Chapter 49 INTERPERSONAL SYSTEMS AND DYADIC STATES OF MIND
(this is from the last part of Siegel’s chapter on states of mind beginning on page 232)
“The mind of one person, A, organizes itself on the basis of both internal and external constraints. Internal constraints are determined by constitutional features and experience. External constraints include the signals sent from others in the environment.
“Person B is in a relationship with A. A perceives the signals sent from B, and A’s system responds by altering its state. Two immediate effects are (1) that A’s state shifts as a function of B’s state (or at least B’s signals), and (2) that A sends signals back to B.
“B in turn responds to A’s signals with at least these two alterations, and contingent communication is established. If A is an adult and B is a baby, then the pattern of responses will shape the function and the developing structure of B’s immature brain, not merely B’s present state of mind. (siegel/tdm/232 – the above is all part of one paragraph)” [This is like what I call the infinity sign interactional pattern.]
“What’s new is that the patterns of A’s response to B and B’s response to A can begin to shape the states that are created in both A and B. A and B come to function as a supersystem, AB. One can no longer reduce the interactions A and B to the subcomponents A and B; AB is an irreducible system.
“Systems theory provides a hierarchical understanding of interpersonal relationships. For some people, sharing an “interpersonal state” is one of the most rewarding experiences in human life. For others, such dyadic states are occasionally welcome, but a hefty dose of isolation is preferred to the feeling of “disappearance” that such an AB state may create. Still others long for such a union, but feel they can never truly achieve it. Even when they are “almost in it,” they fear it will disappear; that very fear can itself destroy the dyadic experience.
“Is this just another way of talking about the different attachment patterns? Certainly the attachment approaches may represent variations on the fundamental “I-thou” theme. There are selves, others, and their relationships together. But systems theory offers a perspective and vocabulary on the constraints that help the system organize itself. These internal and external factors provide a new framework for understanding how one mind joins with others to form a larger functional system. (siegel/tdm/232)” [these three paragraphs are all one in Siegel here]
This type of AB communication and state Siegel is describing is a neuronal feedback loop. The infinity sign.
“The imprint of a parent’s patterns of self-organization is manifested within a child’s own patterns of self-regulation. In this way, (siegel/tdm/232) the joining of two systems into a single supersystem may continue to show its effects even when the child is away from the adult, or when the child has grown up. For example, in children with disorganized attachments and in dissociative adults, their chaotic and terrifying experiences with caregivers may have become not only a part of their memories, but a part of the very structure of their self-(dys)regulation. Such is the effect of early trauma on the developing mind. (siegel/tdm/233)” [copied also to dissociation notes 6]
“Looking toward the interpersonal state as the fundamental unit of “self-organization” for a relationship can be very helpful. For example, relationships that become stuck can be envisioned as unable to move in a balanced way toward increasing complexity in their interpersonal states. Rigid styles of communication and unwillingness to enter into intense sharing of primary emotional states may lead to a sense of “deadness” in a relationship. The states of an emotional relationship may reflect both the elements of the here-and-now communication and remnants of past patterns of relating. Individuals join with each other in creating a system larger than the individual self. (siegel/tdm/233)”
+ family as a supersystem
“…a state of mind includes the assembly of various processes via reentry loops, each of which may emanate from the activity of relatively distinct circuits in the brain. A state of mind involves the recruitment of these various subsystems into activity together – in other words, the coupling of disparate processes into a simultaneous set of reentrant, coassembled activating components. (siegel/tdm/233)”
HEALING in SOLITUDE
“Each of us needs periods in which our minds can focus inwardly. Solitude is an essential experience for the mind to organize its own processes and create an internal state of resonance. In such a state, the self is able to alter its constraints by directly reducing the input from interactions with others. As the mind goes through alternating phases of needing connection and needing solitude, the states of mind are cyclically influenced by combinations of external and internal processes. We can propose that such a shifting of focus allows the mind to achieve a balanced self-organizational flow in the states of mind across time. Respecting the need for solitude allows the mind to “heal” itself – which in essence can be seen as releasing the natural self-organizational tendencies of the mind to create a balanced flow of states. Solitude permits the self to reflect on engrained patterns and intentionally alter reflexive responses to external events that have been maintaining the dyadic dysfunction. [in reference to a woman returning home for holidays and all the automatic responses within the supersystem of the family] (siegel/tdm/235)”
FROM Siegel’s chapter on emotion regulation –
