TA Insights: Jessica D’Andrea, TAPI
Our next TA Insight comes from Jessica D’Andrea, TAPI
According to the Joines’ Personality Adaptation model, development is based on the interaction between nature and nurture. Fate may contribute in that we can have the best genes and the best parents, but sometimes life events may shape us in unexpected ways.
For what concerns the nurture part of the equation, individuals cleverly adapt to their family system to get strokes and support. Some of those adaptive strategies are positive, and some are negative: as children, we often give up our spontaneity in order to experience closeness, proximity, and love from our caregivers.
Lorna Benjamin, Ph.D. says that, throughout our lives, we live with our parents “in our head”, and we use “copy processes” to feel close to them, as we did as children: we be like the parent (identification), we can treat ourselves as the parent did (introjection), or act as if they were still around and in charge (recapitulation).
The idea is that “Every psychopathology [including racket feelings and dysfunctional behaviors] is a gift of love” (Benjamin, 1993): in moments of stress, when everything else fails, we can at least experience some closeness with our loved ones by recreating the internal stroking pattern that is so familiar to us.
If we think in terms of ego states relational units (Joines, 2012), we can see how those internal attachments, affects and adapted behaviors are the basic blocks of our life scripts. Becoming aware of old patterns of behaviors gives us the opportunity to choose, and regain spontaneity and intimacy.