An environment that is polarized by the dynamics of competition, that is, one in which the life-sustaining energy— food, clothing, shelter—is secured by competing, automatically creates testing between child and parent. Sensing the dynamics of the environment, the infant develops motivation to refine its competitive ability. This is accomplished by a game of psychological warfare with the parent. The objective is to obtain energy, in whatever form—love or hate, a banana, a walk, a ball—they all symbolize energy for/at/to the child.
A baby is born after nine months ot intimate connection with the mother's system, her timing and rhythm. After birth the infant's developing mind remains focused on its mother, her moods and feelings. Everything the mother does is scrutinized, and within two or three months the child knows her patterns, her wiring. Consequently, the child quickly becomes an expert at pushing mother's buttons to get energy. In fact, between the two there is no equality—the child is the master. However, the child is only the master of getting energy from the mother. If, at this point in the game, the play is not extended to a broader social scene, a variety of adults and contemporaries, the game becomes involuted, becomes biologically and intellectually destructive. This neurotic behavior is intensified when the father does not identify with this game, because by herself no mother is competent to meet an infant's single-pointed, manipulative, psychic warfare.
There are two remedies for this condition. One is the extended, communal family, where the testing doesn't fall on just one person; and two, an environment for infants that is not dominated by competitive, egocentric dynamics.
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