“From the beginning of life, emotion constitutes both the process and the content of communication between infant and caregiver. Simply put, a baby’s inner state is perceived by parents, who in turn feel in a parallel manner themselves. The baby perceives the parents’ contingent response, and the affect is mutually attuned. Later, in addition, parents use words to talk about feelings and direct a shared attention to the infant’s state of mind. The parents may state directly that the baby is feeling sad or happy or scared, giving the infant the interactive verbal experience of being able both to identify and to share an emotional experience. This earliest form of communication in a setting of safety and comfort provides the child with a sense that her emotional life can be shared and be a source of soothing from others. (siegel/tdm/270)”
“By the second year of life, the infant has learned the adaptive behavior of not showing how she might be feeling. The social context in which an intense emotion is experienced may motivate the child to “hide” her inner experience. For example, if the toddler wants something but has learned that she will be yelled at if she shows an interest in that object, it will be best if she keeps a “poker face” and does not show an affect that reveals her true emotion. For us adults, complex social situations repeatedly teach us the essential ability to mask our inner states from the criticism and harsh reactions from others. Culture and family environments play a central role in a child’s experiential acquisition of these often unspoken laws of emotional expression, called “display rules.” (siegel/tdm/270)”
“A very difficult situation arises when an aspect of this form of emotional modulation, the inflexible and “nonexpressive” regulation of affect, is so engrained that it becomes a rigidly and repeatedly evoked state, or trait, of the individual. If there are not contexts available in a growing child’s life when the inner, private self can be fully engaged in interactions with others, then the adaptive, external, public self may perpetually mask internal states even from the individual. (siegel/tdm/271) This condition may be experienced by the person as a sense of not knowing who she is. There may be a feeling that life is meaningless. In emotional terms, this person’s access to awareness of her own emotions has been repeatedly blocked. (siegel/tdm/272)”
“People vary widely in their ability to express affect. One way we can begin to make sense of these variations is to conceptualize nonverbal signals as the external expressions of internal states of mind. Primary emotions are expressed as the vitality affects described as the profiles of activation, including “crescendo” (increasing energy) and “decrescendo” (decreasing energy) states. A person reveals such vitality states in facial expression, tone of voice, activity of the limbs, gestures, and the timing and fluidity of these signals in interactions with another person. These signals may enter one’s own awareness, and may also directly influence the adjustment of one’s own state to that of the other person. Becoming aware of both the external signals from another person and those being given off by oneself can be crucial. Reflection on internal sensations may be an essential aid in knowing how another person may be feeling. (siegel/tdm/272)”
“”Feeling felt” may be an essential ingredient in attachment relationships. Having the sense that someone else feels one’s feelings and is able to respond contingently to one’s communication may be vital to close relationships of all sorts throughout the lifespan. Such attachments foster the interactive sharing of states, which facilitates the amplification of positive, enjoyable emotions and the diminution of negative, uncomfortable emotions. The attuned communication within attachment relationships allows such interactive amplification (siegel/tdm/272( and diminution to occur. The outcome is that each member of the pair may “feel felt” by the other. For the developing child, the secure attachment relationship provides the amplification that heightens pleasurable states and allows the child to engage in the self-regulation needed to diminish unpleasurable ones. (siegel/tdm/273)”
“People sometimes mask certain intense feelings in the presence of strangers; in other situations, people only reveal certain responses (such as smiling or laughing) in the presence of others….The sharing of these states has a more “distant” quality and can involve more of the classic sense of empathy as a state of understanding another’s experience rather than feeling another’s feelings. We can feel sad when other persons feel sad, and we can rejoice in their excitement and joy. In this way, categorical affects can certainly be shared as well. But categorical emotions allow us to become more actively verbal within the communication with others. That is, we can use words with roughly shared definitions to encapsulate the shared experience….In this way, the expression of a categorical emotion permits more linguistic distance from a shared moment in a relationship than the “feeling felt” of a primary emotional state alone. (siegel/tdm/273)”
“…the perception of a classic categorical affect, such as anger, sadness or fear, often overshadows the less classifiable and often more “subtle” aspects of vitality affects. The “risk” of a predominantly categorical emotional communication is that one may begin to use only one’s intellect in classifying what this particular emotional experience means, rather than attending to the unique meaning of that moment, both for the other person and for the relationship itself. (siegel/tdm/273)”
