While scrolling through one of my news feeds I was brought to another news article about a convert to the Terrorist Cell and found myself thinking about how they are converted over.
I am brought back to what it took to convince me, a long time ago, that I was not worth any more than what my abusers wanted me to believe about myself. Could the answer to stopping the conversion to terrorist cells and gangs be the same answer as to stopping people falling into abusive relationships? If we find the answer to one would we have the answer to them all?
Growing up as a child of a broken marriage, due to my Dad’s mental illness and being rejected by my father at the age of seven, left me in a place searching for my identity and sense of belonging. Having no example of a functional healthy relationship formed a lens through which I viewed the world. I only knew what I had grown up to believe was normal. Normal is only defined as it is relevant to one’s perspective.
My younger years were spent searching out that sense of belonging and fitting in. I would gravitate to anyone who filled this need, whether it was a healthy relationship or a destructive relationship. I would do anything to find that human need to belong.
I now ask if this lack of belonging that creates a loss of identity could be what attracts people to terrorist cells and gangs, as they say all the right things that one is searching for to make themselves feel like someone excepts them, giving them an identity and sense of belonging.
One of the greatest lessons I have learned raising a child with Autism is that attention is attention. Negative attention or positive attention, it doesn’t matter they both fill a need. They both will be absorbed to fill that need to define one’s identity and sense of belonging, but the path they will take a person on is very different.
Could the answer to stopping the conversion to terrorist cells and gangs be the same answer as to stopping people falling into abusive relationships? If we find the answer to one would we have the answer to them all?
How do we use what we have learned from the past to solve the questions of the future?