Imprinting Via Attachment & Bonding with Caregiver(s)

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Hey Marnia, have you read much on affective neuroscience? Seems right up your alley.

An excerpt from Michael Shea's "Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, Volume 2":

"The basic working models of life or filters are caused by the formation of implicit memory from the iprinting of life experiences via the attachment and bonding with a caregiver(s). Unconscious behaviors derived from insecure attachment processses with a parent usually result in the following affects later in life in response to stimuli: dissociation and/or withdrawal; projection of uncomfortable feelings and thoughts onto other people; activation and/or hyperarousal; and transference of strong emotions and blame onto other people. These four effects of relational stress start out as an embryo and solidify during infancy. This imprinting or implicit memory is carried through adult life and acted out with no conscious recall of its etiology because it came from a preverbal time of life. The rule of thumb is that these responses may not necessarily match the life stimulus and are consequently difficult to self-regulate. They are the most fundamental impairments to experiencing love."

A book that Shea mentions a lot is Daniel Siegel's book "The Developing Mind: Toward a Neurobiology of Interpersonal Experience" (1999).



That's it - recipe for addiction right there. Even before the bun is out of the oven, put a fork in it, it is done, imprinted!

I believe that it's true, you can fool most of the people, most of the time, especially in this insensitive world, where not many people are plugged in, energetically. This belief comes from my experience as an addict - boy - seemed to me like everyone was fooled, but deep inside, I carried overwhelming shame where nobody could see and the loneliness stemmed from never being able to let anyone in. Talk about intimacy issues!

That explains why, some outwardly perfect parents have children that manifest the parent's shadow issues! It's the family karma showing up for all the world to see. Good luck trying to hide that dirty laundry! The innocent children are not fooled by outward appearances, as my therapist said this week, some people have huge rage/anger issues and do it with a smile on their face. Looking into that mirror has not been easy.

And the poor, innocent child is left wondering, what hit me? Why oh why oh why?

With my children all young adults, I do my best to wait patiently for teachable moments as my living amends for what imprinting I was part of. Can't change the past but spirit provides these new and exciting opportunities as my energy changes over time.

Thanks for sharing hotspring - good stuff!


I was just

reading about a therapist in Santa Barbara who developed "Autonomic Balancing," a therapy designed to soothe that over-reactive part of the brain. (Apparently the heart of it is the amygdala, or "inner guardian").

But whatever therapy or meditation technique we use, research shows that *oxytocin* is what soothes the amygdala. Hugs, for example, soothe tears (triggered by the amygdala) better than words do. Simple hugs...with no "hunger." In other words, bonding behaviors are powerful medicine. It's hard to measure the power of hugs in adults, because orgasm is in the mix...although hugs alone have been shown to raise oxytocin.

Non-sexual hugs clearly work wonders on teens...even those with huge childhood traumas. Indeed, there's a whole line of therapy based on this approach. Here's a blurb from Cupid:

We have the capacity to find healing in each other’s arms. Consider this evidence: Prolonged embrace therapy reversed the negative effects of childhood stress in teens as old as eighteen. [M. G. Welch, et al., “Outcomes of Prolonged Parent-Child Embrace Therapy among 102 Children with Behavioral Disorders,” Complement. Ther. Clin. Pract., 12(1), Feb. 2006: 3–12.] Another study showed that sensitive care-giving behavior had a strong enough influence to change the adverse effects of children’s genetic makeup. [C. Propper, et al., “Gene-Environment Contributions to the Development of Infant Vagal Reactivity: The Interaction of Dopamine and Maternal Sensitivity,” Child Dev., 79(5), Sep.–Oct. 2008: 1377–1394. ] Adults, too, can move toward positive results by emphasizing bonding behaviors. The pleasure of connection and the joy of shared experience ease anxiety and stress. We’re wired to find close companionship—not just sex—rewarding.

The best way to speed a needy partner through this phase is to be there for him or her, without sending mixed signals. This doesn’t mean being together every minute; it means being fully present, and as generous as possible, when you are together (at least daily). Once your partner feels secure, he or she will relax and have more to offer.

The worst thing you can do is to try to train your partner to be less needy with indifference or logic. Such a strategy is another version of the faulty thinking that led Harlow’s peers to insist that affection would spoil infants. In fact, infants with a solid sense of attachment are more independent and confident. So if you want a solid, confident partner, create a dependable, mutual bond as soon as possible. The groundwork for this can be accomplished in a matter of weeks, if you engage in some quality connection daily. However, you will continue to see progress for months.

A strong, solid center arises from the experience of trusted companionship, not from a promise of undying love (or intense passion). The experience of healthy bonding can help a person handle everything, including changes in relationship, more calmly. A healing taste of genuine, unselfish attachment is a lifelong gift, which we have the power to bestow on each other, even if life then carries us in different directions.

