"Early Deprivation of Empathic Care" focuses on the infant's
crucial need for reciprocally pleasurable interaction with the empathic
caregiver. It helpfully defines and illustrates each of these often vauguely
used terms, and traces the effects of deficiency and deprivation of empathic
care on the devolping child in the earliest stages of growth, in adolescence,
and into adulthood."
Here is an excerpt: ("Early Deprivation of Empathic Care, "John
Leopold Weil, M.D, International Universities Press, 1992, pp20-22).
According to this definition, a caregiver's empathy
for an infant provides a basis whereby the caregiver will find mutual pleasure/reward
in the infant's pleasurable behavior; that is, will reinforce the maintanece
and repetition of the infant's pleasurable behavior. An example of such empathic
mirroring is presented in Brezelton's experimental observations. Figure
1 below, adapted from Brezelton, illustrates the resonance with which a
mother reflects and reinforces her baby's states of pleasurable attachment
and arousal (Brezelton, 1983, pp47-48).
An empathic caregiver will find pleasure in the
infant's pleasure and will mirror, rather than interfere with the infant;s
pleasure rythms (Brazelton, Koslowski, and Main, 1974, pp 61-63). By allowing
the infant to turn away, the caregiver provides the infant with a secure
base from which to find pleasure in the surrounding world, thus allwoing
freedom for its emerging ego. In this way, the infant is allowed the pleasures
of being attached and then the pleasures of momentarily seperating before
it returns to state of attachment (Brazelton, Koslowski, and main, 1974,
p64.) When the infant's rhythm of turning toward and turning away is duplicated
by the empathic caregiver, the caregiver follows the infant's pleasurable
cues much as two adults, dancing in harmony, reinforce each other's pleasurable
interactions (Brazelton and Als, 1979, pp360, Table 1, pp 364-365, 366-367).
In contrast, the unempathatic caregiver will frequently interrupt the infant's
pleasurable rhythms (Brazelton, Koslowski, and main, 1974, p64). Thus,
the symbiotic caregiver who cannot stand a moment's rejection, as well
as the controlling caregiver who must dominate the infant, both will find
it difficult to permit the infant to turn away 9Stern, 1974, p413).
Note that these various aspects of maternal affectional
care- such as tender tranquilizing, pleasurable, attentive contacts- provide
a peaceful sensitive background setting for the operation of empathic resonance.
1973. A year of Crisis. The Yom Kippur War. Oil Embargo. Watergate.
Vietnam. And Bruce Lee dies in Seattle, WA. The spiritual revolution of
the sixties is over.
November, 1 1974, Seattle, WA.
A day after Holloween, a year after the storm, I come into the world,
destined , I believe, to continue where Bruce Lee and the rest of
that generation left off. Except for one small detail. I'm still an Old
Jew and don't know Kung Fu from Sushi. But on the spiritual level, Truth
is the same for all of us. Unless somebody out there has three legs, as
Bruce Lee put it, fundamentally, we are all the same.
It is the name of God/Love/Truth, that I am headed down my own path
of self discovery. Our paths vary, but the destination is one. Spirituality
is the same experience for us all. God is great. Now if I can just get
myself to focus for long enough, I'll tell you my story.
Brookline MA., Winter, 1979.
"Daddy. . . sometimes I feel like I'm looking at myself from far
away. . . its like I'm up in the sky, floating, and looking at what is
happening to me like its a movie or something."
The Friday night Sabbath meal in our cold house on Buckminster Rd had
just ended. My father was sitting in his big velvet backed throne-like
chair at the head of our long Victorian dinning room table. The room was
dimly lit by an antique chandelier which I had always been afraid would
fall down and crush the roses which were placed right underneath. My mother
was perched in an identical chair at the other end of the table, seemingly
miles away. I knew she was about to get up any second and send me off to
bed. I hated when she did that. I looked at my father apprehensively, not
sure if he was listening to me, or about to give me that "to bed,
to bed, to bed!" line.
He smiled and gave me a hug. "Your a smart boy," he said.
But he was wrong.
It wasn't that I was smart.
I was fucked up.
Five years old, and my Double Mirrors were already cracked. I was headed
down the first step of a downward spiral that I wasn't destined to understand
for another 15 years. More self-reflection than love, the leftover energy
on the verge of overflowing into self pity, depression, rage, destruction.
A warped Double Mirror negative force building off of itself headed for
disaster, a ship on fire, burning its own fuel. I, the blind, deaf, and
dumb captain, was only to be saved by the grace of God.
[I was infected with demons not of my own making before I even knew
what a demon was. And by the time I did I had plenty of new demons of my
own. But God gives everybody a chance to get out of the cave. No matter
how dark or how deep.]
And all my father could tell me was that I'm a smart boy . . .
Meanwhile, I was in bad shape. I was so shy that I cried for the first
week of nursery school. My only friend was some guy named Phil. [Hey Phil-
if your reading this- may the Force be with you, man!] and when I went
to his house and saw how peaceful it was I knew there was something really
wrong with my family. But all I did about it was cry a lot. . . and try
to figure out how to escape. From my mother who shrieked instead of smiling,
and my father who spanked me. I would stay in my room with the door shut
all day- where I felt safe and warm- and play with my Star Wars action
figures, or venture outside hiding behind the camera my father gave for
my fifth birthday. And I held in my shit until I was constipated for a
week. And then my father gave me an enema.
