Attachments — Life’s Connections (Part 4 of 5)

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No, that’s not Rudholf’s red nose. It is your attachment light. Previously we explored what happens when a bond becomes fear based, known as an avoidant/dismissive attachment.

  • Unlike secure bonds, which develop when attachment signals are shared in a timely fashion, insecure bonds develop through bad timing and missed signals.  You will develop an avoidant/dismissive attachment when mom or caregiver fails to respond correctly to your attachment light (cues and signals).
  • Pain arises and you feel you are about to die when your attachment light fails to provoke a response.  Lonely and afraid, you suffer tremendous pain that resounds throughout your body, telling you you are going to die when your signals are not met and shared.
  • A child whose signals are not reciprocated learns to mask attachment pain by hiding attachment cues and signals.  A child’s light comes on; the parent’s light is off.  When a child’s light goes off, parent’s light is still off, so the child wants to avoid anything that will set off the resulting painful outcome.  He will wear a mask that reveals no particular need or desire to bond. He is “just fine.”
  • Dismissive parents produce dismissive children, who grow up and rear dismissive children.  You hurt when your familiar face fails to synchronize and respond with you.

Ambivalent/Distracted Attachment is another form of insecure attachment. Ambivalent/distracted attachments develop through mom imposing her mental state onto her child’s state.  On the surface, the interaction looks healthy and secure.  Careful observation reveals a failure to synchronize.  In other words, mom does not synchronize to child’s needs, rather mom pushes child to synchronize with her needs.

Toddler or a baby child playing with puzzle in a nursery.

Photo credit © Pavla Zakova – Fotolia.com

For example:  Child may be playing with toys (attachment light off) and insecure mother wants someone to bond with (attachment light on).  She looks at her child, who seems distracted and busily playing.  Mom comes over and joyfully picks up her child.  This move interrupts the child’s behavior.  Mom plays, tickles, and interacts with child.  The interaction looks good, sounds good, and may even be enjoyable to watch.  For the infant, however the effects are harmful.

A distorted existence develops for the child because mom failed to attune to her child.  Mom’s intrusion pushed her mental state onto child’s mental state, thus producing disarray for her child’s attachment center.  Failure to match attachment lights with her child results in confusion and attachment pain for her child.

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As a result, the child’s attachment light will always be ready, and stay on, resulting in an ambivalent/distracted attachment.  Ambivalent children take care of parents’ feelings rather than parents taking care of children’s feelings.  Children feel responsible and must always be available and on guard for mom and dad. (Photo courtesy of Microsoft Images)

Time to bond becomes uncertain, signals are not synchronized, and the child never knows when signals will be met on time, so his/her light stays on.  Developing from this unhealthy dynamic is a “parentified child”—one who feels responsible for parents, and never knows time to quiet from time to play.

This child becomes vigilant.  Not wanting to miss an opportunity, child prepares to bond at any given moment.  An inconsistent parent produces a confused child.  The child’s attachment center never knows when parent’s light will be on or off and will leave his/her light on just in case parent responds.

Junge, Kind, Schulkind, erschrocken

Research studies with 18 month-old infants show most intrusions by a parent are positive in nature.  Positive in the sense that parent wants to play or interact positively – according to parental need, not child.  Untimely interaction produces clingy children who beg for mom’s attention, and are not easily soothed when upset.

 

(Photo credit – © Christine Wulf – Fotolia.com

These children are confused and have to guess when mom or dad will be prepared to bond and connect again.  Not wanting to miss out on something good becomes the child’s primary motivation.  A child is stuck unable to discern time to bond from time to rest.  This produces highly sensitive and over vigilant children.

The solution, of course, is for the parent(s) to learn how to relate to the child in a way that produces secure bonds. Parents must learn to synchronize to their child’s needs rather than their own.

You can talk, research and learn a head full of knowledge but it will only make minimal difference. The benefit of learning (left hemisphere function) is that you understand the need for brain training (right hemisphere function.) The bonding styles are housed in the right hemisphere of the brain and are learned through modeling. Your brain needs to SEE how it is done. Your brain needs a model to copy. To change your relational style you need to imitate someone who knows how to have and make secure bonds.

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Learning to quiet one’s self and develop secure, joyful bonds is what happens in Track One of Thrive Training. You also learn this in the Connexus classes. We cannot think of anything more helpful in “the equipping of the saints”[1] than shoring up these kinds of “breaches” in relational skills and strengthening God’s people.


[1] Ephesians 4:12–Prepare/Equip/Mend

12 to equip (G2677) his people (perfecting of the saints-KJV) for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up-NIV

[1] The greek word καταρτισμός (G2677) translated as “equip” in NIV and “perfecting” in KJV is a masculine noun from a greek verb καταρτίζω (G2675).

The noun means literally “complete furnishing”.  Looking at its parent verb, we see more of the essence of how people are to be equipped or furnished.

This parent or root word means[1];

1. to render, i.e. to fit, sound, complete, to mend (what has been broken or rent), to repair, to complete, to fit out, equip, put in order, arrange, adjust to fit or frame for one’s self, prepare ethically: to strengthen, perfect, complete, make one what he ought to be

This same word is what the fisherman were doing with the nets.

Mt 4:21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing (mending-KJV)(G2675) their nets. Jesus called them, NIVMk 1:19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing (mending-KJV) their nets. NIV
This helps us understand that when the Lord gave us “11 … apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service”,  this equipping people for works of service is the same as the fishermen “mending” their nets.  Church leadership is to mend what was broken or torn, to repair, to complete, to equip, to make fit, strengthen, complete, prepare us to be what we ought to be.

Thrive Registration Reminder 

Feb. 23-27, in Austin, Texas

July 26-31, 2015 in Grand Rapids, Michigan 

Registration Information here.

 As we once again celebrate the coming of our Savior, may your joy be full,

Chris & Carol

Chris Coursey, MA Theology – Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer,  www.thrivetoday.org

Twitter – @coursey_chris

Carol A. Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive         www.fromgodsheart.com

Carol’s email – godsheart@comcast.net

 

 

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