The Patty Hearst Story [David Boulton] 1

The people with whom we identify are, positively or negatively, always important to us. Our feelings toward them are, in some way, always intense. And although we may recall a conscious decision to emulate some teacher or movie star, most identifications take place outside of our awareness, take place unconsciously.
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…Our early identifications are, for the most part, the most influential ones, limiting and shaping all that come later. And while we will identify, permanently or fleetingly, with those we love or envy or admire, we also may identify with those whom we are angry at or scared of.
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This so-called “identification with the aggressor” may occur in situations of helplessness and frustration, when someone bigger, stronger or more powerful than we are has us under his or her control. In a spirit reminiscent of “if you can’t beat them, join them,” we try to resemble the people we fear and hate, hoping in that way to gain their power and thus defend ourselves against the danger that they represent. –Necessary Losses by Judith Viorst

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story in which identification with the aggressor molds your protagonist.

Journaling Prompt: Who do you identify with and what characteristics have you integrated into your own personality?

Art Prompt: Identification with the aggressor

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the phenomenon of identification with the aggressor and include an example of how this has played out in current events.

Photo Credit: Jim Barker on Flickr

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