Excerpt About Enneagram of Specific Difficulties

The Good Holding Environment
A good holding environment is not just a matter of the mother loving and providing physically for her child; the emotional climate in the family is a part of the holding of the environment as well. If there is tension between the parents, for example, the child will feel it and the sense of holding will be somewhat disrupted. The presence or absence of other siblings and their interrelationships also affects the holding of the environment, as do the environment’s actual physical qualities. Whether it is chaotic or dreary, too noisy or lacking in stimulation for the child, all affect the amount of holding he or she experiences. What the family as a whole is going through will affect it. If the family is going through a difficult financial period and there is a sense of fear and insecurity in the parents, this will not only affect the parents’ relationship to the child directly, but will also create an anxious environment full of expectations of difficulty or danger. If the child grows up during war-time, the holding will also be compromised. Physical traumas, such as the child getting sick, or one or both parents becoming ill, will be experienced as disruptions in the sense of being held and therefore in the sense of basic trust. The effect of whatever disruptions occur will be cushioned and mitigated to the degree that the environment is generally holding.

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