The Enigma of Childhood traces how early psychic development from birth up to three years is reflected throughout the lifespan, including adulthood, couplehood and parenthood. The inner child reverberating within us--thus present in our ongoing interactions with others--often colors and guides our current experiences, whether with our life partner or children, and as psychotherapists, with our patients.
The author’s primary aim is to familiarize the reader with her innovative idea of the emotional immune system managed by a healthy narcissism and operating via the inner reverberations of hidden childhood narratives. Our sense of familiar self is accordingly consolidated and immuned to the invasion by foreign sensations.
Thus, the author attempts to familiarize the reader with the child concealed within, who is understood to represent the sum of memory traces of early life experiences, abstracted, condensed and echoing within our mind/body, a child who is an integral part of our psyche. These childhood resonances are present in our ongoing interactions with others, and often color and guide our current experiences, whether with our life partner or children, and as psychotherapists, with our patients.
The Enigma of Childhood looks at early psychic development in the oral and anal stages, and how this influences the baby’s evolution along a normal or pathological developmental track. This includes the formative events in the life of the child, the parents’ influence on his or her relative progress and emotional development, and insight into general principles or directives guiding parent-child relationships. References to world literature, and clinical vignettes taken from the author’s perceptive observations and dynamic treatments, are used to illustrate her theoretical innovations regarding healthy narcissism, her conceptualization of jointness as a key facet of object relations and of the art of couplehood, and her original and creative account of the ego’s mechanisms of adaptation and defense.