Survival Skills (EBSS)
& Perceived Security

Deep Dive

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 fourth 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. Consider the neutral term dasein, which refers to a “being-there” or a presence or existence; like this, a being considered 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. In these cases, the cycle becomes inflated.

Note: Traditional masculine and feminine traits may vary by culture when attached to gender; the Philosophy of One Divide uses the traditional Western associations in classifying traits as Cycle A or Cycle B EBSS — e.g., dominance (the -A or Inflated A) is considered to be masculine, subjugation (the -B or Inflated B) is considered to be feminine.

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 the 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. 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

This visual represents the bottom half of the DTBM, with the EBSS binary spectrum and its fluid positional axis attributes included to demonstrate 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 as directed through the agency and efficacy of the False Self. 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. This illustrates 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 within the False Self disorder structuring as dominance (-A), might include nondiagnostic and diagnostic terms such as Machiavellianism, sociopathy, psychopathy, sadism, authoritarianism, anger issues, extreme extroversion, or hubris; various stages of pathological narcissism, NPD, or narcissism in general (and the manipulation techniques that include opposing Inflated B attributes such as charm or using ego wounds to gain sympathy or empathy); or in general the neuroses associated with control issues over another or others — creating a “false positive” or False Self inner dialogue and feedback loop through a justification or narrative identity (or personalized form of storytelling) that primarily leads back to a dominant EBSS of the Inflated A. In juxtaposition, the dominant EBSS of the Inflated B, categorically discussed within the False Self disorder structuring 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 “unhelpable” or what is considered unhealable/untreatable within the realm of professional psychology — establishing a direct negative or False Self inner dialogue and feedback loop through a justification or narrative identity (or personalized form of storytelling) that primarily leads back to a dominant EBSS of the Inflated B.

Expanding on this, when the False Self agency and EBSS of the Inflated A and Inflated B are utilized seamlessly or in balanced tandem, this can be considered categorically as the mirrored dark triad traits (e.g., -A = Machiavellianism, psychopathology, narcissism; -B = suicidal ideology, depression, anxiety). This dark triad mirroring — which appears for example in “dark empaths” or individuals who exhibit “dark traits” but seemingly hold empathetic attitudes toward others, whether merely from a cognitive point of view or affectively — is experienced interiorly as Uninterrupted Interplay and between people as Asymmetric Interplay, simultaneously taking place “within” and “on” the field of Emotional Warfare. For further consideration, the correlating way the False Self can slide back and forth between various physical, behavioral, and/or intentional stances and states of being (private or public personas), as well as profound negative False Self agency and efficacy, can be found in conditions such as schizophrenia, personality disorders, or the bipolar diagnosis — 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 biologically, genetically, and psychologically influenced, working in tandem with the human person’s cognitive development. In short, the One Divide/Emotional Warfare platform recognizes both adaptive, 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); 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 that will span protracted periods of time and develop 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 they observed, learned, and survived, so the person seeks out others who will interact with them in the same emotional paradigm(s) as those caregivers did, allowing the person to use their 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; see the Building Block of the Role.)

The EBSS are where Darwinian attributes — evolutionary elements of the emotional primal instincts and Emotional Survival skills, such as emotional and social intelligence (see Darwin; Thorndike; Salovey & Mayer)1 — 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, alongside the cognitive development of the individual’s brain, throughout the remaining Building Blocks; as the False Self evolves, its Pattern of Emotional Warfare evolves.

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 psychoanalytic 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: This vicious cycle can either rise to one’s conscious awareness and become “observable” to varying degrees or solely take place interiorly, depending on one’s psychological constitution for biophysiological stressors.)

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 their False Self to gain emotional security for them, 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 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 are a problem that divides the collective. This can be seen in many works and behavior models. 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); Sigmund Freud and his material regarding ego states; R. D. Laing’s concept of the divided self;2 Leon Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance;3 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.4 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?

The Philosophy of One Divide confronts divisions within people and both intra- and interpersonal conflict through the identification of Pattern(s) of Emotional Warfare that, at bottom, are developed for the purposes of acquiring, maintaining, or controlling an emotional (psychological) sense of security. The problem of divisions within and between people has not yet been solved due to the complexities and strength of the Building Block of Perceived Security.

Elucidating the neural systems that are associated with emotions and behavior complexities is an ongoing and robust endeavor, and continued scientific discoveries relating to these lower-level domains will be central to understanding the micro-to-macro premises of most psychological models. The Building Block of Perceived Security, in a manner of speaking, works to couch this endeavor — it captures, especially in relation to the attributes of the previous Building Block of the EBSS, generated states, properties, and sensations of a “perceived” emotional security. This includes the subconscious/unconscious and conscious mental representations that give rise to additional, causally related mental states associated to adaptive behavior complexities or phenomena that yield favorable results, satisfaction, comfort, well-being, and so on. The Building Block of Perceived Security and its meaning-making capability, its semantic associative value, and even its symbolic iteration act as a pivotal translational phraseology by means of the intellectual conduits structured into One Divide, designed to connect existing granular understandings of the micro or lower level (as well as future explorations, predictions, and scientific discoveries) that produce further technical understandings of adaptive behavior complexities and emotions, which undoubtedly are not only essential but intrinsic to the human experience.

