Being involved in the Extreme Right Wing (ERW) has a huge impact on your family life.
When I got involved in the ERW my relationship with my family was very broken. With my extended family, I was always the black sheep of the family, and the relationship with my close family was broken due to issues I was having in school. However, when they found out I was involved in extremism it drove an even bigger divide between us
With my extended family, I’ve always had a very strange relationship.
Growing up I was always the type of kid to be building dens, climbing trees, playing sports and getting very muddy, but most of my cousins were the complete opposite. This led to me being a bit of an outcast and feeling like the black sheep of the family.
When they found out I was involved in the ERW they were very quick to message my mum and my nan. Only one uncle ever came to see me!
This is something that really frustrated me at the time. I remember being angry that none of them (other than my uncle) had the nerve to message me directly. They would often call my mum and my nan criticising them for not being able to get me to leave, but it's not that simple and this drove a big wedge between myself and my extended family.
Me and my mum had a really broken relationship for years. This started a few months before I got involved in the ERW.
I always hated school. It was a style of learning I could never connect with.
With me, I have always been a hands-on learner. Give me some plaster and a trowel and I can plaster a room, but put a textbook in my hand and I just switch off. This is something I recognised early in school and thats fine, we all learn in different ways.
This mixed with the fact I didn’t fear or like any form of authority led to me having a lot of issues within school. I also quickly realised I didn’t have a cat in hell's chance of passing my GCSEs and at the time I didn’t care about learning, and I felt like the teachers didn’t care enough to get me re-engaged.
However what would happen is the school would regularly call my mum about my behaviour in school, and tell her they thought I could pass my GCSEs if i put the work in.
These calls would lead to me and my mum having lots of arguments.
The behaviour stuff I didn’t really care about because to be fair I was a bit of a pain in school. It was the arguments about how well I could do that I felt broke down our relationship.
I knew I had no chance of passing my GCSEs and I felt the school was only telling my mum I could, to get her to pressure me at home, even though I felt they did little to nothing to try and get me engaged in school.
Me and my mum would often get into arguments about school and I think that was the first part of our relationship falling apart.
Looking back I can see how this created a divide and opened up doors for people to walk into my life and sadly for me those that did had extremist intent and very easily, I was sucked in by simple messages and a need to belong.
After my mum found out that I was involved in the ERW, our relationship got a lot worse.
We would barely speak to each other and if we did, in all honesty, it was to argue.. It seemed like every conversation would somehow get back to immigration or the far-right/ the extreme right-wing, thinking about this I now had an agenda and Mom was the one who suffered the most, as a result of me having a need for Identity, and belonging and a place I could be heard.
Promoting extremism online, I would spend a lot of time in my room with my door locked and I would be completely shut off from the world and my Mom, shutting her out of my life.
Over time this led to our relationship being broken for a very long time.
Thankfully my college, saw the signs and got me the help I needed and via Prevent I got an incredible Intervention Provider, (Mentor) who I will always be grateful for. They showed me the holes in ERW thinking and in time i walked away and I have never looked back.
Today I have rebuilt my life and over time, slowly but surely we started to have conversations again, it wasn't easy, but now have meals together, laugh and are just like any normal family again.
With my extended family, it took a bit longer. I remained in contact with the family members I wanted to be in contact with, and the door is always open for the others.
Now I work to reduce hate with the team over at Exit Hate, in partnership with Small Steps to train people on the dangers of ERW extremism and I use my own experience to show people what life is like being involved in extremism and that people can change.
If you want to rebuild your relationship with your family, contact the Exit Hate Trust.
With our unique family support programme. We can help you rebuild those important relationships and help you get back on a better path in life where you see people as individuals and look forward, not backwards.
Need help? Reach out today, you won’t regret it.