Theory of Emotional Warfare®
Emotional Warfare is defined as the strategy of consciously, subconsciously and/or unconsciously redirecting unwanted inward emotions onto another or others (through the use of Tactics) to elicit specific emotional responses for the purposes of acquiring, controlling or manipulating a sense of security for oneself.
This definition is centered on the actions taken through various neurophysiological and cognitive mechanisms in reaction to internal and/or external stressors or threats to the person’s fundamental and basic human need for Emotional Survival. Additionally, although the verb redirecting suggests a directional interior-to-exterior flow, the underlying subconscious and/or unconscious end result is the opposite: a directional exterior-to-interior or inward flow designed specifically to acquire, control, or manipulate (or psychologically persuade) the self or another for a sense of security. This means Emotional Warfare’s multilevel definitional framework directly relates to mental health and mental disorder, as well as to well-being on individual and societal levels.
A Multilevel Definitional Framework
Taking an objective, critical approach to human nature, conflict, and unity yielded the development of a functional theoretical framework that examines the roots of Emotional Warfare within the natural world and how it deeply affects the overall individual and collective human experience and natural and nonnatural normative senses of the moralities and meta-ethics. While we will continue to explore this primarily from a philosophical perspective, the platform’s principles and concepts embrace contemporary research in the fields of psychology, social psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience. Each of these have revealed automatic psychological and physiological responses to the human need to be accepted socially (e.g., social embeddedness, likeability, social status, and/or social influence through forms of popularity) and the effects of not being accepted socially (e.g., aloneness, loneliness, abandonment, low levels of likability, social status, and social influence through forms of unpopularity).
Each individual is essentially indoctrinated into and gradually becomes enmeshed in Emotional Warfare from preconscious infancy to adulthood. I have termed the psychological steps and states in this process of pattern identification, recognition, and processing 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 the individual’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, which ultimately form the Pattern(s) of Emotional Warfare, inform the action of Emotional Warfare and contribute to the interplay of its Pattern(s), which occur on the (1) inward or intrapsychic level and (2) 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.
As a social species, for the purpose of physical and emotional survival, humans (while operating individually on a spectrum) are desperately, obsessively afraid of being abandoned and alone and thus constantly pursue a sense of belonging and acceptance to quell this emotional uncertainty, generally without being aware that they are doing so. Emotional Warfare is the subconscious strategy people use to force others to provide them with this sense of emotional security. Emotional Warfare is self-perpetuating — as people find themselves on the receiving end of it, it diminishes their own emotional freedom and manipulates them into imbalanced or untrue relationships and roles. They then practice their own versions of Emotional Warfare in return in order to regain some of their security, which initiates a new wave of Emotional Warfare from the other party, and thus the cycle continues. Through the series of psychological steps and/or states that make up the Building Blocks, people’s need for emotional security and their skill in Emotional Warfare deepen from early childhood through adulthood. As long as people are fighting for status or recognition in their lives and relationships rather than being internally and interpersonally authentic, they are both practicing and suffering Emotional Warfare. Crucially, this extends beyond the conventional idea of “emotional triggers” or “pushing buttons”; it relates to mental health and mental disorder as well as well-being.
The use of Emotional Warfare has become an inherent part of our survival and of our overall human experience and thus existence. It is an emotion-based form of war that we all experience interiorly as we deal with issues central to self and identity and outwardly as we strive to win and maintain the acceptance and belonging we believe we need for our Emotional Survival. The depth of this war, which is waged within our emotional realms or psyches and/or within our private relationships and in societal groups, is deceptive and confusing, and we all underestimate it. Emotional Warfare has been a basic element of the human experience and is becoming ever more sophisticated in our technologically advanced and more emotion-based modern world. It is almost always subconsciously used and is a behavioral issue (or pattern) that pervades mental health, society, and every interaction and relationship we have. It closes us off from the individual emotional freedom we search for as well as the human unity we strive for, and its hidden nature has yet to be properly exposed.
Evolution of Emotional Warfare
Subconscious to Conscious Uses
Since Emotional Warfare has long been ignored, it has evolved and advanced over time. Our abilities to observe and learn — especially when it comes to pattern recognition and looking for significance in events in our own lives and mankind’s history — have failed to recognize the true depths of the individual and collective repeated cycle and ultimately to identify the Pattern of Emotional Warfare that has created it.
Emotional Warfare has slowly become an inherent part of our overall Emotional Survival as we have evolved as a species, and thus it has been spliced into our overall human experience; it flows just below (and at times even deeper beneath) the surface of our conscious reality, creating an underbelly to our world which governs us. In this regard, Emotional Warfare informs what has become commonly known as psychological warfare — but is fully distinct from it. Tactics and techniques move out of the realm of Emotional Warfare and into the realm of psywar (i.e., propaganda, perception management, etc.) when they are applied consciously. The mainstream use of psychological warfare and its infusion into modern society through its insertion into business, professional, political, ideological, and educational platforms forces individuals to use more and more sophisticated forms of Emotional Warfare in their daily lives, creating a cyclical development of Emotional Warfare in the human race.
“With the advent of influences like perception management, exploitation of the Emotional Desperation of others has only escalated in our modern world; our richer knowledge of human behavior has given us more tools to use against each other, and thus the current of Emotional Warfare that circulates among us has intensified.”- The Reference Guide to Emotional Warfare® and the Philosophy of One Divide®
We respond to Emotional Warfare on an instinctual level, as it strikes at the core of our fundamental need to feel secure. Our primal instincts keep us alive, not only in the physical world but also in our emotional world. Emotional Warfare taps into both our physical and emotional primal instincts. Fear — an innate and healthy emotion — and the fundamental need to feel secure in life are the basic driving forces behind our emotional primal instincts. But when our fear climbs too high and we feel our fundamental need for Emotional Survival isn’t being met through acceptance and/or belonging, we fill with Emotional Desperation — the antithesis of a healthy level of fear.
The volatile boundary between healthy and unhealthy levels of fear continuously fuels our obsession with security and adds a seemingly inescapable layer to the paradox of security versus freedom that forces us to use Emotional Warfare. This layer forms out of the conflict between the fear of uncertainty, which is immeasurable, and the fear of ultimate freedom: being alone in life. Life itself is filled with inevitable daily hardships, which will without question make us feel, as we are emotional and social beings. Our Emotional Survival will be challenged, and feelings of Emotional Desperation will undoubtedly follow… And so our thoughts single-mindedly return to acquiring, controlling, or manipulating a sense of security for ourselves.
The levels of Emotional Desperation within us determine the strength of Emotional Warfare we use to expunge these unwanted emotions and redirect them onto another or others, knowingly or unknowingly; in this way, Emotional Desperation acts as the foundation to Emotional Warfare. The effect of Emotional Desperation is incalculable, and people using Emotional Warfare for their own ends have exploited it throughout time. This leads to internal and interpersonal conflict — a paradoxical practicing and/or suffering of Emotional Warfare’s patterns — that, when unidentified or underestimated, can have severe long-term consequences.
Explore more Deep Dive Articles