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MCRP 3-02E Terrorism

The Individual's Guide for Understanding and Surviving

1 is usually developed by internalization of parental ideals and prohibitions during early childhood. 2 In the well-adjusted person, the ego is the executive of the personality, controlling and governing 3 the id and the superego and maintaining commerce with the external world in the interest of the 4 total personality and its far-flung needs. When the ego is performing its executive functions 5 wisely, harmony and adjustment prevail. Instead of pleasure, the ego is governed by reality.

6 Defense Mechanisms

7 The ego enables the mind to continue to function, even during the most powerful experience-such 8 as being taken hostage by terrorists. The sequence of self is threatened and the ego must cope 9 under a great deal of stress. The hostage wants to survive, and the ego seeks ways to achieve 10 survival. One way is by denial. Another is by regression.

11 Denial is a primitive but effective psychological defense mechanism. There are times when the 12 mind is so overloaded with trauma that it cannot handle the situation. To survive, the mind reacts 13 as if the incident is not happening. Hostages respond, "Oh no! Not me!" or "This must be a 14 dream!" or "This is not happening!" These are all effective stress relieving techniques. Denial is 15 but one stage of coping with the impossible turn of events. Each victim who copes effectively has 16 a strong will to survive. One may deal with the stress by believing he is dreaming and will soon 17 wake up and it will all be over. Some deal with stress by sleeping. Frequently, hostages gradually 18 accept their situation, but find a safety valve in the thought that their fate is not fixed. They view 19 the situation as temporary, sure that they will be rescued. This gradual change from denial to 20 delusions of reprieve reflects a growing acceptance of the facts. Although the hostage accepts 21 that he is "just a hostage," he believes freedom will soon come.

22 Most frequently used by hostages, regression is a return to a more elementary level of 23 development such as that of an infant or a 5-year-old who identifies with a parent. The 5-year-old 24 is able to feed himself, speak for himself, and has locomotion. A hostage is more like the infant 25 who must cry for food, cannot speak, and may be bound. Like an infant a hostage is in a state of 26 extreme dependence and subject to fright. The infant is blessed with a mother figure who sees to 27 his needs. As the needs are met, the child begins to love this person who is protecting him from 28 the outside world. The mother figure or adult is capable of loving and leading the infant out of 29 dependence and fear. So it is with the hostage-with his extreme dependence and every need met, 30 as a gift from the terrorist. He is now as dependent as he was an infant. The controlling, 31 all-powerful adult is again present; the outside world is threatening once again. The weapons the 32 authorities have deployed against the terrorist are also, in the infant mind of the hostage, deployed 33 against him. As once again he is dependent, also once again there is a powerful authority figure 34 who can help, this time the hostage-taker. So the behavior that worked for the dependent infant 35 surfaces again as a coping device, a defense mechanism, to lead the way to survival.

36 Identification with the Aggressor

37 The ego seeks to protect itself against authority figures who have generated anxiety. The ego's 38 purpose with an aggressor is to avoid the wrath, the potential punishment, of the enemy. The 39 hostage identifies out of fear rather than out of love. It appears that the healthy ego evaluates the


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