I did not mean to get off track with my book writing but somehow I did. There must be a reason, a part of the bigger plan that I do not see or know. Please do not miss these two last posts and especially the comments and their replies attached.
All I wanted to mention right now is that developmental neuroscientists and attachment experts state that a human being’s core self is formed by the age of 18-24 months! An infant this age, who is passing into toddlerhood, is supposed to have safe and secure attachment underpinnings to all increasing growth and development.
A healthy infant develops the ability to self-reflect and to mentally time travel around this 18-month milestone. Attachment, empathy, affect (emotional) regulation — all mediated by the frontolimbic areas of the cortex — develop by this time. An 18-month old toddler can initiate comforting behaviors, has its gender identification, and finishes development of its orbitofrontal system to maturity in the last half of the second year. Twelve-eighteen months of age is a Critical Period for experience-dependent maturation of orbitofrontal areas of the cortex.
According to Dr. Schore (page 126 of “Affect Dysregulation”) by the end of the second year humans can construct accurate representations (mentally and emotionally)) of events that endure and these representations are accessible over time. They are imprinted into the right hemisphere of the brain and form the basis of autobiographical memory.
Also in the second year of life (approaching age three) humans begin to form their Theory of Mind they will use to get along in the world for the rest of their life. Theory of Mind involves imputing mental states to self and to others so that behavior can be predicted on the basis of these states.
In cases where safe and secure attachment between infant prior to the age of one and caregiver DID NOT HAPPEN (to some degree in half or more of our population) SOME degree of trauma altered body and brain development happens. Every developmental stage following age of one will build on this earliest foundation.
I see everything that happens in the first 33 months of life (conception to age two) as building the ARK a person will climb into at age two and sail off into its life with. Whatever the quality of that ark is, whatever is packed and stored within it, will be what a person has to WORK WITH for the rest of their life — and this ARK is CALLED SELF.
Whatever changes we later make, whatever healing we acquire, will be based upon whatever our ARK consisted of by the time we were two. Don;t get me wrong! There are still miracles of potential in us – no matter what our earliest beginnings gave us. But neither can we afford to be blind or naive about what some of us are dealing with — especially infant abuse survivors.
NOTE: Just Google search any terms here that aren’t familiar — it’s well worth the effort!