On the Road to Camp Grossman, summer of 1982.
"I don't get it" said my father with aggravation. "Just
jump in- I don't know what the hell you are scared of," he insisted.
"Just look at your brother Joel- he doesn't have any problems swimming."
He wasn't helping any. He could analyze the situation rationally all he
wanted- why I should clean up my room, why I should be nice to my mother,
and why the water is safe. But it wasn't going to change anything.
"Come on you can do it," coaxed the swimming teacher. The
swimming period was over and all the kids had left, but she was staying
with me in the water, trying to convince me to jump into the lake. All
I could do is stare into the deep and remain frozen on the dock. No. I
can't do it. Its already been twenty minutes. Now its too late- I thought
about it too much now. I could have done it then, but no- its too late.
"The water's great, you'll love it," she said. But the problem
wasn't in the water- it was in my head.
October 1982, 42 Lowell Rd, Brookline Ma.
My depression had turned into frustration and then into anger. And man,
was I pissed off. I was getting kicked out of all my classes- having coffee
in the principles office was becoming routine. I cursed at three piano
teachers until they quit, and called my mother a witch until she locked
me in the basement. And I was only seven.
The school told my parents to get me a shrink. A good one.
So here I am in this guys office, and he tells me to call him Dr. Weil.
And then he has the nerve to ask me to take my feet off his desk.
I went outside and stomped all over the bed of flowers in front of his
office window. I'll show him. Boy was I a jerk.
My energy used up on killing his roses, I went back inside, and quietly
crept up the stairs to his office. The door was ajar, and I peeked inside.
Dr. Weil was sitting quietly at his desk with a sad look on his face I'll
never forget. And then our eyes met. . . . From that instant and forever
he was what you would call a friend. [But I like the Star Wars trilogy
a lot, so I call him O-Bewon Kanobie. . . .]
The next summer, I was back at camp Grossman all over again. Same dock.
Same nice swimming instructor. But nothing happened. I was just too scared
to jump in. And then there was a miracle. It was the second to last day
of camp- the day of the eagerly awaited swimming tests. While the rest
of the kids in the day camp were showing off their crawl and backstrokes,
me and the four other kids in the "there's no fuckin way I'm jumpin
in" group were gathered on the dock at the deep end of the lake. Our
instructor was in the water. (I remember now that she was beautiful and
that had I already reached puberty she would have been enough for me to
jump in any day). The head lifeguard, a pit bull who enjoyed screaming
in his megaphone at little kids as if he was an army sergeant or something,
was walking towards us. I was ready to piss in my pants.
"O.K.. guys, its time for action," barked the lifeguard. "Lets
I was the second to last in line. I wasn't paying attention as one kid
in my group after another belly flopped into the lake. I was in a trance,
and as I stared into the mystery of the deep water, despite my fear, some
force seemed to be pulling me as if I was meeting my destiny. I had to
do it now. I had to jump in. Not for myself but for some reason I couldn't
"Are you gonna jump or not, tough guy?" the words echoed into
my head in slow motion as if they were from a great distance. The beautiful
lifeguard with her open arms, the dock, the lake. . . it was all a blur.
I was frozen in time and nothing mattered except jumping in. Please God
help me! I prayed, and my already adrenalized and trembling body received
a spiritual boost that brought my energy levels to overflow. And then it
happened. . . I JUMPED. The lake took me in, and for an instant I was below
the surface and part of another world. But just for an instant. I shot
up to the surface and doggie-paddled into the instructors arms. The curse
was broken. The seeds of my vision quest were planted.
My father decided to stop paying for my therapy after the
first year. Dr. Weil continued to see me, without pay, for five years until
I left home at 13. To this day he serves as an inspiration in my quest
to become a man of truth and love- a full Jedi. His message was that we
need to love. His language was Freudian therapy. This book is basically
an effort to express the same idea. My way. But as long as we focus on
the Moon and not the finger of the one who is pointing towards this truth,
the language is irrelevant- the idea is constant and not affected by these
shadows. God/Truth/Love is One.
Anger, fear, hatred- forces of the
dark side are they.
Love/Truth is the cure for this disease.
God is Truth. Truth is love. Love
God is Great.
At what point does a series of experiences, a group of atoms, a mouthful
of words, and a human relationship transcendence beyond rational and logical
causes and effects and into the realm of the infinite? To answer this question
is to discover what makes us human, and to find the "meaning of life.
" I believe I have found this answer- not because I am smarter than
those who have tried before me, but because god has blessed/cursed me with
enough bizarre experiences, sensitivity, obsessivness, and self reflection
to make the answers I am seeking shine to the point where they could not
be ignored. Unfortunately, this truth has shined so bright, that like a
man staring into a light too bright for his eyes, my brain has become somewhat
blinded by the intensity of the elusive vision I am seeking. Despite my
mental casualties, I hope to win this war against the demons in my head
and eventually complete my vision quest. Assuming that is, that unlike
most of life's worldly pursuits, my search for Love proves to be attainable,
and a not just carrot at the end of a stick. . . .Without God's help I
Dylan, Son of Waves, 1993