Bodynamic Analysis is mindful of a constant interplay and intimate balance between mutual Connection on one hand and individual Dignity on the other. Character defences arise from the child’s deep urge to have the greatest possible Mutual Connection with the central people in his/her life – sometimes at the cost of her/his individual dignity.
Stated in first person, just like I can maintain or break Mutual Connection, I can either maintain my individual Dignity or relinquish it. To maintain my individual Dignity in an interaction with others, I must respect my own self so that my way of being, my feelings and my actions are consistent with my authentic self – my actual needs, impulses, preferences, wishes and views.
The way I can lose my Dignity is when my interaction with another person or persons becomes too challenging for me, to the point that inside myself I need to move away from the contact, breaking the Connection – but I don’t. Instead, I maintain the Connection but in the process I must relinquish my individual Dignity.
The Bodynamic Character Structure model is – among other things – an encyclopedia of Character Structure Positions that explain why and how a person would choose to preserve Connection at the expense of Dignity – to remain in contact with a person or a situation that she really can’t tolerate, because in that instance losing Connection is too frightening while losing her individual Dignity is more preferable of two undesirable choices.
And conversely, every person has at some point withdrawn from contact that was too challenging in order to be able to preserve her individual Dignity. This explains yet another extreme of the human condition that we often witness: No mutual Connection but a lot of individual Dignity in utter loneliness.
The Bodynamic System places priority on making conscious choices about our interactions and our ways of connecting, so that we don’t have to compromise our internal integrity – individual Dignity just to have contact. We learn to establish and maintain a balance that includes deep contact with other persons, while at the same time we honor our own Self by maintaining our individual Dignity.
Character structures are the formative and creative results of splits occurring in the aforementioned developmental stages.