Life Stages of a Spy - Stage 3

Stage Three: The Crisis/Climax/Resolution Stage

When it gets to be just too much to bear, some people descend into meltdown mode, a mindset of panic, desperation, paralyzing anxiety, altered thinking, and impaired judgment.

In a word, it’s like drowning. To mentally cope and survive, these people will resort to various extreme defensive strategies.

Many will enter into what I call a Personal Bubble Psychology, in which they will view the world in terms that are internally logical, coherent and consistent, but in terms of the real world, also very wrong.

Personal Bubble Psychology, a private world unto itself, escapes the constraints of customary logic and judgment and is temporarily impenetrable to outside influence and reason.

Within the bubble, everything makes perfect sense, simple and compelling, and can reach the proportions of an epiphany.

Common examples that are less pernicious include falling in love, and getting into a frenzy about buying a car or a house.

Insurmountable problems call for extreme survival measures, so the psychologically drowning person desperately searches for a miraculous solution.

Within his Personal Bubble Psychology, new and dangerous ideas beckon, penetrating the mental storm and chaos with the alluring promise of fixing at one fell stroke everything that is wrong.

Alcoholism or even suicide may appear to be the perfect solutions for those who direct their energies in an inwardly dark direction.

These choices may stir up trouble on the job (or even result in death), but do not necessarily create serious risk for espionage.

However, there are others who will choose to direct their energies outwardly and take action against others.

Returning to the core psychology, an intolerable sense of personal failure, as privately defined by that person, they will need to deny their sense of inner failure and prefer to blame and project all their inner sense of badness outwardly onto others.

In effect, they are saying, “It’s not me that’s the failure—it’s them.”

Context becomes important here. The prospective insider spy wants to project all his negative self-appraisal, self-disappointment and self-loathing onto local, handy targets.

Perhaps he will beat or otherwise abuse his wife or children. Or if he works for the proverbial Post Office, he could “go postal.”

Working within the intelligence community channels the rage and offers an obvious way to get back at the supposed oppressor that did him wrong: he can turn traitor.

This usually comes to his mind as an epiphany.

The angry prospective insider spy hopes to get back at “them,” eliminate his money worries, relieve pressures of all kinds, and solve everything in one brilliant plan.

And so the typical insider spy is not so much recruited by the skill of a hostile service intelligence officer but is rather self-recruited.

Some insider spies have been known to energetically press for recruitment against the active resistance of the hostile intelligence service they chose to work for.

Persevering in his efforts to overcome the skepticism of the hostile service—that fears getting suckered by a controlled dangle—he will make multiple contacts volunteering to spy, until he finally gets picked up.

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