The Truth About NATLFED

They’re after me

By Mary Struggler

Note: This article is a work in progress.  This is an amateur article.  For professional assistance, please contact a cult therapist.  The Ross Institute website has links to help you locate a counselor.

When in doubt, consult a professional

Knapp Family Counseling

Rick Ross

Steve Hassan

International Cultic Studies Association

There’s no doubt that a lot of former NATLFED cadres suffer anxiety or paranoia that the Organization will find or come after them.  It is part of the instillation of fear by the Organization during the membership experience.  Usually there are telltale signs that a person is getting ready to walk out the door, which leads to senior cadres targeting the person for re-education.  “We’ll find you.”  “We know where your family lives.”  “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.  When we seize power, we’ll get you.  Don’t forget what happened to Trotsky.”

The reality is that the Organization is unlikely to go after many former cadres.  There are some exceptions, of course, so I don’t want to give you a false sense of complete security.  They don’t want negative publicity about the Organization.

Paranoia

This is the hardest one to overcome and I think it safe to say that even today I overreact to certain communications that seem suspect.  The Internet is a great tool but also offers anonymity.  Some abuse the anonymity.  Yes, they’re screwing around with you.  Again, the Organization does not want negative publicity.  It also doesn’t have the same leadership core as it did many years ago.  It’s a softer core, more inclined to harassing calls or letters.  They’re not issuing “death warrants” like the early days.  Jeff is still alive, as an example.

Hypervigilance

Why does that same black car follow me wherever I go?  Why do I always see that same man in the grocery store?  The cops are always watching me.

There is nothing wrong with being aware of your surroundings but if it is crippling you then it is time to get some help.  Tap into your social network for assistance.  Shop with a family member or friend.  See if they’re seeing the same thing as you.  There are lots of black cars — does it have the same license plate number as the last one?  I can’t tell you how many times I go to the grocery store and see the same types of people.  If the same guy is following you, you’re probably acting so squirrelly that you picked up a store security person who’s looking for a shoplifter not an ex-commie.

Some persons who suffer hypervigilance take up the curious practice of counting their steps.  They need to know that it is exactly eighty-three steps from their front door to their car when walking or fifty-nine steps if running.  They might even practice, to get faster in the event they have to get out quickly.  They get so adept at this counting practice that they do it without even thinking about it.  The dairy aisle at the store is three hundred and two steps — well hell, Dan ain’t jumping out from behind the milk shelf to get you.  If you’re at that kind of extreme, get help.

Sex problems

Someone’s got to say it so it may as well be me.  Members of the Military Fraction were expressly forbidden from entering into sexual relationships.  Other than that, the Organization had no policy.  Any ol’ cop has no problem fucking a hippie, as Gino used to say.  People “hook up” with other people when in the Organization that they probably would never “hook up” with on the outside.  There was a time that NOC was staffed with so many cadres under the age of 25 that it was inevitable that there would be screwing around.  There was the worry about being caught.  Maybe you entered a relationship with a senior cadre thinking it was love.  It doesn’t matter the why at the time.

The why after your departure is more important.  The sense of alienation can drive some people to enter into sexual relationships just to gain a sense of being loved, craving the touching.  Or, it could lead you to distrust anyone with a “sexual motivation” because you feel that person is just using you.  There were definitely some players in the Organization.  Even though Ray was MF, he was a notorious sexual predator at NOC.

Panic Attacks

Very real and very discomforting.  Some of the signs include:

  • heart racing
  • difficulty breathing
  • tightness in the chest
  • wanting to vomit
  • an overwhelming sense of fear or dread

The longer you are out, the less likely panic attacks will occur.  If you let it paralyze you, if you let it shut you in, the Organization has succeeded in still being able to control you.  Who wants that?  You don’t want that, I don’t want that.

