Roots of Human Violence By Hans-Otto Thomashoff


By integrating neurobiology, psychoanalysis, psychology and child-psychology, a concept evolves which unveils a series of influences on the aggressive potential an individual person will develop as a character trait or under specific environmental circumstances.


Aggression is not a biologically inborn drive. Instead is a reactive behaviour towards frustration. Though genetically predetermined, it is built up by stress experiences (through cortisol) starting long before birth in the third month of pregnancy (more aggressive children in war zones). Any experience, starting at this early point, is transformed into stored information in the brain and will influence all later experience with a tendency to self fulfilling dynamics.


The main filter for our perceptions is our emotions. Extreme emotions force us to simplify; there is only good and evil. Splitting occurs. The person I hate is a different one that the person I love, even though they are one. Adults tend to think this way under stress, but for children this is a normal stage in their development. Just the experience of a constant good relationship enables a child to learn to integrate these emotional extremes. The kind mother is still there even when she (or the child) is angry. If this integration fails (through a lack of a good enough relationship and especially because of trauma!), splitting of thinking will prevail and create the basis for manipulation and violence, as all aggressive phenomena are related to splitting.


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