ANS schore ar ch4

Selves on the brink between imploding and exploding

Dissociation:  “The neurobiology of the later forming dissociative reaction is different than the initial hyperarousal response (for models of the neurobiology of dissociation (see Scaer, 2001; Schore, 2001c) (schore/ar/125)”



“As episodes of relational trauma commence, the infant is processing information from the external and internal environment.  The mother’s face is the most potent visual stimulus in the child’s world, and it is well known that direct gaze can mediate not only loving but powerful aggressive messages….. The image of the mother’s aggressive face, as well as the chaotic alterations in the infant’s bodily state that are associated with it, are indelibly imprinted into the infant’s developing limbic circuits as a “flashbulb memory” and thereby stored in imagistic implicit-procedural memory in the visuospatial right hemisphere.  (schore/ar/125)”


“But within the traumatic interaction the infant is [is this a “can be?”] presented with another affectively overwhelming facial expression, a maternal expression of fear-terror.  Main and Solomon (1986) noted that this occurs when the mother withdraws from the infant as though the infant were the source of the alarm, [did mother do this to me?  Like when she looked at me, and really DID see the devil’s child?] and they reported that dissociated, trancelike, and fearful behavior is observed in parents of type D infants.  Studies show a specific link between frightening, intrusive maternal behavior and disorganized infant attachment (Schuengel, Bakersmans-Kranenbur, & van Ijzendoorn, 1999). (schore/ar/126)”

“During these episodes the infant is matching the rhythmic structures of these states, and this synchronization is registered in the firing patterns of the right corticolimbic brain regions that are in a critical period of growth.  And thus not just the trauma but the infant’s defensive response to the trauma, the regulatory strategy of dissociation, is inscribed into the infant’s right-brain implicit-procedural memory system.  In light of the fact that many of these mothers have suffered from unresolved trauma themselves (Famularo, Kinscherff, & Fenton, 1992), this spatiotemporal imprinting of terror and dissociation is a primary mechanism for the intergenerational transmission of trauma…. (schore/ar/126)”

state switch

“Even more specifically, in certain critical moments the caregiver’s entrance into a dissociative state represents the real-time manifestation of neglect….. emotionally unavailable [sic], dissociating mother and a disorganized infant ….Ultimately, the child will transition out of heightened protest into detachment, and with the termination of the intensely energy-expending extreme protest, he/she will become silent.  He/she will shift out of the hyperarousal, and dissociate and match the mother’s state.  This state switch from a regulatory strategy of intense struggling into the dissociative immobilized state mimicking death is ultimately experienced as a “dead spot” in this child’s subjective experience (Kestenberg, 1985).”  (schore/ar/126)”

He has said this elsewhere, but this time it HIT me.  I have millions of these DEAD SPOTS!  Now, these dead spots ARE A BRAIN DAMAGE!  They prevent me from remembering.  They prevent me from having a coherent life story.  They did not stop in infancy, either, but continued for 18 years.

But above he talked about “flashbulb memories.”  How can they be both – flashbulb memories and dead spots?

Also, it is getting impossible to know where to “divide” the information on the right brain from info on ANS from info on dissociation.  I suppose this is the way it should be, but how do I keep this all together so I don’t do all the self-repeating Schore is doing here?  I have to find my own “linkages” and transitions.

Schore describes a mother-infant scene “captured by Selma Fraiberg (cited in Barach, 1991)” that involved a mother holding her screaming infant on her lap for five minutes without soothing it.  Schore’s powerful comments on this event are as follows:

“Notice that this traumatic context is totally devoid of any mutually regulating interactions.  Rather, both mother and infant, although in physical proximity, are simultaneousy [sic] autoregulating their stress, in a very primitive manner, in parallel but nonintersecting dissociative states.  There is a void of subjectivity within each, and there is a void in the communications within the intersubjective field.  There’s no dyadic attachment mechanism to convey or sense signals from the other.  What stands out between them, both verbally and nonverbally, is this silent void, this vacuum, this black hole of nothingness.  In fact, in this dissociated context there is no intersubjective field.  This is a context in which a two-person psychology does not exist and does not apply.  (schore/ar/127)”

“I suggest that Fraiberg’s description of “screaming hopelessly” is the vocal expression of the earliest manifestation of annihilation anxiety, the threat to one’s bodily wholeness and survival, the annihilation of one’s core being.  (schore/ar/129)”

“Although almost all psychoanalytic theoreticians have overlooked or undervalued this, Krystal (1988) and Hurvich (1989) emphasized that at the level of psychic survival helplessness constitutes the first basic danger.  This helplessness is a component of the survival strategy of conservation-withdrawal, the early-appearing primitive organismic defense against the growth-inhibiting effects of maternal over- or understimulation.  (schore/ar/129)”


“Winnicott offered the observation that, “In certain cases, the mother’s central internal object is dead at the critical time in her child’s early infancy, and her mood is one of depression.  Here the infant has to fit in with a role of dead object …. Here the opposite to the liveliness of the infant is an antilife factor derived from the mother’s depression” (1965, p. 181).  This scenario was described in the previously cited observation of Fraiberg.  Instead of interactively generating vitality affects, each member of the traumatized dyad experiences “an antilife factor” and “dead spots” in their subjective experience.  Very recent basic research indicates that maternal deprivation increases cell death in the infant brain (Zhang et al, 2002).  Is this the death instinct and is the traumatizing caregiver enhancing it?  Recall that the state of conservation-withdrawal, a primary regulatory process of decreased metabolic energy, is accessed when active coping (flight or fight) is not possible, occurs in hopeless and helpless contexts, and is behaviorally manifest as feigning death (Engel & Schmale, 1972; Powles, 1992).  Dissociation is defined as “a submission and resignation to the inevitability of overwhelming, or psychically deadening danger” (Davies & Frawley, 1994)” [this reference is a book on treating the sexual abuse survivor – still not the same thing]   (schore/ar/129)”


“Furthermore, Kohut (1977) speculated that in optimal contexts the parental selfobject acts to “remedy the child’s homeostatic imbalance,” and thus the relational context of a selfobject catastrophe is characterized by not only (schore/ar/129) the ++++ induction of abuse but also ++++ a lack of interactive repair of the infant’s dissociative reactions.  [Now here he is using “dissociative reactions” – see my conflict, per his statements on p125 where he is making a distinction I don’t understand] Because these events are occurring in a critical period of [brain and nervous system] development they have long-enduring effects.  (schore/ar/130)”


“This context of psychopathogenesis was, again, characterized by Winnicott:  “If maternal care is not good enough, then the infant does not really come into existence, since there is no continuity in being; [yes, that is it exactly – what happened to me] instead, the personality becomes built on the basis of reactions to environmental impingement” (1960, p. 54). Tustin (1981) referred to this impingement as a “psychological catastrophe,” which is responded to by “autistic withdrawal” or “encapsulation,” an innate defensive measure against bodily hurt that involves a “shutting out of mind” what can not be handled at the moment.  This is the operational definition of the growth-inhibiting defense of dissociation.  (schore/ar/130)” [But a little tiny infant doesn’t even have a mind!]

