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Shabad, P. (2021). Left behind and the Need to Belong. Psychoanal. Dial., 31(1):129-130.

(2021). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 31(1):129-130

Left behind and the Need to Belong

Peter Shabad, Ph.D.

Despite my relief and jubilance about the outcome of the election, I also am incredulous, even after four years of cynicism, that 70,000,000 people voted for Trump. As someone who believes that individuals are free human agents who ultimately are responsible for their choices, I also don’t have much patience for the sentimentalizing of Trump voters as misled

masses who have understandable financial reasons for overlooking the destructiveness of Trump’s character. My grandfather was murdered at Auschwitz because of excuses like that.

Even prior to these COVID endangered times, the issues of safety and danger, of holding to the familiar as a bulwark against the contaminating impurities of otherness, had infiltrated the us. versus them tribalism characterizing our politics. The prominence of technology has done much to transform difference into demonization of otherness. Many individuals stare down at their cell phones to text and receive texts from people they know rather than look at the strangers in their midst. Many hide behind the anonymity of their computers, not unlike taking cover in a mob, to spew venom on social media toward those with whom they disagree. More and more, our very identities are constituted by the desperate pursuit of similar others who will mirror us rather than those individuals who will enhance and complement us with their differences.

As a relational analyst, I am called to explore how the countertransference of my side is implicated in this “us versus them” war with Trump loyalists.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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