According to Kalsched (1996), author of The Inner World Of Trauma.: Archetypal Defenses Of The Personal Spirit., severe childhood trauma can result in the person’s ego/psyche/self fragmenting into both a REGRESSED SELF and a PROGRESSED SELF.
What Are The ‘Regressed’ And ‘Progressed’ Selves?
- REGRESSED SELF: this part of the self/ego/psyche regresses (reverts) to an infantile state
- PROGRESSED SELF: this part of the self/ego/psyche (henceforth I will simply refer to the ‘self’) becomes precociously advanced in relation to the individual’s actual, chronological age.
Interaction Between The ‘Regressed’ And ‘Progressed’ Selves :
Kalsched explains that the ‘progressed’ part of the self then functions as the protector/defender/ caretaker of the ‘regressed’ part of the self.
But what is the ‘progressed’ part of the self-serving to protect the ‘regressed’ part of the self from? According to Kalsched, it serves to protect the ‘regressed’ self from further traumatic experience. In order to accomplish this, it closely monitors all interactions with the outside world and is hypervigilant.
Problems Created By The ‘Progressed’ Self :
Unfortunately, however, Kalsched explains, the ‘progressed’ self fails to learn from experience, and, as such, is likely to continually sound ‘false alarms’, causing us to be overly cautious and to perceive potential danger where it does not, in fact, objectively speaking, exists.
The effect of this over-zealous, chronic, unremitting scanning of our environment for signs of danger is that our view of the world becomes very negative and we lose the spontaneity we had before we were affected by our traumatic experiences.
Dysfunction And Pathology :
Furthermore, the way in which the ‘progressed’ self attempts to defend and protect ‘regressed’ self may become dysfunctional and pathological in numerous different ways which may include :
- substance abuse
- schizoid withdrawal (escape into fantasy)
RELATED POST :
Arrested Psychological Development And Age Regression.
Kalsched, D., The Inner World Of Trauma.: Archetypal Defenses Of The Personal Spirit. Psychology Press. 1996.
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David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).