In other words, relationships may truly *be* potentially healing, when they're based on bonding behaviors. Gary swears he felt his brain sprout new oxytocin receptors as we stayed with the karezza approach. Smile He also says he quit grinding his teeth in his sleep.


I'd like to get hold of either the first book you mentioned hotspring or another, newer book by the same author:
'The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We are'
But the neurological one certainly sounds fun.

Something else I read somewhere was that physical bonding and skin to skin contact between mother and baby releases certain chemicals which in turn enables the child to further develop certain chemicals in the brain which reduce stress and help with further bonding. I just forget what the chemicals are called.

Well that makes sense,

Well that makes sense, because the skin actually is the brain. It is comprised of the same tissue layer embrologically as the brain is. This stuff is really fascinating! Craniosacral Therapy is essentially the study of embrology. Most people don't see how it connects. But we are a continuination of our embryological state. I even treat my patients like embryos - I rarely tell them this, but if I approach them as being mostly fluid, and approach them as though in their original state before any truama occured, resolution comes about much easier!

Physical touch orients us in world. We get information about the world through touch. There were studies done in the lat 1800's in orphanages that showed that children receiving sufficient food and shelter and warmth nevertheless had a 90% mortality rate until the nurse staff was increased in the ward and they started getting touched. Touch is food. Imagine the levels of sensory deprivation taking place as we relate more and more to our computers and less and less to other people. We're starving our brain and losing our orientation.

Craniosacral Therapy is a great help in relaxing the whole nervous system.


I've had craniosacral therapy, and it's good stuff indeed. I'll have to remember that about hugs, both for giving and getting. It makes sense that "indifference or logic" doesn't work. The amygdala doesn't understand. Too bad a lot of people still use indifference or logic, but I think that might just be their way of expressing one of their issues. My parents are in the indifference/logic camp, I think, and this discussion is starting to put pieces together for me.

A Related Adjunct

to Craniosacral is called Network Chiropractic. My understanding is that it helps to clear trauma held in the body unconsciously - not sure how it relates to CS - have you heard of NC hotspring?

Give me good old fashioned hugs any day - the meetings I attend are a constant source of such gifts though I must note, that very few people really know how to lay a good hug on ya!

I practice random acts of hugging based upon the belief that if you want to be hugged, be a hugger!


Sentic Cycles

Ever hear of sentic cycles? It turns out that much like the "golden ratio" is a mathematical representation of aesthetic beauty (e.g. a super-model's face generally has features that are in the 1.6:1 ratio with each other), there are mathematical curves representing emotions. Here's an article that appeared in Tricycle magazine: .

This is gonna sound weird, but my point is that if people hug, applying the sentic pattern for "love," the hug will take on that quality, even if they have trouble expressing it. Keep doing it, the love will actually start to come out. The curve's shown in the article, but basically it's a slow build up to moderate pressure. Think "love" and the hug will naturally follow this pattern, but the reverse is also true. Hug someone starting with very light force and then slowly, slowly increase it until it reaches a moderate, not too hard amount, and then sustain it there for awhile. It will feel just like "love." There are patterns given for other emotions too, and I think someone hugging another with the different patterns of pressure (usually how quickly they build up and drop off), it will be very easy to tell which emotion the person is imitating.

These patterns can also be applied to music, and people recognize the emotion just by hearing it.

The discoverer of these patterns, Dr. Clynes, has even developed something he calls "Emotion First Aid," which helps people get in touch with their emotions. I used to do it, and should probably start doing it again. It was good stuff. Just weird!

Well, just thought I'd pass this along seeing as how this site is all about the science behind the spiritual. I think it's very cool stuff, but nobody I've ever told it to seemed interested. It's just too weird, I think. Clynes is a funny guy, yet he's also right. It's just that he sees things from an unusual perspective... which I believe turns out to be a very useful one if only people can get past the weirdness factor.

Bonding cues

Yes, once one "gets" that bonding behaviors are subconscious cues for closeness, which our brains find very soothing...a lot of pieces fall into place. Tantra, you might like this online broadcast which Discordia found. It was very enlightening for me:

“Love Is a Battlefield,” This American Life, Aug. 31, 2007,

Cranio is wonderful...and I agree...a perfect bonding behavior. Very soothing and healing. I did some for Gary the other day, and he was snoring in 5 minutes. He never naps in the daytime. Wink Mates could be doing this kind of still touch for each other SO easily...even without becoming cranio wizards.


That brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.