“Mollon (2001) described the outcome of the selfobject failures embedded in ambient and cumulative relational trauma [peritrauma]:

Dissociation and related forms of detachment, including depersonalization and derealization, are among the most fundamental reactions to trauma.  If childhood trauma or abuse is repeated, and if the abuser is a caregiver, so that the child has nowhere to run and no one to turn to, [and if he is writing about the older child who already has a self, then at least that child can turn to their own self!  Like “It” and if the abuse started at birth, then there is no such self to turn t] then internal escape is resorted to – the child learns to dissociate more easily and in a more organized way.  In this way, the personality system preserves at least parts of itself from the impinging trauma or violation, by sequestering, or sealing off, the area of damage.  (p. 218; italics added).


“Although Kohut never used the term dissociation, in his last book (1984) he characterized an early interaction that could describe a type D attachment, and spoke of the dire long-term consequences of a tendency of an individual to characterologically “wall himself off” from traumatizing experiences:

If the mother’s empathic ability has remained infantile that is, if she tends to respond with panic to the baby’s anxiety, then a deleterious chain will be set into motion.  She may chronically wall herself off from the baby, thus depriving him of the benefical [sic] effect of merging with her as she returns from experiencing mild anxiety to calmness.  Alternatively, she may continue to respond with panic, in which case two negative consequences may ensue; the mother may lay the groundwork in the child for a lifelong propensity toward the uncurbed spreading of anxiety or other emotions, or by forcing the child to wall himself off from such an overly intense and thus traumatizing [experience, she] may foster in the child an impoverished psychic organization, the psychic organization (schore/ar/130) of a person who will later be unable to be empathic himself, to experience human experiences, in essence, to be fully human.  (p. 83).


“The pathological walling off or dissociation from stress and pain has devastating effects on self, and therefore psychobiological functions.  According to Putnam (1997) dissociation is a lack of the normal integration of thoughts, feelings, and experiences into the stream of consciousness and memory.  Bromberg described how dissociated traumatic experience “tends to remain unsymbolized by thought and language, exists as a separate reality outside of self-expression and is cut off from authentic human relatedness and deadened to full participants in the life of the rest of the personality” (1991, p. 405).  Dissociation represents a disruption of the monitoring and controlling functions of consciousness….. [and] reflect the negative impact of psychological dissociation (alterations in cognition, attention, and memory-amnesia) on personality development.  (schore/ar/131)”

“However, echoing the developmental traumatology findings,  there is currently a shift from the cognitive to the affective-somatic aspects of dissociation in the neuropsychiatric literature…. This pattern of psychophysiologic responses to trauma is thus associated with coping in contexts where there is a threat to inescapable physical injury.  Somatoform dissociation is expressed as a lack of integration of sensorimotor experiences, reactions, and functions of the individual and his/her self-representation.  (schore/ar/131)”

“…the infant’s dissociative response is mediated by heightened dorsal vagal activity that dramatically decreases heart rate and blood pressure.  (schore/ar/132)”

“In previous work (Schore, 2001c, 2002c), I have proposed that the massive inhibition of the dorsal motor vegetative vagal system mediates dissociation, a primitive defensive mechanism which has long been implicated in trauma-induced psychopathogenesis (Janet, 1889; Chu & Dill, 1990).  Basic research has indicated that the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus acts to shut down metabolic activity during immobilization, death feigning, and hiding behaviors (Porges, 1997, 2001).  These hiding behaviors, components of dissociation, “the escape when there is no escape,” are elicited in the therapeutic context, especially when the patient is attempting to escape from the physiological aspects of an intense emotional experience.  {I would think this happens in other situations, as well] It is important to emphasize that in traumatic abuse the individual dissociates not only from the external world, from processing external stimuli that signal imminent dysregulation, but also from the internal world, that is chaotic and painful stimuli originating within the body.  (schore/ar/132)”

Well, this directly contradicts his other statement that the infant dissociates and attends to an internal world!!!

Bromberg  “…proposed that the concept of personality disorder can be defined as the characterological outcome of the inordinate use of dissociation, and that in all forms (borderline, schizoid, narcissistic, paranoid), it constitutes a personality structure organized as a proactive, defensive response to the potential repetition of childhood trauma (Bromberg, 1995).  (schore/ar/132)”

Calls dissociation “the last resort defensive strategy” (schore/ar/132)”


the basic fault

“The “psychically deadening danger: of excessive unregulated dissociation that accompanies early relational traumatic attachments and creates a context for an “impoverished psychic organization” [I suppose this is where I am lucky, that at least I could organize around the homestead and Alaska] is the major mechanism that engenders what Balint called the “basic fault,” a deep and pervasive sense that there exists within a fault that extends widely to include “the whole psychobiological structure of the individual” (1968, p. 22, and that is experienced as “a feeling of emptiness, being lost, deadness, and futility: (p. 19).  This structural deficit is due, according to Balint, to a severe discrepancy between the needs of the (schore/ar/133) person as an infant and the capacity of people in his/her early environment to provide them.  (schore/ar/133)”

I don’t know if I feel that I have a fault inside – reminds me of being 21 and those words “you are a wraith.”  Looking the word up later, I realized (and still do) that it was an implication that I didn’t even exist, that I had no substance (no right brain corporeal reality?!).  I do feel the chronic foreboding, the chronic “stress” of all the hyperarousal that has never been resolved – always feeling on edge/on the edge – of the void?  Of the “fault line?”  I have no sense of well-being.  I don’t know what happiness is.  I was thinking, with daycare and parental stresses it might be that we are raising generations of people who are not whole and don’t know it – have no idea what it feels like to be in balance or to be truly happy.  Great candidates of buying things, for consuming all kinds of things – because they will have a void inside of them.


“trauma interferes with psychic structure formation”  (schore/ar/133)

Let’s not forget, it is in the nervous system – so how that is part of the “psychic structure formation” is essential to realize – take this to the GROUND of an individual.  Don’t leave things dangling upon some high floating vague descriptions based on theoretical terms!

