**Relaxing into the self

Chapter 35

Relax into Self


Ramona says that seeking is the drive…what is the destination?  (for her, she got the seek drive but doesn’t know the destination)

Attach is a need

Attachment theorists say attach is a drive

Seeking is the drive

Seeking food, seeking water, seeking to belong…these things are the needs

Do needs drive the drives?

I suspect that belonging is the first and most fundamental need.  We meet the need to belong through attachment.  Belonging….it is how we get our other needs filled, how we learn to organize good from bad, attract avoid, it organizes our brain

Talking to Ramona today:  RELAX implies that you have experienced tension and anxiety.  Needing things is a natural human state even though it can create discomfort.  Ramona believes that it is only when the needs cannot or are not reasonably met that the anxiety and tension are produced.  So naturally, infants do not relax.

So when they appear to be a bundle of unrestrained, intense and uninhibited nerves in total reactions, it does not mean they are tense.  Nor does it mean they are in distress.  A baby is comfortable or uncomfortable.  R thinks tension is unnatural, but discomfort is not.  When needs are not met, tension is a part of the picture.

In peritrauma, there is always tension.

R doesn’t think  you can feel relaxed unless you have felt an unnatural state of discomfort or tension.  There is natural unpleasantness of life in a body…when needs not me becomes distress…hunger is not stressful by itself.  When needs are not me = distress.

Me:  distress is supposed to end and you feel relaxed…R’s point, there should never be distress naturally in the first place….like in secure attachment where there is SAFETY and then hope and trust.

R says hunger or thirst are the equivalent of “You’ve got mail!” to get your attention.


So when infants have a need, and the need goes unfulfilled, then they probably begin to miss what it is that they need – and later, when they can carry the mental representations or virtual others of their caregivers – they would attribute the missing to them, also.

Where does yearning come in?  If you’ve experienced the need and the lack of its fulfillment, experienced being without and trying and trying and not getting the need filled….do you yearn?

Ramona says that yearning, like questioning, implies a level of development.  How is it different from longing?  Or missing?


YEARN (bef. 12c)

[ME yernen, fr. OE giernan; akin to OHG geron to desire, L hortari to urge, encourage, Gk chairen to rejoice]

1: to long persistently, wistfully, or sadly

2: to feel tenderness or compassion

syn see LONG

LONG (bef. 12c)

[ME, fr. OE langian; akin to OHG langen to long, OE lang long]

: to feel a strong desire or craving especially for something not likely to be attained

syn LONG, YEARN, HANKER, PINE, HUNGER, THRIST mean to have a strong desire for something.  LONG implies a wishing with one’s whole heart and often a striving to attain.  YEARN suggests an eager, restless, or painful longing.  HANKER suggests the uneasy promptings of unsatisfied appetite or desire.  PINE implies a languishing or a fruitless longing for what is impossible.  HUNGER and THIRST imply an insistent or impatient craving or a compelling need.

RELAX (15c)

[ME, fr. L relaxare, fr. re- + laxare to loosen, fr. laxus loose – more at SLACK]

1: to make less tense or rigid:  SLACKEN

2: to make less severe or stringent:  MODIFY

3: to deprive of energy, zeal, or strength of purpose

4: to relieve from nervous tension


1: to become lax, weak, or loose:  REST

2: to become less intense or severe….

7: to attain equilibrium following the abrupt removal of some influence (as light, high temperature, or stress)

SLACK (bef. 12c)

[ME slak, fr. OE sleac; akin to OHG slah slack, L laxus slack, loose, languere to languish, Gk lagnos lustful and perhaps to Gk legein to stop]

1: not using due diligence, care, or dispatch:  NEGLIGENT

2 a: characterized by slowness, sluggishness, or lack of energy  b: moderate in some quality; especially:  moderately warm  c: blowing or flowing at low speed

3 a: not tight or taut  b: lacking in usual or normal firmness and steadiness:  WEAK

4: wanting in activity:  DULL

5: lacking in completeness, finish, or perfection



[ME, fr. AF languiss-, stem of languir, fr. VL *languire, fr. L languere]

1 a: to be or become feeble, weak, or enervated  b: to be or live in a state of depression or decreasing vitality

2 a: to become dispirited  b: to suffer neglect

3: to assume an expression of grief or emotional appealing for sympathy


1: weakness or weariness of body or mind

2: listless indolence or inertia

syn see LETHARGY

LANGUID (1597)

[MF languide, fr. L languidus, fr. languere to languish – more at SLACK]

1: drooping or flagging from or as if from exhaustion:  WEAK

2: sluggish in character or disposition:  LISTLESS

3: lacking force or quickness of movement:  SLOW

syn LANGUID, LANGUOROUS, LACKADAISICAL, LISTLESS, SPIRITLESS mean lacking energy or enthusiasm. LANGUID refers to an unwillingness or inability to exert oneself due to fatigue or physical weakness.  LANGUOROUS suggests a dreamy boredom and delicacy that avoids unnecessary activity.  LACKADAISICAL implies a carefree indifference marked by halfhearted efforts.  LISTLESS suggests a lack of interest caused by physical weakness or dissatisfied boredom.  SPIRITLESS refers to a lack of animation or vigor that gives one’s actions and words life

VIGOR (14c)

[ME vigour, fr. AF, fr. L vigor, fr. vigere to be vigorous]

1: active bodily or mental strength or force

2: active healthy well-balanced growth especially of plants

3: intensity of action or effect:  FORCE


We would have to enter into a discussion here about vigorous infants vs those that fail to thrive.  It is usually only those infants that are physically harmed enough that they need medical care or those that demonstrate a syndrome known as “failure to thrive” that are recognized as having been neglected or abused.  The kind of abuse and neglect that does truly cause damage to infants, and in particular to the way their growing brains are developing, is almost impossible for those people “outside” the family to recognize.  It is therefore crucial that we all become educated ourselves about the brain development of infants and their needs for adequate, consistent, attuned caregiving that gives rise to well organized and ordered brains.  Because if these needs are not meant for infants, a disaster will follow.  Their brains will not develop properly, and therefore their minds and their selves will not, either.

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