What’s Wrong With This Communication and How To Fix It: Abandonment and Inundation

Everyone has “baggage” which they bring to their relationships from their childhood in their family of origin. In fact, that is the place where we learn what relationships are and we develop patterns which we repeat in our adult relationships. Everyone has some degree of dysfunctional relationship patterns from the past, from mild to severe.

Some patterns are more obvious (physical or verbal abuse), some are more subtle (non verbal behavior conveys a message). These patterns range from abandonment on one end to inundation on the other end and every combination of both in between.

A Bedtime Story: Sleeping Through the Night

I believe that patterns of behavior are based on the individual's process of primary bonding, or the way she learned to connect to her primary care giver (mother, guardian, etc), both pre-natal and post birth. Healthy bonding creates a safe, functional, brave, and feeling individual. Some of these early life traumas occur not only in the first few weeks outside of the womb, but throughout the prenatal months as well.

I believe that one of life's inevitable traumas is birth itself. A trauma which we will spend the rest of our lives attempting to incorporate both mentally and physically into our understanding of relating to self and other.

As It Was In The Beginning: The Significance of Infant Bonding in the Development of Self and Relationships

How well an infant bonds lays the blueprint for all of his or her future relationships. Evidence firmly suggests that the original imprint is to be found within the prenatal period of development. In fact, recent research in prenatal and perinatal psychology continues to push back the origins of consciousness to earlier and earlier times in our lives (e.g., Chamberlain, 1994; Emerson, 1989; Verny, 1986).

Therefore, to return to the original imprint to understand, heal, and reconnect with the essential Self, we must look back very, very far in our lives.

If all goes well, infants bond with their parents early in their lives. Bonding means love and the absence of fear. It creates connection and safety. Bonding allows an infant to experience the world as a friendly place. If bonding doesn't occur, the connections to Self, Other, and the rest of the world become fragile and unsafe.

Poorly bonded people are generally insecure, are locked into hindsight, and vigilantly try to control, predict, and anticipate events. They feel powerless and afraid of the unknown. They do not want to be questioned, yet they always have an answer, know how to do things, and consider themselves to be right. They both dominate and cling, using and abusing people to meet their own needs. They live their lives on constant alert, trusting only in their own defenses.

For them, love and intimacy create fear. When someone else moves close, they find excuses to distance themselves (they fear being too close and/or too far away).

Relationships Q&A with Dr. Rand

An interview with Dr. Marjorie Rand in the February "Love" issue of South Bay Magazine