Getting into the Model

Attachment Structures

Using Attachment Theory, I demonstrate how stories that follow certain narrative are used to shatter people’s trust in the institutions (Attachment Structures) that hold our society together. And how, once separated from these structures, they are vulnerable to replacing that shattered trust with a protective devotion to the sources of information that gave them these narratives.  The sources of this (mis)information become their new Attachment Structures.

Locus of Control

These narratives, and the sources that promote them, provide a way to navigate the new threats they lay out.  They implicitly provide a path through the chaos that is completely under an individual’s control, encouraging independence, pride, certainty and control of one’s own destiny.  People don’t trust these stories because they are crazy or filled with hate, they trust these stories because even though they present a world in shambles, they also provide hope and the promise of finding a way through it.

Black-and-White Thinking

Once a person’s trust in their traditional societal structures is broken, they lose trust in the institutions and aggregated knowledge that supports those structures. In the context of the high-threat environment they perceive themselves to be in, ‘facts’ are also rejected, as they often represent threats to the relationship with this new Attachment Structure and the path through the chaos that it provides. This is an unconscious rejection process, the actual assessment is not raised to a level of conscious awareness.

Experiential Dissonance

Through an emotional process that is like cognitive dissonance that has taken steroids, people exposed to misinformation that matches the doubt they have in a faltering attachment structure can experience a profound alteration of beliefs. This can result in a transformative event, like a religious conversion, where a person embraces a whole new set of deep, emotional beliefs. From the outside looking in, the person may seem almost unrecognizable. From the inside looking out, they may feel like they have suddenly ‘woken up,’ or in today’s lexicon, they have ‘red-pilled’ from The Matrix.

We are living in a crisis, but it is not a crisis of information, it is a crisis of emotion. When an individual is unaware of the implicit emotional crisis they are in, they will seek resolution through acceptable emotions. Anger is often considered an acceptable emotion where fear is not (especially for men), and family relationships are often the outlet for that anger. It is important to recognize when expressions of anger are unintentional requests for validation and, ultimately, safety.

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