Kat (cogitoergobum) wrote,


Shock horror - I've been spending money. Just went and blew $1.99 on a new LJ user head because it's Rene Magritte and that's all the reason I needed. I've also been feeding my 90's obsession buying old magazines on ebay, if I turn up anything scannable I'll post it here. Then I got sidetracked looking at 90's hairstyles. I love hairstyle models, some of them look so gauche especially this girl, I mean, even I know not to hyper-extend my knee like that in photos, it just looks odd. Oh here she is again rocking a look I'd love to bring back today, ...if not that pose.

I know it's dated but I was thinking about Primal Theory and it's explanation of neuroses as being formed in infancy in reaction to our basic infantile needs not being met. Here's what the wikipedia page says :-

  "Primal theory contends that many or most people suffer from some degree of neurosis. This neurosis begins very early in life (especially in the "critical period"—birth plus the first three years) as a result of needs not being met. There may be one or more isolated traumatic events but more often it's a case of daily neglect or abuse.
Neurosis therefore may begin to develop at birth, or even before, with "first line" Pains. Subsequent Pain is thought to be added on top of previous pain in what is called "compounding" the Pain.
Throughout childhood more elaborate "defenses" develop as the early unmet needs keep pressing for satisfaction in symbolic and therefore inevitably unsatisfying ways."

I dont think everything that's 'wrong' with a person can be traced back to just their early experiences. But I do think there's a part of us that always operates at the level of that baby - a proto-personality who only knows that they have needs which are either met of frustrated. Apparently I was a very needy baby, I wanted a lot of contact and attention. My mother blames her arthritic wrists on having to cary me around so much. Whatever. A study I read about in Just the Way You Are by Winnifred Gallagher found that babies seek out and thrive on physical contact more than anything else, even food. I might have seemed demanding to my parents but from my point of view I was just trying to get my developmental needs met. I wasn't fully booted up as a person yet and my knowledge and feelings about my existance were very black-and-white. I was either happy and having my needs met and the world was great or I was abject and not having my needs met and knew only unhappiness. I didn't have a concept of waiting 'or in a minute', I just lived in the moment and it was either good or bad. That's a pretty dramatic and powerful way to live but that's what babies experience.
And although we are all born with certain innate personality factors, animal studies like the one described in this cool article: "The Brain: The Switches That Can Turn Mental Illness On and Off " suggest these early developmental experiences do influence the adults we become and how we deal with adversity. Blaming the parents/upbringing for EDs is passe and even contraversial these days and I wouldnt for a second blame my parents, they've alwys been awesome. Still, I find it interesting to consider that perhaps as a excessively demanding and clingy baby by nature, if some of my needs (enevitably) weren't met it might have had a hand in shaping the anxious and reserved adult I am today.

Tags: awareness, books, ed, ed literature, eds, mental illness, research, understanding

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