“The capacity to regulate the appraisal and arousal processes of the mind is fundamental to self-organization; therefore, emotion regulation is at the core of the self. The acquisition of self-regulation emerges from dyadic relationships early in life. Attachment studies suggest that the type of interpersonal communication that facilitates autonomous self-regulation begins with healthy dependence. Such relationships involve sensitivity to the child’s signals, contingent communication, and reflective dialogue that permits the child to develop coherence and mentalizing capacities. Achieving self-organization occurs within emotionally attuned interpersonal experiences. At the emotional core of attachment relationships are the amplification of shared positive states and the reduction of negative affective states. As these dyadic states are experienced, the child comes to tolerate wider bands of emotional intensity and shared affective communication. (siegel/tdm/274)” copied also into chapter 51 regulation
“…early attachment experiences and constitutional variables such as temperament help form these emotion regulation processes. “Epigenetic” factors – especially the social experiences that shape genetic expression and the experience-dependent maturation of the brain – directly influence how neuronal connections are established. In early childhood, such epigenetic attachment experiences create the neuronal pathways responsible for emotional modulation. Continuing emotional development within adult relationships can utilize the same attachment elements in helping to develop new paths to self-organization. (siegel/tdm/274)” copied into chapter 51 regulation
“Emotional communication” is also the fundamental manner in which one mind connects with another. Early in life, the patterns of interpersonal communication we have with attachment figures directly influence the growth of the brain structures that mediate self-regulation. (siegel/tdm/275)” copied from chapter 51 regulation
ROMANTIC ATTACHMENTS AND INTERLOCKING STATES
“Knowing the attachment histories of each member of a couple can be essential in clarifying how micromoments of misattunements can be blown up into major battles and interlocking, dysregulated dyadic states of despair and distancing. (siegel/tdm/292)”
++ Micromoments of misattunements: [For those of us who have an entire history of being misattuned to, it is amazing that we can achieve even a micromoment of attunement in the first place! The goal of earned attachment would be to find a place to begin to have these micromoments of attunement, and then to extend them further and further into longer and longer periods of time.
The problem is, however, that for those of us who dissociate, these moments can create states of mind that are so relationship specific that they only hold together when we are engaged with those who are within the sphere of our earned attachments. Or, on the other hand, during the time that we are engaged with these earned attachment figures our inner states may become linked to this stabilizing state and can generalize or carry over into other areas of our lives.
The danger is, however, from my point of view, that sooner or later when a massive shift occurs in the relationships – i.e. the kids leave home –the whole state can shift unexpectedly and completely, as in vanish. At that point, all other states that are linked and connected to this earned attachment can vanish just as completely and just as quickly. This will leave us pretty much back where we started from when the entire process began.
++ interlocking, dysregulated dyadic states of despair and distancing: I believe that there is something I call borrowed attachments. We may have somehow earned the capacity to create secure attachments for our offspring, but at the same time on our own side of the fence, we are in effect borrowing their natural, inborn ability to attach for ourselves. We are enabling our own children to form a link with us because they have not been damaged and they still have their ability.
I believe at this moment that I LOST my ability to attach, and that when the earned attachment phase ended and my fairly securely attached children left home, I was left with very little from the experience. This is hard to say and harder to experience or describe. It is as if I borrowed from my children their ability to attach, but they took their ability to attach with them when they left – as well they should have because the ability to attach belongs to them – and I am left as empty without the borrowed attachment as I was in the beginning.
It feels devastating.
++ I also believe that the interlocking that Siegel describes is part of the borrowed attachment pattern, and that we interlock our brain functions as well as our “selves” when we participate in intimate relationships. Whatever brain disability we lack we look to find in our mates. And vice versa. So because I am deficient in the logical, linear, practical, cause and effect, socializing abilities of the left brain, I look to find those aspects in a mate. In turn, as I look for a mate that will not attempt to control, suffocate, drain me dry or overwhelm me, who seems rock solid and stable – I look for a left brain dominated man. And if he is exactly that, then he probably has right brain emotional deficits that he can interlock with me to have met from my overly developed right brain.
++ dysregulated dyadic states of despair and distancing: So this adds perhaps a broader vision and perspective to Siegel’s statement. The dyad is seeking to establish a “higher order” system through utilizing the strengths of ability each member has in order to achieve a balance individually – only the balance is dependent upon the relationship. Such a relationship means that perhaps there is less perceived competition in the relationship as each member has a (perhaps subtly) recognized strength the other lacks. At the same time, we become on deep levels one another’s teachers.