“Specifically how this developmental deflection takes place can only be answered with reference to current neurobiological models of how detrimental early socoiaffective [sic] experiences provide a growth-inhibiting environment for the developing brain. (schore/ar/133)

“…it is thought that specifically a dysfunctional and traumatized early relationship is the stressor that leads to PTSD, that severe trauma of interpersonal origin may override any genetic, constitutional, social, or psychological resilience factor, and that the ensuing adverse effects on brain development and alterations of the biological stress systems may be regarded as “an environmentally induced complex developmental disorder” (De Bellis, 2001). (schore/ar/133)”

“During the first 2 years of life, chronic and cumulative states of overwhelming, hyperaroused affective states, as well as hypoaroused dissociation, have devastating effects on the growth of psychic structure.  The survival mode of conservation-withdrawal induces an extreme alteration of the bioenergetics of the developing brain.  In critical periods of regional synaptogenesis this would have growth-inhibiting effects, especially in the right brain, which specializes in withdrawal.  This is because the biosynthetic processes that mediate the proliferation of synptic connections in the postnatally developing brain demand, in addition to sufficient quantities of essential nutrients, massive amounts of energy.  An infant brain that is chronically shifting into hypometabolic survival modes has little energy available for growth (see Schore, 1994, 1997b, 2001c).  (schore/ar/133)”

“Furthermore, during the brain growth spurt, when psychic structure is organizing at a rapid rate, the severe and prolonged states of physiological dysregulation that results from relational trauma abuse, neglect, or both are routinely (schore/ar/133) accompanied by deficiencies in the provision of selfobject experiences of affect synchrony and interactive repair.  (schore/ar/134)”


“The extreme alteration of subjectivity within the traumatically dissociated infant was described by Winnicott (1958a) as an episode of discontinuity in the child’s need for going on being.  Dissociation has classically been characterized as a constricted state of primary consciousness, a void therefore of subjectivity.  This is the context of a one-person psychology [not totally accurate for there should be at least internal self subjectivity in a one person psychology], but a trauma-induced, radically altered, survival-focused one-person psychology.  Thus, in infancy, as at all later points of the lifespan, in the profound detachment of dissociative moments both the subjective self and the intersubjective field instantly switch off and do not exist.  [I call this peritrauma!  Boy, I am finding I cannot be detached from this information or objective about it.  It is even very hard for me “to stay present” enough to hit the keys on this keyboard.  This is a struggle – to stay present with these facts.  This makes me feel disorganized, disoriented and dysregulated—this resonates deeply with my implicit memories from actual experiences – and if it does this to me, how do I “protect” my readers, because they will experience this, too, if they were abused as infants?  It pushes me near panic.  I have to maintain a sense of safety like a warm blanket around me, a sense that I am in the present now, though I also know all these memories are in my body and brain, and are in the present with me.  There is NO WAY to leave your childhood behind!  No way possible!  I also have to believe that somehow in facing this and learning the facts and the truth about what happened to me, my life will begin to TRULY get better.  I also feel so alone with this, because I am.  Because it happened to ME and the memories have always been inside MY body.  This is a lonely lonely process, and yet what this is all about is what has kept me so lonely since the first breath I ever took.  It was terrifying then, and it is terrifying now.  I also have a sense that I should have never survived what happened to me as well as I have – survivor guilt!  And that I am treading on thin ice and soon will fall in and disappear  — that it was really a mistake that I made it out and it is about to catch up to me – but maybe I am not alone.  Maybe there are others with as equally a horrendous infanthood who have also made it out.  We need to put our heads together and find out why – perhaps we can offer something that will help others.] Due to the metabolic shutdown, higher-brain activity, including the capacities of processing external social stimuli and generating internal images, ceases.  During dissociate episodes the complex processing of both external and internal objects ceases.  (schore/ar/127)”

When the abuse and trauma are constant and chronic, I call this peritrauma – no wonder I had no sense of my self, no ability to link any part of my childhood together.  No capacity to fight back, or to even have feelings – or thoughts attached to them.  No wonder I could not make a plan, or even LEARN that I was the same person who experienced all the incidents at the hands of this SAME woman – so I could never be prepared and each time was the first time.

I had no thought of escape, or of the future, or of the past.

“…in the case of relational trauma-induced dissociation, under conditions of massive default in metabolic energy production for basic brain/mind/body functions, there is not sufficient energy to reconstruct the biological state that sustains cohesion of self-function and thereby subjectivity.  (schore/ar/127)”


in both its central and autonomic nervous systems

“I suggest that in contrast to the optimal continuous dyadic reciprocal (schore/ar/127) interactions with regulating selfobjects that maintain the infant’s homeostatic balance and thereby the energic vigor and structural cohesion and integration of the self, the selfobject catastrophes and defensive dissociative responses [I guess different from what he says on p 125 about later forming dissociative reaction?] embedded in relational trauma induce a severe failure of the infant’s capacity to maintain metabolic-energetic equilibrium in both its central and autonomic nervous systems, and thereby a dis-integration of the self.  How long the infant remains in this state is an essential factor in psychopathogenesis.  (schore/ar/128)”

“Recall that Kohut referred to two types of disintegration, differentiating a “fragmented self” from a “depleted self” (1977).  According to Mollon, “Fragmentation arises in the baby and child whose mental and physiological state is not regulated adequately by the caregiving environment: (2001, P. 13).  I suggest that at all points in the lifespan a fragmented self describes the context of a self-system that is in intense, dysregulated sympathetic hyperarousal, a condition of excessive energy expenditure, an explosive disaggregation of the core, or nuclear self.  This hyperenergetic state would be subjectively experienced as “organismic panic,” [YES] which Pao described as “a shock-like reaction in which the ego’s integrative function is temporarily paralyzed” (1979, p. 221).  I would amend this to say that it is more than the ego that is paralyzed, it is the right-brain core self.  (schore/ar/128)”

“But in addition, Kohut’s “depleted” self characterizes an organismic state of dysregulated parasympathetic hypoarousal, dissociation, and excessive energy conservation, subjectively experienced as an implosion of the self, wherein there is not enough energy in the brain/mind/body system to form the interconnections responsible for coherence.  This would be clinically manifest as an anaclitic depression that accompanies a state of conservation-withdrawal marked by high levels of dissociation (see Weinberg, 2000, on right-hemisphere deficiency and suicide).  In this condition there is a simultaneous loss of both modes of self-regulation, interactive regulation and autoregulation.  The former would be subjectively experienced as a lingering state of intense hopelessness, the latter of helplessness.  (schore/ar/128)”

(In this condition there is a simultaneous loss of both modes of self-regulation, interactive regulation — a lingering state of intense hopelessness — and autoregulation — lingering state of helplessness.)

