The Psychology of Brexit | Viewsbank

The Psychology of Brexit

The vote is done, the negotiations are underway and seemingly everything that could be said about the political climate in the UK has already been said. Today’s blog isn’t necessarily about the Brexit, but what that meant from a psychological standpoint for Britain. 

The attitude Britain seemed to have towards Brexit (right and left wing) has gone through what most psychologists would deem the “Paranoid-Schizoid Position”. To sum this up generally, from the beginning of our lives until the end we have periods of great anxiety. For example, infants experience this after the trauma of childbirth and after initially experiencing hunger and frustration. The infant then uses these anxieties to project and introject a subjective reality (things which might have some base in truth, but the ideas aren’t necessarily true as a whole). Then the infant will go on to divide experiences into inertly good or bad ones, and then the theory goes that that is how one begins to develop a personality. 

I would argue that this has been the British reaction to Brexit. We went through periods of uncertainty that we were quick to label as either positive or negative, creating contrasting opinions. These opinions were formed out of a time of anxiety (similar to that of the infant), and everyone had to invent a reality for both scenarios which undoubtedly was biased. This is because we have already associated these scenarios with the good and bad. For example, Viewsbank initially held a survey to try and determine the outcome of Brexit before the vote, and it was correctly predicted that Britain would vote to leave the European Union. Now, as we have had time to reflect, and the reality is less of a fantasy and more of a reality, Viewsbankers thought that a second vote would lead to Britain remaining the in EU. In fact, the exact numbers are as follows:

  • 51% voted to leave the EU
  • 76% are unhappy with how the negotiations have gone so far
  • 60% think that if there was a second vote, the country would vote to stay in the EU.

Disregarding anyone’s personal political beliefs, these numbers show a clear change in how we are viewing Brexit because it’s no longer the idea of Brexit, but the actual reality. There’s no objective reality where we know everything that is right or wrong, we only have facts that we project our personality onto to form an opinion, and it seems Viewsbankers think that the majority of the U.K. regrets that particular decision made in anxiety. What’s good about the Paranoid-Schizoid Position is that it means we are in a position of change, so at least we know that we will be a different Britain by the time we actually leave. 


For me it was a feeling of looking forward to ejecting ourseves from the EU and it's control over our country not at all anxious but elated. The problem since the vote is the 'negotiations have fueled anxiety', with the government not standing up and stating clearly a 'take it or leave it' attitude and dithering on policies and rules. This is what has frustrated both sides of 'in' or 'out'. If we had a better negotiator then i am certain things would have gone far smoother and quicker and without call for another 'vote'.

I totally agree Hazel


We need to be out of the EU, nothing will change my mind. I have just received a letter from a Conservative MP who was at the chequers meeting who also says we should be out and he further states that in the agreement made at that meeting we will have free trade with the rest of the world which we have not had since joining the EU. I hear silly comments in the street that young people are only worried about whether they can cross borders easily they are not worried about the impact this has on our resources, or what type of people are coming into the country. Due to the influx of europeans wages have dramatically decreased and they send most of their wages back home so it does not benefit the UK at all just makes further unhappiness for UK families whose men cannot provide for them as their work is taken by eastern europeans. I could go on more but to be honest it is just soul destroying what is happening to our country and it has to stop now.

I didn't vote for Brexit but am a believer in democracy and therefore felt that, despite my view that we were better in than out, we should accept the decision and make Brexit a success.

Since the vote the negotiations have become a catalogue of errors and I really feel that employees of some of the big companies have been let down by their employers. When David Cameron announced as an election pledge that he would give a referrendum why didn't these big companies fully assess the impact to them of Brexit and inform their employees that it could affect their jobs, clearly demostrating their rational. Why didnt the NHS fully assess the benefits and risks associated with remaining and eaving so that people could make an informed decision.

Most of all why did nobody realise that there was a real prospect of the vote being to leave?

Having worked in industries that have received massive injections of EU funding, many which have benefitted the most deprived people in society, I am concerned what the future holds for those who have received training or been employed thanks to EU funded work projects. I'm also concerned about the children who have grown up in areas previously identified as Communities First areas. Those places where children are growing up in poverty and schemes have been in place to ensure that they aren't caught in the cycle. That worried me before I made my vote! What worries me now is that even before we have lost some of these vital resources we have turned into a country with attitudes to others that I am horrified by. Many of those European workers take on the jobs that unemployed peoplein the UK do not want to do because they don't need to. They are happy living on benefits and generations of families are seeing that as the norm. How is people coming into the UK to do the jobs we can't fill any different to all the tradesmen who went out to Germany in the 80's and sent money home?


The EU doesn't have any money to fund anyone; it just recycles money paid to them by richer member states i.e. ourselves, while taking their cut to fund their politicians' lifestyles. Best to just cut out the middle man!!

The British unemployed should be forced to take on the jobs which you say it seems only (Eastern) Europeans can do. It's a Labour mentality which thinks  that it's okay to fleece society by not working. Look at all the fuss when IDS wanted to  lower the level of benefits a family could receive down to the low £20,000s. I've never earned more than £15,000 per annum in my life and never claimed benefits either. Everyone should live the life they afford to pay for themselves.

Brexit has been a disaster from start to finish David Cameron should never have called one he wanted his time in power to show he done something and it's backfired .The reason people voted Brexit was to stop immigration this will not happen .Farage while urging us to.leave the EU is still going to dry by taking his pension he's a bigot we are the losers

Cameron had to call one due to the rise in popularity of UKIP, plus disgruntled Tories.I voted for Brexit,not to stop immigration but to have control over it.The EU are a virtual dictatorship but some people just do not see it. 

Cameron should have had to stay and sort out the mess he has created with his referendum.  Having no deeply-rooted principles and some dreadfully bigoted views which his wife helped him to modify so that he could achieve his ambition to be prime minister, once he got the job he quickly became bored with it: the "Is this all it is ?" phenomenon, so as soon as the referendum went pear-shaped, he scarpered.  When he was running for the Conservative leadership, and in between dodging questions about his drug taking, he was asked why he wanted to be PM, and with that smugness of someone who has never had to struggle for anything in his entire life, he said, "Because I think I'd be rather good at it".  Well, "Dave", as this entire Viewsbank page shows, you weren't.

The whole concept of leaving the EU is very complicated.

It Brexit leads to the dissolution of the Treaty of Union I'm all for it


Brexit confuses me