It is the interlocking of strength and weakness itself that can sustain a relationship even when there is gross dysregulation that results ultimately in “despair and distancing.” It is difficult to communicate between members who have, in effect, only half a brain. If true balanced and healthy flows of energy and information brain to brain, mind to mind, is dependent on full enabled and competent interactions left-to-left and right-to-right brain, then when the half brains attempt to interact there is a void and an emptiness, a lack and a faultiness that cannot be overcome.
If I am relying on your left brain to balance my left brain inadequacies, and you are feeding my left brain with the strengths of your left hemisphere, I cannot feed you back. In time you will know I am lacking in your strong suit. And even though you can rest assured of your competence and superiority in this regard, you will not be satisfied with our left brain interactions. I will always, in the end, fall short of your needs and expectations – because I AM short!
The same thing will happen right-to-right hemisphere. If your right brain is not functioning properly you will not relate appropriately to my right brain, and I will feel the lack as well. The problem also is that even though couples may find a temporarily workable alternative to being half-hemisphere short, this does not create wholeness in either individual. Not unless there can become a level of CONSCIOUSNESS brought into the relationship along with a willingness to pay attention to the quality and nature of the hemispheric interactions that are occurring.
Each person can learn to build and strengthen their inadequate hemispheres. One of the problems is that when we are out of balance personally in regard to our brain’s hemispheric functioning, we might just be continuing to over stimulate and over develop the brain “muscle” that is already too active and doing too much of the work for us. The left gets lefter and the right gets righter – in each separate person. Relying on someone else’s hemisphere to replace the lack of it in our own lives is a very short term solution. And in the long term, falls flat on its you-know-what!
When we are unconscious of these dependencies and “need based” arrangements that we make with one another, we call up all kinds of battles without knowing their origin, source or function. On some level we know perfectly well what we are each missing, and on some level we know that we are attempting to BORROW something we vitally need from another person. But if we do not recognize these things consciously, we will not be able to connect our sense of loss, inadequacy, or anger at the other person for not giving us what we want. For not giving us what we need that we don’t even realize we do need or want. We just throw tantrums and create cycles of despair we don’t understand and cannot resolve.
++ What we are perceiving as and reacting to as “micromoments of misattunement” with the person we are involved with is really our own inner reaction to our own internal misattunements with ourselves. Your brain was meant to grow and develop to function with balance and harmony, with flexible responses to the situations of your life. Mine was meant to develop in the same fashion to do the same thing. If our attachment drive was thwarted by abuse and neglect in our infancy, then we were not allowed to build the brain we needed to be whole and happy people.
So we link up with one another and interlock our brains through our borrowed attachments. If we were paying good money to go to a therapist, we would expect this to be happening. What we need to realize is that as damaged infants we are continuing to USE one another to get our brain-imbalances healed. So, let’s call it what it is and see what we can do with this fact next!
++ We know about misattunement. We know about dysregulated states. We know about despair and distancing. What we are not likely to know is what has created these difficulties in our lives in the first place and what we are trying to do to fix things!
++ This is not a blame and shame game! This is a NAME IT game. We need to know what happened to us as a result of the peritrauma of the abuse and neglect we experienced during the crucial brain development months of our young lives. We need to call things what they are! We are brain damaged. We lack abilities, and therefore have disabilities – that nobody talks about, describes, understands, even believes, let alone names.
++ Our healing and our empowerment comes from taking responsibility for recognizing what happened to us – both what we were forced to experience and to endure as infants – and what the consequences of those experiences are today.
NAMING INFANT ABUSE: WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT DOES
copied into dissociation notes 6
[In addition, when we are not organized cohesively and instead suffer from non-linkages and dissociation, we have chains of islands rather than one large cohesive land mass. When we are in relationship with people who have the same problem themselves, not only are our own islands of the self not linked, but theirs aren’t either. Then it gets really confusing on which “state” of ourselves we are in and what “state” they are in – and how do we link with them or ourselves this way?] [copied into dissociation notes 6]
[When we know someone well enough to know what their consistent “state of mind” of self is usually like, we can spot the inconsistencies when they show up and know that a disassociated state of mind, or state of self that is not integrated with the whole is in action. I suspect with Ernie that he has multiple states of dissociated states of mind, or states of self. One with Suzi, one with Mari, one with work, one out in the bars catting around, one with me. What I experienced on Friday when I called him to wish him well with his surgery and he hung up on me abruptly and rudely was that the state of mind self he was currently involved with was so far removed from the one that he has with me that the two were in direct conflict with one another. The fact that a person has nonintegrated dissociated states of mind of self at all means that there is some form of inherent conflict present between the two that has prevented and continues to prevent them from being integrated – and therefore placed into a coherent and cohesive form – with one another.]
