It shocked me to learn that being in an icubator when I was a baby could have adversely affected my whole life. I wonder how many of us are carrying around dark demons from our childhood?
Psychoanalysis has attempted to put forward answers to this particular question for decades. The contemporary psychoanalytic attachment theories of Paul Verhaeghe and Peter Fonagy throw up interesting perspectives, but to discuss this one has to touch on the pioneering literature on attachment.
Take Balint’s ‘basic fault’, this describes an experience felt by some that something universal and essential is missing inside. He theorises that it stems from a ‘failure of fit’ between a babies needs and the primary caregivers responsivity to these cues (crying, smiling, yawning, etc). Winnicott and Balint both stress the importance of a holding environment (a secure, safe and loving environment where emotions can be safely expressed in a reliable and trustworthy relationship) without which there may be an experience of an internal/external black hole.
If there is a ‘failure of fit’ and the child is unable to form a secure attachment it sets the child…
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