Deep Dive

Emotion-Based Survival Skills (EBSS)
& Perceived Security

Emotion-Based Survival Skills (EBSS)

The Pattern(s) of Emotional Warfare:

An Intergenerational to Intra- and Interpersonal Evolutionary Component

Central to the Philosophy of One Divide and the theory of Emotional Warfare is the conception of the third Building Block found in the Pattern of Emotional Warfare: Emotion-Based Survival Skills (EBSS).

The EBSS are the negative emotional traits and Emotional Survival strategies a False Self learns from the person’s primary role models or caregivers, or the techniques the person learns for how to manipulate others into providing emotional security. The EBSS fall into two categories, Cycle A and Cycle B; Cycle A involves traditionally masculine traits, and Cycle B involves traditionally feminine traits. Each role model or caregiver possesses either masculine or feminine negative emotional traits, though the masculine and feminine are not gender specific — a female role model or caregiver may exhibit primarily masculine negative traits and vice versa. While every personality includes both cycles, in the context of Emotional Warfare and unhealthy relationships, a False Self most often chooses only one cycle as a preferred position and inhabits it to a damaging degree. I call this the cycle becoming inflated. (Note: Traditional masculine and feminine traits may vary by culture when attached to gender; I have used the traditional Western associations in classifying traits as Cycle A or Cycle B EBSS — e.g., dominance is considered to be masculine (which I call the -A or Inflated A), subjugation is considered to be feminine (the -B or Inflated B).

A False Self operating within the EBSS of an Inflated A will manipulate others by exerting dominance (or power in a negative manner) and control. A False Self operating within EBSS of an Inflated B will manipulate others through weakness, helplessness, and permissiveness. A False Self will develop a dominant EBSS of either an Inflated A or Inflated B over time but can use personalized variations of either depending on the situation or interaction.

Of importance, this makes the binary spectrum the False Self operates on while utilizing the EBSS and the positions of the Inflated A and the Inflated B act as a fluid positional axis rather than an axis with two static end points (see Visual 1). This makes a given False Self’s EBSS positions hard to pin down, keeping the person’s False Self agency deceptive — which allows the False Self to establish efficacy, which it can only do if it successfully utilizes its EBSS attributes to remain undetected or “undiagnosed.” This type of fluidity creates the dynamic “action” of the Pattern of Emotional Warfare’s inward/intrapsychic and outward/interpersonal or intersubjective interplay and, crucially, Emotional Warfare’s gestalt.

Visual 1

EBSS Binary Spectrum: A Fluid Positional Axis

Intersectionality - One Divide

The above image represents the general dynamic “action” of the Pattern of Emotional Warfare’s inward/intrapsychic and outward/interpersonal or intersubjective interplay and, crucially, Emotional Warfare’s gestalt. Arrows that point up demonstrate the directional flow of Inward Emotional Warfare (IEW), and the arrows that point down represent the directional flow of Outward Emotional Warfare (OEW). The cross-sectional arrows demonstrate the intermingled attributes of the EBSS Inflated A and Inflated B that are generated on the EBSS binary spectrum — and fluid positional axis. Effectively establishing the False Self agency and efficacy, both “within” and “on” the field of Emotional Warfare.

Note: For broader contextualization within the domain of psychology, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, or psychiatry, consider these extreme end points of action and/or mental behaviors in stagnant or diagnostic terminology. Mental disorders in which appear the dominant EBSS of the Inflated A, categorically discussed as dominance (-A), might include Machiavellianism, sociopathy, psychopathy, various stages of narcissism (and the manipulation techniques that include opposing Inflated B attributes such as charm or using ego wounds to gain sympathy or empathy), authoritarianism, anger issues, extreme extroversion, hubris, or in general the neuroses associated with control issues over another or others.

In juxtaposition, the dominant EBSS of the Inflated B, categorically discussed as subjugation (-B), might include suicide, depression, anxiety, social anxiety, low self-esteem, unhealthy levels of introversion (isolation), or in general the neuroses associated with low relational value or self-worth. The Inflated B also appears as internal manipulation techniques that include opposing Inflated B attributes, such as the inner critic, or using ego wounds or self-doubt to gain attention or social control, even at the risk of yielding a counterproductive end result of the individual becoming what I refer to as “unhelpable” or what is considered unhealable/untreatable within the realm of professional psychology.

When the False Self agency and EBSS of the Inflated A and Inflated B are utilized seamlessly or in balanced tandem, I classify this as being experienced interiorly as Uninterrupted Interplay and between people as Asymmetric Interplay, simultaneously taking place “within” and “on” the field of Emotional Warfare via the binary and fluid spectrum provided by the dominance–subjugation–variance dynamics. For further consideration, the correlating “sliding back and forth” between various False Self states of being (private or public personas), as well as profound negative False Self agency and efficacy within the EBSS operating in the dominance–subjugation–variance dynamics, can be found in conditions such as schizophrenia, personality disorders or the bipolar diagnosis — e.g., mania (Inflated A) and depression (Inflated B).