++ an explosive disaggregation of the core, or nuclear self

++ implosion of the self


++ “…the right hemisphere is specialized for another essential function of the self-system.  It is centrally involved in “the analysis of direct information received by the subject from his own body and which, it can easily be understood, (schore/ar/119) is much more closed connected with direct sensation that with verbally logical codes” (Luria, 1973, p. 165). This is due to the fact that this hemisphere, more so than the left, contains extensive reciprocal connections with the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which regulates the functions of every organ in the body (Whittling, Block, Schweiger, & Genzel, 1998); Ahern et al, 2001).  The energy-expending sympathetic and energy-conserving parasympathetic circuits of the ANS generate the involuntary bodily functions that represent the somatic components of all emotional states (Schore, 1994, 2001b, 2002d).  An autonomic mode of reciprocal sympathetic-parasympathetic control is behaviorally expressed in an organism that responds alert and adaptively to a personally meaningful (especially social) stressor, yet as soon as the context is appraised as safe, immediately returns to the relaxed state of autonomic balance[this is what I NEVER felt!  It might be far more of a significant deletion than the absence of happiness/positive states for me in the long run] [I need to get his ref schore 2002c] (schore/ar/120)”

“Information about the operations of the ANS is directly relevant to self psychology’s intense interest in regulation of sate (Lichtenberg et al., 1992) and affective experience (Lichtenberg et al., 1996).  In fact, Kohut’s (1971, 1977) characterization of the infant’s continuous dyadic reciprocal interactions with selfobjects describes the rapid, spontaneous, involuntary, nonconscious communications between the mother’s and infant’s autonomic nervous systems (Basch, 1976; Schore, 1994, 2002b).  Kohut’s observation of the selfobject’s facilitation and maintenance of the infant’s homeostatic balance in essence describes the external psychobiological regulation of the infant’s organization of a state of sympathetic-parasympathetic autonomic balance (Schore, 1994).  (Schore/ar/120)”

“…the deep connections of the right brain, the biological substrate of the human unconscious into both the sympathetic and parasympathetic components of the ANS (Schore, 1996, 1997b, 1999c, 2001b), “the physiological bottom of the mind” (Jackson, 1931), supports Freud’s idea about the central role of drive in the system unconscious.  (Schore/ar/120)”  [copied to schore rt brain notes)

“For the rest of the lifespan the nonverbal right brain, more so than the later maturing verbal left, plays a superior role in the regulation of physiological, endocrinological, neuroendocrine, cardiovascular, and immune functions (Hugdahl, 1995; Sullivan & Grafton, 1999).  Its operations are essential to the vital coping functions that support self-survival, and therefore to the human stress response (Whittling, 1997).  (schore/ar/120)” [copied from schore rt brain notes}


copied from schore rt brain notes

“ The highest level of the right brain that processes affective information, the orbitofrontal cortex (lots of schore’s refs)……..maturation of this prefrontal system overlaps and mediates what Stern (1985) termed the developmental achievement of “the subjective self.”  This cortex functions to refine emotions in keeping with current sensory input, and allows for the adaptive switching of internal bodily states in response to changes in the external environment that are appraised to be personally meaningful (Schore, 1998b).  Due to its direct links into stress-regulating systems this right prefrontal cortex represents the highest level of self-regulation (Levine et al., 1999; Schore, 1994; Sullivan & Gratton, 2002b).  The orbitofrontal system acts as a recovery mechanism that efficiently monitors and autoregulates the duration, frequency, and intensity of not only positive but also negative affect states.  (schore/ar/121)”



Because of the traumas that formed my ANS, what is stress to others is distress to me.  Anything that carries with it primarily a socioemotional value of fear or threat puts me especially at risk.  Any time I might not understand something, or displease a person I care about.  When I perceive the threat the stress turns immediately to distress, but it transitions through a very shaky transition state of confusion, and it is nearly impossible for me to assess priorities or make a response decision or choice.  At those points I cannot hear because I cannot listen.  The possibility of getting something wrong, of making a mistake, or displeasing the one I care about feels near life threatening to me.  Threat of disorganization accompanies the disorganization that occurs, also.  Like any disquiet throws my whole internal state very close to into chaos or shut down or overload, and it all happens so terribly fast and “out of the blue.”


all same paragraph below

“Neurobiological studies in developmental traumatology indicate that the infant’s psychobiological response to trauma is comprised of two separate response patterns, hyperarousal and dissociation (Perry, Pollard, Blakely, Baker, & Vigilante, 1995; and a whole bunch of shore’s own work listed here).

++ In the initial state of threat, an alarm reaction is initiated, in which the sympathetic component of the ANS is suddenly and significantly activated, resulting in increased hear rate, blood pressure, and respiration.

++  Distress is expressed in crying and then screaming.  Beebe described an episode of mutually escalating overarousal” of a disorganized attachment pair:

“Each one escalates the ante, as the infant builds to a frantic distress, may scream, and, in this example, finally throws up.  In an escalating overarousal pattern, even after extreme distress signals from the infant, such as ninety-degree head aversion, arching away … or screaming, the mother keeps going: (2000, p. 436)”

I want to know when they witnessed this??

++  STRESS HORMONES:  This state of fear-terror is mediated by sympathetic hyperarousal, and it reflects increased levels of the major stress hormone corticotropin releasing factor, which in turn regulates noradrenaline and adrenaline activity (see Schore 1997b, 2001c, 2002c). (schore/ar/124)”

Because this all actually happened to me, and is in my implicit memory, in my brain structure and circuitry, in my brain patterns, in my nervous system – I feel, reading this, as if I am “going where angels fear to tread.”  There is nothing easy about this!!  Part of me wants to avoid it “at all costs!”  But I “forge ahead.”

How do I study about this dysregulation without becoming dysregulated?  How do I read about this disorganization and disorientation without “going there” myself, especially because that is the way I was made?  Nasty shit!

I am also finding myself thinking about “making someone mad” or upset – what I would really be seeing is them becoming dysregulated.

next paragraph

++  “But a second, later-forming, longer-lasting traumatic reaction is seen in dissociation, in which the child disengages from stimuli in the external world and attends to an “internal” world.  [HOW THE HELL DO THEY KNOW THIS??  About an infant??] The child’s [he is not saying infant here!] dissociation in the midst of terror involves numbing, avoidance, compliance, and restricted affect.  Traumatized infants are observed to be staring off into space with a glazed look.  [Is this during abuse?  I doubt they’ve observed this.  Only afterwards.] This parasympathetic dominant state of conservation-withdrawal occurs in helpless and hopeless stressful situations in which the individual becomes inhibited and strives to avoid attention in order to become “unseen.” (Kaufman & Rosenblum, 1967; Schore, 1994).  (schore/ar/124)”

My gut still tells me this is WEAK information!  It is not enough to convince me.  Not at all!