Given this improving but ongoing issue, remaining consistent or relevant by means of establishing psychological model flexibility is a core design feature in One Divide’s architecture, as connecting technical verbiage to the more accessible or generalizable understandings for practical and sociopolitical application will always be necessary.

Perceived Security and the
Formation of the Emotional Prison

A Synoptic Overview of the Remaining Building Blocks
that form a “Psychoanalytic Entanglement”

— Theory of Emotional Warfare and Weak Emergence —

At this point in the sociohistoric timeline and scientific accounts of brain/mind correspondence, there is no consensus in the scientific community about how to define the emotions or which ones are elemental. To draw out the key point of interest here, emphasizing Perceived Security’s causal relationship with the preceding Building Blocks (and the formation of the remaining Building Blocks), Perceived Security creates an “umbrella” effect that extends from behaviorism attributes and properties (as discussed regarding the EBSS) into the emotional realm or psyche, with a profound effect that has direct relationship to lower-level physical and interrelated emotional survival mechanisms within humans via various brain structures and brain/mind correspondence. This is evident, for example, in the limbic system and its interrelated functionality within neurophysiology and neurological understandings.

In short, the Building Block of Perceived Security establishes a weakly emergent anchoring and is also the anchor for the properties and states that could appear (depending on one’s philosophy of science positioning or views on materialism or dualism and so on) within the attributes found in the proceeding Building Blocks — Hidden Agenda, Roles, and Tactics, eventually culminating in the Emotional Prison: Levels One and Two. These Building Blocks grouped together, starting with Perceived Security, make a categorical subset linked by an attribute I refer to as psychoanalytic entanglement (see Visual 1a).

Visual 1a

Psychoanalytic entanglement

Click image to view larger in a new window

*Psychoanalytic entanglement: This section of the Map illustrates the subcategorical grouping of the Building Blocks of Perceived Security, Hidden Agenda, Roles, Tactics, and Emotional Prison: Levels One and Two.

This psychoanalytic entanglement is unpacked in further detail in the remaining Building Blocks (and in Emotional Warfare Essays Collection: Vol. 1); however, the central point here is that by means of the Building Block of Perceived Security, which is sequentially and/or directly influenced by the full attributes of the EBSS, the remaining Building Blocks remain tethered within One Divide’s mechanistic-functionalism positioning to reducible physical properties and states and are therefore weakly emergent, rather than being conceived as irreducible or strongly emergent, as some philosophers or theorists may want to conceive of consciousness or even human culture. The reducible phenomena — which otherwise become too abstract, subjective, or nonscientific — can be viewed more concretely through the psychoanalytic entanglement outlined in the Philosophy of One Divide. Thus, 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, and its formation at this stage of the Pattern (and gathered attributive intricacies from the previous Building Blocks) works adjunctively (and associatively) to guarantee the survival of the individual and works collectively in the same manner for the survival of the human species.

Ultimately, the Building Blocks of Emotional Warfare, which are all interactive within the intra-interplay of Emotional Warfare, all work off the underlying base that is formed through the biological-to-psychological human need for self-preservation — couched universally as Emotional Survival.

Indeed, Emotional Survival, coupled with the Building Block of Perceived Security, may just be the most vitally important Block of them all due its direct involvement in the lower-level domain. It can be considered akin to the limbic system, which, as stated by Roxo et al., “is characterized by direct involvement in processes put in place to guarantee the survival of the individual and species.”5


  • 1. Darwin, C. (1859). On the origin of species by means of natural selection, Or, The preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. J. Murray; Thorndike, E. L. (1911). Animal intelligence. Macmillan; Salovey, P., & Mayer, J. D. (1990). Emotional intelligence. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 9, 185–211.
  • 2. Laing, R. D. (1969). The divided self: An existential study in sanity and madness. Penguin Books.
  • 3. Festinger, L. (1957). A theory of cognitive dissonance. Stanford University Press. Retrieved from http://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=3850.
  • 4. James, W. (1890). The principles of psychology. H. Holt & Co.
  • 5. Roxo, M. R., Franceschini, P. R., Zubaran, C., Kleber, F. D., & Sander, J. W. (2011). The limbic system conception and its historical evolution. Scientific World Journal, 11, 2428–2441. https://doi.org/10.1100/2011/157150.
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