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The Pattern of Emotional Warfare®

The Pattern of Emotional Warfare

Each individual is essentially indoctrinated into and gradually becomes enmeshed in Emotional Warfare from preconscious infancy to adulthood. In the Philosophy of One Divide’s literature, the psychological steps and states in this process of pattern identification, recognition, and processing have been termed the Building Blocks of Emotional Warfare.

Ultimately, these Building Blocks come together to form a behavioral pattern and dual-purposed psychological and psychosocial field (within the interior realm and in the outer, external realm) of Emotional Warfare that governs a person’s life until he or she becomes aware of it and begins to prioritize emotional freedom and authenticity over the need for emotional security. These Building Blocks inform the action of Emotional Warfare and contribute to the interplay of its Pattern(s), which occur on (1) the inward or intrapsychic level and (2) the outward or intersubjective and/or interpersonal level. This supports the multilevel definitional framework of Emotional Warfare and provides various entry points into the theoretical framework of Emotional Warfare. Each of the nine Building Blocks has an underlying base of Emotional Survival supporting it, reifying and/or instantiating its context and meanings for maximum intelligibility within the human experience, whether from a first-person, subjective view or a third-person, objective standpoint.


Anatomy of the Pattern of Emotional Warfare
— The Map —

Anatomy of the Pattern of Emotional Warfare: The Map provides a key visual tool (see Visual 1 below) — an anatomical view of the Pattern of Emotional Warfare, constructed as an interactive communication mechanism for both the general user and the academic researcher or practitioner — that emphasizes the Building Blocks’ algorithmic sequencing and algorithmic information, which supports One Divide’s pattern identification, processing, and pattern recognition premises. The Map also helps newcomers to the platform understand the interconnectedness of the Building Blocks and thus the overall abstract intelligence and psychological gestalt of Emotional Warfare.

Throughout the Map, shaded areas and arcs (dotted lines) illustrate the Building Blocks of Emotional Warfare and thus the Pattern’s interconnectedness. The arcs show direct relationships between one Building Block and another, and the arrows show the directions in which the relationships travel (Kroger, 2015 (design updated 2019)).

Visual 1

Anatomy of the Pattern of Emotional Warfare - The Map

Click image to view larger in a new window

The Pattern of Emotional Warfare consists of a series of nine interconnected Building Blocks. They work almost seamlessly, coming together in a sequence, which compounds their intricacies as they build off each other.

The series of nine psychological steps, psychological states, or Building Blocks that form the Pattern of Emotional Warfare are:

  1. Broken Trust
  2. False Self
  3. Emotional Desperation
  4. Emotion-Based Survival Skills (EBSS)
  5. Perceived Security
  6. Hidden Agenda
  7. Role(s)
  8. Tactics
  9. Emotional Prison: Level One & Level Two

These Building Blocks all work off the underlying base formed by the fundamental need for Emotional Survival. They become intermixed after they are established; any given Block may be interdependent on variables present in other Blocks, and not necessarily in the ones that precede or follow it in the sequence. All of these attributes add to the deceptiveness and depth of Emotional Warfare, since it is also directly tied into the underlying base of Emotional Survival.

In general terminology, this pattern becomes apparent when an individual tries to change or to search for independent emotional freedom. For example, internal (and subsequently external) conflict often surfaces when our belief systems or ideologies, personal relationships, professional success, and sense of Perceived Security are based on a False Self that is at odds with who we really are — the True Self — and the independent emotional freedom that we are searching for. This False Self disguises what is really going on and stops us from growing as people. This deep inner conflict between True and False Self only makes us need Emotional Warfare more, to regain a sense of security.

All this happens because of the internal emotional divide we each have. The divide is created by a Broken Trust event early in life, which is where our Emotional Survival first becomes an issue; self-preservation and the need for emotional security become paramount. Essentially, we feel Emotional Desperation — the universal fears of aloneness, abandonment and uncertainty — for the first time. We all share this divide, as the Broken Trust is an unavoidable life event.

