Why do people turn against other people they admired, or against groups they belong to?
It’s the idealization process. Here’s how it goes.
Individually, you admire certain qualities in another person and you want to actualize those qualities in yourself. But you are unconscious of the idealization you’ve made–that you’ve put that person on a pedestal and expect them to do no wrong. And then you realize that the person you admire is not perfect.
The same process happens when you belong to a group. You admire the group and all its members, and you think everyone is special. And you’re special because you are part of that group.
But if you start to question the group’s self-image of their own perfection, then you no longer feel special. So you start to attack the group members individually and the group as a whole as completely wrong and false, because otherwise, they are still special and you are not.
When this happens, you mourn the loss of a belief in something bigger and better. Your idealizations are still on the unconscious level, so you don’t realize what happened or why you are sad and angry. So your idealization becomes a negative one; now, instead of idealizing that person or group, you demonize them.
When someone is hate-filled or bitter (such as hating the rich), they want to make a connection, but feel it is impossible.
Mindfulness, the act of being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions, and the motivations behind them, can greatly help circumvent this process.
You might think a book on forgiveness has nothing to do with mindfulness, but in fact it has everything to do with it. My book describes nine principles of thinking that are vital to mindfulness. The book is clear, practical, and doable. Buy it. You won’t regret it.