chapter  15
20 Pages

Life events, interpersonal theories, and the family

The evolution of K-selected attachment mechanisms means that babies are born with the expectation of, and need for, attachment objects. Not only this, but attachment objects must respond in certain ways (e.g., with mirroring and nurturance) in order for the child to survive and prosper. But what about other aspects of the social environment? Can we, as humans, say that we evolved such that there is now an expectation of a certain kind of environment that would allow us to live our lives in a relatively secure (non-defensive) way. Throughout this book we have answered this question affi rmatively. Two major domains have been suggested: (a) the dimension of social control, relating to a freedom from domination, and various factors that elicit involuntary, subordinate self-perception; (b) the dimension of belonging, relating to a sense of shared social identity (being like others), reassurance, acceptance and support of one’s self presentation and validation of social roles, such that one feels valued by others (e.g., Heard & Lake, 1986). We have seen how these needs evolved (Chapters 5-8 and 10) and how they are related to social success on the one hand, and our affective experience on the other (Chapter 5). Before exploring the interpersonal theories in more detail some preliminary observations of early human life styles can be made.