This One (emotional) Divide is what separates an individual into two halves: the True Self and the False Self. The divide is an internal, metaphorical space that fills with Emotional Desperation caused by the Broken Trust event. When the emotions associated with the event go unresolved, the divide strips the individual of emotional freedom and true emotional security, forcing him or her to rely on a False Self — an internal survival, coping, and defense mechanism that (1) shields the source of his or her pain, confusion, fear, and Emotional Desperation and (2) prevents anything from exposing it. The False Self is deployed to gain a sense of security in the both the interior and outer world, and most importantly, it is the administrator or agent of Emotional Warfare. When these unresolved emotional issues are not properly addressed or understood, they lead to ever-present levels of Emotional Desperation, which fuel the use of Emotional Warfare and trap us in negative behavioral patterns. Our need for emotional security and our False Self’s skill in Emotional Warfare deepen from childhood through adulthood. As our False Selves evolve, our Patterns of Emotional Warfare evolve.

The divide creates a chasm between our inner and outer worlds that prevents us from finding our emotional freedom and true security. This increases the dichotomy between our quest for security and our desire for independent emotional freedom, distorting our need for security into an obsession and perpetuating our Patterns of Emotional Warfare.

The Pattern(s) of Emotional Warfare can be extremely confusing, as the Perceived Security they provide offers conflicting feelings. On the one hand, the Patterns are familiar and therefore comfortable, but on the other hand, we come to loathe having to behave in certain ways in order to be accepted and to gain or maintain emotional security. Ultimately, this Pattern of Emotional Warfare creates a bilevel (i.e., intra- and interpersonal or intersubjective) set of conceptual and emotional barriers — an Emotional Prison — for us. The Emotional Prison, with the subcategories Level One and Level Two, can seem impenetrable and all-consuming, filling us with yet more Emotional Desperation. The spiral of Emotional Warfare and Emotional Desperation is complex and subtle, leading us to ever-deeper emotional confusion.


Advancing the False Self Concept

(via the Broken Trust Event)

In academic terms, the Philosophy of One Divide builds off and advances Donald Winnicott’s theory of the false-self disorder1. However, the Philosophy of One Divide is distinct because of its introduction of the theory of Emotional Warfare.

The anatomy of the Pattern of Emotional Warfare is initiated by the Building Block of Broken Trust: a moment or event that occurs in the beginning stages of human life, often preconsciously and preverbally, in which self-preservation and the basic human need for physical and emotional survival first emerge. It is reinforced by various mechanisms throughout childhood and adulthood, establishing and advancing a False Self conceptualization via the Broken Trust and forming a meta-theoretical to clinical explanatory ladder. The Broken Trust is an unavoidable element of a person’s life experience and fundamental to the person’s awareness of existence, and its effects take shape cognitively and/or affectively in the person’s development and learning processes. Moments that occur afterward reinforce the Broken Trust event and move from the preconscious/preverbal to the subconscious to the conscious as cognitive and linguistic development (through inner speech and/or interpersonal communication) take place. However, initial imprinting (in the form of “emotional markers,” which work like data points) stays within the subconscious and informs the conscious adult. The Broken Trust usually occurs and/or is reinforced at a very early age and stage, when something happens to disrupt the infant’s or child’s sense of safety and triggers an unhealthy level of fear and aloneness, loneliness, abandonment, isolation, and uncertainty. While the initial Broken Trust event could be considered to take place via the womb (consider traumas to the carrier of the fetus and developing research on epigenetics) or even at birth (consider ideas in depth psychology), categorically it is reinforced later, through something as simple and normal as being yelled at or as objectively life-altering as abuse, abandonment, or the death of a parent. A child’s sense of safety and trust need only be pierced on the smallest of levels to be the Broken Trust event. From this time on, the child begins learning to change or adapt (even if by developing maladaptive responses to social stressors and/or threats) as necessary to fulfill expectations and earn love and acceptance from parents or caregivers.

