The Optimal Self is born of experiences and memories of loving, responsive and competent parental care within a stable, fundamentally healthy family and community environment. The Optimal Self is authentic, Securely Attached, meets legitimate needs in an appropriate fashion and plays well with others.
The Post-Traumatic self, however, is born of hostile, rejecting or inadequate parenting and often chaotic, cold and dysfunctional family and community environments. It is the less than prosocial, optimal self one must become to survive and meet essential needs where one is unfortunately stuck in life. The Post-Traumatic self is insecurely attached, has difficulty knowing and fulfilling essential emotional and other needs in an appropriate fashion and is often manipulative, domineering, submissive and melodramatic or withdrawn in their interactions with others.