The Psychology of Accommodation

Love and Hate

“Love is the primary unit of life. Hate is the primary negative unit of life.”

Dr. Marcel Vogel (IBM Senior Scientist)

Some people love Obama.

Some people hate Obama.

Some people love Trump.

Some people hate Trump.

Some people love ________ (insert the name of your family member, friend, enemy, public figure, or politician here)

Some people hate ________ (insert the name of your family member, friend, enemy, public figure, or politician here)

There are certain realities that come with such strong primary emotions as love and hate. With strong emotions come beliefs that penetrate the depth of the soul. Once the energy of love and hate have reached the core essence, there is little chance of change unless a person has a strong willingness to explore, a curiosity or thirst for the truth, and a childlike imagination void of assumptions or the influence of others.

The Psychology of Accommodation

When pondering the question of why wouldn’t facts change a person’s belief. The answers aren’t always clear, but human nature and psychology can provide the understanding that leads to acceptance. To accept the fact that a person isn’t who they thought he or she was, is an indictment of the self. A set of facts can destroy a person’s emotional reality. The destruction of a person’s belief is the destruction of their own identity, judgment, personality, and self schema (a long lasting and stable set of memories that summarize a person’s beliefs, experiences and generalizations about the self, in specific behavioral domains). In order to defend a person they love, means they must defend themselves. To admit they were wrong about a person they love or hate changes their image of self, leading to the most common human response or the psychology of accommodation.


To avoid the destruction of the self, people will use misdirection or the intentional deflection of attention for the purpose of disguising the truth. Magicians use misdirection to fool their audience. Directing the focus from one topic to an often unrelated topic, affects perceptual and cognitive mechanisms. The result is a loss of focus on the subject and a loss of the ability to reason, express, or defend. The dialog is taken over by the person using misdirection, so any real discussion on the topic is impossible and any real point you are trying to make is weakened or lost. This is basically how propaganda is used. Find something unrelated to the core issue that brings a strong emotional response and the angry mob manifests.

Alternative Facts

Some have come to believe and regularly use alternative facts. Alternative facts are a method of misdirection and very confusing to a rational logical person. A fact is something that actually exists or what we would call “reality” or “truth.” An alternative is one of the choices in a set of given options; typically the options are opposites of each other. So to talk about alternative facts is to talk about the opposite of reality (which is known as delusion), or the opposite of truth (which is untruth). Alternative facts are a distortion of reality, which can leave a person dumbfounded or confused. A speechless person facing a delusional way of looking at the world has little ability to respond or create dialog that matches or changes the distortion of reality.

Character Attacks

Some people resort to character attacks out of frustration and fear of being wrong when facing an opposing view. This method of response is a deliberate and sustained effort to damage the reputation or credibility of an individual. The individual that is attacked can be the person or outlet providing the facts, or the person presenting the factual information. This method allows the attacker to justify their own beliefs or elevate themselves above another by attacking character and motives. In order to win an argument, a person might question the character of the person presenting the truth, which marks the beginning of engaging in a power struggle. One person in the conversation assumes a superior position by attacking character or expressing with authority, while the other assumes a submissive position by defending their character. The person who dominates has such a strong need to be right, they will do just about anything to maintain the superior position. Tactics of a person going for the superior authority position in the power struggle, could range from disengagement, making fun of the other person, aggressive behavior, passive aggression, dismissive language tones, your crazy facial expressions, deflection of the truth, or some form of character attack.


Gaslighting is often used in a debate over politics or any emotionally charged subject, where a person (Gaslighter) makes the other person (Gaslightee) look and feel like they are crazy for holding an opposing belief. This is the ultimate form of manipulation that creates psychological distress in the Gaslightee. An effective Gaslighter will make a person question their own emotional reality when facing such manipulation. The Gaslighter uses something a person is passionate about to provoke a negative reaction, then uses their crazy reaction as a basis to dismiss their factual information along with their beliefs. With the emotions of love and hate in the equation of any debate, Gaslighting is easy due to the strong emotions and passionate feelings. Getting a negative response can be a daily activity for the master manipulator.


