Saturday, May 11, 2013

Conflicts & Mental Rigidities, Part 7: Generational Transmission

What is the original source of our dissociations/mental rigidities? In part 5 [Back to Constraints] I suggested that the source is in the feeling of safety. But why is that we associate safety with dissociation? Intuitively, it should be something that we have learned in our childhood:

Children, we know, develop their capacity to digest experience slowly, over time. It takes many years of continuous, loving care for a child to develop a sophisticated enough capacity for experiencing that he is no longer continuously vulnerable to being overwhelmed by events of everyday life that will eventually become routine. [Reza: Let me add a remark here. In my observations of young males, even sometimes up to their 30s and specially Iranian men, I have noticed a great fear of "events of everyday life that will eventually become routine.'' I clearly remember the weight of the fear in my teenage years and well into my 20s and 30s. I only conquered it to some extent after I cam to the US and had to manage my life---with Sima, independently.] Prior to the development of that degree of resilience, and especially in infancy, the child is dependent on his caretakers to con taint and symbolize experience for him (Fonagy et al., 2002). In those early years, experience is traumatic to the precise extent that the child's caretaker cannot bear it, cannot let themselves consciously and fully experience it. The child is vulnerable to trauma, that is, whenever the parent is forced to confront not-me. When the parent cannot stand to feel the experience, the child, who only knows what his own experience is if the caretake is capable of bearing it (feeling it, knowing it), is deprived of what he needs if he is to create his own mind; and so, over time, this kind of experience becomes as dissociated for the child as it has been for the caregiver. This is not the kind of dissociation that comes and goes, life the temporary and relatively mild dissociations between good-me and bad -me; this is a stable, foundational kind of dissociation around which the personality comes to be shaped. This is the transmission of psychic pain and damage across generations. ---p. 153, Partners in Thought

For definition of  ``not-me'' and its connection to "dissociation" and ``enactment'' see these two post from February: [Not-Me, Dissociation, and Enactment] and [Not-me and Trauma].

A related quote from (Fonagy et al., 2002) from an October 2012 post : [False Self]

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