This is in part a reflection of Donald Winnicott’s false-self disorder; the child begins to develop a false persona, believing it will produce emotional security. The child also retains a True Self — an honest, authentic side to the personality, which will become more and more private and separate from the public persona and which the child will bury more and more deeply. This can occur gradually or quickly, depending on the reinforcement (positive or negative, in equal or unequal measure) the child receives from those responsible for his or her survival. Simply put, as the child observes, learns, and survives the physical and emotional environment — and the behavioral cycles of the primary role models and caregivers first responsible for the child’s Emotional Survival — and the child gauges and adopts schemes, strategies, and tactics to successfully utilize the False Self to meet emotional security needs, he or she begins to place more trust in the False Self than in the True Self.

At this point, imagine the child metaphorically splitting into two halves — the True Self and False Self — separated by a gap, which fills with what I have termed Emotional Desperation. Emotional Desperation is the sum of three universal fears — aloneness (loneliness), abandonment, and uncertainty — and becomes the foundation of the individual’s subsequent Pattern of Emotional Warfare.

This brings us to the second Building Block: the development of the False Self. The False Self is the persona an individual develops after the Broken Trust event to ensure the physical and/or emotional security he or she needs from others by mimicking and self-presenting in ways that force others to give attention and/or approval. It can push a person into model behavior, disruptive behavior, or any gradation between. The False Self stands between the outside world and the True Self (e.g., public persona(s) versus private self or interior narrator), keeping the True Self safe but also preventing the person from achieving emotional freedom or connecting on an honest level with others.

This is not to be confused with Winnicott’s false self. Although there is some overlap between the two theories and they have some parlance in common, Winnicott’s false self emerges in reaction to maladjustment by the parents, particularly the child’s mother (Winnicott, 1965), while One Divide’s False Self emerges in reaction simply to the initial inevitable Broken Trust event — which may involve poor parenting and may not. The False Self comes from an individual’s intense, fundamental human need to feel secure and to avoid feelings of Emotional Desperation, rather than from a need to please a maladjusted parent.

This False Self theory is the core of the Philosophy of One Divide and theory of Emotional Warfare. The mind manufactures a False Self to restore a sense of security, unconcerned with emotional freedom. The False Self, on one side of the divide, is a survival, coping, and defense mechanism that serves as the person’s faceplate and representative to the outside world. Its main function is to interact with others, using Emotional Warfare whenever necessary, to elicit and restore a sense of emotional security throughout the human lifespan, from the temper tantrums of a child to the subconscious, unconscious, or reflexive motivators behind the sophisticated, strategic covertness and sociopolitical calculation of an adult. Importantly, the False Self is not simply a conduit for redirecting negative emotions.

The False Self can be utilized in a multitude of ways, including procuring more Perceived Security (another of the Building Blocks) through “false positive” emotional representations — in which the person projects positive affective responses and/or uses private-to-public filtering to promote positive attitudes — or needing additional forms of “thriving” even after a substantial sense of Perceived Security is attained, i.e., creating multilevel dominance strategies in various interior and/or intersubjective domains or interpersonal interactions. Though the False Self is initially designed as a protector, its obsession with providing a sense of security becomes both damaging and restrictive within the interior emotional realm or psyche of the human person and between people, affecting the human experience and human condition simultaneously. While the universally felt emotions of Emotional Desperation are the fuel of Emotional Warfare, the False Self is its administrator and agent. This introduces One Divide’s dual-agency theory: the exercised/practiced agency of the True Self set against the instinctual/reactive agency of the False Self.

While the False Self instinctively wants to advance to a more evolved form within the interplay of Emotional Warfare, the True Self intuitively wants to transcend the biological limitations and psychological and conceptual barriers — as well as emotional barriers that form and/or stem from the conscious, subconscious, and/or unconscious — that inhibit emotional growth and contemporary spiritual development, moving beyond the interplay of Emotional Warfare entirely.


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