[I would suspect that each of the dissociated states of mind of self has its own sense of time – past, present and future – as well as its own assigned value, intensity, specificity – that may be quite “out of sync” with any main systems that exist separately. When the “switching” occurs, a person and those around them may be taken completely by surprise by the changes that have occurred in any given split instant.
Intrusions can be of another’s state of their system into ours]
What I find most irritating and troublesome about writing this book is that again and again I find that for those of us who suffered the worst in our infancy and childhood, and thus have within us and our lives the most damage to deal with, are offered the lease help and hope for recovery. And I mean recovery like if you are falling to the ground and somehow you can catch yourself and regain your balance and recover from the fall. As if it never happened in the first place. This would be like losing your place while reading a book, and finding it again.
But for those of us who suffered continual peritrauma from constant abuse from our birth, we have little to regain because everything was “ruined and messed up” in our development from the beginning. Yet we do have resources.
We have being alive. And we have the human drives and needs we were born with. We have an amazing brain, that even though it may be much less than optimally functioning at the present moment, has within it the inherited evolutionary ability – called plasticity – to recover its proper functioning, to grow, adapt and change. Our brains can heal. And if that can happen, then by golly you and I need to find out what that means and how to do it!
I am thinking of an analogy that I don’t understand. This must be coming from my right brain, which does have some overly developed abilities. So, I am going to choose to listen to it at this moment.
It is telling me something about the brain as real estate. So, if it is a house, and we, personally, reside in it and it in us – but what is going on (my right brain is telling me) is something like this:
Build the house sell the house buy the house repair the house remodel the house clean the house organize the house move out of the house move into the house explore the house blow the house up destroy the house move out of the house appreciate the house hate the house give it away give it to somebody else take over the payments buy the house outright owe for the house take care of the house share the house earn the house borrow the house add onto the house get to know the house value the house strengthen the house abide by the rules of the house learn the rules of the house divide the house separate the house put it back together again listen to the house be afraid of the house don’t be afraid of the house be proud of the house be ashamed of the house clean the house burn the house smoke the bugs out of the house get the bugs out of the house cooperate with the house adjust to the house mind the house never mind the house assess the house let someone else assess the house condition the house renovate the house stay in the house leave the house hate the house love the house control the house demean the house appraise the house assess the house ruin the house before it ruins you
And do all of these things now in the present at the same time that it all happened a long time ago.
now, the left brain would simply start at the foundation and examine exactly and specifically what is here and what is not
the left brain can, if we let it, create a condition of blame and shame for the right brain’s excesses. The left brain is necessarily sparse and reasonable. We need them both.
The left brain would look at specifics – specifications
The right brain would assess by imagination and feelings, through the senses
Any puzzle the right brain can devise
The left brain can solve
The right brain cannot do this
Because it doesn’t care
The right brain makes excuses
The left brain gives explanations
The right brain can take off on some complicated inspired melody
The left brain holds the beat
Left brain no-nonsense making sense
Right brain full of nonsense making sense
Sense = a journey
“Small changes in input, such as subtle shifts in the emotional expression of one member of the pair, can produce large and rapid alterations in output in the nonlinear complex systems of each individual and of the [supersystem] of the dyad. [He is describing what will put both individual systems and the megasystem into chaos] These interlocking states often have their origins in the attachment models of each member of the pair. In thse situations, a historical rut has created the opposite of resonance of states of mind: a cascade of emotional reflexes and defensive distortions, locking a romantic pair into a series of mutually induced misunderstandings and misattunements. The repeated ruptures in connection are rarely repaired. (siegel/tdm/292)”
“Interlocking: in this context means that the separate states of mind activated by these repeated patterns of induction reinforce the historical mental models of relationships and keep the partners continually reexperiencing lack of attunement, misattunements, and repeated verification of the lessons learned from their own individual attachment histories. Interlocking states strengthen earlier maladaptive self-organizational pathways. They create a rigidity that prevents the partners from joining together as a larger system capable of moving toward dyadic states of increasing complexity. At one extreme, these ruts can be experienced as a sense of malaise or deadness, which each member of the pair may feel but may be unable to (siegel/tdm/292) articulate; at the other extreme, these ruts may be filled with anxiety and a sense of intrusiveness and uncertainty. To remain healthy, a dyadic system, like an individual, must find a balance between flexibility and continuity in its perpetual move toward increasingly complex states of existence. (siegel/tdm/293)”
