get ready for a book!
possibly conjecture? i doubt it, because it 'feels' so right for me in the head, the heart, and the belly.
since exploring the topic of attachment in depth recently from greater heights of understanding, i am noticing an incredible new sense of resolution resulting in a magnitude of balance and overall expansiveness becoming apparent inside of 'me'.
One of the sources of my recent enlightenment comes from a new publication titled: "Being a Brain-wise Therapist: A Practical Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology" by Bonnie Badenoch , forward by Daniel J. Siegel.
Here is an excerpt from Bonnie's book, published by Norton, pg. 106 - 108:
Primed for Shame
In the earliest burst of attachment in the first few months of life, we are genetically hard-wired to seek closeness and security with our caregivers. The sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system, which acts like an accelerator in a car, fuels this outward reaching. Whether we are met with disregard, anger, or anxiety, or have the opposite experience, our limbic regions encode the energy (arousal) and information (representations) offered by our caregivers in amygdala-centered, implicit-only memory where meaning is also initially formed. With enough consistent experience, this region encodes a mental model, a generalized anticipation, about whether relationships are trustworthy or no, already creating the inner community that embodies these expectations. These mental models stay in place below the level of consciousness as we mature, continually influencing our perceptions, kept alive by the painful interactions between the parent and child that continue internally without end [ron comment: she refers to this earlier in the text as dyadic pairs, which function as a modulatory mechanism that serves to restore balance by regulatory movement between the two opposing states, until synchronicity is achieved, dissolving the disambiguity between the state of the internal parent and that of the internal child], We can see then how consistent anger or rejection by parents can engrain a fear of relationships in this primary meaning-making center even before the mind has enough developmental maturity to experience shame.
At just about the time a little one learns to walk, with great excitement into his new-found freedom, his brain begins to function at a level of complexity that allows the experience of shame to emerge. The necessary ingredients include a developing parasympathetic branch of the automatic nervous system, functioning as the arousal brakes, and a maturing orbitofrontal cortex in the prefrontal region, which allows this boy to represent himself in his mind. Both a braking system and a capacity for self-consciousness are necessary for shame. The outcome of integration is to move the mind toward greater complexity and attendant well-being, so it is not surprising that shame potentially has a positive function for this toddler.
As a child becomes mobile, with a sympathetic system capable of hurtling him toward danger, the parasympathetic system can be activated by the parental "No", causing a necessary modulation of arousal. While the child experiences this no as a missed opportunity for synchrony, an empathetic parent will immediately rejoin this toddler, bringing the sympathetic and parasympathetic into balance by acknowledging the child's wish to do the forbidden, and providing redirection toward a different joy. Over time, through this interpersonal modulating dance between outward-reaching and indrawn states, between rupture and repair, self-regulation is deeply patterned in the developing child, from nervous system to cortex. As a result, a wide window of tolerance for feelings emerges at both ends of the spectrum [ron: of dyadic pairs]
However, at the sad end of the scale, the child who is already primed for shame is probably living with the same parents who engrained a mental model of fear in relationship. So when "No" comes, it is unlikely that repair will follow immediately, if at all. So now the parasympathetic system slams into action while the parents' anger continues to accelerate the sympathetic system-a situation kin to pushing the accelerator and brakes to the floor at the same moment. Or the unmodulated parasympathetic system pulls the child into painful and isolating stillness as the parents turn away. This young one is simply left. Inwardly, the terrifying picture of an enraged and denigrating parent grows larger, while the shamed inner child cringes in the shadows. [ron sez: hence authority figure issues]
If this dynamic is repeated often enough, the synaptic strength of the neural nets comprising the state of shame increases to the point that it becomes a trait, and accepted and expected part of this person's self-perceived identity. These neural nets are also so strong and so isolated from integration with the rest of the brain (because the empathetic interpersonal relationships needed to foster further integration have not been available) that this person is a sitting duck for any perceived slight or criticism, literally at the mercy of engrained implicit mental models.