“This primary regulatory process for maintaining organismic homeostasis (Engel [this is an obscure Amsterdam reference – and OLD!] & Schmale, 1972) is characterized by a metabolic shutdown (Schore, 2001c, 2002c) and low levels of activity (McCabe & Schneiderman, 1985).  It is used throughout the lifespan, when the stressed individual passively disengages in order “to conserve energies … to foster survival by the risky posture of feigning death, to allow healing of wounds and restitution of depleted resources by immobility” (Powles, 1992, p. 213).  [I am not sure that this reffed author is referring at all to dissociation – I need to pull in this book.] Beebe and Lachmann (1988b), described a stressed-induced “inhibition of responsivity” in which a sudden total cessation of infant movement accompanies a limp, motionless headhang.  (schore/ar/124)”

“It is this parasympathetic mechanism that mediates the “profound detachment” (Barach, 1991) of dissociation.  If early trauma is experienced as “psychic catastrophe” (Bion, 1962a), dissociation represents “detachment from an unbearable situation” (Mollon, 1996),  “the escape when there is no escape” (Putnam, 1997), and “a last resort defensive strategy” (Dixon, 1998).  (schore/ar/125)”

Nope, still something doesn’t feel right here.  These references do not look like “hard core” research findings.  Weak….]


Note:  homeostasis is not even in schore/ar index!

dorsal vagal complex in the brainstem medulla

“The neurobiology of the later forming dissociative reaction is different than the initial hyperarousal response (for models of the neurobiology of dissociation (see Scaer, 2001; Schore, 2001c) [sic].  In this passive state [which one is he referring to, the second one above?], pain-numbing and blunting endogenous opiates and behavior-inhibiting stress hormones, such as cortisol, are elevated.  Furthermore, activity of the dorsal vagal complex in the brainstem medulla increases dramatically, decreasing heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolic activity, despite increases in circulating noradrenaline and adrenaline.  This intensified parasympathetic arousal allows the infant to maintain homeostasis in the face of the internal state of sympathetic hyperarousal.  This same sequential defensive operation was observed in the psychophysiological literature by Porges, who described, “the sudden and rapid transition from an unsuccessful strategy of struggling requiring massive sympathetic activation to the metabolically conservative immobilized state mimicking death associated with the dorsal vagal complex” (1997, p. 75).  Notice that in the traumatic state, and this may be of long duration, both the sympathetic energy-expending and parasympathetic energy-conserving components of the infant’s developing ANS are hyperactivated.  (schore/ar/125)”


You cannot separate dissociation in infants from the ANS.  I have to go back to chapter 3 of schore/ar and see if I can pull out the dissociation info embedded with the projective identification info.


“In contemporary psychodynamic models, defense mechanisms are defined as forms of emotional regulation strategies for avoiding, minimizing, or converting affects that are too difficult to tolerate (Cole et al., 1994).  …intrapsychic psychological defenses are best characterized as a subset of coping mechanisms (Rutter, 1987), and … the development of coping responses is dependent upon early experience (Levine, 1983).  (Schore/ar/62)

p 62 –

“…intense, primitive affects, such as terror and rage….we must also deepen our understanding of the early etiology of the primitive defenses that are used to cope with – to autoregulate – traumatic, overwhelming affective states.  (schore/ar/62)”

para continues

“…how developing systems organize primitive defense mechanisms, such as projective identification and dissociation, to cope with interactive forces that induce intensely stressful states that massively disorganize the infant’s homeostatic equilibrium (Schore, 2001a).  Dissociation is a very early appearing survival mechanism for coping with traumatic affects, and it plays a critical role in the mechanism of projective identification (Schore, 1998c, 2000g, 2002d).  Since these early events are imprinted into the maturing brain (Matsuzawa et al, 2001), where states become straits (Perry et al., 1995), they endure as primitive defense mechanisms.  It has been observed that patients who utilize projective identification have “dissociatively cleansed” themselves of traumatic affects in order to maintain some form of relationship with narcissistically vulnerable others [what exactly does this mean?] (Sands, 1994, 1997b)  (schore/ar/62)”

Again, isn’t this just how my brain was formed?  Is it a chicken-egg question?

I could not have a relationship with the raving madwoman, but I could have some form of relationship with the mother that dressed me up and took me out in public for pictures.  But I think that I saw these as two entirely different people!

And I still strongly suspect it is related both to how I “spent my mind time” when in forced isolation, and to not remembering the beatings/face slappings so that each time was the first time!  I never connected things – and this would be disconnection – leading to incoherence – and to some disorganized form of organization.

So how exactly is dissociation a defense?

And is it related to what ER does?  He is spending xmas with Mari – am I completely disconnected from his mainframe so that I do not exist for him when he is with her?  Am I dis-associated from him mentally as I am physically at these times?

In other words, disconnected from the NETWORK – like my experiences were as a child – not connected to each other or to me!

Attachment is about being connected, being associated with someone ….

Like my childhood experiences were each dis-associated and dis-connected from one another, without any sense of continuity through time, or even probability that the abuse would happen again at some point in the future – so that I could anticipate it?  There was no conscious reflection or thought on the abuse between events – it had always been there – like the air I breathed.


p 63 –

There are “…mechanisms that link early interpersonal processes with the orgainization of interapyschic unconscious structural systems (schore refs to lots of his own work here)….

“More specifically, primitive” personalities encode early traumatic experiences of being used as what Robbins called “a projection screen for repudiated elements of parental identity, rather than having the parent act as a mirror for integration, and differentiation of nascent aspects of itself” (1996, p. 764).  These “negative maternal attributions” (Lieberman, 1997) contain an intensely negative affective charge, and therefore rapidly dysregulate the infant.  According to Tronick and Weinberg, “When infants are not in homeostatic balance or are emotionally dysregulated (e.g., they are distressed), they are at the mercy of these states.  Until these states are brought under control, infants must devote all their regulatory resources to reorganizing them.  While infants are doing that, they can do nothing else” (1997, p.56)  (schore/ar/66).”

Schore/ar/P 67 –

Dissociation will be copied to man 9 dissociation notes

Traumatic affect on the infant

Hyperarousal:  1st stage – protest – energy-expending sympathetic branch of the ANS – distress response to threat – alarm reaction – fear-terror – escalating overarousal pattern – intense bid for interactive regulation

Dissociation:  2nd stage – despair – energy-conserving parasympathetic branch of the ANS – later-forming reaction – especially high levels of parasympathetic dorsal motor vagal activity in the baby’s developing brain – primary regulatory process of conservation-withdrawal – The result is the constricted state of consciousness that is characteristic of dissociation.

