The Psychology of Rumors: 6 Reasons Why Rumors Spread

If you’ve been paying attention, the primary function of a rumor is to make sense of something that’s already unclear. Rumors help explain a confusing element of the world. In the soda rumor I opened with, the tensions between groups of people are scary and confusing. “Why are bad things happening?”

This confusion opens the door to rumors, which people can hold onto in order to give them at least some idea about why the world is working in the way that it is.

  1. People Spread Rumors When There’s Uncertainty
    It’s when we don’t already have a firm grasp on how or why things are happening in the world that rumors start to spread. If you can imagine being in middle school again, imagine what would happen if one day, out of the blue, one of your classmates stopped coming to school. There’s a ton of uncertainty there, so people would probably develop and spread rumors as a way to get a handle on what happened.
  2. People Spread Rumors When They Feel Anxiety
    Oftentimes uncertainty breeds anxiety—we like to have a clear sense of the world, and we get anxious when we feel uncertainty—and anxiety on its own has been linked to rumor spreading. Some research has shown that more anxious people tend to be the ones who are more likely to spread rumors.
  3. People Spread Rumors When the Information is Important
    As much as you might be dying to talk about the rumor you heard about the company you work for, I probably don’t care a ton. The reason is that it’s just not that relevant to me. I, on the other hand, would be itching to talk about some other rumor that’s more important to me. In fact, Allport and Postman’s “basic law of rumor” that they developed in 1947 was that spreading rumors depends on both the ambiguity of the situation and the importance of the rumor.
  4. People Spread Rumors When They Believe the Information
    Let’s face it—if you hear a rumor that you think is completely ridiculous, you probably won’t find yourself on a mission to spread that information far and wide. For example, one study looked at the spread of rumors during a university strike. It was the rumors that were more believable that ended up spreading the most.
  5. People Spread Rumors When it Helps Their Self-Image
  6. Plenty of research has shown that people often want to feel good about themselves, but one way people can do that is through rumor spreading. There are a couple reasons this can happen. One is that spreading a rumor positions you as someone who is clued into what’s going on in the world. People might then come to you as the one who’s especially informed.
  7. People Spread Rumors When it Helps Their Social Status
    This might sound like reason #5, but there’s a subtle difference. Reason #5 was that people feel better about themselves when they help spread rumors. There’s a little more to it, though, which is that people can use rumors to strengthen their social ties. Want to be accepted by a group? Pass along some rumors about their rival group

Email from Boundaries

Setting consequences in place gives someone a clear choice and sets them free to make it. 

Our job is to accept their consequence. We let them know that they can choose a or b. If they choose a, certain things will happen; and if they choose b, other things will happen. This is clarity and freedom. 

This mindset does so many good things. It helps you get clear about what you want. It forces you to communicate what you want directly. It keeps you from being judgmental, nagging, controlling or cajoling — all of which bring about bad feelings in the relationship. And most of all, it preserves the freedom of the other person to make his own choice, something he has had all along, is clearly exercising anyway, and that you are not honoring.

Growth happens when we ask, “What inside of me needs to change for this to get better?”

There is a difference between helping someone who is disabled, incapable or otherwise infirm versus helping someone who is resisting growing up and taking care of what every adult has to be responsible for: herself or himself. Watch this video, and scroll down to learn more.

Codependent Preview Video


One of the primary differences to distinguish is when the individual becomes aware that something that they have done is wrong.

Notice the word WHEN <– That’s the key!

There you are at your local grocery store when you come out to your suburban only to find that someone has left a sizable dent in the left side passenger door.

You look around to find a note or something left by the offending party only to find a lack of any information.

So, while calling your insurance company you walk back into the store to ask if their parking lot has cameras. Turns out they do. Along with the loss prevention department, you find the make, model, and color of the offender along with their license plate.

In this scenario, the offender could have acknowledged that they hit your vehicle the moment that it happened and left a note under your windshield wiper.

But they chose not to.

Does a person acknowledge that they are wrong only when confronted by a judge in a court hearing?

Does the individual ONLY seem to display remorse AFTER being handed a sentence?

Will the subject ever admit that they have done something wrong before being arrested?

When a person shows no remorse AT THE MOMENT that they committed the offense that needs to be noticed.

If the only time that the individual suddenly turns on tears, makes excuses, formulates justifications, or shows a reaction is long AFTER the offense, then you know you’re dealing with someone who shows no AUTHENTIC remorse.

