Maybe the changelings have a collective intelligence; as in, they are smarter together, but the longer any individual spends outside the Link, the dumber they become. Or perhaps, the longer they are apart from other Founders, the more individual they become, and the more they fall to their own individual personal foibles.
Also keep in mind the FF was very sick, and probably didn't have the typical Founder patience.
Or, the Founders are like abusive players. They will wine and dine you, show off, get you to trust them, and then, once they have you, will treat you like a bug and beat you for your indiscretions.