We all know the importance of having a strong community when it comes to survival. Extra hands for the big tasks, extra eyes for lookouts while you sleep, and the added sense of security and comfort you'll have with a bigger group. There is strength in numbers, and it's why most survivalists will recommend you to join a survival group.
But I want to share a word of caution here.
You need to choose wisely, as these people will be privy to your most confidential plans. And if they breach your trust or betray the group, it can have serious repercussions.
First, I want to tell you one thing. You don't have to forgive them. I'm a little harsh with who I let into my inner circles, and I trust them implicitly. If someone breaks my trust, for whatever reason, it's on me now to decide whether or not I'll forgive them. Of course, you are going to need to consider just how much they know about you and your family, and the supplies and preps you've made.
It does hurt when a trusted ally goes south. We had a member of our group who had a rather large falling out a few years back. He was single for a long time and found a partner who unfortunately didn't support this lifestyle. She pushed back on everything, and it was the cause of massive tension within all of us, until things came to a head when she raided one of our bug out locations. It was weeks before we even knew. But she sold off pretty much all the gear she could get her hands on, as retaliation for her partners spending on survival. We lost hundreds of dollars in gear, that we had bought as a group. Needless to say, we decided it was best to part ways before things got any worse.
Here's how we managed it.
Be willing to say it's over
Now it'll depend on the reason for the betrayal of course, but you're always going to wonder when it will happen again. In a crisis, the people in your group need to be reliable. If they're no longer interested in pulling their weight, don't be afraid to cut them loose and send them packing. Especially if they’ve done something like cheat you out of money, or do inappropriate things with a friends spouse or partner. Who knows what they'll try when the rule of law is gone. Better to let them go now, before they do something that threatens the life of your family or worse.
Think about the damage that's been done
Your operational security is critical in a crisis, as even a little bit of knowledge can do serious harm. While you may not be able to relocate to a new location, what you can change is your survival plans and all of your operational procedures. Create new rally points, new caches for your survival gear, and be willing to update everything that you possibly can to reduce the damage that's been done. You want this bad egg to know as little about you as possible, so that if a crisis does hit, they can't use what they used to know against you and the rest of your survival group.
Or like in our case, beforehand. Our stores are valuable, and it was annoying to lose key pieces of gear like our portable solar chargers. Because if they're not there when you need them you can be in big trouble.
If you're the one being outed, I'd also consider a relocation and a fresh start. It'll be much simpler than knowing there's so many people around you who know your plans inside and out (and may still be harboring a grudge).
Blood isn't always thicker than water
If its someone in your family who has betrayed you, don't be afraid to cut them lose. Of course, your immediate family presents a challenge, but if it's your parents, or your adult kids who have let you down, my advice would be to simply scale back what you tell them. A divided household is not what you want when the SHTF, and remember. If they've happily betrayed you once, you can be sure they'll do it again.
It may seem harsh because you're outing your own flesh and blood, but getting rid of a toxic influencer in your life is a good move, no matter who they are. You'll feel much better once it's done.
Don't let your boss hold it over you
This is a word of warning for anyone looking to broaden their group. Never, ever, bring your boss or colleagues into your survival group. It's a recipe for disaster, as you've already got an unbalanced relationship. They're used to working with you and bossing you around now, imagine what life will be like when the SHTF. But if you've already got them in, and they turn out to be less than desirable, cut all ties. Find a new job, and separate yourself as much as possible from any fallout. The last thing you want is someone actively sabotaging your career and finances now, or keeping a steady watch on what you're doing without them in the group. Keep your personal and work life as separate as possible.
Always practice your operational security
Now when it all comes down to it actually managing your survival group requires a balance. You need to give them enough information and insights on your plans so they can assist and you can all "work together" to make it through a crisis. But you need to hold enough back that they've not got anything to betray you with if they decide to become less than reliable. Be smart with the information you share, and don't give them an open book to all your plans, stock lists, and supplies. In our group we've become much more cautious after the fall out, and we've also flagged key pieces of intel that we no longer share (like our caches of supplies). It was a massive effort to relocate these, and one member even sold their bug out location because they no longer trusted it was secure. These days, we're much more cautious with the information we share, which is probably a good thing,
Losing a member of your survival group can hurt, but if your smart you'll cut the ties fast. If you don't want to have to completely rework all of your survival plans I'd recommend being smart about any information you do share, especially if it's a critical part of your plan, like your hidden caches of gear.
There's no reason other people need to know the full extent of your plans.
It's just too risky.