Alienation

Quit thinking it’s a science fiction series.  It’s the sense that you don’t fit in with the real world.  Kind of like being a teenager trying to find his/her place in life all over again.  After so many years of the “us versus them” mentality, it’s hard to get over it.  Even trying to get involved with other things you feel out-of-place.  People think you’re just a  bit off because you are acting a bit off.  Again, your social network can help with this as you get reintroduced to society.  You don’t need a debutante ball, just get out there and make your mistakes, learn from them and move on.

Lack of trust

You put all of your faith into what was supposed to be the winning solution.  You trusted people like Gino, Mary, Polly, David, Susan, etc.  When we assembled at the National Labor College sessions, it was like a great big extended family coming together to celebrate the revolution.  We were all at home.  We were all at one.

Whatever it was that led to your departure, whether you walked away or were tossed out, trust becomes a big issue.  How could they do this to me?  Someone in your social network wants to help and you begin to wonder if they’re out to get you, if they’re just going to burn you all over again like NATLFED did.  Your family looks at you and you feel weird because they know what you were involved with.

It’s easy to say, “Get over it.”  It’s harder than it seems.  For each person, the time it takes to begin to trust again will vary.  Start with those you know first.  It’ll get better.

Sleep disorders

They say dreams are the window to the soul.  What bullshit.  I’m not going all Freudian or Jungian here.  Even after thirteen years of being out, I’ll get those weird dreams of sitting behind the Receptionist desk in the 1A apartment talking with Beth or John like I was still in the Organization.  I know it isn’t real.  I’ll wake up and it’s three in the morning.  I can’t go back to sleep.  Every now and then I’ll go through phases of sleeping six and a half hours a night for a couple of weeks and then crash and burn for a couple of days.  Nobody likes a walking zombie.

You may need help with this from a trained therapist.  The phases I went through used to occur for longer periods.  The things I do include reading a book so I don’t get sucked into thinking about the “good old days” of NATLFED, exercising before bed or even watching a little television.  I don’t believe in valerian root or sleeping pills because I don’t want to become addicted.

Who am I?

We used to be leaders in a powerful movement dedicated to changing conditions in the country for the betterment of the proletariat.  We were respected in our communities.  People relied on us for a great many things.  Once on the outside, that all goes away.  You have to rediscover yourself.  If you were an artist, well, all good art is counter-revolutionary, right?  That’s what we were told.  It took a long time for me to start writing again because in the Organization I wrote newsletter articles and editorials.

Start simple.  Maybe you liked to crochet, which was frowned upon in the Organization because it didn’t contribute towards the revolution.  Perhaps you are a poet.  Maybe you want to go back to college.  Look at the things you wanted to do before you joined the Organization (as a start).  Maybe that’s the direction you should go.  Maybe you discover it’s not what you want to do after all but in the process of looking you find something else.

Spacing Out

Flashbacks are an indication of post-traumatic stress disorder.  It’s a strong feeling of drifting away from the real world and recalling a particularly traumatic memory from past experiences.  Some call it shell shock.  Or maybe you just space out, and when you come out of it you wonder what happened to the last ten minutes.  It takes years to get over it.  This is probably something you should see a therapist for.  I don’t like the idea of hypnosis because I’ve heard the stories about some therapists who  evoke false memories, like the woman who accused her father of having an incestuous relationship with her and then it was discovered she was still a virgin.

I can’t make a decision

Sure you can.  Okay, after years of being “the loyal soldier” who followed orders as best you could, you find that you’re having trouble making decisions.  It’s scary, I’ll admit.  We learn from our mistakes.  Start with the simple ones first and work your way up.  Proves those assholes wrong!  The Organization expects that you can’t make it “in the real world” and that some day you’ll come crawling back.  (Then they treat you like shit and never let you forget it.).

Thank you for reading

This article is written by an amateur.  Maybe you can find some helpful insight or even a bit of humor.  Maybe you can even laugh at yourself, “I remember when I thought the black car was following me.”  Not everyone can afford professional help.  Some like me choose not to because I’m concerned some guy’s going to scramble my brains like eggs for breakfast, and that’s something Gino used to say.  Use the links to read articles written by the experts.

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