(two intervening paragraphs are with pre notes for ch 26 on attachment)
“As these early models of attachment are later activated within a couple’s relationship, the opportunity emerges to learn about how early experiences shaped implicit reality. Both partners’ private selves are hungry and in pain, fearing annihilation or abandonment by the narcissistic intrusion of parental states that have historically obliterated their own (as in ambivalent attachments) or having adapted to an emotional distance and sense of rejection L(as in avoidant attachments). Nurturing their private selves requires that the members of the couple join together in supportively reflecting on how their public selves [I don’t have one of these!] have struggled to adapt to these intrusions, inconsistencies, and experiences of disconnection without repair. [Why is he saying public self here?] Growth emerges as reflective and resonant dyadic states become achieved within the attuned relationship. Such a process can then allow the couple to achieve more fulfilling and adaptive levels of dyadic self-organization. (siegel/tdm/293)”
“Disturbances in mental health…may emanate from recursive processes that impair this natural movement toward integration by fixing the system’s flow in the maladaptive direction of excessive rigidity or chaos. Fixed constraints to the system, either internal or external, may create an inflexible state for the individual. Normal development may thus continue to promote integration throughout life if it is unimpaired by elements of our constitution, experiential history, or ongoing interpersonal relationships. (siegel/tdm/308)” copied over to dissociation notes 6
“Internal processes and interpersonal relationships that entail subcomponent differentiation and intercomponent integration can be proposed as those that promote healthy, ongoing development within and between individuals….[total independence] as a result of the lack of clustering of the individuals into a functional whole…[without cohesion results in incoherence]. Such a random set of isolated, though differentiated, interactions does little to move the system toward complexity. (siegel/tdm/308) But at the other extreme….[of only amplification] does little to maximize the complexity possible…[if the differentiated aspects] were to join together in a resonant integrational process. Neither independence nor mimicry creates complexity…integration allows …[individual parts] to contribute to a functional whole that has continuity and regularity on the one hand, and yet flexibility and spontaneity on the other….such a blend allows for the movement toward maximal complexity within the individual mind and between minds. At the heart of such integration is emotion and the flow of energy and information through the system. Such a dynamic condition achieves stability as the system moves forward in time through the various states of activity. Siegel/tdm/309)”
“These reciprocal and cooperative processes may characterize the healthy ongoing development of the individual mind, dyadic relationships, and nurturing communities. The blend of individual differentiation and interpersonal integration allows each of us to move forward in life with our minds forever developing in a complex biological interdependence of our social and inner worlds. (siegel/tdm/309)”
INFANT ABUSE AND DIS-UNITED STATES OF BEING
“The concept of integration has also been applied to mental activity at a more macroscopic level, in both the intraindividual and interindividual domains…..intraindividual integration…[refers] to various ways in which developmental achievements and processes interrelate at one time or across the lifespan. Interindividual integration focuses on the relationships between children and their caregivers and peers. From this psychological perspective, various layers of integration can be seen as interdependent, influencing one another in the moment and affecting the developmental trajectory of the child within the social world. (siegel.tdm.309)”
“Integration can also help us understand the notion of “selves” within a given individual. (siegel/tdm/309)”
Significant change in metacognitive abilities, “new ability to reflect on one’s own existence in more complex and integrative ways than were possible at earlier stages of life. Adolescents become aware of conflictual role patterns in their early teens, but often only develop the capacity to resolve tensions about these roles in later adolescence. This lag time between the onset of awareness and the capacity for resolution may be a characteristic feature of normal adolescent development. As the need for various roles is accepted and teenagers find ways to resolve potential conflicts within their experience with peers and parents, an integration of selves across time and role relationships becomes possible. This is the essence of the integrative capacity to achieve coherence of the self. (siegel/tdm/310)”
Boy, I sure didn’t get to do this stage normally, either. Just as I missed the whole play stage, the narrative stage, and many others!
resilience or vulnerability AND WELL-BEING
following is all one paragraph — all copied into dissociation notes 6
“Not all individuals are able to find emotional well-being in integrating multiple self-states into a coherent experience of the self. From early in development, the resolution of multiple models of attachment may be one of the determinants of later developmental outcome. Particular forms of self-states may have been constructed in relationship to different caregivers, resulting in potentially conflictual conditions. (siegel/tdm/310)”
This happened for me certainly with my public and private mother – so the model of attachment I had with her would have been terribly confusing! I would also have primarily used my relationship with my toddler brother to learn how to talk, and to be my “self” at all – and what happens then, when the mind one is in contact with is so very young itself?
