The rantings of a beautiful mind

On life, society, and computer technology.

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I live in the Fortress of Solitude. I drive the Silver Beast. My obsession is justice. I used to be a Windows software developer. I retired in 2000 when my stock options helped me achieve financial security.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I'm starting to identify my childhood wounds while reading Harville Hendrix's Keeping the Love You Find. In looking at one's psychosocial history, there are six indentifiable phases of childhood:

ATTACHMENT (emotional security – 0-18 months)
  • The Clinging Child: Fear of Abandonment --> The Adult: A Clinger
  • The Detached Child: Fear of Rejection --> The Adult: An Avoider

EXPLORATION (differentiation and intact curiosity – 18 months-3 years)
  • The Distancing Child: Fear of Absorption --> The Adult: An Isolator
  • The Ambivalent Child: Fear of Loss --> The Adult: A Pursuer

IDENTITY (secure sense of self – 3-4 years)
  • The Rigid Child: Fear of Being Shamed --> The Adult: A Rigid Controller
  • The Invisible Child: Fear of Being a Self --> The Adult: A Compliant Diffuser

COMPETENCE (sense of personal power to achieve – 4-7 years)
  • The Competitive Child: Fear of Failure/Disapproval --> The Adult: A Compulsive Competitor
  • The Helpless/Manipulative Child: Fear of Aggressiveness/Success --> The Adult: A Manipulative Compromiser

CONCERN (concern for others – 7-13 years)
  • The Lonely Child: Fear of Others/Ostracism --> The Adult: A Loner
  • The Gregarious Child: Fear of Neediness/Being Alone --> The Adult: A Sacrificing Caretaker

INTIMACY (intact sexuality; ability to love – 13-19 years)
  • The Rebellious Child: Fear of Being Controlled --> The Adult: A Rebel
  • The Model Child: Fear of Being Different --> The Adult: A Conformist

In each of these childhood phases, the child may assume either a MINIMIZER or a MAXIMIZER response – that is to say, the child adapts to deficit nurturing by either diminishing his affect on the world, or exaggerating his responses.

Now we will examine each stage of development. As I describe how each stage looks, how our caretakers behave and how we respond, and how the repercussions manifest themselves in the form of so-called adult behavior, you will see clearly how we develop adaptive defenses, and what the potential for damage is. You will be able to pinpoint the stage at which you got "stuck" and be able to use this information as a model, a predictor of what goes wrong in your relationships, and as a basis for behavior change.