“Perry and colleagues (1995) demonstrated that the infant’s psychobiological response to trauma is comprised of two separate response patterns, hyperarousal and dissociation.  These two patterns are extreme forms of, respectively, Bowlby’s (1969), protest and despair responses to attachment ruptures.  These dual responses also represent activation of the two components of the autonomic nervous system (ANS):  first, the energy-expending sympathetic branch; and then, the energy-conserving parasympathetic branch (see Schore, 1994).  The ANS has been called “the physiological bottom of the mind” (Jackson, 1931). (schore/ar/67)”

“In the initial stage of threat, hyperarousal, an alarm reaction is initiated by the sympathetic nervous system, and a distress response, in the form of crying and then screaming, is expressed.  This communication of negative affect also serves as an intense bid for interactive regulation.  The infant’s state of “frantic distress” or what Perry terms fear-terror is mediated by a significant release of the stress hormone corticotroprin releasing factor, which in turn results in an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and muscle tone, as well as hypervigilance.  This dyadic transaction was described by Beebe as “mutually escalating overarousal”:  “Each one escalates the ante, as the infant builds to a frantic distress, may scream, and, in this example, finally throws up.  In an escalating overarousal pattern, even after extreme distress signals from the infant, such as ninety-degree head aversion, arching away … or screaming, the mother keeps going: (2000, p. 436).  (schore/ar/67)”

I can feel this in my bones as I transcribe these words!

“But a second, later-forming reaction [ cannot assume this in cases such as mine where crying reaped disastrous consequences!] is seen in dissociation, a parasympathetic response of the ANS, in which the child [he does not use the word infant here] disengages from stimuli in the external world [or disengages from a normal reaction to the stimuli!] and attends to an “internal” world [or does not attend to any world at all – a state of suspended animation, of nothingness – a void].  Traumatized infants are observed to be “staring into space with a glazed look.” The traumatized child’s dissociation in the midst of fear or terror involves numbing, avoidance, compliance, and restricted affect, mediated by high levels of behavior-inhibiting cortisol, pain-numbing endogenous opioids, and especially high levels of parasympathetic dorsal motor vagal activity in the baby’s developing brain (Score, 2001c).  If early trauma is experienced as “psychic catastrophe”  (Bion, 1962b), [peritrauma] dissociation is “the escape when there is no escape” (Putnam, 1997), “a last resort defensive strategy” (Dixon, 1998).  (schore/ar/67)”

“This primary regulatory process of conservation-withdrawal (see Schore, 1994, 2001c) occurs in helpless and hopeless stressful situations in which the individual is hyperinhibited and therefore immobile in order to avoid attention by becoming  “unseen,” and it allows the infant to maintain homeostasis in the face of an internal state of accelerating hyperarousal.  (schore/ar/67 or 68?)

“The dissociation from both contact with the external social environment and from the child’s subjective physical experience is experienced as a discontinuity in what Winnicott (1958) called the child’s need for “going-on-being,” and Kestenberg (1985) re- (schore/ar/67) ferred to as a “dead spot” in the infant’s subjective experienceThe result is the constricted state of consciousness that is characteristic of dissociation.  (schore/ar/68)”

The following would fit with what I call infant abuse and neglect peritrauma

“I suggest that an infant with an early history of “ambient[“encompassing atmosphere, environment] (Mordecai, 1995) or “cumulative trauma” (Khan, 1974) must excessively utilize defensive projective identification in order to cope with all-too-frequent episodes of interactive stress that disorganize the developing self.  The startled, traumatized infant’s sudden state switch from sympathetic hyperarousal into parasympathetic dissociation is also reflected in Porges’s characterization of “the sudden and rapid transition from an unsuccessful strategy of struggling requiring massive sympathetic activation to the metabolically conservative immobilized state mimicking death” (1997, p. 75) (schore/ar/68)”

“Furthermore, in the first stage of trauma, hyperaroused terror and screaming are triggered by “negative maternal attributions,” which is equated with Spitz’s (1965) “psychotoxic” maternal care, manifest in an overdose of affective stimulation, and Klein’s (1955/1975) “massive invasion of someone else’s personality.”  In the second stage, the dissociative strategy to counterregulate the hyperarousal, is expressed by “staring into space,” and represents the mechanism that drives what Klein (1946) described as an “evacuation” of the self.  (schore/ar/68)”

“In other words, the sudden, discontinuous, counterregulatory switch from an active state of sympathetic energy-expending, emotion-amplifying autonomic hyperarousal into an enduring passive state of parasympathetic energy-conserving, emotion-dampening hyperinhibition underlies the rapid onset of dissociation and represents the mechanism of projective identification as it operates in real timeThe stressed child [here again he is not using the word infant], with only primitive abilities to cope with the overwhelming arousal induced by relational trauma [and what about it being by the very person who is supposed to protect the child, who the child should turn to for safety?] and at the limit of his or her fragile regulatory capacities, experiences intense affect dysregulation, projects a distressing emotional communication [I still believe I “learned” as a very young infant not to cry!  I could project NOTHING!], and then instantly dissociatesStates of autonomic hyperarousal are subjectively [how can an infant this young even HAVE a subjective experience?] experienced as pain, and thus

this strategy represents a psychobiological mechanism by which psychic-physical pain is instantly        inhibited. [Cindy makes the point here that inhibiting is not saying that the infant does not feel the pain at all —  I read it that he is saying this is what happens, and I don’t agree…also, I had to stay “awake and aware” or she would have killed me.] (schore/ar/68)”

There STILL is something I am not buying about this.  A very young infant cannot experience anything subjectively.  That ability is a developmental “milestone” that is not reached at the moment of birth.  These researchers are not observing infants at the time abuse is occurring – I just don’t believe they did, ever!

In looking back at what I know of my experience of childhood abuse, I was dissociated BETWEEN the events of terror, not during them!  The events were not connected one to the other, but I believe I FELT them all.

I don’t know what the truth is – yet!  But I know that I feel in my gut that there is something wrong with these experts’ perceptions about dissociation.  They didn’t experience horrible infant abuse.  I did.  That makes me a different kind of expert.

In the 2nd paragraph above, Schore writes:

“These dual mechanisms were described in a child therapy case by Joseph:  “When projective identification was operating so powerfully,” the patient “started to scream,” and then “stared through the window with a vacant, lost expression” (1997, p. 104 (schore/ar/68)”

What a person would see in a therapy session, AFTER THE FACT, has nothing to do with what one would see if a person watched that same child in the middle of enduring an abusive attack.  NOTHING can be generalized from this statement above!  NOTHING!

I believe it was possible that I remained completely aware of myself (as much as a newborn could) and of my mother during her attacks on me.  I would have had to remain immobilized.  I could do nothing to thwart her attacks or alter her course.  I could not shrink away.  I could not become invisible.

Yet I do not think I “switched” into the second stage.  That would mean that I did not “evacuate myself.”  Yet I also know, very clearly, that every time my mother attacked me it was the “first time.”  I was never prepared.  I never anticipated or expected it.  This had to be, in part, because there was no cause and effect.  There was no time except “her time.”  There was no mind except “her mind.”

And I believe I experienced a dis-association between the “good mother” and the “dangerous mother.”  My mind formed differently in regard to both of them, in interaction with both of them.  They were different people.  I knew this totally before I had verbal abilities to understand what she said to me.  Once I could understand the words, I would understand that I was the same person that she hated ALL of the time.  She could use the words in public, and the subtle facial expressions nobody but me would see or attend to.