Blueprint: Building a Trauma Informed Child Welfare System

The time has come to transform our child welfare system into one that is trauma-informed and trauma-responsive. In a trauma-informed and trauma-responsive system, each organization and individual serving children and families recognizes and appreciates the impact trauma has on brain development, personal resilience, and family and individual recovery.

The concept of trauma and the accompanying research have shifted the paradigm about the way in which systems, organizations, professionals, and caregivers approach and serve children, youth, young adults, and families who experience the child welfare system. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines trauma as the result of “an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or lifethreatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.”1 When trauma is experienced during childhood, the ripple effect can be both swift and substantial. Replicated studies on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) demonstrate that childhood stress is linked to poor health outcomes, including obesity, diabetes, depression, heart disease, cancer, and stroke as well as alcohol and drug abuse, low graduation rates, and poor employment outcomes.2 Undoubtedly, children and youth who experience abuse or neglect or interact with the child welfare system are vulnerable to trauma and our systems must respond to the needs of children and families through a trauma-informed lens. In doing so, serving children and families moves beyond responding to behaviors to promoting healing.

Re-traumatization refers to the process of re-experiencing traumatic stress

Secondary Trauma describes trauma-related stress reactions and symptoms resulting from exposure to another individual’s traumatic experience. (Also referred to as “compassion fatigue” or “vicarious trauma.”)

Leaders of child welfare organizations must create a culture of trauma-informed care in policy, practice, training, and tools for all individuals who engage with children, youth, young adults, and families while they are involved in the child welfare system. This includes a recognition that all children, youth, young adults, and families entering the child welfare system have experienced trauma and may continue to experience trauma. Additionally, appropriate trauma training must be required of any person who directly serves or advocates for children, youth, young adults, and families involved in the child welfare system.

Equally critical is ensuring that caregivers and professionals understand how their own life
experiences will affect how they respond to trauma-related behaviors. Training must include information
on how trauma may disproportionately impact diverse populations. Organizations should also promote
the values of youth and family voice, self-advocacy, and meaningful partnerships between youth and
adults in all aspects of the organization’s mission and work.

Trauma-informed and trauma-responsive interventions will be data-driven, effective, and sustainable.

Being trauma-informed means asking, “What happened to you?” instead of asking “What is wrong with you?” This shift must occur in every part of the child welfare system ranging from statewide policies to courtroom practices to the day-to-day care of children.

Trauma-informed care is evolving across multiple fields that serve children and families.
Therefore, the strategies proposed are not overly prescriptive to allow for individualization
and innovation. There are nonetheless central concepts that are key to accomplishing
the culture shift Texas seeks to support a trauma-informed and trauma-responsive child
welfare system. To that end, children, youth, young adults, and families should experience
an environment that promotes felt safety, relational connectedness, stability, and longterm well-being.

Shifting the culture of the child welfare system to one that is trauma-informed
requires an acknowledgement that the children, youth, young adults, and families engaged
with the child welfare system have almost certainly experienced trauma. Also, the potential
for experiencing trauma within the child welfare system will be lessened if the system is
trauma-informed. Becoming trauma-informed means viewing children and families through a
trauma lens and offering responses that avoid traumatization and re-traumatization as well as
developing pathways to recover from trauma. Acknowledgement of traumatic experiences must
be accompanied with concrete changes to how individuals, organizations, and the overall system
interact with children and families.

Healing the whole family can create opportunities for connection, relationships, reunification, and prevention of future maltreatment. Trauma screenings for adults and family members involved in the child’s life can provide great insight into the most relevant and beneficial services for the family.

Children and youth who have experienced severe or complex trauma may exhibit high-risk behaviors, however, seclusion and restraint in response to these behaviors may cause additional trauma or re-traumatization. The goal for the Texas child welfare system and other child-serving systems should be to reduce the use of seclusion and restraint practices as much as practicable.

To serve traumatized children and families effectively, child and family-serving systems need to understand trauma and its implications for the health and well-being of the families being served.2

Collaboration can be a difficult process. Challenges include different perspectives across disciplines of what trauma is and how it affects children and families, conflicting goals or priorities, funding constraints, and policies and practices that inhibit collaboration.25 Overcoming these potential barriers and fostering cross-system relationships through a common trauma-informed framework will bolster each system’s ability to respond to children and families in crisis.

Counselling Questions for a Post-Cult Survivor

Remember that the individual will NOT TELL YOU that they’ve been in a cult like environment. It’s up to YOU to figure it out. It’s up to you to listen, Listen, LISTEN very, Very, VERY CAREFULLY as you will be “unwinding” decades of delusional fear based cultural programming.

Tell me about church when you were a kiddo.

I know church is usually a welcoming place, but did you ever have any fears at church?

