Not only do our wives need support, but our children need our deep involvement in their lives. If this period [the early years] ofprimitive needs and primitive caretaking passes without us, it is lost forever. We can be involved in other ways, but never again on this profoundly intimate level.
Owing to a poorly defined sense of self, people with BPD rely on others for their feelings of worth and emotional caretaking. So fearful are they of feeling alone that they may act in desperate ways that quite frequently bring about the very abandonment and rejection they're trying to avoid.
We're vulnerable to repeating history, especially if we don't know what's driving us. For example, it may be a family tradition to marry someone with addiction problems, or who is an injured bird in need of caretaking. Or, you may be drawn to guys who remind you of your distant, unavailable father -- or your ill-tempered mother -- with the unconscious belief that you can take an old story, and through the power of your love, give it a new, happy ending.
Early relational trauma results from the fact that we are often given more to experience in this life than we can bear to experience consciously. This problem has been around since the beginning of time, but it is especially acute in early childhood where, because of the immaturity of the psyche and/or brain, we are ill-equipped to metabolize our experience. An infant or young child who is abused, violated or seriously neglected by a caretaking adult is overwhelmed by intolerable affects that are impossible for it to metabolize, much less understand or even think about.
These scientific studies countervail the influential claims of the Kants, Nietzsches, and Rands about the nature of human goodness. Compassion is not a blind emotions that catapults people pell-mell toward the next warm body that walks by. Instead, compassion is exquisitely attuned to harm and vulnerability in others. Compassion does not render people tearful idlers, moral weaklings, or passive onlookers but individuals who will take on the pain of others, even when given the chance to skip out on such difficult action or in anonymous conditions. The kindness, sacrifice, and jen that make up healthy communities are rooted in a bundle of nerves that has been producing caretaking behavior for over 100 million years of mammalian evolution.