So I had to gradually learn somewhere past early infancy that there were not two separate mothers – only one, and that I was the hate object of both of them.

So is it possible that I could experience such extreme disconnections and not have them officially, formally be called “dissociations?”  If Schore’s definition of dissociation is correct (and I am not convinced that it is), and it means by definition that I did not feel ALL that happened to me, then I don’t believe I dissociated.  Do I have some strange form of denial that is in itself a form of an “anti-denial?”

I know enough to protect myself NOW from returning to any memory of abuse as a child and entering into my body-self and remember the memory from the inside out – because I know I felt the pain then, and I have no intention of going back there to revictimize myself by feeling that pain again.  Not even to IMAGINE what it felt like.  (I suppose Jon Allen would understand this.)

So, for now, it remains a mystery!  Did I, do I, dissociate?  Have I ever dissociated?  I think of the “toilet bowl” memory, and I know I felt everything that happened.  Like “she” took me so much by total surprise I did not have TIME to dissociate!

Evidently I did not have the “strategy” that represented a “psychobiological mechanism by which psychic-physical pain” could be “instantly inhibited,” and I believe it is doing those of us who experienced the peritrauma of severe chronic infant abuse a horrible disservice to assume that we all used this “defense mechanism” so that we did not feel what happened to us.  If the only other option was that we were caught in “stage one,” then that’s where we were!  And maybe that is why I am as sane as I even am at this moment!

How strange!

Schore continues (ar) p 68:

“In these traumatic moments of marked discontinuities in the caregiver-infant relationship

[how could anyone suggest that she and I had a relationship?],

the child’s attempts to use other-directed regulatory behaviors (e.g. crying, expressions of fear) are often met with continuing dysregulation by the misattuning caregiver; that is, further abuse.

[I am glad he finished the sentence that way – other wise I would have said his misattuning caregiver was a rather polite turn of phrase!

I would also say that these “other-directed” behaviors had never worked in the first place.  So of course they were inhibited.  But as early as the abuse began – birth – I would have had no ability to “autogregulate.”  What strategy to “modulate overwhelming levels of distress” would I have possibly had?]

“They therefore must be inhibited, and so, for adaptive goals, the infant must resort to an autoregulatory strategy to modulate overwhelming levels of distress.”

“Furthermore, this rapid shift from a mode of interactive regulation

[give me a break, I NEVER had this!]

“into a long-lasting mode of autoregulation that the infant must access in order to maintain homeostatic equilibrium during traumatic assaults

[glad somebody FINALLY had the guts, at least, to use that word in relation to trauma done to a tiny infant!

And I am not sure I had the ability to autoregulate, therefore to “maintain homeostatic equilibrium during traumatic assaults – so what did I do and how did I survive?]

“is imprinted into the maturing limbic system (schore, (page end of schore/ar/68) 1996, 1997b, 2001c).  It therefore endures as a basic strategy of affect regulation, a characterological disposition to use defensive projective identification under conditions of interpersonal stress. (schore/ar/69)”

Humm….  I sure had the assaults, and SOMETHING had to have been imprinted into my maturing limbic system.  But I don’t understand what “defensive projective identification” really means here, even though I am sure Schore thinks he is making it clear (as mud!).  If an infant is dissociating, and certainly in many cases it would be way before the infant even knew what an object was, let alone a self – or another, separate self – what does this have to do with what?  From above:

the rapid onset of dissociation and represents the mechanism of projective identification as it operates in real time

I mean, really!  Why call an orange the Empire State building?

Unlike other of Schore’s writings, he is not quoting specific studies or research on this topic.  Have they ever seen an infant being beaten?  I think not.  Schore is making the assumption that there was ever anyone there to attune to the infant in a regulatory fashion in the first place.  Without having had that experience, an infant would not use “other-directed” behaviors in an attempt to regulate emotion.  There would not even be a brain connection for that option to occur – other than perhaps an “automatic” DNA inborn “drive to attach” to survive.  But if that is “anti-reinforced,” then what?I no doubt only had attunement with/from John.  He was the only one present with any “emotional supplies” to give me.  And what I saw in his face when he was 14 months old and I was born is still what I see in his eyes 55 years later:  gentle compassion.

P 69 –

“What is maladaptive about the psychic-deadening defense of dissociation is not only that the individual shifts into dissociation at lower levels of stress, but also that he/she finds difficulty in exiting the state of conservation-withdrawal.  Once dissociated one stays in this massive autoregulatory mode for longer periods of time, intervals when the individual is shut down to the external environment, totally closed and impermeable to attachment communications, interactive regulation, and not incidentally, verbal interventions.  Grotstein wrote that “the phenomenon of dissociation … is more widespread and universal than has hitherto been thought”  (1981, p. 111)  (schore/ar/69).”

“Ogawa and colleagues (1997) offered evidence to show that early trauma more so than later trauma has a greater impact on the development of dissociative behaviors…. Individuals exposed to early trauma tend to use dissociation at later points of stress.  There is now a growing body of evidence indicating that the massive caregiver misattunement of abuse and neglect induces not only intense attachment ruptures but also severe dysregulation of the infant’s nascent, fragile psychobiological systems (de Bellis, et al., 1999; Karr-Morse & Wiley, 1997; Perry et al, 1995; Schore, 1997b), especially in the early-developing right hemisphere (Henry & Wang, 1998; Raine et al., 2001; Rotenberg, 1995; Schore, 1997b, 2001c).  Furthermore, the primitive avoidant strategy of dissociation that is accessed in order to cope with this trauma (Liotti, 1992)

is known to lead to permanent alterations in the maturing brain


(Schore, 2001c; Weinberg, 2000), and these events, stored in implicit-procedural memory, thereby increase the use of dissociation in later life (Siegel, 1996).  (schore/ar/69)”

“I suggest that the mechanism of defensive projective identification is overtly expressed in a treatment context that resembles an early interactive derailment of an insecure attachment.  This occurs in an affective transaction when the therapist exhibits a massive malattunement of the patient’s disorganizing state.  In this interactive context high levels of dysregulated affect, codetermined by both members of the dyad, are rapidly amplified within the intersubjective fieldThis interactive stress will trigger, in real time, the patient’s dissociating defensive operations and the primitive avoidant defense mechanism of defensive projective identification.  (schore/ar/69)”

I think that this happens nearly ALL of the time when we are around people.  Nobody can attune to our “disorganizing states.”  Interactive contexts with others almost always involve high levels of dysregulated affect – particularly because we cannot read others social cues, cannot “mind read” either their reactions or our own.  We cannot empathize, cannot determine their beliefs or intentions, and we get confused!  My own personal experience is that I can not determine what the incoming signals mean, and cannot selectively attend to the relevant ones – so chaos ensues – there are too many possibilities and I cannot determine which are important, or what any of them MEAN – either to the sending person or to me as the intended recipient of the information.