The individual might give you a superficial blow off type of answer, but listen. Ask, shut up, listen with patience.

Always reassure the ‘post-cult’ person that they are safe. Unlike some of us who’ve grown up in a more normalized mainstream church, a post-cult individual has been

Tell me about church when you were a kiddo.

Remember that the mainstream church experience that you and most people grew up with might be a HUGE contrast to what this person went through. This should be an open ended question with a high tolerance for patience. Be sure to pause long at the end of this question. Leave a substantial amount of silence and be patient for an answer.

I know church is usually a welcoming place, but did you ever have any fears at church?

The individual might give you a superficial blow off type of answer, “It was fine” ….but listen. Ask, shut up, listen with paused patience. Remember that post-cult survivors probably have DECADES of delusional social programming that has conditioned them to think that they should NEVER talk about issues at church.

Did you ever have any fears about messing up at church? It’s ok if you did. This is a safe place to talk about that.

Always, Always, Always (this can NOT be emphasized enough) ALWAYS reassure the individual of their safety. Most post-cult survivors will always have ingrained FEAR conditioned into their responses. Fears of being judged in a way not even imaginable by most people. Being persecuted in front of peers, elders, and even the whole church is NOT what most people are accustomed to. However, this was any day in the life of a post fundamentalist cult survivor. Their fears are delusions that do not exist, but those fears are very real to them. Fear is maybe a controlling factor for some. But FEAR is the ONLY way that cults control.

Hey, out of curiosity, were you ever required to wear certain styled outfits?

Remember, your goal is to “invite” the person to open up to you. Instead of saying something like, “Did you have to wear uniforms?”, you want to simply “pave the way” for the other person to open up to you. What you’re listening for is something like, “Yeah. We had to wear dresses all the time.”

And, was this just on Sundays like dressing up in “Sunday Best” or was this all the time?

Getting dressed up in your Sunday Best is something we’ve all grown up doing. But for a post-cult person, they were usually required to wear a dress ALWAYS! Not just on Sunday mornings, but to the grocery store, while walking around in public, at work, and everywhere else. Remember, your goal is to listen for answers and ask clarifying questions.

Compared to most families you see around you, was yours a bit more confined?

See how that question really isn’t limited in the wording? It doesn’t ask ‘were you confined to your bedroom? …your house? …or anything like that. It’s sort of a generalized question that can allow the other person some comfort when moving to the next question(s). That’s one of those questions were you’ll want to simply ask and then give a long listening patient pause after asking. See what the person replies with. They might give a quick wit of “no, I don’t think so” or they might answer with something a bit more revealing. So, here’s a few follow up questions:

Did you notice any people different from you when you were younger?

Here’s what you’re not listening for and what you are trying to decipher: We’ve all grown up in neighborhoods that are probably pretty similar to ours, but for a cult survivor, their answers might need to be coaxed with a bit more finesse. Were their peers wearing dresses as well? Were they only allowed to play with friends who belonged to the same church? Were the only friends that they could associate with from the same church? Remember, a little lack of ethnic diversity is probably pretty normal for most mainstream individuals. For cult survivors, their seclusion was always much more severe. It could be limited to isolation in a particular school, or even college campus where they were restricted, and especially the more common isolation of confinement in a house.

Ask the individual if they have a degree from some of the fundamentalist colleges.

Bob Jones University, Maranatha Baptist University, Hyles Anderson College, & Pensacola Christian College are a few.
Remember that some of these colleges are established colleges which have been around for decades and decades. HOWEVER most of them have refused any type of accreditation. The list is too huge to mention here, but remember that while a few of the fundamentalist colleges have relented on being unaccredited and given in, most of colleges like this still maintain that it would be an “abomination” to have any type of standards, that an accreditation would be a sin, and that all of their graduates don’t need a “worldly” job in the fist place. Graduates are usually meant to stay within the “bubble” of their far religious right – so why would the college need to have any “worldly accreditation” at all.

Enablers don’t care about the damage, they ONLY care about themselves

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I get that people want to claim to be advocates or have a cause based mission, perhaps some want to simply take out their unresolved anger on anyone that they can find.

But the real problem with enablers is that they really don’t care about the other individual, all they really care about is themselves.

Think of REM sleep. Think of Suzanne telling Ms. Conaway all her horror stories of Glen. Now think of all the times that her nightmares were about Glen. All the times that she woke up kicking you, all the times that you had to help her calm down, all the nights that you stayed up all night. And every morning that you asked her what her dreams were about, she said that they were about Glen. Those weren’t moderate dreams. Those were horrific nightmares that are now stuck in Ms. Conaway’s brain.