“Within a given state, there may be cohesive functioning; across these self-states, however, spatiotemporal integration may not be possible, given the inherent incompatibility of mental models, drives, and modes of emotion regulation. (siegel/tdm/310)” copied to dissociation notes 6
“Experiences within relationships and the ways in which the mind comes to create a coherent perspective, access to information, and models of such experiences are important variables in determining emotional resilience or vulnerability. (siegel/tdm/310)”
“In other words, an integrative process across self-states may be essential in the acquisition of well-being. The capacity for such internal integration may be intimately related to interpersonal experience – derived initially from attachment relationships, and later shaped by individuals’ ongoing involvement with parents, teachers, and peers. (siegel/tdm/310)”
“The coherence of one’s own states of mind permits a form of relationship with others – especially one’s own children, friends, or intimate partners – that fosters integration, reflective processes, and emotional well-being within the relationship and within the emerging minds of each person. In other words, internal integration allows for vital interpersonal connections. (siegel/tdm/312)”
“Integration can be proposed to be a key process that influences the trajectory of developmental pathways toward resilience or toward vulnerability. (siegel/tdm/313)”
“We can propose that integration creates coherence by enabling the mind’s flow of information and energy to achieve a balance in its movement toward maximizing complexity. This movement of the flow of states of mind can involve activity both within the mind itself and in interactions with other minds. This balance means that the system moves between sameness and rigidity [like left brain] on the one hand, and novelty and chaos [like right brain] on the other….systems achieve stability as they flow between these extremes in their movement toward maximal complexity. Within this optimal flow are connections of the (siegel/tdm/320) processes both within a single mind and between minds. Integration involves the recruitment of internal and interpersonal processes into a mutually activating co-regulation…[or] resonance. We can thus look at resonance within both internal processes and interpersonal relationships to understand how the mind’s attempts at integration bring about coherence. (siegel/tdm/321)”
“Resonance…is the property of interacting systems that defines the influence of each system’s activity on the other. Between two individuals, for example, emotionally attuned and contingent communication creates interpersonal resonance; each member of the dyad is influenced by the other. (siegel/tdm/321)”
“Within the brain, the neural process of reentry can help us to understand how distinct circuits can become involved in a resonating state. Circuit A sends signals to B, which in turn sends signals back to A, and so on. The reentrant activity of such a circuit links A and B as an integrated system at that moment. In this manner, A and B are part of a state-dependent process. In a different state, the activity of A may have little influence on that of B. Resonance is a term that can thus be used to describe the nature of a system’s contingent, reentrant, co-regulating influences of the interacting elements – whether these are clusters of neurons, circuits, systems, hemispheres, or entire brains (as in interpersonal communication). In resonance, the subcomponent parts become functionally linked in an integrated system. (siegle/tdm/321)”
“Let’s try to define the relationships among the terms “integration,” “coherence,” “cohesion,” and “resonance.” We’ve defined
“integration” as the process that creates coherence in the mind.
“Coherence” is the state of the system in which many layers of neural functioning become activated and “cohere” to each other over time. Complexity theory gives us some insight into why this linking process may occur: States of the system that maximize complexity achieve stability. In this way, integration defines the self. As the mind moves toward complexity, it recruits various layers of processes into a cohesive state of mind.
“Autobiographical narratives can reveal integration or incoherence. A coherent narrative reveals a blending of left- and right-hemisphere processes. The interpreting left hemisphere is driven to weave a tale of what it knows. When access to the right hemisphere’s representational processes is limited, such a tale is incoherent. When the mentalizing, primary emotional, somatosensory, and autobiographical processes of the right hemisphere can be drawn upon, the left brain is able to “make sense” by integrating a coherent life story. Bilateral integration promotes coherent narratives. (siegel/tdm/336)”
“Cohesion” is thus a state in which subcomponents become linked together at a given moment in time. As the mind emerges across time, cohesive sates become a part of a coherent flow. The linkages of subcomponents – whether in a given moment (cohesion) or across time (coherence) – are achieved by the process of integration. Integration recruits differentiated subcomponent circuits into a larger functional system through a fundamental reentry process.