I seem to have the opposite problem than Daniel, however--too much empathy for other people's feelings. I think my parents did all right during my infancy and childhood. High school had problems, but it was just my normal teenage rebelliousness and angst at a meaningless world. Our problems came later. When I was 27, I moved back in with them, hoping to use the time to heal. (I'd been in a stressful relationship with a woman for seven years before that, so I thought getting away and resting would cure me. In retrospect, it was the right decision, just that I wasn't yet capable of resting. I was still young, with dreams like wild horses champing at the bit.) Financially dependent on them, things got enmeshed. (Psychological Enmeshment.) I didn't feel like they understood, that my illness was legitimate, that I knew what I was doing, and I think that's normal. CFS is tricky. We look normal, so when we say we can't do something, like get a job, it's seen as lazy. It took even me, my own self, a long time to stop thinking that maybe I just needed to push harder, so I know from the inside out how hard it is to understand CFS. That wasn't the problem. The problem was that I felt betrayed when they wouldn't enter a discussion with me about this issue. I felt like they didn't trust me. Probably they didn't, but I took it personally. I had unrealistic expectations.

Sorry, this is pretty off-topic and doesn't have anything to do with hugs or bonding anymore. Steering it back on topic, my point was that my parents use logic and indifference when someone cries out for affection. I wasn't really crying out for affection, just understanding and openness, but other people have. My grandmother, for example, toward the end of her life. She was a strong woman, her whole life, so my parents should've known she wasn't a ninny. She just needed love, and the way she begged for it was by complaining about her various illnesses, mostly her eyesight, which was damaged by an antibiotic drug. Instead of giving sympathy, they yelled, "At least you're not blind!" I was the only one who sympathized, and my grandmother responded, not by becoming needy, but we'd just have a nice connection.

I don't think my parents consciously were applying the logic/indifference psychological strategy. Rather, they adopted it because it served their own needs to not be vulnerable or maintain the stoic Japanese-American cultural pattern, to admit no weakness, no emotion. I've had to work hard to overcome this pattern, and hopefully karezza will continue this process.

I'm sorry for what you went through

I'm sure that you are your parents' "golden boy," and it's just hard to accept that one of one's most precious dreams seemingly cannot come true.

However, I think it still can.;-) In a different form. Someday I think you will see that the illness was a way of switching gears so you could do what you came to do. Time will tell.

Meanwhile, take good care of yourself.


I hadn't thought about that as being one of my parents' driving factors, but now that you mention it, it might definitely be in there. That's another thing that helps me forgive. Thanks.

As for the illness, I am already very grateful to it for forcing me to switch gears. It was grace.

In Gabor Mate's book,

In Gabor Mate's book, "Scattered; how ADD originates and what you can do about it" he claims that ADD happens for exactly this reason.
he calls it "attunement." There is reason to believe that ADD has a genetic component because it often does carry within a family... however, genetics may not be the real factor at play... this would also be true if the attunement theory holds water:
for example, I have ADD, as do many of my siblings, and my mother does too.
When I was born, my mom had children at ages 2, 6, 7, and 8. A woman with ADD trying to raise a house of kids like that, it is no surprise to me that I now have ADD, too. In those crucial stages of development, the house must have been wild with activity and drama. My mothers attention would have been divided and scattered at best.

The good news for everyone, even those who didn't have the ideal upbringing, is that our brains are malleable. By choosing to live in a certain way, with specific behaviors that counter ADD, eventually my *tendencies* dim, and I become more and more a well adjusted individual.
I have been working on "curing" ADD for over 2 years now. My life looks much different than it used to. I am more focused in school than I ever could manage before I came to grips with my stuff.

Its true, a lot of the attachment deficiencies carry over, and spill onto other relationships in extremely messy ways at times.... but that too can be reigned in, and absolved.
Human development is never ending for the individual seeking wholeness.
p.s. - i secretly worry that the more i get "balanced" and the more I feel "whole", the less interesting I become, both to me, and to the people in my life. I think most people prefer the drama. they like to walk through the fire, if only because for a moment, things are so much sweeter on the side of resolve. Its always beautiful to fuck up royally, and find yourself rediscovering grace, love, and redemption all over again.
I hope I am not progressing to the point where this will be any less true.
the light of my eyes is a pearl,
equally emptied to equally shine;
and all or what little joy in the world
seemed suddenly simple, and endlessly mine.

I was thinking

I was thinking that, in my experience, it hasn't really been me that started to bore others, so much as others kinda started to bore me. Is that horribly arrogant to say? It's just that all the things I used to do to entertain myself don't really appeal to me anymore. When I go to parties, I'm usually ready to leave by 10PM, right about the time people are getting a little too intoxicated to carry on a stimulating conversation about anything.

The thing is, interesting people are people who are interested in things. It can be anything at all, and people will be drawn in by your passion about the subject. And also, avoiding orgasm definitely does *not* prohibit you from fucking up royally, then rediscovering grace, love, and redemption, as you say. Trust me, I'm doing this all the time. :)

Good point

*chuckle* I think because I enjoy really *connecting* with people now, I, too, don't care to be around any form of intoxication. It *is* boring to be having a conversation that you know the other person won't remember in the morning. Wink