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Curing the Heart of Violence - Can NLP Coaching Help?

By L. Michael Hall, 2019 Neurons #38, August 26, 2019

If those who end up engaged in mass shootings and killings are loners who are generally disconnected from people, if they are blamers, thinking that it is this person or that group which makes them angry, frustrated, outraged, etc., and  non-compassion—lacking basic empathy for other human beings— what can we do about that?

If this is the basic profile of those who seek glory or martyrdom by going on a shooting spree (or driving a car into a crowd of people, or planting a bomb), what can be done to stop them?  Obviously, we can look for signs of trouble—emotional outbursts, racist talk, extreme comments on social media, threats against people, etc.  We can pass meaningful Red Flag laws which maintain due process so such laws are not misused.  We can have stricter background checks to eliminate any loopholes in them. Yet all of that is trying to stop something that’s already fuming and seething and ready to explore.

Let’s start a lot earlier.  Let’s look at the ways we (as a society) nurture infants, raise children, and educate young adults.  Failure in these areas is what creates insecure, angry, disconnected extremists who could then be capable of mass murder in the first place.  Somehow a darkside potential is activated within them.  Certainly we are all exposed to a lot more violence than ever before— on TV, in the movies, on video-games.  And that can’t help but to stimulate violence and make violence a possibility in the minds of many people.

Yet instead of asking “What’s causing this?” there’s another question we can ask.  Namely, “What’s missing in that person’s life?” 

∙           What’s missing in that person that he has little to no empathy, compassion or love?

∙           What’s missing in that person that he is so disconnected and living as a loner?

∙           What’s missing so the person lacks an internal sense of power (locus of control) and so blames external targets for his misery and does not accept personal responsibility?

∙           What’s missing in the person that causes him to embrace extreme ideology from either the right or left to justify his “crazy” plans to kill as many people as he can?

Something is certainly missing.  To grab a gun, bomb, machete, car, etc. and head out to kill as many people as one can is not normal.  Even if Hollywood has “normalized” murder and violence in movies, it is not normal to actually murder someone.  Something has gone wrong.  There’s a dark black hole deep in that person’s mind, emotions, and social relationships.

My thought is that what’s missing is similar to what is missing in a feral child.  A child lost in the wilds and raised by animals (dogs, wolfs, monkeys) may survive— as many did up until the 19th century, never became human.  Missing the imprint period of language, their brains did not get the required experiences to activate the needed neural circuits of the higher brain (neocortex) functions and so did not enter into the symbolic meaning system of humans.

The mass murderer who shoots down innocent people is similar.  Somehow they have missed the critical attachment patterns to others that occurs normally with empathetic, responsive, and caring parents.  Attachment Theory (as mentioned in the last post) suggests three insecure attachment patterns that can mess a person up.  The avoidant pattern is especially problematic in that it leaves a person empty of connection and so they dismiss compassionate connections with others.  Failing to receive love, empathy, compassion, and firm boundaries, the person consequently misses out on how to regulate his own emotions and drives properly.  Lacking basic self-regulation of emotions and drives the person adopts various defenses for self-protection.

Others may have received some nurturing and empathy, but perhaps too little.  Or they may have suffered some traumatic threat or loss of a loved one— and that unresolved trauma or loss may be the seething center.  It may be a consuming fire within that undermines any sense of meaningfulness in life, any hope for love, and so the person turns to destructiveness (hate, angry, outrgage) as the darkside of “meaning.” 

In these ways that the real issue is a mental health issue.  Yet not all issues of mental health, but those that involve avoidance of intimate connections, lacking empathy, developing hatreds and resentments, and lacking meaningfulness.  That kind of mental illness seems to be the culprit.  No wonder they are out-of-control and the basic human feeling of compassion for others does not stop them.

A person who has made-meaning in his life so that it is meaningfulness does not engage in mass killings.  Why would he?  A person who knows love, empathy, care, meaning, significance, connection, and attachment does not beocme a mass murderer.  What can we do?  We can —

∙           Promote high quality parenting— effective parenting that nurtures, cares, connects, creates a secure attachment, boundaries, etc.

∙           Enable healthy secure bonding strategies.  It’s never too late to experience an empathetic relationship with a caring person.  And every such person is an agent for well-being in the world.

∙           Enable healthy individual empowerment so that every child, teenager, and adult will claim his and hers innate powers of response.  Then they can become the architects of their own lives, responsible, and cut out blaming.

∙           Enable one’s meaning-making powers to unleash their highest values and best performances, to construct a meaningful life.

Want more?  See the books—  Games Great Lovers Play; Secrets of Personal Mastery  — on the website www.neurosemantics.com.   Or get to one of the Parenting #101 workshops. __ Author L. Michael Hall

If you want some help with personal issues then feel free to contact myself – Abby Eagle using the contact form - top right of this page.

 

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