marital family. Your Family Of Origin could be your biological parents, adoptive parents, step parents, grandparents, etc. Anyone considered to be a primary caregiver, extended family, or sibling during your childhood is part of the FOO.
The concept of DeFOOing is not new and has been practiced for decades. In the 21st century, it has gained traction in the voluntarism movement as a result of Stefan Molyneux and Freedomain Radio. Children all around the world are disassociating from their abusive parents. As to be expected, a lot of parents are very hostile to the idea of their children holding them to any moral standards. Complaints to the media have made the DeFOO a very controversial topic.
It is far too often the case that abused children will believe that all familial corruption is the fault of one parent. A common example of this would be a single or divorced mother blaming all her woes on the child’s father. These children need to be reminded that the family is a system. Your parents made voluntary choices and no single parent is more responsible than the other. It could very well be that the parent you think is the least guilty is in fact the most guilty. Often times the parent that sat by idly while the other parent spanked you is the truly sadistic one.
In most DeFOO cases, the entire family must be ostracized. This is because the family is a system of abuse. If your grandparents or aunts and uncles support your parents, they are also corrupt. If your siblings dismiss your feelings, defend your parents, or were abusive to you themselves, they too are corrupt. Should you wish to be consistent you will cast all corrupt FOO relationships from your life.
Consider the possibility that it may not be healthy to have any sort of relationship with your parent. It’s a difficult pill to swallow, and it should be used as the last option. However, it may be the option that helps you the most.Dr. Phil on DeFOO
John Bradshaw Approach
The John Bradshaw approach to DeFOOing is very subtle. John repeatedly states that healing your Inner Child is not about punishing your parents, but removing the chains that bind you. He would argue that DeFOOing can be necessary for healing, but does not argue that it is morally necessary. This is in opposition to the Molyneux approach that argues holding your parents morally responsible for their parenting is a non-negotiable part of healing
Children will invest as much energy as is needed to ensure the preservation of family harmony, even if it means sacrificing themselves to do so by developing psychological disorders.John Bradshaw
Stefan Molyneux Approach
Contrary to popular belief, Stefan Molyneux did not invent the practice of DeFOOing. Divorcing your Family Of Origin is not a particularly new concept. John Bradshaw and even Dr. Phil completely support the practice. Where Stefan Molyneux gets into hot water is with the application of DeFOOing to philosophy. Molyneux holds parental abuse of children is the greatest evil in the world today.
By continuing to associate with an abusive/corrupt Family Of Origin, you are also corrupt. Particularly if you are an anarchist, or respect the non-aggression principle. In the same way that having an abusive spouse is unhealthy, continuing to see abusive parents is also unhealthy. Huge sections of the anarcho-capitalist community are engraged at the thought of actually living their values.
Molyneux’s position on DeFOOing hasn’t changed. He and his wife, Christina Papadopoulos, went through a painful DeFOO of their parental and sibling relationships. DeFOOing was one of the primary topics of Freedomain Radio in the early days. Though, as Molyneux’s audience has grown, he has had to be less forward about his position on associating with abusive parents. It is a highly volatile topic. Most listeners do not have the moral courage to DeFOO from clearly corrupt parents. Rather than accept their moral hypocrisy, these listeners will ‘fog’ and avoid thinking about the topic.
There was a time when Stefan Molyneux would call them out on this, insisting that they acknowledge their hypocrisy. That day has long passed. Molyneux’s primary goal is the spreading of peaceful parenting in the world. If avoiding pushing the issue of DeFOOing will keep more people listening and spreading peaceful parenting, he would consider that a necessary compromise.
Molyneux will often say that he doesn’t advocate just leaving your parents. He tells you to get close to them, and talk to them. To See what happens. This is not for their sake, but for your sake. The truth is that if your parents abused you, there is ZERO potential for a relationship with them. Talking openly and honestly with your parents is solely for the purpose of achieving your own certainty. There is no restitution possible for child abuse.
How do you feel when your mother calls you? Happy? Anxious? Irritated? Bored? Angry? Do you hit the “talk” button with pleasure or dread? If you’re not happy when your mother calls, what do you do with that? Do you tell her about your unhappiness, so that you can work together to improve your relationship? Or, do you just swallow your feelings and struggle through the conversation? Maybe – just maybe – you don’t like your mother because your mother is not likable. It is a possibility, isn’t it? Philosophy will bring peace, honesty and reality to your relationships. Stop putting yourself down. Start respecting your feelings and listening to your instincts.
Stop hiding. Take the red pill.
If to DeFOO from your Family Of Origin is to disassociate from them, then to ReFOO is to re associate with them after a DeFOO. It is not recommended to do this. You should be 100% certain of your DeFOO decision before doing it. You can achieve this certainty by having honest conversations with your parents, and learning the truth of your relationship.
Stefan Molyneux cautions listeners to not DeFOO unless they are certain. A ReFOO will inevitably be seen as an admission that any once held principles are irrelevant. It will discredit any of your complaints. A future DeFOO will be seen as an immature, emotional, temper tantrum.
Reasons you should DeFOO
- …if your parents have circumcised you.
- …if your parents have assaulted you including; spanking, slapping, pinching, hitting, hitting with implements.
- …if your parents yelled/were verbally abusive to you or others in the home.
- …if your parents threatened to abandon you if you didn’t do what they asked.
- …if your parents are irrational/hold religious beliefs and taught them to you as if they were fact.
- …if you were sexually molested/abused by anyone while under your parents care. They are responsible for not protecting you. If you did not tell them and they didn’t notice, this is even worse.
- …if your parents did not follow the moral rules they taught to you.
- …if your parents do/did not respect your feelings or try to manipulate your feelings.
- …if your parents have broken agreements they made with you.
- …if your parents don’t listen to you, or are not interested in what you have to say.
- …if your parents associate with corrupt people and or/expect you to associate with corrupt people.
If you continue associating with your Family Of Origin after they have treated you like this, particularly during your childhood when you are completely vulnerable, you are nourishing a lifetime of dysfunctional relationships. You are signaling not only to others, but also yourself that you do not believe you can do any better. You are signaling low self esteem, self hatred, and hypocrisy. No person of high self esteem will be interested in being a close friend or pursuing a romantic relationship. If you have kids, you will have to hide the truth about your childhood from them. If you tell them the truth, you will be communicating that it is perfectly fine to associate with people that have abused you.
Reasons not to DeFOO
- …if your parents got you immunized to diseases/viruses, this is not abuse.
- …if your parents physically restrained you from imminent danger, this is not abuse.
- …if your parents refused to give you unhealthy food, this is not abuse.
- …if your parents forced you to brush your teeth, this is not abuse.
- …if your parents were unable to buy you gifts/refused to buy you something you wanted, this is not abuse.
- …if your parents pressured you into getting a basic education, this is not abuse.
- …if your parents bribed you into doing things, this is not abuse.
- …if your parents held you to contracts you agreed to, this is not abuse.
- …if your parents do not pay for your college, this is not abuse.
However, it is never acceptable to punish your children. Actions have consequences, yes, however the natural consequences of life are enough for a child to learn and live healthily. The arbitrary punishments of parents are never acceptable and are always abusive. It should also be noted that though physical restraint is not necessarily abusive in emergency situations, parents should also warn children of dangers before hand, and also accept 100% responsibility for allowing the emergency to arise at all . Parents should work to negotiate and educate children about the consequences of different behaviors before they happen to avoid dangerous situations.