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While history has witnessed political and social dehumanization in the last century of well documented atrocities such as the Holocaust and Russian Gulags, this post looks at understanding it from an Attachment perspective. If we can recognize susceptibility within our experiences, we may avoid the tragedy of repeating history on a smaller scale within personal interrelatedness.

The first quality of dehumanizing is pervasive manipulation. Manipulation within family trauma can result in an 'us vs. them' or 'me vs. the world' belief framework within an imprinted and shared Insecure Attachment language. Familial trauma results in mal adaptative and self-protective behaviors used to survive childhood and do not translate well into adulthood. For example, conflict avoidance, idealizing a caregiver, anger, distancing strategies, lying, etc. to name a few.  Emotional incest between children/parents also commonly results within the belief and imprinted familial language framework of dehumanization. For example, your feelings don’t matter because mommy/daddy needs child as an object for validation and self-identity, child needs mommy/daddy etc. as an object for validation and self-identity. Without you I am nothing as self-identity of everyone is lost or tightly enmeshed. “Left to his own devices, a child who knew and loved a deceitful, selfish, toxic, or malevolent parent(s) does not often learn to love differently at age 20, 40 or 60.”1

Second, dehumanization is a component of emotional, psychological, and /or personality disfunction. Many people with imprinted disordered narratives cannot appreciate that other people have inner lives much like their own. They are the only stars in their narrative, and others, especially a significant other, which represents the familial caregiver role, are props or bit players.  Unfortunately, these walking wounded are also those who can be dangerous if they have opportunity to manipulate others unchecked.