It IS all very disorganized and disorganizing!  These high levels of dysregulated affect are rapidly amplified with the intersubjective field,, and this interactive stress triggers, in real time, what may APPEAR to be dissociation – like my experience in the Sioux Falls video store – but I am not sure that it is dissociation.  More so it is a dys-sychronicity of value, assigned priority, placement in the passage of “real time,” inability to select from what is often totally irrelevant and extraneous associations – or thoughts – that pop instantaneously into my mind that are not appropriate to the “real time” interaction occurring in the present.  It is a form of non-cohesiveness, non-coherence.  My MIND becomes incoherent, and nobody allows me the time I need to sort things out inside my own mind.  It results in what appears to be a nonresponsiveness to present stimuli, because there is too much conflict with the internal stimuli that is triggered by the circumstances of the event as it is occurring.  I am misaligned!

It seems to me that it would be obvious that dis-association has something to do with a problem in the area of the brain that ASSOCIATES things together in the first place!  Lack of ability to associate “properly” and “correctly” and “appropriately.”  (What is the associational cortex, or what are associational neurons?)

When a raging caregiver is not attuning to the infant, then what is coming into the infant’s field is not associated to what is happening within the infant itself.  There is an obvious dis-association right here.  The caregiver is not only not connecting to the infant, it is overwhelming the infant with inappropriate (and to the infant, unnecessary and irrelevant information).

The infant is in a dysregulated state, the caregiver is sending input to the infant that is even more dysregulating.  And the person who is supposed to create safety for the infant is doing the opposite, which is even MORE dysregulating!  Too much information, not related to anything “useful,” and is of an extremely negative quality.  This is alarming!  And when it happens chronically, the infant’s brain does not develop the capacity to assign value/meaning to anything in the external world as it might relate to its internal world.  Then we get to carry this confusion within us for the rest of our lives, where relevancy is ambiguous and everything is confusing!

We could not assign priority, value, meaning, significance, relevance to the input, or to our interactions with it.

This ties to my belief that attachment is about learning about belonging.  There is no “belonging” present in early traumatic caregiver actions to an infant.  They do NOT belong!  No approach.  No avoid.  No possibility of assigning the input to either position, no possibility of assigning the input anywhere.  It’s a “no fit” situation!  “No match found” for your Google search!  It’s called, “drawing a blank!”

And when an appropriate response is expected from others, and when we cannot associate appropriately to produce it, a form of panic sets in.



“I suggest that at the moment of the projection, the patient’s disorganizing right brain (fragmenting self) switches from a rapidly accelerating, intensely dysregulated, hyperactive distress state into a hypoactive dissociated state.  (schore/ar/75)”

p 76 –

“…for the rest of the lifespan, early-forming self-pathologies, which manifest right-hemispheric impairments (Schore, 1997b, 2001c), overutilize primitive defenses such as dissociation and defensive projective identification.  (schore/ar/76)”


“This safe interpersonal [therapeutic] context sets up a condition in which trauma and the coping mechanism to deal with trauma, defensive projective identification, can be openly expressed, and therefore amenable to change.  (Schore/ar/80)”

Except on page 69 he said: ).  Furthermore, the primitive avoidant strategy of dissociation that is accessed in order to cope with this trauma (Liotti, 1992) is known to lead to permanent alterations in the maturing brain

And on page 74 he said: Experiences of early relational trauma (Schore, 2001b) restrain the manner in which coping responses occur at later points of stress:  “The experience is then structure-bound, the present situation or certain aspects of it evoking only an already formed experience pattern with a fixed unchangeable repetitive structure.

On page 75 he said: “I suggest that at the moment of the projection, the patient’s disorganizing right brain (fragmenting self) switches from a rapidly accelerating, intensely dysregulated, hyperactive distress state into a hypoactive dissociated state.  (schore/ar/75)”

And on page 76 he said: “…for the rest of the lifespan, early-forming self-pathologies, which manifest right-hemispheric impairments (Schore, 1997b, 2001c), overutilize primitive defenses such as dissociation and defensive projective identification.  (schore/ar/76)”

How can he have it “both ways?”


This on safety and trust:

“…when the patient has come to trust in the analyst’s basic benevolence, [In light of the vagal nerve info, Porges, this sense of safety is of paramount importance] and when in this context the patient feels safe enough to lessen defenses, the modification of intrapsychic organization becomes possible” (quoting Kantrowitz 1999, p 69) in (schore/ar/80)

“safe interpersonal context”  (schore/ar/80)


P 81 –

“Because affects are psychobiological phenomena and the self is bodily based, projective identification represents not linguistic but mind-body communications. (Schore/ar/81)”

“According to Basch, “The language of mother and infant consist of signals produced by the autonomic, involuntary nervous system [“species-specific expressive displays” – see ar ref/quote of Buck on p 70] in both parties” (1976, p. 776).  Basch also pointed out the direct parallel of this to projective identification, which is manifest in “a situation in which the patient subtly causes the therapist to resonate autonomically with the patient’s unconscious affect-laden fantasies” (1992, p. 179; italics added).  [But I don’t see these as fantasies!  They were very real traumas.] (schore/ar/81)”

“somatic markers” = “gut” feelings = felt sense

“Somatic markers have been described in the psychotherapy literature as the felt sense (Gendlin, 1970), a bodily based perception of meaning (Bohart, 1993).

Para con’t

“In recent psychoneurobiological models, the felt sense is defined as “the sum total of all sensations from all sense organs, both conscious and subliminal at any given moment” (Scaer, 2001).  Sensations from the internal environment – viscero-sensation – are thought to be acquired via a “sixth sense,” a faculty of perception that does not depend upon any outward sense [yet to me it might come from previous experience with the external environment that caused us to LEARN and remember something] that is used to describe “heightened sensitivity, ‘gut-feeling’ or ‘psychic’ ability” (Zagon, 2001, p. 671).  Neuroscience conceptions which postulate that sensory inputs originating from the internal environment act to alter (heighten or dull) the perception of the outside world and elicit a behavioral response (Zagon, 2001) mirror Freud’s (1915/1957a) concept of drive, “the psychical representative of the stimuli originating from the organism and reaching the mind.”  In (schore/ar/81)”

p 82 –

“The key to working with dissociated affect is the cocreation of a stronger signal of the felt sense – the therapist serves as a source of autonomic feedback of the patient’s dissociated affect, thereby allowing the therapeutic alliance to amplify the intensity and duration of an unconscious affect long enough for it to enter into consciousness….the psychobiologically attuned caregiver serves as an arousal amplifier of the infant’s bodily-based affective autonomic states.  (schore/ar/82)”




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