People can be extremely intelligent, but that alone does not guarantee self awareness. Dr. Marcel Vogel once stated “forced learning (or higher learning) tears apart intuition”. Without intuition, there is less chance a person can become aware of their own denial of reality. In some areas of psychology (especially in psychodynamic theory), psychologists talk about “defense mechanisms,” or manners in which a person behaves or thinks in certain ways to better protect or “defend” their inner selves (their personality and self-image). Defense mechanisms are one way of looking at how people distance themselves from a full awareness of unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Most defense mechanisms are fairly unconscious, which means most of us don’t realize we’re using them in the moment.

Denial is the refusal to accept reality or fact, acting as if a painful event, thought or feeling did not exist. It is considered one of the most primitive of the defense mechanisms because it is characteristic of early childhood development. Many people use denial in their everyday lives to avoid dealing with painful feelings or areas of their life they don’t wish to admit. For instance, if it’s too painful to accept a person you love has a serious problem, its simple to deny the problem even exists.


It feels terrible to have your character and motivation questioned, often by the very people who should know you the best. Separation due to opposing beliefs is separation from love that can be fueled by hatred toward the person or group at the center of the debate. All separation is created in some way by human ego. Human ego can alter or remove critical thinking and lead to what we refer to as incorrect thinking.

According to Dr. William Baldwin (Clinical Psychologist), “The ego seeks to survive by competing and by validating its own viewpoint, and by making itself right and others wrong. This is often at the expense of being wrong and justifying its actions as being right. This error of the mind and refocusing its own intention, leads to unnecessary mental and physical residues that can support suffering.

Assumptions, judgments, conclusions, and decisions are the mental residue of which the ego acts in succession. Every real or imagined threat in which the ego claims success, becomes part of an overall established mechanism. This mechanism can be called into operation in any future crisis that is perceived as similar to a past experience. This can hold true, despite any rational or appropriate response that could have been used.

This is the cause of many irrational and inappropriate reactions to a present-day situation. In stressful situations, people react in a way that reverts to earlier responses, regardless of the measure of success. The result may not only be inappropriate, but the response can be detrimental. These self-deceiving mechanisms have a major personal cost, that can deny ones self-responsibility with regard to ones own emotions, motives, intentions, desires, behaviors, and actions.

Avoidance of responsibility leads to further the self-deception of falsely blaming others for ones own misfortune and assuming false guilt for the suffering of others. The ego is proficient at denying its own failings and inferiorities, suppressing these rejected aspects in the unconscious mind and thus denying their expression.

Projection of the shadow onto another person or group, often leads to prejudice, conflict, and violence. This is one function of the ego which distorts the purpose of spiritual evolution. Personal responsibility begins with the willingness to acknowledge oneself as the cause on any situation. This precludes any blame, shame, guilt, resentment, and remorse in human interaction that leads to misconceptions, conclusions, and judgments.”

Taking Responsibility

To take responsibility for one’s feelings toward another person or group, rational assessments of the facts are essential. Strong emotions of love and hate are energies of the heart, which is also where you will find the ego. To look at a set of facts and admit you might have been wrong, requires a complete dismantling of the ego. Most people would rather hold their position and create an attack on those who oppose them or take on a victim mentality. Holding their position at all costs may be part of their overall ego based mechanism, making it easier to stick with a pattern of unconscious denial than taking conscious responsibility for their distortion of the truth.

So the next time you feel inclined to debate by presenting facts to a person in hoping of change their mind, take an inventory of their position. When the signs listed above become evident the person will use one of these tactics, it’s time to pivot toward a related subject where both parties can agree to stand on common ground. If what you see is an open mind that is curiously seeking the truth, meaningful dialog is attainable. On the other hand, if you see love, hate, and the psychology of accommodation in their expression, consider this one thing. You have a valuable resource called human energy. There are times when consideration of reserving this critical asset makes more sense than asking a person to take responsibility by admitting they might have used poor judgment or distorted the truth.

To learn about human energy systems and growing intuition, join the IEL Institute for the Spiritual Arts and start enjoying the benefits of free membership today.


Gustav Kuhn, Hugo A Caffaratti, Robert Teszka, Ronald Rensink

A psychologically based taxonomy of misdirection

US National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Mental Health


John M. Grohol Psy.D.15 Common Defense Mechanisms

Dr. Marcel Vogel (workshop quotes)

Dr. William Baldwin (Spirit Releasement Therapy-a technique manual)

Psychology Today

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