Glen wasn’t even alive for more than a couple of months since Ms. Conaway went from Florida to Texas. Now, I know that you said you wanted to have some healthy boundaries with him and Faith and the girls. However, the amount of time that Glen spent with Faith could not have been more that 30 cumulative total hours.

Between swinging by the his house to pick something up or interacting with him at something social there in town, there’s not more than a few months and a couple of instances from the timeline when Faith came here to when Glen died.

Why is Faith having violent, sleep depriving nightmares of Glen?

It’s because Suzanne injected into Faith’s brain all of Suzanne’s past hurts, fears, and drama.

And, it had a horrific affect on your ability to sleep, Faith’s ability to get rest, and here’s the worst part:

Suzanne’s drama has passed onto Faith the exact thing which Faith did NOT need. Faith’s chronic paranoid delusions from the cult’s social programming did NOT need enabling of more stories. Faith finds enough horror stories on Facebook, in her ‘Advocacy’ circles, and after listening to her interview, Faith even keeps a notebook of all the stories that happen to other people.

That is exactly NOT what Suzanne should have done! But Suzanne doesn’t really care does she? And, I want to circle this back around to the church members in a minute. But Suzanne doesn’t really care if she causes further damage. All she cares about is that she has yet-another-person to share in her misery.

Any properly healed person would NOT want to pass along one person’s pain & project it onto someone else. Yet Suzanne does. Suzanne has zero self-regulated hesitation or consideration for your relationships – with a spouse, with the community, or even with a church.

Suzanne gave birth, Suzanne left, Glen got custody, & she has NOT been involved in your life except when she has someone-else to antagonize with her hatred of Glen.

Remember I said I would circle around and come back to the church and the community?

That’s what I really want people to hear, see, and understand.

When Katy and Adrianne decide to tell the police that you’re married, they are enabling the pain. When Faith decided to ‘create’ yet-one-more paranoid delusional lie that you were magically suddenly married, that’s on her. Faith has been systematically programmed via the paranoid religious cult for 35 years. So until Faith has a judicial intervention or decides to go get serious therapy on her own, we can all anticipate that her episodes of delusional paranoia will continue.

But go back over to the church, the community, and these enablers.

When Katy and Adrianne hear Faith make a claim, that’s where the ‘enabling’ should have stopped. And I mean STOP dead in their tracks STOP! These two goons don’t just have some ‘mission’ of helping people or any horse crap like that. These are two people who have known you LONGER THAN FAITH HAS!!!

Why on God’s green earth would they lie to the police about you being suddenly married?

This is the exact same behavioral pattern that the individuals from the rest of Pathway church have demonstrated, and it’s the exact same behavior that Suzanne has demonstrated over and over again.

Why on earth would Katy and Adrianne simply parrot something that Faith claims when they know damn good and well that it’s not real? Why would Suzanne repeat something from 40 years ago to Faith? Why does Shane Wickson keep repeating that the lady who hasn’t been around since 1980 is suddenly your mother? Why does Patrick approach your sister or brother-in-law on the softball fields? (I am still waiting and wondering if Wickson’s going to cover someone’s lie if they go and find Heather’s birth mother and bring her into Pathway)

But again, the repeating behavioral patter that we see demonstrated -REPEATEDLY!- is that these ‘enablers’ don’t really care about anything other than themself.

  • What’s more important than enforcing the court order restraining order against Faith?
    • Shane’s ability for his safety squad to get their hero complex stroked.
  • What’s more important than Suzanne’s ability to move on from her abandoning her own flesh in 1980 and let you have a relationship with someone?
    • Suzanne’s self-centered belief that she needs to pass her pain (regret, guilt, ___?) onto ANYONE and EVERYONE else!
  • Does the safety squad or even their police led cop care to throw out all of reality to have their own ego pumped up with some damsel in distress story?
    • YES! Yes, Yes, YES! Repeatedly!!
  • Can Adrianne & Katy publicly say, “Ok. In reality we’re all from the same town & we’ve been going to the same church for a few decades. But we do love to lie repeatedly to police. The one about him being married was only ONE of them.
    We knew Brad wasn’t married the whole time.”
    • Of course that level of honesty isn’t going to come out. Adrianne and Katy care more about themselves! Their own ‘advocate’ or #girl-related hashtag matters more status more than anything else.
  • At any point is Rick Owen going to come out and say, “Well, ok. Maybe we should make a public statement of correction for what we’ve lied about.”
    • Of course he can’t. He never will. Let’s make sure everyone is clear on that: Don’t hold your breath waiting for him to come clean. What matters more: That his church is seen as the hero for victims -or- that he has people in place to cover up a lie and take away from real victims. Obviously the first ‘appearance’ is much more important to him.