The False Self and the Building Block of the EBSS are central to One Divide’s positioning as a philosophical psychology and behavioral and psychopathology framework. They are both biologically, genetically, and/or psychologically influenced, working in tandem with the human person’s cognitive development. In short, in the One Divide/Emotional Warfare platform, both adaptive or perceived healthy functioning human beings and individuals with maladaptive and abnormal mental dysfunctions (i.e., mental illnesses), whether due to brains that don’t work effectively (“broken brains” and most psychoses) or to functionally effective brains not being used effectively (“intact brains” and the neuroses), are recognized; the platform applies to both nonpsychotic and psychotic afflictions.


The Repeated Cycle and the Darwinian attributes of the False Self

The False Self’s EBSS are part of the intergenerational repeated cycle, a pattern — and larger cycle of behavior spanning protracted periods of time and developing in stages — in which a person initially develops schemas and later in life designs overly simplistic or convoluted narrative schematics out of the basic and fundamental human need for Emotional Survival that translate into both inward and outward Emotional Warfare stratagems, which are based on and/or in reaction to those of one of the primary caregivers’ EBSS. For those strategies to be effective, the person must enter into relationships with the same (or a very similar) dynamic or situational dynamics as those between the primary role models or caregivers that he or she observed, learned, and survived, so the person seeks out others who will interact with him or her in the same emotional paradigm(s) as those caregivers did, allowing the person to use his or her dominant EBSS to procure Perceived Security. Later, presumably, the person will raise children within the same repeated paradigm(s). Even if the repeated paradigms appear different and/or develop in an opposite manner to the existing cycle that the person is coming from, the repeated cycle being carried forward is in reaction to the repeated cycle that informed the EBSS. In any given relationship between two False Selves, one participant must be an Inflated A and the other an Inflated B; two False Selves with the same dominant EBSS cannot find an emotional equilibrium from which to coexist. (Note: It is important to understand that the EBSS themselves are different from the personas or roles one inhabits or portrays in the external world. This will be further explained in the Building Block of Role(s)).

The EBSS are where Darwinian attributes become noticeable in the False Self. The False Self acquires its EBSS through observing, learning, and surviving both Cycle A and Cycle B of its primary role models or caregivers, which it then uses to navigate its outer world. From here, the adaptive False Self’s EBSS mature throughout the remaining Building Blocks; as the False Self evolves, its Pattern of Emotional Warfare evolves. EBSS that prove effective are retained; those that do not are selected out.

The formation of the Building Block of Emotion-Based Survival Skills is of crucial importance in the development of One Divide’s philosophy and principles and the theory of Emotional Warfare. Emotional Warfare is passed on through processes similar to natural selection and further develops in individuals through processes similar to adaptive radiation. The EBSS are central to this.

Perceived Security

Deeply tied into the EBSS is the sequential Building Block of Perceived Security. The False Self is constantly striving for Perceived Security through its EBSS. Perceived Security differs from genuine emotional security, which comes from living as one’s True Self and finding relationships from a place of emotional freedom and authenticity, free from Emotional Warfare’s interplay. By contrast, Perceived Security comes from the False Self using Emotional Warfare’s interplay and the EBSS as positions to manipulate another or others into making the individual feel accepted or loved, or making them reflect the self-concept or narrative identity the individual desires (consciously or more deeply: the psychoanalytical subconscious or unconscious desires) and/or needs to maintain a sense of emotional security.

Perceived Security is observationally distinguishable from genuine emotional security when it is threatened or the relationships that provide the dynamics to generate it are in jeopardy: the False Self’s use of Emotional Warfare will escalate as it becomes ever more determined to maintain control. Perceived Security does not diminish the person’s Emotional Desperation, but it does mask it and make it bearable, acting as a coping mechanism. This leads the person to engage in Emotional Warfare and to fight for Perceived Security at all times. The more success the False Self has at achieving Perceived Security, the more it inflates its EBSS and the harder it wages Emotional Warfare, strengthening itself and weakening the True Self in a vicious cycle. Note: Perceived Security is a false sense of safety that is achieved through the False Self’s use of Emotion-Based Survival Skills. Perceived Security is an illusion, and it leads to a counterintuitive cycle of self-abandonment. This cycle forms as the individual comes to trust his or her False Self to gain emotional security for him or her, i.e., False Self efficacy. Trusting the False Self is counterintuitive, as it leads to abandonment of the True Self and sacrificing one’s individual emotional freedom to a gain a sense of security out of the fundamental need for Emotional Survival.

The Building Block of Perceived Security holds a vital place in the conceptualization of Pattern(s) of Emotional Warfare and the True Self and False Self self state concepts. It advances the familiar psychological notion that divisions within people resulting in contradicting behaviors and/or having multiple desired life experiences is a problem that divides the collective.