Resonance: “The co-regulating, mutually influencing sate of reentrant connection is called “resonance.” In other words, integra– (siegel/tdm/321) tion utilizes the resonance of different subsystems to achieve cohesive states and a coherent flow of states across time. Such a process creates a more complex, functionally linked system, which itself can become a subcomponent of even larger and more complex systems. (siegel/tdm/322)”
+++ RESONANCE: “Defined as the mutually influencing interactions between two or more relatively independent and differentiated entities. This resonance allows two systems to amplify and co-regulate each other’s activity.” (siegel/tdm/336)
+++”Connections between minds therefore involve a dyadic form of resonance in which energy and information are free to flow across two brains. When such a process is in full activation, the vital feeling of connection is exhilarating. When interpersonal communication is “fully engaged” – when the joining of minds is in full force – there is an overwhelming sense of immediacy, clarity, and authenticity. It is in these heightened moments of engagement, these dyadic states of resonance, that one can appreciate the power of relationships to nurture and to heal the mind. (siegel/tdm/337)”
“These experiences have the quality of “joining,”[anything like feeling felt?] in which the individual becomes a part of a process larger than the self. As integration occurs, the creation of coherence represents the flow of sates of the system on the “fertile ground between order and chaos” – [wheeler 1997, evidently said that] a path of resonance with a balanced trajectory between rigidity and randomness. The particular “system” whose states are flowing may involve any level of functioning: localized circuits in the brain, larger neuronal systems, both hemispheres, or two or more minds. The subjective experience of coherence will depend on the nature of the elements of the system activated in the resonance created by the integrative process. (siegel/tdm/322)”
related to optimal experience and flow “A process in which one creatively loses oneself in an activity – often seemed to have well-developed skills at becoming highly focused and fully immersed in an activity, such as athletics, playing music, or writing. Csikszentmihalyi has suggested that such flow experiences involve the individual’s moving between the boundaries of boredom on the one hand and anxiety on the other. We can propose that these experiences maximize the complexity of an individual’s states in their movement between rigidity/order (boredom) and randomness/chaos (anxiety). We can also suggest that such experiences actually become self- (siegel/tdm/322) reinforcing, as they facilitate the development of integrative processes within the individual that enhance the capacity for joining in a variety of contexts. The capacity for such a joining process might be revealed in an individual’s immersion within an activity (“flow”), as well as within the collaborative communication of interpersonal relationships. [does this mean if a person can do one they can do the other?] This possibility is supported by Csikszentmihalyi’s finding that individuals who experienced flow tended to have a combination of highly specialized individual skills and a capacity for being socially integrated with others. Future studies may be helpful in exploring the possible ways in which the capacities for joining within activities and within interpersonal relationships are related to each other as well as to the development of integrative processes, and perhaps emotional well-being, across the lifespan. (siegel/tdm/323)”
“The multilayered resonance of contingently communicating dyadic states allows each individual to acquire new integrative capacities. Two people connect across space by means of the flow of energy and information from both sides of each brain. This flow is contained within patterns of communication. As seen in attachment relationships, the development of the mind depends upon the basics of contingent, collaborative communication. Acquiring the capacity for integrating coherence comes from dyadic communication. Emotional attunement, reflective dialogue, co-construction of narrative, memory talk, and the interactive repair of disruptions in connection are all fundamental elements of secure attachment and of effective interpersonal relationships. (siegel/tdm/336)”
++ within “emotionally involving relationships” – “new experiences of interpersonal connection allows them to achieve new levels of mental coherence. This new capacity for integration – both interpersonal and internal – may create a sense of vitality and a release of creative energy and ideas, leading to an invigorating sense of personal expression. Such spontaneous and energized processes can give rise to participation in various activities, such as painting, music, dance, poetry, creative writing, or sculpture. It can also yield a deeper sense of creativity and appreciation within the “everyday” experience of life: communication with others, walks down the street, new appreciation of the richness of perceptions, feelings of being connected to the flow of the moment [feeling connected to anything!]. Life becomes a process, not merely a focus on products. Part of this experience of creativity may be derived from the way in which activated elements in one modality freely recruit those in another. Much of this is nonconscious, but the new resonance among processes can give rise to an awareness of the activated flow of an emerging, coherent mind. Many people find this sense of vitality, intensity, and clarity to be quite exhilarating. (seigel/tdm/335)”