Someone who truly wants to EMPOWER will put aside their own bias or what they ‘want’ the scenario to be.

These people who want to ENABLE will give a drunk a drink, give a crack head a needle, & give a liar a megaphone.

It doesn’t matter if Faith continually suffers from flashbacks of delusional paranoia episodes from her time in the cult. All these ENABLERS care about is that they bend reality to suite their own needs, use Faith’s “story” to promote their own social cause, especially these guys at church – they need to have their own pulpit petted, and these drama queen girls need to have more voices to cover their bull.

Bottom line is that there is a difference between ENABLING & EMPOWERING. And, it’s not at all a small difference. It’s not a “fine line” at all. These folks will enable anything as long as it suits their own selfishness.

Evade Responsibility or Take Responsibility

You’ve left.

The abuse.

It’s gone.

It’s over.

You’ve moved on.

Now what.

The abuse is still in your head. The lies are still in your soul. The hurt is still in your heart.

Is proper therapy and counselling replaced with enabling and hoarding the pain?

Do you turn to Twitter #hashtags to reinforce your anger, or do you assign the anger to the person who hurt you and have healthy relationships?

Does Facebook fuel your hatred or do you seek proper forgiveness so that your hatred does NOT come out on someone else?

Victims evade responsibility. It’s the responsibility that comes after you’ve left. After the abuse is over. After the abuser is gone. Victims take responsibility for the pain, the anger, and bitterness that has warped their soul.

Life can not be led from one motivational quote to the next. However there is one that rings true:

It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you deal with it.

You’ve been hurt. We get it. Both men and women have been hurt by abuse, domestic violence, corrupt churches, or even family members.

When you’ve moved on from the one that hurt you; when the abuser is no longer a part of your relationship, life still goes on.

Are you going to live your life evading the responsibility that you have to be healthy, loving, forgiving, have a healthy perspective of others?

Are you willing to see that not all men & not all women are the ones that hurt you?

Are you wiling to take on the responsibility that comes with healing.

Are you going to evade responsibility and continue to relive the hurt?

Are you going to evade responsibility and continue to relive the hurt?

A Judicial Guide to Child Safety in Custody Cases

abusive behavior as “a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors that operate at a variety of levels – physical, psychological, emotional, financial or sexual – that one parent uses against the other parent. 14 The pattern of behaviors is neither impulsive nor ‘out of control,’ but is purposeful and instrumental in order to gain compliance or control.”

Myths about Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is only something which can be done by someone with a penis.

No one, having a vagina, can ever, has ever, will ever, committed any type of family violence or domestic violence to any level at any degree ever in the history of ever.

Continuing the cycle of domestic violence can only happen to those born with a penis.

Simply being born with a vagina completely and totally eradicates and removes any ability to continue the cycle of angry violent outburst towards spouses and/ or children. Therefore, no study, research, or coping mechanisms need to ever be implemented, studied, or written to raise the awareness and provide practical training & prevention methods for ladies to stop the cycle.

Any man, who chooses to simply be a family man and be one of the gazillions of men who do not commit family violence should surely be subjected to any claim from a woman.

Especially when it comes from one of the gazillions of ladies who have unfortunately been victims of domestic violence, it’s totally cool for them to continue the cycle of abuse in their own house, but then take advantage of the public’s trust when a guy reports her abuse & asks her get help or stop.

Women can turn to Twitter & Facebook to find all types of resources for them to break the cycle of abuse that has unfortunately happened to them. The tweeders and the spacebooks are the best place NOT enable.

For boyfriends and husbands: When faced with a wife or girlfriend showing continual outbursts & a pattern of behaviors reflective of past abuse can whip out their phone and have a multitude of resources available on the innertubes to help him dissolve and diffuse the manic episodes.

In a same sex relationship, where there is no one having a penis, we should all throw our hands in the air when one lady makes a claim of domestic violence against her partner. WHERE’S THE PENIS? WHO DO WE BLAME? Running around in a panic attack helps in this scenario to find someone with a penis to blame.

Anytime someone with a vagina does not break the cycle of domestic violence, and continually passes down the fear and anger to her children, she shall be held as a hero.

Any one having the twig and berries equipment, upon asking that the lady stop, they shalt be thrown under the bus – immediately.

Google why any man would stay in the abusive relationship and ….you’ll quickly be met with crickets chirping sound affects.