This can be seen in many works and behavior models that have been presented. Consider Plato and his division between reason, spirit, and appetite; Hume’s division between reason and passion; the four divisions discussed by Jonathan Haidt (mind/body, left brain/right brain, old brain/new brain, and controlled/automatic thought); once again, the influential works of Sigmund Freud and his material regarding ego states; R. D. Laing’s concept of the divided self; Leon Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance; and, most notably, the dual-processing theory some assert originated with William James, which purports that there are two systems or minds in any one brain, with two distinct kinds of reasoning. This theory in fact reaches back to the very beginning of theories about reasoning; dual-processing theories can be found in social, personality, cognitive, and clinical psychology and even in economic models. Following from all these concepts and theories (along with many other notable frameworks) that depict individuals as divided, my inquiry into human conflict and human unity centers on the philosophical-psychological questions: why have people not yet figured out a way to address this problem and reduce the amount of intrapersonal discord? And why is there still so much interpersonal discord, mainly fueled by the underlying implicit biases that are relatively unconscious and relatively automatic features of prejudiced judgment and social behavior?1

Divisions within people and both intra- and interpersonal conflict stem from the Pattern(s) of Emotional Warfare that, at bottom, are developed for the purposes of acquiring, maintaining, or controlling Perceived Security.

Perceived Security and the
Formation of the Emotional Prison

A Synoptic Overview

All of this contributes to the formation of the remaining psychological steps and states in the anatomy of the Pattern of Emotional Warfare. Next algorithmically in the sequence is the Building Block of Role(s). Roles are the emotional models or personas a False Self adopts within the identity matrix or the gamification of identity in each of the three main spheres of life — (1) belief systems or ideologies, (2) personal life, and (3) professional or monetary life — to win the most Perceived Security possible in each situation and to fight for its Hidden Agenda, the following Building Block, which is the False Self’s ultimate, subconscious goal. The False Self believes that achieving the Hidden Agenda (e.g., elevated status or recognition within the person’s life or relationships that, if experienced, would yield the highest amount of Perceived Security) will eliminate its Emotional Desperation and make it secure, and it pursues this goal tirelessly.

To maintain, obtain, and/or win more Perceived Security, the False Self must use ever more Emotional Warfare and develop or refine its Tactics, the next Building Block in the anatomy of the Pattern of Emotional Warfare.

Tactics are the specific means that fulfill short-term stratagems or long-term strategies a False Self uses in its Emotional Warfare. A False Self learns many of its Tactics from its primary caregivers, but it may evolve those Tactics to fit its own needs, sometimes making it hard to trace the cycles at work. The heterogeneity of Tactics across human cultures is categorically captured and deductively reduced through the mechanics of the functional theory of Emotional Warfare. Tactics of Emotional Warfare fall into two main categories, overt or covert — with both operating on verbal and nonverbal levels and both extending (metaphysically) into the emotional realm of the human person(s) delivering and receiving the Tactics.

Though understanding of how people’s emotional realms are created biologically and/or neurologically is advancing, humans still act primarily as emotional and social beings (and will continue to do so, as a mammalian species) that rely heavily on emotion and verbal and nonverbal forms of language to communicate, understand, and operate within the human experience on both intra- and interpersonal levels, making Tactics of Emotional Warfare an inevitable human characteristic that becomes highly personalized within and on the field of Emotional Warfare, yet is simultaneously universal to all human persons.

Thus, the inner emotional divide between the True Self and False Self and their opposing views on Perceived Security widen the dichotomy between security and freedom. At the first sign of success, the False Self works diligently and uninterruptedly in search of additional Perceived Security, leaving little room for the True Self. By sustaining Perceived Security, the False Self validates itself and justifies its silencing of the True Self.

Perceived Security has a much larger counterproductive effect on us. It leads us to believe that we are growing as individuals, giving us a false sense of empowerment and furthering the illusion that we have developed a deeper sense of morality or humanity. However, Perceived Security actually keeps us rooted in our repeated cycles and Patterns of Emotional Warfare rather than freeing us from these patterns.

Contradictions between our inner and outer worlds, if exposed, threaten our Perceived Security. When our Perceived Security is threatened by external influences or discord, our inner conflict becomes more overt. Soon, we find ourselves lost in an ever-failing attempt to navigate the emotional divide that separates our inner and outer worlds. Attempts to control or manipulate ourselves and others can produce even greater emotional confusion or struggle, and ultimately greater Emotional Desperation. The illusion of Perceived Security and the vicious cycle of recurring emotional patterns can wreak havoc on personal, social, and professional relationships.

In the end, Perceived Security leads to the formation of the final Building Blocks, and ultimately becomes a key component of the formation of the Emotional Prison: Level One and Level Two.

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