A pattern is a repeating, systematic, strategic process that negotiates life stress. Taking any individual, one can find an explanation for past behavior based on experiences and decisions made during specific times in life. The more information the greater the predictive detail, but most data provides some insights.
This person, let’s call him Joe, was an only child, but lived in a large group of other children from the same family. Culturally, this was a typical situation. His father was a very rich man (billionaire) with a huge income. The father demanded a very strict religious and moral code from his children. He also required independence and individuality. The father wanted his children to become confident and self-sufficient at an early age. Shortly after Joe was born, his parents divorced. He remained with his mother who remarried and had four children with her new husband. Joe’s biological father married two more times. When he was ten years old, his father died in a plane crash.
In high school, Joe entered a small study group that learned about strong religious practices. The influential teacher used violent parables and teachings to illustrate dogmatic religious messages that supported death and destruction as a means of religious success. He and a small group mimicked activists and preached pure religious observance. By age 18, Joe married. He graduated from high school and went to college.
What can we learn about this man’s pattern? First, we don’t have an abundant amount of information, but maybe enough to present some ideas about patterns. To start, Joe’s environment was rich. His physical needs caused no stress. He was not abused or traumatized until the death of his father, unless the divorce was a problem for him (very young), about which we have no information. In general, he had all the things he needed. His care and support was excessive from a physical point of view. He was not put into risky situations and his boundaries were extreme. One point about extreme verses poor boundaries. When a person has excessive boundaries (meaning rigid demanding rules), to grow up he or she must comply or rebel. Finally, Joe had no biological problems and appears to be bright and capable, as indicated by his success in school and religious training.
Joe’s problem arises in relationships. He appears to have been one of many. He was sent to a group but told to be independent. He was born an only child but raised in a group. His father left him, but he had his mother who remarried and had four children. Again, he was in a group, alone. He may or may not have felt he fit into his new family. When he reached high school. He found a way to do what daddy said. He could adhere to religious structure. He could be accepted as part of a group. He could lead and establish an independent identity. To reduce the non-specificity in his early life, he orchestrated a pattern that incorporated his need to belong and his father’s wishes. This outcome gave Joe a successful platform even if it was not a mainstream strategy.
What’s the theme to Joe’s story? It goes something like this, “Follow what I say, then I will love you.” He needed to show what he could do to receive the love he wanted. To do so, he behaved independently as expected. He followed strict religious tenets as expected. And, he became successful and better known than his father. He took the same thematic strategy with others, requiring that they do what he says. Those, that did not, he waged war on them. He applied this theme across nations and around the world. Who was Joe? Osama Bin Laden